Gratitude Saturday- May 15

Betty had to get spayed this week…she is not happy about wearing a cone

I am grateful to the vet and the tech who worked on her.

I am grateful that she is feeling good and appears to be healing well.

I am grateful that she can probably take off her cone next week.

Anything Can Happen Friday: Empathy?

It was recently “National Teachers Day”. Do you know what I posted on social media? I wrote a message saying:

To all those who have had lousy teachers, to all those who couldn’t be teachers, to all those who are bad teachers- I send a shout out to all of you.

I did the same on Nurses Day. And Veteran’s Day. And every other “day” where someone gets a shout out for the work they’ve done.

I mean, we don’t want anyone to feel bad because they aren’t “something”.

Right?

Empathy means making sure that no one ever feels bad about anything.

Right?

On Mother’s Day I saw a whole bunch of social media reminding us to remember all the people who are not Mother’s. or who have a bad association with Mother’s.

Remember those without Mother’s. Remember those with lousy Mother’s. Remember those who can’t be Mother’s.

I get it. A day like Mother’s Day can bring up bad memories of things that you don’t have. But to be fair, Tuesday can bring up the same thing.

When we set out a day to honor something, it probably means that these people have been forgotten in the past. It means that maybe they’ve been overlooked. Perhaps underappreciated…

it doesn’t mean that they are any better or worse than anyone else. It just means that people are saying – “We appreciate you and the job that you do.” This is why there is a “day”.

If you want to celebrate a day for all those people who have issues with a day, by all means come up with your own day to celebrate that group. Why don’t we have the first Sunday in May be dedicated to all those who hate Mother’s Day? Sort of like we now have Galentines Day…Let’s give that group a voice, let’s allow them to be heard. They have a legitimate point- no one takes their feelings into account. Let’s just give them their own day.

When you try to make things fair, when you try to make sure that no one “feels bad” are you really doing anything? By making sure that no one ever “feels bad”, are we conversely making sure that no one ever “feels good”? Does taking away from one group make another group feel better?

I know. I know. Right now you are thinking that I am a horrible, non empathetic person who just wants her day. Who doesn’t care about anyone else. If you think that, well, there’s nothing I can do to change your mind.

Oh well.

But here’s the fact: Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is thankless. Motherhood is putting yourself last every single time.

Every.

Single.

Time.

I completely feel for everyone who feels bad on Mother’s Day because their experience hasn’t been quite what they wanted. But I also feel for every single Mother who celebrates the day, because really, we don’t actually know how anyone feels inside.

Sure, they might get breakfast in bed, or flowers, but Motherhood sucks 66% of the time. I did the math and wrote a post.

Being a Mother means forever being identified as “Mother”. This isn’t so easy for most Mothers…even the one’s who get big cards and post a big “Happy Mother’s Day” banner on social media.

Motherhood sucks.

This is why we have a day.

Please don’t assume that every Mother is having a good day just because they present themselves to the world that way. Look behind the smile, the laugh. Look in her eyes. See how great her day, her week, her year has been. Really look.

And allow her to just think about herself this day. Because it might be the only day all year that she does. And it might not even be the whole day. It might just be an hour, or a minute, or a second…


Let Me Speak to the Manager

See the picture? Before Karen was a racist, Karen complained to the manager about everything…

Now I want you to forget about the racist interpretation of the name Karen. Racists don’t even deserve names- they should just be called evil…

But let’s get back to the picture. Call this woman whatever you want. Let’s just say that the goal of this meme is to shut women up.

Yup.

Think about it.

Women are not supposed to complain.

Women are supposed to take what comes to them.

Women don’t have the right to expect the best service, to get what they pay for, to complain when something is wrong…

Remember my blog the other day, the one about getting my order wrong…twice?

Do you think the first thing the waiter said when he got back to the kitchen was “OMG Karen at table 3…”?

Why does society want to shut women up?

Don’t we deserve to have our voices heard?

Don’t we deserve to eat the omelet the way we want to?

Don’t we deserve to say something when we aren’t being treated fairly or correctly?

Let’s stop putting each other down. Let’s start supporting one another.

If we don’t learn to treat one another with respect and kindness, we have nothing left…

What You See is What You Get

I sometimes tell stories from my personal life on my blog. I am fairly open about who I am and what happens…

Or am I?

