I’m not sure how this happened. I haven’t found anyone to blame yet, but I’m looking for a scapegoat and would appreciate a volunteer.
When did my blog change from a fun hobby into a do-or-die project? It has been consuming my life. Incrementally, bit by bit, it nibbles at my days, chews up my evenings and gnaws the edges of my nights.
I have computers everywhere, so I can work from any room. Any place I might relax, a computer lies waiting. The proliferation of computers was a convenience, so I wouldn’t have to haul stuff around. It wasn’t supposed to be a constant reminder of tasks and assignments. I renounced that stuff years ago … or so I thought.
I started reviewing books because I love them. Now, I have more books to read than time — and I’ve got deadlines. Deadlines? Come again? I’m retired, aren’t I?
No time to read other people’s blogs or listen to an audio book just for fun. No time to read anything that isn’t on my “to-read” list. Barely time to answer personal email. Or talk on the phone, shop, cook or do anything except write, edit and read. Sleep? No time for that, either.
We don’t change as much as we think we do. Just when we think we’ve finally gotten that piano out the door, it sneaks back in the window. Old, engrained habits lurk — then when you think you’ve got it beat, pounce. Whack. HEY! Where’d you come from? Saying “yes” until I’m drowning — it’s an old song, oh so familiar. I know the music, lyrics and all 42 verses. Old habits are like old shoes. So comfy. Slide right into those babies.
When I started doing this, I wanted to be busier than I was, but didn’t want to be tied to a schedule. Free, unscheduled time is the singular gift of retirement. We may be short of money but our time belongs to us.
Instead of letting myself enjoy the wealth of time, I’m back on a schedule. I’m not even getting paid!
So I’ve decided it’s not my fault. It’s someone else’s fault. I just need to figure out who. What about you? Has your hobby, your blog, your avocation taken over your life? I’ll bet I’m not the only one who has a problem. Maybe bad habits are contagious and I caught it from you. In which case …
It’s your fault. I can point a finger and be off the hook. No need to ponder my complicity or change my behavior.
This must be why scapegoating is so popular. It has surpassed baseball as our national pastime. If others are to blame, I can be a total screw up. If it’s not my fault, I don’t have to fix it. Cool.
So, is it your fault? You, there, sitting in front of your computer. Yes, I mean you. Don’t try to weasel out of this. I know guilt when I see it!
- Let Go of the Blame Game for a More Empowered Life (projectblissful.com)
- “It’s not my fault!” (jcdemon.com)
- It is not anyone else’s fault that we feel or act the way we do… (soulveritas.com)
- Dear Me: A Letter to Myself (premmeditations.wordpress.com)
I quite a lot of pictures of the old Unitarian Church in Uxbridge, this one taken from the right side by the library. This is a perfect, classic New England church in the middle of town, directly across from the town commons. It’s for sale, in case anyone is in the market for a beautiful white steepled church. It’s as beautiful inside as outside. Just needs a little paint. And a heating system.
- Afternoon Light on the Steeple (teepee12.com)
- Bee expert moves hive from Ore. City steeple (kgw.com)
- The Mumford in Uxbridge (teepee12.com)
- The Clock Tower: Mill No. 4 – 1911 (teepee12.com)
- The Flowers (teepee12.com)
- The Hollow Men – T S Eliot (teepee12.com)
- 1893 – Uxbridge Free Public Library (teepee12.com)
- Old Church on the Commons (teepee12.com)
- June’s Garden (teepee12.com)
- Wild Daisies (teepee12.com)
John Howell’s “Rule is as Rule Does” got me thinking about life and how we invent rules as we go. I make rules for myself and I follow them. But I hate rules, so the only rules I follow are mine, all born of hard lessons.
What rules? I’m glad you asked.
I’ve had a life in which the light at the end of the tunnel was always the headlight of an oncoming train. At one point, I got so stressed I could barely breathe. Something had to give if I was going to survive. I had to change. I had enough issues without stressing myself to death.
