You Do What You Can

The other day, my daughter came home.  She was upset.  She’d worn a new shirt that day- the one she bought in Costa Rica over the summer.  When she had been out after school, someone walked past her on the street, burning a hole in the arm, probably an inch in diameter.  She was upset because this shirt was special to her- it signified a trip where she learned about how people in different parts of the world lived, where she had to help pour a concrete floor for someone, because there had only been dirt under their feet, where she ziplined for the first time.  While she was part of a group, it was her first big trip without parental supervision.  I comforted her, gave her a hug, went into Mom mode- I looked at the shirt, figured out if I could fix it, put it in the pile to take to my miraculous dry cleaner.  I did the practical stuff.  In front of my daughter.

When I left her, I was angry and pissed off and sad and frightened.  First off- my baby could have been hurt much worse.  I know this is minor, but she said she felt the burn a little.  How dare someone hurt her!!!!!  How dare someone make her cry out of sheer selfishness?

I went into Person of Interest mode.  I thought about figuring out where the security cameras are on this particular part of 14th Street, and scouring all the photos till I found the perpetrator.  Then I would hunt them down- then I would show them the full force of a Mother when her child has been wronged.  And for 10 minutes- I seriously thought about this.

I want to protect my daughter from harm.  I know I can’t do this- I can’t protect her.  This kills me- the inability to keep her from getting hurt.  But you can’t predict the future….

So what do you do?  Well, I’ve spent my life trying to be honest with her about the dangers in the world, trying to teach her to protect herself.  Do you know how hard this is, explaining danger, but also pushing your kid to be a active participant in life?  Like all things parental, this is a fine line.

As soon as she could read the signs on the bus, my daughter knew “If you see something, say something.”  I had to explain to her what this meant, when she was 4 years old.  At 4 years old she started to learn the tenets of, something left unattended could be a bomb.  She has spent her entire life going through metal detectors at many public buildings and bag checks.  When we are going to an event, we thoroughly read to see if we are able to take in bags, and what sizes are allowed.  She knows to carry anything valuable in front of her, never in the backpack.  She knows to walk down well lit streets, to do things in groups, to call me if she ever feels unsafe.  If she takes a cab I make her send me a picture of the license plate and the driver id card.  Every new step in her life requires me to give her an additional rule, an additional warning, an additional explanation of what danger lies ahead.

But I can’t predict everything.  I can’t give her warnings for every single thing, because I don’t know everything that can happen.  There’s always going to be the unimaginable.

I can’t protect her.

This crushes me.

I teach, I explain, I tell her I love her, and I pick up the pieces.  This is all I can do.

It will never be enough.

 

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Customer Diservice

I really wasn’t going to write about this topic this morning….but sometimes you can’t get something out of your head, so you know whatever other topic you try to talk about is going to get tinged with the stink of what is on your mind.  So here goes.

I pre-ordered something online on Friday.  A rather expensive something.  Due to heavy demand my email confirmation would come within 24 hours.  Fine.  I’m a somewhat reasonable person (really…..I am) I can wait the 24 hours.

Well, 24 hours, came and went- but I let it slide (I was going to see a Bee Gee’s heavy metal cover band- FYI they also do other songs- I’m going to say a highlight of my life was hearing a heavy metal version of Country Road, Take me Home, sung in a club located in the birthplace of the Hipster movement, in a room where half of the people where in Halloween costumes-I think, it is NYC you know- and the entire crowd sang the entire song- it was a perfect 3 minutes that will never be able to be replicated)

But I digress….

So 24 hours- I wait till Sunday morning and I get on the I’m system the company uses.  I tell them that I placed an order, I never received the confirm, I want to make sure there is no problem…you know- the usual stuff you do when you order something.

After 45 minutes of back and forth- “Steve” says that his department is unable to help, and he will switch me.  He comes back a second later and says all representatives are busy and I need to call a different number.  Now- I did the “Chat Now” because I was trying to avoid the actual phone call- believe it or not, I can get a little hot headed with customer service representatives.  I told him that was unacceptable, and I wanted to speak to his supervisor.

Remember- I’m looking to have a confirmation email resent to me.  Resend a confirm.  You know, like you resend, I don’t know, about a thousand things every day……  This is all I’m asking- a confirmation email to confirm the ridiculous amount of money I just spent on something, and that I am indeed going to eventually receive a product, and perhaps an approximation of when I’m to expect delivery.

