Gratitude and Mindfulness: 5/14/22

I have been going to body conditioning classes twice a week. During these classes we use free weights and body bars, as well as exercises to tone various muscles, such as squats and lunges.

So the other morning, I was in class and doing my plie’s. Legs hip width apart, toes pointed outward, I bent my knees. As I started lowering my body, I let out the loudest fart ever recorded in the history of workout classes.

I am grateful that the music in class was VERY LOUD.


My mindfulness and journal prompt for the week is celebration.

Here’s how it’s used in the books I’ve been reading:

  1. Or the crowd could be celebrating her lanky older sister, with the straight, ashy bangs, who has finally, after some struggle, learned to read. Emily Henry
  2. I was smarter than Christine. But she was happier because she celebrated all victories, real or false. Qian Julie Wang
  3. When Herbert came, we went and had lunch at a celebrated house which I then quite venerated, but now believe to have been the most abject superstition in Europe, and where I could not help notice, even then, that there was much more gravy on the tablecloths and knives and waiter’s clothes, than in the steak. Charles Dickens
  4. It’s human nature to strive for more, but if you want to cultivate an abundant mindset, you must also focus your energy and attention on noticing and celebrating the abundance of what you already have. Shira Gill
  5. Stand By Me. Because despite being a film about a search for a dead body, it is a celebration of youth and friendship and life. Matt Haig
  6. I took her by the hand and led her to the bus stop. Aminat stomped in the puddles and splashed water all around. I hardly reprimanded her, though, because my own heart was celebrating. Winter was fading; the snow was shrinking into itself and turning gray. The air was warming and filling with scents. The trees were still bare, but their branches had a new vitality. Alina Bronsky
  7. Mama takes me over to a wall covered with hundreds of white bras, some with lace and little frills or doilies like party favors, as if undergarments are a cause for celebration. Parneshia Jones
  8. Whether we’re lucky enough to have a big cosy kitchen or not, it is never just to store and prepare the food. We work in there to create the meals that celebrate the company of friends and family, where spontaneous kitchen discos can happen as we feel free to dance to the radio, a chance to let go and have some silliness in our lives. Kate Peers
  9. Peter and I, feeling optimistic and festive, plan a party to celebrate our union. Delia Ephron

Here’s some thoughts that I am going to ponder when thinking about the word celebration:

  1. Do people want to celebrate little things, or do we wait for BIG things?
  2. Are people afraid to celebrate because others might not have the same things? Think Mother’s Day and Valentines
  3. I’m reading a book of poetry that is supposed to be dedicated to women. Why does only one poem in the anthology contain anything about celebrating. Are woman not supposed to celebrate?
  4. Does celebrating make one feel bad or does it put too much pressure on someone?
  5. Do some people need to celebrate more than others?
  6. Has celebrate become a bad word?
  7. What’s the last think I celebrated and why did I celebrate it?
  8. Why do quotes 2 and 4 resonate with me?

When you think celebrate, what thoughts does it bring to you?

Anything Can Happen Friday: Knives

I’m amidst spring cleaning and purging of unwanted items. When I was in my kitchen cleaning out drawers and cabinets, I began to seriously debate butter knives. I have six butter knives and six steak knives. Do I really need to keep the butter knives? Can all my cutting while eating needs be accomplished with just the steak knives?

Show of hands:

Who thinks butter knives are necessary for everyday use? Who think butter knives are outdated?


And while we are talking about knives…


The week of Mother’s Day sees three kinds of posts:

  1. Those who ignore it completely
  2. Those that embrace it fully
  3. Those who remind us that maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating Mother’s Day

Every time someone writes something disparaging about Mother’s or Mother’s Day, they are writing against women. If a man writes something bad about mothers/mothering we call him a misogynist and cancel him. If a woman writes something bad, we call her a feminist and put her on the cover of a magazine. Why do we feel the need to sabotage ourselves? I have a rocky relationship with my Mother- this does not mean that I don’t think others who have better relationships with their Moms shouldn’t talk about it- in fact, I’d say it means we need to talk about it MORE. We know how bad parenting can affect us personally, so shouldn’t we work on it? To begrudge someone because you lack something they have is envy. If you live your life envying others, you will never be content or happy. You will just be the person who is looking for something external to make their life better. Why do we feel the need to tear down something that someone else might be proud of?


