1] What are your strengths and of your strengths – how have they helped you throughout your life?
I write well and I have a good eye. They got me a profession and a hobby which have seen me through life and have kept me entertained too.
2] What are your weaknesses and how have they or have they hindered your successes in any way and what have you done to overcome them to rue your day?
I have a temper and it’s a lot of work to control it. But as I get older, it’s not as difficult as it was, at least in part because I am not forced to spend nearly as much time with morons.
3] What makes people believe absurd conspiracy theories or alternatively are all conspiracy theories absurd? Use the answer which sits best with you.
I have no idea. I assume ignorance combined with stupidity. I don’t listen to these idiots and when they show up in my Facebook feed or comment on my blog, I bar them or ban them without half a second of thought.
Anyone who believes the world is flat does not deserve a minute of my time. There’s enough crap going around without dealing with those idiots too.
4] How important are morals in a healthy society? What are the most important morals for citizens to have?
We don’t need morals. We need to understand the difference between right and wrong. I think most people are born knowing.
I think it’s part of our human DNA to know right and wrong, good and evil. We don’t need a god, religion, or dogma. We need to do the right thing.
Once again, it’s back to my reader to see where my posts have gone. I knew my email had dropped suddenly. I was so relieved at not having a thousand emails a day to cope with, I failed to realize that half the people I follow are missing, too.
Good old WordPress. They never stop sharing their technical problems with their customers!
What’s the closest thing you’ve experienced to real magic?
I can’t say it was the birth of my son because that was a 23 hour, absolutely EXHAUSTING labor that I thought would never end. If I’d had a proper obstetrician, it might have worked out better. As it was, I was so tired by the time he was born, I think I didn’t wake up for three days. They don’t call it “labor” for nothing.
For real magic? It was being close to death one day, having a vision during the night when the great voice from nowhere told me I was not going to die, then waking up the following morning well enough to go home.
Despite the years passing, it remains magic because it WAS magical. My minister, who really felt I should seriously consider religion as a viable option because he asked me: “What do you want? God to drop by with his social security card and a passport?”
I thought about it and said: “Yes, probably.” I’m that skeptical. But it was magic. Skeptical I may be, but I’ve been pulled back from nearly dead twice … possibly three times. I’m not as sure about the third time … that may just have been really excellent medicine at work.
Who is the messiest person you know? And why?
My daughter-in-law. You had to live with her to really feel it.
If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
God? If you want to prove your might to me, please smite you-know-who in the big white house. Do that, and I WILL believe!
What benefits does art provide society? Does art hurt society in any way?
I think a house without art isn’t home. Art takes you out of yourself and makes the ordinary beautiful. I love art. Paintings and pottery, dioramas and rugs, tapestries and tatting. I love writing and photography and music. I love everything except screechy operatic sopranos (sorry — not a fan of opera).
You know in China, they had art even for rice peasants? Because they believed everyone needed art. I own some of it and these are among my favorite pieces. Rice bowls decorated with colorful chickens and big clunky horses from the Tang period ridden by servants. For servants to put in a place of honor.
What’s something positive you’d like to share? Can be a smile, a joke, or music..anything that gave you a lift this week!
I’m really, really glad we bought that thing to keep ice off the windshield. I only wish I’d bought a garage too.
You’re walking in a forest and you find a black suitcase. Inside it is one million dollars and a piece of paper, stained in blood and bearing the single word “Don’t!” Would you take the suitcase home or leave it?
I’d probably leave it. I’d be sure it was mob money and if I took it, they’d find me and kill everyone in sight. Too many cop movies?
Imagine you lapsed and cheated on your partner. You feel horrible and you know you’ll never do it again because the feeling is so awful. Would you confess?
First of all, confessing might make you feel better, but why would you do that to your partner? Assuming you don’t have an open marriage (been there, done that, but it’s a whole other story) or something like it, most people get really upset when their partner is bedding someone who isn’t them.
If you’re not going to keep doing it, what exactly does anyone gain from the confession except misery?
