Butt, I’m just trying to help…

Imagine a person is coming into the city from the suburbs.

They get to the train station in the city and need to use the rest room.

In the rest room they happen upon a woman who appears homeless. The person is washing their face in the rest room sink. The presumed homeless person is with a child.

Suburban woman exits rest room and tells a station police officer that there is an apparent homeless person in the bathroom with a child.

Suburban woman’s 23 year old son is with her. He becomes mad at his mother for saying something to police. Her response is that when a child is involved she needs to say something.

If you were any of the players in this little drama, what would you do?

Now, because I know that people are going to make assumptions about the woman, in this example, let’s say that the suburban woman is a pussy hat, liberal flag waving sort- this is the person who would burn a MAGA hat if she saw one, and most likely the person in the hat. Son wears the same hat and flag of his Mother.

Does the above fact change your mind or your opinion about anything?

Tell me anything you want about the above scenario:

Special Request

I don’t normally eat fish.

My daughter doesn’t eat beef, chicken or pork.

My Husband doesn’t eat cheese, butter or most dairy.

I know- at this point you’re all thinking- How is it that I’ve never invited LA and her family over to break bread…

We don’t have allergies. We either don’t like the taste or choose not to eat these things.

If you are going to someone’s house, do you volunteer this information, or do you wait to be asked if you have any food issues?

If you find out what your host is making ahead of time, and you know that you don’t like it, do you mention it to them?

For me, unless directly asked “Is there anything that you don’t eat?” I tend to just find something at the meal that I can eat. I don’t make a big deal about what is being served. I don’t want the host to go out of their way to satisfy me. I figure they have enough on their plate.

Do you make food requests of hosts?

Now let’s get a little tricky. If you found out that your host was going to make lobster, or buy expensive steaks, do you tell them not to buy a portion for you, because it is expensive and you know you’re not going to eat it?

How about if you are going to someone’s house, would you ask them to make a certain dish because you like it? (for the record, I don’t mean if my daughter is coming home and asks me to make something special, because I think in some situations it’s OK for a kid to ask their parent to make a “favorite” dish, and most parents are happy to oblige) I’m referring to a less close relationship than parent/child.

If you find out that you are going to someone’s house and find out that they are ordering pizza, do you tell them that pizza is not an appropriate food to serve guests?

When you are going to someone else’s house, should the food be a consideration? Or should the main goal just to be hanging out and spending time together?

Discuss:


The Parent/Adult Child Relationship

I’ve been wondering how to navigate the relationship between my daughter and I as she forges on into adulthood.

As luck would have it, I know someone whose Mom came up to town from Florida last week. As I watched their dynamic, I knew that I had the basis that I needed to start creating a better relationship with my own daughter…

  1. When you arrive at your daughter’s house, get mad that your daughter was working when you got there. Tell her explicitly that she should have been at the front door waiting with literal open arms.
  2. Complain, again, about the “no shoe’s in the house policy” that your daughter has. Repeatedly scoff at the suggestion of house slippers, because house slippers are stupid.
  3. Complain that your grandchildren are at school. What’s more important after all- algebra II or being there for your grandmother
  4. Remind your daughter all the things you did for her while she was growing up
  5. Tell your daughter that she doesn’t treat you with respect
  6. Cry that she treated her own mother so much better and she wants you to treat her as she treated her Mom
  7. start yelling at your daughter because your daughter doesn’t cater to your every whim
  8. Tell your daughter that she’s a despicable spoiled brat
  9. Call your son and tell him that she can’t stand his sister and she has to leave that very moment because she can’t spend another minute in the house
  10. Curse at your son because he dares to say that he will call her a car service- a good son would rent a car and drive over and pick up his Mother
  11. Remind both your children that they don’t respect you
  12. Tell your children about how you worked to support them and without her you would have nothing
  13. Spend so much time talking about a gift that you gave, that the daughter hands you a check for the amount of the gift because no gift is worth it being thrown back in your face a million times
  14. Ask why they treat their Father, her ex, so much better than they treat her, because he was despicable.
  15. Give a birthday toast that doesn’t say anything about your daughter, but tells all the sacrifices that you made for your children

Do you understand why this example showed me exactly how to further my relationship with my daughter?

Parents.

