Accomplish That…

Is it a bad thing if, in the course of your life, you don’t “accomplish” anything?

I know what some of you are thinking: Don’t we all accomplish things just by existing every day? We go to elementary and high school. 35% graduate college. We hold jobs and buy houses and cars. We raise families. We have jobs. We all have a laundry list of things that we start and complete- which we do and we should give ourselves lots of credit for these daily and lifelong wins. But what about those slightly out of reach things? Is it bad if we never reach for something that is sort of out of our league?

The other day, I wrote about how I decided, after years of filling up Google Docs, that I wanted to send some of my writing off to contests. I wanted to try to “do” something so I would feel like a writer. Some people reminded me that if you write, you’re a writer- a sentiment which I wholly believe- this is a very true statement that I have told legions of people I know who write. Right now though, at this stage of my life, I guess I feel I need to accomplish something- namely, have someone other than myself say that my writing is OK: have someone other than myself choose to publish it. Would it be a bad this if I didn’t try to do anything else with my writing?

How do we feel about accomplishments?

Does everyone need to have something to strive for?

Have you ever set a goal, like cooking all the recipes from a cookbook, or winning a local darts trophy?

Tell me about something you accomplished, a goal you set and met- OR- tell me why you don’t think it’s important to set a goal.

Discuss:

Do We Owe Kids College?

Ok.

I kind of gave it away in the title.

In America it is assumed that parents will pay for their child’s college education. It is somehow assumed that parents “owe” this to their children. But do parents really owe their kids this?

You know that my daughter is very academically focused. She works hard, gets good grades and takes school seriously. I don’t mind paying for her undergraduate studies. However, if my daughter was not studious, I don’t know how much money I would be ponying up for her education.

So what does the group say?

Do parents owe their children a college education?

Discuss:

Show Them the Money

A few months ago I wrote about someone I know who expected her partner to leave her the bulk of his estate instead of the majority of it going to his children and grandchildren. Lots of commentary on that one. Some people commented that as she “cared” for him, she “deserved” the money.

Assuming that a couple is older, and have been together less than ten years, and do not share any children, I ask the specific question:

Does living with someone qualify as a reason to be left a large portion of an estate? Is the assumption that one has somehow “earned” the money for services rendered? Of course I mean service in the most pedestrian of ways- cleaning the house, taking care of certain tasks, etc.

Is being left money a sort of payback?

Should you take care of things in a relationship just because that’s what people do, with no expectation of recompense? Or should one be shown the money?

Discuss:

What Inspired Me: 4/17/22

  • The Orchid Show at NYBG was as spectacular as always.
  • Whitney Biennial- as always happens when I go to to the biennial- there are some things that I love, and some things I wonder why they are considered art. There was one piece that I liked very much, but I was not able to capture in on film- All is all, an interesting mix of new American art. The one thing that the biennial does teach me is that art is very much a business- there is very little that is meant to be a backdrop to someone’s d├ęcor. These pieces are made to be displayed in gallery settings, unless you happen to have a room where you can set up a projection screen or build a house. Speaking of which- Sutter’s Mill- which sees the artist build and take down a structure is very powerful to see in person. I do wonder if some collector buys the artist when they buy the work. Sort of counterintuitive…
  • Apparently the Statue of Liberty at the Highline is supposed to wear masks- I will try to get there for an update…
  • Lots of awesome comfort food this week! fried chicken, burger and ramen- these are my go to comfort foods-
  • If you like passionate piano- Yuja Wang is for you- She is just so powerful at the keys…
  • The night we went to Carnegie Hall was the night of the subway shooting. We took the bus uptown, but on the way home we took the R train, which runs alongside the N train where the attack occurred. It was a little jarring to see the station closed sign on the interior subway map.
  • Winslow Homer- Crosscurrents at the Met. Ok- I can see that Homer is a good artist deserving of a retrospective. However, I just can’t get that excited over his work. Well organized exhibit though.
  • I can’t tell you how much I love Galleries 217 and 218 at the Met. My pictures do not do justice to the beauty and serenity and loveliness that are these galleries. This has always been one of my favorite spots at the Met.
  • As I continue to seeing the Met in numeric gallery order, I find myself in a weird spot. From galleries 209- 232, these exhibits are technically “special” but they have a lot of new rotations, so I have been through these galleries quite often over the past ten months. However, as I now actually remember a lot of the more static pieces, I am going to go a bit more briskly through these galleries until I get to numbers I haven’t seen much of. It sort of goes against my somewhat literal tendencies, but I am trying…

Gratitude Saturday and Such- 4/14/22

Both of my parents went to the ER this week- my Mom because she was really dizzy and lightheaded. and my Dad because he fell.

