Dec 30, 2009

What are you waiting for?

As the new year approaches many people make resolutions. They are going to make improvements to themselves; correct faults – real or perceived; to be better in some way or another. Sounds like a lot of work and not a lot of fun. You put on five pounds last July, and you are waiting till now to do something about it? On that list of resolutions you are making, how many items concern problems that have been on-going but you just somehow put off facing them. And you really think NOW you’re going to get it done? If you didn’t do it six months ago, what makes you think you’re going to do it next week? Hope springs eternal.

What else are you procrastinating about? Is having fun on that list? Is pleasure on that list? Reading all these blog posts about resolutions I was delighted to read an article in the NY Times (link below) about how we put off pleasure – save it for later so to speak and all too often later never comes.

Did you get gift cards for Christmas? Have you spent them yet? Have you been able to say to the gift-giver “I used that card you gave me and got some cd’s I was wanting, Thanks” No? You’re saving the card for later, right? Waiting for a really good sale? Till then I guess you’ll just put it in the drawer and, oops, forget about it? Pleasure deferred for the gift-giver, pleasure deferred for you.

The article talks about people who save their frequent flyer miles for that amazing trip to Europe and before they can put it together the miles expired – pleasure deferred and lost.

And what about all those things tucked away in the closet for “special occasions”, what about them? The spiffy earrings, that oh so lux sweater, the drop dead shoes – are they making the closet happy? Why can’t wearing them, because they make you happy, be special occasion enough?

Carpe Diem, indeed. I’m not talking about big things, I’m talking about the small pleasures we deny ourselves every day – sometimes the big picture is too big for the modest size of our dreams and our real lives. It’s not just that gift card that comes with an expiration date, so does today.

I’m not suggesting you cash in what’s left of the 401K and buy a Porsche. I am saying that any day can be a special occasion. That pleasure comes in small packages, in small ways and I’m betting you have more than a few little packets of pleasure tucked away in your “some day” file or in your closet.

If you can’t bring yourself to seize the day, then at least seize the moment.

Dec 8, 2009

Dreams deferred and then outgrown OR Can you like only jelly donuts?

I think it has been a cruel twist of Fate that one of the things I am passionate about; one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure, has been, for the most part, taken away from me. I love to dance. I love to move. I love to just walk and walk. Because of a degenerative spine condition these things are not exactly on my top ten “can do” list. Yes, I can still walk, but painfully, not quickly and not for long. Can I still dance? Oh, yes but I will pay mightily for those moments of joy.

This morning as I was reading the Arts & entertainment section of the NYT, I was aware that I always skip over the dance reviews. Reading about dance reminds me of the saying “ Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” . Some things cannot be described but only experienced.

That said, when I was a very little girl I saw The Nutcracker ballet on television – whether it was just a small portion or the whole thing, I don’t recall, but it made enough of an impression on me that I remembered it far into adulthood. One of the ballet companies in NYC does the Nutcracker every year. Every year I attempted to get tickets and failed. It seems they were sold out before they were even advertised. This year the Pennsylvania Ballet is doing Balanchine’s Nutcracker. It has gotten rave reviews so I went on-line to see about tickets. Everything was available! $65.00 for very good seats available the first weekend it opened which coincidentally is the weekend my husband will be going to Boston for his family Christmas party. Perfect, I thought. He wouldn’t want to go so I could happily go and enjoy it. I chose my seat and was about to enter my payment information when I realized I am not fond of ballet. After 10 minutes, max, I am bored to tears. I canceled the buying process and realized that a lifetime dream, within easy reach, was not something I really wanted.

I love movement and music and dance, I am passionate about it BUT not all of it. I can easily sit through an entire Michael Flatley show but not the newly configured Riverdance. It gets monotonous. Tap dancing will hold my attention forever. Professional ballroom dancing, as long as they mix up the genres, I’m good for an hour or so there too. The dance reality shows, no patience for that stuff at all. "To live is to dance, to dance is to live" might be my motto but it doesn't include ballet. Does that make me less of a passionista? I don't think so. I can't imagine liking ALL of anything.

Life long dreams? Are they really? Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. If one of these so-called life long dreams is achievable after decades of wishing and hoping, look carefully. Think long and hard. A dream at 20 is a nightmare at 60. Or a ho-hum. Or a “what was I thinking” .

There are places in the past I like to visit. There are places in the future I like to inhabit in my imagination but when all is said and done NOW is what I have at hand. This day, this hour, this moment. And NOW is where I experience all there is – because now IS all there is.

Dec 3, 2009

I'm trying...

to come up with warm, fuzzy or even amusing things to talk about since most of you are in a holly, jolly state of mind. At least those of you who aren't hassled and frazzled by trying to be all holly jolly.

Since I have no warm and fuzzy holiday memories I don't really participate in these annual events for which I have no sympathy, empathy or at this point in my life, understanding.

I'm all for a little fun but please don't put a gun to my head and tell me I have to be all happy-happy. I don't mean to rain on your parade but please stop trying to make me march in it.

Same goes for for New Years - my New Year is the day after the Labor Day holiday. That's when school would start up and that's my annual beginning.

I'm not a scrooge, I'm not a party pooper, I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I will admire all your decorative efforts - to a point - I'll even sing a song or two 'cause let's face it the music rocks - but I will not have a calendar dictate my generosity, my concern for others or my desire to have a little silly fun.

Nov 10, 2009

Daddy vs. Mommy

A good Daddy influences his children by both example and teaching. A girl learns how a woman should be treated and a boy learns how to treat women. (and a bad Daddy has a negative impact in this area but that’s not what I talking about today.)

A “Daddy’s Girl , confident in her father’s love, becomes a confident, self-respecting woman. I’m not too sure that a “Momma’s Boy” takes away anything positive from that relationship at all.

I do know that girls will often seek romantic partners who remind them of their Father. Now if a girl had a “Good Daddy” then she will seek a man who respects her intelligence, is supportive and considers her an equal partner. If she had a bad daddy, then she will think that’s the way a woman should be treated or she will seek someone like him and try to gain the love and approval she didn’t get from her father.

Obviously Daddies have a huge impact on their sons as well - he is the role model his son will emulate, or rebel against.

I see more lasting damage done by bad mother’s than bad father’s. I loved my father and was a “Daddy’s girl” but in retrospect he wasn’t the greatest parent either. With one exception, all the men I have been seriously involved with were just like my father. And like my father they all respected my intelligence and competence; they also were emotionally distant. I joke with my husband that when he dies my father and Nick, will be waiting for him, card table ready, chess board set up; the three of them would have been bosom buddies had they all lived at the same time.

I have known people who got past bad fathers but I have never met anyone who has satisfactorily resolved their issues with bad mothers. I have known people who were crippled by their love for their mother but haven't come across it as much with fathers.

