Love or Obligation

“I want kids so that I have someone to take care of me when I get older.”

Someone said this to me once. Flat out, the only reason they wanted kids was that they expected free help as they aged. They expected their children who were not born yet to care for them out of obligation.

I don’t believe in doing things out of obligation.

I do things out of love.

If I help you, it is not a tit for tat situation. It is because I really care about you and will do what is within my power to help you. When my friend G was diagnosed with liver cancer and had about three months to live, I just pitched in wherever I could help his family- take his kid home from school, pick up prescriptions, take him to chemo. Whatever he needed, I helped because he was my friend. No recompense needed.

When my parents became ill, I did not do things because of the things they did for me in the past. I did it because I love them. Period.

My daughter is stressed out now- lots of work and such for the final push towards graduation. I said to her “What can I do to help you?”. This wasn’t said because I screwed up and was a bad parent and I owed her, it wasn’t because I felt obligated because she’s my daughter: it’s because I love her and will try to help her in ways that she could use help.

I help out of love. Obligation is paying back money like my mortgage, or paying my credit card bills. Doing something for others is love.

Next time you are doing something for someone, or someone is doing something for you, think about why you’re doing it. If it’s for any reason other than love, think again.

I came, I Saw, I Ate…1/29/23

I continue to have problems with the gallery block…picture me having a temper tantrum right now…But…aside from technical difficulties, it was a good week!

Ten Things: 1/28/23

Forgiveness is the best way to disempower the enemy. Gift Gugu Mona

Every evening I write down ten assorted memories of my day- good, bad, funny, sad, gratitude or annoyance. Here’s a sample from the past seven days…

  1. I finally figured out how to best store my yoga mat- the solution has been literally staring me in the face for years yet I was too blind to see it. how’s that for a life lesson.
  2. My daughter needed me to send her her red dress. I found some other things to send her and closed the box before I’d added the red dress….I was not happy about opening the box and reclosing it
  3. I had amazing subway connections going to Brooklyn Botanic- hit everything in record time. This never happens…
  4. Sunday’s wordle word was stupid
  5. when I went to Trader Joe’s, they had full shelves, no lines and an great cashier
  6. I have about 12 Oscar nominated movies to see between now and March
  7. My favorite apple guy wasn’t at the Farmers Market and Ive become addicted to his evercrisps…
  8. Realized that I screwed up reservations for my daughter’s graduation- thrilled that I was able to fix it
  9. grateful for really wonderful conversations on my blog this week
  10. movies that are 3 hours and 12 minutes are way too long

