Here I am at my coffee shop, sipping on a non-fat latte with an extra shot, or moosed, as our local chain likes to call it.
The damn dog woke me up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning. Lucky for him, he raced out to relieve both his bowel and bladder. It’s the mornings he goes out to bark at the birds that I could just as easily cut him loose. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can effortlessly go back to sleep, and so like I said . . . here I am.
There was a time when I used this blog as therapy. I must have worked through several of my issues, because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to. This morning brought back memories of rising early,sneaking off for coffee and writing before Bubba wakes. And so it seemed only natural I should log in and click “Add Post” while the sun slides up in the sky.
A friend sent a note a week ago. Not electronically. She made it with real paper, with a hand-drawn fish on the front. She wrote a few words, not many. “How’s it going?” “What’s new?” but the card said so much more. It made me think about her. She lives on the coast, and fish are ever-present on her mind. Big fish. Like whales. Drawing a fish on a real paper card is so like something she would randomly do, eagerly dropping the envelope into a mailbox on the way to the rocky shore to look for shells, or jellyfish, or whatever the sea rolls in.
I can’t say for sure, but I imagine her finding the little oval cards with their matching envelopes at a humble second-hand shop or old-fashioned drug store. The price was right, and she knew she’d find some way to make someone’s day brighter; the thought of their smile involuntarily igniting one of her own. She has this crooked little grin when there’s something she’s thinking but not saying.
Perhaps she stared out over the waves when she decided what to do with the notecards, or maybe she was pulling weeds in the garden. But I know she spent some time contemplating. I know she thought about each person who would be on the other end while she drew. She undoubtedly laughed at her illustration of a fish swimming through the weeds. And she sent it anyway. Because that’s who she is.
And in this age of email and text messages, what kind of person does this random act of drawing a fish on a plain pink card and sending it in a matching envelope through the mail? It reminded me of how much I miss her unapologetically real and honest soul. If we asked her, she’d laugh and say she is quite unremarkable. And perhaps she’s right. Maybe we want to believe it takes a certain someone to make time for this simple deed. Maybe we’re afraid of learning that if we slow down for just a minute, we, too, hold the potential for honesty, love, following our dreams, and sending real paper notes through the mail.
This little card reminded me just a bit of who I want to be. When was the last time an email did that?
Peace . . .
Check out my friend’s Instagram Account to know her better:
It is hard for most of us to imagine a world without social media. We tweet, post, link, like and when we’re through, we retweet, repost, and share again.
What is the first site you think of when you think of social media? Chances are, you think of Facebook. There’s a good reason for that. Everything we do, from stopping for coffee on the way to work, to picking up take-out on the way home, is linked to Facebook.
The movies I watch, the theaters I watch them in, the music I listen to, and the stores I frequent all have pages on Facebook. There was a time when buying merchandise was thanks enough, but now they want me to “like” them, too. It was fun for a while. One of my favorite pizza joints posts coupons on Facebook. I used it a couple of times. Now it just tells me which nights to avoid so I don’t hit the FB coupon lines.
My soda has a Facebook page, my permanent markers have a Facebook page, and yes, I have a Facebook page. I have 227 Facebook friends. The last time I saw that many people all at the same time was probably at my wedding. And I didn’t really know half of them, either. As friend lists go, mine is pretty short, and I could probably cull it even further.
Typically, 70% of the posts are not original, but simply reposts of what someone else posted. Maybe this is true in real life, too. I mean, maybe I’m coming down too hard on my FB friends. How much of what we say in person is original, either? Personally, I just don’t have time to sit around reading all the stuff that other people post so that I can repost it on my timeline. To be fair, I don’t spend a lot of time on FB at all, and it’s not a place I like to share my deepest thoughts, my every move, or my drama.
Yes! I have drama in my life. Who doesn’t? I make a choice to keep my life private — both in Facebook and reality. Posting my drama just leaves me open for pity or those who want to one-up me, neither of which is better than the other. Keeping my drama on the down-low allows me to seek guidance from those I select, while putting up a classy don’t-you-envy-my-life front for the rest of the world.
If I’m on Facebook, I am most commonly accessing it from my phone. I could put the phone down, but what fun is that? Me and my Smartphone rule the world, and FB just wants in on it.
Notification: You have an 1 event pending!
Notification: Friends have sent you 3 game invitations!
Notification: You have 1 friend request!
This event invitation is one I’m too honest to accept, and too compassionate to decline. It’s an invitation to send a Christmas card to a little kid with Cerebral Palsy. I agree with the concept, but here’s the thing . . . The invite says “our address is . .” so whoever created this lives with the kid and is looking forward to all the warm fuzzies of watching the child be buried in his own Christmas mail. There’s also the part about sending mail to a child I don’t know. How would I sign it? Love? Sincerely? Yours Truly? I’ll probably give money to my local food shelf and click “tentative” on the invite just to make it go away, and hope the FB Friend who invited me will forget they did.
