Hoarding strange teas and other consequences of Covid-19

It’s been a hundred fifty-one days since restaurants and various sources of entertainment began closing and I’ve become a cranky shut-in.  All right. It’s only been two weeks, but it feels like many more.

The highlight and the most fearsome aspect of the day or week is the trip to the grocery store, because you never know who else might be there and what they’re carrying besides a boatload of toilet paper. Someone told me that at one Costco in the area, off-duty police are working to prevent TP wars in the aisles.

I read today that many of us have turned to Cheez-Its, Doritos, peanut butter-filled pretzels and Cadbury eggs in response to boredom and anxiety over spending so much time with our families (I meant being stuck indoors).

My husband’s and my current diet is a combination of 1) uber-healthy, which consists of a little protein and many fresh vegetables, literally so many that they spill over the edge of the plate onto the floor where the cat refuses to lick them up, accompanied by 2) many homemade treats where sugar is a key ingredient.

We’re trying to cut back on grocery store visits. Meanwhile, I keep looking for a safe time to go. Last week we went on Saturday morning and that was too crowded; so this week we went on Friday morning and that was too crowded, especially in the produce section. In the store where we regularly shop I’ve not noticed empty shelves where Cadbury eggs were once laid, but I have had to fight for the last broccoli floret.

still a few cans of                    red  beans left

Stores are cutting their hours to give them time to stock toilet paper and canned beans. I believe the popularity of the latter might acccount for such TP anxiety.  The photo here shows the shelves of a store that didn’t start stocking early enough.

Other than shopping, my other entertainment involves the daily arrival of jokes that have had time to travel from one end of the world to the other and back. Everyone,  I’ve memorized the one about Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg.  And I think I’m ready to act out the old scene from “Cheers” with subtitles in English and (I think) Chinese. This is not to say that there’s not room for some new ones.

I still haven’t had much of an urge to clean house, but I have checked cupboards for duplicates. That’s when I discovered I’d apparently been hoarding ginger tea and ginger/turmeric tea. What an amazing collection! It was too large to get all the boxes in a photograph.

I decided I’d better drink it, if for no reason than that I’d have space on the shelves for popcorn and other treats. First, I had to find out what this heady combo was good for.  As it turns out the answer is it’s good for everything, from possibly increasing one’s lifespan to working as an anti-inflammatory, to boosting brain repair and preventing Alzheimer’s. And no matter how long the social distancing lasts, it will be another hundred and fifty one days before I’ll have to buy more.

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Life in Ground Zero

Several weeks ago, or was it several lifetimes, Washington State became Ground Zero in the U.S. for the corona virus, now known as COVID-19. I’m thankful I haven’t caught the virus, since I’m in the age group that is suffering and sometimes dying from it.

I’m happily healthy but still aware that life as I know it has changed.

Early on, I received countless emails from government officials telling me to wash my hands.  Now I’m receiving countless emails from arts organizations asking me to donate the ticket money I will be not be using due to the cancellations of their plays, exhibits, and other programs.

My critique group spent an hour and a half trying to get everyone set up with Skype last week and another hour telling each other, “I can’t hear you; you sound like you’re underwater. It’s so quiet.  Is anyone there?”

Before downloading Skype I downloaded ZOOM, which is billed as the latest thing for virtual meetings. Then I learned that Skype was to be our preferred meeting tool, so I dumped ZOOM into the trash can.  A few days later, a class I signed up for notified me we would not be meeting in person. We would be using ZOOM.  So out of the trash can that will come. Here’s hoping it works better than Skype.

Then there’s the issue of toilet paper.  We have enough, but I heard from a friend who went to Costco last week that the lines to buy toilet paper were out the door and the manager told her they didn’t even have any in their warehouse.  Another friend emailed yesterday that Safeway also had had a toilet paper purchasing explosion, so I was happy to inform her that Home Depot was currently stocking the TP that Safeway was missing.

Movie theaters are still open, which would allow us to leave our homes for a few hours a week, except that the only new movies arriving in town should be rated R for Reject. Might as well stay home with Netflix.

Grocery stores are still open.  We make a point of making a trip a day; it’s become our entertainment. My husband fears they’ll soon run out of brussels sprouts. I worry more about Trader Joe’s pesto sauce. Other friends have turned house cleaning into their daily amusement.  I haven’t yet reached that level of desperation.