My Month in Books and Movies: January 2023

Book AuthorGenreType of ReadRanking/Rating on Goodreads
Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to AmericaHugh Eakinnon fiction/history/artbook club/personal interest1- 4.41
Dear Paris: The Paris Letters CollectionJanice MacLeodnon fiction/epistolary/beach read kind of2- 4.25
My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in ParisAlexander Lobranonon fiction/memoirbook club3- 4.05
Handbook for Bad DaysEveline Helminknon fiction/personal growth4- 3.91
Marple: Twelve New Mysteriesedited by Naomi Aldermanficiton/mystery/Miss Marplebeach read5- 3.86
Lost and Found: A MemoirKathryn Schulznon fiction/memoirbook club6- 4.19
A Year of Positive Thinking: Daily Inspiration, Wisdom and CourageCyndie Spiegelnon fiction/positivity quotespage a day for a year/personal growth7- 4.21
A Tidy EndingJoanna Cannonfiction/psych thrillerbeach read8- 3.89
SolitoJavier Zamoranon- fiction/memoir/immigrationbook club9- 4.52
Midcoastfiction/family intrigue/mini sagabeach read10- 3.56
All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show BusinessMel Brooksnon fiction/memoir/celebritybeach read11- 4.24
hello Habits: A Minimalist’s Guide to a Better LifeFumio Sasakinon fiction/habit formationhow to12- 3.60
Life’s Too SHortAbby Jimenezficiton/romancebeach read13- 4.21
Daisy DarkerAlice Feeneyfiction/psych thrillerdon’t do it14- 3.83
The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Intention- An Artist’s Way BookJulia Cameronnon fictionutter rubbish15- 3.27
To be clear- I did not read all of these books in January- I finished some of them. Because of blog scheduling I finished some of them in December. It took me months to read most of them!
  1. Picasso’s War- If you are interested in modern art and history, this is a decent read. When artists like Picasso first appeared, the American Art market was not too keen on them or their art. This is a well written history of how MOMA was formed, and the people responsible for it.
  2. Paris- This is literally a compilation of a women’s letters to friends after she emigrated to Paris. I love the whole letter format, and I love Paris, so this was a win for me, but if you don’t love those things, give this book a pass.
  3. My Life at the Table- When the author discusses food, this book sings. Don’t read this book hungry because the way he describes meals that he’s eaten is just glorious. Unfortunately, the other part of this memoir is more personal, and they really should be two different books, because the sad part didn’t jibe with the food part.
  4. Handbook- little inciteful chapters about why it’s ok to have bad days, and how to get past them. This is the anti toxic positivity handbook- it’s practical and to the point
  5. Marple- Some well known mystery writers take over where Agatha Christie left off with some new adventures of Miss Marple. Some of the stories are better than others, but it was fun to see my favorite sleuth solve some new mysteries. Light and fun
  6. Lost- Schulz is clearly highly intelligent. She writes beautiful sentences and her words flow from page to page. Schulz is also clearly an intellectual- she is the type of person who spends her evenings reading poetry aloud to her wife- there’s nothing wrong with this type of activity or person, but the book is written from the head and not the heart, as if she doesn’t have real emotions to express. It is way too stylized to give me the feels. The book is about the loss of her beloved father and the beginning of the relationship with the woman who would become her wife, yet it is almost emotionless- there’s a lot of wonderful thoughts and such, all beautifully rendered, but it lacks soul. You can’t have a great memoir without soul.
  7. Positive Thinking- This is the kind of book you read a page of every day. It’s cute and uplifting and I enjoyed starting my day with it.
  8. Tidy- This isn’t a bad book, but for some reason I am iffy about it. Decent plot, decent main character, decent writing, but the parts don’t equal to a solid whole for me. I’m guessing because it gets a little repetitive in places, and the clues sort of swirl around. Hoping I can pinpoint it a little better.
  9. Solito– Harrowing memoir about the 7 weeks about Zamora’s unparented journey from El Salvador to USA with a group of migrants in 1999. This book was written from the perspective of the 9 year old child that he was- and I do not like books told in this way, so it dragged a little for me, even though I understood why the author chose this way of telling the story. The ending brought me all the feels though…but I don’t know if it was worth the trip.
  10. Midcoast- Told in 1st person by someone intimate with the main characters- who spends a lot of time on the water. The book sort of sinks, no pun intended. The distance of the narrator to the main character was not Gatsbyesque, because we really don’t learn anything that we need to learn emotion wise- as the novel is completely lacking emotion. It comes off as whiny. Let this sink.
  11. All About Me- Brooks has written/directed some of my favorite movies- The Producers and Young Frankenstein and play The Producers. I know he is a brilliant writer. he just doesn’t show it in this memoir. Every chapter includes him telling the reader how much someone laughed at something in the past. Frankly, I was a little bored…
  12. Hello Habits- While there are some useful tips for creating and sticking to habits, this book could have been MUCH shorter. The author drones on about things that I didn’t need or want in this book- way too much theoretical. The best part is the appendix which gives you the steps to creating and keeping habits. The rest is useless.
  13. Life’s Too Short- This was just trite and one dimensional and the characters bored me to tears. That it’s not my least fave this month shows you how bad the botton two are.
  14. Daisy- First month of the year and I already have read two of the worst books ever…This book is just ridiculous. Avoid at all costs.