I totally disagree with parent worship - just because people reproduce doesn’t make them “Mothers” or “Fathers” and the cult of the mother makes me livid. Nothing can send me into a insane rant quicker than someone saying “But she’s your Mother”. BFD .

So does “good Daddy/bad Mommy” equal a fairly well adjusted person; does “bad Daddy/good Mommy” equal a fairly well adjusted person? If you can’t have two equally “good” parents, which parent should be the “good” one?

Oct 28, 2009

Do you surprise yourself?

So here I am wandering around Old Town, even took the bus. Everything is familiar, routine, after all I've only been gone a little more than a year. Somewhere along the line I've acquired the ability to quickly acclimate to a new place and retain that sense of "this is my place" when I return.

I haven't always been like this. For all too many years I resisted change; change paralyzed me. For the past 20 years change has been the dominant theme of my life. It's not that change doesn't bother me anymore but rather that it has become a way of life. I actually plan big changes now - next Spring I want to be living somewhere else, where I'm not sure yet and there is the possibility that it will only be the next stop on to yet another place. It doesn't scare me or stress me.

What surprises me about me is that I learned to adapt to new places. They quickly became "my places" regardless of whether I liked them or not. Because I walk or take public transit I learn where all the "native" haunts are. Because I tend to talk to everyone and anyone I establish a superficial social presence. I become comfortable quickly. When I realize I have made these accommodations I am always surprised. The person who does this is not the person I think I am. I'm not sure I really know who she is.

When I return to visit places I have lived I fall back into whatever routine or persona I had there. If I stay for a few days I forget I am just visiting and I take on the routine of a resident.

I am sure that most people act and react this same way. I have met and admired these people but I don't ever think of myself as being one of them. My actions and reactions surprise me. It's a pleasant surprise but a surprise nonetheless.

Oct 22, 2009

I Like Churches

Not the religion part but the warm feeling part. And not the big fancy churches with the stained glass windows and candles and decorations. The small plain churches where when you walk in you can feel the warmth, the love, the people. Have you ever been in a church like that?

I remember the church I grew up in, it was like that. Plain as plain can be. But warm and welcoming, a safe place, a cozy place. I remember the first time I went there and the Sunday school leader put her arm around me and said "I don't think we have anyone else in this church named Grace".

I remember refusing to be an angel in the Christmas play. I told the Sunday school lady "I've never seen an angel with black hair". She later told my mother that she and looked and looked and could not find one picture of an angel with dark hair.

All through my teens I would spend quiet time in the sanctuary. It was a place to retreat to; to feel safe in. Churches were always open in those days, you could go in and sit whenever you had the need. Not so nowadays.

A few years ago I worked as a church secretary. Nice place, nice people. It reminded me of the church I grew up in with one stark exception. Behind the altar was a huge stained glass picture of Jesus of Nazareth. Sadly, it was very poorly done but the congregation was very proud of it. So whenever I sat in the church, just sat, you know, to feel cozy, I would face away from the altar. It isn't a rich church, not in money, but the congregation is what we are told Christians are supposed to be. It's their faith and love and compassion that make that building a church, not some, you should pardon the expression, godawful stained glass window.

If you go into a church and you don't feel that vibe of warmth and love and safety then it's just another building, nothing special about it at all.

I like churches. That little sentence flits through my brain a lot lately, just at odd moments, I hear it in my head, "I like churches".

Oct 20, 2009

Sleep

All of a sudden I seem to be doing more of it, and at night even; going to bed at a reasonable hour (midnight), tossing and turning for a short while and then blissful sleep - 8 to 10 hours of it. Amazing. Unheard of. Unnatural, for me.

For as long as I can remember I could always sleep easily and well during the day but come night time, any time after 7 pm, sleep and I were not compatible. I was told that even as an infant I did not sleep at night. I know the reason why and I guess that just became a part of my rhythms. I always say I'm not a morning person but really, if you have had only had 3 or 4 restless hours of sleep how chipper and alert are you going to be?

I do prefer the night time, when all is quiet and darkness is a comfy cozy blanket; yet there is still an element of fear. But daylight is a safe time, it's light and bright and there is no where to hide. Night time has shadows, and every whisper of a sound becomes a shout.

I don't know why I am sleeping more and better. All of the fears that keep me up at night are still front and center. I hardly have a thought, night or day, that is not associated with the fear of something. Mostly, I'm afraid of the house. I don't trust this house or anything in it. The house scares the hell out of me and I don't feel safe here. Not in this house, this neighborhood, this city.

And yet, I am sleeping well and for that I am grateful. Old subconscious fears and new more concrete fears, aren't keeping me awake so much. Maybe I am so tired after so many years of restless sleep it's all just catching up to me, or maybe, this thought just came to me, I am sleeping because

Sep 29, 2009

Things I say...

If you live any amount of time in a place you pick up the local lingo. I've lived a lot of different places but certainly never lost my native lingo and have often found myself trying to explain what I'm tawkin' about.

Our local mini-mart is owned by Hindu people, country unknown, and when I bought my lottery ticket the other day the gentleman said "Don't forget us when you win". I said "From your lips to God's ears". He looked at me funny.

Having worked in an American Embassy, and being married to a government employee, I learned to speak acronym and military. My favorite is "wheels up" which means that a plane has taken off. I could tell you a funny story about that but you never know who is listening. When people would ask what my husband did for a living I'd start rattling off what I call "alphabet speak". Now I just avoid explanations and say he works for the government. It's easier.

Here's an interesting (to me anyway) language usage whose origin I am unsure of, tho I tend to think it's Italian. The set up: an adult talking to a child, the child is distressed in some way. Adult says: "What's the matter mommy, come here" See, we have the adult female appearing to be calling the child "mommy". What is that about? I even say that to the cats. I've only heard other Italian-Americans use this but I could easily see Hispanics using this phrasing as well.

Then there is "don't start with me" which is always answered by the other person with "you know how I get", like a call and response. This phrase goes back decades with me, a friend even had a t-shirt made for me with that on phrase on it. My husband was initially puzzled by it but he quickly learned the routine. This has got to be a common saying, I'm sure I'm not the only one using it (incessantly).

Because I am a NY'er my speech is heavily laden with Yiddishisms and they don't actually travel well, What I find truly funny is when they fall trippingly off the tongue of my Boston-Irish husband. No wonder my husband's family is unfond of me; I have turned him not only into an IBM (Italian By Marriage) but a New Yorker as well. Ah, the shame of it all.

I had a list of things I say floating around in my head and now I can't seem to retrieve them, the most fun thing I wanted to share is the way I pronounce the word "floor", but I can't figure a way to describe it. When I am very angry or very tired my NY accent is so thick you could cut it with a buzz saw. Then again, there are times when I slip into a Southern accent for no apparent reason. Which is off-set by a slight British accent every once in a while.

Sometimes I think I am not only a little manic-depressive but have a slight case of MPD.
OR
Everybody does this kind of stuff and I'm just as normal as apple pie.
Right?
Thank you, I thought so.