What would we do without them…

What Inspired me: September 19

  1. 60 Rivington once housed two synagogues. The building is now owned by an artist who took out some of the bars that made up the Jewish Star, and changed it to look like a camera lens
  2. Our walk was through the Lower East Side. It’s an odd neighborhood- you see lots of buildings that once house Synagogues, which now house other things. The neighborhood, once largely Jewish is now a mix of Chinese immigrants and hipsters (though I loathe to use that word…) We also meandered from neighborhoods where drug deals are done right in front of you, to high end galleries and families playing at parks. This neighborhood kind of gives you everything.
  3. The Alpinist is a decent doc about an alpinist…
  4. Though I did not attend the Met Gala, I did attend the corresponding exhibit. I was underwhelmed…hoping part 2 in May is better
  5. The idea of Biophony was better than the execution- it seemed every time I passed on of the musical groups, they were on a break. While that was a good storyline for Friends, not so good when you are walking around trying to get snippets of music
  6. Wife of a Spy was quite good…good filmmaking

Gratitude Saturday September 18

My Mom does not believe in smart phones. Add to that, her present flip phone is probably ten years old…

There’s about to be an upgrade to the system that cell phones run on, making my Mom’s cell phone obsolete…

As my Mother is not good at tech, and in her mind, this is tech, I had to call her phone provider so they could explain to me what is about to happen, and what she needs to do.

I am grateful to Jan at Consumer Cellular who was exactly what a frustrated daughter needed when asking questions for a parent.

Jan was awesome!

Cheers to the customer service reps who really know how to help you out and figure out the next steps!!

Anything Can Happen Friday: Checking ID

As of September 13, if you want to do something indoors in NYC, you must show proof of vaccination.

There are various apps that one can use to download their information. I chose the one where you take a picture of your card and your id, and it’s easy to slide from one to the other.

How is this working so far?

Technically, we needed to start showing ID as of two weeks ago. 9/13 was the start date for random checks of businesses actually checking ID, and fines to begin for those who don’t comply. So there was a two week window to get the kinks out…

The reality?

I went to the US Open last week. I think I could have displayed my library card for the amount of attention that the attendant paid to looking at it. I guess BJK Tennis Center is largely outdoors, so maybe they felt they didn’t need to be as stringent. Of course, with the threat of rain that evening, the roof closed at about 11pm. I’d say five people did as requested and donned their masks…

But…

Will places that are crowded be less inclined to give a real, hard look at ID?

The Brooklyn Botanic Gift Shop, on the other hand did a quite thorough examination of my ID. I didn’t have the app at that point, but the clerk flipped over both my license and vax card. Looked at me and looked at my picture about ten times. I’ve had physicals were I have received less scrutiny than the amount of attention paid to my ID…

The 19th Street movie theater actually asked to see my actual vax card…apparently the app that is good enough for NYC is not good enough for her… Her reasoning was that it wasn’t a good photo and she couldn’t actually see the info.

The photo that was good enough for every single place I had been that asked for ID…

Really?

I gave her the “Mom Look”.

How hard are you supposed to look at ID?

And you see there lies the problem- are we giving people too much power to randomly deny someone entry to something?

Does it become too easy to say “Access Denied”?

The whole point of checking is to make sure that everyone is vaxxed, and if you have a suspicion that something is not on the up and up, doesn’t the person checking have the right to deny you entry?

So, if you follow that path, are there going to be people that are denied entry to things entirely based on the discretion of some Vax Card bouncer?

This is bound to get really interesting.

Positivity- 1 Empathy-0

My goal in life is to stamp out relentless positivity.

Ok- maybe it’s not exactly my goal…but on my list of pet peeves, somewhere after book over description, but before store clerks asking me if I found everything I was looking for, is people who can’t help but say: “Look on the bright side.”

Sometimes, I don’t care about the bright side…

Therefore I am on a quest to quash all those happy face people…and in that train of thought, I have come up with a new theory…

Do relentlessly positive people lack empathy?

I have been having a rough few weeks. If someone asks about my Dad, I give the short version about how his body is just beaten down from the cancer treatments. How his mind is beat down from pandemic and the political climate. I say that he is really depressed. My Mother is trying to take care of him. I’m trying to support both of them emotionally…

But do you know what relentlessly positive people say?

Well, he’s alive.

or

You still have both your parents.

or

He didn’t die from COVID.

or

He will totally get better because he’s a fighter.

Do you think any of these statements make me feel better?

Or are these worthless platitudes that the person speaking thinks is a panacea to all the problems in the world?

Does it lack empathy if you tell someone what is troubling you and they wash it away with a glib phrase and a way too upturned smile?