Eventually, 30 minutes later, “Casey” says that a confirm will be sent within the hour.  Fine.

Husband and I go on our afternoon date- lunch and  a movie.  After movie ends, we both check our email (I’ve requested it to be resent to both of us).  No confirm.  Shocking- I know……

On the walk home in the torrential rain, I asked him “Do you want to call X or walk the dog?”  Remember, these were build an ark like conditions, and without hesitation he says “Oh- I am so walking the dog.”

So I call.  I repeat my request- confirm email.  Now- I have a confirm number, but I like to have an actual receipt- I like to have formal written acknowledgement of the transactions.

After 20 minutes, she says- OK here’s your confirm number.  I say that I have that, I would like the email resent.

She doesn’t think they can resend one.

Why?

She doesn’t know.

I ask if it is an unreasonable request to expect a physical confirm of something I purchased.

She goes “Ahhhhhh”

She puts me on hold about a thousand times.

After an hour- I ask to speak to her supervisor…. she puts me on hold…..

While I’m on hold, I have figured out the nomenclature (not sure if that’s the right word) for how this company configures it’s corporate email addresses.  I look up the executives in the company, and starting from the top down, I email the top 20 executives in this company, explaining my problem.

Call center person (when I asked if I was speaking to customer service, she kept saying that they were a call center- when I asked what the call center did, she said their job was to help customers……potato, potahto….) told me that they do not have the capability to resend emails- hint- this company is an internet service provider- so seriously- they can’t resend an email?

In utter frustration, I hung up the phone.  This is where I hate cell phones, because touching an off pad does not have the same satisfaction as slamming down a handset.

Ten minutes after I finished with the call center, I received an email from the 5th highest executive in the company, telling me that she would have someone get back to me reading the issue.  Within a half hour of that, said help had sent me an email asking for a good time to speak with me today.

OK- I got that off my chest! Whew…. now on to todays actual post…

kidding….

I have a low frustration point when I ask for something, and I do not receive a clear answer as to why it can’t be done.  If anyone at this company was able to give with an answer as to why not, I would have been ok- but I was left with “ahhhh, because we can’t”.  What does that mean?  Why can’t you send an email confirming a purchase?

I’ll fill you in on what I’m told today.  Thanks for listening!!

 

 

 

We Want Home Ec!!

I have read many posts recently that had the same common theme:  things a kid should know how to do before going off to college.  The lists included things such as knowing how to do laundry, basic cooking, checkbook balancing.  My first thought was “Duh….of course they should know how to do these things.  These things are part of being a responsible adult- they are things you need to know how to do.”  I’m not going to get into the “why” they don’t know these things- but apparently- many young adults are bereft of this knowledge.

Now, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was in what was commonly referred to as Junior High, I was required to take 2 semesters of Home Economics.  I know, visions of this class bring back thoughts of burnt toast and really haphazardly sewn aprons.  it harkens thoughts of women touching up their make-up before husbands return from work.  Slippers and the evening paper waiting my the Lazy Boy, a pre dinner cocktail already poured.  But if you can get those thoughts out of your head, I want you to think about what was learned in that class.  Because all those life skills?  I learned those, and more, in my home ec class when I was 13.

I know Home Economics is a bad name.  So lets call it “Life Skills 1.0”  or “Adulting”.  And obviously, both men and women should be required to take this class.  It is just as important as any subject taught in school, and in some ways, more important.  Some of you are thinking, “well, I’ve taught my kids all these things.”  That’s great.  You get parental gold stars.  But extra knowledge in these areas is not a bad thing.

Here’s my real life example.  My daughter will be attending a Halloween party tomorrow night.  She’s going as “The Devil Wears Prada”.  Go ahead and copy the idea- I think she saw it somewhere and thought it was cool.  She’s going to wear devil ears, a black skirt and a red t shirt.  On the front of the t she is going to iron on letters that spell out PRADA.  Easy, inexpensive, everything my kid wants in a costume.  Here’s the thing:  she doesn’t know how to iron.  So yesterday, she asked me if I would help her.  (Full disclosure- though I technically know how to iron, I choose not to.  I am perfectly happy in wash and wear clothing, and I am totally cool with walking around unironed.  I just don’t care.  It’s also fun because it drives my Mother in Law crazy….I take my fun where I can get it)

Now, we own an iron.  It is somewhere in my apartment.  Where?  That’s a really good question.  I wish it was like my phone, and I could push a button and do “find my iron”, but as that is not an option, I’m going to have to actually look for it.  And later this evening, I will be McGyevering an ironing board and teaching my kid how to iron on letters.