I told myself that with all the time I now had, I could finish writing my novel. And I think I will, but it would happen sooner if I didn’t spend half of each day looking at the latest news about the virus and its spread.

I know I have it good.  I’m not worried about eviction, lack of health insurance, having to go to work, especially in a hospital, and childcare now that schools are closing. And those situations are all part of what are turning this into a new and different world.

Stay well, everyone.  We will get through this, though we will all be changed to some extent.  If nothing else, we’ll be talking about this for years to come and we’ll make sure we don’t ever run out of toilet paper.

 

 

 

 

 

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The collector’s burden

Living in ground zero of the U.S. coronavirus infection made me think twice before posting a blog on something frivolous. Then I decided that people might benefit from a short break from newspaper and TV news that focuses almost exclusively on the illness. Plus, I have a cold and don’t want to be reminded in every email I now receive from the city, county, state, my medical provider and church that age sixty is the number one risk factor. Here goes.

A recent visit to Seattle’s Burke Museum, with a mission to care for and share collections, inspired me to think about the role collections play in our ordinary lives. Many museums, including the world-renowned British Museum, started with someone’s collections. They’re just lucky the early collectors didn’t have access to troll dolls, back scratchers, umbrella sleeves, Star Wars memorabilia or coke cans.

Starting with the legendary Noah, people have been collectors. Most of us began as children and usually grew out of the collecting bug or out of collecting bugs. As a child, I bought spoons at gift shops when we went on road trips. Either the road trips ended or little spoons lost their charm, because my collection ended at three or four spoons.

People are more likely to start a collection if they have two of the same items, which is frightening when I consider the pairs of things I now own, besides shoes and reading glasses: combs, broken pencils, Spanish dictionaries, and gardening gloves to name a few.

Psychologists say we collect for fun, prestige and nostalgia.  Recently someone bought the car driven in a chase scene by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt, providing that buyer with $3.4 million of all three things. The list of nostalgia picks includes: matchboxes, erasers, miniature chairs and napkins.

For a while, my husband and I collected Mexican masks. We still have two we display. The rest are in a bin in the garage. We also have a box of my husband’s grandmother’s shell collection. My grandfather gave me his stamps, which sit in the box they came in. My husband reminded me that years ago, after three or four trips to Copenhagen we acquired a collection of Royal Dutch Christmas plates. For the first time in many years, we found these in a box in a closet. Boxes of things in someone’s garage are examples of what happens to collections after the collectors have died.  Their kids and grandkids get them and store them in their garages. Generations later, garages are too full to house cars.

Also, younger generations often inherit china and silverware, knickknacks and unidentified photos of their ancestors’ friends.  Something to think about before one starts a collection or draws up a will. The trick is to get rid of stuff while you can, a challenge most of us can’t face.

 

 

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Paid to promote: today’s influencers

influencer from the 1950’s
From Foundation Tanagra: Art, Mode Culture

A paragraph in my local newspaper introduced me to yet another occupation, along with water slide tester and professional bridesmaid (these are real jobs), of which, sadly, I’ve been clueless. The job is “influencer.” And this job pays much more than just about anything else I can imagine.

To be fair to myself and everyone else my age, “influencer marketing” only took off in 2018. Without teenage grandchildren it can take several years before I hear about anything that is “the latest” and by then it’s old.

Back to influencers.  Depending on their total number of followers they may be nano influencers, micro-influencers or power influencers. I couldn’t find the numbers for my category called “fun-size Liliputian microscopic” influencer.

What do the power influencers earn?  Kylie Jenner, allegedly the top paid Instagrammer with 147 million followers, averages $1.2 million per post. What can anyone write about for that kind of money? I regret I can’t make myself follow Kylie to find out.

One marketer says, “… for 100,000 followers, you can probably charge between $1,000 and $2,000 for an Instagram post.

To think that all my cat and flower pix have gone out for free. Just as well. For the few Instagram followers I have, I’d have to pay them to look twice.

If you happen to be curious about influencers in the lesser categories, check out this link from Huff Post with examples of four clothing influencers and the posts for which they were paid. You might be surprised at what a business will pay $1,000 for.

