Memories

The Book: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

The Quote: What was the actual benefit of accuracy when it comes to memories?

Did you ever here that old ditty “I remember it well?”. It’s basically a song about two people who have very different recollection of the last time they met…

Does it matter if our memories are accurate?

or

Is there no such thing as an accurate memory because each individual takes something from a moment that is unique because our perception is our reality?

The other day I was talking to my Husband about something. I related a story from years past- I reminded him of something he did to piss me off (I didn’t just dredge this up- it was germane to a discussion we were having at that moment and I was using it to prove a point- my anecdotal evidence so to speak).

He could not remember the story of which I spoke.

Not one shred of memory.

He did something that irked me so much that I know we had words about it (for the record it was a battle that I wanted to fight).

And he said he never did such a thing.

To be fair, his not remembering pissed me off more than the original transgression did. Because I remember it well…

At least I think I remember it well…

How much does my remembering something that my husband swears never happened matter in the grand scheme of things? I mean, this was something he did that hurt me emotionally- where I thought he violated my trust. And I never wanted him to do it again.

But if he doesn’t even remember doing it?

Should I be mad that he doesn’t have the same memory of the event that I have?

How do you proceed if people have different memories of an event?

Should you try not to bring up things from the past, because they just don’t matter?

I know….so many questions…

Pick one or two or all and share your thoughts:

Mommy, Fix It

The Book: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

The Quote: What she remembered was the extraordinary, astonishing pain, and her fury with her Mother for not fixing it. She didn’t expect her dad or the doctors to fix it. She expected her mother to fix it.

Do we have higher expectations of Mother’s than anyone else?

Do we think that Mother’s can do the extraordinary? That Mother’s are omnipotent? That Mom’s just get it done?

Are daughters more apt to rely on Mom’s, with sons relying more on Dad’s- or does everyone reach out to their Mom’s?

I’m going to try to not butt my two cents in, and leave this open for the group:

Discuss

Step Away

The Book- Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

The Quote- That was the secret of a happy marriage: step away from the rage.

Is the secret to a happy marriage to simply take a step back sometimes?

When my daughter was home for break my Husband did/said something stupid. My daughter asked why I didn’t say something to him. I replied:

“In marriage, as in parenting, sometimes you need to take a step back from the stupid. You have to choose your battles, and decide if the battle is the one to take a stand on.”

First off- which quote is better- mine or the one from the book?

Secondly, is the secret to life not 42, but is it really just stepping back?

The people we are closest to are going to annoy us at least once a day. No two people get along perfectly 24/7/365- I know this for a fact because we just had a situation where people were together 24/7/365, and there was a lot of anger and sadness or for the sake of this piece, rage…

Do we need to harp on them every time they don’t load the dishwasher correctly, or they leave their shoes in the hallway? Annoyed because they are wearing an old concert T shirt that is 20 years old and has no arm pits anymore? Disgruntled because they don’t want to watch the same TV show?

If you have a partner, or a child living with you, how often do you point out their mistakes? Or what are mistakes in your eyes?

For homework, I want you to count how many times you nag your partner/child and why.

How many of these things are life threatening? How many of these things needed to be mentioned, and how many of them could have been stepped away from?

Do you step away more than you engage? How does it work for you?

Discuss.

Disneyfication

Shake Shack began in my local park as a glorified hot dog cart. After seeing the popularity and hundred person lines, Danny Meyer opened his first shack location in Madison Square Park, and unwittingly began turning my neighborhood into a psuedo Disney for tourists- Times Square Light if you will.

Eataly came next, bringing people to my once quietish neighborhood where formerly architecture nuts would come to see the Flatiron building. Now the Flatiron building triangle is the least known thing about my area.

Lego store, whose windows impress me.

Friends Experience, which I freely admit I went to within a month of its opening.

And then the Grand Dame…The Harry Potter Store…which was so popular in the beginning you needed a ticketed number to come in and shop.

