Gratitude Saturday October 10

About two years ago I started meandering down the path of gratitude: at some point of the day I just down something that I’m grateful for.

Along this path, I’ve come across a few types of gratitude seekers, including the compare/contrast gratitude seeker. These are the people that are always like I’m grateful for X because not everyone has X. It sort of reminds me of the stereotypical dinner conversation of “Clean your plate. There are starving children in ______”

And just as the latter statement was the precursor to many an eating disorder, the former leads us to a false sense of superiority- I am better than you because you lack something I have...

I found out this week that a blogger I know lost a son to a tragic accident.

I can’t imagine saying I’m grateful for my daughter because someone else lost a child…

I am grateful for my daughter. PERIOD.

I am saddened by any family that loses a child. PERIOD

Just be grateful for what you have, not that you have more than someone else. Compare/contrast will just lead you to a life of dissatisfaction and regret.

Gratitude only works if you are truly grateful for the bounty before you…Otherwise it’s just pointless.

Friday Favorites:/ Block Editor Edition

No one likes the block editor.

It’s illogical.

There’s no reason to do it

It’s change for change’s sake.

People are going to stop blogging because of it.

Nobody likes change.

I get all of that.

So…

Imagine being a teacher, who now has to teach students virtually.

Imagine being a student, who now has to learn virtually.

Imagine anyone who has been forced to change the way they live their lives, whether it’s dramatic or not…

Can they give up?

Yes they can.

Should they give up?

?

Will they give up?

?

I understand the difference: no one has to blog. No one’s life depends on whether or not they blog. People just like blogging the old way, with the classic editor…

But life doesn’t always work out how we plan.

Do we fight the change?

Do we concede and just do things the new way?

Do we openly embrace the new normal?

Do we talk about the good old days?

Do we quit?

Change happens.

How will you react to it?

Hold me Closer Tiny House

Did you know that Amazon sells tiny houses?

I don’t know why I’m surprised. I’m beginning to think you can get everything you want via Amazon…

Just imagine, you can flit off to some plot of land, and in 3-5 weeks you can have a little house delivered…free shipping…

I don’t know why the thought of Amazon selling houses intrigues me so much…but I guess I’m imagining a world where children never move away from their parents. They just move into a tiny house in the backyard…

Would you ever consider the tiny house trend? Do you think it’s a solution to housing problems? Or do you think it creates other problems?

Or are you just shaking your head at what can be purchased online?

The One Where LA is a Big, Fat Hypocrite

Imagine a flashback sequence:

LA talks about how having too many choices is a bad thing.

She mocks the fact that stores carry multiple versions of the same product.

She condemns peoples that are particular when choosing things.

BREAKING NEWS:

Our stealth reporters have found evidence that the very same day that LA condemned options, LA spent FOUR HOURS looking for a new pot because she was having trouble finding the EXACT pot that she wanted.

Here’s a list of her demands:

  1. non stick
  2. dishwasher safe
  3. 10 inch diameter
  4. curved bottom
  5. at least 2 inches depth
  6. oven safe
  7. cover
  8. less than 50$

See- no pot could meet her very exacting standards.

She didn’t think there were enough options.

Let that sink in- LA stated that there weren’t enough options.

Here she was complaining that people had too many choices, that the abundance of options made them weak and whiny, and here she sits, ipad in her hand, doing the exact thing she condemned others for doing.

For shame

FOR SHAME

When reached for commentary, all LA could do was shake her head and say “I have no comment about my search for appropriate cookware”

But really, what can you say about a person who writes an entire blog about how we should only be presented with one or two options of a product who that very same day breaks the rule?

Can we call her a hypocrite?

Yes…I believe that we can…

After much hounding by the press, LA released a statement on Twitter:

“I ended up with no cover. There is no such thing as a perfect pot.”

Meant to Be?

I am a fan of the Ruth Galloway mystery series written by Elly Griffiths. I am about to talk about two of the characters in the book, so there will be a little spoiler about them, but I am not going to divulge anything about the mysteries or cases or whatever.

The main character is obviously Ruth Galloway. RG is a forensic archaeologist and University lecturer. DCI Nelson is the requisite police friend that every mystery series seems to have. Also true to course, RG and Nelson have a wicked sexual chemistry.

Nelson is married.

RG and Nelson conceive a child together.

Nelson stays with his gorgeous wife.

Through the course of thirteen novels RG and Nelson are attracted to one another and occasionally succumb to desires.

So what are we going to discuss today?

In real life, are there circumstances where two people are just drawn to one another? Or is this just a convenient way to add depth and texture to a book?