And while we are still talking about knives…


A few weeks ago someone told me to stop following them because I wasn’t positive (there will be a full post on this in a few months). The other day I saw that this blogger had posted the most negative comment on someone else’s blog. I made a very passive aggressive comment back to the blogger. Not my finest moment, but maybe if we find something bad about another, we should look to ourselves to see if we are the same way.

What if You Don’t Like It

A while back I had a conversation with a fellow blogger. We were discussing books and ratings and the blogger, who is also a published author, said something along the lines of:

We shouldn’t say a book isn’t good or give it a bad or low star review because the author worked really hard at writing the book, and those who have never written a book shouldn’t judge.

Here are some things I know:

  1. It is very difficult to write a book.
  2. It is even more difficult to publish a book
  3. No one wants their work criticized

Here are some other things I know:

  1. No one wants to read a bad book
  2. If I am talking about a book I am going to be honest about how I felt about it
  3. My opinion really doesn’t matter in the world of opinions
  4. If you are going to put your work out there, you have to be prepared that someone is not going to like it.

Should we be truthful when reviewing books (or anything else for that matter)?

Should we not give a book a two star review because someone worked hard on it?

How do we feel about reviews, reviewers and criticism in general?

Discuss:

Acceptance

A few months ago I bought a tub length rubber bath mat to prevent slipping in the tub.

There.

I said it.

I have reached the age where I am not so sure footed in the tub and I worry more about slipping than I ever did before so I researched non slip bath mats that can be thrown in the washer to sanitize and were long enough to cover the whole tub and I ordered one.

Why is it so tough to admit that?

I admit it’s odd that this post is scheduled the day after my 58th birthday- back when I bought the mat and thought about this notion, I just wrote the blog idea down, not even really considering the date that I scheduled it for. Then just last week I had a blog conversation with the always thought provoking KE Garland, and we talked about the reluctance to accept that one does indeed get older, and some things do indeed need to change. http://navigatingthechange.com/2022/05/06/diary-of-a-peri-menopausal-woman-acceptance/

I am getting older.

I prefer a non slip bath mat.

I like comfortable shoes.

I walk slower now.

My neck hurts if I fall asleep on the couch.

I have really bad gas pains if I eat too much.

My natural hair color is much more grey than it is brown.

Sex is not quite as smooth as it used to be.

I need to accept that my body doesn’t do things quite the same way anymore. I need to make adjustments to how I go about my day to day. There is no shame in this. It would be silly to expect my body to behave the same way it did 5, 10, 20 years ago. This is just life. I am grateful for the privilege of aging. It is an honor to be 58 and I hope to have the honor of being 59. I do not take these years for granted. I accept my age with all the good and not so good that it entails.

I needed to take my Mother to the Doctor a few weeks ago- she has been having some not so fun and new issues. She said to the Doctor-

I’ve never had this before.”

The Doctor gently said:

“You’ve never been 81 before.”

My Mother scoffed at this. She basks in the glow of people telling her how good she looks for her age. She just can’t handle that her body isn’t quite what it used to be- that some things are breaking down. She can’t accept aging. She doesn’t want to adapt to the new normal.

We all need to adapt to the new normal…whatever the new normal may be. And that includes accepting that as we age some things must change. Why do we fight so hard to remain young? What is wrong with getting older? Why is society bent on telling us aging is bad when in reality, aging is a gift?

I’m not advocating orthopedic shoes and when you’re forty and going grey if it’s not your thing- I’m just saying that it’s OK to make some concessions as you get older. It’s not giving up. It’s getting on with life.