Of course, more food chains came to visit 23rd Street: Wendy’s, Dippin’ Dots, Krispy Kream…

Tourists. Tourists. More Tourists…

Which is very good for the very local economy. And not so good if you liked your neighborhood on the quiet side. You see, I’m torn as to whether or not your neighborhood becoming really popular is a good thing or a bad.

My neighborhood has always been a draw for TV and movies- many things have been filmed in my neighborhood, and while I delight in seeing my local haunts on screens both big and small, I don’t know if I want tour busses in here showing the “sights”- after all, this is the place where I live, not a Kodak moment sort of place. Sometimes having to walk Betty three blocks out of my way because they happen to be filming “Billions” could get a tad annoying. And yes, I realize how precious that sounds, my tough life of having to maneuver around film shoots, and have locals wonder if my hat and sunglasses are hiding a famous face (because seriously- the best way to spot a celeb in Manhattan is to look closely at the person in a hat and sunglasses trying to walk by unobserved) but seriously, try walking down the street and having to avoid the line to Friends and then run into a large group taking up the entire sidewalk…when you have fifteen pounds of goods from the Farmer’s Market and your little dog too, it’s not exactly the happiest moment on earth.

And every time something new and marvelous opens up within five square blocks of my little world, I begin to think how Times Square was once just hookers and drugs…and now literal costumed characters walk around, and there’s an M&M store (Ok- I think it’s still open, but I can’t guarantee it’s not a COVID casualty) Is my neighborhood going to morph into that?

I think about how Taxi Driver was filmed literal blocks from my apartment on streets that I wander every day…

And I’m glad crime is down from that era, and my biggest fear is it rising again to those levels…

But do I want it to be because we’ve become some sort of Theme Park attraction…the happiest dirty place on earth?

So I remain unsure as to how I feel about the changes in my neighborhood- first gradual now seemingly all at once. I want my local purveyors to live long and prosper, but I don’t know if I love the cost.

But I do want you to come and see the Flatiron Building, because it is wonderful. And while you’re at it, check out the view of uptown and downtown from that spot, because that is what differentiates us from other cities, other places. And then walk about eight blocks north to find the best Korean places, or northeast for some awesome Indian, south for all sorts of other ethnic cuisine…Get a doughnut from Dough. Ice Cream from Van Leeuwen. And do try the original Shake Shack- it’s clearly the best of the chain. If you want to see New York, you should see New York…as well as all that other stuff.

Out of Our Control

Do we miss the things that are out of our control?

If you’ve always wanted to be a grandparent, do you miss phantom grandchildren because your offspring didn’t want to offspring?

Do you miss your daughter walking down the grand staircase of your home that you bought specifically for photo moments, just because she chooses not to go to prom?

Do you miss the flat tummy that you will never get back again because a few c sections and menopause have made that an unobtainable goal?

I know people who fall into every one of these categories- they spend much of their time talking about, whining about and complaining about the things that didn’t go the exact way that they pictured things didn’t pan out. I know someone who works out hours a day, watches every crumb that is ingested and has a wonderful, healthy physique. Yet…that person still complains that they don’t look like they did at 22. I know people who have boxes in attics and basements of things they intended to pass down to grandchildren, only to have those boxes collect dust and their hearts harden a little.

How much of your day do you spend thinking about the things that you can’t have because you are not the one who is determining the outcome or the event?

Is it mentally healthy to obsess about things that are out of your control, and will most likely, never be in your control? Is there a point that you have to accept the limits that are just there, whether or not you like them?

I try not to worry about things out of my control. Frankly, I already try way to hard to control things: I don’t need any additional to do’s on my list. I try to accept that some things are just going to be a certain way, no matter what I do. Mind you, I said try: my no means am I chill and relaxed about stuff…

But what about you? What journeys does your mind take when things do not go how you pictured them? Do you lose sleep over them? Do you keep trying to make things go your way?

Discuss:

Gendered

Today we are going to dive into a quote I read in a book recently:

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

The Quote:

He groans. “God save me from self-obsessed, high maintenance bitches.”

“I don’t much like her,” I say, but please don’t call her a bitch.” I lean on the counter, not looking at him.”

