No Choice But To Make A Choice


Scarlett O’Hara may be able to put decisions off until tomorrow, but some choices simply have to be made today.  In fact, each of us makes thousands of choices daily.  One would think that by making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities on a regular basis it would make choosing an option easier.  But does it?

Apparently practice does not make perfect when it comes to food decisions. Ever been stumped by what to order when eating out?    A study by Cornell University determined that the average American makes over 200 food choices a day.  Yet, we still may be gripped by indecision when determining which of the 31 Baskin-Robbins flavors we desire to devour.

Of course there are different types of decisions to be made.  Thankfully, life-altering decisions such as whom to marry, where to attend college, and whether to move are not made every day.  Nevertheless, it is estimated that an individual makes thousands of decisions daiy.  Even if these decisions are not life-altering, some are weightier than others.  Whether to snap back at an irritable spouse might be of more consequence (and lead to other and perhaps stickier decisions) than whether to put salt on the steak one is eating for dinner.

Let’s take a moment to consider the numerous decisions one might be faced with each day and how easy that decision is to make.  Here are some possible choices to be made:

–Get out of bed or hit the snooze button?  Easy.  The latter is definitely more appealing.

–Take your coffee black or with cream and sugar?  Definitely cream and sugar, but then I have to decide what time of cream (fat-free?) and how much sugar.  One lump or two?  Artificial sweetener or real sugar?  And was that decaf coffee or regular coffee?  Guatemalan or Kona?

–Take a lunch to work or eat out?  I usually take my lunch. But making this decision is just opening the door to other questions.  What type of sandwich should I make–ham? turkey? With or without cheese?  What type of cheese–Swiss? provolone?  Rye, wheat or white bread?  Mayo or mustard?  Perhaps both?

–Do I wear flats or heels to work?  Heels look more professional.  But what color shoes go with my outfit?  Oh yeah–what outfit am I wearing?

–So they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Eggs over easy or sunny side up?  Let’s go with sunny side up.  One egg or two?  Do I cook the egg(s) with butter or Pam?  Do I want bacon or sausage to accompany the eggs?

–The darn cell phone is ringing at an inconvenient time.  Do I answer it?   Depends on who is calling…

–Should I listen to rock or country music on the radio on the way to work?  No brainer!  ROCK!  But just how loud can I play the music in my car?  Should I sing along or be self-conscious that the driver in the car next to me might see or (GASP) hear me?

–Encounter with a difficult person during the day.  Do I bite my tongue or bite her head off?  If I choose the latter, should I apologize when I calm down?  If I stuff it, how do I deal with the stress?  Do I blame the fact that I am of Irish heritage for a bad decision to blow up?

–Feeling a bit down.  Do I cry or just suck it up?  Depends on what I am doing.  While in attorney mode, I suck it up.  While at home, I cry at the sentimental ads on TV, movies involving animals, songs on the radio which bring back memories, etc.

–Thank heavens the work day is done.  Do I enjoy being a couch potato or do I work out?  Probably tired, so I choose vegetable mode. If I am a couch potato, what will I watch on TV?  If it’s a sporting event, for which team will I cheer?  If I am watching “Scandal,” am I Team Fitz or Team Jake?  Ooooh!  Tough call.  Both are good-looking, smart, military men in positions of power.  Gotta go with Fitz.  He’s more romantic. (Yes, he can build me a house in Vermont where I could spend time making jam.)

–How about spending time reading?  Book? Newspaper? Magazine?  A magazine is the most relaxing.  Which magazine should I read?  If the article is good, should I read it word for word or just skim it for the high points?  How much attention should I pay to the ads?  If it is for men’s underwear, do I lean towards boxers or briefs?  Depends on who’s wearing them.  Jim Palmer?  (Famous MLB pitcher/Jockey model) Definitely briefs.  In the abstract, boxers are more sophisticated.