Guest Blogger- My Daughter

This is the first year I am not with my mother on her birthday. While she is surely celebrating as she knows best (in her bathrobe with a mug of earl gray tea and a book), I am locked away in my university’s library, toiling away over twentieth-century art and a paper about postfeminism in the television series Sex and the City. Of course, I wish I could be with her, almost as much as I wish I did not know the ins and outs of every study space on this campus. Yet, thanks to my mother’s parenting and instillation of good values, when finals season calls, I pick up on the first ring. 

For many papers I write, I am encouraged to complete what professors in my major call an “analysis map.” Similar to an outline, in a map, one must establish their thesis statement, then the topic sentences of their following paragraphs, along with a general idea of the evidence and analysis used to support such claims. Since analysis maps are all I can currently think about, in honor of my mother’s birthday, here is an analysis map dedicated to her. 

Thesis Statement: My mother’s endless commitment to the academic, social, and wellness components of my life warrant her the title as the best mother in the world. 

Body 1: My mother’s continual contribution to my academic success lays the ground from which I can succeed, thus fulfilling one of the integral components of motherhood.

  • In my K-12 journey, she attended everything I was in, not limited to publishing parties, plays, speeches and debate tournaments.
    • She even sat through concerts, where let’s face it, neither I nor my classmates were very musically inclined.
  • She always encouraged me to do my best in school, showing me the value of hard-work and resilience. When I received an A, there were hugs. When I received a C, there was a hand to pick me back up.
  • Even as I attend college miles away, she is more than willing to pick up the phone to listen to me talk about ideas for my papers or send me good luck texts. If she sees an article about something relevant to my courses, she emails it right away.

Body 2: My mother persistently aids in the social components of my life, at the right times being the best friend every mother is meant to be.

  • Just last week when there was a fiasco relating to the dress I was supposed to wear for my sorority formal, my mother picked up my frantic Facetime to help me understand how to fix the dress and suggest how I should do my hair. She also quickly got on Amazon to send me the appropriate additional items. 
  • Whenever I have questions about life where the advice of a 20-year-old girl just does not make the cut, she is always there, always with answers, even the ones I may initially tell her I do not want to hear. 
  • Similarly, if I am sad, my mother is there with tissues and if I am away at college, she will send photos of our dog and cat that will surely cheer me up. And, if I am happy, my mother is also smiling or sending the thumbs up emoji. My mother keeps my emotions, and my wardrobe, in check.

Body 3: Lastly, perhaps the most important attribute my mother attends to is my health and wellness, making her properly earn the ranking of best mother.

  • Although it sucks to have a cold, whenever I got a cold in my K-12 years, I had a small amount of happiness as I knew it meant I got to receive my mother’s best soup and sandwiches and even more care than normal, which is saying a lot. 
    • Even when I receive a cold in college, my mother still instructs me on which medicine to use, what foods to eat, and per the unwritten mother handbook, reminds me how much sleep to get.
  • Whenever there is a health trend I want to try, my mother is always my biggest supporter. Detox water? My mom bought me the water bottle. Ankle weights? My mom said order a pair. 
  • For every stressful situation, the first person I call is my mother, at attestation to her healing qualities. She magically always knows what to say and do, and helps guarantee that even I, as an overworked college student, can retain some sense of balance and ease. 

Conclusion: My mother is the best in the world because even when we are hundreds of miles apart, her love and wisdom is found in my dorm room, in phone calls, and in emails. 

Hopefully this paper would not have a page maximum, because it appears I could write thousands of pages in support of my claims.

Happy birthday mom. I can’t wait to consume your pasta and receive your powerful hugs next week.  Love you ❤

Who’s on First

I have always put my daughter first. I did this for the past twenty years without reserve- her needs came before my own. This was my choice, I own it, it worked for me, and I don’t regret it at all.

However-

My daughter will be 21 this year.

A year from now she is expected to walk the aisle at her graduation.

I’m beginning to put my needs ahead of hers.