Would you live your life differently if nobody ever judged you for anything you did?
No. I don’t care who judges me. I’m old enough to figure I don’t have to listen to that crap anymore — unless it’s a really close friend, Garry … or the dogs start to talk.
If the dogs are talking, I think I could do something inventive and make a little money with that, so all you pups? If you’ve got something to say, speak up!
Would a fly without wings be called a walk? No? What would you call it?
What’s something that brought joy and lightness of being to you this past week?
It didn’t snow. A cardinal came by. We didn’t run out of food OR money! Joy and lightness? Um, I don’t think so.
Ellin is away all day, but will answer comments when she gets back this evening! It’s that time of year 😀
Most people wax poetic when they talk about their idyllic summers at sleep-away camp when they were kids. Tennis, volleyball, waterskiing and other fun sports. Campfires, nature walks, bunk hijinks, and lasting friendships.
I had none of those wonderful experiences. I went to sleep-away camp one summer when I was thirteen.
I refused to ever go back again. I was miserable.
My horrible experience was basically due to three factors. The first problem was my parents’ choice of camp. They sent me to a progressive, Montessori style arts camp called Bucks Rock Work Camp. The selling point for the camp was that there were lots of artistic opportunities but there was no schedule or requirements for the campers. Each child had to choose their own activities each day.
While this format is great for self-motivated kids with intense interests and actual talents, it was a disaster for me. I had no overpowering interest except for theater. And that was an organized activity that did have a specific schedule. So most days I wandered around. I tried jewelry making, art, and pottery. I took fencing classes and a few guitar lessons. But I was pretty aimless most of the time.
The second problem I had was my bunkmates. There were four of us in two sets of bunk beds. One of the other girls spent every night sneaking out the window to meet boys. The other two were best friends and overtly excluded me. It was very uncomfortable and demoralizing. I had other friends but this cast a pall over my camp life.
bunk houses on campus
The third problem was the way the camp handled the casting of the big theatrical production of the summer. This was what I was looking forward to. This was the all-consuming activity I was waiting for.
The play was “Peer Gynt”. I auditioned along with hordes of other campers. And the lead females role narrowed down to two girls, me and someone else. I didn’t get the role. This would have been fine if they had done the reasonable thing and given me a subsidiary role. I was good enough to be the lead, so you’d think they could find some other part for me. But no. I got nothing. Not even a place in the chorus. This was a horrible thing to do to any camper. Anyone who was interested and had any skills whatsoever should have been allowed to participate.
But I was shut out completely. And I was devastated. A part in the play would have given me focus and purpose for the rest of the summer. Instead, I joined a small theater class. I did end up with a lead role in a scene we did from the “Madwoman of Chaillot”. (Great play choice for teenagers!) The problem here was that the counselor was the brother of a girl I grew up with. I had known him my whole life and we hated each other. We did not get along at all. So this turned out to be another unpleasant experience.
The whole situation stressed me out so much, I could not memorize my lines. They were actually quite hard to remember because they were the nonsensical, non-sequiturs of an insane woman. At the performance, I skipped a page and a half of dialogue.
The audience didn’t notice. In fact, I got a compliment I’ve never forgotten. An adult from the audience told me that they had been to a professional production of the play and that my performance was as good as the professional actress they had seen!
I called home once a week and cried hysterically every time. My parents offered to take me home but I refused. I decided to stick it out. I didn’t want to admit to or give in to failure.
campus gathering place
old photo of the camp
Looking back, I now know that I had an anxiety/depressive disorder my whole life and I was probably spiraling into a pretty bad depression that summer. Going home might have been better for me, therapeutically.
But I proved to myself that I was strong and could survive a lot. So while I had an awful summer, I learned that I’m a survivor. That lesson has gotten me through a lot in life and I’m grateful I learned it so young.
There comes a time when you no longer know what you are doing, only that you are always doing something. This has been one of those weeks. Between doctor appointments, pharmacy runs, shopping, and just keeping the house from becoming a massive dirt zone, there’s not a lot of time left over. Add it taking some pictures, processing the pictures, writing some stuff for the blog, there’s even less time.