And though she knows the basics of cooking (I love to cook and bake- so this was a natural for me to show to her) and she can handle an industrial washing machine- there are certain things she does not know how to do.  She has basic skill level with tools, she can hammer a nail, and knows the difference between a flat head and Philips screwdriver- but the last time we bought assemble at home furniture, she was really looking to me for guidance.  Yes- I had her assemble a small bookcase (FYI- my husband does not know how to do these things….I put together all the things that need assembly)  And I’m sure there are many other tasks my daughter would not know how to do.  So I think that a class that showed the basics would be a great idea.

So, because I love to make everyone think and participate- what life skills do you think kids need before they leave the nest?  Do you think it should be entirely parent responsibility, or do you think a semester at school learning these things would be a good idea?

Relationship Jenga

Have you ever played Jenga?  It’s that game with wooden pieces that sort of stack on top of one another, and players have to remove pieces from it without toppling the structure.  (I’d post a picture, but I hate the whole making sure I’ve credited everyone possible for the use of the image, and it always takes be far longer than it should to repost anything- perhaps I should take a WordPress class now that I appear to take classes all the time)

But anyway-

I always think about relationships like they are Jenga games:  a whole bunch of blocks that make up a sound structure.  Each block represents a piece of a relationship- when you begin a relationship, you have all 100 pieces and the combined unit is strong.  In the beginning, everything is wonderful, and the relationship is solid and will not fall apart.

But as time goes on, things happen in the relationship.  Fights, arguments, whatever.  And each time one of these things happen, the blocks loosen up a little, the foundation of your relationship is a little less strong.  You still have 100 pieces. but 5 or 6 have loosened up.  We know this is going to happen- no two people are perfect together all the time.

Now, sometimes, there are big problems in a relationship.  Say, someone cheats.  Well, that might knock out one or two blocks entirely.  And they might be blocks from the bottom, the foundation so to speak.  A relationship might not be able to stand strong and tall if this were to happen.  But it all depends on the people involved in the relationship- how much the cheating affects it.  Maybe a child becomes ill- though no one has done anything wrong, this can shake even the most stable of partnerships.  Blocks may fall out.

Now- I’ve spoken about the big things- obviously, the larger the issue, the worse it threatens a relationship- that’s logical.

But what about the small things- those little every day annoyances?  If something small happens enough, can it knock out a block from the bottom? Or lots of blocks?  Can small things crumble a relationship as effectively as large things?

Now- lets bring this into context.  Last night the Husband and I were going to see our neighbor in a one man show (my neighbor used to be an actor, and is trying to get back into it- he’s in his early 60’s- so I am in awe of his courage- and his talent, but that’s another thing)  The show was taking place in a theater literally down the block from us, in a theater that has two performance spaces.  To confuse you a bit further, we also have another theater, one street over and down the block, this building containing 3 performance spaces.  Are you confused yet?  Cause Husband was.

Let’s add on, that Husband had a lousy day at work- so much so that he was going to be late to the show.  I text him that his ticket is at Will Call, it’s in the space known as The Underground, and I’m sitting last row, far left.  I set my phone to silent and put it in my bag.

You know that Husband went to the wrong theater.  He wandered around the wrong performance space, tried to reach me on my hidden phone…..

This added another layer to his already crappy day.

But who is to blame for him going to the wrong theater?

In my mind, it was just an  unfortunate situation.  I know I had said the name of the theater to him the evening before (seriously- it’s me- you know I went over this with him) Plus, The Underground is a theater that we have been to before, so my writing it in the text served as a reminder.  (and you know- he could probably google The Undergound in 5 seconds……)

He blamed me.  It was all my fault.

This wasn’t a situation worth engaging in, because I knew his whole day was rough.  I wasn’t going to play into the who did what wrong game.  I let it go.  In this situation, I felt it was the right course of action.