Fun times.

I’m grateful that they were both released rather quickly. I’m grateful that they both got referrals for next step Doctors- My Dad an orthopedist for his broken shoulder and my Mom to a cardiologist because of an irregular heart beat… I’m grateful that I will be able to see them for Easter.


I am also grateful to those who reached out to me to make sure that I was safe after the Brooklyn subway shooting earlier this week. Thank you!!


If you need a prompt for journaling or mindfulness:

strength

The skill of doing nothing

...beauty is whatever gives joy Hugh Nibley

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

Anything Can Happen Friday: Carpe Scriptum Verbum

I write every day. I have a computer full of non blog stuff. And that’s the issue: I have a computer full of stuff that just sits there…

So I entered a writing contest.

You have no idea how hard it was for me to do that.

You know that the scariest moment of my day is when I hit “schedule”. There is not a day that I press that I do not have second thoughts about. But I’ve established a pattern and now it’s all part of the process- write, tag, schedule. Done.

Now I have to expand. Now I have to get my other work out there. It’s my carpe scriptum verbum.

So I picked my least polished piece of creative non fiction- seriously it was a battle for the least polished– I dusted it off a little, paid an entry fee and sent my essay off into the void that is known as wait and see publishing hell.

Then I sat at my desk and blew a sigh…relief, gratitude, fear…

It’s done. My first piece is sent off to judging…

And now I’m finishing up the next piece to be sent off…

I needed to be proactive- the writing is fun and easy. Doing something with it is hard.

Do I need to do anything with my writing?

No.

But can I really say I’m a writer if it just sits in my google doc file?

That’s debatable…

For now, I’m choosing to send it off. It was time to shake things up a bit.

The One Where I Felt a Little Mean

I was out walking the dog. We had made the run to PetSmart to buy wee wee pads, and Betty and I were wandering around, window shopping. I saw this really pretty bag in the window of a store, and a big 60% off sign…

You know I love a good bag, especially on sale…

So I went into the store and looked at the bag. It was a black saddle bag, roomy enough to fit an umbrella and iPad and camera if need be. I looked at the price tag- $195…

Or so I thought the tag said 195…

I asked the salesperson if the 195 was the sale price or the original price…

The salesperson literally laughed in my face.

“Oh no.” she said.

“How could you think the bag is 195 originally? Tee tee hee. This is Marimekko you know.” Shake of the tussled hair as she took the bag away. “It’s 60% off 495.” She started to wipe my cooties off the bag as she went to tell her co-worker about my blunder.

OK- you know my first thought was

What a …..

and my second thought was

If the bags were cheaper maybe they wouldn’t be on 60% off sale.

third thought:

I hope they go out of business

I know.

I know.

I’m a horrible uncharitable person. But I didn’t say any of these things- I just thought them and I’ve decreed that thinking is ok as long as you don’t act on your bad thoughts. I’m allowed to make that decree, right?

So a month later I was getting off the bus at the stop near the store. Guess what? The store was closing on December 24.

I felt a little bad- I don’t like to see anyone lose their job. Then I thought that maybe if they priced things more reasonably, and didn’t make fun of those who think 495 for a bag is a tad too much, they might have survived.

So there you have it. Sometimes people don’t treat me nicely and I harbor bad thoughts. I’m not proud of myself, but every day is a learning process…I can only try to be a better person tomorrow.

DNF

I’m one of those annoying people who likes to finish books that I’ve started. Even if I read three pages a day and it takes two years, I’m usually one who holds it our till the end. My thought on this that I feel like I owe it to the author to read it cover to cover. I know- it seems pretty lame, but it’s my internal and unspoken contract with a writer- they wrote it, I started it, I’ll see it through.

However, I will admit that there are books that I have not finished. Obviously it pains me, because it is so against my character to just give up and shut the book forever.