Then there’s a leave a little time for just relaxing, reading a book. I was up until 2 last night clearing out email. It comes by the hundreds per day and there’s no way I can manage it. So far, nothing has gotten it under control.
If you, as a five-year-old, woke up in your current body, what would happen, what would you say?
Holy shit! Where did I get all these scars? What HAPPENED?
What is a relationship deal breaker for you? Whether you are talking about a romantic one, a friendship or a related to sort of relationship?
Unreliability, rumor-mongering, and trust-breaking.
Unreliability takes a long time. It can take years for me to realize that this person is never going to be where he or she says she or he will be, or do what was promised. It’s a slow deal breaker, where I gradually give up calling, stop setting dates. Recognize it will never change. These relationships stay pleasant but become less and less important.
Rumor-mongering — especially in combination with eavesdropping — is a killer. Once is enough. People who talk behind my back are not my friends. Actually, they aren’t anybody’s friend.
Trust breaking is a business thing. Like dealing with a company for a long time, then realizing they are gradually losing the qualities that made you work with them in the first place. Deliveries are late or don’t arrive. Contracts are, if not ignored, then dealt with sloppily. It is another version of unreliability but in the business arena. Ultimately, it means you won’t use their services. It may take a while before you replace them, but it will happen. You can’t continually disappoint customers without payback. Heads up businesses. It can happen to you, too.
My current best example is Dell. I bought their computers for years because you knew you’d get a good product. Originally, you also got good service. First, the service departed without leaving a note behind. Next, the quality of the product weakened … but not the prices or service contracts. Now, they are a shadow of Microsoft and I expect they will vanish in a few years. What a pity!
Is there something out there, a thought, an idea, a current event, or a fear that you find deeply unsettling?
Yeah, like realizing our home planet is being destroyed by idiots.
And for something more whimsical, if you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?
Caught raiding a pharmacy for asthma medication. No jury would convict me.
What were you grateful for this week? Something that brought some joy into your world?
Birds, bird feeders, cameras, and flowering Christmas Cactus.
At times it may seem OK to tell the “innocent little lie.” You may want to “protect” someone from the truth. You may not want to hurt them. You may want to save bad news for a “better time.” Maybe it is not the other person who can not handle the truth, maybe you are just too uncomfortable with it.
Of course, we may think it is perfectly alright to tell children little lies, or even big ones because we do not want to hurt them or crush their childhood fantasies. We may wish to wait until the right time to tell children there is no Santa Claus. I’m sorry if no one told you that before now. You may even want to keep the fantasy of the Easter Bunny alive, or the Great Pumpkin. Some children’s holidays are built on stories that are exaggerated or simply untrue.
Then there is the matter of superheroes. There was a time when I wanted to believe in Superman, and Flash and the Green Hornet. Then there was Batman and Wonder Woman, well, the whole Justice League actually. Didn’t you? Why crush a little one’s belief in these characters? They may wish to dress up as these superheroes at Halloween, or other times because they believe.
The issue of life and death looms as a major area to toss around the lies. “Where do babies come from?” might be cause for lies because the parent is uncomfortable with the topic. It may be the same as “Where does the dog, parakeet or even Aunt Martha go when she dies?”
There could be plenty of stories handed out to cover that. Eventually, children stop asking because they know parents are lying. At a certain age, they may even be bold enough to call them on it.
When does the time come when we dispense with these little lies in favor of the truth? When should we just tell children the real story, no matter how awkward or painful? That is probably best decided on a case by case basis, but what if the lies go on and on?
Does the legacy of lies lead to people who grow up thinking it is OK to lie? Perhaps some tell so many lies to protect their children, it becomes habit long after the necessity passes. Perhaps children learn that in some situations it is just OK to lie and therefore they adopt the habit themselves. After all, the message was sent at a young age that there are times when it is perfectly alright if we do not tell the truth.