–Uh oh.  It’s that evening snack craving.  Do I indulge or be disciplined?  Um, I was disciplined all day.  Bring on the snack!  Popcorn?  How much butter?  (You simply HAVE to have butter on popcorn.)  Do I share with my dog who is eyeing my snack?  What do I wash the snack down with?

Thank goodness it is bedtime.  I’m worn out from the myriad of choices presented to me during the day causing me to burnout from decision-making.  But while there may be a quantity of choices to be made daily, some choices are crucial for quality of life.  Choosy mothers may need to determine which peanut butter they will buy for their families, but a more important decision faces all of us.  We have to choose each day whom we will serve.  My choice is made.


Welcome To The Hotel California

There’s no place like home.  If you need convincing of that statement, try traveling and being required to lodge at a commercial establishment.  I endured such an experience for five nights in two separate locations within a span of ten days recently.  As much as those places tried, their accommodations were simply not home, sweet home.

To make one feel at home at such lodgings, more than leaving a light on for you is required. Sorry, Motel 6.  The lengths to which lodging establishments go to make your stay homey depends on the type of establishment involved.  On the bottom rung of the lodging ladder are motels.  Motels typically have rooms accessible from an outside parking area.  Rarely do they have lounges, but who needs one when you can simply hang out in the parking lot and share a brewsky with fellow travelers? No, I’ve never done that, but I did observe it occurring while conducting (legal) business at a motel next to a truck stop in the not too distant past.

The best you can say about motels is that they are conveniently located off highways, are fairly cheap and are populated by clientele who don’t want to get into your business any more than you want to get into theirs.  Motels were quite popular when I was in college.  Girls on my dorm floor would disappear to the “no tell motel” when the boyfriend from back home appeared for a weekend visit.  Motels are models of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Next up the lodging ladder is the inn.  Inns are geared towards tourists and are generally small and usually quaint.  The ambience and location are more of a draw than any amenities provided.  Probably the first thing that pops into one’s head when an inn is mentioned is “no room at the inn.”  Yes, inns have been around a long time–apparently prior to Jesus’ birth.  The inn in Bethlehem may not have had a hot tub or a salon, but it had a stable which doubled as overflow housing.

On the top rung of lodging establishments is the hotel.  Clearly it is a step above the lowly inn.  Why the inn near Jesus’ stable only had one star connected with it; hotels today aim to get five star ratings.  Mercifully, my two recent lodgings were at hotels.  These hotels attempted to cater to me and make me feel comfortable, but they missed their mark.

Feeling right at home apparently starts in the bathroom.  The most evidence of attempted pampering could be found there in both hotels.  How could one possibly feel at home without an array of travel size toiletries cluttering the bathroom counter?  And that gold seal sticker on the  roll of toilet paper to evidence that it was new was just like my own bathroom–NOT!  The hotel must have thought they really had in in the bag when they stored the hair dryer in a bag beneath the sink cleverly marked “Hair Dryer.”  Really?  I thought it might have been a bread box under there…..

A beverage is a sure way to make one relax, right?  Hotels thoughtfully offer small coffee makers in room.  Too bad the coffee to be put into the small appliance is disgusting.  Oh, yeah!  That’s right.  Maybe it is for contrast with the Starbucks located down in the lobby.  What a dilemma.  Drink heated, colored water in my room or go plunk down  big bucks for a calorie-laden cup of coffee at Starbucks?  Hmmm…..decisions, decisions.

A cold beverage might be a better choice for a hotel guest.  But in order for your drink to be cold, ice is needed.  Ice buckets were provided in the rooms, but the treasure map to guide you on the lengthy hunt for the ice machine was MIA.  That’s OK.  I brought my own canned sodas and will just stick them in the in room fridge.  Oops!  How homey can a hotel room be with no fridge (of whatever size) to be raided.  SMH. I’ll bet the lounge downstairs offers cold beverages for an arm and a leg.