Sep 23, 2009

A streak of madness

I've been writing since I could hold a pen and form words but in my mid-30's I went into therapy; it was needed and necessary, and I stopped writing. Perhaps I got sane enough that I didn't need to write, or I learned to share my thoughts and feelings face to face. Once I thought in poetry and was constantly scribbling, it was a NEED, I needed to write. Three years of therapy and the need was gone. I missed writing. I felt I had given up my creativity for a modicum of sanity. Ah, but there was an upside.

I have always been a person of words, not pictures. I was never a visual person; I still skip all the descriptive bits in stories other than what the people look like. But having lost the need to write; to immerse and surround myself with words I became a more visual person. I could close my eyes and watch the stories I used to write. It was then that my "psychic" ability started to manifest itself. I traded one type of creativity for another but my need to write is greatly missed. And I'm not so sure the trade was a good one.

I have spent some time re-reading my "stuff", all written between the ages of 10 and 35, and some of it is damn good, I mean damn good. Even the prose, the diary entries - some interesting thoughts, well written. I coulda been a contender!

If I had known that therapy would take away my need to write, and consequently my "talent", would I still have gone through it? My first reaction is to say "Yes". As messed up and neurotic as I am now I was way worse before (I know, I know, you are all reading this and saying to yourselves "Good grief, the woman must have been certifiable back then"). My second, more considered reaction is also "Yes". I had a knack for words, nothing more. And joking aside, I am way more sane now. The words are now pictures; now I hear and see. But still I miss the poetry.

Sep 22, 2009

I've always been a tad strange

Y'all think I'm a little strange, right? Sometimes I have a slightly skewed take on things. Welll, I've kinda always been this way. As evidence, here is a story I wrote in 7th grade (approximately 1958/1959) which was published in our school "literary" magazine. Every time I read it I have to laugh. First because it is so badly written and second because I still think a kid who thinks like that is just a teeny tiny bit weird. (I can read it easily on my computer, I hope it comes through well on yours)

Sep 14, 2009

Who do you believe?

As children we trust the adults around us and we see ourselves through their eyes. “Good boy; good girl” “Aren’t you pretty” You’re such as smart little guy” We overhear people say “oh, maybe he’ll grow out of it” “Wait till she’s older, maybe with braces” We are told “Why can’t you do anything right? ” “Why can’t you be like your brother” Some of us hear only negative things, some of us only positive. We believe what we hear. But often, even as a child, we hear this voice in our head that contradicts what we are told. Who to believe?

We go to school and all of a sudden the kid who is so stupid at home is a star at school. The teachers gush, gold stars all around but then the kid goes home and hears “You’re useless”. Who to believe?

We get older and we begin to see that what we can accomplish and what we were told we could are very different things. Sometimes that kid who has been told he’s the greatest thing on the planet discovers he’s not the smartest kid in the room, maybe not even close.

And still that voice – “How stupid can I be if I get such good marks at school” “If I’m so terrific how come I always come in next to last?” Our little voice has a better grasp on the reality of who we are than the people around us. But who to believe?

Tell the lie often enough and it becomes the truth but wait. It can be a lie of love, which builds false expectations. It can be a lie of hate that crushes.

Some people never learn to listen to the little voice. They believe what they are told by the people around them. It’s sets some up for a fall and leads others to never rise.

We can only see ourselves truly from the inside. No matter who someone tell us we are, unless we believe it from the inside, then it is not so. Unfortunately there are folks who believe what they are told, and never listen to the voice in their head and never see themselves from the inside out.

Who do you believe?

Sep 12, 2009

Found in my files

I thought of that old saw "opportunity knocks, temptation kicks the door down" which is similar to the concept that the bad things in life are flung at your head like rocks from a catapult, the bad things in life are heat seeking missiles - you can run but you cannot hide but the good things in life you have to earn - no one hands those to you on a silver platter yet the shit in life comes served up on a cheap paper plate that soaks thru and lands on your foot and you drag the smell around with you for rest of your life...

(I have no idea what prompted me to write that on December 3, 2004. It appears to have been part of an email I sent someone.)

Aug 29, 2009

Collectors

It appears that many people, nay most people collect something. I’m not sure why. I was “eavesdropping” on a conversation on a message board; these charming ladies were talking about buttons. One lady had her Grandmother’s button box, or button tin – whatever. Now I can understand, perhaps, why her beloved Nana’s button tin would have some meaning. Another lady chimed in that you had just scored a button tin at a yard sale and was looking forward to sorting thru the buttons. It’s not that she is going to make something out of the buttons, I guess it is just the idea of the buttons – I don’t know.

It’s not the buttons per se that has me scratching my head but the idea of amassing a bunch of stuff in a particular category. Some of the categories are odd and some are profitable – I can understand profitable. I just can’t imagine having an attachment to stuff, often old stuff that belonged to some unknown person. Even if it belonged to a known person, family or famous, it’s somebody else’s stuff. And it’s old.

I get keeping things that have a very personal meaning, like Nana’s button box. I have letters my brother wrote me. I take them out occasionally and read them – my brother is a funny, funny guy. I keep dragging boxes of books around with me – why? I just can’t stand the thought of throwing out a book. Some of these books are 40 year old paperbacks – they are worthless and I’m not gonna re-read them. A few weeks ago I decided to re-read all the J.D. Salinger books. Mine were paperbacks. When I opened one the pages literally disintegrated in my hands. (P.S. and by the way – Holden Caulfield is a bore). I have shelves of similar books. I’m not a book collector.

I do like photos – old photos of people, preferably in black and white. I’ve never bought any, never will, but I do like to look at them. I could get a book of them LOL

I’ve never liked “all” of anything. Some folks do -whether it’s a particular musical genre or a particular singer or artist or – you get the idea . I don’t understand that either. No one’s creative out-put is 100% wonderful. And I’ve never gone ga-ga over anything or anyone. I’m not the ga-ga type. I can like something a lot but I’ve learned that my enthusiasm has a limited shelf life. It appears there is always something new to be enthusiastic about. Maybe that’s why I don’t collect things – limited attention span.

I am passionate about ideas.

Aug 28, 2009

You are where you're supposed to be....

Have you noticed how often this sentence is used lately. I think it’s supposed to be comforting in some way; that God or Fate or Karma has brought you to this place not your own actions – good or bad. That you are in a place where you are fulfilling your destiny – good or bad.

If where I am now is where I’m supposed to be then someone please tell me who the hell I pissed off. Oh, am I supposed to be learning some life lesson? Yeah, I have learned a life lesson, yet again I have learned that NO is a really useful word. I should use it much more often. Okay, hind sight is 20/20 – what do I do now?

I am where I am because of my own actions and some new-agey guru is going to tell me that’s because I still have lessons to learn in life – yeah, well if I have to learn any more life lessons can I just get the text book and skip the field trip?

