Hocus Focus

I decided I needed to work on improving my focus- so I when I saw an article about improving one’s focus, I jumped right into it.

At the same time I was:

  1. checking my email
  2. monitoring blog comments
  3. watching a show on HGTV
  4. Looking at my TBR to figure out what to read next
  5. petting one or both of my pets
  6. figuring out what time I needed to start dinner
  7. texting my friends and my daughter
  8. figuring out whether or not I needed a pedicure
  9. thinking about what sort of tea I should have
  10. playing a word in Words with Friends
  11. making a list about all the ways that I can improve my focus

The Nightstand

I’m going to be nosy today:

What do you keep in your nightstand?

I admit, this post was inspired by my watching Sex and the City, but for the purposes of this blog, keep the TMI rule in your mind…insert wink here…

On the surface of my nightstand I have:

  1. lamp
  2. picture of my daughter
  3. a mug that my daughter painted which holds: hand cream, sephora lip mask, and nail file
  4. coaster
  5. small wooden cat in sleeping pose
  6. diffuser bottle

I have three drawers in my nightstand:

In the top drawer:

  1. a power strip because I charge my phone and ipad overnight. I have a long cord so I can read and charge before I go to bed.
  2. box of tissues
  3. lavender room spray
  4. Carmex
  5. cough drops (ricola sugar free lemon mint)
  6. pen and notepad
  7. book light

Middle drawer”

  1. fuzzy socks
  2. moisturizing gloves
  3. foot lotion
  4. eye mask (the kind that can be cooled or heated)
  5. flashlight
  6. wooden sticks for essential oil diffuser
  7. essential oil (lavender)
  8. advil
  9. benedryl
  10. nasal spray
  11. thing that gets rough calluses off feet

bottom drawer:

  1. pajamas

Now it’s your turn: what are the things that you think are essential to keep next to your bed? Do you use a nightstand or a table? Tell me how you set up the bed area.

The English Major

I have a BA in English Lit. This is surprising to many because I have a horrible command of grammar. I have to remind people that it is not a degree in the language per se, but a degree in the words…

People are also surprised to learn that my heart goes to all books great and small because I am an analytical person- I am fully based on logic and reasoning and proof. For some reason, those around me do not see logic and literature going hand in hand. Yet I am here to tell you that being a student of literature is one of the most analytic in town.

As a lit major, all you do is read things and look for clues.

You figure out foreshadowing and motivation: You scan for literary devices and tropes. You look for flaws in the authors reasoning. If that’s not analytics, I don’t know what is.

When I read, multiple things are going on in my brain. I am looking at the words- I am looking to how one word goes in front of the other and I marvel at how the author strung the words together to start an idea, how the sentences coexist to add the argument of the idea, and how the paragraph sort of wraps it up. It’s the beauty of language, the richness of the vocabulary, the way the sounds meld together.

I love how an author will create the layers- how they put a germ of something on page five, and then continue to back it up at various points in the work. And I love looking for the evidence of this.

I love when I am able to decipher the clues that an author has sprinkled throughout a work- when I as a reader get the “Aha” moment… whether it is the “who” in the whodunit, the “what” in a story of love and loss, or the “why” a character did what they did.

Reading is like solving a puzzle where the pieces are all over the place- but if we take one piece at a time and categorize it, we are soon able to put the puzzle together and enjoy the whole that became of separate parts.

That’s all analytical

And it’s why I say to never underestimate an English Lit major- we might know more than you think we do.

What Inspired Me: 6/19/22

  • Flowers! And I thought that birdhouse was so cool!!
  • The Kimonos exhibit at the Met is just beautiful!! I can’t say I paid much attention to the facts/history though…
  • Gallery 304 at the Met is filled with so much art and artifacts- I could not just show you one thing. These are the things that sparked my interest.
  • Love going to Tribeca Film Festival- didn’t love the movie. Hard pass…

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 6/18/22

My daughter spent three weeks in Cape Town as part of study abroad for her minor with her university. She had an amazing experience, most notably going to the beach and seeing penguins! and seeing lions and zebra’s at a nature preserve. I am grateful that she did not get COVID on the trip and got the full experience. I am grateful that her flights were not delayed or cancelled. I am grateful that she had an amazing time! I am grateful for the university to offer such a wonderful experience, and for the professors who organized the learning experiences.