About the same time I learned about professional influencers, I learned about influencer fatigue. This happens when too many people are pushing the same brand and the influencer starts to question whether getting fewer and fewer likes from strangers is worth the effort. The one featured in the link above discovered she liked working in a real job where both emotional and monetary rewards were more satisfying than “likes.”

This leads me to the 2019 article that started my on-line journey. Quoting from Forbes.com: “Consumers, especially younger ones, are losing trust in paid influencers…”

Great.  I just learn about influencers and they’re on their way out. It seems that Gen Z and millennials want to get recommendations from their own “tribes,” which typically don’t include screen or music stars. Or they’re looking to follow peers who break the rules.  I’ll spare you the link to the next wave of influencers who post dopey-looking selfies to great fame and followership.

For those authorities on their way out, I just learned of another influencer that will always be operating, whether in style or not. A Los Angeles Times commentary by David Lazarus names an individual who, after buying a tool on Amazon, received what appeared to be an Amazon $20 gift card. To use the gift card, the buyer had to write “a positive 5 STARS review.”

Lazarus says that “as of Feb. 3, more than 300 ratings for the tool were five-star reviews.  Maybe that reflects an overall high level of customer satisfaction. Or maybe it represents a whole bunch of $20 payoffs.”

The good thing about missing out on a trend is that these days the trend can be gone before you ever knew it existed. You’ve saved yourself time that you might have spent learning about the trend or following the trendsetters and saved money you could have spent purchasing whatever they were touting.

 

 

 

 

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Nancy Drew was responsible for my love of mysteries

I read everything, but I’m always drawn to mysteries. My first detective hero was Nancy Drew.  

How could one not look up to her after reading her bio? Says writer Bobbie Ann Mason, “At sixteen she [Nancy] ‘had studied psychology in school, and was familiar with the power of suggestion and association.’ Nancy was a fine painter, spoke French, and had frequently run motor boats. She was a driver who at sixteen ‘flashed into the garage with a skill born of long practice.’ The prodigy was a sure shot, an excellent swimmer, skillful oarsman, expert seamstress, gourmet cook, and a fine bridge player.”

Details I remember:  she owned a roadster (an open-top car with two seats), was very independent, and never seemed to lack money. Sometimes her lawyer father asked for her help on his cases. The latter does suggest I was quite gullible as a child, but then most of her readers probably were.

Nancy didn’t stay too long in my pantheon of heroes.  By the time I was her age, I’d replaced her with American Bandstand stars. But she reigned for at least four years.

According to Wikipedia, Nancy had many devotees including Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Barbara Bush.

Edward Stratemeyer, aka Caroline Keene
By Unknown – Public Domain
Wikipedia Commons

I don’t know how many Nancy Drew novels I read.  The first one was published in 1930.  I started reading them in the 1950’s and by the end of that decade there were thirty-six.  At the time, I admired the books’ author, Carolyn Keene, but found out much later that Carolyn Keene didn’t exist. The Hardy Boys series publisher Edward Stratemeyer wrote the outlines of the books and hired writers who all wrote under the name of Carolyn Keene. There were seven different ghost writers, sometimes co-ghost writers, and at least two were men. With such a stable of writers, the Nancy Drew books just kept coming. By 2001, the total was one hundred seventy-five.

This week, I checked out Nancy Drew book number two, The Hidden Staircase, from the library. Its first copyright date was 1930.  I expected it to be poorly written and a dreadful read. It wasn’t, just a slow one. And that was probably why Nancy’s investigations didn’t cause nightmares in her young readers.

Carolyn Keene loved her, I mean his, no, their adverbs. This is not about gender fluidity, only the mix of folks who wrote the books. (This passion for adverbs is not a love most writing teachers share. In fact, an instructor I had for two years forbade them. She had the same distaste for exclamation marks.)  In Nancy’s life many events happen suddenly. Characters are extremely frightened.  In half a page Nancy speaks of waking up instantly, crawling into bed noiselessly, and immediately asking someone for details. Characters speak sleepily, sometimes laughingly and watch hopefully.

The moments of tension also are very short. A truck without a driver flies toward her and her father, lands in a lake and in three short paragraphs they dive into the water and “come back to the shore,” where Nancy begins an immediate search for footprints. No trauma at nearly losing their lives, only disappointment over the damage to Nancy’s pump shoes.

Compared to contemporary sleuths, Nancy is rarely in a hurry. Someone is in danger but she’ll think about the situation over dinner, maybe overnight. These rest periods help stretch out the thrills to just under two hundred pages.