There are a lot of people who are in dire straits – you think it’s comforting to them to hear “You are where you are supposed to be”? I think probably not.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting the meaning of this sentence. But I don’t find it comforting in any way. I am personally responsible for my situation, MY bad decision. What of people who were adversely affected by the financial debacle? What life lesson are they learning – don’t put your money in a bank? Good one, hugely helpful. Don’t invest your money with a well regarded brokerage company? Another good lesson. All of these people are experiencing the effects of their karma? I don’t think so.

You can invent as many explanations of this concept as you, and they are all self-serving. I think it needs to be retired from the rhetoric of the righteous. It’s been used so often it no longer has any meaning, if indeed it ever did.

I am not supposed to be anywhere in particular. I am where my choices took me. I know the reasons for the choices I have made - I know where my stupidity comes from. Please don’t tell me my choices were directed by fate or karma or destiny or whatever ooga-booga you’re selling – I’m not buying it.

“You are where you are supposed to be” puts me in mind of that “soul mate” tripe, and tripe makes me barf.

Aug 22, 2009

The recession is not receding and it's all your fault.

The only thing standing in the way of the recession receding is the consumer. People are just not consuming enough. Did you know consumer spending drives two-thirds of the nation's economy?

In other stories the labor market is still weak but many areas are reporting fewer jobs lost. Really? How many jobs are left to lose? How many people can be laid off before everything comes to a grinding halt. Of course there is a decrease in newly unemployed, there's no one left to fire. Jeeze!

Now if only all those unemployed people will just go out and spend money they don't have on stuff they don't need, keeping in mind they can't afford the things they DO need like food and shelter, well hell, this whole economic mess would just turn itself right around.

Seems like a catch-22 doesn't it? The economy will recover if people will just spend more but they can't because they don't have jobs or money because...you see where that's going right?

I read the business section first and wind up spitting up my coffee as I laugh - derisively. Once I've moved on to the comics I can safely eat breakfast knowing that choking on my outrage is no longer a danger.

Don't you love how all of these banker and brokers are still getting their multi-million dollar bonuses? Oh wait, it was in the contract that was signed before the government said they couldn't. Yeah, right. And those retention bonuses? I loved that whole concept, didn't you? Why are we (yes, WE) paying to retain people who couldn't do their jobs right the first time around? Retain them - where the hell are they going to go? Offer them a cut in pay, tell them if they don't like it, they can go elsewhere. Oh, wait there is no elsewhere.

Which turnip truck do these people think we all fell off of?

Aug 21, 2009

I need to feel more anxious

Mellow is not my mood of choice. I like feeling more energetic; more revved up about something - anything. I'm having a problem getting pissed off for more than a fleeting moment. Ask me about my husband's experiences with doctors lately - oh, never mind, doctors are assholes, let's move on. See what I mean, the whole doctor thing is usually good for a nice get-the-blood-flowing vent.

I think I have been out of the house once in the last 2 weeks - it has been hot and humid and the furthest I have ventured is 3 blocks. The a/c has been running non-stop and I have the mother of all headaches. I should be a lot more stir crazy, maybe I've gone past it. I am becoming a hermit and not feeling too bad about it. Mind you, I am not depressed, just inert or just mellow or just "oh, okay - that's life" Pah!

I'd rather be anxious and edgy. I'd rather be ranting and raving about something. I'd rather be pissed off - mellow does not become me.

Aug 18, 2009

My brain's a little twisted

Last night we were watching tv and a commercial came on, and even tho we had it on mute I knew what the guy was saying and I commented, mostly to myself -

"Someone should shoot him with a gun"
"Or they could shoot him with a bow and arrow or shoot him with a blow gun but they couldn't shoot him with an axe, that would be something else"


I turned to my husband and said "I think my brain is a little twisted"

He replied "A little??"

I keep up a running commentary, sotto voce, on everything going on around me and occasionally when I listen to myself I either crack myself up or doubt my sanity.

Aug 16, 2009

I Don't Do Mornings

I am not what you would call a "morning person". I get up and stumble downstairs, literally, plunk myself down at the table, grab a piece of the newspaper and magically a cup of coffee appears before me. I say "Thanks, you're a prince" and then that is it. No more conversation. I don't talk and I don't want to hear anyone else talk either.

On rare occasions my husband forgets and initiates a conversation, when I snap my head up with a startled expression he says "Oops, I forgot". Nice man, my husband.

Yesterday while we were out and about he bought me a little present, said it was perfect for me, it's a magnet, looks like this...



Got that right!

Aug 7, 2009

Am I old? Hell, yes.

Another tiny rant about folks who natter on about the "good old days" - I HATE that. First, reminiscing should only be done with people who experienced the same thing you did; the people who were actually there with you. I truly do not care what your life, as a 9 year old in 1955 was like, mine was different - I don't relate, really I don't.

I'm not crazy about the good old days because they weren't. Economics aside, NOW is just terrific by me. These folks complain about kids today, well the kids today are being raised by the previous generation who were raised by - Oh! the people who are complaining. Why do they not see their part in the state of the world today? Step up and take the responsibility.

Then of course there is always the "I'm not old" bit. New Flash - Yes, you are! And given that, what is the deal with "I'm the same person I always was, just older" God, I hope not. Not only would I NOT like to be 25 again, I sure as hell don't want to be the person I WAS at age 25. Looking back, I wonder that anyone, anywhere, would have anything to do with me whan I was 25. Arrogant, yet insecure, asshole that I was. Ewww.

I'm not sure that 62, soon to be 63, is considered "old". It certainly is close. Nowadays, with the advances in medicine and healthier life styles, I'm thinking 75 is the new old. I am older and I sure as hell am better. Maybe not physically but mentally and emotionally - way better. Super duper better. I'm proud of being older and wiser. I earned it and I wear it and I own it.

Yesterday is so over. Time and time again I have said "the past is a nice place to visit but I don't want to live there". Not only that I don't want to visit YOUR past, I wasn't there, it don't mean dip to me. And to be honest, by all your accounts, it wasn't all that interesting either.

Here's to today. And more importantly, tomorrow. Lordy, lord but I am all about tomorrow. That's where the fun is. I'm half way through today, dealing with it, rolling with it, enjoying it, which ever is appropriate but tomorrow? Oh, hey, I am crazy about tomorrow.

Still so much to learn, still surprises, still hopes and dreams and plans...still a lot of life to write...I am still evolving, not young but not finished, standing on a solid foundation of experience, yesterdays are stepping stones to tomorrow which is still Unwritten...

