Lighten the Load

I love chick lit.

I make no apologies.

I do not plan on turning in my feminist card. If someone made me, I would gladly give up feminism in favor of chick lit.

I like a story of a plucky woman who has gone through some sort of adversity. I like how she screws up but all things come out at the end. I like a happy ending.

Now, this does not exclude me from reading other types of literature. I can do sad and depressing with the best of them. The books that fall under these categories are traditionally better for book clubs. What book club doesn’t like to bond over tears?

But back to chick lit…

There are two authors I’ve been reading for over 20 years. Let’s call them Jennifer Red and Jane Hotdog. In the beginning I loved these authors. I read everything they wrote as soon as it came out in paperback. Sometimes, I even sprung for the hardcover. I kept my copies of these books.

These authors spoke to me.

It was as if they were reading my mind.

And as the years went on, these authors changed up their books. They were no longer writing about plucky women making little errors, losing their way and then finding their way back. They began to write about deep subjects. Adultery. Depression. Drug abuse.

Fine.

Anyone can write about anything.

However…

In my opinion, maybe, just maybe, writing about these subjects wasn’t really great for these authors. Maybe these authors weren’t really cut out for heavier fiction. Maybe these heavier books weren’t quite as good as the other lighter fare. I no longer enjoy the works of these authors as much as I once did.

It takes a really good writer to write a good chick lit book. You have to make the characters real. You need to make the situations somewhat realistic. You need to have a good sense of humor. These are all skills…skills that should not be undervalued just because the book is not Booker Prize worthy…

Just like writing a weightier tome has its own individual skillset.

Writers of different genres are all talented: they are just talented in different ways.

We tend to undervalue light in favor of heavy.

I don’t know why. Can’t we have both, assuming they are done well?

I’d much rather have a well executed “light” book instead of a poorly executed “heavy” book…I want to read the best that any genre has to offer.

Food for thought:

  1. Do you think publishers/agents direct best selling authors to write things that are in vogue, even if it means changing genres?
  2. What genres do you prefer?
  3. Do you think chick lit is a waste of time?
  4. Have you ever had an author that you love disappoint you with their latest work?
  5. Anything else that I touched on in this post
  6. Do we undervalue light in favor of heavy

I made a comment yesterday that seemed to devalue reposting or reblogging an older post. Alas, this sentiment did not come out the way that I intended. I apologize to anyone that reposts or reblogs their work sometimes. Just because I don’t like doing it doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. Keep on being you. Sorry for the inference!

LA

Glory Days

Have you ever heard the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days”? It’s about a guy thinking back to High School, and how life was better then.

Why do some people glorify the past?

Was it things as simple as, they were younger, slimmer, more attractive?

Is it that things were cheaper?

Does it seem like there were less problems back in the day?

Or is it something else entirely?

This is one of those perception things: though one person might think that things were better ten years ago, another might think that things are better now. One might think that the advances socially, technology wise, environmentally etc far outweigh any nostalgic reminiscences. One might long for a world pre internet.

When we reflect back, we do it through our own individual lens: the movie that fast forwards in our mind are like a greatest hits collection. We hold onto memories that make us feel good. When we are feeling bad we go back and rewatch that highlights reel. To get us through today, we remember the good old days…

Is this bad?

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

I guess it depends on how often you are doing it.

If you hear a song that reminds you of your child as a baby and it makes you smile, this is a good thing. You remembered something happy. And then you got on with your life.

If you once had a great job or an interesting adventure, you might dip into the reserve to remember that period of time when you might have been the best there was at something. Maybe not THE best, but you got a high off the achievement or the adventure. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing to glorify, but that all depends on how you are handling today.

Then you have the people who refuse to live in the present. All of their conversation revolves around things from ten, twenty years ago. If you have decided to live in the past, well, this is probably not the mentally healthiest thing.

When we think about the past, we do it selfishly. We think about how the past treated us. Sometimes we remember the good things. Sometimes we remember the bad. Most often we remember both the good and the bad. We can’t help it. The past is a part of us that we can’t shake: the past made us into who we are today.

A few people recently asked me to do a Highlights post, where I list all the posts that I thought were my best. The idea of this made me a little sad, and a little angry.

Why?

To me, a highlights reel means that you think the best is behind you. It means that all you have to go on is your laurels.

While I am proud of my blog and my posts, I don’t really need to showcase them. My archives are available to anyone who wants to look into them. I’ve never reblogged or reposted something because, while I think I have done some good work, I think my best work, my best posts are still to come. I might love the post I write today, but I am still looking forward to the post I’m going to write tomorrow. I’m hoping my post tomorrow is better than today. I’m hoping this post is better than yesterday.