  15. Listening- This might be the worst book that I’ve ever read. What a bunch of precious, twee crap. The only think I learned about writing from this pretentious book was how not to write like a person who is completely full of crap. After reading this I can’t help but wonder why anyone listens to Julia Cameron about anything. Avoid this book at all cost.
MoviegenreWhere Seenranking/rotten tomatoes rating
Livingdrama/slice of life/period- 50sTheater- Angelika1- 95/84
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mysterymystery/sequel sort ofStream- Netflix2- 92/93
All Quiet on the Western Frontdrama/historical/WWI/foreign language (German) but dubbed on NetflixStream- Netflix3- 92/90
M3genthriller/horror but not slasherTheater- AMC4- 94/79
Puss in Boots: The Last Wishanimated/retelling of children’s classic/sequelTheater- AMC5- 95/94
Missingdrama/psych thriller/tech basedTheater- AMC6- 82/90
A Man Called Ottobased on a novel/dramedyTheater- AMC7- 70/97
Fire of Lovedocumentary/subtitles in many parts/volcanosCable- National Geographic Channel8- 98/85
Brokerforeign (Korean)/dramaTheater- AMC9-93/89
Corsageforeign (German/French/English/Hungarian)/period/fictional account of Empress Elizabeth of AustriaTheater- AMC10-86/61
The Whaledrama/father daughter relationships/obesityTheater- Alamo Draft House11-66/91
Women Talkingdrama/based on a true story/womenTheater-Angelika12- 90/88
Avatar- Way of Watersci fiTheater- AMC13- 77/92
Not Okaydrama/millennial angst/traumaStreaning- Hulu14- 73/58
  1. Living- I sort of loved this movie. While I admit it starts slow and there is a scene that I think should have been shorter, when you get to the second half of the movie- magic. Just understated and elegant, both the film, the script and the standout performance by a constantly underrated Bill Nighy. This is not a big obvious film, but it you like gentle films that bring on the feels, this is your movie Oscar noms for Best Actor (Nighy) Best Writing (adapted)
  2. Glass Onion- Well executed who dun it. Solid cast. Just a fun, clever movie Oscar nom for Best Writing (adapted)
  3. All Quiet- Visually stunning and emotionally devastating piece about the horrors of war. This is gut wrenching so not a movie for everyone, but well made film that just grips you. Well deserved Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best International Feature, Best Music, Best Writing (adapted) Visual Effects, Cinematography, Production Design, Makeup and Hair
  4. Megen- This is the go to genre of the early 20s…thriller/horror. This movie does the genre proud though- clever, witty, entertaining and if you like the genre you should try to see this film. Can’t believe I liked it because I don’t normally like this genre, but there has been a slew of well told thrillers of late so as long as they make them like this I’m all in
  5. Puss- This is a charming animated movie, with a fun story and great voices. I was all in for one more adventure- however, I don’t know if I would bring a child under seven to this. Oscar Nom Animated Feature.
  6. Missing- Pretty good drama/thriller about a daughter searching for her missing Mother. Really highlights the good and bad use of the internet and social media. Better than I thought it would be. If you like this type of non gorey thriller you should check this out.
  7. Otto- I loved the book that this movie was based on, and Hanks does a decent job of portraying the uptight, set in his way, sad protagonist. There’s a charm about this story that I like, even though it’s a tad quirky. I think you can wait to stream though
  8. Fire of Love- Doc about Volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft. The footage, much taken by the Krafft’s is just spectacular- if you have an interest in volcanos and nature and natural phenomena, you should check this out. Well directed and edited. Oscar Nom Feature Documentary
  9. Broker- Deals with baby brokers on a base level, but makes you question ethics, morality and who is good and who is bad. Thought provoking but also glacially slow moving. I nodded off for a few minutes at one point
  10. Corsage- Fictional account of Empress Elizabeth of Austria. The movie stresses how hard woman have always had it- weight/appearance/expectations. It does a decent job of exploring how these issues relate to a woman’s ego and confidence, but the movie itself gets a little tedious in places, and I had trouble rooting for the protagonist
  11. Whale- This is a story about a morbidly obese man trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter. This should have been a minefield of emotions, but I was strangely unmoved through most of it. (I cry at Folgers commercials, so that’s how easy it is to make me cry by watching something) There are some disconnects in the film that I couldn’t reconcile. However, solid acting all around with excellent performances by small cast. Oscar Noms Best Actor (Brendan Fraser) Best Actress Supporting (Hong Chau) Makeup and Hair,
  12. Women- Solid screenplay and visually stunning movie about the women who live/belong to a religious community but the women are not allowed to be educated and are victims of sexual abuse. Searing drama about standing up and fighting for your right to safety. Good film but I felt it was overacted. Oscar Noms Best Picture, Best Screenplay (adapted)
  13. Avatar- Visually stunning- all the tech aspects of movie making are displayed here- it is a beautifully crafted movie. That being said, I am bored by this franchise- at 3 hours 12 minutes, it is just way too long for what is basically a simple story. There will be people who love this movie- I am not one of them, but kudos to the effects. Oscar Noms Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design,
  14. Not Okay- Very average film about entitled youth, but it misses the point in many ways. Plus- the content warning is that there’s an unlikable female protagonist…