I began by getting a tattoo, a symbol of life. It was an acknowledgement of change, an acceptance of survival and the possibility I might have to do it again. The tattoo is a large phoenix in full flaming color. It’s one-of-a-kind, designed for me. I had it put toward the back of my left calf. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so big, but I’ve come to like it. I was 57 when I got my only piece of body art. Tattoos are more permanent than most marriages, so if you’re going to get one, make it something you won’t find embarrassing later in life. Spelling and punctuation count. A typo in a tattoo is forever.
I never wrote my rules before, so this has been an interesting exercise. I don’t expect you to follow my rules, but they are pretty good ones. They grew out of decades of doing everything wrong, worrying myself into ulcers, simmering with anger at injustice, and getting frantic over every ecological or political crisis.
Marilyn’s Dirty Dozen
- Laugh often. Have friends who laugh with you.
- If you can’t fix it, don’t brood about it.
- Have pets. Cats, dogs, chickens, ferrets, bunnies, reptiles, bats or birds. Anything but spiders. I don’t like spiders.
- Don’t argue with stupid people.
- When you know you’re wrong, give up and apologize.
- Worrying is a waste of time. Whatever you are worried about, something else will happen.
- Staying angry at someone who wronged you hurts you, not them. They aren’t losing sleep over you. Forget it. Move on.
- Be a gracious winner. People may sympathize with a sore loser, but everyone hates a gloating winner.
- The path less traveled is often a dead-end. Before going down unmapped roads, make sure you can make u-turns in tight spaces.
- When you have a choice, do the right thing. When you have no good choices, do the best you can. If you have no choice, run for your life.
- Brutal honesty is inevitably more brutal than honest. Be kind.
- If you’re an artist, do your thing. Talking about it doesn’t count.
Live your life. You are unique. Celebrate!
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- Jewish burial hope has film star Drew Barrymore seeking tattoo removal (thejc.com)
- Incredible Misspelled Tattoos (oddstuffmagazine.com)
Eight movies to have on a desert island? So many movies … but if I had to make the choice, here they are!
Awesome performances by everyone, from Hepburn and O’Toole, to Anthony Hopkins in his first screen role. Wonderful script and matchless screen chemistry. It’s not accurate history … but the interaction of the members of the family is surprisingly close if you want to examine only the emotional content. In the end, it’s all about the performances. From top to bottom, every performance is extraordinary. Hepburn got an Oscar, one of three wins for the film. Many more nominations plus three Golden Globes. All well-deserved.
Paddy Chayevsky‘s script is among the best movie scripts of all time. Add superb performances by James Garner and Julie Andrews in her first dramatic role. The whole movie would be worth it just for Garner’s monologue on war. But there’s so much more. It’s funny, sharp, downright brilliant.
The cast knew they’d never have a better job. All of them list this movie as the favorite or as one of the top one or two of their professional lives. Roles like this don’t come along often in any actor’s career. The actors showed their appreciation by working their hearts out. Everyone is at the top of his or her game.
This is one of those movies that I like better each time I watch it … and I watch it often. We can recite dialogue with it. It’s got everything you want a western to have: passion, revenge, violence, humor and brilliant cinematography. It’s Val Kilmer‘s best performance and arguably Kurt Russell‘s shining moment.
This is my go to movie if I need a revenge and violence fix. It manages to have a satisfying body count without the gore. I like that in a movie.
Maybe it isn’t one of the all time greatest films, but reminds me of some of the best of times in my life as well as music I dearly love. It’s funny, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, a loving parody. It’s a warm-hearted and nostalgic look at a time many of us look back on with great affection. The music manages to be humorous and good — a difficult act to pull off.
Not the most original choice, but it’s so good and it has worn well despite the years. We saw it on the big screen not long ago. Wonderful. It’s pure mythology, but it’s the way we wish it had been. I need heroes.
Three Oscar wins — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay plus nominations for just about every member of the cast. Seeing it on the big screen was like seeing it for the first time and gave me an even better appreciation of the brilliant script.
It’s hard to pick just one Mel Brooks movie, but if I have to choose, this has to be the one. It was a tough choice. “Young Frankenstein,” “High Anxiety,” and “History of the World, Part I” are right up there too. “Blazing Saddles” wins because it’s got some of the all-time great movie lines. That’s HEDLEY Lamar!