Aug 4, 2009

I got nuthin'

Somebody is lying - big time. If every religion says that they are the one true religion and their god is the one true god, someone has to be lying. If all these religious books are the word of their particular god then why does the meaning keep changing. Why is the supposedly inviolate word of that particular god subject to change and interpretation of mere, flawed mortals? If god is always talking to people why does he/she/it say different things to different people? If there can be only one truth, then how come every belief system has a different "truth"? Somebody has something wrong somewhere. I don't want to debate this with anyone. You're entitled to believe as you wish, just as I am entitled to believe as I wish but what we aren't entitled to is shoving our beliefs down someone else's throat.

So that's what's been rattling around my head today...

Jul 26, 2009

Happy to be

a bit of a control freak and just a tiny bit OCD.

I was reading a long article in today's New York Times about a young artist, wealthy privileged background who died this past week of a heroin overdose. I don't understand addictions. I don't understand why anyone would want to be out of control. I don't understand why someone would do something that they know will make them feel like total shit after the initial "feel good".

I understand all kinds of psychological/emotional pain. Been there, done that - oh yes I have. You don't know how much or how bad and I'm not revealing it. How easy would it have been to block it out with drugs or alcohol. When you are hanging on by the tips of your fingernails the prospect of anything that would loosen that is oh so scary. Feel better? Forget? Yeah, for a moment but what then, after? No, not for me. Not going to draw attention to myself that way. Or any way. Opposing neuroses?

And then there is me the uber-planner neat freak. Not a move made without a plan. No matter how well or how detailed your plans are there WILL be surprises. I don't deal well with surprises. I don't like surprises.

I don't like disorganized messes. Too time consuming. I'm lazy. I don't want to expend one iota of energy I don't have to. Do messy, disorganized people ever think about how much stress they add to their lives? How much time they waste? Does it bother them?

For all my faults and imperfections, I'm glad I am who I am. Neurotic, manic, depressive, cynical, anti-social, gregarious, compulsive - but in control, neat and tidy, and with a plan.

Jul 11, 2009

Looking in all the wrong places

Sometimes I get annoyed with all the religious/spiritual path claptrap. I used to read a blog about toltec wisdom, a pretty blog but with no real content. I stumbled over it again today after having seen references in other blogs that people were buying books about it (toltec Wisdom, not the blog). Oh puleeze...you want a history of it google it, I did, I wasn't impressed. Especially about toltecs being part of the Aztec mythology; discovered by Carlos Casteneda who never impressed me either or anything New Age-y, drug-induced or consciousness altering. All the airy-fairy bush-wha; candles and crystals and drums (oh, my!) - whatever way someone could devise to separate people from their money. Of course that applies to most organized religions as well - buy yourself some forgiveness, pennies for penance. I don't really want to go there.

I've said it before, I will say it again - If you are looking for answers then look within. Doesn't take any special paraphernalia, training, music, or pimped out guru. You don't need to change your name, or how you eat or who you live. You want to see god? Look in the mirror. You want answers? First figure out what the questions are and then be prepared to find out there are no answers. Realizations but not always hard answers.

I am a person of Faith. I believe because I have no choice but to believe. I tried not believing, didn't work. What do I believe in? I believe in the circle. No capital letters, no name, no anthropomorphic image. Even using the word "circle" bothers me, but human beings seem to have this need to name everything. I can understand that but now it has go to the point where it interferes with communication. The same word will mean different things to different people.

Sometimes I will say I believe in the "Universal Intelligence", or a "Higher Power", tho I'm not so crazy about that one, the word power has a negative connotation for me.

I just get so annoyed with the "follow me" philosophy. Everyone is looking to follow when all they have to do is look - within themselves. It's all there. Always has been, always will be. Why is that so hard to understand?

Jul 10, 2009

Do you read the obituaries?

I am a dedicated obituary reader. One of my favorite parts of the newspaper. The Times of course has really great obituaries, whether it's one of the featured ones or the ones submitted by families and friends.

You get to meet the most interesting people. All too often I think to myself "Why have I never heard of this person before?" Scientists, writers, adventurers and sometimes just ordinary folk who did one amazing thing in their life and then faded quietly away.

But even the obituaries submitted by the families can be so charming. Of course everyone is "beloved". I guess if you're not, beloved I mean, then no one is gonna pay big bucks to mark your passing. But wouldn't that be fun? A negative obituary. Just once I would like to see that.

Also on the perverse side, my brother and I have guiltily admitted to each other that we periodically check the obituaries to see if our mother has died yet. I'm sure our elder male sibling will leave a message on one of our answering machines, probably my brothers because elder male sibling doesn't have my phone number (lord, I hope he doesn't). Years ago my brother and I had said we would attend her funeral just to make sure she was really dead but I'm passed that now. It seems kinda mean. I didn't care to see her when she was alive, sure don't want to see her when she's dead. And besides there might be people who would be offended if we showed up and I am long passed wanting to offend any of that group.

Still, I do find obituaries interesting reading, and you?

Jul 7, 2009

Don't make me get up...

My husband and I were talking about the responsiveness of our three cats. Zeke is quite obedient. Call him, he comes. Tell him to do something, he does it. BB, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge that he even knows his name. Frankie hears, listens and ignores until I say “Frankie, don’t make me get up” and as I start to rise from my chair ba-da-boom she does as she was told. Which reminded me about a story I used to tell that probably is not true. Goes like this.
If my mother started to yell at us in English we pretty much ignored her. When she started to yell in Italian, we would get a little worried. When she started to yell at us in Yiddish, we made tracks, out of the house as fast and far as we could run.
I’ve been telling that story for so long I almost believe it. My mother did speak English, Italian and Yiddish. She did yell – a lot. And lord knows we stayed out of her way but I’m not so sure the language she used had anything to do with how much danger we might be in.

Maybe I was just trying to make something funny out of something scary.

Jun 20, 2009

I have always

lived inside my head. I still do. There I live in a parallel universe. And while that universe is not all sweetness and light (I can't even invent a perfect world) it is the one place where I feel safe.

Jun 9, 2009

A conversation

My husband and I were having lunch yesterday and I mentioned that I was planning on sending a Father’s Day gift to his son-in-law just as I had sent a Mother's Day gift to his daughter. The following conversation ensued:

“That’s thoughtful of you, when is Father’s Day, I can never remember”

“The third Sunday in June, I can never remember when Mother’s Day is, myself”

“Sometime in May?”

“Yeah, second Sunday in May. Of course given my history, it’s no wonder I remember Father’s Day and completely forget Mother’s Day” (We both laugh)

“I mean, there is no holiday for abusive, psychotic parents, is there? And what would you send for a gift? A dozens dead roses; a bottle of snake venom; a gift certificate for Dr. Kevorkian?” (Cackling laughter)

“You crack yourself up, don’t you?” said my husband, laughing.

“Yeah, I do. Gift certificate for Dr. Kevorkian – that’s funny”

Jun 3, 2009

Feeling bad about feeling bad

People like me, with my life, are not supposed to feel bad. Not supposed to be depressed or sad. On the surface we've got the good life. My husband is gainfully employed with a decent salary. We have money in the bank. Our house is the nicest on the block and retaining it's value. Our monthly expenses are way below our income. We are both relatively healthy. But feeling good is not always about the material, or at least not the material one can see.