Expect that I will see a lot of movies next month! My goal is to see the 11 movies nominated that I have not seen yet, plus all the shorts.

Pre Marriage Checklist

Say you’re dating someone. You’re starting to think that this person might be “THE ONE”. You like this person: you love this person. You are in the gooey stages of love where everything is wonderful including the sound of his farts and he is enamored with your charming Mother.

Is it smooth sailing ahead? Or do you have to ride out some rough waves? How do you know that they are the “ONE”?

What questions should you ask someone before you decide if they are the right person for you?

For example:

  1. Do you want kids?
  2. How many kids do you want?
  3. House, apartment, trailer, yurt?
  4. Own or rent?
  5. City or suburb or rural?
  6. Car, mass transit or bicycle?

So, if you best friend, child, parent was about to take the plunge, what are the things that you think they should ask their intended? What are the most important things to know before walking down the aisle?

Discuss:

Driving Monitor

Watching your parents age is tough. Those people who loomed larger than life, who seemed to be able to solve all of life’s problems, are no longer what they once were. There is neither bad nor good to this: it’s just life. Aging sucks.

But what about your elder parents and driving?

I don’t think any of our four parents should be driving as they once did.

There. I said it.

I don’t think any of the parents should be on highways or driving at night.

I’m guessing this would be an unpopular opinion for anyone who might be older than me, but really

  1. slower reflexes
  2. eyesight not quite as good
  3. thinking they can make turns and merge the same way they were once able

I’m not being mean, or petty, I’m just stating the facts. I’ve been in cars with them. I will no longer get in a car with any of them driving. Period.

So this leads me to my next point:

I understand that it is not feasible to have people over a certain age take driving tests. Plus, I get the whole age discrimination thing…

but…

Should people over the age of 75 be required to have some sort of dashboard monitor or app to monitor their driving?

While I get that accidents happen to everyone of every age, and that those between the ages of 16 and 20 are most likely to get into accidents, there is a case to be made that older drivers do get involved in more accidents than those who are younger (meaning 50s and 60s)

I’m aware that you can anonymously send a complaint to DMV stating that someone should not be driving, and that DMV will ask for a retest, but is that the best way to handle the issue?

What do you think about people over 75 driving? Do you think there should be retests after a certain time? Do you think drivers over 75 should be required to have a driving monitor?

Discuss

Work Friends

I am seeing my friend M today. M and I share a subscription to the Roundabout Theater Company, so about six times a year we see a show together. We also see other Broadway shows together, as well as hit up the Fashion Institute Museum and make pilgrimages to Container Store. M and I have been friends about 30 years, since we met at work.

Most people have people at work that they chat with- it could be the person in the desk next to you, or someone on the same bathroom schedule as you, or, like M and I, we used to compliment each others outfits. We began a friendship outside of the office when we discovered out mutual like of theater, museums, classes at the gym, and fashion. M and I haven’t worked together in 25 years, but remain friends. This has been a good relationship.

My husband had one amazing friend from work who he spent time with long after they stopped sharing a work address.

