Gratitude Saturday Sept 29

I love fall. Wonderful season.  Except that for some reason, fall always has social obligations, which I like, but I also don’t always like.  And my mind has been in overdrive lately, so….I’m going to try to remember the positive….

  1. Being able to get a dinner reservation on short notice (there will actually be a post about this in the near future)
  2. being able to do something over (again- post about this to follow shortly)
  3. second chances
  4. friends who listen to you, have coffee with you, and take your side because they are friends
  5. tweezers
  6. clean refrigerator
  7. auto correct
  8. cup of tea before bed
  9. spicy food
  10. the smell of freshly washed laundry
  11. lavender
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The Grand Gesture

Did you ever notice that when a couple gets engaged, one of the first questions asked is “How did X propose to you?” Why is this? Why is the how more important than the why (as in, why do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person)

Well, I guess it’s less personal to ask how than why.  It’s also easier.  It’s simple to explain – it was done at place Y, they said Z to me, etc. But how do you explain why you want to be with someone? Is there a universal phrase that can sum up why you love? How do you explain to an outside party why you love someone?

To go a step further, other than the words “I Love You”, how do you even show your partner how much you love them? How do you show someone that you care?

Enter the grand gesture.

Promposals.  How did asking someone to prom become an extravaganza? Engagements? Have you seen instagrams of the lengths people will go to when proposing to someone? Why has asking someone a question become an event that takes weeks of planning?(Now, before you go crazy on me, I think the decision to marry someone should be taken with great care…the actual proposal…..well…)

I think people feel they need to make a grand gesture so that there intended knows how much they mean to them.  Anyone can say the words “I love you”, but if you follow it up with a grand, physical gesture?  Then it must be true- this person loves me because they were willing to show it by doing A. They spent time planning out the perfect situation.  They spent money to make sure they got everything right.  There are pictures that I can post on social media- because we all know that if it’s on social media it’s true…A grand gesture is proof that someone cares enough about you to go the extra mile…

Isn’t that what we all want? Proof that someone is willing to extend themselves for you? Whether it be moving in together, or going to prom, or getting married, we want to know that the other person really cares.  We want confirmation that we are not a consolation prize, that we are indeed their first choice.  But no matter how gifted someone may be with words, it’s not always easy to get that point across…so you need an action…something tangible…to make it abundantly clear. The grander the gesture, the greater your expression of love….

So- now it’s your turn.  What do you think of grand gestures of love and commitment, or even just attraction? Do you think they’re necessary? Have you ever orchestrated a grand gesture, or been on the receiving end of one? Do you think love needs to be proved, or are the words enough?

 

What’s More Important

You all know that my daughter is in the process of applying to college. And some of you may know that college marketing is huge.  Many colleges hold recruiting events in NYC and the immediate suburbs, and my daughter has been attending them when she is interested.

Recently, my Daughter received an invite to a school that is high on her list.  The event was scheduled for a Monday at 630 in midtown Manhattan.  My daughter had a tennis match that same day, which ended at 6pm.  Her tennis match was in another borough, and quite possibly as far from midtown Manhattan as possible.

My daughter doesn’t miss anything.  She hasn’t had a sick day from school since 3rd grade. She is also never late to anything. She asked me- “Should I miss the tennis match? Or should I be late to the event?” I told her that her first responsibility was to the team.  She is both a starter and Co Captain.

She listened to me, won her match, and made it to the event about 15 minutes late.  She was there for the lion share of the presentation and got to chat with alumnae.

Fine.

When I related this story to someone else, they said she should have blown off the match, because the college thing was more important. They thought of it as a make or break moment for the college admission process.  I thought that if they don’t want my daughter because she’s 15 minutes late for a dog and pony show because she was honoring her commitment to her team, then it probably wasn’t the right school for her.

So I ask of you today, how do you assess a priority?  If you have two things at the same time, what factors go into your decision making process? How do you determine what is more important?

One of my Momism’s is “90% of success is showing up.” I have always stressed the importance of not letting people down, that when you sign up for something, you commit.  But are there times when it’s OK to bail?

So, what are your thoughts? How do handle the double/triple commitment thing?

 

 

One of My Pet Peeves….

“OMG- Look at her.  She’s looks like she’s 17.” (referring to a 13 year old) “No.  She looks like she’s 21.” referring to 16 year old.

These are statements I often hear from people like my Mother and Father in law, and actually friends of my Husbands.  They are obsessed with determining how old females look.

This drives me crazy.

I do not understand the obsession with stating how “old” someone looks.

Whenever I hear someone make a statement such as this, I immediately get on the defensive.  I ask what determines how old someone looks. I ask what their baseline is in their thinking. I ask them why it is so important that they need to comment on it. When I hear comments such as this, I just can’t let it go.

This drives my Husband crazy.  He will continually ask me why I care about this issue, why it means so much to me.  We have actually gotten into fights about this, because he doesn’t think I should speak my mind on this topic. He thinks I should just ignore it when people start age judging.

But I can’t.

He doesn’t understand why this is a where I take a stand- why this is something I can’t stay silent on…

So let me explain it a bit…

I don’t like when people are judged by their appearance.

The minute someone makes a comment about how old someone looks, they are making a value judgement on them. They are intimating that by the use of make up or clothing, the person does not appear to be “their” age. They look older, or younger, or whatever.

Why are we doing this to people?

Aren’t we more than what our outward appearance dictates?