Yeah, I know, I know - the man without shoes and the man without feet. And people without jobs or homes or food - yadda, yadda, yadda. The world is a horrible depressing place and my little itty-bitty world is just all sunshine and flowers and yet...

Telling myself, admonishing myself, yelling at myself that I should be oh so grateful - not working. I don't want sympathy, empathy or in-put of any kind. I do not want anyone telling me to buck up, suck it up, telling me it's not all about me (and how is MY life NOT about me? I don't understand that one.)

I just don't want to feel bad about feeling bad.

May 22, 2009

Everyone is "down the shore"

Friday, start of the Memorial Day week-end and it is deadly quiet here in South Philly - maybe even all over the city.

Folks in Philly go "down the shore" in the summer. Not to the beach but down the shore. It's a south Jersey thing. I googled the phrase and indeed it is described as a South Jersey locution. And, as we are quickly learning, Philadelphia is just a suburb of South Jersey.

I'm from New York City and when I say the City I mean the whole damn place, all 5 five boroughs, even Staten Island, which is only nominally in NYC. There is a tradition in NYC that people who live in Brooklyn and Queens refer to Manhattan as "the city". I don't know what folks in the Bronx call Manhattan, maybe they to refer to Manhattan that way as well.

I suppose I did too when I was a teenager in Queens but as a young adult, we are talking the mid-1960's, I socialized in Manhattan and most of the people I knew were from out of town, come to the "city" to seek fame and fortune. They were totally unaware that NYC was actually 5 boroughs. I was at a party on the upper East side and I was asked where I lived. I said "Jamaica" - which is a neighborhood in Queens. They replied "Wow, that is some commute" and they were serious. I spent a lot of time explaining to these folks the geographical make-up of New York City. I learned to refer to each borough by it's name, less confusing. On the other hand old time NY'ers will ask me if I am a native NY'er simply because I do do that. Their experience is Manhattan is the "city" and if you call it Manhattan then you can't be a native NY'er. I call those folks assholes.

So where was I? I think I had a point when I started this but now I'm not so sure. We kinda make fun of "down the shore", my husband and I. We find it amusing. When we say it you can hear the italics. Where I'm from we call it the beach - Jones Beach, Orchard Beach , Rockaway Beach - you know, the Atlantic Ocean and sand. My husband is from Boston and I don't think they have beaches - they have ocean and rocks but not much in the way of sand. In Vermont, when they say they are going to the beach they mean a lake - again, not much in the way of sand, I can tell ya.

The beach has an ocean and sand. Anything else is not a beach. Technically speaking it is a shore, but I'd rather go to the beach.

May 21, 2009

My husband wrote this for me

The Little Girl

I met the little girl one night
When all my thoughts were of myself:
A flash of lightning memory, watered with our tears,
And in her thunderous quiet voice she pleads,
“Will you protect me, please?”

Deep in me a small boy stirs;
Ears alert to listen, and he knows.

She cries, “I don’t know what she wants!
I’m good. I’m quiet. I just wait
To hear my father coming home,
And hope with all my love for him
That he will save me from the dark.”

The small boy weeps with mirrored pain –
Hers, the mother; his, the dad.

Quiet now, she stops and stares,
And, in a tone of broken heart,
She sobs, “ But he just will not see!
And all the love I feel for him
Is not enough to clear his sight.”

The small boy asks, his spirit dark,
“What good a family bound by pain?”

She tells of how she sleeps at night
With ears alert for any sound,
And, wakening, she sits alone,
And waits the night for mother’s face.
She knows no one will stop the fright.

The small boy nods, for though he sleeps,
He cowers at wet morning’s light.

She screams and tells one final tale,
Of bindings for no reason known.
“What did I do”, she begs to hear,
“That they should take my arms from me,
And leave me all alone to cry?”

The small boy weeps to feel her bonds;
Though his are words, they hold as tight

She grows, this wondrous little girl,
And manages somehow to smile
Through all the things they do to her.
She knows that if she’s strong enough,
Someday someone will shelter her.

The small boy grows, but does not dream,
And is not strong, and cannot care.

A lady comes to save the girl.
Full grown and strong and beautiful,
She keeps the child within her heart,
And brings her toys, and plays with her,
And lets her know that she is loved.

And when the little girl cries out
“Protect me, please” – the lady does.

And, seeing this, the small boy stays.
Alone, afraid – but with new hope.

May 17, 2009

Discretion is the better part of valor

Yes, common sense should prevail. Keeping your mouth shut when opening it will serve no good purpose - Yeah, and when the hell am I going to totally embrace these concepts?

I've gotten better with this over the years but sometimes, you know what they say, opportunity knocks but temptation kicks the door down, I give into the temptation. To say what I really feel, or mean. Knowing full well I am talking to a hostile audience. Or if not hostile, an audience who I know isn't receptive; who will respond with a self-righteous sneer, and worst of all, I will take that to heart. I will, if only for a moment, doubt myself, my choices, my needs, wants, likes, dislikes. I'm not passing judgment on your choices, enjoy - I'm just saying what I like. And I need to justify this? NOT.

Exactly how old do I have to be, how long do I have to live before I truly do not give a rats ass what other people think of me?

Or maybe I should just start hanging around with people who are a bit more like me? Acceptance is a lovely thing. And respect. For other choices, other likes and dislikes, other POV's. Enjoy the diversity. If people can't, or won't, oh, hell - walk away.

Feeling like a petty, self-centered shit, I'm walking. It's just not important enough for my silly feelings to be hurt. And yet, hurt they are.

Grow up, Grace!

May 10, 2009

It is a glorious Sunday

weather-wise could not ask for a more lovely day. Sun is shining, there is a brisk breeze, okay, it's a tad on the windy side, temps in the mid-60's - just magnificent. I am not an outdoor person, or one for trees and stuff, but today is the kind of day where even I would not mind having breakfast on a patio, with trees and birds and sylvan quiet all around.

It's also Mother's Day and my 3 fur babies have forgotten yet again ::sigh::

I thought about discussing, yet again, the whole "mothers are sacred" myth but really - either you get it or you don't. Just because a female gets pregnant and gives birth doesn't make that person deserving of any more, or less, respect or consideration than any other human being. Words have a dictionary meaning and an emotional one, connotation if you will. A caring, loving, nurturing woman is a mother, shared DNA aside. And shared DNA, without those characteristics, is, well, just someone who shares your DNA. I share DNA with any number of women, none of them could be characterized as caring, loving, nurturing. Actually, I have no women in my life like that all, don't think I ever have. Consequently I have no "mother", aside from biologically.

I have cared for other people's children and hopefully I have been caring, loving, nurturing yet none of those children, now adults, consider me a mother figure. Guess I didn't do as well as I thought or tried to do.

