Gratitude Saturday 9/22

Ok- I love fall, and now it’s officially here…

  1. Fall
  2. My recent college graduate Goddaughter has a good job, good apartment and good roommate.
  3. Fairway honey flavored Greek yogurt
  4. My Daughter, her doubles partner and their team won both their matches this week
  5. They’ve stopped working on the apartment two floors above me so I no longer here construction sounds all day while I’m trying to write
  6. I didn’t have to fly across the country to tie my post op recovering friend to the bed because she keeps trying to lift things while she is still restricted
  7. Tennis team has an additional uniform so I’m not constantly laundering uniform
  8. Freshman parent who ponied up the money to buy extra uniforms
  9. having ideas to write about every day
  10. slightly less humidity
  11. thought provoking comments
  12. 10 minute shoulder massage at nail salon
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Truth or Fiction

My Daughter recently read the 2006 book “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini.  While reading the book, she thought the fictional High School in the book sounded a lot like a school she considered applying to when it came time to choose a high school.  (In Manhattan we apply to public high and middle schools) So, she researched Vizzini, found that he did indeed attend that particular high school, and more distressing, found that Vizzini committed suicide in 2013.  The manner in which he killed himself was the same method that the protagonist in the book attempted.

Last week, the author of  “How to Murder your Husband” was charged with, you guessed it, murdering her husband. (disclaimer- I have not read this book or done research on the subject)

So what do you think today’s topic is going to be?

After finding out what happened to Vizzini, my daughter asked me “Even if a book is labeled fiction, should we question what the author has written about?  Is it our responsibility to delve deeper into the harsher things authors write?”

I responded- “I don’t know.”

As a would be novelist, I know that I am writing a fictional story.   Are there similarities to me? Sure.  My main character drinks tea.  I drink tea.  It was easy to write a detail about something I know- it added a little depth and didn’t require me to do research. It has become a harmless quirk which makes the character delightful (at least I hope it does- we all know I am not delightful…) But the topic of my story, the plot? Well, that’s fiction…

Let’s just think about Gillian Flynn.  Would you want to be married to her?  I know “Gone Girl” freaked me out.  I actually said “No Way” multiple times as I read it. Could you be married to her and not wonder what was really going on in her head?

So…

Does a reader have the responsibility to wonder if someone is writing fiction, or a thinly veiled memoir? Do the loved ones of an author need to worry if an author keeps writing about disturbing topics? If your significant other, or your co worker or your child is writing about suicide do you say something?

One of the first commandments of fiction writing is “Write what you know”. Under that assumption it would be safe to assume that all fiction contains some truth, or relates to the author in some way. But how do we tell truth from fiction? At what point to we say “Wow.  Maybe this should be looked into.”

Now as Vizzini had been in a mental health facility, I’m pretty confident that his loved ones knew of his struggles.  But what about other authors? What about the ones who write about things, but haven’t had any outward signs?

Should the reader of a fictional work question the content? Or should we just go with the assumption that the work is mostly fiction?

Ch Ch Ch Changes

I’ve used a lot of words talking about physical changes and a partner’s right to discuss things they don’t like about their significant others appearance.  But what about personality and habit changes? Or lack of change? What boundaries do we place on these?

Let’s begin with a personal statement.  Twenty years ago I did the following:

  1. Skied
  2. Ran 10K races
  3. Ate dinner after 830 (when I dined out)
  4. Went out multiple nights a week
  5. Stayed out till midnight or later
  6. Wore short skirts and high heels
  7. Drank a little too much
  8. Went to parties and large gatherings
  9. Went to the beach with just a towel and a book

In present world, these are no longer things I do with any regularity.  For the most part, I don’t enjoy these things anymore.  (Except for the short skirts- my stuff is still short, but not quite like the old days…) But now- this is just not how I wish to spend my time. So I have changed.  I am no longer the same woman I was when I met my Husband.  Here’s my question: Does he have the right to be mad that I no longer do these things?  Does he have the right to complain that I no longer do these things? In short, what happens when your partner no longer does the things that attracted you to the person to begin with?

Conversely- my Husband likes to go out.  A lot. He has not changed in this respect since we first met.  Can I expect him to change his habits just because I have grown tired of that lifestyle? Is it fair of me to say “Gee.  I’m OK being home by 10 and in my jammies by 1015 after we’ve walked the dog?” Is it fair that I consider a nice evening one in which I read a little with a cup of tea beside me?

How do couples communicate what they want and need from their partner? How do they do it in a way that makes then feel heard, yet doesn’t intimidate their SO?

