Category Archives: Life

Dear What’s-Your-Name

A relative, someone who is successful and I daresay prosperous by most definitions, and moreover, who wouldn’t know me if we came face-to-face on the street, sent (via a family email list) a request for money to subsidize their campaign for office. I did nothing but it would have have been fun to reply

Who ARE you and how did you get this number?!

Where I shall play my violin, translate poetry, and enjoy nature

Farnsworth House

 

Somewhere in the last year or so I found the above bookmark in a book, either a library book or one from a mini “Free Library.” I don’t remember exactly which but I was smitten when I saw the house depicted. Even though Farnsworth House is apparently famous, I had never heard of it. Can you imagine having such a spectacular retreat? Situated along a river in the woods? (Assuming stalkers and security weren’t issues let’s say. That’s a lot of glass!) Sure, I can’t play the violin or translate poetry – as did the woman who had the house built – but I rock at enjoying nature.πŸ˜€

Ship

For much of my life I believe I was quietly waiting for my ship to come in. I say quietly because I didn’t talk much about it. It wasn’t secret exactly but the feeling percolated beneath the surface as I went about my life. That “ship” was vaguely defined; it could have been a great man or a great job or writing success, for a few examples.

The ship never came. It isn’t coming. What I see now is that the ship is already here. It always was here. Your life is your ship. What you build is the ship. If you sit around waiting, what you’ll have is a big pile of materials that never got used, that were never crafted into a sea-worthy vessel.

I’ve used a ship metaphor on the blog before when, a couple years ago, I said my life needed some tweaking & compared it to a ship in need of a change in direction. Ships don’t turn on a dime. They creak and groan, reluctant to leave the path they’re on, as they churn forward on momentum. The older you get, the slower changes come. I’m not talking here about quick or abrupt changes later in life that come, say, when someone has a heart attack or stroke and is then impelled to modify all sorts of things about their life. Or the person who abruptly leaves a long-time relationship or family for a fresh new one. Those seem different. Lifestyle changes generally are more gradual with age.

My mother was always “waiting.” She did not model for me the idea that a person is – must be – self-motivating. My father harangued and railed but didn’t teach skills or demonstrate how to build a life. Not surprisingly, none of my many siblings were especially adept at this self-directing business either, at crafting a grand ship for themselves to sail through life on. None of us, I believe, understood that you were your own ship and that it could be no better than what you designed. Further, I don’t think any of us truly grasped the role of setbacks and failures, that they should be expected and handled. Our blueprints were no good.

I do now see my life as a ship I built and continue to “tweak.” I put on a captain’s hat and found my way to the bridge. It may not be grand but it’s most certainly mine. I stopped waiting.

Whine like that

When I was out earlier today I spied a small sticker stuck on a sign post. In typed script it read:

“None of this is your fault.

You have a right to be angry.

It didn’t have to be this way. “

Hmm. I could start by saying you’re not supposed to stick things on sign posts, etcetera, in my community but people do. Usually though, it’s yard sale signs or business flyers. It’s unusual to see general text like this. The person who put it there must have been busy because I saw the same one later on a (light) post. Somebody clearly felt they needed to spread this message around. To me the intent is clearly about the pandemic and not about racial or other issues. The self-pitying tone makes me think that. I googled the first two lines to see if these words were turning up online but no, apparently this sentiment belongs to a local.

On whole, I’m not impressed or comforted. I’m on board with the first line; if any average citizen is blaming themselves for something related to the pandemic, of course it’s not their fault. The second line starts to bother me a hair. Angry? Yesssss, it’s okay to feel angry but that’s not enough said. It’s not okay to be angry about the pandemic and take it out on other people. It’s not a great idea to be angry and take it out on yourself either. (I’m reminded of a guy on a community Facebook page a few months ago asking where he could buy alcohol, because he wasn’t going to go through this sober. Not everybody is so blunt but a lot of people appear to have shared that attitude.) We’ve seen plenty of anger this year. It’s not an emotion I’d be advocating for right now, not unless it’s directed toward useful action.

The last line loses me entirely. It didn’t have to happen?? Who can really say that? Yes, I know criticism is aimed at how it’s been handled, but that’s a different matter. I’m so weary of people – American people certainly – carrying on as if nothing bad should ever happen and if it does, SOMEBODY is to blame. Somebody should PAY (often literally but not always). I don’t see how this is much different than ancient peoples railing at the gods for sending them plagues of locusts or bad harvests. Instead of the “gods” being responsible, now it’s governments, institutions, and so on. Sometimes that’s absolutely the case. Sometimes someone (or a government, institution, or business) should be held accountable after a bad event. This just is not one of them. Pandemics happen.