But- my husband is a blamer.  It’s not his fault entirely- he comes from a long line of blamers.  In his family dynamic, every time something goes wrong it is someone else’s fault.  That’s their MO- they don’t take personal responsibility.

Now- we’re going to swing it back to the Jenga analogy.  Though Husband is a generally good guy, he has this one little peccadillo.  And though it appears small, if you add up all the times he has shifted blame to someone other than himself…..

How many times does he have to do this before it takes a block out right from the bottom?

So here’s todays unwanted advice- be mindful of the little things in a relationship, the things you brush aside because they are not worth the argument.  Though, they might not be worth an argument, they probably should be talked about openly and honestly.  And if you can’t discuss something like this, maybe there are greater problems in the relationship that need to be addressed.

 

 

 

The Writing Class

As you may know, I began a writing class a few weeks ago. This has so far been an interesting experience.  Here’s a few random thoughts.

  1. I am totally rewriting the “novel” I started- as soon as I began the class, I realized that I had issues with the way the novel was set up.
  2. When we learned about plot last week, we learned that the main character needs to want something, and that is what makes up the crux of the book.  Well- here’s the thing- I know my general plot.  I know my characters.  But I have no idea what she wants, because I keep rethinking the ending- I have two distinct endings in mind, and now I’m stymied as so how to write the book if I don’t know how it’s going to end.
  3. Apparently Stephan King (I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but he writes books)  has no idea where his books are going when he begins writing- so I could be Stephan King like.
  4. Apparently, Truman Capote (who, you say?  Just think Audrey Hepburn) knew exactly what he was going to write.  Should I be Capotesque?
  5. I can not refer to my “novel” without putting ironic quotes around novel- need to work on either self esteem or sense of irony
  6. I feel confident about my writing until I hear what other people wrote.  I know I’m not alone in this, because every one of my classmates prefaces their reading with some sort of disclaimer as to how bad their piece is in comparison to everyone else’s.  Comparing is a bad habit.  Unless it’s me comparing to other works because mine truly are worse.
  7. I do not always like writing exercises, especially when they do not include dialogue.  For some reason, I like to have my characters talk.  Could this be because I am somewhat loquacious?  Hmmmmmm…….have to think about why my characters talk so much and there is so little internal monologue.
  8. My characters all end up funny.  I don’t know how this happens because I am not that funny in real life.
  9. My function over form attitude to just about everything could be a detriment.  I am finding that I don’t really describe a scene- I throw in little details about the setting, but I need to work on creating a visual picture.  I forget that just because I see the details in my mind, no one else does.  And those details help to create your character.  I may practice by writing posts in which I go into excruciating detail about the 5 rooms that make up my apartment.  then I will describe the contents of every drawer and cabinet.  If you are lucky, I will tell you what’s on the shelves and surfaces…..
  10. Writing is easy.  Writing something that someone wants to read is hard.  I have to determine what is more important- pleasing myself with my writing, or finding an audience.  While I realize they are not mutually exclusive, I just don’t know if I can do both.
  11. Writing creates a lot of self doubt.
  12. Deep inside, I know that writing requires one to sit at a computer (or typewriter if you’re retro and live near a flea market) and type words, and sentences and paragraphs and chapters.  This is very solitary.  I have never been a social person, but I find the more that I write, the greater my need to interact with others.  I can’t write is I’m alone with my thoughts too much.  I need to air out those thoughts.  Just think about that King guy and The Shining……(FYI- one and only SK book I ever read because it scared the pants off me….I could not read it at night……)

I have 7 more classes, and next week is the week that my 10 page piece gets ripped apart  discussed.  I’m sure I’ll be taking about this again.

 

S-U-C-C-E-S-S That is How You Spell Success

Ok- now we know how to spell it- but how do we define it?  Success, like love, is a concept that has more than one meaning, it   and can be interpreted in myriad ways.  For today, because you know this will morph into a multi part series when people raise questions and points, and add to the growing list of interpretations, and I will be “forced” to write a follow-up.

So, if you want to play- think about what your definition of success is.  You don’t need to write it down, but keep it in your thoughts.

