Gratitude Saturday

When we go on our visit New York as a tourist walks, we take the dog.

The other day we were out, and a group of tourists passed us and exclaimed over Betty. They remarked to one another that they could have brought their dog on the trip. Her family looked skeptical.

The woman turned to me and said:

Your dog is so much better behaved than mine

It was then my turn to laugh, because Betty is so spoiled, and the least well behaved dog ever.

I’m grateful that my dog, and my daughter, can appear to have manners and be well behaved when out in the world.

I’m also grateful that they both have spirit and enthusiasm and can sometimes behave with not so reckless abandon!

Anything Can Happen Friday: What Would You Do?

So imagine you’re me. You’re wearing a black dress and comfy sandals. You’re carrying a big tote bag that contains the dog’s flea prevention medicine, light bulbs and zucchini. You and the dog have been out for at least an hour running errands.

You’re approaching your building. You pass the bar/restaurant next door, and you notice the lockbox on the front door is open with the key exposed (a lockbox is literally what it sounds like- proprietors place it on the door or security gate. You either use an app or a code to open it and retrieve the key that actually opens the door or gate)

So…

You see the box open. You know that anyone passing by can access the building. You know that there is probably a security system, but you feel bad that someone can get the key…

What do you do?

  1. try to close the box
  2. take the key and leave your number
  3. call the establishment
  4. call non emergency police station number
  5. call city info number (311 in New York)
  6. Do nothing
  7. Pretend you didn’t see anything
  8. Do nothing and then worry that something bad will happen
  9. Try to close the box, be unable to do it, then worry that your fingerprints are all over it

Inquiring minds want to know!

The One Where I Stereotype

I was walking with the dog when I saw a BIG truck- the kind of truck that people use to haul things and do construction and stuff…

Big macho truck.

Driven by big, burly tattooed guy with a leather vest.

Did I mention the truck was painted pink?

Big, tough looking PINK vehicle- manned by big, tough looking guy.

On the side of the big, pink truck was an inscription to whomever the driver had lost to breast cancer. Some words about being an ambassador for curing the disease. A big pink ribbon telling people to please get checked out regularly.

All on this big pink truck.

When I saw it my first thought was:

Wow. What a great way to try to get a message across to people. Use you vehicle to promote awareness about a devastating disease.

My second thought was:

I’m just surprised that this big tough looking guy actually did this on his work truck

I know. Flog me. I’m a bad person because I don’t think shaved head, muscled tattooed guys can be sensitive to women’s issues and to so openly being devastated by the loss of a loved one.

For the record, I know that I shouldn’t judge people by how they look. Yet…there I was, dumbfounded by looking at the man and reading the message.

Macho guys have the stereotype of being insensitive. The word macho even implies uber maleness…when I see a macho guy every bad stereotype of men pops into my head.

I just can’t help it.

When I walk by construction sites and these big guys stop to pet my dog and AWWWWWW over her cuteness, I am always taken aback. Really? These guys actually think my 7 pound fluffy dog and her pink raincoat are cute? Don’t they see that rather stately German Shepherd right over there?

No matter how evolved we think we have become, we still can fall back on judging a book by its cover. We see a “type” and we “assume”.

If you’ve ever seen “The Odd Couple” you know that when we assume, you make an ass out of u and me

Don’t assume anything.

Don’t stereotype.

Pre Existing

Let’s have a little thought exercise into the hypothetical…you all know how I love to come up with a slightly plausible scenario and have everyone talk it out…

Let’s just say someone doesn’t get vaccinated.

We are not going to call these people names or anything like that, because then I will give you statistics as to who is and who is not vaccinated in NYC and I’ll ask you to explain your answer better, so we can be clear as to why we don’t stereotype or why we don’t blankly call anyone stupid

So unvaccinated…

Now say these anti vaxxers get one of these COVID strains that we are giving cute Greek names to…sort of like a special sorority…

So Anti Vaxxer gets COVID Delta…

And they need to go to the hospital…

Does insurance have the right to deny the claim?

If you get a virus that there is a vaccine for and you willingly chose to not vaccinate yourself, does that count as taking a risk?

Should premiums be higher for those who choose not to vaccinate?

Should unvaccinated people be required to waive their rights to health care coverage if they do indeed get sick from something that could be prevented?

