Perspective

What is perspective?

How do we achieve it?

If we look to our friends at Merriam-Webster.com:

  1. mental view or prospect
  2. visible scene
  3. the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed
  4. the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
  5. the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions
  6. the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye

For this, let’s take out the artistic view of perspective- we all get that if we are creating art, you look at things a certain way, 2D vs 3D, whatever…

Let’s look at perspective as a way of viewing the world as in opinions. How do our opinions get formed?

If you get bit by a dog, are you then afraid of dogs? Do you form a bias against them because you have been harmed, and sometimes there is no going back once you’ve lost your innocence?

If you ate Indian food once and your stomach did not fair well, does your perspective about eating it change?

If you went to Rome and had the time of your life, do you then continue to extol the virtues of that city to everyone you meet for the rest of your life?

The above examples are ones of trial and error- you did A, the result was B, so now your opinion on the subject is C.

Fine- you sort of understand the perspective, how it was formed, etc.

But what about the person who says I hate opera, but has never been to one? Where did the I hate opera perspective come from? Can you hate something that you have never tried or have not seen firsthand?

Think about the things you love, and the things you hate: how did you come to those opinions? Did you form them based on personal experience? Or did you form them from things you heard on the news or read somewhere?

Give me your perspective on perspective:

Veni, Vidi, Etc…

The NY Mets have clinched at least a wild card spot. I have a little teeny tiny bit of hope for post season play. I will give a cautious little #LGM…

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 9/24/22

I was off this week- I just couldn’t get myself on track, like my wheels were spinning but I wasn’t getting anywhere. No matter what I did or didn’t do, I felt I was floundering.

So I’m grateful that the pets were fed, the garbage was thrown out, and I got our of bed every morning. Sometimes you really have to appreciate all the small details that go into a day or a week.


My prompt for the week was OPENNESS/OPEN. Here’s how it was used in the books that I read:

  1. Her Father from openness to repression. Gillian McAllister
  2. My Father, so tenderhearted, so sensitive to life- his same receptors that were open to beauty were open to suffering. Chloe Cooper Jones
  3. He talked about loneliness and friendship and security, and I was very proud of him for being so open. Richard Osman
  4. The key here, in Bogost’s thinking, is recognizing that the something that you may discover doesn’t come from you, but from you openness to whatever you’re unitaskingly doing. Rob Walker
  5. But if we open our minds and listen, we will find unbelievably suggestive images and metaphors in poems that are thousands of years old. Caroline Kennedy
  6. As they have always done, books give us windows into other lives and worlds, making us more open to this constant change.
  7. And openness: it’s difficult to write a personal story that withholds information, and it’s the most private and intimate information that the reader is keenest to know. Graeme Simsion
  8. We listen with our whole body, and our physical openness speaks volumes. Julia Cameron
  9. I‘m always at my most open-minded, not to say emotionally susceptible, on the Metro- it’s the lurking possibility of death by earthquake that does it. Emily Itami
  10. The only way is to open your heart and fall into the wonder that it induces. Pedram Shojai

Here's how I'm looking at OPENNESS/OPEN
1) Do books open us if we continue to read the same type of books, or do we get further into ourselves?
2) Am I more open or more closed
3) Is anyone truly openminded?
4) If I were more worried about earthquakes would I be more open minded on the subway?
5) If something has happened that has closed you off, what does it make to recover?


Eagle Poem
Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Joy Harjo, “Eagle Poem” from In Mad Love and War. Copyright © 1990 by Joy Harjo. 

Anything Can Happen Friday: The Homeless Shelter Across the Street

I live in NYC. My part of the city is over 95% Democrat (to be fair, the vast majority of NYC is Democrat, but I’m trying to say that my immediate neighborhood votes left no matter who is on the right) My neighbors in my building want to defund the police, are anti profiling and spout all the philosophies of the liberal and progressive policies. They literally wear the T shirts and tote the bags and march in the protests. I’ve seen them.

You get the picture?

A few months ago, my Husband and I went to walk the dog. In the lobby of our building, my husband was accosted by several neighbors and was asked how they could let this happen. When they said THEY, the meaning was the board, as my husband is treasurer of our coop board (in NYC if you buy your apartment their are boards- will explain if need be) The thing they said was happening was that the city had taken over the boutique hotel literally across the street from our building and was turning it into a homeless shelter for women and young children. This was the first my husband or I had heard of this.

The crime they screamed

The noise they screamed

We’ll never be safe they screamed

How could the board let this happen

Why didn’t we fight this

For the record, no one had moved into the hotel/shelter yet: the way people found out was when furniture was seen being moved out of the building.