Now, I’m going to start off with some quotes I found about success.  I am going to say that the authors of these quotes could be considered successful people.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure. loyalty, and persistence” Colin Powell

“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Bobby Unser

“Success is a journey, not a destination.  The doing is often more important than the outcome.”  Arthur Ashe

“Success is a science: if you have the conditions, you get the results.” Oscar Wilde

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” George Bernard Shaw

“Success isn’t measured by money or power or social rank.  Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.” Mike Ditka

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” George S. Patton

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden

Think about your definition.  Is it similar to what’s above?  Or did you mention money or winning somewhere in your definition?  I asked a bunch of people what success is, and most of them mentioned money, fame or winning (FYI- this poll was completely unscientific- there was no control group, it was not really a random sampling)

But what I learned in my 15 minutes of research on this topic is: success is perseverance.  Success is setting a goal and working towards it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be the best, or win, or be famous or make money.  It means you gave it all you had, you didn’t let mistakes deter you and you were resilient.

And in a backhanded way, success means you have failed at some point.

I think people have trouble grasping failure (and yes- I wrote about failure being an option- still one of my favorite posts).  Yet, without failure, can there really be success?  Does anyone ever just go out and do something perfectly the first time?  Doesn’t everything require practice to a certain extent?

Ok- so here’s the homework:  Come up with your own definition of success, and recognize all the times you have been successful. (just remember- every time you post a blog you have succeeded- you put thoughts on a page and exposed them to the world- think about how many people do not hit publish)  I think we all tend to focus on the failures, without comprehending the lessons that we learned from those failures.  Let’s put some spin on our internal thinking.

Attitude is the key to success.

What do you all think?

 

 

 

Humble Brag

A group of parents were bemoaning how much harder the college application process is now, as compared to when we were all going to college back in the stone ages.  We were talking about resumes, and internships- things almost necessary now.  One Mother spoke up….”Oh- My son didn’t have a resume or an internship, and he’s a freshman at Cornell, so don’t listen to those things……”  Ladies and Gentlemen- this is a humble brag.  The woman was telling us, a bunch of parents of Juniors, that Cornell is a piece of cake to get into- that any kid with any credential can get into this school.  Let me give you a little knowledge- though Cornell is often known as the “Easy Ivy”- this is at best an oxymoron, as any Ivy, including Cornell, is extremely difficult to get into.  According to prepscholar.com, the acceptance rate is 15%, it’s considered extremely competitive, the average GPA for admitted students is 4.04, and average SAT is 1480.  Those numbers are far from average.  No one is calling Cornell a safety school.

So maybe the student mentioned didn’t have a resume or an internship- but what did he do to make himself stand out enough to get admitted into this school, when 85% of the applicants did not?  What did the Mother leave out?

Honestly- I’m OK with bragging.  I’m OK with someone saying, I worked really hard and the team I was on won the State Championship.  My daughter won a poetry contest.  My son just got a job at google.  I don’t mind bragging, because it’s honest- someone accomplished something, and it’s OK to talk about it.  I applaud anyone who has a goal and sees it to fruition.  I’m even OK if they’re are a little smug- because it’s OK to be proud of yourself.

But the humble brag……..

Accomplishing anything requires work and determination- to say that something just fell into your lap is disingenuous and frankly, sort of nasty.  When you humble brag, you are telling someone that you didn’t do anything to deserve what you got – but gee whiz- it happened.  You are devaluing anyone who works towards a goal and is unable to achieve it.

Now- let’s think about what is really annoying me about the particular humble brag I mentioned.

Back in August, my daughter began tennis practice.  She was talking to one of the Seniors, and this girl told her- “I know everyone has been really nice so far- but don’t talk about your grades and test scores- whether they are good or bad.  Keep stuff close to you.  Junior year- the kids get competitive. Remember- everyone is trying to get into the same 25 schools, and we all know they’re each probably not taking more than 1 student from our High School.”

So when you have a group of high achiever, Type A kids, you probably have a group of Type A parents.  No matter how you look at it- it’s a toxic situation.  Everyone wants to be the 1 kid that gets into one of those schools.  Every parent wants their kid to be the one that gets into those schools.  You begin to see everyone as the enemy.

Will I be any different?  I hope so.   I didn’t say something snippy back to the other parent, like- “well yeah- that’s the easiest Ivy to get into-” but I did think it.  That  would have been  passive aggressive, and more importantly- I still believe that somewhere, there’s a karma counter, and my being nasty would ruin my daughters chances of getting into the school she wants.