I look back at my old blogs and I smile. I think of how I have changed, how I have grown, how my outlook is slightly different. The memory loop is nice. It’s pleasant to look back at both the good and the bad moments. But I have worked hard to get to today…and I’m going to enjoy it.

Is the past something to glorify?

I do think things were simpler without twitter or pinterest or instagram. I don’t think I need as many choices of things as happens today- I do miss having only seven TV channels to choose from- now I rarely watch TV because it takes a phd in television to ascertain what is actually available to watch. But socially, we are in a better place- we are starting to become more tolerant of those whose lifestyles are different. We are starting to accept that gender, religion, race etc does not mean you are not qualified for something, that these things do not make you less than…

As with everything,, progress comes with plusses and minuses…the past comes with plusses and minuses.

The questions of the day

  1. Do you glorify the past?
  2. What thing of the past do you miss?
  3. What thing about the past do you not miss?
  4. Literally anything else I brought up in this post that made you think

Discuss:

Want to Play a Game?

I recently read a book, Send for Me, by Lauren Fox. This is about Jews during WWII both in Germany and America. I thought is was well written and interesting.

There was one quote early on in the book that sort of stopped my in my tracks:

Germans! Defend Yourselves! Do not buy from Jews

Lauren Fox, Send for Me

Ready for the game?

_____________! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from _____________.

I have installed a wheel here, with some other words. I’m going to spin the wheel and get some words to fill in these blanks…

clickclclclick clickclick click cl ick c l i c k c c c

First word:

Americans

Americans! defend yourselves. Do not buy from _____________

I’ll dispense the with the sound effects….

Second word:

Republicans

Americans! defend yourselves. Do not buy from Republicans

One more spin:

Americans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Democrats

See what a fun game!

Here are the rules if you want to play at home:

  1. You are not allowed to use the word racist, homophobe, pedophile or anything that the REASONABLE person would agree is a bad thing
  2. You are not allowed to use special interests. I understand that someone with a special interest might say it’s important, for this version of the game we will say that there are too many sides to each of these issues and is we started to go down this road, we would never buy anything from anyone- (true story- there is an indie bookstore in NYC that was in danger of closing so a cry began to save it. Then people started complaining that the owner of the bookstore owns stock in Amazon so she is apparently anti small local business, so a counter argument rang out that no one should shop at the store and it should close- seriously- this is really happening, so you understand my rule)

So….

Did you find any good words to substitute on your home wheel?

How many wins do we have if we play the substitution game?

X or O…

You start…

What Inspired Me This Week April 25

Saw Together Together on the big screen- charming story of friendship

Gratitude Saturday April 24

As you know, I have been trying to find out the cause of my Vertigo episode from last month.

My vestibular therapist ruled out BPPV, so she sent me to an ENT.

The ENT ruled out problems with my inner ear from out to in, I guess you say, so he gave me referrals for a hearing test and a vestibular neurologist.

I had my hearing test this week, and she ruled out any hearing related issue as my issue, and said, I quote, ” Hearing- Excellent”

I wait for my appointment with what I guess is a sub sub specialist.

I watch as we rule out horses.

Next up we will begin to rule out zebras.

Just hoping that we don’t start looking for unicorns…

But for now:

I am grateful that my hearing is AOK.

I am grateful that my life as an eavesdropper can continue as soon as the world opens up again…

Anything Can Happen Friday- MYOB

I don’t think people should judge.

I don’t think people who don’t want the vaccine should judge those who do.

I don’t think people who do want the vaccine should judge those who don’t.

I understand both sides of this equation. As I started talking about possible vaccine issues almost a year ago, I have really thought this one out.

I believe in vaccinations for diseases that can be eradicated.

Vaccines for flu, etc. not so much. No flu shots. No pneumonia shots.

But that’s me…

When it came to COVID- a worldwide phenomena- I decided to err on the side of caution and made the decision to become vaccinated when I was eligible.

My Husband and Daughter also chose this route. Her University announced last week that the vaccination will be required for all those returning to campus in the fall. We were not surprised at all.

My Mother is against the vaccine. I will not argue this with her. I will not tell her she’s wrong. I will not guilt her. This is her opinion.

What I don’t like are the Facebook things she keeps sending to my Facebook messenger acount.

Yesterday, she sent a video of some Doctor. Her message to me was:

I pray you watch this

Let’s start with the basics. I received my first shot four weeks ago, my second yesterday.

I can’t eliminate the vaccine from my body. There is a no return policy with the vaccine. You own it for life. To send me this is irrational. It’s a done deal.

To give the people you love grief about something they’ve done is just not right.

To make someone feel guilty about a choice that they have made is wrong on so many levels.