We will ask the soul mate question yet again- do they exist and if you find yours, should you forsake all else and just be with them?

As readers, are we supposed to root for the illicit lovers, or are we supposed to want them to stay with their present partners and forget about “the one”?

Griffiths includes much canoodling in this particular series. Upon reading the last novel, I can already see the threads of having a different character cheat on their spouse (actually, now that I’m thinking about it, there’s more than one character heading in that direction) Cheating on your partner is probably more prevalent than murder in these novels.

In these books, the person most likely to start the illicit relationship is the female character. Are we supposed to feel that the women are empowered because they are the initiators because they are doing what feels right for them? Or are we labeling them home wrecker and having them wear a big A on their chest?

Pick any, or all, of these options and give me your feelings.

Discuss…

added note: if you are a regular reader, you will know that I posted a blog about connecting idea dots…

Consider my post about WAP the first dot…

Now consider this post the second dot…

There will be a third dot, and probably a fourth dot…

Let’s Take a Semester In

My daughter’s college chose to go virtual this semester.

I am still irrationally mad about this.

For fun, I’m going to list all the things that my daughter has done virtually this year:

  1. Training for becoming an orientation counselor
  2. Training to be a peer advisor
  3. Actual orientation counselor
  4. Actual peer advisor
  5. Train to be a mentor
  6. Actual mentor
  7. Ran meetings to be parts of the organizations she’s involved in
  8. Leading students on the moot court team to prep for a virtual tournement
  9. Pledged a sorority (I don’t know if it’s still called pledging)
  10. Attends live classes every week
  11. Applied for multiple virtual internships
  12. Works at a virtual internship
  13. Attends sorority meetings
  14. Attends a billion other meetings
  15. Attends office hours
  16. Has held office hours
  17. Tutors kids

I’m sure if I asked her there would be more things. She spends a lot of time in front of her computer…

Isn’t it funny that a year ago we would have called a kid spending that much time in front of a computer a psychopath or anti social and was in line to be/do something nefarious?

Now we call them resilient.

Whenever I tell people that this virtual learning stuff is BS, I’m hit with the positivity police:

“You know- it’s not that bad. They’ll do fine>’

Well, let’s start with that “fine” is not really the outcome anyone wants of their child. They want them to thrive.

But let’s look at this another angle:

Would kids have been fine if we didn’t give them participation trophies all those years? See, to me, that was how we taught kids resilience. We let them lose and tell them it’s OK and that the sun still will shine tomorrow…

My daughter has entered and lost far more things than she has won. She still has a pretty impressive collection of trophies, plaques and certificates. (she’s gotten ridden of anything that reeked of participation alone)

She has been resilient her entire life.

She was the first grader who walked in the door and did her homework before anything else. (though she spent the first hour or two after school either on the playground, at a playdate or at a lesson)

She was the kind of kid that when given a project with a future due date, she would figure out how many hours she needed to work on it each night so she wasn’t rushed and finishing it at the last minute.

She laid out her books the night before to make sure everything she needed was in her backpack.

She was always prepared for class.

If she signed up for an activity she showed up when she was supposed to. She listened to whatever coach or teacher or parent was in charge. ‘

She was respectful of everyone.

So yes, even in these challenging times my daughter is resilient.

She is making the best of a bad situation.

That still doesn’t mean she’s good…or the situation is good…

Last semester she finished with first honors which means she had a GPA of greater than 3.9. Now, before you’re all like, well, I’m sure the school was lenient... because people don’t necessarily want to see someone thrive…I’ll give you another little factoid. 50% of the kids at her school chose to take the pass/fail option, so things weren’t quite so easy. (to add- my kid goes to a competitive school with a very low acceptance rate)

Or 50% of the kids were not so resilient.

Because here’s the thing:

We can scream till we are blue in the face about how the kids are fine…

Yet, how many kids out there went home and did homework without prodding?

Took their time doing a project?

Showed up for practices?

Actually practiced something?

Accepted a loss with grace and dignity and still got up to try again?

And then tell me how you think those kids are doing?

As my daughter enters the third hour of her sociology class, even she’s starting to wither…

How do you think other kids are doing?

Here’s what I think we are doing to the youth of today:

Dumb

Depressed

Drugged

Drunk

Demoralized

In the name of keeping them safe, we are ruining them.

Let me make this clear. This is my opinion. There are no “facts” or “statistics”. But right now, this will be a lost generation.