But- where I normally might talk about my kids accomplishments, I think I am going to keep a little quieter about it.  I think I’m going to hold my cards close to me, and not reveal where she wants to go, or where she’s applying.  I might not share her SAT scores or GPA when asked.  I might not post a picture of her if she wins an award or honor.  Because at the first meeting of the parents of Juniors- the claws were already starting to come out.

 

True Confessions

Ok.  I have a confession to make.  I really don’t think that all men sexually harass women.  And to go even further, I think that men often get blamed for everything that goes wrong, and that’s blatantly unfair.  (now- if it’s my husband we’re talking about, he probably should be blamed…remind me sometime to tell you the story of the kitchen floor)

So there you have it.

Why, you ask, did I say that the other day?

Because, sometimes you have to make a grandiose statement in order to get people to pay attention.

Because sometimes there’s a problem that everyone needs to work on in order to solve it.

Who is getting harassed, who is doing the harassing….it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that it stops.  And whether you want to call it harassment, or bullying…..it’s the same thing- People disrespecting one another- People watching others get disrespected and not doing anything about it.  People not thinking about what their words and actions actually mean.

So how do we stop harassment?

How do we stop bullying?

How do we stop disrespect?

I try to be the best person I can.  I try to model reasonable behavior so my daughter understands how to treat others.  I will say something to family members if I feel they are doing/saying something stupid (and if you knew my family you would know exactly how time consuming this is)  But I’m human, and I’m not always nice, and I’m not always respectful (especially to customer service representatives- I’m sure there are a few dart boards with my picture on them)

But back to the big picture.  We’re reasonably intelligent people (come on- you read my blog, so that makes you a connoisseur of the finer things) and I know we are teavhibg and modeling respect….but is that enough?  Because frankly, it’s not working.  Take Back the Night began like 40 years ago….have rape and domestic violence stopped or decreased?  No….they haven’t.   Let’s think this out- how do we stop harassment?

 

 

Perception

When my daughter was younger, many of the relatives would greet her with “Come give me a hug.”  “Come give me a kiss.”

I was having none of that.

I told people that it is her body, and it doesn’t matter if she’s only a year old, she didn’t have to hug or kiss anyone.

I got a lot of grief for this.

I didn’t care.  I stood firm.

My Husband was embarrassed. He was not happy with me. I didn’t care.  I would have gotten divorced if I had to.  I was holding firm to what I believed was right.  To expect a hug or a kiss from a child is wrong- and it doesn’t matter who you are.

There are a lot of people who think I am dead wrong.  They don’t consider it harassment, but I do.  And in my reality- what I believe is the only thing that actually matters.  And that was the tenet I was taking in raising my daughter.  I made sure she knew that it was her body, and anything to do with it required her permission. That if she said no, and someone didn’t listen, she was to come to me immediately and I would take care of it.  And you can imply your own meaning to what I meant by “take care of it.”

See- here’s the thing.  Though we might all agree that harassment is bad, and that it means that someone is put in an uncomfortable situation because of their gender- we all have different levels of tolerance, and a different subset of what specifics make up harassment.

  1. A 5 year old child chases another with the intent of kissing them.  Is this harassment? I think so.  I also think that no child should be suspended because of it- that a direct conversation about touching someone else without their permission is in order-
  2. A teenager constantly calls, texts, mails, emails, mails another.  While the doer might not constitute this as harassment, the one on the receiving end often does.
  3. An adult manages to be at the gym at the same time as another adult- they manage to be at the same place at the same time.  Is this harassment?  Well, it is if one of the adults feels this way.

So here’s the thing.  Men, women- young, old….. they need to discuss these things.  it doesn’t matter if you are 100% positive that no one you know would ever be a harasser- these things must be discussed.  There must be open and honest dialogue about the different ways that people feel. Because everyone feels different about everything.

Why?

Say your child is totally respectful of all around them.  What if they have a friend who keeps texting someone- if the textee is not responding, does your child know that they should talk to the texter about how their actions might not be seen in a good light?  About how the other person might feel uncomfortable?

