Happy New Year!

Many thanks to those of you who took time out of your day to click, read, browse, like, comment (or perhaps roll your eyes, scoff, and scowl) at anything I wrote in 2017.  I do appreciate it (perhaps not the scoffing or scowling so much…)! I hope you are keeping well and looking forward to the new year and all you can accomplish. I am reorganizing the blog and should be finished  by January 10th, if not sooner.  Please drop in again for new musings, video posts, and for the launch of my very basic (basic) and simple planner pages store.  I wish you a safe, peaceful, and healthy 2018!

(In the meantime, here’s a bleak winter photo to enjoy.  I like to call it “hungry bird contemplates.” It has nothing to do with anything in this post.)

3 Ways Clumsy People Make Your World Better

bananaInspiration is proving a fickle friend, or, perhaps,  I’m expecting too much from this friendship. After a desperate rummage through the old brain pan for this week’s post, I was left with nothing, staring at the blank screen with absolutely no ideas in sight. Unfortunately, I seem to be starting more and more blog posts this way, but, I don’t want to “throw in the towel” just yet.  Instead, I must constantly remind myself that there will be days when I do not feel particularly passionate about the post I write; the important thing is to keep on writing.

When inspiration takes a vacation, I try to focus on lighter topics that I can discuss with a certain level of expertise.  Such topics are few and far between as I am not an expert in anything particularly useful.  However, if you’d like information on social awkwardness, useless 1980’s pop and movie trivia, how to avoid your neighbors, and the joys of “hermitting,” I’m your girl.  Today, I am concentrating on one other topic with which I am painfully (literally) familiar – clumsiness.  (I know, it took forever, but we finally got there!) Read More

Getting Better at Letting it Be


back-to-back“Let it be.” Probably some of the best advice ever given in musical form. Yet, it is so often easier said than done.

When it comes to friendships and family, drawing a line in the sand is not something I find easy to do.  It makes me sad and leaves me feeling very much like a heel regardless of how “justified” it may be.

I understand that in abusive, manipulative, and generally toxic relationships, there is often no other choice but to break away permanently from the offending individual. In this post, however, I’m referring to dealing with differences of opinion or beliefs that, at times, can also appear too big to overcome and may leave you tempted to give up on or walk away from a friendship or family member.  I found myself in that position earlier this evening as I read through some unusually more insulting Facebook posts shared by a few of my liberal friends.

I am not a fan of labels or pigeon-holing, but these individuals are as liberal as I am conservative. Thankfully, at least thus far, this hasn’t really posed a problem.  As long as we maintain a level of mutual respect and etiquette and agree to disagree, the differing moral, political, and spiritual beliefs of my friends and I do not necessarily signal the death knell of a relationship.  This evening, for a moment, I was no longer sure this was the case. Instead of brushing off the condescending left-wing sentiments of these particular posts, I found myself thinking, “I give up already! I’m just unfollowing these people!” I even wrote a lengthy post alluding (somewhat passive-aggressively, of course) to my disappointment in the increasingly insurmountable differences of opinion, but just before I pressed the “post” button, I managed to step back and leave it alone for a while. I wanted to give myself time to see if I could actually let this be.

To get straight to the point – after busying myself with the never-ending, nightly to do list that comes with maintaining a small village of cats, I decided NOT to publish my lengthy post but instead deleted it. I’m glad I did.  I’m not thrilled with the tone and language of the posts I read, but, the world doesn’t really care about how I feel and, I reminded myself, I’ve posted comments on my Facebook wall that haven’t always pleased others.

I must continue to remember that some of us are on opposite ends of the spiritual and political spectrum and that is unlikely to change.  There will be more posts that contradict my beliefs, and vice versa.  I wish some of my friends and I could find common ground on certain issues, but that seems increasingly unlikely.  Nothing I post will pry them out of their belief system or lure them over to “my side,” and nothing they post is going to change my mind.  I do believe, if we are willing to cast aside the insults and condescension, we can at least give each other “food for thought” and provide different perspectives on some of the divisive issues facing us today.

Having said all of that, it would be foolish to think I won’t ever again feel like taking the easy way out and hitting the unfollow button. I hope that when tempted to do so, I remember that it is the person behind the opinion that matters.  It is the person who I may have known since childhood, who schlepped with me through the awkward teenage years, and, though many do not know it, who brought me through some tough times by offering their friendship and providing much laughter and support.   I was almost guilty of forgetting that tonight and I know I would have regretted it tomorrow.

Obviously, we are no longer the children or teenagers we once were.  We have all experienced life on different paths and those paths have lead us to develop the beliefs we live by.  If I can just remember that, maybe I will also remember to forego the knee-jerk reactions and just “let it be.”