No one had moved into the hotel/shelter yet.

Does this make my neighbors:

  1. Racist
  2. Hypocrites
  3. Loud mouths
  4. Anti homeless
  5. Crappy human beings
  6. Afraid that their property values would go down
  7. All of the above
  8. Other

My first question of the day is:

If a homeless shelter were to be put directly across the street from your dwelling, what would be your immediate reaction? (you don’t have to tell me- but be honest with yourself)

Our coop board issued a statement that they would not fight the homeless shelter. This was not a unanimous decision by the board- I think it ended up being 4-3 (one board member stated on the record that he was sorry he ever moved into this building, but that’s a whole other story)

So the board was not going to ask the city to move the shelter. FYI- there are at least a dozen neighbors who won’t speak to us anymore because my Husband would not try to officially move the shelter. He was one of the votes to not fight the shelter being located across the street.

About a week later, people moved in to the shelter.

It’s been a few months, so I will give you a recap of the situation:

There are probably twenty five – thirty adult women, and each has a child under four.

The shelter has a curfew. The first few weeks people were not listening to the curfew and it was very LOUD outside of our building. Neighbors in our building and the buildings near us did get the shelter to make the residents stick to the curfew, so after a week of noise, the residents must be inside by the appointed hour, which I believe is ten pm.

So you see the first issue that we encounter. People from the shelter are on the streets. A lot. They are not allowed to loiter in front of the shelter, so they come across the street and loiter in front of our buidling. Sometimes there are so many people, my neighbors who have strollers, walkers, and canes have trouble using the ramp to enter our building. There are people there all day.

Men are not allowed in the shelter, so the boyfriends/partners of the women often come to sit with the woman and children. Fine. They use the planters in front of our building as a garbage pail. One time, someone dumped a whole bag of trash there. My doorman asked him to clean it up. The man, a friend of one of the shelter residents, dropped his pants, mooned my doorman, turned around and peed into the planter. This was on a Sunday afternoon.

We have two groups of people from the shelter. One sits on the left side of the building by the planters, the other group sits to the right on the other side of our building garage. They are two different racial groups. On Sunday afternoons we often get treated to them yelling racial slurs at one another. We also often get Jerry Springer style fights. Remember- this is all happening during the day in the presence of young children.

Let’s get to the children part.

image intentionally blurred

This is the scene to the side of my building from about 8am till 10pm. The residents face the strollers towards the wall of the apartment building. They sit on the curb and drink and smoke and do drugs, while the children are in the stroller looking at the wall. When I say drugs, I don’t necessarily mean it’s just pot– I mean all kinds of drugs. We see them during the day. With the kids in the strollers. My Doormen, who have a front row view to all this, wonder how they get the kids to stay in the strollers all day without crying.

Just to give you the landscape of my area:

  1. One block east is a park/playground
  2. Five blocks south is a playground
  3. Three blocks west is a playground/park
  4. Five blocks north is a playground /park
  5. Across the street is a plaza for the college
  6. Around the block (300 steps) is a library with a whole floor for children
  7. Seven blocks north there is a library with a whole floor for children
  8. Three blocks east is a community rec center with indoor and outdoor pool and classes that the residents would be able to access

The residents get three meals a day.

Meals thrown away

We see uneaten and unopened meals strewn all over the place. I can’t really complain about these because at least they tried to put them in the garbage. Mainly they remain on the street. You know what food waste on the street brings? If you said bugs and rodents you win a prize.

The shelter has 24 hour security and social workers on the daily.

How about crime?

Well, I admit when I see two men who are high or drunk having a fight, I don’t feel too safe. When I walk the dog, a lot of people make sudden movements to scare her intentionally. My neighbors with small dogs have taken to carrying their dogs till they are away from the building.

911 is called to the shelter at least twice a day. These aren’t calls from the neighbors- these are calls from social workers and security because of escalating fights in the shelter itself. There have been a fair number of calls for the children for accidents and other medical issues.

Every weekend my actual neighbors from my building or surrounding buildings call the police for fights outside, or people passed out on the street, or severe intoxication. I’ve gotten used to walking down the street and seeing flashing lights as I approach my block. it’s just another day.

Am I judging the situation?

Yup.

Am I right to judge the situation?

Nope.

But we really need to ask:

Is any of this an actual problem? Are people entitled to live anyway they want, without judgement from anyone else?

Is there an actual problem with people throwing away complete meals?

Is there a problem with people leaving their kids in strollers all day facing a wall?