What is more likely to make me feel better: someone telling me that the sun will come out tomorrow, or someone telling me that they are there for me and that the situation sucks?

Sometimes, the sun won’t come out tomorrow. Sometimes we have to face that life sucks. If you want to be a good friend, is it fair to tell someone that happiness is just around the corner?

If you are not listening to your friend, if you are not saying the sort of language that they need, if you are not tailoring your answers to the situation at hand and treating your friend as the individual that they are…do you lack empathy?

If you tell me “Chin up” are you completely disregarding my emotions, my feelings, my experience?

Is it right to tell someone not to be sad, or angry, or frightened or whatever? Are you essentially saying that my feelings are wrong? That my feelings don’t matter? That what I’m experiencing isn’t valid?

How does my theory hold up:

Do relentlessly positive people lack empathy?

Death Be Not Accepted

I used to have a best bud, G. Those of you who have been on my blogging journey since the onset may remember my talking about G. G died about twelve years ago when he was in his mid forties.

The road with G was quick and painful. He went from not feeling well to pt scan to a terminal cancer diagnosis to death all within two months.

I was very pragmatic during those two months, me and our third musketeer S. We picked up his kids from school, we made trips to chemo and hospital. We comforted his mother and his grandmother.

We knew that death was at the end of the road and we prepared for it. We accepted it. It became the companion we didn’t want.

Now, after he passed, I had a little bit of non acceptance… I really couldn’t believe that my friend had died. The grief blindsided me at every turn…

I guess that’s how grief works though- you think you have it concurred, and then it bites you in the ass.

So how do you prepare for the death of a loved one? Can you prepare?

Or should you just go along for the ride and accept the emotions as they come to you?

I know I’m asking questions that are impossible to answer- questions that we tend to avoid because really, who wants to talk about death? Who wants to think about it?

We all handle these situations differently: what might be right for me might not be right for someone else. There is no one definitive guide to dealing with death. The only commonality is that all of us at some point will experience the death of a loved one. And that it will hurt. It might hurt forever. We might hurt forever.

When someone you know is about to experience a loss, be patient with them. Follow their lead. Be their support system in the way that they need to be supported. Don’t assume how someone feels or what they need from you. How we handle death, the coming reality of death, is unique.

As my Dad is ill, I have to learn how I need to cope with the situation. I need to help my Mother and my Sister with it. This has proved difficult because we all look at it differently. Sometimes we get frustrated with one another, but I have to keep reminding myself that I just need to be there for them. This is way more challenging than I ever thought it would be. It’s one of those moments when life is more challenging than it should be.

Do we look death straight in the eye? Do we battle the reality of it? Or do we quietly accept it? I guess we sort of do it all. Because there is no way to accurately hand death. I guess the process is just one we must endure.

Old or Older

“Which of my friends looks the oldest?”

When you read this statement, what do you think? Do you think the speaker is under 25? Over 50? Male or female? What is your initial gut reaction?

When you read this statement, are you thinking the person wants to look older? Or are you thinking they want to look younger?

Who do you think is more likely to have made this statement: my 19 year old daughter, the one who wakes up on the wrong side of 50 every day, or my husband ?

I know this is a tough one, because doesn’t it seem like we all, in our own unique way, are constantly wondering about our appearance? When you’re older you want to look younger. When you’re 19, for some unknown reason, you want to look older…

So the answer to the question is: My 19 year old daughter…

My 19 year old daughter, and her friends, are obsessed with looking older.

She asked me to say, in order, who looks the oldest and who looks the youngest.

To me, they are all beautiful: skin glowing, everything in the right place, full of life and vitality. Why does it matter how “old” they look. None of them can actually pass for 21+, which is what they are aiming for. To me, they look like the college students that they are.

So my question is: are we all eternally trying to look like we are in our mid 20’s?

Is somewhere in the 20’s the beauty ideal?

How much angst do people feel when they are 29? How many people feel like the minute they cross that plane from twenties to thirties that their life is essentially over?

I admit- 25 was a good look for me. I just started making actual money. I was on a good career path. I did look physically good… All the puzzle pieces did fit into place…

Do I wish I looked that age now?

Ok- I admit that I liked that at 25 my body didn’t creak… I would like some of the flexibility that I had back then (and I freely admit that it’s my fault that I am as stiff and inflexible as I am- news flash- want to be young forever? Stretch. Stretch some more. Exercise to keep limber- that’s the real fountain of youth)

But do I want to look 25 again?

