Archive for July, 2010
I am the kind of person who attends bridal and baby showers, gets together with the girls for any reason and attends odd gatherings like class reunions. Since there are way more showers than class reunions, I would hate to miss a reunion.
For me, it is an opportunity to catch up with old friends. In this case they are both friends who I’ve known a very long time and friends who like myself have somehow become older. Just saw an album of photos taken at another pal’s class reunion– I’ve seen a couple of those recently. The people in them look too old to be my peers. They look like someone’s parents or grandparents.
The little waif who was the Head of the Glee Squad, is now the Captain of the Mom Squad.
The handsome hunk who played hockey is now more pudgy than pumped, and from his gait, I’m guessing he has hip and back issues.
The kid voted most likely to succeed, failed.
The kid who had the the best smile, has bad caps and bridgework.
The kid, who spent most of high school being shoved into lockers, seems to have bounced through life better than the rest.
High school is not an accurate barometer for forecasting the future.
Like seeds blown from a dandelion, old classmates are quickly scattered. Some bloom, some are lost, some die, some just continue blowing in the wind. With each passing year there are fewer.
Talking to some of my former classmates, I realize even many years after the fact, high school has a strange significance. I rarely think about high school, I had good times and knew some great people, but to me it’s a collection of individual memories, not a conglomerate experience.
This isn’t true for everyone. There are those who are eager to revisit their glory days. Others are still reliving the bad memories. There are some who barely remember and don’t care to. Except for that latter category of folks for whom high school has little if any significance, high school reunions seem to be out of scale with what they actually represent.
My ego is too far removed from high school to care about how I am perceived. Additionally, I don’t really care if my friends are still living with their parents or have off-shore bank accounts. Folks are folks–a few years away from high school and most are more interesting and better company. So with no expectations other than a good time, I will attend and enjoy my class reunion. I will miss those who chose not to go because of stupid things that happened decades ago. I probably won’t be impressed by those who wish me to be.
I have only two desires for the reunion. I hope the name tags are easy to see, and when the cameras come out, I am hoping that my peers and I look younger than we are.
Post Script: Just returned from the high school reunion.
It would seem that ones’ reunion would be about revisiting the past.
Amazingly, quite the opposite was true. There were so few mentions of the “then“. The reunion is a “now” event–a who are you now event–not in the how-much-money do you make sense, but in the how is your life going sense.
In reflecting on this one, I realize that it was the best yet because most of the people who make the effort to show up are doing so because they genuinely want to reconnect with old friends. The ten-year isn’t far enough removed from high school to be about that.
Picked up a magazine at the newsstand. Magazines are perfect for those with a limited time or attention, because they are full of short bits. There are always photo spreads, tips for how to do things better and the ever-popular quizzes.
In school, nobody got excited over quizzes, but put one in a magazine and readers enthusiastically reach for a pencil.
Magazines for women routinely have quizzes on how to determine one’s style. This amuses me. If you have a mirror, your style probably isn’t much of mystery.
Seriously gals, you know your style, you know what you wear, you know what you like. You have ideas (which may or not be right) about what looks good on you. You know what kinds of things you wouldn’t even wear for the one-time-only-last-day-on-the-planet apocalypse.
Yet, the irresistible draw of answering a few questions in return for a snappy label continues to intrigue.
Is your style sporty? Is it more posh? Maybe it’s just scary . . oops, sorry, I got distracted taking the “Which Spice Girl are you?” quiz.
Back to the subject . . how we see our self becomes the determining factor in how we dress our self. We have labels in our head and an idea of the personality we wish to project. Some people are able to stick to one style throughout their lives with only slight variations, but the divas update their style with each new season. Ultimately, you will wear what makes you feel like you.
Woman can shop at the same store and still not look like they have anything in common. One year my sister and I bought the same dress. That is, they were the same until we put them on. She teamed her simple white dress with canvas espadrilles. I wore mine with black & white spectator pumps.
Same dress. Different girls.
It all comes down to attitude.
Women will announce that they can’t wear capris, skirts, prints, stripes, or ___fill in your own___.
Not everything works on everyone. Low-rise jeans aren’t as easy to pull off after a couple of children. String bikinis are reserved for a very small number. Lipstick colors like green, yellow and black are best left to those under 25, but there are many things women avoid, simply because they haven’t the moxie. It’s a confidence thing.