Is there a problem with hanging out on the street all day doing drugs and drinking and smoking?

Am I judging what is happening because I’m :

  1. White
  2. Middle Class
  3. College educated
  4. A Mother

Do people have to make the same choices that I have and do things the way I did/do?

No they don’t.

Who is to say that the way I do things is the right way, or the only way?

So, this is what’s happening in my neck of the woods. Feel free to jump in and talk about whatever you think/feel about what I wrote. Think about what I wrote and be honest with yourself about what you think and feel.

Think.

Reflect.

Discuss.

How I Felt

I was in the elevator of my building recently. I began a conversation with some random neighbor and I said that my daughter went to X University. he replied, “Oh, someone else in the building has a kid that goes there.” I looked at him quizzically, because there aren’t that many college age kids, and I know them all. He said- “He’s the guy on the board. Maybe you know him”. And I laughed and said- “yeah- that’s my Husband. We both have a kid at that school, or something like that.” The guy looked at me quizzically and said OK.

It was the OK that got me.

And, I know that I am totally reading into the situation, but I felt like the guy was trying to figure out how that guy was my Husband.

My Husband is four years younger than me, and in annoyingly good shape. If we had an attic I would assume that there was an aging painting in there. He has all his hair, he’s slim, and he has limited wrinkles. He doesn’t even look his age at all…

This is when I hate men.

Alas, I am a post menopausal woman who likes to eat and cook and I have the stomach to prove it. I know that I am not as physically attractive as I once was, and I’m normally OK with that…

All right, I’m really never ok with the fact that I’m not as attractive as I once was…

And this day I felt it.

There was no consolation in the fact that I was in the laundry room in my gym clothes, because I’d been to the gym and wanted to get the laundry up while I showered. My hair was in a pony, I had not a drop of anything but residual sweat on my face, and seriously, I looked like I needed to be put in the wash cycle. I’m sure I didn’t smell so great either…I was definitely not wearing perfume…

I felt old and dingy and washed up.

Amazing what the mind does to you…

And then I wanted to go make a high calorie cake for my husband and hide my moisturizer that I let him use. Let him get dry skin…let him look his age…

But that’s being petty.

I should be better than that…

I should be…but I’m not…

What is it about aging and beauty, or lack there of, that gets me every time? Why is it so hard to accept that looks change as you get older? How do we learn to accept ourselves as we get older?

It’s funny because I thought I was OK with my body, my face, my drier skin and grey hair. But I guess I’m not as emotionally and mentally strong about this as I’d like to be. It’s another thing to work on, one more task for my to do list…I just wish it was easier to plot out the goal, for me to say- to become more tolerant of my aging, I just need to do steps 1, 2 and 3…

Alas…it’s not that easy…

But I’ll try.

First, I’ll have a little pity party, and then I’ll remind myself that I am healthy and can still hold my own in a Spin class, and that I really don’t have that many wrinkles around my eyes, and I don’t yet need reading glasses…

And I’ll just get on with it a day at a time.

I need to remember that aging is a gift, a gift that many do not receive.

Wordle

I love a feeling of accomplishment. If I can get the following done in the AM (except wednesdays) I feel like I can rule the world:

  1. drink a glass of water
  2. Do Wordle
  3. “meditate” for five minutes
  4. journal
  5. exercise
  6. make the bed

These six things make or break how my day is going to go. And wordle is one of them.

I admit that I have a slight obsession with the game. It’s become my morning fix: find a five letter word, spend one or two minutes, figure out the word.

I freely admit that I do not always get the word. Sometimes I strike out, and I’ve had more than my share of Phew’s…

But do you know what’s odd?

I often get the “hard” words quicker than I get the “easy” ones.

How do I know this? Because I am a NY Times crossword subscriber, I get a weekly newsletter that says which word was hardest and which was easiest to solve based on the average turns it took people.

For example: egret/gawky/cacao I got in three tries. The average was 4.8ish.

But take an easy word like PRIZE, and it takes me six turns. I didn’t get LIVER because I kept rhyming…These are words most people got in three guesses…

Why does my brain work this way?!

And what does trice mean anyway? (FYI- I got that word somewhat easily, though I really didn’t know that was a word)

But anyway:

Do you wordle? What words have tripped you up, or which did you find easy? Do you have a favorite starting word?

Discuss:

Same Meaning

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the differences in clever vs smart. https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2022/06/30/clever-v-smart/

In the comments of this post, there was a discussion about the definition of the word CLEVER. Someone thought of the word clever as having shady connotations, as shown by the oft used British who dun it phrase:

He thinks he’s so clever

So, my question for today is rather pedantic:

How does tone change the definition of a word?