My prompt for the week is BALANCE. Here’s how it was used in the books I’m reading:

  1. I read a book about how to sustain friendships through the long haul…which I hated FYI. The word “balance” doesn’t appear in the book at all. How can you have a book about relationships and not have the word balance. I know this is a thought not a quote, but I thought it belonged in both sections.
  2. But did that balance out the thoughtlessness of leaving it unsaid for so long? Annabel Monaghan
  3. Unwashed, without his glasses, starving, and knowing his life was in the balance, he had broken down after six months in solitary confinement and having regularly been beaten unconscious. Sonia Purnell
  4. The clubhouse is both spartan and lavish- the tricky balance required by the hardy rich. Jennifer Egan
  5. This past summer had been so fraught, so off balance and distressing that I hadn’t been able to enjoy it. Krista Higgins
  6. “And Finbarr taught him to catch a football and balance it on his nose.” Nina de Gramont
  7. “Well, you’re in for a treat. They’re set on this planet that’s balanced on four elephants on the back of a giant turtle.” Freya Sampson.
  8. Leah likes to balance the checkbook, whereas I assume that the bank will contact me if there is a problem. Charles Wheelan
  9. She will talk about sustainability. About the need to hold on to some sort of balance in nature. Charmaine Wilkerson
  10. For all of us, the challenge is how to balance work and family and do a decent job at both. Caroline Kennedy
  11. Without the delicate balance of a sustainable rhythm in our day-to-day lives, little things pile up becoming big things that overwhelm us. Melissa Michaels

Here’s how I’m going to think about balance:

  1. Can you talk about relationships and never mention balance?
  2. Is balance the key to life?
  3. When I read about balance, it often seems like a circus trick- is that because balance is sort of a novelty that doesn’t really exist
  4. How do we make balance in our lives?
  5. Do people still balance their checkbooks?
September, 1918
BY AMY LOWELL

This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves;
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box,
For I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.

Amy Lowell, “September, 1918” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright © 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © renewed 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Brinton P. Roberts, and G. D'Andelot, Esquire. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Selected Poems of Amy Lowell (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002)

One of my blogging buddies wrote a very thought provoking post yesterday:

https://robbyrobinsjourney.wordpress.com/2022/06/17/did-a-google-chatbot-just-come-to-life/

Give it a look if you have a chance.

Anything Can Happen Friday: The Police Saga

Last week my Mother called me at about 9pm. She asked if my daughter was back from South Africa (as some of you know, she just spent three weeks there as a study abroad) and I replied that she was presently in flight somewhere between Cape Town and London. She asked me a few questions regarding my daughter’s experience blah blah blah.

She then proceeded to tell me the following:

Your father and I got into a fight today. He left the house at 4:30 with no money, no wallet, no phone, no medicine and no car keys. His parting words to her were “Have a nice life.”

Hmmm…

Talk about burying the lede…

I ask her if she’s checked the complex…she assures me she has…

I call the police, because in my mind, 83 year old guy with mobility issues, who falls at least once a week, a month ago that resulted in a broken shoulder is out without his medicine, has no money…you get the idea and my level of concern.

First thing the officer asks me is if he’s in the clubhouse of the development. I reply “No” because my Mother said she checked…

Of course the police go to look for him and he’s in the clubhouse playing cards with his buddies…

So now I feel like an idiot and I’ve sent the police on a meaningless search instead of allowing them to do their actual jobs…

I’ve been trying to help him keep his dignity as he’s navigated health issues the past year. Now that’s out the window…

My Mother told me that my Father is really mad at me- apparently I’m out of the will- and I can’t help but wonder if my Mother passive aggressively manipulated me into calling the police because she didn’t want my Father to be mad at her- that I was a good scapegoat…

I can’t decide if they are acting like toddlers, tweens or teens…

As I recounted the story to my friends, I told them that on a scale of 1-10, the angst of raising my daughter was a 1. The angst of raising my parents on the same scale is about 4,083.

When my daughter was born, people told me that parenting is a forever job. What they neglected to tell me was that when I stopped parenting my daughter I would begin parenting my parents…

Boredom

How many times have we heard someone say “I’m bored.”?

How many times have we said “I’m bored.”?

I admit- I rarely utter the phrase- I tend to think along the lines of- If you’re bored you’re boring…(for the record- there are many who would call me a very boring person, because the things I love tend to be cultural, or sedentary, so it’s all in the perspective)

I guess I don’t use/like the word “bored” because I think it’s OK to sometimes just sit with nothing to do, and no where to go. I don’t call it being bored: I think of it as creative recharging. My favorite time of the day is about 5pm, when I sit in my favorite brown chair, cup of Earl Grey at my side, and I kind of sit and stare at the void. I don’t look at my phone, I don’t have music on, the TV is off, and I’m literally doing nothing but admiring the way a slice of lemon and a cube of sugar completely enhance my drink. Some people think this is boring. Some people would be bored by this. I refer to it as heaven.

