Nove-Strength

We’re heading back to Untamed  (Glennon Doyle) again. (Ok- if it’s making me think this much maybe it deserves to be #2 on the NYT Bestseller list…)

In her essay “Comfort Zones”, Doyle speaks of a twelve year old girl on her daughter’s soccer team. She states that the girl rubs her the wrong way, and she notices other Mother’s reactions towards this particular girl, and everyone seems to be ill at ease in this young woman’s presence. When Doyle analyzes this, she realizes that the unease around this girl is based on this girls self possession. This is a confident young woman, who carries herself with the bearing that she is worthy. Doyle, a self proclaimed feminist, realizes that her own uneasiness is due to a lifetime of being told that girls/women are supposed to be “self-doubting, reserved, timid and apologetic.”

“Girls who are bold enough to break the rules irk us.”

When I first read this essay, my knee jerk reaction was “Bullshit.”

But this chapter kept haunting me. I kept thinking about women I know. I came to the realization that Doyle may have a really solid point.

In 2020, do we still have problems with women who break the “rules”?

Do strong, confident, unapologetic women still make us go uh oh?

Are women just as bad as men in downplaying other women?

Are women worse at it?

If you’re a woman, think about how you really feel when you see a strong, confident woman. Straight up- no bs- what is your initial reaction?

Are you at all uneasy?

And let’s get out of the Hilary Clinton/Nancy Pelosi mindset: let’s think about the women that you come across on a daily basis…

Are there women you see in your daily lives whose sheer confidence and ability to command attention just pisses you off?

You don’t have to share here. This is not a game to shame others in print. But I want you to really think about your reactions to other women.

Do you get mad if someone doesn’t care what you think?

Do you delight in taking someone down a peg?

Do you secretly want someone to fail because you just don’t want them to succeed?

Have you ever called a woman a name (in your head) because she irked you?

I don’t mean intellectual debates where we discuss issues and each person defends their argument. Do you get annoyed with women who do defend their point?

Do you get annoyed that a woman has a point?

Discuss…

 

Otto- Highlights

Things do become habit after a month…

Books that I finished:

  1. Untamed- there will be at least one more blog about this book
  2. Cosy: The British Art of Comfort- there are parts where the author appeared more American than British- that wasn’t what I was looking for
  3. Deep Water- Patricia Highsmith may be the most underrated writer ever…
  4. The Last Guest House- yet another psychological thriller….

What I’m Reading Now:

  1. The Women In Black- I’d seen this as a movie, so I’m interested in seeing what the book is like
  2. Late Migrations
  3. The Art of Making Memories- this is the same author who introduced us to Hygge, and he works at the Happiness Institute
  4. Conjure Women- if stay in place lasts five years, I have a book that will fill that time period…Sooooooo sloooooooow
  5. Tiny Habits- Ok- I’ve figured out new and amazing ways to organize my to do list…

What’s on Tap:

  1. Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge
  2. Nose Down. Eyes Up
  3. West with the Night

What I’m Watching:

  1. Top Chef- rooting for Bryan Voltaggio
  2. Food Truck Road Race- like teams left, but rooting for lunch ladies. Their food truck looks like a school bus- how do you not root for that…
  3. Spring Breaking Challenge- OK- I don’t have a favorite- I like them all
  4. World on Fire (PBS) Really liking this show
  5. Belgravia- brought to you by the creators of Downton Abbey- of course I love it. (I did read the book)

Look forward to more conversations inspired by books I’m reading. If anyone has read any of the books I mentioned, feel free to email me a question for discussion.

wakinguponthewrongsideof50@gmail.com

Sette- Gratitude

I’m a reasonably good cook. I can manage to follow a recipe with reasonable success…. except for… rice.  You would think that rice should be simple- rice and water. That’s all there is to it. Yet, rice has eluded me for years. One day I did ask my best friend (who is Korean and makes rice at least five days a week) what the secret was.

“Every self respecting Asian cook uses a rice cooker.” she said.

I thought about it…

It shouldn’t be this hard to cook rice….I mean, I can make Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon…

But for some reason I resisted the siren call of the rice cooker. I muddled through with pan, rice, water….

Then the virus that shall remain nameless hit, and I knew that rice would become a staple in our diet. On my weekly run to score paper towels and wipes, I found myself going down the escalator at Target. I found myself in the appliance aisle. I found myself putting a rice cooker in my cart…

The rice is soooo good…

I am so grateful for my rice cooker.