People change.  Some are good changes, some are bad, and some are just…changes.  As we mature our wants, desires and needs change.  We adapt to our environment, our surroundings, and our situations. This is part of growth.  This is part of life (Darwin and all) But no one changes at the same rate, or in the same way.  Do we accept the changes in our partners if they are not egregious?  Or are any changes, even seemingly insignificant ones, a cause for distress or alarm, or just plain dissatisfaction? And how about, should we expect our partner to change because we have?

How do you handle change, or lack of, with your partner? This inquiring mind wants to know.

 

 

Let’s Get Physical

For the past month or so we’ve been discussing what are the boundaries that partners have when it comes to discussing appearances and habits: do we have the right to say if something about the other isn’t working. And people were sort of all over the place as to what is “good” or “bad” feedback. But in my last post about physical appearance, one or two people simply said that they would tell their partner to change something physical because they simply weren’t physically attracted to them anymore.

hmmm.

What happens if you partner changes and you are no longer attracted to them?

But first, let’s look in the rearview mirror to when your relationship began: were you physically attracted to your partner?  Was the reason you met because you thought they were attractive? Or did they approach you because they thought you were attractive? Be honest with yourself…did looks matter at the onset?

Fast forward how ever many years you are together. Do their looks still make you sigh just a little? Do you still look at them and think that you can’t wait to be alone? I don’t necessarily mean sex, more like,  are you looking forward to just being alone with them and whatever intimacy you have?

Ok- now I am going to sex.  Is it critical for partners to be sexually intimate with one another? Does sex matter in a long term relationship? Is a relationship without sex just a roommate situation? Is a healthy relationship one that embodies both physical, emotional and practical intimacy? Or can you have a relationship without one of the parts?

For this next part, I am going on the assumption that sex is integral to a healthy relationship. What if something about your partner turns you off so much you no longer want to have sex with them? Do you have the right to tell them to change whatever offends you?

Now I bring up a sort of anecdote: I hate back hair.  I mean, detest it. I have stopped dating men when I realized they had back hair because that is a physical turn off for me, yet I would never ask someone to get rid of it. But, what if my back hairless husband developed back hair as he got older? Do I stop having sex because I can’t stand it? Do I ask him to shave it? Do I say nothing and carry on, even though I am repulsed? (seriously- I hate back hair) For the record, my Husband has not turned into Sasquatch…

Where is the line to what is acceptable and reasonable?

With age and relationship tenure, I hope that my partner is still attractive to me, and vice versa, due to the other things that we share.  But is that a fairy tale? I’ve read some alarming statistics as to how often couples in long term relationships have sex, and I started to wonder: is it really just a lack of time/tiredness issue? Or is it something deeper?

And now I open it up to the floor. What do you think? And feel free to chime in on one or many things that I threw out there. As always, your comments and participation made me think and question.  And we know I love to ask the questions with no clear answers…

Discuss

 

I Need Your Opinion

One of my close friends had surgery recently.  Her ailment required the opinions of two specialists.  Of course, each specialist suggested a different path to get to the desired outcome.  By friend was a bit overwhelmed by all the information in front of her and asked the three other members of our little clan to give our thoughts on the process.

What I found interesting about this was the three separate approaches we had to making a decision.

  1. My Approach: I asked her what the pros and cons of each method were- the best case and worst case scenario
  2. Friend 1: She asked a Doctor friend for what he would recommend if the procedure were to be needed by someone he knew
  3. Friend 2: She described  her own issues with surgery and healing, and what her friends who had gone through the same procedure  thought, and did

Three people, three different methods of thought.  All valid. And oddly, all these methods led my friend to the same conclusion (coincidentally, also the decision she and her Husband were leaning towards anyway)

When you make decisions, what are the factors involved? Personally, I  make lists of the possible outcomes. (Yes- I will do anything possible to use a list.  I love lists) I formulate best and worst case scenarios.  I think about acceptable risk. This is the numbers part of me- I can’t help but calculate odds….no matter how hard I try to be a words girl, in the end,it always comes back to numbers.

I read about a subject.  And I read.  And I read. If I need to make a decision I try to read as many varied opinions as possible.

I ask questions. (Shocking that I would ask questions) To me, the greatest knowledge comes from the answers that people give you, both the verbal and the non verbal (if you’re looking at someone, check out the body language) Also, a non answer is also a very telling answer- if someone avoids the question, or gives you an inconclusive answer, what does that say?

And, in the spirit of asking questions: How do you make a decision?  How do you formulate an opinion? If a friend were to ask your advice, what method would you use to help them out?

Is one method superior to another?

I need your opinion: how do you form an opinion?