Everybody was Facebook Fightin’

What is going on with Facebook? When did it become a battleground of opinionated ranting? Over the past few weeks, like many other people, my page has resembled a political war zone with friends posting and liking varied political rants, pictures, articles, videos, etc. The opposing views of my liberal and conservative friends left my page littered with political garbage that frankly bordered on the ridiculous.

Even before the battle began over the latest political issues, I had become quite disillusioned with this social media platform and was teetering on the edge of quitting it altogether.  I always thought of Facebook as a fun place.  A place to unwind virtually and give your brain a rest from the tragic headlines that dominate our news. It’s a place for catching up with family and friends.  A place where you can keep track of the important things like how many times your friend goes to the gym; what they had for dinner; how their struggle with insomnia is progressing. It can also be a place of encouragement.  My Facebook feed is not a place where I want to see pictures of abused animals, even if you are trying to raise awareness. Nor do I want to read a personal manifesto on your right to bear arms. I also don’t want to see countless “liked” photos of the latest celebrity being lauded as a hero for something that, in this day and age, is really not heroic. But, I decided, it’s Facebook, humans are involved, these things happen. There’s always the “hide” button. However, it became increasingly difficult to keep up with the hide button once the political warfare over the confederate flag “debate” and the gay marriage ruling exploded across my page.

I understand we have an innate desire to express ourselves, to let our opinions be known whether anyone wants to hear them or not (that’s kind of why I started this blog).  There’s nothing wrong with that. But, call me crazy, I was always under the impression we should do so with respect. The tone, word choices, and disrespect with which I saw some people expressing their opinions left me feeling disappointed.  Unfortunately, much of the “debating” I witnessed on Facebook mirrored that of the individuals who run this country (whoever that may be at the moment). Those same individuals who can never seem to settle anything respectfully, judiciously or effectively.

It seems many of us have lost the ability to discuss our differences rationally with clarity and intelligence. I was surprised how quickly some posts, from both sides of the issues, denigrated into the downright hateful. Thankfully, not all of my friends felt the need to post an inflammatory diatribe on their Facebook page and they were not the originators of the hateful comments I am referencing. Many of the worst, more offensive comments found their way inadvertently to my feed via friends or family commenting on posts from people I do not follow.

In the interest of transparency and exposing my own hypocrisy, I must confess that I am just as guilty of climbing onto my Facebook soap box from time to time. I try to keep those posts to a minimum and try my best to remember that not all of my friends think or believe as I do. I have many friends who are liberal-minded and whose religious beliefs differ greatly from my own. Does that mean I should use Facebook as a medium for posting endless rants criticizing their point of view because they don’t believe as I do? Personally, I don’t think it does. On the other hand, does that mean I should be subjected to endless criticism and ridicule for my conservative political and religious beliefs? In my OPINION, no it does not.

There are some who may read this and assume that I am ashamed of my beliefs or that I think you should never share your opinions on Facebook. That is not the case. The issue here is the manner in which we share our opinions. It is, to me anyway, important to respect my friends and family who have the right to think what they want to think just as I do. The even bigger issue I should consider before vomiting my personal political vitriol all over Facebook is this: my mind has never been changed by any opposing political or religious opinion posted on someone’s Facebook page. If my beliefs were actually affected by anything posted on Facebook, then I would need to undergo some serious self-evaluation. I would imagine that I am not the only one who feels this way.

Relentless Facebook rants may make us feel better temporarily, but what good do they do in the end? I know this is a “free” country and everyone has the right to express their opinion; I’m not disputing that.  I just wonder if Facebook, a place that was designed to connect family and friends, is really the place to do it.

A Quick Word about Grandparents

During a recent visit to Barnes and Noble, I came across a book titled Tell Me Your Story, Grandma. As you may expect, this book was filled with questions relating to all areas of Grandma’s life and included blank spaces for her responses and any photographs she may be willing to “donate.”  If you made your way through this book, you would essentially end up with a mini-biography of your own grandmother.  I know, it may sound corny, but I would love to have such a book, in its completed form, in my possession today.

Unfortunately, I no longer have any living grandparents.  My maternal grandfather died when I seven years old and although my remaining grandparents lived into their 70’s and 90’s, I believe I was only in my mid-thirties when my last remaining grandparent died.

As I grow older, I often think about missed opportunities to learn more about my grandparents and their lives; missed opportunities to talk with them; and, missed opportunities to comfort them when they were ailing.  While we may spend a great deal of time with our grandparents as children and teens, it seems that many of us fail to tend that relationship once we reach adulthood.  I know I did. I will always regret that.

If your grandparents are still living, I hope you appreciate them for who they are, what they’ve lived through, and where they’ve come from.  I hope you stop and listen to any wisdom they may try to impart.   Grandparents can be a surprising source of advice should you need it, after all, they have experienced life, raised a family, crafted a career, and basically “seen it all.”