Discuss:

Let’s Hang Out

Now that we are all starting to have in real life social happenings…

I went to dinner with friends the other day- had a wonderful time. Great conversation. Lots of laughs. Always have fun with this couple. Totally enjoyed myself and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Last weekend went out with two couples. Day was nice. Nice. Is nice a great description though? Do you really want someone to say that it was a “Nice” time? Or do you want to use a better adjective? Is “I had a nice time” just another way to say that you were bored 75% of the day?

When you go out with friends, how do you want to describe the outing?

I don’t need the outing to be “Epic”. I am not an “epic” person. I don’t do “epic”. No one is ever going to spend an evening with me and say that it was the best night evvvvvver. I am never going to wake up somewhere that I didn’t intend to. I am never going to look at my wrist and wonder why I have a wristband on. There is never going to be an unexplained tattoo on my body…

So what words do I hope I say after spending time with friends?

  • pleasurable
  • entertaining
  • amusing
  • lively
  • hilarious
  • intellectually stimulating

So now you know my goal. No body art. Plenty of conversation.

But what makes it a “pleasurable outing”?

What is the difference between a “nice” time and a “great” time?

Think back to the last time you were with friends. I realize that for some of you this is over a year ago… What makes time with friends so special?

I know that I have a much better time with old friends. The couple we went out to dinner with we’ve known a long time. There’s a shorthand to old relationships. We know one another’s opinions on things- we can build onto the existing relationship. We know what topics to avoid. We know how far we can “push” one another. We know what makes our friends laugh. I am going to see my oldest and closest friends in a few weeks. To say that I am excited is an understatement. I guess there is a feeling of relaxation with old friends- they know your secrets. They were probably there for some of them. I think that when I am relaxed and feel safe I can have a much better time.

So, for me, familiarity does not breed contempt. Familiarity allows me to be me. When I am “Me” I have a much better chance of having a lively time.

But what are the other variable that go into having an “entertaining” evening or outing?

Conversation?

An activity?

Everyone being equally invested in the outing?

The last time you were out with people other than your immediate family, what made the excursion good or bad? Boring or exciting? Lively or dull?

What makes a for a good social interaction?

Does alcohol need to be involved for a group outing to be successful?

How do you define having a good time?

Obligation

My sister lives across the country. When she comes to visit, she stays with my parents. This is not an unusual family situation- out of town relatives often stay with one another.

But…

My sister and my parents have diametrically opposite views on just about everything. I mean really, everything…

And when my sister comes to town, they verbally spar. They verbally spar about 90% of the time. When my sister came to town a few months ago, her plane landed about 6pm. By 9am the next day she was already texting me about the arguments…

I understand my sister’s point of view. She is just trying to be herself. She loves our parents, wants to see them, yet…

My parents are not always easy to get along with…

And some of my sister’s ideas on life are a bit out there…

I clearly understand both sides in this situation.

I understand the cross words and raised tempers.

I just wish that all of them could be quiet sometimes.

I understand the need to get one’s point across. I understand wanting to be heard and not wanting to be marginalized. I understand that we are all allowed to have our own opinions. I get that opinions can never be wrong.

But…at the end of the day…my sister visiting is a lot of grief for everyone. I don’t know if my sister or my parents are actually happy during the visits. I receive calls from both sides…complaining…

I am very stressed out when my sister visits because I hate to be in the middle. I hate trying to broker peace.

So my question is thus:

If a visit to family causes angst, should you visit?

Do you continue the visits out of a sense of obligation? Out of trying to assuage guilt?

Is there a time when you shouldn’t visit your family?

Which regret is worse: not seeing your family because you drive one another crazy or feeling bad that you don’t see your family?

Discuss:

What Inspired Me: July 11

I have no idea what to name this week!

  1. Still in Egypt as I slowly go through the Met! What I found interesting this week was the mystery of the letters- in ancient Egypt that found some letters that were sealed but apparently never reached their destination. Add on top of this, Agatha Christie wrote a mystery about these letters! So you know I got the book…
  2. Had an amazing egg sandwich at Society Cafe- what was even better than scrambled eggs in a popover was that I had book club live and in person!!
  3. Saw “Summer of Soul” documentary- very interesting look at Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969
  4. Outdoor concerts at the park! You may notice that I took the picture from behind the musicians- that’s because Betty is not allowed on the lawn, so we improvised
  5. On our walk this week we saw the Irish Famine Memorial. Outside the monument are quotes from people who emigrated here during the famine. The memorial contains a cottage that was donated for the exhibit- very moving.
  6. Had amazing Peruvian meal at Popular, a new place in the Lower East Side of Manhattan- fun place and good food!
  7. Fireworks as seen from the roof
  8. Flowers as seen from the garden

Gratitude Saturday July 10

You may or may not know that NYC is getting pelted by Tropical Storm Elsa weather- which means some ridiculous rain….

