The power went out this afternoon, so to save battery power, my husband and I closed up our respective ipads and played scrabble –
I won (again) – 345 to 260 Yeasss!
Today on ‘Medium’ I read an article titled “Practicing Positivity – Small things with a Large Impact” which annoyed me. Y’all know how I feel about positivity *snort* *sneer* But what the article was about were things that I consider common courtesy; being a decent human being acknowledging other human beings.
You know I am all about smiles I can’t imagine NOT greeting every person I come across with a smile and a hello, even on the days when I am feeling less than wonderful. I can’t imagine NOT being polite and courteous. I can’t imagine NOT acknowledging when someone extends a courtesy to me. I can’t imagine NOT noticing the people I interact with on a regular basis, like in the grocery stores, and using their name and noting when they have made some change. Dominique D. had a new hair style this week. I noticed it and complimented her because – well, I do shit like that.
I fling compliments around like confetti because – hey, whatever anyone has done/said/is wearing, if it makes me smile then they are doing ME a kindness. So why shouldn’t I say “Love your outfit” “Your hair looks great” to complete strangers?
Look, I am no one special, and I don’t think I am any better or worse than anyone else on the planet and maybe I am naive when I get annoyed with people who comment on behaviors that I take for granted, as being special. And, that THEY are special *gasp* because they have discovered these behaviors and are now exhorting everyone else to put these behaviors into action.
I really, really, really wanted to comment on that ‘Medium’ article but – better to keep my opinions to myself – except here of course. This is my place to say what I want.
I don’t want you to think that I am not often rude and dismissive. As I have said before “Saint” is part of my name NOT part of who I am.
Just this past Sunday someone was banging on our apartment door – like a manic woodpecker – a rapid series of bang, bang, bang over and over. WTF? I opened the door and there was a person there who held up their ID, started to say they were with the census and pointed down the hall and started to ask something about a neighbor. I rudely said, we did that already and closed the door in her face. Rude? Yup. You know what is even more rude, I’ve replayed that little scene in my head and revised my reaction to one even MORE rude as in – “Why the hell are you banging on my door! What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you know how to knock on a door?” That’s what I should have said I’m thinking now.
So – yeah I can be rude. In real time and in retrospect (Ah, those what-I-should-have said moments.)
Anyway, today dawned sunny, cool, not humid, not hot and not rainy – this is a one day thing the weather people say. I’ll take this one beautiful day, embrace it with smiles and giggles and wiggles of joy!
Plus I love to redecorate. Plus I like to reinvent myself – because, ya know, I’m bored. If you think the various mes (that would be the plural form of ME) that you have met over the years are all a little whack, you should meet the mes that are still rattling around in my head!
Margot Flutterby is a hoot in hell and I love her to pieces but as much as I love her she’s not totally me and I’m not totally her but I am now using her photo as my persona because I just love the damn photo. (Oh, wait none of you know Margot do you? Well that’s her photo on the header.)
And for those of you who I have known lo these past 15 years, I can’t promise that this will be the final blog iteration of me (as explained in the first paragraph).
Plus – Blogger is so easy to redecorate with and WordPress is very limited in the design area. Plus – I haven’t found WP all that interesting a place. The folks I have wound up following there (in addition to all the folks I follow on Blogger) blog constantly about prompts. What the hell is that about? I don’t get it. So screw that…
I’ve spent the last few days doing what makes me happy and would probably bore the hell out of everyone else – I’ve been consolidating 3 different blogs, deleting (I love the delete key!) posts, importing, exporting, converting and designing. I now have (excepting this post) 300 posts that represent 15 years of just tawkin’.
Going back over posts has shown that I have about 4 topics of conversation and I’ve been beating them like a dead horse all these years. If I had a therapist I would print them out and just dump them in his/her lap and say “Call me when you’ve done reading.” That would save a lot of talking time fer sure.
Now for something totally different (not!): For the last 4 days we have had marvelous weather, 70’s-low 80’s, low humidity so WINDOWS OPEN time. Today, pffft – heat index of 90 and it’s all due to humidity. Phooey – I hate Summer sooo much!