So my message to you all is simple:

Don’t judge.

Don’t make people feel guilty.

The past year has been tough. Don’t make it tougher with words and videos.

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Words…

What inspires you?

Recently we talked about how my family always being underfoot has made it difficult for me to be creative, how I need solitude in order to tap into my muse. My muse is an introverted thing, and she needs to be alone in the house with music softly in the background and the scent of lemon wafting from the diffuser, and a cup of black tea with milk and sugar sitting on the side.

My muse took up residence somewhere else during COVID…

But anyway…

Turns out I need to be alone to actually put words on the paper…

But…

In order to be inspired…

in order to find things to write about…

I need to be out and about. I need people, places and things from which to get ideas. I am never going to get ideas from sitting in a room with my diffuser and a cup of tea. I mean, those things might make it into a work, but for the most part, how much can I write about them?

ok- expect a post about my desk sometime in July

I am a sensual person. I am inspired by the things that I can touch, taste, see, hear and smell. When you are a sensual person, you need to be interrupted. You need to be amongst the people. When you are a sensual person who is looking for those ideas, you need to be disrupted. You need some sort of controlled chaos.

Quiet to write.

Distraction to be inspired.

Look at the things that I choose to blog about. I do not get these ideas while sitting in my desk chair, smelling the lemon and drinking my tea. I might read a great comment, or be treated poorly by someone. Run out of toilet paper or talk to my sister. All these things get my brain working…makes me reach for my planner and pink pen and jot down the idea…At the time I write the note I may not know what my post will look like, but I know that I’ve hit on an idea that I can expand…

The toilet paper post of this week- do you know what my note was for that day?

things I did for my family that they didn’t realize

I wrote that note months ago because I knew that somewhere in those words was a blog post. As I sat down to write and thought about that note, the incident from the previous week popped into my mind…

Inspired by chaos and distraction…

Enough about me:

What inspires you?

Where do you get your ideas from?

How do you keep track of the things that you want to write about, paint, photograph, whatever your chosen medium is?

Do you just think of things, or do you need some sort of distraction to inspire you?

What activates your muse?

Discuss

Yelp

Do you write Yelp reviews?

I am not a believer in reviews.

I think that most people who write reviews have an agenda. Maybe it’s their own product. Maybe it’s a product of their best friend. Maybe its a product of their nemesis. Maybe someone is just a troll.

However you look at it, I take reviews with a grain of salt.

I also don’t believe 5 star or 1 star reviews. I think that nothing is so good to rate it perfect. I think that nothing is so bad to rate it 1.

Mainly…

I wrote my first ever Yelp review a few months ago. I had to open an account and everything.

What was the review about?

OK- here’s the story.

I was looking for a groomer so that my puppies nails could get trimmed. She wasn’t ready for a full groom, but I wanted to get her used to having her nails done, and she has black nails, so I didn’t want to try it myself the first time. I wanted a professional.

I have been trying to support small, local businesses this pandemic season, so I searched for groomers in my neighborhood (as opposed to the big name place I used to take my other dog)

I found one close by that said it did drop in nail trims.

Great.

Betty and I walked past it one day to check it out, and sure enough there was an “OPEN” sign in the window, as well as a sign that said “WALK IN NAIL TRIMS”. Right there in the window.

Perfect.

Betty and I didn’t go that day- we were just doing our research.

The next week Betty and I returned- this time armed with vaccination requirements and an excitement for a doggie manicure. The same OPEN and NAIL TRIM signs still prominently displayed.

I go to open the OPEN door. Locked.

I see a bell. I ring the bell.

Five minutes later very grumpy person comes out. Rudely yells at me. Screams that they don’t do walk in nail trims. I point to the sign. She slurs something at me.

Seriously.

You think I’m going to leave my dog with you ever?

So I went home and joined Yelp and wrote a review.

One star.

Which I don’t believe in on principle, but the rudeness…

Next day, the owner wrote a nasty reply to me.

I explained why I thought there was a problem and why I wrote the review.

Owner then tried to butter me up. Said all sorts of nice things. Asked me to change my review.

I explained some stuff, and I was not being nasty. I was just calling it as I saw it…

Then the vitriol. The nastiness she spew at me. Telling me about all the dogs and owners that love her and her services. How I was so wrong…

I didn’t reply. I don’t take to being nice to me because you want something. I don’t play to scare tactics.

I do know that I would never leave my dog with this person…

So here’s the thoughts for today:

Do you write reviews?

Do you believe reviews or do you take them with a grain of salt?

Was I justified in reviewing the person as I did?

Do you think I’ll ever write another Yelp review?

