Hello Summer

::  We had a fun holiday weekend with three days of sunshine in a row.  This is something that hasn’t happened around here in six months.  ‘Twas wonderful.

::  We went to a high school graduation party that was held at a cabin on a family farm.  To get to the party we drove out-of-town into the countryside to a small road lined on both sides with cow pastures.  From there our directions told us to look for the balloons and turn right.  We did as instructed, driving on a rough path down the middle of a cow pasture, over a small hill, and arriving at a lovely party totally hidden from view when on the road.  It was nice to be outside in a relaxed atmosphere– watching kids play games, talking to other guests, drinking beer, having fun.

::  We decided to go to the cemetery to see the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall.  It was interesting and well-planned.  The scale of the wall is smaller than the original, but it still manages to re-create some of the original’s ambiance. If nothing else, this exhibit gives an inkling of how amazing the real wall is– and perhaps encourages those who have never visited Washington, D. C., to do so.

::  While at the cemetery we walked around for a while.  Wandering through the grassy areas we saw all sorts of unique tombstones and family markers.  One said, “integer vitae.”  Neither one of us knew what that meant so when we got home, I researched it.  This is a phrase from a stanza from an ode written by Horace.  “Integer vitae” is telling you to live a life of integrity so that you’ll be safe no matter where you go.  Good idea, huh?

::  To decorate for Memorial Day I put red-white-blue stars-&-stripey pinwheels in the flower pots by our front door.  And then I put two smallish flags in a flower-pot along the front walk.  EZPZ, but stylish and inviting.  However, except for one other family on our street who put out one big flag, no one else decorated for the holiday.  Don’t know what to make of that.  This neighborhood usually goes overboard for any and all holidays.

::  We finally had a cookout– our first of the season.  Burgers and veggies cooked on the grill.  Fresh berries on ice cream for dessert.  Served with delightfully cold white wine spritzers.  Simple and delicious.  Just the way summer is meant to be.

Talking Dirt

We live on a wooded ravine lot that slopes down to a creek.  And we have a swale on our property.

While sitting on our deck or in our screened-in porch we look directly into the woods behind us.  It is beautiful to see the trees year round.  It is less beautiful to look down into the ravine below and see the soil erosion that is causing our backyard to disappear.

So today I meet with a land planner to discuss his idea about what we’re going to do about our back yard… that is gradually slipping away into the creek… leaving the pillars that support our deck perilously close to the edge of the swale… that allows rainwater to naturally flow into the creek.

This is going to be an expensive mess to fix.  I just know it.

In Which We Learn A Bit More About The Beans

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I took the Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test.  It was straightforward.  No right or wrong answers.  A fun kind of test.

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It said that I am 52% Right Brain and 48% Left Brain.  My most dominant Right Brain characteristics are Fantasy-oriented & Intuitive.  My most dominant Left Brain characteristics are Verbal & Linear.

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Does this mean that I’m well-balanced?  Or does this mean that I’m equally mediocre on each side of my brain– not being able to excel in one direction or the other?

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Being more Right Brain than Left Brain means that I am a creative thinker who visualizes the “whole” picture first, uses what appears to be illogical and meandering thought processes, yet finds an innovative solution to the problems at hand.

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Yep, that’s me.

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Zen-Den took the test.  He is 56% Left Brain and 44% Right Brain.  His most dominant Left Brain characteristic is Verbal– just like me.  His second most dominant Right Brain characteristic is Fantasy-oriented– just like me.

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 I’m guessing that it is the overlap of the same strong dominant characteristics that makes us so compatible.  ‘Cause on the surface we are very different.

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He is described as a critical thinker who uses logic to collect information, sees only parts of the “whole” picture, which he puts together in a step-by-step systematic manner to arrive at the conclusion.

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Yep, that’s the hubster.

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The results of this test were surprisingly accurate.  It confirmed what we knew about ourselves and helped us understand what we didn’t realize about ourselves.  Very interesting.

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If you get a chance to take the test (allow 10 minutes), let me know what you think about your results.  Do they describe you, or not?

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[Please note: the italicized portions of this post represent my summary of the test’s conclusions using mostly their words.  I’m too lazy to punctuate properly today.]

And Then Good Things Began To Happen

I’ve said more on a personal level this week than I usually do in this blog [or anywhere else for that matter].  I’ve been detailed and intense, not my usual light-hearted self.  Talk about going outside your comfort zone.

But you know what?  I’m really glad that I did.

Within 48 hours of publishing– what I will always think of as– my adios posts, I received five messages from friends and family who I haven’t heard from in months, or even years.

Not one of them had read what I said in the blog, but all had suddenly thought of me– not to get something from me or to put me down— but to say “hi!”

On top of that, five people who I don’t know but seem rather pleasant,  just kind of appeared in my corner of the blog-o-sphere/twitterverse to say “hi!”

So here’s what I’ve learned this week: for me it is difficult to put personal relationship stuff out there in the world, but it’s worth the risk.  Life balances.  Out with the negative and insincere.  In with the positive and authentic.