Which stories do I choose to tell?

Which stories do I choose not to tell?

I am always amazed when someone shares something really personal, whether it be on a blog or in a book or on a talk show. I always think about how much courage they have, being able to bare their soul for all the world to see. To know that people may judge, may ridicule, yet they still hold their head up high and move on. They lived to tell the tale…

I admire their confidence. I admire their spirit. And then I wonder what else lies beneath the surface. I wonder about all the other things that they might not talk about…

How many of us choose to discuss their personal hell? Or the times when maybe we weren’t moral or legal or ethical?

Do we only tell those stories when we get caught? Or are about to be vetted for something? Or maybe when a big divorce is on the horizon?

In the narrative of our lives, which has greater weight- what we say out loud or what we bury deep inside?

Which are the stories that keep us up at night?

Which are the stories that actually make us who we are?

We may research a person, we may talk to everyone they know, read every email, every day planner, but do we ever actually know what makes someone tick? Do we really ever know what motivates them?

Sure, anyone who has taken Psych 101 might have some “textbook” answers, but are these based on the things that we say out loud? Does analysis know who we really are?

What’s more important to understanding: the things we say, or the things that we think?

Do you have something that you lock deep inside? Or are you an open book?

The One Where I Become a Curmudgeon

As I’ve entered a new age, I decided to complain about young people just a little.

A few months ago we were at brunch. It was raining so we were seated indoors: 25% capacity, everyone wearing masks except when eating. You know the drill by now.

The waiter came to take our order. With my mask on, as per protocol, I stated that I wanted an omelet with swiss cheese, tomato and mushrooms. All of these things were listed in available ingredients list in the “make your own” omelet section. The waiter did not repeat the order back to me, nor write it down.

You know what happened.

Spinach instead of swiss cheese. FYI- I love spinach. I don’t love spinach in my omelet.

I told the waiter that my order was wrong. He argued with me. Yes. He argued with me as to what I ordered.

I repeated “Swiss” not “Spinach”

He did not repeat it back to me nor write it down.

When it came out again: cheddar cheese.

Yes.

Twice the order was wrong.

I did not send it back a second time. My daughter was waiting to eat, even though I told her to start. I ate the cheddar omelet.

However, I gave the waiter a lousy tip.

So the old curmudgeon in me asks: In a world where we are wearing masks and it makes it more difficult to hear, and there is loud music playing, how do you not repeat the order back? How do you not write it down?

How do you get it wrong twice?

I get that being a restaurant worker during pandemic has not been easy. I get that nothing has been easy. But shouldn’t you still take pride in your job? Shouldn’t you still be doing the best that you can? Shouldn’t you be happy that you still are employed?

Back in my day…

Guest Blogger- My Daughter

Today is my mom’s birthday, and if things were normal, I may not have been in our home to write this blog post nor able to enjoy the wonderful tea we have scheduled later today at 2pm. See, my mom’s birthday always falls around some inconvenient times. In middle school, her birthday was always right near the school play, which I did the tech and lighting for. In high school, her birthday was days before, sometimes on the day of, AP exams – incredibly difficult, three hour long tests that students prepare for all year. And, as a college student, her birthday is during finals week, meaning I would typically be in my dorm room hunched over a computer instead of enjoying scones and petit-fours. 

Although we always manage to make it work, this year proved to be a little different. As I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you, the past year and a half has been far from normal. One consequence of the pandemic is that my college has been virtual the entire year, meaning, much to my mom’s displeasure, I have been taking my college classes from my bedroom, only 20 feet away from my mom. She’s heard me on Zoom interviews, in Zoom class, and in Zoom debate competitions. And since everything is virtual, by default, I was home for Mother’s Day and today for my mom’s birthday. 