If you have someone under 25 in your life, make sure they are Ok mentally. Be their support system. Make sure they’ve even reached fine on a scale of bad to good… Make sure they are resilient as you think they are.

on a slightly different note: My daughter needs to find someone to interview for her history class. They must be American and old enough to have been at least a teenager during the 1960’s. They also need to have done something noteworthy such as been in Vietnam, or attended protests against the war, or were at Woodstock, or saw the Beatles live, marched for civil rights or gay rights or women’s rights, or something that was out of the ordinary, and was clearly part of what we now know as 60’s history. email me at wakinguponthewrongsideof50@gmail.com

Thanks!

Highlights October 4

Salted Caramel
Hill Country Barbecue
My daughter made a cheese platter for movie night
I bought myself a milk frothed…now I’m obsessed with tea lattes
This is half of a pancake wrap from Brownstone Pancake Factory in Englewood NJ….took three people to eat other half…
Some leaves
Apple picking
Back on the 5 train
Should have been better
Too predictable
As I was a little bit off last week, this song just made sense
My daughter and I saw Boys in the Band on Broadway…same cast as movie
This was really good
The new historic doll is from the 80s. Now I feel old.
Solid read

Gratitude Saturday October 3

This was a bleh week for me. Nothing particularly bad happened to me, nor did anything particularly good happen either. I noticed some of my friends in a funk as well…

I read a quote yesterday-

Never underestimate the big importance of small things (Matt Haig)

I am grateful that I got out of bed every day at my normal time.

I am grateful that I made my bed every day.

I am grateful that I made a cup of tea every morning.

I am grateful that I wrote a blog every morning.

I am grateful that I got on my exercise bike for at least a half hour every day.

I am grateful that I showered and took care of my personal hygiene every day.

I am grateful that I put on clean clothes every day.

These gestures are more important than we realize.

Cut yourself some slack.

Friday Favorites: The Boots Edition

If you read my posts last weekend, you know I had issue with a pair of boots I ordered.

But the story continues:

Here’s where we stand now-

  1. Website crashed as I tried to order
  2. Lucky to get discount code
  3. Free shipping meant sending the boots on a vacation before they got to me
  4. Received boots on Sunday: wrong size (wide calf) was sent
  5. Spoke to customer service and got new boots sent
  6. Returned wide calf version to my local DSW store
  7. Received correct boot. I emphasize boot because though they sent me the correct boot, they only sent me one boot
  8. I repeat: they delivered one boot
  9. On with customer service yet again
  10. Received new boots yesterday
  11. Received wide calf version of boots, but at least there were two in the box
  12. Emailed top five executives at DSW and asked how many people at DSW does it take to get a pair of boots delivered
  13. As I’m writing this, I got an email that I have a package downstairs. It could be cat litter that I ordered. It could be boots.
  14. Do I feel lucky?
  15. ?????

A Little Bit of History

I’m back on the historical fiction diatribe…

I’m about to talk a little bit about the movie “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and the book “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” by Fiona Davis. There will be small spoilers of things that happen, so if you plan on watching/reading…proceed with caution.

I recently read TLOFA. It’s basic plot is a story about a family that lives in an apartment inside the large library in Manhattan. The lions guard the outside of the library and the Lyons family guard the inside.

The message that the book is trying (emphasize trying) to impart is one of women’s rights and gay rights.

Fine.

My problem isn’t with the message, both direct and indirect. My problem is the way that the indirect message is portrayed.

There is a scene in the book where two female lovers are openly kissing in front of their apartment building. In the middle of the day.

This is supposed to be 1911.

While this may have happened, I’m guessing that this probably wasn’t a common sight. There is nothing in the dialogue of the book to show that this was shocking and highly unusual- the book practically underplays the scene to the point where one could consider it common practice…

I’m now flipping to the movie switch: CYEFM is about a woman who begins forging letters said to be written by some of the greatest writers of our time. One of the reasons she gets caught is because she writes a letter that was supposed to be written by Noel Coward. In this letter, Coward purportedly writes with barely disguised innuendo about homosexuality. This leads the forger to be discovered. A friend of Coward’s who read the letter stated that Coward would never have written so openly about being gay…

Because in reality, people weren’t real open about being gay back in the early half of the 20th century…

So here’s my problem:

By rewriting history, we are taking something away from the pioneers who have fought to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally.

By suggesting that women normally intimately kissed one another in plain sight of everyone, as far back as 1911, will make people forget how hard the struggle was, and continues to be.

We are losing respect for the generations that stood before us.

We are losing the empathy of what others went through to achieve some of the things that we now take for granted.

Erasing or changing history does not make things better: in fact, it probably makes things worse.

Tread carefully when you read historical fiction…it may be more fiction than history…