Archive for the ‘Phyllis Kennemer, Writer’ Category

Paying the Price for "Free Stuff"

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

My grandson kept hearing the same commercial on his favorite radio station. ìWant a free electronic notebook, just go to this website.î There were testimonials and guarantees that this notebook was absolutely free. Karl was sure I was mistaken when I told him that there was some catch. ìPlease, please, Mimi, I need a notebook for school.î Please, please, can we just go to the website?

Being the indulgent grandmother that I am, I finally told him to write down the name of the website. I told him we would look at it and if I needed to buy anything, I would not finish the transaction. Notice how naÔve I was.

We went on to the website and it asked for my name, my email address and my telephone number. I thought I could write these in to continue and they would be erased if I did not accept the deal ñ whatever it turned out to be. We finally reached a screen stating that when I pressed ìAcceptî I was agreeing to have an insurance agent call me. I turned to Karl and said, ìThereís the catch. I wonít accept.î Karl was quite gracious and accepting of my decision.

I thought that was the end of it. It was not. The next morning, I had six email advertisements appear. And my telephone started ringing with all kinds of solicitations. When I protested that I was on the Do Not Call List, they told me that I had been approved for calls now.

After two days of excessive emails and constant telephone calls, I googled ìTelephone No Call Listî and the registry showed up. I entered my telephone numbers and email address. They sent me an electronic message asking for a confirmation. I confirmed. Peace at last.

Valuable lesson learned. Your information goes into they system even if you decline the offer.

Return to Handwriting Analysis

Friday, July 16th, 2010

by Phyllis Kennemer

When my friend Lynda contacted me about giving some lectures on handwriting for some groups in libraries, my first impulse was to say ìNo.î My years as an active handwriting analyst were far behind me and I had tossed all of my materials when I moved from my house to my apartment about three years ago.

Then I talked to Lynda on the telephone and she quoted a generous honorarium, plus mileage, for the lectures. I reconsidered. How hard could it be to reconstruct something I had worked with so intimately for more than ten years. Of course those ten years were from about 1968 to 1981!

First, I needed to get some materials to review. I went online and discovered a website for the International Graphoanalysis Society. Since I had signed up as a lifetime member in 1969, I thought I would be able to acquire what I needed relatively easily. Not so fast! The new owner would not communicate with me via his website and hung up on me when I telephoned him. I found a used set of materials on and told Lynda I would do the lectures.

I prepared my talk on the letter ìtî. This letter represents the writerís goals and accomplishments and the letter is made in a variety of ways. I begin each session with writing a paragraph containing lots of ìtísî on the board and ask participants to copy it in a style of writing that is comfortable for them. Then they can analyze their own writing as we continue.

My first lecture was for a teenage audience. This was a new and interesting experience. The teenagers wrote the paragraph on their papers and promptly turned the papers over so no wandering eyes would discover anything about them. They sat almost expressionless throughout the session and I was afraid I was boring them, but when I finished each one had personal questions for me. They had taken it all in!

The next two lectures were given for adult audiences. They were attentive and interactive ñ asking many questions as we went along. A common question began with ìDoes this mean anything?î The answer is always ìYesî. Every stroke placed on a surface means something.

When I reflected on my return to handwriting analysis, I was glad I had reacquainted myself with something of significance in my life. And I was glad that I had once again come to the realization that, ìYes. Everything we do, write, or say does have meaning.î

Old Friends

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

This week I visited with some old friends ñ and I do mean ìoldî. On Tuesday, I had lunch with three couples and another widow, the surviving members of our long standing ìSorority Group.î As you might have surmised, we five women were in college together and were members of the same sorority. We attended what was then Colorado State College in Greeley. Upon graduation we had become teachers in high school business, high school home economics, junior high math & social studies, elementary special education, and elementary school/library media. After graduating we went our own ways, but after about five years, we all ended up teaching in the Denver area. We would sometimes meet for lunch and once as we were chatting, one of the gals suggested we include our husbands in the next get-together.

I was a newlywed and we didnít have much furniture yet, but I offered to host the first dinner. I made lasagna and we ate it on a tin camp table sitting on folding chairs. We women had worried that our husbands were too different (automobile mechanic, gourmet grocer, house painter, school principal, and government executive) to get along. Our fears were unfounded. The guys hit it off right away and made plans to play poker after dinner at our next gathering. We established an every other month schedule, so each couple hosted the dinner once a year (skipping July) and, thus, we continued for close to thirty years.

Once we all retired, our traveling schedules have interfered with meeting quite so frequently. I moved to Loveland in 1996 and my husband died in 1997. We continued our dinner routine for a few more years until another husband died and that widow moved with her daughter to Bennett. Now we meet for lunch in restaurants whenever we can find dates that will work for all of us. During the past fifty years, our lives have been separate, but intertwined. We have watched our children grow up and have attended their weddings. We share pictures of our grandkids. We support each other in times of joy and sorrow. Long-time friendships are among lifeís greatest blessings.