In a more modern age and with new writers Nancy changes. She becomes less of a daredevil.  “Nancy said sweetly,” and “Nancy said kindly” did not appear in earlier books but become more common later. Over time, she kowtows more to men, and enjoys shopping and romance more than sleuthing. “Nancy also becomes more vulnerable, being often chloroformed into unconsciousness, or defenseless against chokeholds.[60]”

From these descriptions, I’m glad I grew up with the slower acting, yet bolder Nancy Drew and happy I’ve never lost my love for mysteries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bookstores are gone, but libraries still live

Trinity College Dublin library

At my request, my father taught me to read before I started school. This memory came to me because I’m currently moving into the nostalgia phase of my life, not yearning for a return to the past so much as thinking fondly about it. And much of my past has been centered around libraries. It just so happens that my library book group’s February choice is, appropriately, “The Library Book,” by Susan Orleans. It devotes many pages to the Los Angeles central library fire in 1986, but also introduces many figures past and present involved in that library system, and it’s a fascinating story.

UW Library

The King County public library is not my only library. I joined the University of Washington Alumni Association so I could have a UW library card. I don’t use it often, but am glad it’s there, if for no other reason than to visit the Suzzallo Library undergraduate reading room.

I have a deeper relation with libraries than merely borrowing books. My first job — at age 15 and a half — was as a Page in a branch of the Seattle Public Library.  During my three years on the job, I mostly shelved books, a humdrum job but fun because I got to work with two very nice clerks. On my most exciting day, I accompanied one of them on a hunt for overdue books.  No joke. In those days if you didn’t return your book, library staff would come looking for it and you.

We had the same experience at each home we visited, i.e., we waded through the tall grass in front yards that sheltered large collections of broken toys. When we reached the front doors we were greeted by snarling dogs, non-readers for sure. We heard whispering behind the doors but the yaps soon overpowered those voices. After knocking a few times we left. We never did recapture a book.

I don’t have much of a history with bookstores, but they’ve been on my mind after I picked up — from among my library’s Choice Reads — “The Bookshop on the Shore” about a mobile bookshop in a small town in Scotland. I followed that with “The Bookshop on the Corner,” an earlier tale by the same auth0r about the same mobile bookshop. The third bookshop story, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend,” is set in a dying town in Iowa, and “The Little Paris Bookshop,” takes place aboard a floating store. Each of these fluffy stories were about fictional stores that were cozy and staffed by an owner who had great insights into what each customer needed to read. They also incorporated a touch of romance.

I don’t have experience with many cozy bookshops, except for the lovely Trail’s End Bookstore in Winthrop, Washington. The independent and chain booksellers in my city have both departed.  Half-Price Books is all that’s left.

I’m encouraged to read that according to a recent Gallup poll, U.S. library visits outpaced trips to movies in 2019.  I suppose that could mean that everyone was watching movies at home and had no need to leave or to read books.  Still, I’m fortunate to have my library, one of the busiest in the country, and I use it often. My dad would be proud.

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Eating mindfully

Recently, I attended a class called “Mindful Eating.” Although it was not promoted as a weight-loss program, I went anyway, on the off-chance it would help me lose ten pounds with little or no sacrifice or effort.

The class was interesting and will be helpful if I manage to follow the advice given. Among the key messages were:  slow down, pay attention to your food, and eat what you want.

Under “pay attention” is the recommendation to use all your senses, not only taste. We saw, touched, smelled and tried to listen to a single raisin.  Mine was silent, but I could smell the sugar. After settling it on my tongue for a minute,  I tried to follow the instructions, but it’s difficult to chew a single raisin in three or four bites. In terms of eating pleasure, the raisin experience was underwhelming. However, I began to wonder about the possibilities of marketing “The Raisin Diet.” Directions: Eat X number of raisins at four bites each. Plan on this taking hours each day, which will prevent you from putting anything else in your mouth.

“Eat what you want” means not falling for the latest “in thing” as promoted by the $4.2 trillion health and wellness and diet industries. We should note that foods labeled healthy become unhealthy ones every five to ten years and vice versa. Fat is in now. But at the point you’ve settled in to a regular breakfast of bacon and eggs, some researcher somewhere will link this meal to locust plagues and boils and you’ll begin your search for the perfect breakfast all over again.