Science fiction movies usually disappoint me because they aren’t science fiction, but westerns in space using spacecraft for horses, featuring millions of dollars of special effects, but no script. This is all acting. A fine script, wonderful performances, romantic, touching and believable. A great performance — underrated — by Jeff Bridges. And I almost forgot to mention the haunting score. Rarely mentioned, it’s the best kind of science fiction … concept and character based. And unforgettable.
I know they were issued as two movies, but they were filmed as one. The stars of the film(s) sued the studios since they had only been paid for one movie, and they won. Nonetheless, both movies play like a single film in two parts. You can’t watch one without the other. They keep remaking it, but none of the others come near this version. It’s fast, funny, and surprisingly true to the books. Dumas would have been pleased. I love the sword fights. I used to fence in college, and this has some of the best choreographed fencing I’ve ever seen. It’s not the elegant fencing you usually see, but brawling — the way men really fought — not to get points for good form, but to win without getting sliced up.
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And that’s my eight. If I could pick a hundred more, I wouldn’t run out of choices. Oh, and I might change my mind tomorrow!
- Print the Legend! Garry Armstrong’s Desert Island Movies (teepee12.com)
- The Garner Files: A Memoir (teepee12.com)
- Mel Brooks Receives AFI Life Achievement Award (947thewave.cbslocal.com)
- Blazing Saddles (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Desert Island Films: My Filmviews (headinavice.com)
- History Of The World, Part I (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Mel Brooks to get American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award from Martin Scorsese (timesunion.com)
- Springtime for Hitler (leaningforwardblog.wordpress.com)
Life happens. We plan. We’re psyched. Announce our upcoming adventure! Oops. Sickness. Financing falls through. The place we were sure was ours sells to someone else. Job offer dissolves; budget cancelled. Harvard said what? Who’s writing this script?
People (who ARE those people?) say “everything happens for a reason.” I’m not so sanguine, but I know we follow our destiny, like it or not. The longer I live, the louder I hear that drumbeat. Plans go awry. If fate decrees we aren’t doing it, discussion over. Make new plans? They fall apart too. Different reasons, same result. Another plan anyone?
Years pass. The you making plans has changed. If you get what you want, it won’t be what you expect. Could be better, might be worse. Surely different.
Take it easy, go with the flow. Bring energy, enthusiasm and a sense of wonder to everything, planned or not. Life’s unexpected, but needn’t be dull.
From womb to tomb, it’s a journey. We are forever becoming. The only thing we can always count on is us. Wherever, whatever, we bring ourselves to the party. The unplanned things were the most important. Never entirely fun. Rarely easy, but critical. Meaningful.
From 13 years old I wanted to go to Israel to live. Not visit. I had no interest in tourism. I wanted to live there, experience culture shock, be enveloped by foreignness. My first attempt to move there — with mom’s collusion — got cancelled when I chose college, a special B.A. program I thought wouldn’t let me in. I planned to study nursing in Israel. I was 16, just out of high school.
Twelve years later, I did move to Israel — on my own with my 9-year old son. No plans to study. I’d gotten my chance 5 years earlier, accepted into an exclusive Master’s program for administrative nursing. I dreamed of running free clinics for people without insurance.
Along came life. My first husband got cancer at 34. After I got up off the floor, I figured I needed an income, not a master’s. I found work as a writer; remained a writer my entire professional life. How would the lives entwined with mine have been changed if I’d moved to Israel in 1963? My son might not exist — or my granddaughter. I’d never have met Garry. I can’t imagine such a life.
This is where I should be. I know it, though not why. If I’d chosen, I’d be richer, healthier, living with better weather and no mortgage. But I wouldn’t trade for what I’ve got. Life’s not what I planned. It’s a challenge. But it’s good. I am where I should be. Destiny.
My dogs are happy. They never plan, except for the next biscuit. I’m with the dogs.
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- Destined for Destiny (ashootingstarinthelightofday.wordpress.com)
- DPchallenge, A Matter of Sweet Destiny (gharveyn.wordpress.com)
- God-supernatural (questofrediscovery.wordpress.com)
- Fate and Destiny (dropdeadbella.wordpress.com)
- My Karma, my destiny (lmoktan.wordpress.com)
- talent… and your destiny (theingeniumblog.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Papa Says Get Economical (dailypost.wordpress.com)