Are you annoyed that I used “grain of salt” twice in this post?

The Little Things

If you live with family, or a roommate, how often do you acknowledge the little things that they do for you?

How often do they acknowledge what you do for them?

Replacing the toilet paper…buying the toilet paper…wiping down the toilet…

Do you do these tasks? Do you help with these tasks? Does someone else do these tasks? Do you expect someone else to do these tasks?

We ran out of toilet paper last week.

Normally, I am the person who replaces the paper on the holder. Usually they just grab a tissue. At least, I hope that they grab a tissue…but rarely does someone take off the used brown cylinder and replace it with a fresh gleaming roll…

And this is how I know that we are running out of paper…because I put the roll on and I count how many rolls there are left.

Early in pandemic, I would buy toilet paper when I saw it. I would pick up my one rationed pack and tote it home because we really didn’t know if we would see toilet paper again. I’m surprised some enterprising company didn’t rename their paper “Unicorn” because sightings were rare, and we would text each other if we say it…

“Morton Williams. Now. The good Charmin in four packs…”

But I digress…thinking about the good old days and how we had to forage for a square…

Back to my bathroom…

The other day, a miracle happened. Someone in my house replaced the toilet paper.

Huzzah.

Alas, the person who took that last roll out of the plastic covering failed to make the connection that throwing the package away meant that there was nothing left. Not a square to spare…

And neither alerted me to the lack of tp, nor bought a roll on their own.

Toilet paper

toilet paper

toilet paper

Nope. Not like Beetlejuice. You don’t say it three times and have it appear.

You have to actually go to the store and buy it…

Who knew?

Well, you know who knew? The person that always does these things…

So if someone in your life does the little things that make your world go a little more smoothly, give them a little nod every now and then. Be appreciative of the little things that they do. Maybe buy them a present.

Or maybe just check on the toilet paper situation, so that the person who does so much for you doesn’t go into the bathroom and say “Oh crap” for the wrong reason…

Put the Fun is Dysfunction

My sister and niece were in from Seattle last week. They stayed with my parents. Apparently our parents were, let’s just say obsessing about something, so my sister sent me a text:

Was our family always this dysfunctional?

Of course the answer is yes and no. My parents have gotten more set in their ways as time has gone on. But, there was always lots of crazy going on in the house.

Whenever I’ve written about my family I get a variety of responses from readers.

  1. I shouldn’t talk badly about my parents
  2. I should get over my past
  3. I shouldn’t expect my parents to apologize
  4. What would I say if my daughter said things like that about me

Which leads me to my conclusions:

  1. those who have had a relatively functional childhood can’t understand those who didn’t
  2. just because someone turned out relatively OK doesn’t mean they don’t have demons
  3. Sometimes the person who never speaks ill of their childhood is far worse off than those who complain because they are pushing their feelings aside
  4. if your child tells you how your actions affected them, you should listen with an open mind

I think that people should learn to move on from the mistakes of their parents. I firmly believe at some point you have to stop blaming your parents for your failures.

However

It doesn’t mean that parents are blameless.

The actions of parents do affect the person you were, the person you are, and the person you will become. Your background matters.

I know that I have made some mistakes with my life because I was trying to get my parents approval. I tried to do the things they wanted me to do instead of what I wanted to do. Bottom line: This made me a very unhappy person.

In order to become a more content, more stable person, I needed to admit to myself that my parents were wrong about a lot of things. They made mistakes.

This does not mean I love them less. I just accepted that they are human and flawed. They thought life should be lived a certain way- they weren’t trying to hurt me. They were doing the best that they could.

But this doesn’t mean I won’t talk about what they did, especially to them. I don’t need an apology when I talk to them. I would like them to listen with an open mind. Listen to my point of view. I don’t expect them to like the criticism. I do expect them to love me enough to hear my out. I hope that they love me enough to listen.

Is there anything worse than someone you love not listening to you?

Lack of communication is one of the largest problems we face as humans.

If your kids are talking to you, you need to listen.

Which leads me to the next point:

What if my daughter said the same things to me.

First off: I know I have made parenting mistakes. I’ve probably made more mistakes than done things right. My daughter will tell me if I’m doing something that hurts her. I admit, it hurts to have your child be truthful with you about your parenting.

It really hurts.

Sometimes I want to cover my ears and not listen.

But I realize that if I am to have an adult child/parent relationship with her, I need to listen. I need to hear her out. I need to acknowledge that I have, at times, been a lousy parent. I need her to get things out so that we can move on to a better relationship. I want to have a good relationship with my daughter as time goes on. We can only have that relationship if we communicate.

We do need to accept our pasts and move on. But we also need to acknowledge the feelings that come along with it.