Life. Changing.

Sei-Fate

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fate is defined as:

the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power 

as a verb (to be fated) be destined to happen, turn out or act in a particular way

What do we think of when we think of fate?

(imagine the final jeopardy theme playing here- it’s 30 seconds long, and if it gives contestants enough time to think of and write down an answer to a question- you should be able to come up with an adequate thought of what fate means)

Ok- you have your thoughts?

Do you think we have any control over what happens?

or

Do you think events have been predetermined, and we’re just playing it out?

I really don’t know what I think about fate. To me, it falls in the same category as soul mates. Is there one person who we are supposed to be with? Have the stars matched you with someone?

Have the course of our lives been charted before we are even born?

I recently read a book “The Authenticity Project” by Claire Pooley. Without giving too much away, the begins with a woman finding a journal left behind in a coffee shop. When she opens the journal to figure out who to return it to, she realizes that someone left a note and a message. The note shared something personal about the writer, and the message said- write your story here, then leave the book somewhere else so someone else can learn yours and add there’s….

Obviously, since it’s a book, people add their stories and leave the book behind for someone else to read….

Does fate bring the book to certain, specific people, or is it just luck of the draw?

I guess I don’t like the idea of fate because I am a total control freak…I don’t like to think that anything is beyond my control… (corona 1- my controlling it- 0)

Presently, I know that I have gained weight recently and it’s not because of fate. It’s because I lack control of the situation around me and I am soothing myself with food, and I haven’t been walking or going to the gym or moving… (salty snacks – 5 my waistline- 0)

But I guess you could say I was fated to gain weight….which is a nice rationalization…but it’s not really going to help the situation…

So….

I really don’t know….

Thoughts?

 

 

Cinque- Deja redo

My Husband used to watch a TV show about Time Travel. Each week the crew used to travel back in time in order to change something historically. Yesterday we talked about redo’s in our personal lives. Today…

What if we could go back and change history?

What if we could change the events that changed everyone’s lives?

A few years ago I read “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson. I really enjoyed this book. Not to give much away, the main character, Ursula Todd I think (which really shows you something because I don’t usually remember random details like this about books) kept dying but would be reborn. But she wasn’t really changing her life- she was trying to change history kind of, sort of…

So for write my blog Thursday, I’m asking you this:

What historical event would you change? Why would you change this event? How would you change it?

example: Have Mr. and Mrs. Hitler never meet….

There are no right answers. Every opinion is valid, because this is just a what if scenario…

(However- please don’t write about Corona. That’s valid but not really fun for this exercise…)

Begin:

Quattro- Redo

Love, Marriage, Repeat (Netflix)

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird (Josie Silver)

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton)

Oona out of Order (Margarita Montimore)

What do the above have in common? Well, I read or watched them in my living room…and if there are any Cheers fans our there they might get the reference….

What else do they have in common?

They all deal with the thought of having a redo, sort of. What would happen if you tweaked X, what if you turned left instead of right, what would happen if you purchased Apple when it launched…

Why are we obsessed with the idea of making things right? Fixing things so that we don’t have any bad, but only good?

I know that I have made mistakes in my life. I know I have screwed up monumentally. Yet, I would change nothing. Sure, I’d like to forget about the day that I walked down Fifth Avenue with my skirt tucked into my panty hose, but you know, in a world of embarrassing moments it wasn’t that bad.

If I had done anything differently, I would not have my daughter…and I wouldn’t change that for the world…

Of course, there are some bad things that people do not mentally survive. There are life changing events that people might not ever recover from. I might understand someone who got into a horrible accident might want to go back so that they take a different route that day…

But these books and movies don’t focus on these things….they tend to focus on finding love or becoming rich or the perfect job. They tend to fix the mundane…

What’s the maxim: for every action has an equal and opposite reaction… every thing we do matters to what happens next in our lives…I met my husband because I was trying to get a tennis ranking. There were three of us on the court and they called a guy back who had already gotten rated. The four of us on the court all had the same ranking so we set up a doubles game. That guy that wasn’t supposed to be on the court ended up becoming my doubles partner. His two roommates would eventually get married, and he would move to a different city, but I would stay his tennis partner and I went to his city to play, where I would meet his college roommate who I would eventually marry ten years later…

What if we didn’t need a fourth, what if I had a different doubles partner, what if the roommates didn’t get married, what if my partner didn’t move….