Ah, vindication. If you know me at all you know I really dislike the happy-happy people. The lemonade from lemons people. Those self-righteous little party poopers, when you are having a well deserved, well earned pity party. There is a name for the snake oil these imposters are selling (and I say they are impostors because deep down I think these folks are really depressed as hell and they doth protest too much) – it’s called toxic positivity.
And I quote: “While cultivating a positive mind-set is a powerful coping mechanism, toxic positivity stems from the idea that the best or only way to cope with a bad situation is to put a positive spin on it and not dwell on the negative,” said Natalie Dattilo, a clinical health psychologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It results from our tendency to undervalue negative emotional experiences and overvalue positive ones.”
“So promulgating messages of positivity denies a very real sense of despair and hopelessness, and they only serve to alienate and isolate those who are already struggling.”
“We judge ourselves for feeling pain, sadness, fear, which then produces feelings of things like shame and guilt,” she said. “We end up just feeling bad about feeling bad. It actually stalls out any healing or progress or problem solving.”
Perhaps I should just copy and paste the whole article, it’s in today’s Washington Post and if you click on the link in the first paragraph it will take you there.
I have often written ‘upside/downside’ posts – wherein I whinge and whine about something and then try to look on the positive side. The thing is, I never deny the downside. I never deny how I am feeling, and I will wallow as long as I need to. Wallow as you will and need to but just don’t live there. (Clinically depressed people are exempt from that caveat.)
Why is it that people think happiness is a constant state of being? My own take on happiness is that it is measured in moments, not hours, days, weeks, years. It may be that what I call happiness equates with what I call joy – a feeling, an emotion that washes over you, often in a split second, and lasts just that long.
Perhaps contentment is what we feel in the long run. “To be content does not necessarily imply “happiness” or “satisfaction” – it means that you are at peace with the circumstances.”
If I had to define happiness for myself then I would say – I was at peace with myself and my world. And that feeling is fleeting, it is momentary, it is a cozy feeling. It’s like snuggling down into a warm bed on a cold night – that whole body/whole mind Ahhh.
I suppose each person must define happiness for themselves but please know that it is okay to be unhappy.
I use Overdrive to download ebooks from my local library. The library very kindly keeps a history of all the books I have checked out. A few weeks ago I was looking for something to read and decided to look through the Alice Hoffman books the library had – I decided on The Rules of Magic but – not available, I put it on hold. Yesterday I was notified it was now available, I downloaded it and started to read. Hmm – I thought “This seems very familiar” but I kept reading. This morning I decided to check my library history and dontcha know, I took this book out in 2017.
I keep doing that. I scroll through the books and think “This sounds interesting” and then when I start reading I realize I’ve read it already. In some cases I didn’t like it the first time and the second time was no better and the book went back posthaste. Lately I am having a devil of a time finding something to read. Last month I re-read (on purpose) 3 books – I enjoyed them the first time and I enjoyed them the second time, actually one book I was enjoying for the third time. I suppose I should just buy a hard copy of the damn book because I’m betting I will go back and read it again at least one more time before I die.
On the other hand I think it may be time to purge my bookshelves again. I have a lot of books on theater and acting – why, I have no idea. I doubt I will be going on any auditions so books of audition monologues are hardly necessary. A few years ago I dumped a huge number of books, mostly 50 year old paperbacks that I hadn’t read in, well, 50 years! Tho I did replace my paperback JD Salinger’s with hardcover editions except for The Catcher in the Rye . I discovered that Catcher in the Rye was a snore and a bore to a mature adult. But 9 Stories never gets old.
I suppose I should get rid of the Harry Potter books – I know I shall never re-read them. I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember when they first came out. We waited with bated breath for each volume. We pre-ordered the books so we would get them the minute they went on sale. It was such a thing – the first book was published in 1998 in the USA – I was 52 years old and a super fan.