I know there will be three types of reactions to this: 1) Those who think I was crazy to ever put her first and 2) those who think I should still be taking care of her and…3) those who think I was crazy to put her first but have inadvertently been putting their children first but don’t realize it.

But- I will tell you that it is an odd feeling to put myself first. When planning a summer trip, it feels weird that my daughter will be staying home working and taking care of the dog while my husband and I are off sightseeing. In fact, my Husband can’t quite get past the fact that my daughter will not be joining us- but that’s a whole other blog…

My daughter has become accustomed to texting me whenever and expecting me to proof a paper or listen to an idea or whatever she needs to talk about regarding school, extras and jobs. And I’ve always just responded. But now I’ve begun to set up boundaries- if she needs help with something, she needs to set up a time with me to help. Yes- I’m asking my daughter to make an appointment to speak to me regarding helping her with something… We all know I’m an early bird and my brain is toast after 5pm- I told her I don’t want to get a paper emailed to me at 11pm for my input. I’m setting up boundaries because as she matures she needs to realize that I am a person other than just her Mom. I’m always up for a fun conversation, but I don’t want to be her de facto proofreader.

I admit I feel a little guilty not responding to my daughter’s every call at that very moment. I also know that guilt is a useless emotion, especially when one has done nothing to feel guilty about. I shouldn’t feel guilty about setting up boundaries- yet there’s this little twinge when I say no or later– like I’m not being a good Mommy… But then I remember that the whole point of parenting is to get your kids to the point where they can fly solo. The mark of a well done job parenting is having independent kids who know that Mom and/or Dad helping them is optional.

It’s hard to watch your kids mature and not need you anymore- But by setting them free, you’re helping them grow into themselves. They can’t become who they are meant to be if they are still tied to their parents apron strings. Don’t feel guilty by pushing them towards maturity and adulthood and independence. It’s OK if they don’t “need” you for the day to day- it doesn’t mean that you love them less, or that they love you less- it just means you’re morphing into the next stage of the parent/child relationship.

This is the first time ever that I was not with my daughter for Mother’s Day, and I will not be with her for my birthday. I have spent years having my daughter by my side for these special days, and it feels a little weird to not spend them with her, but I realize that this is part of life- she is going in one direction as I head into another.

So I slowly set up small boundaries as my daughter and I figure out the “What’s next” of our relationship. I’m hoping we can start to become more like friends, as we learn to respect one another in a different way. There’s still much to write in the story of my daughter and I, and I’m excited for the next chapter.

What Inspired Me: 5/8/22

  • Did a fun run at the Bronx Zoo- it was fun!! We had a beautiful day and the animals were all ready for their close-ups.
  • Food wise- Fun Mexican Iguana! The place turns into a dance club but we were gone way before that !! Enzo’s in the Little Italy in the Bronx- which is a cool little enclave. Elephant and Castle has French Toast Benedict- it’s like my sweet and savory fantasy come to life!!! So good!
  • Did a city walk! Obviously haunted house comes first on my list of “OMG- I didn’t know that.” Otherwise you would have had a picture of Emma Lazurus House…
  • On recommendation of blogger/poet friend R. Douglas I saw Diva at the film forum. I can’t believe I’d never heard of this movie before!! First off- the ending was great! Secondly the editing, cinematography, directing was on point. The movie was gritty, and different from other French films that I have seen. Well done. The only drawback is that it reminded me how unappealing the 80s power suit was…
  • Flowers- courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • In America An Anthology of Fashion is about to open at the Met. I loved this exhibit!! First off- it wasn’t really about the clothes- it was about the placement which was in the galleries of The American Wing. Just breathtaking. And yes- the clothes were really cool too! If you are in NYC anytime soon I think this is a GO.
  • Last concert of the season for us! Just so glad we were back!!

Gratitude and Such: 5/7/22

I was notified that this is indeed my five year WordPress anniversary!!! I am grateful that I have been able to blog almost daily for five years! I am grateful for all of those who have come along for the ride!!!