And…

How about how our society deals with age and aging?

The more we comment on how “old” someone looks, the more emphasis we put on it.  Young girls will want to look “older” because they feel it makes them more attractive. To a 13 year old, looking 17 means they appear more sophisticated, others will find them desirable. Older women will want to look “younger” because they feel it makes them more attractive. A sixty year old might think looking 55 is the greatest thing in the world because no one is asking if they want the AARP discount.

Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Why can’t we wear make up or not? Dress a certain way, or not? Why are we constantly discussing people’s appearance?

When my Mother says to my daughter “You look like you’re 21 when you wear your make up like that’ it actually makes my skin crawl.  It sounds so creepy. I just don’t understand the need for these types of comments.  And I will continue to vocalize my opinion on this matter.

Stop looking at people, especially females, and trying to determine their age.  There is not good reason to ever do this, unless you’re a bouncer at a bar, or the ticket taker at a movie…

Planning? Micro Managing?

The following are courtesy of dictionary.com:

Planning- the process of making plans for something

Micromanaging- control every part (however small) of an enterprise or activity

A few weeks ago, Claudette and I got into a discussion of planning vs. micromanaging, and if the two are mutually exclusive.  Are planners, by nature, destined to control everything they touch?

I admit, I like to be in control- I like to lay out a 10 step plan, and list all the incidentals. I plan out contingencies. But, I am also the one who performs these steps.  If I need something done, I really on myself.  Does this make me a micro manager, or does it make me self sufficient? True, I am in control of every detail, but it’s my project- if I’m responsible, then shouldn’t I take responsibility for making sure whatever I’m doing is done correctly, so my end result is what I want?

Let’s change the variable: I write a very specific list as to what needs to be done, and I hand it off to other people (husband and daughter) to perform. If I expect them to follow my list to the letter, and not let them have any say, then I would say that would make me a micromanager…

So- is being a micromanager dependent on who you expect to follow your rules?

As I just mentioned rules, let’s talk about house rules.  I have a rule that my family must eat at least three meals together as a family, per week (exceptions are when my Husband is traveling) Does having this rule make me a micromanager, or am I a parent trying to make sure her family stays in touch with one another?

If I have a list of behaviors that I expect my daughter to follow (eat healthy, don’t smoke, etc) am I a micromanager or a parent.  I don’t clean my daughters room, I don’t do her homework, but I do expect her to empty the dishwasher and feed the pets.  Is assigning her household tasks a parental right, or am I managing her?

We are inviting friends to our roofdeck this Friday. They are not going to be in our apartment, but in case of rain, our place must be in an acceptable state.  Now, I know what I deem acceptable: is my need to have things done a certain way, and me handing my husband a list of tasks that must be accomplished, qualify as micromanaging? Or is it just that I’m more aware of which areas of the apartment need to be looked after?

Think about your own habits: are you a micromanager or  a planner?  Both or Neither? How do you define the concepts?

 

 

 

My Week In Review 9 /23

 

As happens with fall, things get busy….

  1. Some of you may know about my big bag of too be shredded.  Well, I was making headway on this, until I jammed my shredder.  Have been unable to unclog it….yeah…good times…
  2. Feast of San Genaro- most states, including my own, have state fairs.  Nyc boasts no such cow beauty contest, but we do have a 10 day street fair honoring San Genaro.  Basically, it’s food…

    3) We have a lot of University Clubs in the city- My daughter was invited to a meet and greet at one of them.  Luckily, she had a plus one…I admit, I liked the whole wood paneled, leather chair by the fireplace atmosphere…is it wrong that I want her to get into the school just so she can eventually join the club and I can go along as her guest?
  3. “White Boy Rick” movie in theaters. I thought this movie was excruciatingly slow….I mean, almost painful.  And I couldn’t figure out if the accents were Detroit, or I don’t know where….but…my movie friend J liked it way more than me, so I guess it’s a toss up…
  4. “The Mystery of the Three Quarters” Sophie Hannah, writing Hercule Poirot novels in the Agatha Christie Series.  I love Christie.  I think the Hannah series is fine, but she misses a little bit of the Christie cunning….but enjoyable…
  5. I got my haircut- it’s basically the same bob that I always get, but my hairstylist made it a little funkier- a little change up for the fall
  6. College Counselor meeting- my daughter had her second and final one on one.  She feels good about
  7. the college application process, which makes me feel good.  I’ll tell you how it’s going on October 15 when her application must be turned into her counselor for review for the Nov 1 submission date…
  8. Because NYC is all about the food, there is a month long food fair known as Madison Square Eats….I forgot to take pictures, but my daughter and I shared a delicious pepper and cheese enchilada, and on another day,  some sort of Turkish sandwich called an Enfes, which is basically a very thin breadish wrap, filled with falafel, hummus and veggies….messy but good.
  9. “Little Women” reread for book club. I love this book.  I have loved this book for a million years.  And I got to share it with my amazing tea book club!
  10. “Jack Ryan” TV- Amazon Prime. I thought this was a pretty good go at the Jack Ryan character- not Harrison Ford, but enjoyable
  11. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” TV- Netflix.  I loved the book, and I love Lily James (and there’s Matthew Goode too) but I was actually a little disappointed in the film version.  I guess it’s a hard book to film, because of it’s nature…but I wanted it to be better
  12. Have been having issues with new version of WordPress that came out the other day.  Anyone else feeling my pain?

Have a great week!!!

 

  1.  

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

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.