The Long Game

As I’ve told you before, I’m a lousy Words With Friends player.  My Husband beats me 7 out of 10 games, and I have a much larger vocabulary.  I also have a winning record against in him in just about every game except pool…

So why am I monumentally bad at WWF?

Because I play a long game, and my Husband plays a short game.  He looks at the board the way it is at that moment, he looks at the letters in his deck, and he makes a move.  I look at my letters, look at the board, and then I try to “save” letters if I think they will be better used three moves from now. I always think about how many points I may get instead of what I can get.  This is not how to win at WWF- winning WWF requires being in the moment, playing the short game.

But what about life? What works better: playing the short game where you live in the moment, or the long game, playing with the future in mind?

Ideally, we should be all be alternatively playing the short and long game: figuring out when each different path is needed.  But do switch up looking at things, or do we find our method and just go with it every time? Now that I’ve recognized why I am not a successful WWF player, I’ve been winning slightly more often, but I can’t break the old habits that easily- I still find myself plotting three steps ahead. Why is it so hard to break the pattern?

I am a careful planner- I think ahead to what I’m going to make for dinner, I plan vacations, I plan how to spend my free time.  No one would ever label me spontaneous. And honestly, I can’t understand the mindset of those who don’t: one of my friends went on a vacation last year, by plane, and they didn’t reserve anything at the place they went to: not a car, not a hotel room, nothing. Now it worked out for them, but they waited in lines, had trouble finding a room at a reasonable price and found it hard to do anything because it turns out there was some sort of festival in town that week, and things were reserved in advance.  I could not operate like that.  Ever.  The minute I had to go to three places looking f or a room at the Inn I would have been crazed. Some people aren’t- some people just go with the flow…

And what about relationships?  I know plenty of people who are dreaming of their wedding while on a first date, while others are thinking of the date as a one time deal, maybe it will go to two?

Job strategy.  Do you vie for the corner office at the company you’re at?  Or do you job hop, hoping to find greener pastures at different companies?

Do you buy a fixer house and have long range plans with how you want to fix it, or do you flip properties as your needs change?

Child rearing.  When you parent, are you thinking of just getting through the year and the stage, or are you thinking about long term effects for your child?

So what do you all think? What is better- plotting steps out with the future in mind, or just doing what you need to get by in the moment? Can you successfully merge the two trains of thought, or do you find yourself predominantly leaning towards one side? Inquiring minds want to know…

My Week in Review 9/16

Another Week…Lots of my mind this week…

  1. I haven’t talked about music much, but as the past seven days was contemplative, I listened to a lot more.  Music calms me and helps me think things out. My playlist included The Allman Brothers, The Everly Brothers, Florence and the Machine, Scheherazade, Beethoven Symphony NO. 7 in A Major and Kacey Musgraves.  Ear worm goes to “Say Something” by A Great Big World
  2. “Before We Were Yours” Lisa Wingate This is my book club pick for this month.  I know this is on the NY Times Bestseller list, but I thought it was average at best.  But, I do think it will make good discussion, which is the point of using it for book club.  Now if I can only come up with questions.
  3. “Juliet, Naked” movie in theaters.  Romantic Comedy.  Not sappy and trite.  Sort of brilliantly done.  Based on a Nick Hornby book.  Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne.  Love.
  4. Ordeal By Innocence- Amazon (though I think it’s BBC) I will watch any adaptation of Agatha Christie.  This is a slick dramatization.  I want to read the book (which I have somehow never read, or is so different from TV version that I have forgotten) I thought it was a little over the top
  5. Modern Family- The folks behind Modern Family revealed some stuff about the upcoming season.  Anyone who read it and wants to speculate, message me at wakinguponthewrongsideof50@gmail.com.
  6. Met with my writing group- got good feedback with latest rewrites.  Actually used one of my lines in a blog this week, and people commented on the line, so I’m thinking it was actually funny, and will work in the scene….
  7. Got to see one of my best friends who doesn’t  live near me- loved seeing her, but wish it was because of something fun…
  8. My daughter won one match, but lost one match.  She played really well (so I’ve heard- I didn’t get to the games- I’m only “allowed” to go to certain games…

Hope you all had a great week, and hoping for a better one…

Gratitude Saturday 9/15

Another week….another bunch of stuff

  1. My friend made it through her surgery OK.  She is home and on the road to recovery
  2. I was able to help a friend out
  3. First responders- I am eternally grateful to those who rush in when others rush out…
  4. I’m making headway on getting my desk in order
  5. my new bathroom shelves are working out so far
  6. My daughter and I have been using some of the 10 million samples we’ve amassed
  7. English Breakfast Tea
  8. my daughter buying her school supplies without me (though…you know….)
  9. my hideous blister finally heeled enabling me to walk without pain
  10. heel cushions
  11. having a good reason to skip something
  12. brownie mix when you just don’t have the energy to make it from scratch
  13. daughter won 1 match and did really well in a loss to high ranked team
  14. That there’s another week to be even better than the past

Trust Me, Trust me Not

Trust.  Do we want to be able to trust our partner? Now without doing a research study, or taking a poll, I’ll venture to say that trust is something the majority of people want in a their relationship.  Without trust, there can be no intimacy.  Without intimacy there is no relationship. Does that seem reasonable?