Now- let’s give a personal example.  I worked for a very long time in a male dominated industry.  Men were lewd and vulgar on a daily basis- not all, but I’m going to say the majority.  but, all were complicit in this behavior.  Including me.  But, this behavior did not bother me at the same level that it would bother others.  I felt that it was just a bunch of people letting off steam when faced with high levels of stress.  But I never felt threatened because of my sex- I never felt that I didn’t get a fair shot at things.  Now, there were clients of ours that did not want to work with a woman.  Technically, that is harassment- but I let it go because I always figured there would be other opportunities and other clients.  But that was me.  Another woman?  Who knows.

And what about a situation at a party, or a place where people are trying to meet other people?  One blogger friend said that he just doesn’t complement any woman other than his wife, for fear of someone thinking it’s harassment.  But how do you talk to someone you are interested in sexually?  Obviously, we know at some point people engage in sexuality intoned banter…..but what are the new rules about how one engages in this?  I have a friend who was dating the first time after divorce- he literally asked the woman what parameters their flirtatious banter could take.  He actually said, “is this form of discussion acceptable to you?”?.  And it makes me wonder, is this really why Tinder has become so popular?  Is Tinder giving people the OK to say, yes- there is a possibility that this “relationship” could end up in a sexual way, and we’re both pretty OK with that because we are using this app?

So- I think we need to discuss, in a non harassing way- what we should do to stop harassment.

Who wants to start?

 

Continuing On

You’ve heard me talk about the importance of family tradition.  I believe families should have rituals that they follow in some sort of pattern.  Last weekend, my family went to a corn maze- we have been doing the maze at this location for 12 years.  As we walk down the path, we look at the pictures from past mazes and talk about how fast we did them.  Competitive family- we try to beat our time from the previous year- my daughter is sort of a maze savant- (this year, Queens County Farm Museum threw us a curve ball- they made the maze longer and more difficult- so we had to readjust our expectations)

But just like families- couples and individuals should have rituals too.  My Husband and I did not really have these rituals when my daughter was younger, because we did so much as a family unit.  But we realized a few years ago that our daughter had her own life.  She no longer played soccer and softball, so our attendance was not required at games.  We were no longer needed at weekend activities- she played in a tennis tournament a few weeks ago and told us we didn’t need to come.  She has plans and she has homework and she has more homework.  The husband and I are sort of free.

So- we began a new set of traditions.  We go to the Orchid Show at the Botanic Garden, the cherry blossoms at the other garden, etc.  Last weekend we went to Open House New York (OHNY).  OHNY is where building and organizations open up their doors and give tours- these places are not often seen by the public.  We had tours of two gorgeous churches, including The Church of the Transfiguration (where PG Wodehouse got married) and Marble Collegiate (where Norman Vincent Peale was Pastor).  We also went to Center for Book Arts, where they actually lay the type for some funky books.  I can’t give a good explanation of this place though, hence why I don’t write reviews) but suffice to say it was cool, interesting and different, and I’m considering taking a class just to see how books are made the old fashioned way.

So- now that I’ve included Sunday Wrap up into  Wordy Wednesday…….

I also have started my own traditions.  I now go to the Tribeca Film Festival every year (I think you get the idea of what this is)  I go to the New Yorker Festival (which is basically an event for the editors of the New Yorker to show how intellectual they are by running panel discussions and interviews).  I find things to do on an annual basis.

Why are traditions important?

They give you something to look forward to.

I think as people get older, many have a dread that life is over.  They’ve had kids, they’ve had careers, they’ve owned houses.  They have done some of the things they set out to do.  They also realize that there might be some stuff that they never got around to doing.  That’s when the sadness creeps in.  They don’t always know what to do next- all they see is an empty calendar- days with nothing to fill them.

So you fill in the blanks.

Annual events are an easy way to start.  If I know the New Yorker Festival is the second weekend of October each year, I can jot it down.  That’s a day in the calendar that is not blank- that is something I look forward to.  (I know- half of you are thinking- OMG- she’s off on one of her scheduling tangents- you’re tired just thinking about writing something in your planner (?) for a year from now…I get it….but….)

As we get older, we need to adapt and/or change.   Yeah- I get it – change is hard.  But not changing- well, does that make things easier?

I switched to glasses this week- I didn’t want to, but I had no choice.  Accept and move on.  My daughter will be going to college in a few years and I will no longer see her on a daily basis.  Accept and move on.  Adapt to the new reality.  Live in the present.