Given the chance, your grandparents may become your greatest supporters. They’ve already raised YOUR parents so they have survived teen angst, boundary pushing, and moodiness. They know these things usually work themselves out in the end and are usually less likely to go into crisis mode when you share your desire for yet another piercing or to drop out of college and join a commune.  (Ok, that one might cause some issues…)

I had chances to remain in better contact with my grandparents as an adult but I did not do a very good job.   I will never have a chance to rectify that mistake because, as I mentioned, my grandparents are no longer living.  But, I can assure you, if William, Kate, Ted (my “step-grandfather”), Goldie Mae, and Ira Ned were still with us, I would work harder at maintaining a relationship with each of them especially in their later years.

As a teenager, I remember thinking that my grandparents’ homes were so boring; now, I could kick myself for being such a brat.  I would love to be able to experience that house with everyone in it one more time.  But, since this is the real world and not Fantasy Island, that’s not going to happen. All I can do is urge you to enjoy your grandparents while they are here.

I’m not trying to be preachy.  I know that not all families get along.  However, if you are fortunate enough to have any relationship with your grandparents now, I hope you will tend that relationship at every stage of your life and theirs.  It is an important relationship deserving of your respect, attention and time.  Enjoy their company and their unique perspective on life while you can.

Guilt in the Cesspool

Yesterday, I had planned to write something light-hearted just to prove I’m not always a negative Nelly; however, another quick perusal of world headlines quashed any light-heartedness I may have felt.  Horrific executions in the Middle East; ineffective politicians squabbling amongst themselves; people freezing to death; mass shootings; animals starving; planes and trains crashing; and, sprinkled amongst the horror, a smattering of pointless updates on the celebrity “du jour.” No wonder I felt what little joy I had slowly fade away only to be replaced with feelings of emptiness, anger, and guilt.

The emptiness and anger aren’t new to me.  I think I’ve learned to “reason” successfully with these feelings whenever they drop by for a visit.  While the atrocities we inflict upon one another sometimes leave me feeling hopeless, I alone cannot stop the world’s violence.  I can’t stop people from hurting each other.  The way in which conservatives are often berated in the news leaves me feeling angry, however, devoting all that negative emotion to those who assume we are all unintelligent, war-mongering, bigoted homophobes is unproductive and hurts no one but myself.  Mankind has committed violent acts and spewed venom at one another long before I was here and it will continue to do so long after I’m gone.  But dealing with the guilt is a bit more challenging, and it has recently become a more present and lingering “guest” especially after I have taken a dip in the cesspool we call news.

I feel guilty because I spend so much time complaining about life in general forgetting that things could be so much worse. Guilty because I am tucked up in bed, safe and warm, protected from the elements, when others around the world are not.  Guilty because I can satisfy my thirst when my throat is parched and my hunger when my stomach is empty. Guilty because I live in the land of plenty although there are still many for whom this is a land of poverty.  And still I complain…my house is a mess…my kitchen needs new cabinets…the restaurant is out of my favorite dish…I have to wait five more months before I can upgrade my cell phone…the computer keeps crashing…I’ve put on five pounds.  How quickly I forget that there are people in the world with REAL problems.

There are the families of those fighting terror in dangerous war zones worrying if their loved ones will ever return home alive; those forced to witness their loved ones being paraded in front of the world by terrorists as they await an inevitably barbaric execution.  Can you imagine what that must be like? Surely it is a unique kind of torture in and of itself knowing your son, daughter, brother, husband, father, sister, mother is about to be murdered for the whole world to see and you are helpless to comfort or protect them in any way.  I think about the hostages themselves as they wait for these cowards to enact what they consider a righteous justice.  These men and women know what’s coming to them – how terrifying that must be and yet still many manage to exhibit a graceful courage in the face of impending death.

That’s not to say we don’t each encounter real problems and tragedies in our everyday lives, of course we do.  People are fighting their own battles to stay alive as they cope with physical and mental illness; they’re experiencing loss and heartache daily and I do not mean to diminish those realities in any way.   Unfortunately, we don’t often hear about the daily struggles of those closer to home unless they are occurring within the confines of our little corner of the world and so, right or wrong, I think it is easier to get more wrapped up in the big stories and tragedies of the world.

I have yet to figure out how to reason with guilt.  Can you reason with guilt? Should you reason with guilt? Thus far, the only thing I can think of is to try to keep things in perspective – take a moment to remember that the world is bigger than my problems.  I need to slow down and be mindful that there are others suffering not only in far off places of the world but also in my country, my state, and my city.  I should be more grateful and thankful for what I have here and now.  I should seek opportunities to help those around me instead of focusing on myself .  And, I should pray.  I should pray a lot.