Thank you!!


If you need a prompt for journaling or mindfulness:

Truth

May I be Well

Enough is as Good as a Feast– Proverb

If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens– Fay Weldon


I’m trying something new- for my word of the week, I’m looking to see how it’s used in the books I’m reading to see different ways of looking at the word- both in fiction and non. Of course, the week I choose to do this the word I picked was truth, and that word is literally everywhere in books- though I wonder if its as important in our day to day world as it is on the page. Maybe we like saying the word more than we like putting it into practice.

Always speak the truth- think before you speak- and write it down afterwards– Lewis Carroll

To live truthfully, to behave in a way that aligns with what is going on within, is scary, energizing, and liberating. Anything else just keeps us stuck.– Polly Campbell

It was the simple truth: the best thing a woman could do for her family was to provide clear and firm guidance. Alina Bronsky

“Giving with no expectation of a return is the only way to give,” he said. That is, of course, the absolute truth, although I had not thought of it before. Delia Ephron

With an open mind, notice the truth in the everyday- in the Buddha nature of things Shunmyo Masuno

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Here’s the truth: most of us have way too much stuff and not enough money. Shira Gill (on a funny note-the word truth is used more times in a book about home organizing that it is in the book of poetry that I took the Corinthians quote from…

And no one would ever tell me the truth but them. It was their job to tell me my flaws, Ba Ba said, because who else would do it? I could not trust the rest of the world. Everyone else would only lie to me out of politeness. Qian Julie Wang

All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew. Charles Dickens

To breathe is to live, I suppose, and to be aware of breathing is to be aware of living, to be aware of the very simplest truth of yourself, and transcend the world of doing and- for a few sweet, comforting moments- inhabit the world of being. Matt Haig

The truth of it was that I’d probably never have the kind of luck with love the women who live in fictional seaside towns do. Rachel Lynn Solomon

Five Word Friday

It’s FIVE WORD FRIDAY!!

As it’s the first Friday of the month, this is the day we choose to tell about our day, month or year by using only five words!! Feel free to go longer if you feel the urge!

Now to my five words:

Five pitcher no-hitter? Cry foul!!

For background- my beloved Mets had a no hitter last week. It was indeed a game where the Phillies had zero hits. However, the Mets used 5 pitchers to accomplish this feat. I just don’t think it’s right to call it a no hitter… We need to find another term.

Parallels

I’ve been reading some Agatha Christie of late, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the stories about Miss Marple better than the stories of Poirot. Please don’t be mad and heckle me!! I know I deviate from the norm, but I just can’t help it- Miss Marple really is the best sleuth out there.

What I love about Marple can be summed up best by what Sir Henry says in the short story Death by Drowning:

“You beat us all,” said Sir Henry warmly. “You displayed an absolute genius for getting to the truth. And you always instanced, I remember, some village parallel which had supplied you with the clue.”

Miss Marple takes the characters from her compact little village, and extrapolates their personalities and their quirks to come to conclusions and solutions. She is able to see the similarities in things others just can’t. She is a visionary. And, as I get a little big for my britches, I like to think that I am somewhat like her, but with slightly better fashion sense. After all, we both enjoy crosswords and jigsaws…

I love when I am able to connect the seemingly unconnectable dots…when I take one from column A, two from column C and one from column E and I make an educated guess. But perhaps it’s not really a guess: it’s more of coming to a conclusion based on evidence, intuition, logic and common sense. Just like Jane…

Miss Marple is underestimated because she is old and she is a woman. That’s what happened back in the middish 20th century. Alas, 100 years later we are still underestimating women who are older. So I guess I appreciate a female character who is true to herself and manages to figure things out that others couldn’t, who is just pushy enough to get her point across. Never underestimate a woman… no matter what age…

My new motto is simply going to be:

What would Miss Marple do?

For now though, I just have to figure out how to morph Miss Marple and Nora Charles into one character…I guess I have two fictional heroines now…