Red lipstick, the color red in general, hats, and short skirts are just a few things which frighten the timid.
I bought a raspberry bra several years ago–not nearly as practical as white, beige or the perennially popular black. Previous to the acquisition, I had been a devotee of a certain designer style bra. On a whim I bought a bra that was unlike any other I’d ever worn.
That bra changed my life in some small way. Someone asked me if it changed me because it made me feel like a fabulous sexy woman. Nope, didn’t need a bra to do that. There was just something about it that made me feel good. (If a kicky-fun bra was all that was needed to change our self-esteem, who would pay for therapy? Then again an hour spent with a therapist costs roughly the same as an hour spent shopping at Victoria’s Secret, so it’s probably a wash.)
Like wearing a designer original, perhaps it was knowing that at any given time I was the only woman in the room wearing that bra.
Maybe it was wearing something that was as vibrant as I am.
Maybe it was the fuschia-red color, maybe it was the fit or maybe it was just knowing how often men forget that with women there is always way more than meets the eye. (And it’s not the stuff under our clothes.)
All I know is this simple necessity empowered me in some way.
Live a little.
Wear Vixen Red lipstick.
Wear scarlet, crimson or cranberry.
Work a fedora.
Show a little leg.
Be a new you–even if only for a few hours.
Grab your “fab” and work a look–after all, why should the other women have all the fun? Anything could happen!
Does everyone have a soul mate?
Is there only one?
Are there more than one? Are there many?
How can you know if you’ve really found yours?
Is it possible to miss yours?
Is it possible to get someone else’s?
Questions like this aren’t everyone’s cup of philosophical drivel, but inherent in the idea of the “soul mate” are all kinds of cosmic implications–which are intertwined with one’s beliefs. In my own values set; theology, family and sexuality are all very important, so the questions and answers overlap.
For those who believe that God knows all before it happens, there is no other reality than the one we ultimately end up living. However, according to Christian theology we are all self-governing creatures guided by our own self will–so if we choose the wrong person with whom to procreate, are the wrong children born?
If we choose the wrong person does God re-route us like some kind of Divine GPS–or are we on the wrong path forever after?
We make choices–including choosing a life partner. As our lives progress, we later have time to consider the choices we made, and the ones we didn’t make; causing us to consider what those choices might have meant.
How the interface between God the Omniscient and the rest of us hapless saps works is very mysterious–making the question of whether or not we have a predetermined life partner even more incomprehensible. Is this a “one-per-person” kind of deal? If so, then choosing the wrong life partner could mean you’ve doomed someone else to a life of misery with the wrong person.
Most of us dream of finding our true soul mate. Either vaguely and/or unconsciously we ask ourselves these questions. Having a single soul mate suggests that the cosmos wants us all to be happily monogamous. Women usually embrace monogamy a little easier than men. For many men, the thought of ONE woman forever and ever is hard to embrace–causing them to drag their feet whenever they get anywhere near the altar.
Theoretically, if you’ve found YOUR soul mate, a perfect marriage should be assured. Perfect marriage? What’s that? I’d sooner believe I’d meet the real Santa.
Easy marriages are more the exception than the rule, so when marriage challenges us, we may begin to wonder if we married the wrong person.. Hmmm. Is it possible you married your cousin’s soul mate or your neighbor’s?
This is the kind of stuff you don’t want to spend to much time thinking about–or pretty soon you‘ll be writing plots for the next version of the Twilight Zone. I know this because I’ve given this too much thought. As a result, I’ve come to some conclusions that are based on absolutely nothing of substance–which is one of the best parts of having a blog, people are actually willing to read the skewed stuff that falls out of my head.
That aside, here’s what I’ve concluded: It is unlikely that we each have only one soul mate. When we marry most of us are convinced there is one and that it happens to be the fancy-dressed person standing next to us. Perhaps some marry thinking “This person is so wrong for me”, but I wasn’t invited to that wedding.
If there is only one, that’s really tough. It’s a big world out there, and you could spend your entire life trying to sift through the chaff and/or chappies to find that person. God help you if your single perfect match happens to be living in Jabootie, or one of those God-forsaken little Texas towns.
I prefer to believe that the number of possible soul mates is related to one’s ability to love. Anytime you decide to commit to one person, there is a hell of a lot of failed humanity to embrace. If you are a person with a great capacity to love you may have many possible soul mates. A large, generous and gracious heart makes it much easier to connect intimately with another individual. However, loving someone is never enough–if it were, there would be far less sad songs on the radio.
