The Car Ride

My parents used to live on Long Island, and they went to a Doctor in Brooklyn which was where my Dad worked. When they moved to New Jersey (twelve years ago), they continued to go to this Doctor, even though the drive was at least an hour. They would make a day of it…go to the Doctor and then meet up with friends in the neighborhood for dinner.

Of course, it’s twelve years later and they are twelve years older…

As of now, they are not supposed to drive long distances. Which means that the hourlong trip to the Doctor is a No Go.

Unless they ask my Husband and I to take them…

So on the condition that they seek out a general practitioner in their neighborhood, my Husband and I agreed to take them to the Doctor- which means us driving to NJ, getting them and driving back to the city, then driving back to NJ, then back to the city…

The car ride…

My Husband and I sat in the front. I had a tote bag with snacks, water, tissues, wipes and paper towels. You know, how you travel with kids. Of course, I should have brought car games and headphones, because they really did start to act like my sister and I used to do on long car rides…

He’s in my spot

She’s bothering me

I’m hungry

Why are we going this way

Are we there yet

They were bickering so much I thought in my head:

If you two don’t stop arguing and fidgeting I’m going to turn this car around and we will go homeNo Doctor for you

Because that is the lengths they had driven me to…

I really don’t like this reversal of roles…I’m already the parent to a daughter, and a dog, and a cat, and a husband….I don’t like this parenting of my parents. As I explained to someone else, I’m also doing a really bad job of parenting my parents…they don’t listen, they make poor decisions, and I am wont to leave them up to their own devices. I have yet to find a good way to have them listen to me and behave accordingly. It’s like they go out of their way to thwart me…

I’m presently trying tough love. I told them they have to get a primary who is near them. I said I will not drive them to their Brooklyn Doctor anymore. After the whole calling the police incident, I’ve considered putting a GPS device in my father. Seriously. I’m just trying to pay off a veterinarian to do it for me… I now have weekly conversations with their Doctor so that he is armed with information that they might not be willing to share, and I’m HOPING they get a new primary soon, even though I like the one they now have. And I read whatever articles I can so I can gain some perspective as to how to proceed.

And I wonder how to best prepare my daughter for when it’s her turn to parent me.

The Details

I write ideas for blogs down, and schedule the posts. This means that Monday- Thursdays (usually) I am writing posts from things I thought about two months prior. This usually works out, because in many cases I’ve gained perspective on the situation, and with a little distance often brings clarity, so I am able to write a more rounded post or idea. Let’s emphasize usually… because today, while I remember the incident, I don’t remember the exact particulars. But, I will relay my sentiments, even though I’m not quite journalistically who, what, where, how and why…

So I was at a museum, let’s assume the Met, as that is the museum I am most likely to go to alone. I was looking at an exhibit. When I visit a gallery and look at an exhibit, I usually approach it as follows:

  1. If available, I read the notes that pertain to the gallery in question.
  2. I circle the room, noting what does or does not capture my eye
  3. I make a second turn, this time stopping to look at a few pieces, and reading the corresponding notes
  4. Third turn and pick out my favorite and take a picture of the work, and spend a few minutes just looking at one thing

So I did my thing, and I ended up at a piece I really liked. Here’s where the memory gets fuzzy- I don’t remember what exhibit or what piece, or what it was that I liked about the piece. I just remember that I found it interesting at the time.

But I do remember two women in the gallery at the same time as me, and they were non stop talking, which is great and fine, but maybe not the best way to actually look at art, and when one of the woman saw me take a picture of something, she stopped talking and looked more closely at what I photographed. She made a comment to her friend about how she hadn’t really looked at the work in question (well, duh- you’re talking and not paying attention) and then they stopped to look at the actual thing.

I just wish I remembered what the fascinating thing was…

Now, if I wanted to, I could look back at my journals/notes, and even my Sunday blog posts to spot which work really intrigued me…but I won’t. It’s funny how the mind works, how I could find something so intriguing I needed a picture, but then a few months later completely forget what it was. Or how certain memories just creep up on one, and never shake their tether to the mind and soul. What we choose to remember… what does that say about what haunts us or what pushes us forward?

So here I sit at my laptop, looking at my notes, and realizing that a few months ago my intention was to write about being in the moment, observing and paying attention, but yet the lesson that remains, the lesson I write about today, is quite different. Now, I sit here pondering how the past, present and future all meld together to form who we are, or who we aren’t. I wonder why certain things stick forever in my mind- how I can conjure up the memory of how a certain work of art commanded my attention in 1985 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I still remember “chatter chatter chatter”, but something I saw two months ago wasn’t worthy of the long term.

Do our memories, the ones we choose to revisit like good old friends or sworn adversaries, make up the actions that we do on the daily? Do they subconsciously help us plot out our paths to the future? Or do we spend our lives trying to either recreate the good, or do a 180 on the bad?