Action, reaction, next…

If you really think about it, are there things in your life that you would change?

What is it about Groundhogs Day and the like that fascinates it so?

Is there such a thing as getting life completely right?

Discuss

 

Tre- Untamed

I’d like to think that in another world, Reese Witherspoon and I would be friends. I mean, I usually enjoy the books that she reads. I tend to read the books she picks for her book club, and that includes this months book, “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. I am going to talk about the book, but this is not a review, more my thoughts on the book itself.

“Untamed” is written by Glennon Doyle, apparently a somewhat famous memoirist. Honestly, I’d never hear of her before, but also honestly, this has been the first time I have ever dipped a toe into the non fiction aisle. It’s written as a series of essays, and they aren’t necessarily in chronological order. To be fair, reading it would sort of be like reading my blog posts every day- she tells little snippets of her life, and what she learned. She preaches about things and tells you how the world should be.

Ok- it’s really really a lot like reading my blog, but with actual editing.

The author has struggled with addiction issues in the past, and is frank about what she had done in the past, and how it shaped her. She’s cut the addiction cord.

Well, sort of.

Growing up she was bulimic. Then there were drugs. Now there’s her wife.

Though she was in a heterosexual relationship for years in adulthood, one day she met a woman and fell in love.

Fine.

Except when I read this book, it appears to me that she has replaced bulimia and drugs with Abby.

I get that for the first time in her life she’s found love. She glows like she did when she was ten. That’s all awesome. But the way she writes about her spouse is the way an addict speaks of their addiction. She has traded one thing for another…

Of course, this is entirely my opinion. My psychology degree is from the brown chair in the corner of my living room. But I read the words on the page, and I can’t help but wonder what her next memoir will be about…If this book were fiction, I can’t help but think that this would be foreshadowing.

However…

There is one thing I read though that really resonated with me.

“A woman becomes a responsible parent when she stops being an obedient daughter. When she finally understands that she is creating something different from what her parents created.”

I know that my relationship with my Mother changed after I had my daughter. I was able to understand clearly how strong maternal love is. But I also saw my Mother’s flaws as a woman and a mother. I saw how much I had wanted to please her in the past, how so many of my actions were done solely to make my Mother proud, to earn her love. It was only as a parent that I realized that no child should have to earn the love of their parent. You love your child because they are your child, especially when they are little. You make sure that they know that they are loved unconditionally.

The day that I had my daughter was the day that I stopped being an obedient daughter. It was almost as my Mother and I became equals- we were both parents. We understood what it was like to be responsible for another human. But from that day forward, my main allegiance was to my child. I needed to figure our how to raise her to be strong and confident and resilient. I could only do that my making sure my daughter learned the lessons that I thought were most valuable. I could not be an effective parent if I was parenting to what my Mother wanted me to do…

I had disappointed my Mother my entire life. Up until I had my daughter I cared about that, spent my life trying to make her proud. After I had my daughter, I didn’t give a damn. I knew that I had to make decisions that I thought were best…

But anyway…

This book is interesting, and if you get bored with an essay it’s easy to jump to the next one, because they’re short, and it’s not really a story where you will miss anything. She get’s a little preachy, but me saying that is like the pot calling the kettle black…

I think my next few posts will be non corona related, and more about some interesting things I got from the books I’ve read…

 

 

Due- Archives

My daughter is taking a history class this semester. I don’t remember exactly what it is she’s studying, yet I know it is not New York City in the two thousands. Yet for her final she is allowed to do something regarding her experience during coronagate. Students work will then be put into the archives of her University.

I like this idea.

I just hope everyone writes truthfully.

I hope they write about the highs and the lows, the good and the bad. The lessons that were learned. The things that they missed.