Finding someone you can fall in love with is the easy part–the harder part is finding someone who can truly love you.
So with apologies to Carl Sagan, I think it’s doubtful that the number of soul mates is determined by the cosmos. I’m pretty sure it’s all about us.
I always think traveling should be conducive to blogging, it is not. Each time I travel, some circumstance derails de blog schedule. This is unfortunate, because I like to get away whenever I can.
Say road trip to me . . and my response is Pavlovian. I start salivating like a dog who has just heard the word “walk”. Destination doesn’t matter. Different places offer new experiences–anywhere is good. Name the place, I’m there.
Some people are better travelers than others. I’d like to think I’m the best traveler in the house, but Beloved Soul Mate can pack for any trip in about an hour. He throws his six favorite things in a suitcase and reaches for his shaving kit. I, on the other hand, will still be trying too decide if I need a bigger suitcase when the airport shuttle honks its horn.
For me every trip is an adventure. Destination is secondary . Some places are better than others, but I I’m a big fan of anywhere! Unfortunately, traveling is often fraught with unpleasant surprises, inconveniences like lost luggage, missed connections, bad weather or worse. If these sorts of things will spoil your trip, you might be better off staying home.
When I travel, I like to look to the example of great female travelers. Sally Ride has logged the most miles. Amelia Earhart was the most intrepid. Harriet Tubman was the best route-planner, but in my mind, Dorothy Gale was the quintessential traveler.
First, she was spontaneous. Spontaneity is a good trait for travelers. She left home without a map or set itinerary. The best adventures usually happen without either. Sure, her journey started when everything at home had just been upset by a natural disaster, but if she’d stayed home waiting for FEMA, she might have never have seen OZ.
I’d like to be able to travel the way Dorothy did. She was a sensible enough to travel light and wear good shoes. I usually get the shoe part right, but I’m still a very long way from one piece of luggage, and have no enthusiasm for having an animal in my carry-on.
Her trusted travel companions were people she met along the journey. I like that. Travel has a way of putting us into situations with people we’d normally not know–most of them are interesting–generally not as interesting as a lion with anxiety disorder, but interesting enough.
On a recent trip, inclement weather caused all the flights to be delayed. Two hours from home, I didn’t feel like sleeping in an airport. Like Dorothy, I teamed up with the two individuals nearest me. We exchanged names, rented a car and got to know each other on the way. Combining heart, brains and courage, the impromptu tour group turned into a beneficial partnership.
Dorothy found that each day brought new adventure–most of them were not very pleasant. Firestorms, an opium poppy field that was surely owned by a drug cartel, even being abducted by terrorists of the Winged Monkey faction, yet none of her mishaps were great enough to make her turn around.
At the end of her journey, Dorothy had good memories of the people and places she’d encountered, but mostly she was just happy to be home in her own bed surrounded by the familiar faces she loved.
The Clinton-era policy known as “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” seemed to make sense–don’t ask if you don’t want to know the answer; don’t tell if you don’t want to live with the consequences. Unfortunately, Mr. Clinton didn’t always get things right in all his affairs.
Bill’s policy is probably more helpful to straight civilians, than it was to the men & women of our armed forces, because no matter how enlightened and empowered women become, they are still inclined to ask dangerous questions–landmine questions.
I’m not like everyone else, but there are a whole bunch of questions I’m not interested in asking or having answered. Below are a list of ten such questions.
1. Do you think she’s prettier than me?
Men like pretty women. Get over it. There will always be someone prettier. Get over it. I’ve long outgrown the “who’s the fairest of them all” game. Most women can identify pretty women as well as a man can. If there is a woman prettier than you, your life will not be enhanced by hearing it from the object of your desire.
2. Do I look fat?
If you look fat, knowing won’t help you face the world. Asking is dumb. You‘ll either get an answer you don’t like, or an answer you can’t trust. A smart man won’t tell you the truth, a dumb man won’t think fast enough to lie. Additionally, hearing the answer may cause you to console yourself with a quart of Haagen Daz. The following day, you will look fatter.
3. Do you like this dress?
With a few exceptions–most of whom are gay, men aren’t dress experts. If it shows enough skin, he’ll probably think it’s fabulous. He won’t be able to tell you what color it is, but he’ll convince you it’s stunning. If you really want to know if the dress is as cute as you thought, wear it somewhere there are cameras. Cameras offer unyielding and unbiased objectivity.