If we are lucky, every day is a learning experience- we just might not realize it at the time. I guess we do have to pay attention, but maybe not necessarily at what we think we should be noticing.

What Inspired Me: 7/3/22

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 7/2/22

I was at the Botanic Garden the other day, taking pictures of flowers. I was very focused on this one particular grouping, because the flowers were amazing. So focused was I on taking photos, I did not even give a thought as to why the flowers had droplets of water on them, even though is was a cloudless day with bright blue skies and sunshine. Obviously, the sprinkler water that soaked me five seconds later gave me the necessary clues to deduce that they were watering this particular area…So I am very grateful that my focus on one task at a time is improving…however…I realize that sometimes you have to stop and look around you before you start focusing.


My journal/mindfulness prompt this week is CLARITY:

In the books I’m reading, clarity was used in the following ways:

  1. Isak was astonished by her clarity; she had thought this through. Min Jin Lee
  2. (Gratitude) turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Melody Beattie, as referenced in a book by Melissa Michaels
  3. Reading poems can help bring clarity and insight to emotions that can be confusing or contradictory. Caroline Kennedy
  4. An awful pain seared, sharp enough to snap her into a moment of clarity. Nina de Gramont
  5. But I knew, with a flash of clarity, that we wouldn’t. Julie Clark

What clarity brings to my mind:

  1. Why don’t more people use this word? It seems underused and undervalued
  2. quote 2 is a great reminder of gratitude and it’s power
  3. Do we ever see things with clarity, or is it always mucked up?
  4. Is clarity too mixed up with self doubt?

Clever v Smart

What’s the difference between clever and smart?

If we dictionary it we get the following:

cleverquick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas: intelligent (Oxford Languages)

smarthaving or showing a quick-witted intelligence (Oxford Languages)

When we look at it on the surface, it appears that these are related- it appears that they are virtually the same. However, when I think about these two words, I don’t necessarily think of them the same way.

When I think of smart, I think of someone who is teachable- they can sit in a classroom, or read a book, they will absorb the knowledge and you will be able to question them about it. But I don’t necessarily know if smart equates with being able to make conclusions and think independently. My Husband is book smart- I’ve watched him study for his Master’s degrees, and I know he can read and answer test questions. However, he’s not so great at thinking outside the box, or forming new ideas. He’s not so great at making independent conclusions that haven’t been tested before.

Now, when I think of clever, I think of someone who may or may not have done well at school. They might score a high test grade, or an abysmally low one- sometimes they just can’t get what is on the page or lecture. However, people that are clever notice things that others don’t- they are able to see outside the box; they are able to take practical and learned knowledge and come to an independent conclusion about something. Clever people break ground.

I clearly think that clever and smart are not the same- that there are subtle nuances that distinguish the two, and I would use the words differently when describing people both in person and on the page.

But what about you? How do you define the words? Do you think there are differences or are these words interchangable?

Discuss:

Jeans

I don’t own jeans.

I don’t wear jeans.

If I say this out loud, I am viewed as an outcast.

Why don’t you wear jeans?

Everybody wears jeans.

Jeans go with everything.

Why don’t you ever wear jeans?

Do you know how many times I have heard refrains such as these? Do you know how many times Stitch Fix has sent me jeans?

I don’t like jeans.

And I am made to feel like something less than because I don’t like them. And honestly, it makes me feel a little bad. And then I read a book…

And here’s the big one: I stopped wearing jeans, because they never felt right on me. Leopard is a Neutral-a really useful style guide– Erica Davies

There was Davies, a fashionista, an expert on style and fashion, telling me that it was OK to not wear jeans…

Mind…Blown….

But the real question is why I needed a book to validate my feelings on on what I wear…

Having grown up with a Mother who was very into clothing, and highly critical of what I wore (along with being critical of a bunch of other things) I guess I always felt judged by what I did and didn’t wear. Being told I can’t wear something because I’m short, or because I have a big chest was emotionally deflating. To this day she will still make negative comments about my clothing. She always manages to make me feel less than. So I’ve had a negative image of myself with clothes for a very long time. Being comfortable with clothing and my body has been a long, hard battle- and I’m still not quite sure who won the battle…

But I can’t entirely blame my Mother- there is societal pressure from women to dress a certain way. Don’t dress provocatively, don’t dress like a frump. Wear sensible shoes, wear high heels. Don’t show your shoulders, don’t wear short skirts. Don’t wear stripes. Don’t wear black. Only wear black…

You get the idea…

No matter what we wear…someone will judge us…

But now I’ve reached the “I’m wearing what I want to wear” stage of my life. And maybe it took a book to make me feel OK with dressing how I want to dress, but that’s all right- at least I got there…

Until I visit my Mother anyway…

100 Things

Awhile back, one of my blog buddies wrote a post- the 100 things they love. I thought I’d take a try at this. http://agracefull-life.com/2022/04/11/100-more-things-i-love/

I try not to have too many “things”, but I find that some things make my life a little better.