I hope it’s not a bunch of things about how they donated plasma. survived the ventilator or didn’t hoard toilet paper…because in most cases, that would be not exactly the truth…

I have a problem with books that are labeled historical fiction. They brazenly state that they are “based on true events”, yet when I read them…. I know that truth is often stranger than fiction. I also know how often people exaggerate the truth…

The fish was thisssssss big…

The more we retell a story, the more we embellish. We can’t help it. As storytellers, our inclination is to make something interesting. Most of us don’t have the skills to make something mundane into something memorable. So we are prone to adding, subtracting, tweaking…and pretty soon, in our minds, these are how things happened…so twenty years later we don’t even exactly remember that the story we tell is not exactly the truth that was…

When I blog about my situation now, I’m telling you exactly what I’m feeling. If I feel like crap, you guys will be the first to know. If I have a good day, you’ll be the first to know. I’ll tell you if I hoard toilet paper (I presently have a six pack plus two rolls, so I think I’m good) I haven’t donated plasma, but if it turns out I’ve had corona already, I will be on line to do that. As to the ventilator, we all know that if it gets to that point, only 20% of people come off ventilators, so, yeah….Those 20% will have a great story…

So if you do one thing during this historic event, capture your true feelings somewhere. Video, photos, journals, art…whatever your medium is. Leave something for your ancestors so they know what this felt like. Remember, never sharing your feelings is a way of sharing your feelings too… so if you choose not to say anything, it still says something…

Every person’s story matters.

Every person matters.

Una – Highlights

Today begins our third two week cycle… so far all physically healthy. Mental health is hanging on by a thread…

Ok- I have two weeks of stuff:

Books:

Finished:

  1. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- fun, but overworked a little
  2. Recipe for a Perfect Wife- hated this- tried to be preachy and failed miserably. The ending pissed me off.
  3. The Remains of the Day- Loved this book. I was resistant to reading it, but it was well done
  4. The Self Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming more kind, compassionate and accepting of yourself- OMG this book was so bad. The author can’t get over being overweight and manages to bring it up probably every other page. The author is urging you to move on with life though she clearly hasn’t gotten over anything- If you love yourself you won’t read this book
  5. Valentine- I think this is Jenna’s book club. Not bad. Story is horrific but not a bad read. A little slow and heavy on message
  6. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist and our Lives Revealed- Fascinating. I’ve had this on my TBR for awhile because I was eh about it, but it’s really well written and interesting
  7. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird- I wasn’t even interested in one of her lives, much less two
  8. Such a Fun Age- (Reese’s book club) It will make an interesting TV movie or mini series for Reese…but nothing groundbreaking here
  9. Separation Anxiety- Ok- there is a chapter title Shelter in Place- so, probably not the best read if you are coping with anxiety right now, or not the best book if you are not coping with anxiety
  10. Topics of Conversation- OMG this book is so self righteous- There’s a scene where they’re trying to have a New Mom’s group, and one woman storms off because every women in attendance is a whiny baby, and really, that sums up the whole book. I’ve never been as embarrassed as I am to be a woman in 2020 as I was when I read about women in this book. If we are really like the women portrayed in this book, we need to take a good long look in the mirror…

Currently Reading:

  1. Deep Water- My daughter has a copy of this book and apparently it’s going to be made into a movie- pretty interesting (though I can confirm that I hate reading paperbacks)
  2. Conjure Women (Barnes and Noble book club) It’s ok so far- it alternates characters and I can’t always differentiate
  3. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything- If you really want to change something in your life and are very logical, this book will help. if logic isn’t your strong suit, steer clear
  4. Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss- Easy to read because it’s more like a series of short essays. Interesting perspective. I think it was Jenna’s book club
  5. Untamed- Reese’s book club. Memoir essays. Sometimes the author makes awesome points, sometimes she doesn’t. Sort of like reading my blog every day…

Reading Next:

  1. Cosy; The British Art of Comfort
  2. The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments
  3. The Women in Black

Television:

  1. Top Chef- Bravo (I don’t have a favorite yet)
  2. Spring Baking Champion- Food Network- no fave yet
  3. Food Truck Road Race- Food Network- no favorite
  4. World on Fire – PBS- I think I’m going to like it
  5. Call the Midwife- PBS I love this show
  6. Love Wedding Repeat- Netflix- My daughter needed to review this for her school paper- it’s a very average rom com, but passes the time

Dinner:

I continue to try to get creative with beans, tomatoes, pasta and rice- sometimes succeeding better than others…I venture to the stores twice a week. The stores have food, but they don’t have everything- for example, Target had tons of bread, but no rice or pasta. Eggs might start to become a problem. Disinfecting wipes are definitely a problem. I went to a Walgreens that is located in a more commercial area and scored a two pack.

 

Catorce- Gratitude

I was all excited to talk about my new noise cancelling headphones…and then I got a Groupon for an acre of land on Mars…. so I’m grateful that if life on earth doesn’t work out, I can also set up a sweet little homestead there…