While my mom is probably happy that she did not have to drag my dad to tea today or engage in a Mother’s Day celebration over Zoom, in general, she has not been thrilled that I’ve been home for the past year. It’s a lot, I get it. And, trust me, I would rather be a college student on an actual campus more than two minutes apart from my parents and the walls which still adorn my baby pictures. However, if you asked me to make lemonade, I would say there were a few good things about being back at home with my mom. This includes:

  1. Having someone who makes me good dinners
    1. I am not sure if she’s told you, but during quarantine, my mom has become quite the chef. She makes homemade pasta, potato chips, parmesan crisps (and everything else that starts with p). Her food is certainly better than my dining hall and proceeds to be something to look forward to.
  2. Having a movie buddy
    1. Nearly every Friday, my mom and I have watched a movie (recently, in movie theaters!). The best part? Getting to discuss the movie afterwards and having her read over my review before I submit it to my school’s newspaper. 
  3. Having someone to talk to
    1. In that same vein, having my mom rooms away means she is more in tune with my life and always happy to talk about it. She knows what time my classes are, and at the end of each day, she’ll ask, “How was History? Is your professor still crazy?” And, she’ll listen. She’ll listen to my rants, my excitement over the new Taylor Swift albums, and help me as I decide what to write my essays on. 
  4. Consistent advice
    1. Yes, this is like talking, but I feel it deserves its own item anyways. When I am struggling or hitting my college-life crisis concerning what I will do post-graduation, now I can hear a solution without having to pick up the phone. My mom is always here to provide me advice, and somehow (I don’t know how she does it), say the right thing. 
  5. Having someone to take care of me
    1. Perhaps this is all-encompassing, but this proved to be true just on Saturday when I suffered from a major headache. My mom was willing to drop all of her responsibilities and bring me water, tea, and whatever else I needed to ensure I felt better. Whether I am having an off-day physically or mentally, I have appreciated having my mom steps away. Her comfort alone often saves the day.

The pandemic was horrible, obviously. But, it provided me a few more months with my favorite chef, movie-connoisseur, doctor, and editor. Thank you mom for everything and for letting what should have been my miserable sophomore year of college be only half-bad. 

Don’t let it get to your head though – I am still going back to school, and you will have to suffice if I end up writing next year’s blog post from a library.

Love you so much. Happy birthday. Here’s to another year (without the guise of a pandemic).

-H

What Inspired Me: May 9

What I saw in theaters
My daughter was watching Selena and Chef on HBOMAX. Curtis Stone was the guest chef and he made this awesome steak sandwich. I am happy to say that I was able to recreate it awesomely at home. It was really delicious
Betty in the car going to New Jersey
Penny – probably annoyed by the dog
Betty had a problem with the toilet paper roll

Gratitude Saturday May 8

It’s my blogiversary!

Four years ago I started my blog!

Yay!

People often ask how I can write almost every day. The answer is simple: I love blogging. When I wake up I am excited to sit in front of my computer and pump out a few hundred words, even when I have no idea what I am going to write about, which, let’s face it, pretty much every day. I open my computer with a few scribbled notes that I probably wrote months before, or, like today, I just start writing and end up with long run on sentences. Who said I always have a plan?

Ha

I want to blog every day. I am excited to interact with everyone. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t write. Period. I pen a note that I’m taking a few days off (this gives me accountability in my head) and I chill until I get the urge to write again. If you don’t love sitting in front of some electronic device and blogging, you need to ask yourself why are you doing it. I once saw someone had named their blog something like “Why did I start this damn blog” and I wonder at that as a title- if your title says that you don’t want to blog, why are you doing it?

Blog because you love it. Any other reason is just not worth it. Unless of course it’s your job, but if it’s your job and you hate it, maybe you should consider another job maybe…

But anyway…

I am grateful for my blog

I am grateful for WordPress (most of the time anyway)

I am grateful for all those who choose to read me

I am grateful to all those who choose to randomly “like” my blog

I am grateful to those who choose to follow my blog

I am grateful for all those who comment!!!!

I am grateful for all the wonderful people who I have met on this journey! You inspire me!!

Thank you!

Anything Can Happen Friday: Mother’s Day Edition

Rule of thirds: we talked about this yesterday. When you are trying to achieve a goal, you will be great 1/3 of the time, Okay a third, and crappy a third. (Alexi Pappas- Bravey) We debated if we thought this was a good ratio of good times to bad.

Somewhere in the discussion with Deb, I thought about Motherhood. (FYI- Deb has probably motivated more blogs than anyone else) As Deb and I were talking, I realized that motherhood is clearly part of the rule of thirds.