I was 17/18 years old when I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I even had a “Frodo Lives’ button. I tried re-reading those books a few years ago and I could NOT drag my brain through them. Nor The Hobbit either. They all went out with my most recent purge. What appealed to the youth bore the crap out of the adult.It goes without saying that I have never seen the movies.
On the other hand, there are a few books that I have read but do not have personal copies of and I shall have to remedy that. It’s a short list:
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro – I have read this book, at minimum, 3 times. And I always go back to it when I am craving a good read. I really should have a hard copy.
“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker I have several books by Alice Walker but not this one. I’m often rummaging through my bookshelves looking for it only to realize (once again!) I don’t have a copy. (I don’t really rummage, my bookshelves are organized by subject – religion, philosophy, poetry, novels etc and within each category by author).
“The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. I’ve written about this book so many times.
“Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout I gushed about this book recently here on the blog. I’m waiting for the paperback to become available because I need to read this again.
On a totally different note: I have been whinging about the weather and that I have not been able to have the windows open for months now. Today, glory hallelujah, the windows are open! Oh frabjous day, callou, callay!
We, all of us, ask ourselves questions. Big questions – about who we are, and why we are who we are, and how we feel about that. This self-questioning goes on for years on the same topics. Sometimes the answers change from year to year, decade to decade (once you have enough decades under your belt).
We can make ourselves crazy looking for answers, for a definition of self. Answers to why we feel the way we feel and more disturbingly why we don’t feel the way we think we ought to. Or rather, the way we have been told we ought to feel.
Perhaps we are spending too much time thinking and re-thinking. Perhaps the first thought, the first answer that came to us was the right answer all long. Our true answer.
Today Rory posed these questions: “What animals do you feel a special connection with and why?” and “If you were able to allocate an animal mascot to each of the rooms of your house which rooms would you give them and again, why?” These were the end point of his post concerning his new home and that, among other things, that he is naming each of the rooms and spaces in his new home and assigning each space a personality via a mascot. I find that whole idea charming and fanciful and totally UN-relatable.
I quickly reacted to the post and questions and in re-reading both the post and my answer I realize I completely misunderstood what he was asking. I answered with MY concept of ‘home’.
Now then, through the years I have pondered on the concept of ‘home’ and belonging somewhere. I have written about it – a lot. The vagaries of life have had me moving often and in each instance I had to establish myself in the new place bearing the weight of outsider. Oh yes, I was always an outsider, in some places people thought me quite exotic.
A few years ago I finally, and with great peace of mind, discovered that life had given me the ability to be at home wherever I was, and to belong wherever that home was. Wherever I hung my hat was home! Wherever home was, I belonged.
Home is not a building. A building is an inanimate object with only the qualities that someone assigns to it as their imagination dictates. It can be beautiful to look at and a marvel of human skill and ingenuity but for me, a building is a convenience and I do prefer to occupy buildings that are particularly convenient for me. The space I occupy, reflects, for the most part, my personality. And when I and my things are removed and replaced, it will become a reflection of someone else’s personality.
My comment on Rory’s post just poured through my fingers to the keyboard. Instantaneous. And that first thought is my truest feelings –
“I’ve learned that everything thing I need, especially a ‘home’ is within me and I carry it with me – I don’t inhabit it, it inhabits me.”
And there is MY truth. I didn’t answer Rory’s questions but I answered mine!
I don’t do gardening. I don’t do dirt, or bugs, or weeds or any of that stuff. I also don’t do ‘outside’ a lot – as in aimless walks through quote/unquote nature. Speaking of walks – what IS the difference between a walk and a hike? Or for that matter, the difference between Take a walk! and Take a hike!
I don’t do picnics (sitting on the ground with the dirt and the bugs Eww) or eating outside of any kind, fancy restaurant or not. (Have you ever walked past a sidewalk cafe and just wanted to grab some food off a plate and keep walking? Oh man, I have to quash that urge so hard – one of these days I’m just gonna do it!) Okay, okay, yes, I will grab a slice or a frank or a pretzel and eat it as I walk along…but that’s not really eating outside as in those other examples – that’s just multitasking.