Few people doubt that the government lies to us sometimes — or daily in the case of 45 — for national security, or to protect us from some inconvenient truth. We have entered into an era where commentators and politicians do more than just spin the news. They make it up. They out-and-out lie “for the national good.”
Does that make it okay?
The polarization of America and its political parties seems to come, at least in part, from the untrue stories that each side is telling. It is bad enough that members of the general public knowingly repost items on social media they know are not true (see Hate, Anger and Social Media), but politicians and their supporters sometimes appear to be doing the same. Do you believe everything your elected official tells you? Really?
In a world made up of “pretty little liars,” do we trust anyone? Perhaps you have seen the syndicated television show “Cheaters.” In it a spouse or at least a mate has come to suspect that the other person has been telling lies and wants the Cheaters detectives to find out the truth. I have never seen an episode where the one being investigated was not lying to their mate. Yes, I have seen the show too often. It’s like watching a train wreck. You know it’s not going to end well, but you can’t keep from looking.
Do you know when it’s okay to lie to your spouse or close friends? Never. Aside from the story you told to pull off a surprise birthday party or a spectacular marriage proposal, the answer is never. If you believe it’s okay “to protect the friendship,” then you are not as close as you think.
When a friend and I had an issue to sort out early in our friendship, we ended the conversation saying the only thing that could hurt our friendship was not telling the truth. Any problem could be overcome. We declared honesty as the only policy.
So less than a year later, in a beer hall in Germany, my friend asked me a personal question that I was not prepared to answer. I thought about it only for a few seconds as the conversation about honesty replayed in my head, and I told him the truth. Then he wanted to know why I never said anything, so I told him that too.
It was fine. It may have been a surprise and the reason may not have sounded good, but it was the truth. I may never tell him everything, but the importance of friendship means that lies cannot be told. A friendship built on a foundation of truth will not crumble.
Today and tomorrow are doctor visit days for Garry. His three-month surgical checkup for his ear and a stress test for his heart … so I’m writing ahead because I’m just not going to be around. Hope you don’t mind.
This is turning out to be a crazy busy month. I feel like Alice, running as fast as she can just to stay in the same place!
The holidays haven’t officially “hit” because of a calendar thing. It’s not because Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Nope, it’s that all of a sudden, it’s winter. We’ve got snow.
Snow falls and suddenly, everyone thinks Christmas, including those of us who aren’t Christian. Much of the snow that fell while we were away has melted. Not all of it, but more than half, anyway.
More is expected today and tomorrow. I suppose we might as well get on with holidays since, with the ground snowy, icy, and muddy, there isn’t much else to do.
The last time we got significant snow before or on Thanksgiving was 2014, a year during which we got 120 inches of snow out here in the country. That is, no matter how you look at it, a lot of snow. It’s the amount they normally get in northern Maine. It’s downright Siberian.
Christmas is so minimal in this house, there’s really isn’t much for us to do. I don’t put up wreaths any more. We have so few visitors and live far off the main road that no one sees them.
Also, the nursery where I used to buy them closed and somehow, buying them at the grocery store may be cheaper, but it doesn’t have that “feeling” it had, picking the perfect one at the nursery.
We don’t give gifts because we don’t have money and anything we can afford is no more than a kindly thought. We give small things. Holiday reminders, maybe. Remembrance of days gone by when we ran up our credit cards because we got into some kind of bizarre Christmas frenzy.
These days, the tree gets plugged in. Our blue Christmas lights live in the living room drapes all year round, so when the holiday arrives, I just plug them in.
It doesn’t get simpler than that. We had fun with Tom and Ellin and that’s always a treat.
The weather isn’t as bad as it is going to be in a few days. Hopefully, we’ll have time to get some of the many errands, doctor appointments, vet appointments, and other stuff done.
And I have my fingers crossed that we’ll find someone to plow the driveway!
This is an El Niño year which can be bad. But, you never know. Sometimes winter starts out bad but eases up. Meanwhile, I’m keeping a close eye on weather maps and trying not to worry.
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