The game invites I will delete, only to have them pop up again tomorrow. There are three games I play. One is a quick timed word game, another is a zone-out bedtime number game. The last is a virtual reality that feels more like a grown-up dollhouse. I talk about them like they’re real, and mourn them briefly when they die. It freaks Bubba out and that’s enough for me. None of these games require Facebook, and I stopped posting my high scores there as soon as I figured out how to adjust the setting.
The friend request will be accepted, providing her name isn’t Brandi and wearing a bikini. That happens. It’s not that I’m opposed to a girl wearing a bikini, it’s that she spells her name with an “i” and wants me to spend money getting to know her.
A bit of advice for those losing passwords. Do not click the option that says, “We don’t recognize your username or password. Would you like to sign in using Facebook?” Clicking OKAY will not direct you to your original account. It will set up a whole new account. You will now have two accounts. One with none of your history, and the other with no way to get into it.
Why would Facebook and your favorite app want you to sign in through FB? Because they share your information like two biddies down the street over a cup of cheap coffee.
“She likes browsing sexy lingerie!”
“Are you serious? Wait until I tell the other sites about that!”
“Oh my! Do let me know which sites are interested!”
“You’ll be the first to know! Have some more coffee . . . sugar?”
” . . . and cream, if you have it.”
I know it’s all in the name of suggestive marketing. The grocery store does the same thing when they place ping pong balls next to the 3.2 beer. But Cub Foods doesn’t send someone around to watch what labels I’m reading for the sole purpose of suggesting I buy something else. That would be nosey and I’d stop shopping there.
So why do I continue to shop at Facebook? I treat it like a party hosted by a friend of a friend of a friend. I don’t really know the host, but I respect the space and everyone there. It’s a good place to reconnect with lost loved ones, and see how their kids have grown. There are a lot of different conversations going on, so if I don’t like one I can join another. I try to keep it generic, because there are a lot of people attending from all walks of life. It may not be the best party going on, but you’re bound to see someone that makes you smile.
Like any party, it’s better after you’ve had a few. So if you see me there, I’m likely to have a drink in my hand. I won’t be driving, but if you’re a good friend and I’ve had too many, please tell me to put the phone down . . .
She was my best friend from high school, who I met on our first day of Junior High School Health Class. That was the year I made a working model of lungs that looked like a triple-D set of falsies when I blew in a straw. We sat at black lab tables, two per work station. I can remember the penis the teacher drew on the board, with the dotted line erection that made us all giggle.
After graduation, we were still friends. I attended my first real concert with her. The year was 1981. The venue was the Met Center, St. Paul, Minnesota. Styx put on a great show.
We stayed close pals for a few years after graduation. We were in each others’ weddings. But as children and careers distracted us, the friendship waned. We catch up now and the at reunions. The occasional email is sent. Yet get us together, and within minutes we are the same girls who giggled at science projects and chalkboard genitals.
A Game of Tag ~ I’ve Been Tagged, Now I’m Tagging You. (And No Touch Backs … HA!)
IrishKatie snagged me on the back of the neck with a tranquilizer dart before I got a chance to run. I hate playing these games, but I like reading other people’s answers, so I guess it’s only fair I play along . . .
This is how it works – at least how its been passed down to me:
Post the rules. (Yes, there’s rules.)
Post a photo of yourself. (If you’re comfortable.)
Post eleven random facts about you. (Why eleven? . . . hmmmm . . .)
Questions were created for you by the person who tagged you. Answer the questions.
Tag several other people.
Create eleven new questions for those that you have tagged.
Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.
Item #2: Here’s my picture.
JUST KIDDING! This is me . .
Item #3: Eleven random facts about myself
3.1 I have a strange fascination with Sumac.
3.2 I sometimes order from Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com just so I can get a package at my door. I love having packages at my door!
3.3 I change my own oil.
3.4 I sometimes forget what the point of the conversation is . . . when I’m talking to myself.
3.5 I almost never lose anything permanently.
3.6 When I get angry, I like to go to the gym and work on the elliptical machine with head-banging metal music blaring in my ears and my eyes shut.
3.7 I love gadgets, and I’m afraid if I won the lottery I would have all the newest.
3.8 I’m a merciless flirt.
3.9 I am often described as ‘entertaining.’ Never sure how to take that…
3.10 I really hate playing most games. Volleyball is ok.
3.11 I have an egress window that opens onto my driveway. So far 2 people have fallen in since I’ve lived here. But I am told a pickup once had to be towed out after driving into it.
Item #4: Questions I am answering that were posed to me.
4.1 How do you think you and I met? We met in Blogsville over a steaming cup of coffee, while commenting on one of our mutual Blogfriends.
4.2 How long do you think you will be blogging here? I will be doing it as long as it continues to be a successful therapy — so hopefully until I die, because it’s hard work finding a new therapy that works.
4.3 Whether you like math or not, what do you think is one cool thing about math? Formulas. A + B = C. I wish that were always true in real life.
4.4 Whether you believe we are alone in the universe or not, does believing what you do comfort you? To answer that, one must first decide what one believes before one can decide if that is a comfort or not. I am really undecided, but am comfortable in my indecision.