Last night we went to dinner with friends. The place was about a mile away and my original intention was that we would walk home. We stayed out a little later than I thought and I was tired so I told my Husband that I wanted to get a cab.

Fine.

We walked a few steps and we happened to see a cab so we jumped in.

About ten seconds after the cab started, buckets, and I mean buckets of rain poured from the sky…

I am so grateful that we found a cab right before the skies opened up!!!!!

Heavy rain and lightening much better seen through window of dry cab as opposed to being doused in it…

Reading and Writing and Writing and Reading

One of my blog friends (R. Douglas) made a comment to me a few months ago, and it really stood out. He said that he often wishes to write for readers instead of writing for writers…

I began to think about that. When I write my blog, I know that most of my audience are fellow bloggers- other people who put their thoughts into words and hit publish. When I write my blog I know that I am writing to writers…I also know that there is instant feedback…

What would happen if I wrote my blog and disconnected the comment section?

How would that change my writing?

When I was working on my book, I found it hard to tell a story.

I found it hard to write for readers.

I like a lot of dialogue. I don’t like description. I don’t like a lot of deep prose paragraphs…I don’t like doing the things that appeal to readers…

However, in my blog, I write to you as I speak. I may not be as blunt as I am in real life…(trust me: I am blunt in real life and I can’t hide my emotions), but you are getting 100% me…

Aside from my poor grammar and lack of editing skills, I like writing for writers…

But how do I bridge the gap from writing for writers to writing for readers?

As I work on a memoir (yup- jumping on that bandwagon) I find that I can use the style that I have cultivated in my blog- I don’t have to rely on the traditional aspects of writing- I can rely on my ability to put words on paper in my unique (I hope) way…

But will readers want to read that?

Cause let’s face it: if I write a book I want it to be read…

And I can’t write a book with a comment section that I can reply back to…

But…as I have a comment section, right here, right now…

What do you think is the difference between writing for writers and writing for readers? Or do you think writing is writing and an audience is an audience?

What are the things in books that most appeal to you?

Help a sister out and give me your opinions…

Hope

When we have children, we often say-

I only want you to be happy

Now, I’m pretty sure that I’ve written that wanting someone to be happy is a fools journey… that this is a very big lie that we tell our children. When you’re trying to find happy, you miss out on the ride- which may be bumpy, but not necessarily bad…

What should we wish for our children? you may or may not have asked.

Hope.

We should wish that they always have hope…

Hope that the rainbow shows up at the end of the storm…

Hope that first impressions aren’t always the last one

Hope that when one door closes another opens…

If we have hope, we can get to tomorrow to see that life does indeed go on.

Happiness is something we search for, often illusively. Hope is what moves us forward even if happy doesn’t even glimmer on the horizon.

If we have hope, we just might be happy along the journey. We will realize that happy is not necessarily a destination, but a way of thinking about what we are doing. When we wake in the morning, maybe we won’t think about what will make us happy in the moment: when we wake up maybe we hope that we get to do something we haven’t been able to, or see something wonderful, or whatever it is that makes us smile.

Hope does not mean toxic positivity. Hope does not mean that you walk around whistling as chipmunks help you do the laundry. Hope does not mean that random people break out into song as you walk to the subway. Toxic positivity sets you up to believe that anything can and will happen if you believe hard enough…but you can click those heels a thousand times and you probably aren’t going to end up in Kansas…

Don’t set your kids, or yourselves, up to think that happy is right over there and you can attain it. A big house won’t make you happy. Car? Nope. A better job? Maybe: maybe not.

What happens if you achieve all these goals, buy all these things, and you’re still not happy?

Happy is a state of mind, not a goal or something to check off your to do list.

See, that’s why hope is a better option. You learn to bounce back if something doesn’t quite go your way. You realize that it’s part of the journey.

Hope gets you out of bed when you don’t feel like it. Hope gets you out of the house. Hope gives you the opportunity to live.

Without hope, we are truly lost.

So as you meander on the journey that we call life, remember that the sun coming out tomorrow might not make you happy. But remember that tomorrow is indeed another day- a fresh start- a day filled with promise and hope.

side note: I felt like writing today. i may not feel like writing tomorrow. But if I don’t, I will be back