Here I present to you the books that I know that I didn’t finish, or skipped an awful lot of the book, so much so it would be a stretch to say I’d actually read it:

  1. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens. Here’s the funny thing about this particular book: I’m doing the Barnes and Noble reading bingo, and one of the squares is “A book you skipped in school”. I was not the greatest of students, however, reading was the one and only thing I did do. I didn’t skip anything…except for a not so careful reading of GE. I TOTALLY skipped whole chapters and paragraphs and whatever. Now I am atoning and reading GE as part of the BN challenge. You know what? I still do not like this book. I mean, the writing is wonderful, and the descriptions are vivid, but SO MANY WORDS. SO MANY WORDS. Even though I want to read it cover to cover, I don’t know if I will make it.
  2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog– Muriel Barbery. “In our world that’s the way you live your grown up life”- simply do not finish this book
  3. Catch 22– Joseph Heller. Love the phrase, hate the book.
  4. Ulysses– James Joyce. This book, said LA, is a nightmare which I must put down
  5. Moby Dick– Call me long winded
  6. Eat, Pray, Love– In for the eating, on board for the praying, out for the love
  7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo– Stieg Larsson- Then I discovered that I didn’t care about the main character
  8. Another Roadside Attraction– Tom Robbins- This is the only book assigned for a book club that I did not finish. I didn’t care because the person who chose it was 1) rude to me once and 2) rarely showed up for books other than her own

So there’s my true confession- these are the books that I did not finish.

Are you the type of reader that just pushes through, or do you have some books that you didn’t see to the end?

Which books just didn’t cut it for you? Which books made you throw in the towel? What are the books that you just couldn’t finish?

Spiraling

Wallace whispered “It’s easy to let yourself spiral and fall.” “It is” Nelson agreed. “But it’s what you do to pull yourself out that matters most.” TJ Klune Under the Whispering Door

We all fall.

We are human.

We make mistakes.

Accept that as the truth that it is. Accept that we will screw up royally at least once in our lives.

Ok- did you accept that you are fallible? Did you wipe that positivity smirk off your face and admit that there are times that you failed, or will fail? That the people around you will fail, or have failed?

Accept that even though you may not have “failed”, some things just didn’t go your way- some things never fell into to place for you. You lost a job or a house or a lover, but not because you did anything wrong, but because unfortunately sometimes life just gets the best of you.

Accepted? Understood?

Great.

How did you recover?

Are you still wallowing in the misery of past fails?

or

Did you pick yourself up and do what you needed to do to move on?

When asked how I define a successful person, I don’t say that success lies in money, or fancy degrees, or a great job. I say success is defined as being able to get yourself up and out there after a setback. To me, anyone who has bounced back is a success.

Did you spiral out?

Did you spiral back in?

Falling down the hole isn’t the worst thing: staying down the hole is.

Figure out how to get up and moving again.

Devotion

Nothing is so boring as devotion Hercule Poirot’s Christmas Agatha Christie

I remember Grease– I remember that Sandy being devoted to Danny really didn’t do anyone any good- Danny didn’t become intrigued till Sandy had dated the jock and went all leather no lace.

So…

What do you think about when you think devotion?

If someone says they are devoted to you, do you think:

  1. Aww shucks how sweet
  2. Hmmm- this level of devotion- is this a true crime podcast about to happen?
  3. all this fawning is getting a little- yawn- boring
  4. I’m the luckiest person alive

What does devotion really mean? Does it mean that they will follow you without question? That they worship you? That they will spend their life trying to make your life better?

I can’t help it. I think there’s something a little creepy about one saying to another that they’re devoted. It almost goes over the top for me- do I want someone who just follows my lead without question? Or do I want someone who challenges me when I say something inane?

“Challenges me” for 100 Alex…

Don’t get me wrong- there are times when what I say makes logical sense and is clearly the more correct path and I want my Husband to listen to me and follow my guide…But…when I’m acting like a less than rational person, I need someone to reel me in…

Utter devotion is a very bad road to walk down…

Do I want my husband to have my back? Yes- unless I’ve been completely out of line…

Do I have my daughter’s back? Yes- unless she is doing something that is very damaging to herself or another.

Am I devoted to my closest friends? Yes- they can count on me right up until they hand me the shovel – I’m hoping I talk them out of it before there are bodies to bury…

Pick any aspect of this post and discuss away. I want to know what devotion means to you.