I mean, every product on my bathroom shelf thinks age is an enemy.

Rewind

Regenerist

Absolutely ageless

Firming

Revitalift

Restore

Renew

Radiant

Anti wrinkle

Smoothing

These are the words of wisdom that face me every morning when I open up my medicine chest…

Do I want to turn back time? Or do I just want to keep up with what I have?

Do we all want to be some magical age where we are at peak attractiveness without having to keep a plethora of elixirs in the bathroom?

Do we want to walk down the street and have people think we are attractive?

Do we want people to think we are a certain age, no matter what age we are?

After thinking about all this, I can only surmise that we spend far too much time focusing on age, and aging. Yet I know I will continue to use products that want me to be ageless…

So the real question is: Why do we care so much about aging and our appearance?

When do we make the switch from wanting to look older, to doing everything we can to look younger?

Bad Writing

Writers and readers use the term all the time: bad writing.

But, what do we mean when we say “bad writing”?

I hate when people get basic facts about NYC wrong. I don’t like when they say an Avenue goes north, when it only goes south. I don’t like when they get the flavor of a neighborhood wrong. I don’t like it when it’s obvious the author has never stepped foot inside any of the five boroughs. The city is a living breathing thing- it’s practically a character. Make sure you understand NYC before you write about it.

I hate when authors say that someone got a scholarship to an Ivy League school. I get that the author is trying to say just how smart and special someone is. But the truth is, Ivies don’t give out athletic scholarships- it’s not their thing. And while these schools are need blind and will give you financial aid if you qualify, there really are almost no merit scholarships at these schools. Yes, there are grants and fellowships and other ways for a student to receive money for tuition. But to blindly say someone got a scholarship is a misnomer. Frankly, with acceptance rates below 5% for the Ivies, it’s enough to say that a kid got in.

I hate when numbers don’t add up. Like, you say someone got married in year Y, and then they talk about the age somewhere else, and the math is just wrong. I know. I can be a bit…ummm…what’s the word…anal about stuff like this.

Many of the things that take me out of a book are more about little niggling details. I figure if you are going to include these details, take the time to make sure that you are getting the facts straight. Some may not think this is bad writing, but it is for me.

Let’s see what else annoys me…

I hate when too many brand names are used to describe things. I get that sometimes saying a brand really puts you in a place. I just finished a book that talks about Hermes scarves. It’s really the only time that the author uses a specific brand, and she kinda sorta explains the cachet to someone who might not instantly understand the “importance” of a Hermes scarf. It’s a great way to use a brand to the advantage of the book. However, to say that someone was wearing Chanel, and Louboutin and drives a Mercedes and carried a Birkin… It just goes too far. I think after the first “name” is dropped, we get the idea that a character is flashy, or rich, or showy. We don’t need to list the name of every department from Saks…To me, to endlessly drop names is lazy writing. Lazy writing is bad writing.

But while we are on descriptions…

I hate over description. I hate when a paragraph is a laundry list of what a room looks like. I don’t need to “see” every piece of furniture in a room. I don’t need to have a complete 360 visual of the kitchen unless it’s totally germane to the plot, in say a mystery. Give me the details that matter. Leave out the fluff. Let the details come organically- it keeps with the flow of a passage. Don’t give me reason to daydream about something else when I am reading the book. Too much description takes me out of the story. I can switch on HGTV if I want to see a description of a house.

I hate when some detail is repeated too many times in a book. I recently read something that told about the kid’s phone four times. While this detail ended up being relevant to the conclusion, it got irritating to read it so many times. If a reader didn’t catch the reference after reading it once, then the author shouldn’t over explain it. Don’t treat the reader as if they are an idiot. More often than not, we get it.

Don’t include every societal issue out there in one book. I want to read books about all the social issues, but I don’t want to read them in the same book. Too many times lately authors have tried to force every single issue we face today into a 350 page novel. When you do this, you make each issue more trivial. Focus on one issue. Give justice to the one issue and do it well. Then write another book about another issue. Give that issue justice and write it well.

Try not to join the copycat bandwagon. After Gone Girl, it seemed that every book needed a “twist”. News flash, after the first one or two copy cat books, we all started to figure out the twist. Then we began not to care about the twist. Be original. Publishers- do you hear me? We like original…

Wow.

There’s really a lot I don’t like.

Shocking.

And maybe my peeves are not necessarily bad writing, but really bad storytelling.

But I really want to know, what irks you when you are reading a book? What are your bookish pet peeves?