Thinking About Opinions While In The Presence Of Sharp Pointy Things

{ Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw via Unsplash }

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Just because something happens, and I am aware of it, doesn’t mean that I have anything to say about it.  Or that I will change my behavior because of it.

I got thinking about this idea the other day when I went to the doctor’s office.  After a brief wait in the waiting room a nurse called me back to the examining rooms.  As we walked along she asked me what I’d done over the weekend.

Basic chit-chat as I got settled into the room, ‘ya know?

Or so I thought.

I told her that we’d gone to a college hockey game.  I was starting to elaborate when she interrupted me with a tirade against the university whose team we’d seen play.

# # #

Her, shocked: DIDN’T YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE DRUGS ON THAT CAMPUS?

Me, mild-mannered: Uh, no… well, yes… it’s a college campus…

Her, outraged: DIDN’T YOU SEE ON THE NEWS THAT THERE WERE RAPES ON THAT CAMPUS?

Me, contrite: Uh, yes I did… not good…

Her, empowered: DIDN’T YOU KNOW THAT MY SON WOULD NOT GO THERE BECAUSE IT WAS A PARTY SCHOOL AND HE DIDN’T FEEL LIKE HE’D BE SAFE THERE?

Me, polite: Uh, no… didn’t know your son considered it, but if he didn’t feel like he’d be safe there then I’m glad he didn’t go there…

Her, demanding: WHY WOULD YOU GO TO A GAME THERE?

Me, quietly: Because it was for work… and it was free… and we had a fun time…

# # #

Now clearly I hit a nerve with this woman.  And as you, my gentle readers, can tell, I answered her questions as accurately as I could, considering that she had at her disposal sharp pointy and pokey things that she could use, while upset, to inadvertently hurt me.

I’m not a fool.

But this conversation, such as it was, did give me pause.  It got me thinking about how I now live in a society where everyone seems to have strong opinions about many things, and you never know what topics are going to set somebody off.  

[See conversation above.]

I also realized that, ironically, I have to admit that I have no opinion about all the people with all the opinions.  Say what you will, think what you want.  Live and let live, you know?

Just don’t hurt me in the process.  That’s all I ask.

What Was This Week All About? Anxiety, Awareness, Acrimony, And Adjustments

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This has been a ridiculous week.  MY MIND AND SPIRIT ARE WHACKED, ON EDGE.  In fact, so much so that I’m going to write a listicle instead of a proper post To Remember It all. 

• • •

In no particular order…

√  ANXIETY:  Our normal temperature for this time of year would be 39ºF.  However, on Monday morning it was 7ºF here with a wind chill close to 0ºF, a light dusting of snow everywhere.  By Thursday morning, after 65 mph winds on Wednesday night that took down many tree limbs, our temp was 65ºF.  Right now on Saturday morning it’s 35ºF outside with gray skies.

These extreme temperature fluctuations make me nervous– and put a wrinkle [pun intended] in my early morning “what to wear?” decision-making process. 

√  AWARENESS:  I’ve always said that I believe that education is everything.  I was naively referring to learning about language and history and math and science and critical thinking and how to get along with people.  I was not thinking about learning new terms for sexual deviancy, but thanks to our PEOTUS I now know more about said topic.  Unless you’ve been visiting Mars this week you do too, right?  

Perhaps we should change the aforementioned acronym to mean Pervert Elect Of The United States.    

√  ACRIMONY:  I’m disappointed to know that one member of the board at LL Bean, a woman who is a descendent of the founder, has used her vast wealth to fund The Donald’s campaign.  I agree in part with the current LL Bean Executive Chairman’s FB message [instead of a proper press release?] reminding us that this woman is free to do whatever she chooses with her money, but I disagree with him about how her behavior does not reflect upon the company.  

A company’s board of directors, chosen for their acumen, is the brains behind a company, and as such whatever a director values will influence [obviously] his or her input into how the company operates.  Thus any connection to anything or anyone dodgy [Hello Donald] casts doubt on the way the whole company is run. 

Not saying I won’t shop there in the future, but it’ll no longer be the first place I go to when I need clothes, bedding, sporting equipment, outdoor furniture.   

