Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


November 2006

Ordinary Good Things

Think fast!

Name three things about your life today that are good:

1. My wait at the Social Security office was not too long

2. I have been able to catch up on work reading

3. I am within my budget on Christmas present buying so far, and having a budget is making me less stressed about spending money.

So not crazy things like "I won the lottery today!" or "I was discovered as an actress today while walking across the street!"  But ordinary things.  Regular life things.

Keep note of such things.  Make a habit every day of thinking of three good things and then thinking of why they might have occured.  Filling the mind with more good things leaves less room for the bad.

A Legend in our Midst

New favorite song (or one of many, but it’s on the list): "Save Room" by John Legend.  What a great song.  Not as good as "Just the Two of Us", by Bill Withers, but good nevertheless.  Listen to a sample here.

What songs move you and make you want to dance or cry or jump around? 

Stay Tuned

Why write?  Why write in a blog?

Helps me stay tuned.  I find I look around more.  I ask myself more questions.  I observe more things.  I try to form opinions about stuff.  I want a record of thoughts and ideas and lists and observations.  And why on a blog?  Well it’s interesting to go through the mental exercise of "does this go in my own private journal, on the blog or both?"  If not on the blog, why not?  Too personal?  Too honest?  Hmmm.  All interesting questions (to me at least).

Observation of the day:  I am feeling the need to plan something.  I loved wedding planning and really like the idea of planning a fun time for all of my 150 nearest and dearest (paying for it though is NOT that interesting).  My first thought on this was, "Perhaps I should plan my funeral."

Dear GOD!  How morbid, right?  Well not so morbid if you are planning to be in attendance!  There will be fried chicken and a New Orleans jazz band.  I have never been to New Orleans but have always loved "When the Saints Come Marching In".  It will be a rocking good time.

SO that is my observation of the day – I am thinking of my funeral and also how I would like to be remembered (I may post about that later…if there IS a later!!!  Just kidding.  Well, I hope I am just kidding.  Now I am spooking myself.).  I told one friend about this.  He freaked and suggested I plan a dinner party instead.  Fine.  Scaredy cat.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I Discover My Inner Type D

Had great dinner with old friend.
Including two glasses of wine.
Tolerance is obviously failing me (thank GOD, cheap date!).
Got home at 9:30.
Comfy pants.
Three cooking shows (God bless that boring but easy to watch and easy to replicate Ina Garten) plus Grey’s Anatomy and it’s nearly 11PM.  HOW 11PM you might say?  I watched no commercials.  I love my DVR.
Surfed the web.  Skimmed work / Internet / Tech RSS feeds while watching Ina.  Could she be any more vanilla?  Get that woman a vibrator.
Need to wash face.  Might not.
Need to floss.  I WILL do that.
Getting tired.  Wasted some time.
Could have been reading 19th Century English Classics.
Or watching Bravo at least.
Or writing letters.
Or meditating or doing push ups.
Alas, I became a couch potato.  A web-surfing TV watching couch potato.  What a sad 2006 cliche I am.

How do you waste time?

Word to the Wise

In general, one should never look at a diamond of any sort, but a diamond engagement ring IN PARTICULAR(!?!?!?!), and say "Oh look at that, it’s so CUTE!"

You would be better off bating a rabid dog.  I’m just sayin’.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

SO, not that I am nosey, really, but there are a lot of questions I would love to ask friends that  I am afraid to ask.  The questions may be considered intrusive or offensive.  But I am genuinely curious about certain things – partly because most of my friends are pretty darn bright and I think I might learn something from them.

Examples of such questions:

– How much money do you make?

– Do you have credit card debt?

– How often do you have sex with your partner/spouse?

– If you don’t work, how do you and your spouse/partner manage money?  Do you get an allocation?  Do you have savings from somewhere?

– Same topic as above, if you don’t work, what is that like?  It sounds glamorous and fun.  Is it?  What surprises you about it that you did not expect?

– Do you wonder what your friends think of you?

– How do you manage to go on vacations, wear nice clothes and save money?  Or do you not save money?

– What have I done to offend you?  What about me bugs you?  (I really do and really don’t want answers to these questions.  I want to know so I can consider any issues and potentially correct; I don’t want to know because I think I might cry and be upset.)

– What time do you wake up in the morning and what time do you go to bed at night…really?  Not such a hard question I guess.

– What are your fights like with your spouse/partner?

I am sure there are more.  These are a few that come to mind.  Please do not reply with answers.  I am not really asking the questions.  Though maybe I am.  Anyway, not trying to be nosey.

Reality – so what?

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."

John Lennon

Back on the HIGH HORSE, again!

I have a friend who has cancer.  She is my age (VERY young) and is in excellent health otherwise.  She is doing incredibly well and is an inspiration to all of us who know her. 