“Why not?”

“Gendered insults are lazy.” I pause. “High maintenance is also gendered. obviously.”

Jackie Fraser

I completely agree that gendered insults are lazy. They are also judgmental and wrong at least half the time. And this goes to statements made against any sex…

But…

Is high maintenance a gendered statement?

When we use the term, what are we going for? What do we mean when we say high maintenance? Do we mean a Harry Met Sally thing? Are we talking about sandwiches with things on the side? Or is there something more?

But is being high maintenance really a thing that can be applied to women more often than men? I mean, my husband is WAY MORE high maintenance than I am…than my daughter is… I know just as many high main men as I do women…

Is this author just trying to jump on the women great/men suck bandstand? Is the author trying to be clever? Is the author trying to be pro women? Is the author so embarrassed that they are writing chick lit? Is the author trying to elevate their status to literary fiction? The whole book is lightweight trying desperately to be heavyweight…A regular maintenance reader can see that this book is full of itself…

Is high maintenance a gendered term? I don’t think so. Is it stupid to continually attribute things to men or women? Yes- I think that’s wrong.

But the real question here is simple: Am I wrong? Is the term high maintenance a gendered term?

Discuss

How Smart is Your Phone

Way back in 2021, we talked about my Mother’s refusal to get a smart phone. Many people responded that they couldn’t imagine not having a smart phone. I was one of those people- I definitely depend on a smart phone. But why do we depend on them so much? What are we doing that requires a cell phone? So obviously, I had to investigate.

To be clear: I own a smart phone (google), and ipad (apple) and a computer (asus). They each have a defined goal in my universe. I write on my computer, blog and any work in progress. I download my camera photos into my computer. I do spreadsheets in my computer (who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet?) Sometimes I do emails, if I know it’s going to be long. For the most part- this is what I use my computer for. I rarely use my computer to stream movies or TV shows.

As to my tablet: This is my in house go to. I was able to look at time spent and how thanks to the trackers at Apple. The vast majority of my time spent on ipad is on Nook (Barnes and Noble reading app), followed by WordPress (reading and commenting on blogs). Email (which includes News Alert emails) is third. New York Times crosswords is next. Then my calendar. I spend approximately six hours a day on my ipad- 5 1/2 of them on these five apps. I spend less than ten minutes a day on Facebook and Instagram. I spend about seven minutes a day playing Words with Friends. (I used to play more games but felt it was getting distracting so last year I cut out all games except words. I got a subscription to NY Times crossword- no regrets at all.) The other apps that I look at include Fandango, Goodreads and the Weather Channel. While I have about twenty other apps on my ipad, I only use them as necessary (Pet Smart, Amazon, Ticketmaster, Open Table, etc.)

As to my phone: First off, other than texting or actual phone calls, I don’t use my phone in the house- my smart phone usage is all when I’m our and about. I have very few apps on my phone. Nook, of course, because really, you don’t think I read on mass transit? Of course I have a few downloaded spotify playlists. I have any app that can hold a ticket: Fandango, Ticketmaster, Ballpark, Today’s Tix, etc. I have my personal email and my junk email (not my waking email) and while I monitor my email while I’m out, I rarely respond to an email. Same with wordpress- I may monitor comments, however I rarely respond to them while I’m out. I have insta and my calendar. Uber (which I personally have never used as I try not to take cabs- but have been in Uber with my daughter and husband), and then it’s pretty much the apps that come with the phone. I don’t search the internet. I don’t randomly do things. I take photos for my blog. I check directions, times, etc. I have a news scroll feature that gives me headlines and I do glance at them for anything interesting or breaking, but I don’t spend much time on the scroll. For the most part, I use my phone for reading off my nook app and listening to music.

So yes, I like being able to pull up a ticket on my phone, read on command, and get directions when I’m lost. My phone is very practical for me- it’s my digital assistant. My tablet makes my life easier, as does my computer. And yes, I would be lost without them. I totally rely on these three devices.