√  ADJUSTMENTS:  My iPad, which by techie standards would be a great-great-grandma, is doing wonky things.  It has taken to tweeting not what I write, but a link to the last article that I read.  Fortunately I’m not ashamed of anything that research and read, so that aspect of this problem isn’t what worries me.  No, it’s the fact that great-great-grandma seems to be on a tweeting bender.  The poor dear just can’t help herself.  Nor can I.

So I deleted my Twitter app from my iPad and this week have lived a life in which I only see Twitter when I’m using my desktop computer, which means not so often.  

• • •

Reflections On That Which Baffles Some Ohioans

save-the-matchesAll I can think to say is one of my favorite sayings: SPIT FIRE AND SAVE THE MATCHES.

This is an exclamation of surprise that means: Well, I’ll be darned! What do you know? Huh.

I’ve also heard this saying in a slightly more vulgar form wherein the “p” in spit is changed to an “h” thereby creating a different word that imparts a similar meaning.  This ruder saying then sometimes becomes a phrase in a NSFW longer saying.

But this is a polite blog so we’re going with the sweet shorter version of the saying.  Plus I like mine better.  It’s cuter, rather dragonesque in its imagery.

• • •

I only share this saying with you, my gentle readers, because it has come to my attention that some of my fellow Ohioans have asked one particular question of ye olde Google.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-52-35-pm It is a question that I find to be an odd one, but then my fellow Ohioans often baffle me.

I’ve lived in this state most of my life, been educated here, but cannot explain how some of us are, shall we say, enlightened, while others are in the dark.

Dim.  Lacking any spark whatsoever.

• • •

This, I believe, explains how it is that the most popular question on Google that comes from the Buckeye state is: HOW TO MAKE FIRE?

I kid you not, as the following image shows.

It’s a question that suggests overall we Ohioans aren’t the brightest bunch of people, looking as we are for the answer to a question that researchers suggest our ancestors in the second part of the Middle Pleistocene knew the answer to.

But in Ohio today, not so much.  😉

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{ Find out more about your state’s questions HERE. }

A Study In Arrogance: When Coleus Becomes Political

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Trying to rid myself of the RNC’s frenetic vibes this week, I turned my attention to doing something productive.

I researched COLEUS.

I wanted to find out the names of the three varieties that are growing profusely in pots on our deck.

At the beginning of the summer I planted six different types of coleus in pots, but three died within weeks of planting.  So I thought that next year I’d plant more of the ones that grew, if I could figure out/remember the name of each type.

But, of course, in the process of my research I found more information about coleus than I’d anticipated.  Coleus has a long history.

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For instance, did you know:

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DSCN7638But my research, inspired by a desire to rise above politics, ended when I discovered the most ridiculously depressing fact about coleus.  You see, in the language of flowers coleus means: “How dare you address me that way?!”

That is, the plant means ARROGANCE.

And it was upon learning this that I found myself circling back to my thoughts about the Tangerine Tornado + the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.  I couldn’t believe that I was researching a plant whose meaning embodied all that The Donald represents, when my goal was to avoid thinking or hearing on the news about his nonsense.

DSCN7639Yet here I was doing something good, trying to make the world a better place through learning, only to find myself tripped up by arrogance.

Now how defeating, and oddly metaphorical, is that?

Antiques + Ghosts: There’s Something Off-Key Here

A real-life honest-to-goodness made-me-smile conversation…

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{ source }

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“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

I met a friend for drinks and dinner.  She got talking about her part-time business, which is selling antiques.

She scouts around local Goodwills and garage sales, then takes her finds, tidies them up a bit, and puts them in a rented booth in an antique mall.  She’s done this for years, turning a modest profit on her efforts.

My friend told me that a ghost is now haunting her booth.  This ghost, who isn’t pleased with the way my friend is merchandising her hats and jewelry, moves items around within the booth.

And the ghost has gone so far as to break an item.  Bad ghost!

Come to find out this problem is part of dealing in antiques.  [Read more here.]  According to my friend you learn to accept the fact that as long as you have an item a ghost has attached itself to, you’re going to have difficulties.

Once the item is gone, either through a sale or by intentional destruction, the ghost leaves you alone.

The trick, of course, is figuring out which item is the one that has brought the ghost to your booth.