Ok.  What if you begin to doubt your partner?

Though infidelity immediately leaps to mind, trust can rear it’s ugly head in any number of ways. I know a couple who had issues over finances: partner A no longer trusted partner B with anything money.  So, for today’s exercise, we’re going to go with financial trust.

Money is a tough issue- how do you divide and use your assets? I see this on HGTV all the time- one is a spender and one is a bit more frugal.  What if the frugal one starts to think that the spender is spending too much? What if the spender is hiding purchases from the frugal? Does a little layer of mistrust seep in? Does a whole level of mistrust push its way in?

What happens if one partner doesn’t trust the other?

Is a relationship over the minute Partner A does not trust Partner B?

Does this diminishing, or deterioration of trust ruin the intimacy, thus eroding the relationship?

Can you be in a relationship with someone you don’t trust?

Now let’s switch it a little- what if it’s little things?  What if you partner likes the house colder than you do and lowers the thermostat, but says they didn’t.  Is this a small nothing, or is it a big deal?

Can you regain trust in someone? Does time and communication (and perhaps therapy) help heal the wound of mistrust?

I know- I know.  It’s like I’m doing a survey, which I sort of said I didn’t need. But I am wondering if a little inkling of mistrust isn’t what ends up killing relationships.  Maybe irreconcilable differences is really a way of saying, “I have no proof, but my relationship didn’t smell right anymore.”

How much does trust, or lack of, effect (affect?) your relationship?

Let’s end the week with a good philosophical discussion!!

 

 

Why We Blog

I haven’t done a blog about blogging in awhile…figured you missed them…

What is the  difference between writing a blog and writing an article for a magazine or newspaper? Interaction between writer and reader. I never comment on things I read in the Times or Real Simple- I read, think, and discard.  But blogs…sometimes I feel so compelled I actually add my own two cents into the little box at the bottom of the page. And sometimes, others are compelled to leave their opinion on mine.  In fact, I often ask questions of my readers so that they feel compelled to directly speak to me. I like the interaction.  I thrive on the interaction.  The interaction is why I blog.

Case in point- my blog last Wednesday had over 100 comments.  Granted, half of them were my responses, but still….that’s a lot of time that people took out of their day to join in a discussion.

I love that.

I love the idea of people from all walks of life discussing an issue that is universally relatable.  We all got to hear differing view points and think about aspects that we had never previously considered. It was a great thinking and learning moment for anyone who took part. And isn’t that what life is? Thinking and learning something new every day? (though, to be fair, one of my blog friends recently wrote that she is tired of learning something new every day- she just wants to experience something new every day…but that’s a whole different thing)

Blogger Rachel McAlpine (Write into Life) recently did a poll of older bloggers, asking why they blogged and such.  It was a very informative study about what goes on in our minds, and Rachel is an amazing writer and blogger. But, there was one comment that sort of bothered me – One responder said that they only wrote a blog, that they didn’t read blogs of others.  OK- I understand the time commitment it takes to follow and comment on blogs.  I know that I have days where I can’t read at all, days when I choose between reading 20 and not commenting, or reading 10 and commenting. But I try to stay in the game.  Not out of obligation, but because blogging works best when there is give and take- when someone is not preaching, but rather opening up the forum for debate. That is what blogging is to me.

And honestly- I get so many ideas for blogs from comments that I receive. Last month I asked the question- should you tell someone when they don’t look their best. Since then I have written two follow ups, with more to come.  There were so many viewpoints I had never considered, and I’m finding it fascinating that there are so many ways to look at one question.  Every comment that I read makes me think of something else, makes me ask another question, let’s me change the variable just a little bit. I know this is what I envisioned when I began blogging- expansion of thoughts and ideas.  Interaction of people who might never have met under conventional circumstances.  Opening up the mind to possibilities that one never knew existed.

So here’s the question for today: Do you like the interaction between blogger and reader?  Does the interaction make blogging better for you, or does it make it worse? Why?

And of course- Why do you blog?