In the class we practiced eating. You’d think by this age I’d know how, but I didn’t and was it challenging. We all received a Japanese dish of sesame tofu, sweet red beans and coconut milk. The first question to answer was how hungry we were.  Not hungry, a little hungry or half or three quarters full? It was lunch time. I was hungry.

Our instructions were to look at the dish and consider all that went into its creation — not only the work of the chef who made the tofu and created a mountain snow scene out of the ingredients but of those who grew the beans and harvested the coconuts. Then we were to smell the dish. After taking each bite we set down our spoons. As one who normally motors through a meal without paying attention, I found that instruction very difficult to follow. But follow it I did. And where normally I would have finished the dish in thirty seconds having made no dent on my hunger pangs, slowing down lessened them significantly.

Following the class I went to a birthday party (as an aside, it was for my friend who just turned 99). The guests there took advantage of the ample food being served and what I observed was that everyone around me ate very very fast and they weren’t paying any attention to what they were eating. That was as much a lesson as the slow eating I’d done earlier.

This is day three. I’ve lost a pound and a half. Breakfast was a little less frantic than usual. I didn’t wait forever between bites but I did slow down. Later in the day, halfway through eating an apple I caught myself speeding. After lunch I paced myself and felt full, the first time in an eon. This is going to take practice, but my curiosity is now piqued and I hope to develop a new habit of slower eating.

The biggest problem with eating mindfully is that if you start out eating hot food, by the time you finish you’ll be eating cold food. One possible solution is to start off cold by trying the ice cream diet if the raisin one doesn’t work.

 

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Calling all Rats; your year is almost here

Welcome to the Year of the Rat (beginning January 25), a title applicable to so much more than the upcoming Chinese and Vietnamese New Years. Zodiac Rats were born in 1936, 1948,1960, 1972, 1984, 2008 and 2020. Other kinds of rats are born every day of every year.

According to the Chinese zodiac story, in the competition held by the Jade Emperor to decide the zodiac animals, the quick-witted rat asked the diligent ox to take him on a ride to cross the river and jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line, so the rat won the race and became the first of the twelve zodiac animals.”

Different sources don’t agree on everything, but some say the rat’s lucky numbers are two and three and its lucky colors are gold, blue and green.

For mates, the rat would do well to choose an ox, rabbit or dragon. Strange pairings under normal conditions, and according to the analysts these rats like to play around before settling down.

part of Vietnamese celebration

As you might imagine, the rat has any number of different qualities depending on which website you read. Some of the positive ratty characteristics are that they’re charming, intelligent, witty,  and outgoing. Rats also like to collect things. Think pack rat. Less fetching traits include being restless, picky, stubborn and greedy. Some say rats are good leaders because they do a better job of directing others than themselves.

Performers in Vietnamese NY Celebration-Tet

As a practical matter, The Feng Shui experts recommend Rats wear amulets with rat symbols (bracelets, pendants, key rings). At home, they might want to place a statue representing a golden rat, the symbol of prosperity and luck, “in the northern side of the bedroom or living room.”

Curious as to what the fortune tellers predicted about how my zodiac animal — the dog — would fare in this rat year, I learned that I should place a dog statue in my bedroom — southern side — and carry a dog amulet with me at all times. At least they don’t tell me to buy a dog, which would cause great conflict at home (with my cat), in a year in which they predict great luck for me and other canines.

Enough on rats. By tomorrow I’ll be seeing ads for golden rat statues and keychains on Facebook.

 

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Generation gap from a new perspective

Eleanor, 99; me, 73

For the first time I understand what it means to be on the other side of the age gap.  Not that I haven’t had many glimpses earlier, but now they’re following me everywhere.

I remember the gap between my views and those of my parents after they turned fifty, as well as  the battle cry of the era, coined in 1964: “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” My parents and their peers favored Richard Nixon (at least until he made that impossible), thought hippies were destroying the world, viewed women with pierced ears as verging on slutty, considered protestors communists, and hated rock and roll.

In that same era, tattoos were for sailors. End of discussion.  Now they are a fashion statement for men and women.

Hair colors used to be brown, black, blond and gray. Since then, we’ve added pink, blue and green. The most bewildering change, from the perspective of someone who spends money to hide gray hair, is that young women are choosing to add gray.