Remember that song from "A Chorus Line" - What I Did for Love? I like to think that many of my actions throughout my life have been done for love, for the children, for the adults, for anyone who crossed my path, even hopefully for myself...

Apr 23, 2009

Sandwiches

I don't like them yet every day for lunch we have sandwiches. What else are you going to have for lunch that doesn't require cooking? I'm just not a bread person. But if you are going to make a sandwich, you have to do it right - it's an art.

The moist stuff must be spread on both slices of bread. I use olive oil, my husband has to have mayo (of course). Then we have cheese, then the meat, then another layer of cheese, then meat, then cheese. Now if you like veggies on the sandwich they too must be alternated evenly through the layers of meat and cheese. Not only does this look pretty when you cut it but you get all the flavors intermingled in each bite. You don't get a whole gloppy taste of any one thing.

No, no, no to putting all the meat, then all the cheese, then all the veggies - it's not pretty and it doesn't taste as good. Really. Trust me.

It would seem that MY method would be commonplace, and I'm sure all of YOU make your sandwiches this way, but there really are folks who just slap the different elements on top of each other - not alternating layers. These people are not artists.

Just saying...

Apr 8, 2009

Conversations at the gym

I go to the gym 3 times a week and 2 of those days I work with a trainer. We have some interesting conversations while he puts me through my paces. Today I told him he had to devise new and more interesting and difficult routines for me. This led to a discussion about motivation and goals. I am a goal oriented person. I do not do aimless things. Everything I do has to have a point and a starting place and an ending place. If something is easy for me I lose interest in it quickly; easy is boring.

There is some adage about it being about the journey not the destination. Not for me. I can't enjoy the journey unless I know the destination. When I read mystery books I usually read the set-up chapters and then go to the end of the book to read the conclusion. Once I know where the story is going I can go back to the beginning and enjoy following the clues. I guess it's like being on the inside - "Ha, ha, I know something you don't know". Actually I do this with most books. When I read "Oliver Twist" I was getting all upset about how that poor kid was always getting it in the neck. I had to read the end to see how it all came out so I could read the book from the beginning and enjoy the story, knowing the ending.

And then there are games. I don't do games or play cards. Especially cards, where too much is a matter of chance. Yes, it takes skill and knowledge to learn how to play with the cards you are dealt but I just can't get into anything that relies on any amount of chance. Also, I've never been crazy about sitting around for any length of time. I'll happily play a game like Trivial Pursuit because my winning or losing is dependent on knowledge; it's not a matter of chance but a matter of what I know. Of course there always has to be a winner and a loser, and that's a concept I've never been comfortable with. As well as rules - we all know how much I dislike rules. What is the point of games and sports? Someone wins and someone loses. Pfft! The only person I like to compete with is myself. I don't measure myself against other people, after all what do their accomplishments have to do with me?

Yeah, so I play the lottery every week. I spend little time and money on it and I surely do not make plans based on winning it. I will play the slot machines at a casino when the opportunity presents itself. It's fun for the short time I indulge. $20 is my limit. When that is lost I'm more than ready to go do something else. Once or twice I just couldn't lose that damn $20, so my boredom level reached, I cashed out. It's kinda fun for maybe 20 minutes. Did I say that I have the attention span of a 2 year old?

I do admire folks who are free and easy. Who bounce along with natural insouciance. I've always wanted to be like that. But I'm not. Yet at the end of the day, I'm glad I'm me. A planner; super-organized; forward-looking, goal oriented and just silly enough to be spontaneous on occasion and a tad absurd.

Mar 12, 2009

Unemployed vs. Retired

When any one asks if I am retired, I say "No, I'm unemployed", which I am. In this economy the chances of my finding a job a slim to none. First, I am 62; Second, I only want to work part-time and Third, what jobs there are available around here are in the suburbs which I have no way of getting, and actually I have no idea where they are LOL

Now that we have been living in Filthadelphia for awhile we have come to the conclusion that it is simply a suburb of South Jersey. When I search for the closest chain stores they are usually located in Cherry Hill, NJ. I need new glasses, where is LensCrafters? Cherry Hill.

Wait, I got off topic, I was talking about working. I like to work. I like to earn money. And I have always defined myself by my job; when I don't have a job I don't have an identity. And in deep, dark moments, when I don't have a job, I don't have a reason for living. I keep learning new stuff and there is no where to use it. What is the point to gaining knowledge and skills if you can't use them?

I realize that it is selfish of me to look for a job because the reality is I don't need the money. I need the job to keep sane. I suppose I should do my bit to improve the economy and stay unemployed - but I am so NOT loving it. I have always said I would never retire, and I won't, for now I am simply "unemployed".

Mar 7, 2009

Predictability

My husband has it. And that's not just my assessment, or even his. It seems the world at large is aware and today they all chimed in. Listen...

We went into Center City today to go to the used book store and of course have Chinese food at our favorite restaurant. We walked in, sat down. The waitress comes to the table and with her thick Asian accent says "The same order ?" We laugh, my husband says "I guess so" The waitress says "2 spring roll, 1 order fried dumpling, 2 order crab rangoon, Yes?" I'm laughing my butt off, my husband smiles and says "Yes, are we that predictable?" I object to the "we", and the answer is yes because that's what we order every time we go there. Now I for one would not mind varying that a bit but it's what my husband likes; he looks forward to it; he works hard, why shouldn't he have what he wants.

We went to the mini-mart to get bread and milk and yadda yadda yadda - it comes to $19.38 and I take out my wallet to pay and the man behind the counter says "Make him pay, he has lots of money" - understand it's my husband who usually does the mini-mart shopping, I haven't been in there in weeks. Anyway, I take out a twenty and start looking for the exact change 'cause I got a bunch in my wallet. I come up with 37 cents. I ask my husband for a penny and the guy at the counter says "He doesn't have pennies, he doesn't like them" at the same time my husband is saying "I don't keep pennies" - the two of them were a chorus. I had to laugh - even the mini-mart guy knows my husband's habits.

The interesting thing is at lunch, he was saying that his daughter told him she was shocked when he called on a Saturday because everyone in the family knows he only calls on Sunday afternoon. Oy, talk about predictable. I'm married to Mr. Excitement. Spontaneous is a word not in his vocabulary.

Every Sunday we clean the house from top to bottom - Sunday is major house cleaning day. It has been so for 19 years. Once he got all crazy and suggested we do it on Saturday, but that was a one time occurrence, he said it didn't "feel" right. So ask me what I do on Sunday - clean house and do laundry - this Sunday, last Sunday, next Sunday. I think on the rare occasions when we are away for the weekend, it makes him all edgy that he is spending a Sunday not cleaning the house LOL I do laundry during the week, and I dust and clean all week because that's just the way I am, so on Sunday I don't have that much to do (we divide up the chores) and I feel guilty finishing my chores before he finishes his. Then again, by lunch time he is done and I'm still wrestling laundry.