However…I don’t feel like these devices run my life- they just make certain things easier, more streamlined. I don’t randomly google things. I don’t wander around looking at memes or funny stories or whatever. When I open up one of my devices I have a specific intent. This is just me. I’m not a browser in physical stores (unless it’s books or stationary) and I don’t browse the internet.

The only thing that stymies me is Spotify. I listen to music at home, but the spotify usage is not counted. When I use spotify on my phone, I know it’s off downloaded play lists…but I couldn’t find any data on my devices as to how much spotify I use.

But enough about me:

How do you use your smart phone/tech devices?

Have you ever done a time audit as to the how much you use it and what you look at? Or listen to?

What do you do on your phone?

What apps do you use?

How much time do you spend on phones/tablets/computers?

Inquiring minds want to know

Safety

A few months ago I wrote a post about how I didn’t want my daughter to arrive at Union Station DC in the middle of the night because I thought it was unsafe. Many thought that as my daughter is “an adult” I shouldn’t say that to her. My retort was simple: If I had a friend who planned on arriving in a train station in the middle of the night, I would tell them not to take that train either. Which then lead to people saying- “You would never tell another person that. You would let them do what they wanted.”

So…

Do you tell your friends when you think they are doing something that is unsafe?

I have a really good friend who tells me how unsafe NYC is. The subways. The streets. The crime. And to be fair, my friend has statistics on their side: NYC is much less safe than if was pre-COVID. There was a point where our murder rate was up 86%. While crime has slowly started to come down, I see the difference- these mean streets really are meaner. Sometime in April you’re going to read about some mass transit experiences that I had recently…

But anyway…

Does my friend have a right to tell me to watch my back?

Don’t you want the people you love/care about to be safe?

What is the line between what you can and can’t tell friends?

When I go out with friends, we text one another when we get home. It’s just what we do. I make sure that my friends make it into their homes and are safely behind locked doors. Period. And this includes my friend M who I share theater tickets with and we go to matinees and she lives in Westchester. She texts me an hour and a half later when she is firmly ensconced in suburbia.

Because this is what we do. Is it because we’re women? Is it because we know what crime is like? Is it because we care about one another? Does it matter?

So where do you stand on safety and your friends?

Discuss

What Inspired Me: November 28

  • Julia is a fun documentary if you like food, celebrity chefs and Julia
  • Soothr is a Thai restaurant in the East Village, and the feeling is supposed to be one of home and comfort. It totally succeeds. My chicken khao soi was rich and textured and delicious. The cocktails are all named after jewels, and they give the story, but I was so busy looking at all the plates around me that I kinda sorta forgot.
  • French toast filled with marscapone and apples and some candied bacon on the side and yum…
  • Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway was cute. Cute means wonderful for someone under ten. Which means…don’t bother.
  • I admit that I am normally drawn to the same works of art or antiquities that everyone else is. There are things just universally beautiful or interesting. but occasionally I stumble on something like the shepherd, and its dedication to Pan
  • Gallery 153 at the Met is just a beautifully orchestrated room. It’s one of the galleries that brings me peace. Would be nice if no one else knew about it thought…
  • Gifts From the Fire: American Ceramics from the Collection of Martin Eidelberg Gallery 773 closing 10/16/22
  • I saw Eternals (newest Marvel) in the theater. You will be eternally grateful that I told you to pass this one by.
  • Marks off Madison is by husband’s new favorite neighborhood place. As seen by my delicious French dip sandwich (FYI- that’s a half, and I couldn’t finish that. Portions not only yum, also huge)
  • The Frick has a temporary home on Madison Avenue. They don’t allow you to take pictures, but they did have a postcard of my favorite painting in the collection.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation. What the balloons look like mid inflation. And How do you not love Baby Yoda!!! And Snoopy!

Gratitude Saturday: November 27

My Mom told me I should use a different color eyebrow pencil- the one I was using is apparently too dark…

Isn’t every 57 years old woman grateful when her Mother tells her what kind of make up she should wear?

I am grateful that I wrote a post about parents giving advice this week- made me see the situation with a little bit of humor.

I am grateful for my dark brown eye pencil because I like it.