Slang changes often, so it’s no surprise that you’re not sure of the meaning now attached to words you used to know. Three I’ve picked on for this blog: —  ‘cancel’ as in ‘cancel culture,’  “Boomer,” as in”OK Boomer,” and ‘humblebrag.’

The latter is my favorite, because it opens the door to so many creative possibilities.  You can brag about anything if you just use the right combination of words. It’s not that the action is new, but the label is. Here are two I copied from Twitter: 1)”The first million is the hardest.” 2)”…You’re the coolest man on the planet!! … — what I resisted saying when I met Johnny Depp …”

And one of my own. “My hand is cramped from all the people who asked to shake it today.”

“OK Boomer” is intended to remind older folks that we’re responsible for ruining the earth and being condescending, negative, judgmental (just like our parents). In the context of the environment, there’s truth here, though trucks and SUVS are the most popular vehicles in America and the largest purchasing group is between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four.

Some call 2019 “The Year in Cancel Culture”). ‘Cancel Culture’ means boycotting famous people who’ve behaved badly. But that’s not all. It can be much darker, says a teenager who was canceled — meaning no one talked to her –during her first two years of high school.  “We all do cringey things and make dumb mistakes and whatever. But social media’s existence has brought that into a place where people can take something you did back then and make it who you are now.” (NYT, Tales from the Teenage Cancel Culture, Nov 2, 2019)

“From Marvel movies to OK Boomer, 2019 was a year of generational divides,” says Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) Fear of the future enters into it, but, he says, “it is a progression changed by, but as old as, time.” And he reminds us the older generation is still in charge.  The current president is  73. The top three Democratic presidential contenders are 70 (Warren), Biden (77) and Sanders (78). Yet two out of these three are popular with younger generations.  Proof that generation gaps are more complicated than we might think.

 

 

 

 

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Phone tag

After a two-month break, I’m returning to blogging.  The work I’m doing on my novel has become…well… difficult. How would my protagonist react in this scene?  What about the one after it?  It’s constraining, especially when my writing coach asks, “Why is she reacting this way?  It doesn’t fit. Does she have a split personality?  Is she schizophrenic? Do either of these conditions apply to you?”

In a blog, the one thing I can be sure of is how my protagonist reacts since I’m the protagonist. I enjoy writing about whatever comes to mind and allowing myself to sound ridiculous.  I would have resolved to blog regularly in 2020, but I — like the eighty percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions — don’t keep resolutions. If I did, by now I would fit in a size eight and be able to run a marathon.

So let’s just say I’m back and want see if I can keep up two writing projects in 2020 and enjoy them both.

Today’s topic is losing things — most often my telephone-  as I age.

This week, while reading the hard copy paper (something only older people do now) I remembered that I’d forgotten to charge my phone so I got up and started a search. I called myself several times from the landline (also a device recognizable only by older people) but no answering sound came from the refrigerator, toilet or trunk of my car. My first thought was that I’d left it in a church pew on Sunday. Easy to do since my husband and I arrive there with arms filled with ukuleles, choir music, a music stand, and other service-related paraphernalia. And though a friend told me her daughter advised her that handbags were  passé, replaced these days by many pockets or a backpack, I still cart around a purse for my phone, reading glasses, cash (also passé) and credit cards.

But after a while my husband remembered that I had used the phone at Whole Foods later in the day and reminded me of my confusion involving searching for my store app (which allows amazon to track my buying habits even more closely). I had to point it at the computer while we were navigating the self-service checkout as the robot nattered on and on. “Put the item in the bag. Put it in the bag. Put the *!$ in the bag.”

Later that morning, I drove to Whole Foods and sure enough my phone was one of two they’d locked in a cabinet there. I was most worried about my travel photos, which I should have transferred to my computer ages ago, since I do have somewhat of a phone-losing history.  I left it on a picnic table in the town square in Haarlem, Netherlands and the finder found me and mailed it to me wrapped in a paper towel in a business envelope; and once I left it at a table in a coffee shop a mile or so from where I live.  I realized I didn’t have it after they’d closed for the day.  I got that back too.  But three times may represent the limit to my luck as in three strikes you’re out.

One reason I wasn’t so worried this week was because people who shop at Whole Foods probably have newer and better phones than mine and would scoff at the thought of using anything less.

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