Changing Perspectives

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A current display in the Loveland Museum and Gallery created by Harriete Estel Berman ( presents social commentaries on our ìconsumer societyî. Have you ever considered rebelling against the notion that homes should be encased in beautifully manicured lawns? Berman obviously has. She cites evidence that maintaining grassy expanses around homes was introduced into our culture by Thomas Jefferson based on his observations of the grounds around homes in England, which has a very different climate than that found in most of the U.S.

Berman believes that the obsession with perfect weed-free grass is a travesty against nature, imposed upon homeowners by the lawn industry. She further asserts that only a rich nation can afford the luxury of growing grass around every building. She supports her theory with magazine advertisements dating back to 1941. The lawn industry has a very lucrative business going. Consider the sales of grass seed, sod, harsh chemicals to aid growth and kill weeds, sprinkler systems, lawn mowers, edgers, etc. And, of course, the amount of water necessary to keep that grass green, when many parts of the country are suffering from drought conditions.

So with my awakened awareness of this imposed cultural desire for perfect lawns, I sit down to watch a bit of television. What should appear but a really cute teenage boy with a lawn mower? He is part of the advertising campaign for Trugreen, a lawn company that will spray your grass with a host of chemicals causing it to grow good and tall so Young Cutie can earn lots of ìgreenî by mowing that grass into perfect shape.

Bermanís exhibit features a ìlawnî make of strips of tin. She gathers tin food containers and other tin objects that would usually be thrown away and constructs her art pieces from them.† Her display of 70 teacups made of tin is entitled ìConsuming Conversationî and features sayings pieced together from words taken from the containers.

Another intriguing piece, titled ìObsession with Womenís Appearancesî features a magnifying mirror encircled with common sayings women berate themselves with as they look into a mirror. It is encircled with images from tins of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, cherries, and Coca Cola girls.

This is just a sampling of Bermanís thought provoking pieces. The exhibit continues through April 11th. Consider visiting the museum to expand your perspectives.

Childhood Books

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Reading Cindyís piece sparked a period of reflection for me. Iíve always loved to read and would reach for anything in print, but my resources were limited. We lived in a small town with no library and our elementary school ìlibrariesî consisted of donated books placed on short shelves in the back of classrooms. Even though I read voraciously, I remember few of those books. The only one that sticks in my mind is Little Women. I identified with Meg, but secretly wanted to be more like Jo. I cried both in shock and disbelief when Beth died. Up until that time, I did not know that book characters could die.

My favorite books did not come from libraries, however. They came as gifts. I have fond memories of many birthdays and Christmases spent curled up in an overstuffed chair reading my latest copy of a Nancy Drew book. What joy! Nancy Drew was elegant! She was smart. She was independent. She drove her own car. She had supportive girl friends (I was always intrigued by one of the names, because George should have been a boyís name.). Her boyfriend was a romantic figure who played football at the college he attended nearby. Her lawyer father always responded to her requests. In the process of gathering clues and solving mysteries, she went to delightful tea rooms and had luscious picnic lunches prepared by a trusty housekeeper.

I have since read thousands of childrenís books, including most of the award winners over many years, and I have seen criticsí criticisms of Nancy and her series. They say the plots were based on worn-out formulas; that Nancy was too independent, too adventurous, too upper-class. I say ìHogwash!î at least about the original books published before 1959. These were the books I read and loved. I am grateful to have had Nancy Drew in my life. She was a familiar and dependable friend during my preteen and early teen years.

The Day Without a Computer

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

A Day Without My Computer

Following my usual mode of operation, I made some notes and did some organizing for my almost due article the night before my writersí meeting. I intended to write the rough draft the next morning. This time my procrastination caught up with me. When I sat down at the computer in the morning, the monitor screen was blank, black, not a glimmer of light. I did the only trouble-shooting I know how to do. I turned the computer off and then on again. The screen remained black. I called Jeff, my computer guru, in a panic and listened impatiently to his voice-mail tell me that he was out of town for the week. He did offer an alternate number. When I called this number, Charles gently explained that he was swamped with trying to service both Jeffís clients and his own and, yes, everyone was working toward a deadline. He would fit me in as soon as he could. Turned out that did not happen on the same day.

What to do with no computer? I came to realize how much I depend on having my computer available when I went a full day without one. My first thought was to do a bit more research for the article. Whoops, no access to web sites. I may have some papers to grade for my online course. Wonít work! Canít get to the internet. Wonder what Laura Lee has posted on Midlife Crisis Queen and I always get a chuckle out reading Heatherís Samanthaís Mom blog. Whoops! No blogs.

Instead, I will sort magazines and catalogs ñ and feel righteous about getting to a task long postponed. But I can not reward myself with playing a quick computer game (or two). Oh well, I will mix up that new casserole I tried last week. No luck. The recipe is in my computer files.

In the meantime, I am worrying that my computer has a virus, that all is lost. I do have a back-up system, but what a hassle. Or a worse worry, what if a hacker has gotten in and stolen important information?

Charles came the next morning. He checked everything out. My monitor had died. Thatís it. Nothing was lost. Nothing stolen. He gave me the specifications for buying a new monitor. I bought one and my granddaughter hooked it up for me. My life can return to normal. Thank goodness!