When she was going through treatment, she told several of us she was amazed at the silly things people would say to her.  Things like: "Oh I knew someone who had that…she died." 

Are you kidding?  I mean dear God, were you born without the sensitivity chip?  Well, after many such comments my friend said she was thinking of writing a book – with a title like "I Know You Mean Well, But…"

Well of course then we were all terrified of ending up in the book.  She relayed horror stories – obviously bad comments and then other stories – not so obviously bad to my untrained ears – and when I stopped to think about it, I was concerned that maybe such comments could have come from me.  None of us wanted to end up in the book.

I think there are lot of things that people say, meaning well, or trying to make conversation, or whatever, that are hurtful but they have no idea they are hurtful.  I am QUITE sure I have made wretched comments without really knowing it.  Being the foot in mouth kind of person I can be, I would actually like her to write a book.  A friend once told me she was pregnant – first pregnancy, she was elated OBVIOUSLY and I asked "How far along are you?" and she said "Five and a half weeks" and rather than saying "I am so thrilled for you!" which I was, I said "Oh my God, isn’t that too early to be telling anyone???"  Open mouth, insert foot.

In another instance, I have a couple of friends whose mothers have died.  Well, what do you say?  What do you do?  Maybe not in the same book, but there should be a place to go where you can learn what to say or do in awkward situations, and what NOT to say or do.  I have a few other points of guidance to offer on this (Everyone sing along!!!!  "Back on my HIGH HORSE, again!") but so be it – here are my two cents…

  • If you ask a woman of child bearing age if she wants a drink, and she asks for something non-alcoholic, do NOT say "Oh come on!" or "Why not, are you pregnant?"  Just let it go.  Do not push for why she does not want a cocktail.  If you don’t know, she does not want you to know.  Maybe she is pregnant.  Or maybe she is fighting being an alcoholic.  WHATEVER it is, it’s not your business.
  • When a friend asks "Do I look fat?" or "Does this dress look good?" or "Do you like my hair?" and the answers would be negative, your response depends completely upon the situation and timing…if she is standing at the end of the aisle, or is about to walk out the door to the event and is late, your answer should be with no hesitation "You look fabulous!".  However, if she HAS time to fix the situation – to put on another outfit, to fix her hair, for heaven’s sake be a friend and say "You know, I really love you in your other jeans (insert "dress" etc.)" 
  • Never ask a woman if she is pregnant.  If she is and is not telling you, she has a reason.  Let it go.
  • If a couple has been together for several years and is not engaged, having you ask "SO when are you going to make this official?!" is probably not going to prompt them to either tell you when they are in fact planning to get engaged or why they have not to date.  Be glad you don’t have to spend money on a gift yet, and let them be.
  • If you ask someone to go on a weekend trip or to come visit you and they say no…maybe just MAYBE it’s because they cannot afford it.  Maybe they have the money and they don’t have time or whatever, but if they say no, perhaps it is not about you, maybe it’s about them.  Many of my friends have, shall we say, evolving financial situations and for the most part, we are diverging from one another in this regard.  Just because we could all afford to do the same things five years ago, does not mean we can now.  And you really don’t want you friend to have to say to you after you push and push "Fuck you I cannot AFFORD to come visit you right now!"  Just assume they love you, have their reasons and sometimes catching up by phone is pretty good too.

So will someone please write the book, post the manual, add to the list, provide general guidance?  We don’t mean to be callous and stupid or hurtful, but sometimes we are.  A little help, please?  And maybe I guess, a little forgiveness when we fail.

Have You Hugged A Parent Today?

I have a lot of friends with parents.  Well, I mean of course we all have parents (Master of the Obvious over here) but I mean parents with stuff going on.  I have parents with stuff going on.  One parent in particular has in the last several years had a lot of stuff going on.  Health stuff I mean.  Lots of parents with stuff.

I have friends whose parents have died.

Others have parents in hospitals.

Others have parents who run and play and ski.  And even these parents have stuff.

I am a little surprised we are at this age, to have parents with stuff.  I feel barely old enough to take care of myself…barely an adult…yet when you have parents with stuff, you start to feel catapulted into adulthood.

My parent has been in hospitals.  He is practically a frequent flyer.  But he is still here.  Because he is still here after all the STUFF, he is no doubt the healthiest man I know.

So welcome to reality, to being older, to having parents with stuff.  ICK I reject it!!  My parents will always be around without STUFF! 

This little post is nothing more than an ode to parents.  Have you called a parent today?  Have you hugged a parent?  Do you know where your parent is?

They are human too.  Don’t take them for granted.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking they are invincible like I did.  Take time to hug a parent.

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