Rory is talking about his new garden today. The man is one freakin’ serious gardener. He has worm farms (I’m sure there is a reason to have that, I don’t really want to know.) and compost – and my limited knowledge of compost is that it is homemade fertilizer as opposed to store bought fertilizers which cows and horses make.
I’m sure it is very gratifying to grow your own carrots or whatever. I definitely can appreciate flowers and lord knows I cannot live without looking out my window and seeing trees but trees don’t exactly fall under the heading of gardening. But compost? Worm farms? Are you kidding me?
Where I come from, if you live in a private house (as opposed to an apartment building) you almost always have a backyard (if you live in a somewhat more residential area you will have a front yard as well.) These back and front yards are usually grass and flowers and bushes or, as the Brits call them, gardens.
Lawns can be a competitive sport in suburbia, I had a friend who finally gave up on trying to nurture a front lawn, paved it over, painted it green and had done with it. He was my kind of gardener. He was before his time because now I see people have done up their front yard with fancy paving stones and other assorted bric-a-brac and they call it a patio. Call it anything you want as long as you don’t have to mow it!
Which is not to say that I have not done gardening. I have – under duress.
June (my female DNA contributor) was born In Greenwich Village, always lived in apartment buildings but somewhere along the way acquired gardening knowledge and skills. When we moved to a private house in Queens we had a front yard, back yard and a small side yard and the fun began.
She was an organic gardener before it was a thing – coffee grounds went on some plants; egg shells on other plants. There was always some leftover or other that was used to fertilize her numerous plants. I’m sure she never read a book on gardening (actually I don’t think she ever read any book on any subject) but she seemed to know how to make plants grow (people, not so much.)
Now the thing is – I did the work. She would point, I would do.
The first year we were in that house, I gotta give credit where credit is do, the woman single-handedly ripped out huge hydrangea bushes (she hated hydrangeas) that bordered the two halves of the front lawn as well as the stickers bushes that grew along the curb. She was not a big woman, and those bushes were bigger than she was, but she got her pitchfork, dug into the roots and just yanked those suckers out of the ground. I swear the whole neighborhood came out to watch the show.
As I got older and bigger the ‘gardening’ became one of my jobs. Mow the lawn, fertilize, weed, plant – all under her direction. And I hated every minute of it. I never liked dirt and bugs – never! I did not like getting dirty even as a teeny tiny toddler. And there I was, forced to muck about in the dirt.
June’s favorite flowers were roses and I have to say we had some damn gorgeous rose bushes and rose trees that she nurtured, grew and even propagated. She had a green thumb. She stuck a branch of a lilac tree in the ground and the damn thing grew, took years but it finally got big enough to flower. She was also a dab hand at house plants – particularly African Violets, which I understood were difficult to maintain and I wasn’t allowed near them, not that I was all that interested. People use to bring her their African Violets, in their little pots, and ask her to fix them – she was the African Violet doctor.
Aside from roses, June loved gardenias and it was the one plant that she had no success with. She got one as a gift and she babied that plant. She potted it in a large metal pot that she would bury in the backyard during Spring and Summer, then dig up the pot and bring it inside for the Fall and Winter. The plant grew big and healthy but it never bloomed. She had it for years (years!) and it never bloomed. Then one Summer she had a month off from work and she went to California to visit her family. I swear the minute she was out the door that damn gardenia plant started to bloom and just wouldn’t stop. I had gardenias floating in bowls all over the house. I was forcing them on the neighbors. I don’t think any gardenia plant, in the history of gardenia plants, ever produced that many blooms in that short period of time. Because don’tcha know, when she came back from California that plant stopped blooming, never to produce another flower. It was still big and healthy with lush shiny leaves but no flowers ever again. (True Story)
(As I am re-reading this I realize that once again, I started out with the intent to talk about wild gardens and ended up talking about something else altogether.)