4. Did you love her?
Without knowing her, you can answer that for yourself. At some point he “loved” her enough to be involved with her. If she‘s history and you‘re current events, don’t cancel the future by dwelling on the past.
5. Did you sleep with her?
If you want to be riddled with doubt or insecurity, ask this question and press for details. That’s so yesterday. He’s with you now–it’s game on. Stop thinking about it, you need your head in the game.
6. Where do you see this going?
Initially, most men haven’t thought past the backseat or the bedroom. If you want to know where it’s going, wait & see.
7. Do you want to make love to me?
Puhleeeeez . . .is he gay? Is he celibate? If he’s not, this is a question you probably don’t need to ask.
8. Was it good for you?
97% of the time, the answer will be an unequivocal “yes“. If it’s not, there are other questions you need to be asking.
9. Do you love me?
If he knows he does, he’ll probably tell you. If he hasn’t told you, he may not be the guy for you.
10. Why do you want to hang out with the guys, instead of me?
Men like and need to hang out with their boys. One of many reasons? Guys don’t ask questions like those above.
Deb’s Note: Obviously, I’ve only addressed my short list of the “Don’t Ask” aspect. The “Don’t tell” part is up to the men. Smart men usually figure it out quickly.
Men love the thrill of the chase. Sadly, when the chase ends, they are less interested.
Women are no different, we just chase different things.
Just as men fantasize about the woman they want, women fantasize about the stuff we want. We are all about “the chase”–the quest for the perfect shoes, the perfect make-me-look-so-good jeans–even boring stuff like perfect curtains–we love “the chase”. Houses provide endless opportunities for “the chase”–but nothing is as dull as a house that is finished.
I’ve lived in a few “fixer-uppers”. In each, I could stare at each space and dream endlessly about the improvements I’d like to make. When the first house we bought was finished, I found it to be much less interesting. The house I currently live in is nearly perfect, but I don’t want it to ever be finished. I don’t want to ever check the last thing off the list, lest the house become uninteresting.
I have embraced abstinence. It’s over! Never again! I’m finished! Done!
Like someone coming out of a bad relationship, I’ve had my last.
The last remodel, with an unending stream of contractors and their henchmen, caused me the loss of self, solace and sovereignty. Conflicts and compromises caused me to swear off and I vowed I’d never again change anything larger than a faucet washer or a light bulb.
How soon we forget.
Like women who swear they are done with men, it’s easy to forget the bad parts. Which is why I found myself in a home improvement store talking to experts about changes to be made to the latest home acquisition, before realizing I’d broken my vow.
It was supposed to be a very small cosmetic project, but there is rarely such thing as a small project. They all start small, then, the gas line was here, the water was there, the fridge was too large, the stove inconvenient–in less that 45 minutes, the experts were already suggesting removing a wall.
A flash of clarity brought it all back–I’ve been here before–living like a homeless person in my own home. I was reminded of things I learned last time around and have decided today to republish a few of the things I’ve learned.
Top Ten Things Learned while Remodeling
1. People will make all kinds of promises. Do not expect them to keep them or to take responsibility for breaking them.
2. If you find yourself caught in a network of Good Ol’ Boys, don’t be surprised to discover that some of them boys ain’t all that good–they’re just old.
3. No matter how smart you are, if you’re a gal, you may be spoken to as if you are stupid. If you listen, you’ll feel even stupider.
4. Apparently, it is acceptable to be disrespectful to someone in their own home–as long as you have a contract.
5. You will be rushed into making hasty decisions. After you’ve made them, you will have to wait on the people who rushed you.
6. If any of those hastily made decisions are wrong, refer to #2, #3 and number 4 above.
7. You will have people coming into your home without regard for you, your things or your current state of undress. They will turn off your water, your power, break things and leave messes for you to contend with.
8, Even if you don’t whine about all the checks you are writing, the recipients of those checks will whine about all the work they’re doing.
9. You can tell contractors what you want clearly and repeatedly, but they will still be inclined to give you what they want. There will be lots of eye-rolling (and possibly additional charges) if you expect people to do things the way they were asked.
10. At the end of the day, the people in your employ will go home to their homes, where they will enjoy hot meals and cold drinks. In their homes, they will be enjoying electricity, fully-functioning plumbing, cable, internet, phones and doorbells. You on the other hand will only enjoy knowing they are gone until tomorrow.