A bit about me and update on 2020 “resolutions”

I haven’t said jack about my Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions 2020 since one update in March. I suppose I’ve had other things on my mind.πŸ˜• But I did not just give up. That was not an option. The world is not ending and I’m not sick. That said I didn’t/don’t feel that it has to be “business as usual.” I can be tough on myself but I am not out of my head.😁

My work life, which is part time, has been unaffected by the pandemic. I don’t have a lot of people contact and when I do have any, distancing is possible. I mention this to note that I was and have been grateful to be working and to say it came first over the course of the last 5+ months.

While work has been the same, several other things have not been, obviously. I’ve stayed away from people, out of stores almost entirely, and off public transportation.

Reading books became difficult for the early months of the pandemic; it was too hard to concentrate. I’m very, very happy to say my public library is in the earliest stage of reopening and it’s possible to request & pick up materials (outside). I feel less distracted now and am enjoying books again. I’ve read 22 of a planned 30 for the year. I’m currently listening to Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, which got a lot of buzz last year.

My “good deeds” are going okay too. The rule is it has to be something where I go a bit out of my way (more so than normal, every day things I do) and it has to be with no expectation of reward of any kind. I’ve done 16 of a planned 20. I don’t know what a “good deed” will be in advance; I just look for opportunities.

The Elementary School has lovely flower gardens. They were initially planted by volunteers/parents (I’m neither) and they’d typically hold “work parties” to maintain them. At the end of February, pre-pandemic, I noticed the beds were neglected, full of leaves & last year’s dead perennials. I knew that there’d likely be a cleanup date scheduled when it got warmer, but since I usually work best alone, I started working on them. Well, you know what happened in pretty short order. School got closed and nobody touched those beds. So I did. I keep ’em clean and haul away the debris. School is not re-opening for fall so I expect I have an ongoing good-deed-doing project this year. They’re so nice; it’d be a shame to let them totally go.

The best one with rose bushes, black-eyed susans, coneflowers, sedum & other stuff😊

Two other beds. Both have flowers and one has a Crepe Myrtle & I don’t know what the other tree is

Yoga has fallen off. I am active outdoors in seasonal weather (and unseasonal to a lesser degree) and I’ve realized that yoga is a better winter activity for me at least now. I do feel like I lose momentum by not doing it year round but I just have to accept that. This means my yoga goals will not happen as they were ambitious, pre-pandemic, and supposed to be spread over the calendar year.

I have gotten rid of (recycled, given away, etc) over 90 things. I love it! I want less things/better things. It’s kinda funny to me; in the last several years I’ve focused on making my home an attractive, useful, clutter-free place. And now, during the pandemic, I’ve gotten to live in it. It’s almost as if I’ve been preparing for this time. In retrospect anyway.

This is not mine & it doesn’t count as a “good deed” because I think of it as my contribution for the use of it, but I’ve been weeding this bed & keeping the immediate grass around it cut. I thought it was such a lovely, generous thing for someone to contribute. I’m mad for Basil especially & really don’t get enough sun for it so I’ve been delighted to have access.

I planned to cut back on movie-watching (more books, less movies) in 2020 BUT since I don’t have cable & don’t watch movies on my tablet AND I couldn’t get DVDs from the library, I was FORCED to cut back! That’s right, I didn’t see any of the Tiger King stuff – not sure I want to – or that Love is Blind (I think that’s the name) pod dating show either. Instead, I discovered re-runs of Shipping Wars on regular TV. Fascinating show. The shippers are SO insulting toward one another but SO funny. I could relate! Now however, I am so happy to again have access to library DVDS. They are my reward.

There’s something else I want to say. For most of the time I’ve had this blog, I’ve also had a problem in my life. No one is sick or dying but the problem is one I have no control over. The people who should have helped didn’t. In my 2020 Resolutions post I wrote about relief from this problem. That relief, which gave me back a kick in my step, has continued. I have wanted to tell you this: for me personally, everything that has happened this year has been a cakewalk when contrasted against this problem. I tell you that so you’ll have an idea of the magnitude the problem had for me. I am so, so, so grateful to not have had this problem on my plate in this year. I don’t like to think of what it might have like to have dealt with both. This problem may easily return, I have no certainty but AT LEAST it was not on my plate this year. I breath easier.

Let’s lighten the mood. I had slacked on pushups figuring I was doing enough other exercise. I was wrong.😐 Like many, I put on a few pandemic pounds. You wouldn’t know it but I do. Pushups strengthen the upper body AND tone the abdomen. I’ve started doing 10 every day again.

That’s right, I’m BAD

This post would not be finished if I didn’ talk about the social upheaval. If I was a younger woman and there wasn’t a pandemic I think I’d almost certainly have gone to a Black Lives Matter march or anti police brutality demonstration. These are terrifically important times and I had tugs of feeling that history was passing me by as I stayed home safe in my community. But there’s only so much you can do and you have to prioritize. I’m not young & I don’t like crowds. So, like many, I watch the TV, I take in the latest horrifying event, whatever it is. I still fear for this country but that so many do seem to want healthy change, gives me hope.