So far my friend has not been able to do this on her own, so she’s enlisted the help of other antique booth renters, asking them to keep an eye on her things, in case they see a ghost lurking about.

As one is wont to do, apparently, in antique malls.

Who knew?

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An entertaining ditty for your listening pleasure!

Of Plans & Parsley Thwarted

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”

~ E. B. White

• • •

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Two parsley worms munching on my parsley.

Zen-Den and I took last week off to go on a staycation.

My plans for our staycation, which we scheduled last January, revolved around the idea that together we’d be able to do a long list of outside chores.  But the weather turned hot & muggy with rain so we weren’t able to do much outside.

Like I’d planned. Carefully.

At first the weather bummed me out, but after a rather stern Come-to-Jesus meeting with myself I managed to convince me that all was not lost.  That I’d adapt to this unfortunate turn in staycation weather with a revised plan and a hopeful heart.

Dammit.

• • •

So what did we do on our staycation?

Well, I’m glad you asked, my gentle readers.  We did boring things, mostly inside the house, that had needed to be done for a long time.  To wit:

  • we cleaned out more of the basement, taking 2 carloads of stuff to Goodwill;
  • we sorted through clothes closets and our garage, tossing out all sorts of junk;
  • we shredded documents from as far back as 1998;
  • we cleaned out both the refrigerator + freezer, going so far as to replace the water filter in the frig;
  • we installed the last 3 new outdoor lights, a project we began last fall, taking the old still useable lights to Habitat For Humanity;  and
  • we tried 2 new dessert recipes, Mexican Brownies & Apricot Clafouti.

We were productive and made yummy things to eat.

• • •

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One particularly hungry parsley worm followed the parsley stem to the end.

But much more was going on here than de-cluttering and dessert.

While we were working to make things less cluttered inside the house, two parsley worms set up residence in my herb pot, and decided to devour as much parsley as possible.

I’d be upset about this except that in light of all the current chaos and discord going on in the United States, their destruction seemed insignificant.

Charming, even.

Plus I know that if they eat enough now, they’ll be able to turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies later in the summer.  And that kind of small hope, of transformation and growth, of plans succeeding, makes me think that tomorrow will be a better day.

For them.

For us.

For everyone.

• • •

Channeling Miss Marple As I Watch The Neighbor’s House Not Sell

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{ image source }

Over the weekend I got nosy.

I morphed from my free-spirited pleasantly indifferent self into an observant Miss Marple, watching our neighbors try to make their home look SNAZZY for an open house.

They put their house on the market a few months ago, but are only now beginning to realize that their house lacks what today’s buyers expect.  Other houses on the street have sold in days or weeks, while their house sits unwanted.

# # #

I like our neighbors.

However they’ve done NO EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS in the 5, maybe 6, years they’ve lived here.

In and of itself I could care less what my neighbors do as long as they’re tidy + quiet + say “hi” once in a while, but on a street where almost everyone has…

  • replaced the original builder-grade drafty front doors with something bright & shiny and …
  • upgraded the 15-year-old original builder-grade landscaping with something modern & to scale and …
  • substituted the original cedar-colored deck with something less state park-ish…

… well, on a street like this one our neighbor’s house is UNDERWHELMING because it lacks curb appeal.

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I’m not alone in thinking this.

As it so happened on Sunday between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. I found myself outside crawling around in our front yard planting beds DOING IMPORTANT GARDENING THINGS while the open house went on next door.

I inadvertently overheard the open house visitor comments as they left.

“Nice place, but kind of blah on the outside,” said one woman talking to her realtor as they left.

“Oh, let’s not even bother to go in,” said a wife to her husband after they walked up to the front door, looked around, and then decided against going inside.

“Too much work out here,” said a woman to her friend after they’d looked at the inside of the house and were heading back to their car to leave.

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Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.53.32 AMI’m sad about all of this.

Apparently our neighbors do not understand that you can’t live on a street with building lots still available and then rest on your laurels.

Your property has to attempt to keep up with the new houses being built, because potential buyers see those new properties, and suddenly your house looks WORNOUT AND TIRED.

Which means that it doesn’t sell anywhere near your asking price and that doesn’t help anyone on the street.

Now does it?