Deb’s Note: In defense of the contractor responsible for that last remodel, he and his crew were decent fellows. Most of them were a pleasure to work with. Too much dust, discomfort and the inevitable delays–combined with a couple difficult sub-contractors made me reluctant to undertake another project like that one. In the end, it was worth it, so . . . if you need me, I‘ll be at the home improvement store. Oh yeah, & one more thing, if any of the men on my project had looked like the one pictured above, I might have been willing to put up with more.
After my very first post, a retraction was necessary because I wrote something I believed to be true and later realized I was wrong.
I reviewed a new toothpaste unfavorably, but after finishing the entire can, I’m wondering how I lived without Aqua-Fresh Iso Active.
Hopefully three is the charm, because if I keep getting stuff wrong, I’ll be too busy retracting, to blog.
So, here’s the latest in my ongoing series of mistakes.
I wrote about whether or not men find “bitchy” women attractive.
Shortly thereafter, I was in a bookstore and saw a book devoted to this subject. I had to buy it.
After 20 years married and the years before of dating, I thought I understood men. This book has changed my outlook. Some of the conclusions in the book, were ones I’d reached on my own, but there were many which convinced me I’ve been wrong, wrong, wrong.
Over the years, I’d realized many women keep their men trained like circus poodles. Their “best friends” were drooling, fawning men who would would sit, stay, beg, play dead and jump through hoops. I admit I was jealous of how well their “best friends” were trained, but I suspected the trainers had “whipped” those dawgs. Personally I always preferred my dawg off the leash. Appearing to have been been neutered, the men seemed to have lost their will, and the women seemed manipulative.
Women are barely women, when they realize how easily men are manipulated. We’re just smart that way. I’m smart enough to be a genuine man puppeteer, but that never appealed to me. Breaking the spirit of one’s companion for one’s own gain, seems like a sure way to cultivate a three-ring circus of resentment. Isn’t the point of a relationship among well-adjusted equals respect, honesty, and autonomy?
The problem is, it’s too easy to take each other for granted. Relationships make us lazy. Most take what is freely given and rarely give more than what is required. I never made many demands, so few demands were met. Without a honey-do list, Honey didn’t know what I wished he’d do. There were things I should have asked for, but I didn’t want to have to ask.
According to Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl, by Sherry Argov:
Bitchy = Dreamgirl. Nice = Doormat.
Could someone please tell me if it says WELCOME on my back????
Deb’s Note: The author uses the term “Bitchy” to describe behavior which really isn’t very “bitchy”. The book is devoted to giving women an idea of what kinds of things most of us do, that cause men to walk all over us like doormats. I highly recommend it for any woman dating or married who feels she isn’t getting the kind of respect or admiration she deserves. It may not make you want to get out the riding crop, but it might help you gain more respect.
Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl - A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship by Sherry Argov (Adams Media)
Being an American means amazing abundance–whether it be food, shoes, cars, TVs–Americans have much. We don’t dream of bread or stand in line for bread–we choose from the dozens of loaves available and toss out our excess.
It means education and opportunity–everything is available for those who are willing to make an effort to get it. As true as it ever was, in America you can be whatever you want to be.
It means our communities are unique and vibrant, with little pockets in every city steeped in ethnic culture. It means a government and society which embrace people of all races. For many who come here, it means never again living in war-torn cities or under government oppression. In America “genocide” is a term learned in school, not a reality.
Being American means freedom to think independently and give voice to those thoughts.
It means we can freely disagree about how the country is run–we can freely express contempt for our governments.
It means that our votes are counted–the results of elections are not pre-determined.
It means the freedom to pray or not–freedom to worship or not.
It means that we have better stuff –even stuff most of us don’t think about–like better medicine, better dental care, better roads, better bridges, and even too much stuff in our closets or garages. It means we have more to be thankful for than most even take time to recognize.
Being an American means you can take it all for granted–and even complain about the generosity of a country that provides, welfare, unemployment, Social Security, food stamps, Head Start, medical care for the disadvantaged and too many other programs to count! It means that when you fail to provide for yourself, you can blame the government for your plight and complain that they won’t do more.
Being an American means that every single day there is something to be thankful for.
In America there are many who resent those they see as having been born with an economic advantage. There are those who believe that others have it easier, as if they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, because I was born in the USA.