  1. sweet, milky tea brewed in a teapot, served in a thick mug
  2. my desk
  3. pink gel pens
  4. my tea mug warmer
  5. Nook app for ipad
  6. ipad
  7. my postcard of Madame X and the actual painting Madam X
  8. lighted makeup mirror
  9. Jo Malone English pear and freesia
  10. pink fuzzy blanket that sits on my bed
  11. adjustable bed frame
  12. black pearl earrings
  13. silver heart on a chain necklace
  14. pink moleskin journal
  15. indoor plumbing
  16. sweet cherries
  17. brie
  18. cheeseburgers, medium rare
  19. McDonald’s French Fries
  20. mille crepe cake at Lady M bakery
  21. high tea anywhere I can get it
  22. watching a Met game at CitiField
  23. Exploring art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  24. Tulips
  25. the color pink
  26. getting a seat on the subway
  27. when a book ends perfectly
  28. discovering a perfectly made film/movie
  29. flower gardens
  30. the pile of cards my daughter has made me
  31. when I can do the New York Times crossword puzzle without errors, on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  32. planning a vacation
  33. Concerts at Carnegie Hall
  34. seeing live theater
  35. Film festivals where the director is present to talk about the work
  36. ongoing text conversations with my friends
  37. sitting with a book and a cup of tea
  38. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava
  39. brunch
  40. my planner
  41. sunrises
  42. sunsets
  43. 80s music
  44. my Longchamp purse that I bought in Paris 30 years ago
  45. finding a great quote
  46. a slice of Pizza from Joe’s
  47. air conditioning
  48. fresh flowers in my entryway
  49. the words of Jane Austen
  50. my pink, silky, flowery robe
  51. fuzzy slippers
  52. when I get all my errands done by 11am
  53. browsing the new releases on Tuesdays at Barnes and Noble
  54. long, hot bath with bubbles
  55. getting a pedicure
  56. discovering something I never saw before
  57. one of my pets snuggled on my lap or my feet
  58. when subway connections run smoothly
  59. my daughter’s smile
  60. my 32 ounce water bottle that closes tight
  61. songs that remind me of those I love
  62. Frasier reruns
  63. The Sure Thing
  64. headphones
  65. Trivial Pursuit
  66. discovering a book store when I travel
  67. old school arcade games
  68. tennis
  69. Masterpiece on PBS
  70. gorgeous clothing exhibits
  71. waking up early
  72. going to bed early
  73. walking
  74. black dresses
  75. taking photographs
  76. catching a great busker
  77. writing in the morning
  78. kittens
  79. puppies
  80. screened in porches
  81. lazy weekends at the shore with my besties
  82. hotels where breakfast is included
  83. making my bed in the morning
  84. New York City in the spring and fall
  85. anywhere but New York City in July and August
  86. shopping for a new planner
  87. organizing something in my house
  88. cozy British murder mysteries
  89. Downton Abbey
  90. touring old homes with beautiful furnishings
  91. anything by Bach
  92. Spotify
  93. Farmer’s Market
  94. taking a nap on the couch
  95. Real Simple magazine
  96. trying a new recipe
  97. getting someplace right before it gets crowded
  98. having something to look forward to
  99. having memories to look back on
  100. Waking up in the morning ready to experience the new day

A quote…

All animals are equal except some are more equal than others.

George Orwell

We can debate, discuss, or argue about the following (however- I am not going to debate discuss or argue any of it- but have at it on your own time)

  1. Why Obama chose not to codify Roe between 2009 and 2011
  2. If Trump specifically chose justices he assumed would overturn Roe
  3. If RBG should have retired during the Obama administration
  4. If “my body my choice” is applicable to both abortion and mandatory vaccines, as the answer by both sides is- “it will save lives”
  5. RBG stating that there was faulty reasoning in Roe, and it should have been based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution
  6. How members of certain religions feel that there rights to religious freedom have been trampled upon

What we really can’t discuss is that women in 22 states will not be treated equally with women in 28 states. There is no more equality for women, even amongst ourselves.

What Inspired me: 6/26/22

  1. I was surprised to see WordPress as an answer in Wednesday’s New York Times crossword puzzle- but an easy answer to get
  2. Reading books by LGBTQ+, Black, LatinX, Asian, and whatever authors should not be confined to a “month” or a “day”. Don’t read because you are “supposed” to- read because there’s great literature out there. We should honor all people every single day of the year.
  3. I am done with the Medieval Galleries at the Met- but not the Cloisters…need to head up there this summer
  4. Water Memories is a very interesting exhibit- it’s small but has a nice mix of art and artifacts.