Wonder why it took me so long to figure this out?

Just grateful that I did.

Letting Go, Moving On

Our weather around here has been “off” for almost 10 months now.  First, last summer we had the worst drought ever on record– which lead to an ugly autumn.  Then we had an early winter followed by the wettest spring on record.  I don’t think that I’m overstating it when I say that this weird weather is making people crazy.  They aren’t behaving nicely at all.

And I certainly have felt the brunt of this unhappiness.

I work from home so I don’t have to engage with people on a daily basis if I don’t want to.  I’m naturally observant and I’m very empathetic [as are many introverts, btw].  All of this combined together means that when I do go into the world, I’m more highly attuned to what is going on.  And the negative energy hits me harder than most other people who I know.

In fact, yesterday when I shared the details of some friends’ rude behavior, I was just giving you, my gentle readers, a brief glimpse into what has been going on behind the scenes in my life.  Everywhere I turn among those who one year ago I would have described as friends, I find strangeness and hostility.  Throughout this year I’ve been marginalized, used, put down, and most recently, completely ignored.  Apparently I’m now invisible, too.

I tell Zen-Den about my ridiculous encounters with friends, acquaintances, humanity.  He listens.  And then he tells me that I’m too nice to too many people who don’t care one iota about me.  And that it’s time for me to cut bait.

He’s right, of course.

Sad as it is for me to say, many (most?) of my current friendships have run their courses.  I’ve always been more of a free spirit than anyone else I know.  But there’s more to this disconnection than that.  Being on my own as much as I have been these last few years, I’ve evolved into a more relaxed, open-minded person than when I first met so many of these people.  I’m more liberal now.  I’m more focused on healthy living.  I’m more creative.  And I’m much more concerned with living in the moment– not agonizing over the future– being able to let go of the past.

So that is exactly what I am doing here in this blog post.  I’m making the choice to be good to myself now and in the future.  I’m saying good-bye to the most negative, small-minded group of people I’ve ever known.  And I’m telling the world in no uncertain terms: I deserve better.

Now, I shall go out and make it so.  Care to join me?

How To Make Me Snarl

[First, here’s “why” I’m talking about this.]

I introduce this topic today because:

  1. It makes me irritable and therefore is rant-worthy;
  2. No one I know irl can figure out what to do about the sort of rudeness I will describe below;  and
  3. I’m hearing about more and more adults who are changing their first names.  So even if you haven’t experienced firsthand what I’m talking about here, I’m betting that sometime soon you will.

[This is not the snarl part.]

A few of my friends have changed their first names.  Some have adopted a different version of their childhood name e.g. Kathy became Katie.  Others have tweaked their childhood name e.g. Sandy became Sondy.  While others have changed their names completely e.g. Joyce became Suzy.

[Still not the snarl part.]

I’m always happy to use whatever name a friend wants me to use.  I figure that he or she has good reasons for changing his or her name, and I can’t imagine being so rude to someone as to not respect what he or she wants to be called.

[This is the beginning of the snarl part.]

But I’ve noticed that not everyone I know is as gracious about name changes as I am.  In fact, on a few occasions I’ve been shocked when someone I know insists that he or she doesn’t have to adopt a friend’ s new name because he or she knew this person before the name change.  Therefore, he or she is exempt from cooperating.

I’ve come to think of these uncooperative sorts of people as the louts.

[Full snarl here.]

Obviously, this behavior is insulting to the name changer, but it is also awkward for those of us who know both the name changer and the uncooperative lout.  While I understand that there is a power play going on here, I can’t figure out what the end game is.  Is the lout trying to undermine the name changer?  Or is the lout trying to punish those of us who cooperative with the name changer?  Or is the lout so obtuse that he or she really doesn’t understand how irritating his or her behavior truly is?

[And finally, I conclude.]

I realize that lack of courtesy is an epidemic in our world.  And I also realize that I cannot change people (nor do I want to).  But this situation has made me more aware of how fragile personal relationships are.  And how nonchalantly some people I know will throw them away when asked to bend just a little bit.

Can you blame me when I say that I have an overwhelming urge to snarl?

Dining With The Beans

I stopped at the grocery late yesterday afternoon to pick up a fast dinner for Zen-Den and me.  I knew that we had the makings for a tossed salad at home, as well as some fresh blackberries, so I only had four items in my basket.

  • a rotisserie chicken, bbq
  • a loaf of bread, California sourdough
  • a bottle of white wine, Argentinian Torrontes
  • a package of Klondike bars, original

It wasn’t busy in the store so I went through the regular checkout line.  The guy that was running the cash register was indifferent to what he was ringing up, but the girl who was bagging my groceries was paying close attention to what I was buying.  And even went so far as to offer her opinion:  “Wow!  This is– like– the best.  dinner.  ever.”

And you know what?  She was right.

Our dinner.  Ally selected.  Bagger approved.  😉