The great part? Well, that’s easy. Think about all those pictures on your phone, or in an album somewhere. Looking in my house is like a highlight reel of the great moments: artwork framed on my wall, pictures in cap and gown, certificates and trophies. These are all those moments that we think about when we decide to make Motherhood our goal.

I smile at the picture of “My first Haircut” where my daughter sits in the high chair and I clip her bangs. Who doesn’t love a “first” of something…it’s the beginning of the milestone. First day of school pics that my daughter stood patiently for every single year. Firsts, beginnings holding so much promise. I look on her window ledge and see a lifetime of trophies from things she has excelled at: Chess and and tennis and debate and law team. I remember cheering and crying when her little league softball team won the championship. I remember cheering and crying as she accepted the Pinstripe Bowl Scholar Athlete award at Yankee Stadium. The college acceptance letter. These are the moments you think about as you are carrying or adopting your child before they are even born. You can’t help but imagine the wonderful experiences that your child will have as they figure out who they are.

The quiet moments of reading “Goodnight Moon as their eyes get heavy. The tea parties on the living room floor. The times they add the chips into the cookie dough. Walking hand in hand with them as they skip a little bit. These are probably the greatest of the great moments- just you and your child and everyone is happy and you are just in the moment.

But on the road there, we have a lot of ennui. Sitting at the practices waiting for your kid to finish up. Rereading their opening statement for the Mock Trial competition a thousand and one times. Hearing them try to play “Smoke on the Water” first on recorder, and then on the clarinet, and then on the guitar….unless your child is a musical prodigy, there is no way you do not want to cut off your ears when they practice.

There’s the boredom that comes with the day to day, the rote of getting them out of bed, dressed, breakfast, make sure they have all their stuff, get them to school, come home and do homework, brush the teeth…rinse…repeat…how fondly do you remember reminding them if they have their gym uniform?

OF course…we have those moments that make you question why you became a parent. Colic….the dreaded hours between 4 and 6pm when they might just cry. Or the waking up in the middle of the night. The look of the new parent is a clever mix at awe in what they created, and shock at surviving on as little sleep as they do.

The toddler years. Who doesn’t love bolting down furniture and locking everything that opens. Ever try one of those toilet locks at 3am?

The years when your kid is struggling to find their place in the world?

When they lose a game or a competition or a friend?

When they hurt so bad that you feel like you are empty because you don’t want to see your child hurt so much?

The tween years….yeah…who doesn’t love the onset of puberty?

The teen years…rebels who think they have a cause?

Yup.

1/3 great

1/3 okay

1/3 crappy

But…

Wow…

It’s worth it.

Congratulations to everyone, whether or not they are a Mother, who has parented a child. It is not the goal of everyone, but to those who choose it, I salute you.

1/3 1/3 1/3

Have you heard about the rule of thirds?

I recently read a very good memoir: Bravey by Alexi Pappas. Pappas is an Olympian and producer/actor/writer. She has conquered her own demons. Pappas has packed a lot into a relatively young life…

One of the tricks (i don’t know what to call it, so I’ll go with tricks) is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is as follows:

When you’re chasing a big goal, you’re supposed to feel good a third of the time, okay a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time

Alexi Pappas Bravey

This explains the success Pappas has had. She is willing to push through the pain in order to achieve her goals.

But…

Does this translate to little goals as well as big ones?

What if your goals are more modest? (Modest goals are okay: you set the rules for your life. You are allowed to have any goal, or no goal…)

My goal is to blog five days a week. I feel good when I blog every single time that I do it. Does this mean I’m doing it wrong? Should I be pushing myself to write deeper, show pain, write better? Should I feel crappy right now as I write?

If you feel lousy a third of the time you are doing something, is it worth doing?

Does the end justify the means?

Which leads me to: what if you embody this rule of thirds, and you go after your goal. You spend years feeling good a third of the time, 2/3 of your life is blah at best. Then something happens at zero hour to derail your goals. Maybe you teammate or coworker gets sick, maybe there’s a fire in your factory, maybe you lose…if you spent years feeling great only 1/3 of the time in pursuit of this goal, how well do you recover? Are you so used to pain that it doesn’t matter? Or are you depressed and feel like you’ve wasted your life?

Lots to discuss here…lots of food for thought.

What do you think? Do you have a goal? How do you feel while trying to accomplish it? Have you accomplished something via the rule of thirds?

What say you all?