Work friendships can clearly work, and can clearly be good and long lasting.

But…

Are all work friendships good?

What if you become friends with someone in a department that works with yours. You need them to do something, but they do a half assed job, or don’t complete it on time. Can you react appropriate to the situation when someone is your friend? What suffers: the friendship or the work?

What about envy or jealousy? What if you get a promotion that your friend wants? Can they stand possibly working for you?

What if your friend turns out to not be the person you thought them to be? After you get to know them you find that they have traits or characteristics that you find distasteful? That you realize that they might not be a good person? How do you extricate yourself from the friendship when you still have to work together?

Should you continue a work friendships outside the office?

Many companies make people who are dating co-workers sign something stating that the relationship is mutual, and that they won’t let the relationship interfere with the work. Because after a relationship goes sour, does the company really want to deal with the fallout?

I guess in an age of remote work, we might not have work friendships anymore- there’s no chance meeting in the hallway, or getting to a meeting early and having a few minutes of chat. No company softball games or holiday parties.

For our discussion for today, I want you to think about the following:

  1. Do you have work friends that you continue to see even though you no longer work together?
  2. Do you think you should be friends with people you work with, or is it a minefield?
  3. Do you think the office friendship is over due to remote work?
  4. What do you think about dating within the workplace? Yay or Nay?

I Came, I Saw, I Ate

For some reason I had a lot of trouble with the gallery block when I was trying to do this post- This was a frustrating morning and I’m just happy I didn’t throw the computer out the window….insert exasperated face here!!!

Ten Things- 1/21/22

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. Ann Landers

Every day I write down ten things that defined my day. They can be good, bad or silly. Here’s a sample compiled from my week.

  1. My friend K was in from California and I got to have coffee with her
  2. My ice cream maker broke so I was a little sad
  3. Really liking pickleball- though it’s weird how there’s a stigma against it- I’m always amazed with things that others can poke fun at
  4. Giants win a playoff game?
  5. When I made bread today I forgot to use parchment paper so it was a travail getting it off pan
  6. Had dinner with my best NYC friend- so grateful for her because without her I would not have survived parenting and schools in NYC- she has been an amazing friend to me, and her daughter has been an amazing friend to my daughter
  7. I saw a play a few months ago that I thought was horrible but the Times gave it a Critics Pick. Thrilled to have met two people who hated the play as much as I did
  8. My Husband screwed up something but when he realized he apologized to me
  9. Thrilled that I have been doing well at organizing things in my bedroom and desk area
  10. Shocked that I liked the movie M3GAN because it is not a genre that I typically like

Anything Can Happen Friday: Unlikable Female Protagonist

This film contains unlikable female protagonist.

This is the content warning for NOT OKAY, currently streaming on Hulu.

Just in case you missed that, there was a content warning for unlikable female protagonist. FYI- there’s sex and drug use in the film, and I think smoking, but yeah…the threat is the unlikable female protagonist.

Do we need to be warned of an unlikable character before watching a movie?

Have trigger warnings gone too far? (This question is for you- I’m guessing you know my feelings about trigger warnings)

As we began watching the movie, my daughter noticed this warning before I did- to be fair I was still settling in my chair with my water bottle. If my daughter hadn’t been in charge of the controls I might have missed this little tidbit.

Are characters in books and movie and entertainment supposed to be likable? Are we supposed to believe that the world is paved with unicorns and rainbows and we never should deal with stress, or an unlikable person?

I worry about the kind of audience that society is producing that wants to know before hand if something might be unpleasant. How are they prepared for life? If you think everything in front of you is going to be a straight, flat path, how will you ever learn to deal when life hands you lemons?

Does anyone think that life is easy?

I can’t continue writing without getting angry, so I’ll leave it at this.

What do you think of this content warning?

Do you think they would have a content warning about an unlikable man?

Do you think we’ve produced a society of young adults that can persevere and be resilient in the face of adversity?

Are people scared of the messy bits?

Discuss

I’ve written about trigger warnings in the past: https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2021/02/18/trigger/ https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2021/05/25/no-triggers-except/