Well, maybe home isn’t about things; it is about feelings.  Who doesn’t feel good when arriving home to be greeted by a loving family member or an affectionate pet?  Hotel staff were located in one lobby to smile at me and tell me to have a nice day/evening whenever I came or left .  Rather than getting warm fuzzy feelings, I felt that my movements were being monitored.

The last hotel I stayed in seemed eerily like the Eagles’ Hotel California.  No, there were no mirrors on the ceiling and certainly no pink champagne on ice (still hunting for that ice machine….)  But I did start to get the feeling I might never leave.  Perhaps it was the way those vultures on the hotel roof were looking at me.  Yes, I checked out and I left for home where the lights were left on–not for me, family members just don’t turn them off.  Ahh! Home sweet home!




Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Love can be expressed in many ways.  Some expressions involve physical touching–a hug, a kiss, a caress.  Others involve the giving of a gift–flowers, jewelry or a homemade treat.  Verbal expressions can range from saying “I love you” to addressing the object of your affections with a term of endearment such as sweetheart.  But just how endearing are some of the terms of endearment which lovebirds use?

Sonny and Cher, a married performing duo, achieved commercial success singing “I Got You, Babe.”  Their term of endearment must have lost its magical spark as the two eventually divorced.  Perhaps “babe” wasn’t the best choice of a term of endearment.  In a British survey, “babe” was voted the most hated pet name for women.

Perhaps British royalty can serve as a romantic example to us commoners.  Let’s consider the popular royal couple William and Kate–or as the prince calls her, “Babykins.”   What does Kate call her beloved Prince William?  Rumor has it that he’s “Big Willie.”  I suspect that this term is not used in the presence of his grandmum, Queen Elizabeth.  She’d not likely find it to be proper.

The Brits aren’t really known for being the romantic types though.  The French, who offer us Paris and the Eiffel Tower, are much more likely to fit that bill. Much as I’d love to hear “Je t’aime” (I love you) in perfect French, I think I’ll pass on the popular French term of endearment, mon petit chou, my little cabbage.  I prefer the man who makes my pulse race not liken me to a vegetable.

And speaking of pulse, the Irish might need to be considered as something more than hot-headed, i.e., having an Irish temper.  An Irishman referring to me as “mo chuisle,” my pulse, might make my heart skip a beat.  It sure got Hillary Swank’s character pumped up in “Million Dollar Baby,” although beating up on an opponent in the boxing ring isn’t particularly romantic.

When it comes to terms of endearment, the way to a man’s heart may truly be through his stomach.  Consider some of the pet names which men bestow on their significant others–sweetie pie, pumpkin, muffin, cupcake, honey, sugar, etc.  Are they leading up to a snack or a romantic interlude when using these terms of endearment?

Relationship experts have confirmed that the use of pet names is a sign of bonding, intimacy, and commitment. I agree wholeheartedly about commitment; some folks need to be committed for using baffling terms of endearment.  Who in their right mind wants to be called the French term of endearment “ma puce?”  I will flee from anyone calling me “my flea.”

And, yes, you can find everything on the Internet.  Can’t come up with an intimate term of endearment on your own?  Never fear; there’s a website out there with a pet name generator.  The service is free, and you apparently get what you pay for.  Yes, I had to try it.  Does the man of my dreams really want me to call him “Playful Puddin’ Penguin?”

My dear departed mother may have solved the mystery of these crazy terms of endearment.  While she never addressed this particular topic, she did frequently state, “It’s now what you say, but how you say it.”  Perhaps if I call Mr. Right “Playful Puddin’ Penguin” in the most sultry and emotionally charged manner that I can muster, he won’t care what a ridiculous thing I am calling him.

Love makes people crazy.  We say and do things we ordinarily would not do.  But love also makes us happy.  If we can put a smile on that special person’s face with a silly term of endearment, why not?  If terms of endearment bond and connect us with a significant other, then we should use them liberally and frequently.  But, depending on the term, you might want to consider using it privately.  Right, Big Willie?