Clearly, the definition of the word clever has not changed in the above sentence. The word still reflects that someone is intelligent, or smart, or however you define it. But the tone…the tone changes how we look at the word.

What are other words that make us think differently about them depending on how one uses them?

Is this what gets us into trouble with texts?

Were emoji’s invented to help us determine how something is being intended to be used?

How does tone and intent change the way we think about words?

How Long?

I recently read a book for book club. It was over 500 pages long. I read a book for fun- almost 600 pages.

hmmm

Does any book that one reads for fun need to be over 350 pages?

I don’t usually love books that hover over 300 pages. Rarely does an author have me so enthralled in a story that I want it to continue on and on. One of the books I mentioned was The Fountains of Silence clocking in at 512 pages. First off- this book was utterly average. The editor that thought that this was a good idea needs an editor. There’s detail that are useful, storylines that move the plot along, and then there’s filler, which is the stuff on which this book is made. There were paragraphs I skipped over entirely and I didn’t miss one point of this book. If you skip something, does that mean it’s not necessary?

Again, Rachel talks so much about gorgeous people and clothes. Do people really read books to peak into the lives of people who are attractive? Do the descriptions that read like Vogue pictorials instead of a novel really matter that much to the story? I don’t know, after the fiftieth description of a designer outfit, I’m done…

And what about movies? Apparently, movies that were released in 2021 were, on average, nine minutes longer than those made in 2009. I’m hoping that this trend is on the reversal, because I don’t think movies need to be any longer than two hours. Luckily, the movies I’ve seen lately are all around the two hour mark.

The obvious next question is: are our attention spans getting shorter. And to unscientifically answer that question, I’ll say Yes- our attention spans are getting shorter. But in the case of books and movies, it’s almost a chicken/egg: Do we not have the stamina to go through something that is long, or are things just too long to hold interest?

Our discussion questions for today:

  1. What is your preferred book length? Will you read a book longer than your preferred length?
  2. What is your preferred movie length? Will you sit through a longer movie?
  3. Do you have a decent attention span?

Discuss

Veni, Vidi, Etc…9/18/22

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 9/17/22

My Daughter has an Honors major at college. Really, her classes are no harder or easier than any other majors, but she did have to apply and get accepted to the major and she has to write a thesis.

Last week she was a tad stressed about what her question would be. She knew the topic, she was pretty sure of the direction, but she needed to work on a theory that hadn’t been done before and be something that she would actually be able to do. I’m grateful that she has narrowed her focus to what she thinks is a good starting point.

She also has to get an advisor. The first Professor she approached couldn’t do it because she was already advising two grad students. The second Prof wasn’t sure if she would be a good advisor, but is willing to be used as a sounding board for the thesis. Finally, she found someone who will make an excellent advisor because this Prof is stronger in areas where my daughter is weak, so it will actually make for a great balance. I am grateful that my daughter found an advisor.

Alas, the stress of the thesis has only just begun…but for now…two wins.

A few weeks ago my journal prompt was BEAUTY. Deb thought is was interesting to see how we thought of beauty, but wondered what we thought about UGLY. So, my word for this week is UGLY. Here’s how it was used in the books that I’m reading:

  1. I just wanted to get through my last night with Daniel in one piece and ugly cry when I got home. Abby Jimenez
  2. Undercover. The word, ugly and huge, thrums underneath Jen’s breastbone like a heartbeat. Gilliam McAllister
  3. It’s an ugly business, Watson, an ugly dangerous business, and the more I see of it the less I like it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  4. That bland looking eatery in some ugly strip mall that has no Yelp reviews? Give it a try. Rob Walker
  5. No, to be sure not: I should only pity him- hate him, perhaps, if he were ugly, and a clown. Emily Bronte
  6. Believe me, in this case, ugly would have been a compliment. Laurie Zaleski
  7. The ugly stuff starts to rear its face, and we don’t know what’s come over us. Pedram Shojai

Here’s how I’m thinking about UGLY:

  1. In the poetry anthology that I’m reading, not one of the poems contains the word UGLY
  2. I can’t get “U G L Y you ain’t got no alibi you ugly” our of the stream in my head
  3. Four letters but powerful word
  4. Does the word ugly scare us?
  5. have I though about ugly situations more than I’ve thought about other ugly things?
  6. The word was used less than I thought it would. Are we trying not to use the word, or have things gotten past ugly