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think about being “bored”?

Do you think boredom has a place in our society?

Is boredom a bad thing?

Discuss:

The Doctor

A few months ago my Husband was skiing and made a sharp turn and hurt his leg- not a break but a pull/tear. As he was out west and it was his second to last day of the trip, he decided to wait till he got home before he considered seeing a Doctor.

So a week goes by and he’s still in pain, and decides to figure out a Doctor’s appointment.

He starts by calling our health care insurer, who tells him to see an orthopedist, and gives a list of in network providers. He asks me to take the lead on this.

I call one of the orthos who is on the list, in our neighborhood and associated with the hospital system that gets us a discount with insurance. The ortho office says that he doesn’t need an ortho, that there office is for surgeries, he needs a “physical physician”- a term I’d never heard of, and as it sounded like she was saying “podiatrist” I had to ask the scheduler to spell it. She then gives me the number of a physical physician.

So I call the physical physician, It’s a ski injury? she asks….and proceeds to tell me that I need a sports medicine specialist. Gives me a number.

I call the sports medicine office. It’s a leg injury? she asks…This particular office only does arms. They give me a number.

I call the next office, It’s a calf injury? he asks and this office tells me they only do thighs.

The office only does thighs… Twelve Doctors in the practice and they specialize in thighs.

Seriously?

Of course they provided me with a number. And finally I reach someone who does calves…

Eureka.

Then she asks me if it’s the right calf or the left…

And all I could think was- Are you going to tell me that certain Doctor’s only do the right or the left calf and I need to call another office?

But no- it appears that they just need to fill out an X-ray form and need to indicate which calf will be x-rayed, and from what angles, because in this office of a physical physician, sports medicine, calf specialist you do the X-ray before you see the Doctor to save time.

Phew.

In the end, my husband did have a tear that required the use of a boot for a few weeks and some physical therapy. But all is well now.

I marvel at the sub and sub sub specialties that abound in a city like mine…and think about how much more specialized we can get. And what the organizational chart look like for something like that?

When Tech Doesn’t Work

I was walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A woman stopped me and pointed to her phone, and I ascertained that this woman didn’t speak English, and was going to try to ask me a question via her phone. She had earbuds in, and it looked like she would say something and then the phone would show the English translation.

Sounds good, right?

Well…almost…

The first thing that came up was roughly:

“Do you know the Mother’s coin.”

then

“The pond is the woman.”

then

“It’s the big ugly person”

followed by

“Oh shit no”

The woman proceeded to turn fifty shades of red, and just walked off, actually ran off, as she tried to bow to me. I never did figure out what work she was trying to locate.

So score 1 for the theory of technology and being able to further communication with one another, but for now, we will just have to muddle through the trial and error!

The Positive Truth

I will totally admit that when the blogger told me that I wasn’t positive, it hurt me a little.

There.

I said it.

However- I went pretty quickly from being hurt, to what Kim said the other day in a comment, which was roughly along the lines of: Who said that being positive was always a good thing?

But back to the original point- when people say things to you, they can hurt. Words can hurt. The trick is figuring out if they hurt because what was said was horrible, or if you think what the person said about you is true…

Do we really want to look our worst traits in the face?

We have a friend who talks a lot (and let me preface this by saying my Husband and I are champion talkers, and this guy makes us look like we are in the minor leagues) So one day the guy was saying how his son talks a lot. My husband and I laughed and we made some sort of apple/tree comparison, and our friend was stunned, I mean flabbergasted, that we thought he talked a lot, because he was 100% positive that he was quiet as a mouse… He was hurt by the realization that he was actually quite loquacious. And we didn’t mean to hurt him- we were just stating a fact…We thought there was no way this guy didn’t know he was a talker. We were wrong…

My positive/not positive thought process went as follows:

  1. Told I wasn’t positive
  2. Hurt and self doubt
  3. Thinking about what is positive
  4. Considering ways that I am positive
  5. Realizing how positivity can be a bad thing
  6. Accepting the fact that I am balanced
  7. Realizing that too much positivity is bad
  8. Taking the rainbow and unicorn sweater out of my Amazon cart

When/if someone has ever said something to you that hurt, how did you react? How did you handle the comment? What is your advice to someone who has been hurt by words?