4.5 What is an embarrassing thing that happened to you since the beginning of 2013? I bought a fitbit last year (see 3.7). I have to walk a long way to the bathroom at work, but found I could get in more steps and floors if I use the upstairs one. I still wanted more steps so while I was unzipping, I was taking a step to the left, and a step to the right like a dance — step-step, step-step. You guessed it. I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one in a stall. I stayed in there until they left.
4.6 What is something you have done since the beginning of 2013 that you are proud of? I made an earring rack in my bedroom.
4.7 What did you dream about last night? I have some really cool dreams, so I wish I could tell you a colorful story, but I don’t remember any from last night. All I remember is waking up with a stomach ache at one point.
4.8 We’ve all seen the, ‘What 5 people would you want at a dinner party?’ question. Say you got all 5 there, what would you serve for dinner? I think it was Julia Childs that said you can’t go wrong with a roast chicken. Or was that Ann Landers? Anyway, I’ve always remembered that, so most likely I would roast a chicken or two.
4.9 Can you give the next in the sequence? OTTFFS No. Please refer to 3.10 above. And also please note that, as far as I’m concerned, brainteasers are games.
4.10 All of you that I have tagged loved to write. What kind of writing do you like to do? I like to explore the random thoughts that come to me during my day. It quiets the voices.
4.11 What makes you happy when you are feeling down? Sitting in a coffee shop with a hot cup of something and my laptop. It doesn’t matter if I’m shopping, paying bills, reading or writing . . . just that I am out in public but by myself.
Item #5: Tag several others.
Paraphrasing IrishKatie, who hemmed and hawed about who to tag, and in the end said, “Feck it,” like it or not, play along or not, I’m tagging these people. If I’ve tagged you, it’s because I think you would be hilarious to play tag with. No pressure. Even though I hate games.
As one of the most referenced stories of all time, it is not uncommon to discover you are in the Land of Oz. You may long to go “over the rainbow,” find that you are “not in Kansas anymore,” direct someone to “follow the yellow brick road,” take a day trip with “the munchkins,” or be watching out for “Lions and Tigers and Bears! — Oh MY!”
Never having done so, I decided to read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I had been told it is mildly different from the film(s), and that is true. Somewhere in the middle, I started to find symbolism relevant to certain philosophies. I did a search, and it turns out there are as many different parallels for the Wizard of Oz as there are readers. This is mine.
The Yellow Brick Road: This is my journey through mid-life. I’ve come from the gray prairie of Kansas, where nothing changes, day in or day out. I was tossed from a sudden storm into a land where I recognize nothing, including the image in the mirror. Dorothy “knew very well she was only an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone into a strange land.”
Dorothy: I play the lead role in my own analogy. Dorothy is looking for a home; comfort, shelter, rest, family, refuge. She learns early in the story that she has taken for granted the comfort of tedium. Dorothy explains to the Scarecrow, “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”
Toto: “It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings.” Toto is my ego; my spirit and psyche. He is my intuition that acts without thinking. He may bark and even bite, but we are inseparable. “Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him.” At one point Dorothy and her companions find they are lost. “Toto found that for the first time in his life he was too tired to chase a butterfly that flew past his head. So he put out his tongue and panted and looked at Dorothy as if to ask what they should do next.”
Scarecrow: My three chums are my alter egos. Each searching for something different. My scarecrow searches for a brain; wisdom.
Tin Woodman: The second companion is found stiff from rust. He searches for a heart; passion, tenderness, empathy, humanity.
Cowardly Lion: Lastly, the Lion joins the other three, seeking courage. The Scarecrow asks the Lion, “Have you brains?” The Lion answers “I suppose so. I’ve never looked to see.”
The Tin Woodman challenges the Scarecrow on his longing for a brain. “But once I had brains and a heart also; so, having tried both, I should much rather have a heart.” After some time, the two fellows get into it.
“All the same,” said the Scarecrow, “I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.”
“I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Woodman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”
As readers, we know that courage, brains, and heart are most effective when used together, so the three are devoted friends.
Obstacles: Every excursion has its obstacles. Dorothy’s is wrought with dark enchanted forests, and deadly fields of poppies. Doubts and anxiety loom about like a Wicked Witch, cackling at me and humiliating me. Using the brains, heart and courage I didn’t know I had, I ease myself through. Friends support me like Glinda the Good Witch, working magic to bolster my confidence and making me feel safe.
The Emerald City: I’ve already been to the Emerald City and it’s not all it was cracked up to be. It is not really made of Emerald. I have seen the man behind the curtain. I now know the wisdom, passion, and courage that I need to find peace already exist inside of me, or at least as much as they ever will. However, this is not the end of my journey. To find my way home, it seems I still need to kill the wicked doubt and anxiety that have tormented me all along the way.
Am I to find that once I accomplish this seemingly impossible act, it will be as simple as clicking my heels together? Perhaps . . . Perhaps.