I love my husband, and sometimes I think wouldn't be nice if he was just a little unpredictable, a tad spontaneous but you know, he is my perfect partner, just as he is. And I love him for just who he is.

Mar 6, 2009

Filthadelphia - a proposal to make this the official city name

In today's paper was a front page article about the city charging an additional fee to pick up the trash. A per bag fee, or a flat fee or some other method of robbery is being considered. Are they kidding me?

We refer to the intersection of Broad Street and Snyder Avenue as "hazmat" corner because you really want to be wearing a hazmat suit when you walk there. It seems that throwing food, particularly chicken bones, is de rigueur in this part of town.

When it rains the streets flood because the sewer openings are clogged with garbage - big pieces of garbage - empty soda bottles, take-out food containers, plastic bags of trash, odd bits of clothing; you name it, someone has thrown it in the street.

Can you imagine what the streets will look like if people are required to PAY extra to have their trash picked up? So guess where the trash is going if this plan goes into affect? Oh, I think we all know the answer to that.

If people have a habit of throwing great gooey gobs of trash in the streets now, I can only imagine, and not happily, what the outcome of this plan will be.

The city says that if they charge a fee for each bag of trash picked up, (and the city taxes here are already very high), then maybe they will be able to afford to clean the streets. Oh, yeah. They best better because the streets will be filthier than they are now (I know that seems impossible) and the whole city will be shut down as a health hazard.

Better they should find some money to put more trash receptacles on the streets so that people had some where, other than the gutter, to put their trash.

Filthedelphia was chartered in 1701, and I think some of the garbage from then is still on the streets.

Pah!

Jan 27, 2009

Go with your gut

I just got off a major rant elsewhere on the interwebz and I won't repeat it here but it is becoming increasingly clear that I have not come far enough in learning to say NO.

Folks think I am a big-mouthed, snarky, opinionated PITA. Perhaps but never when it comes to the really important things and especially when those important things involve someone else's wants or needs. Can you believe that I am still putting other people first at my own expense. I don't do it to be a martyr and I wind up feeling used and abused and discounted. It's MY fault. I've got a big mouth and I matter just as much as anyone else.

A whole lot of the time I am all "whatever" because it really isn't important to me. I've also learned to keep my opinions to myself when voicing them will accomplish nothing and just roil the waters. Choose your battles, avoid a war.

Here it is now - engraved in stone; When my gut tells me NO, then it's no. Those who differ with me can rant and rave, stomp and shout; call me names - whatever. I will not be moved.

If the Momma ain't happy, then ain't nobody happy.

This Momma intends to be happy - y'all just better get with the program.

Jan 22, 2009

This has always bothered me...

If the president of the United States is a male, then his spouse is called the "first lady" - excuse me? Why should she be called anything other than "Mrs. _____" ? Why should the spouse of the president have any standing at all - did they run for office? Were they elected? Why should they have duties, responsibilities, an agenda, or an office?

Oh yeah, y'all going to say how the spouse works on the campaign, and all that entails. How the president's spouse is an integral part of the political machine - yadda, yadda, yadda.

And my question is - why? If my husband wanted to run for public office, that would be his business. He's got his life and career and I have mine. I don't do his job, he doesn't do mine. If I want a political life then I'll run for office.

This has bothered me for years. I am annoyed and irked by the title "First Lady" and I didn't vote for her and she should mind her own business. If the president's wife wants to be involved the way any private citizen is involved, fine, we all have that right but I didn't elect her and I don't want to see or hear about her little programs or even that she might have an agenda. I don't want the president's wife involved in the business of the government UNLESS she had run for office and been elected.

Yes, I know back in the old days an executive's wife had social duties, and there were (and probably still are) companies who would interview the wife of the man they were considering for a top position. That is such bull shit.

Y'all want to go off on a feminist rant about about how women nowadays are educated and skilled and have big important jobs and therefore they shouldn't be pushed into the background if their spouse has some top executive job - that is my point exactly. Some guy runs for public office, his spouse has a top position in some industry or other, he wins and the spouse now gives up her job to play some part of HIS job. Why?

I'll tell you why - because the American public expects it. They have expectations of the president's spouse. Look at how we trashed Mrs. Obama's choice of clothing. This is important? No - it isn't. People said "harumph, it's not what she wears, it's her brains and abilities". Yeah sure, but she wasn't elected to any office. I don't particularly care if the president's spouse has the IQ of a dead termite, the president's spouse has no standing - or shouldn't have.

When are we going to stop assuming, thinking, expecting married people to be extensions of each other?

I don't like meaningless, made-up titles. I don't like the idea of someone's spouse being expected to perform in some prescribed manner nor do I like the idea of someone exerting influence based solely on a made-up title and their spouses job.

Okay, that's off my chest - you gotta know this has been bugging me for over 40 years.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And you know what else bugs me in a major sort of way? Ms. What the hell is that? MS is the abbreviations for manuscript. I am not now, nor ever have been a manuscript. If we have to use social titles, and I think we should because I do NOT like people I don't know calling me by my first name, Miss is perfectly fine with me. You can call me Miss and my birth name, or Miss and my married name, or you can call me Mrs. but you cannot call me Ms. anything. I am not a MS.

Jan 8, 2009

Smiles open doors

You remember when I spoke of one of the folks at the Senior Center, the gentleman who was quite hard of hearing? The first few days I was there I noticed he didn’t interact with anyone and one of the other folks commented that he was just odd. I didn’t know of his deafness at the time and I don’t think anyone else knew of his problem. I noticed he was having a problem with the computer and when I offered to help he said, quite curtly, that he couldn't’t hear and I should write notes. So I did. He didn't seem very happy that I insinuated myself into his world. Since then I have made a point of always saying hello when he was there and he began saying good-bye to me when he left.

Well today when I got in I noticed that the web page he was looking at was not at maximum size. I "asked" him if he would like it bigger, he nodded, I clicked on the box in the corner and voila – full size page. He gave me a big smile and said thanks. On his way out, he asked me if I could help him set up an email account. I told him “Of course”. He said “Next time”. I’ll have to remember to bring lots of paper with me to write out my side of the conversation.

I reached out to him and he responded. A smile opens so many doors. How often do we pass someone by because we think they are odd or unfriendly, when all it would take is a smile to open a door? For how ever long he has been going to the senior center and hanging out in the computer room, everyone thought he was unfriendly. No one managed to figure out that, despite hearing aids and his ability to speak, he couldn’t hear them!

I’m please as punch with myself, that my compulsion to stick my nose into everything and to try to help has had a positive outcome. (Let’s face it, sometimes I get smacked down, and rightly so in many cases, for that kind of interference.)

Please, smile at that odd person you keep encountering in your daily travels. It just might open a door you didn’t know was there.