Confounded By Group Photos

“Time can change me, But I can’t trace time.”

~ David Bowie

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A few months ago I was talking on the phone with a friend who happens to be in her eighties.  She is a delight– mentally with it + honest to a fault.  In other words, exactly who I want to be when I get to be an eightysomething.

In our conversation my friend mentioned that her granddaughter had emailed her some photos of herself with her friends.  The young women had gotten dressed up and gone out to brunch together somewhere pricey.  The photo of was of all of them in front of the restaurant.

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I asked my friend how her granddaughter looked in the photo and my friend said: “Cute, I guess.  All the girls look alike to me, so I can’t tell which one she is.  They all have long, stringy hair and carry huge purses.  I think that my granddaughter is one of them.”

As we talked a bit more about kids.these.days. I chuckled to myself about me humoring a delightful older woman who was clearly confused by the obvious.  I mean, how could she not know which girl was her granddaughter?  Really.

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A younger friend of mine, who is not on Twitter, has a high school daughter, who is on Twitter.  And as you know, I’m on Twitter.  So, every once in a while I check to see what my friend’s daughter is doing on Twitter.

What I have discovered is that this girl is a good kid.  She has pleasant friends, likes ice cream, doesn’t like schoolwork, likes sports, goes on dates.  Nothing scathing at all– unless you consider a few swear words once in a while to be trouble.  Which I don’t.

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One day last week I was glancing at the photos that my friend’s daughter had added to her Twitter feed and I saw a group shot of a bunch of teenage girls.  They were all wearing skinny jeans and white t-shirts and pumps with 4″ heels.  And I thought: “What a cute photo.  I wonder which one is my friend’s daughter?  They all look alike.”  

Then it hit me. *BAM*  I had just said exactly what my older friend said about her granddaughter and her friends.  And I realized that I had morphed into an old woman who couldn’t distinguish one child from another.  

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This means, of course, that now I must admit to my younger friend that I can’t recognize her daughter in the photo.  I can’t help but wonder if my friend will politely listen to me on the phone while chuckling to herself about humoring me, a delightful older woman who is clearly confused by the obvious.  I mean, I would understand where she was coming from… as I was in that same situation only a few short months ago.

Oh yeah.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

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Rambling Thoughts On A Spring Morning

DSCN0085Another wet morning here.  This Spring has been unusually rainy and not as warm as I’d like it to be.  In fact, I have yet to wear capris, let alone shorts.  Sandals, however, I have worn.  They look kind of snazzy with jeans, so there’s that.

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As you can imagine the rainy days have led to green, lush grass.  Our yard looks great.  The neighbors’ yards look great.  The grass-filled concrete divider islands in the grocery parking look great.  The side of the interstate looks great.

The whole world looks great… as long as you like this particular shade of green.  From my point of view this green is getting a little too close to Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald Green.  I don’t like Emerald Green, so you can see how, for me, this Spring is getting a little cloying.

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To set my heart right I’ve taken to checking our pots of pansies more often than need be.  The leaves are green, of course– but overall the pansies are a hodgepodge of purple and maroon and orange and blue.  These colors make me happier/mellower/calmer than all that in-your-face green.  I always feel more comfortable with variety than with sameness;  and I guess, now that I think about it, that principle holds true for me in nature– as well as in decorating and people.

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Well, that’s all I’ve got from here.  Waiting for the sun to shine so that I can get outside to work in the garden.  Wondering about where I should go to buy some new shorts.  Thinking that it’s a very good thing that today is Friday, because I. am. tired.

Have a groovy weekend everyone.  See you next week on the flip side.

Dealing With Cognitive Dissonance, Yet Again

First, I came upon Jessica Hische’s wonderful website, Thousand Under 90.  It asked me: “Are you a creative person that constantly submits to competitions but never gets in?”  Then it provided me with the opportunity to create an award for myself.

Here it is.  Isn’t it cute?

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 11.19.41 AM

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But then I read this insightful article, The Surprising Secret To Selling You, that told me that being awesome may not be as awesome as I think that it is.

“We have a bias — one that operates below our conscious awareness — leading us to prefer the potential for greatness over someone who has already achieved it.”

~ Heidi Grant Halvorson

This left me flummoxed.  Did I not just create an Awesome Award for myself so that I can feel like I am the best?  Was this not the best thing for me to do?  Is gaming the system with my self-created award, perhaps, counterproductive to me winning at the game, whatever it might be?

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I was, as usual, left with that familiar feeling of cognitive dissonance that has underscored most of my life.  You know the one.

“… the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs…. a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, [wherein] something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”

~ Kendra Cherry

And I begin to wonder if the best change that I could make to reduce my cognitive dissonance might be to keep my Awesome Award secret between you and me, my gentle readers– while continuing to sell myself to the world as someone with potential.

I think that might be the best way to proceed.  As if my Awesome Award, like so many awards, doesn’t mean a thing.  😉

2 Movies, 2 Books & 1 Delightful Truth

As part of my attempt to live a more balanced life in 2013, I have given myself the assignment to watch 2 movies and to read 2 books each month.  Here is my April report.

2 Movies

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  – Predictable + colorful.  A group of British retirees decide to move to India, embrace a new lifestyle and live in what claims to be a newly restored Indian hotel.  When they arrive, the hotel restoration is not finished, but the optimistic young man who manages the hotel tries his best to please them.  Some of the retirees adapt to India, some don’t.  The ensemble cast is delightful, the cinematography + costumes are wonderful, but there is a certain old geezer-ness to this movie that is a little monotonous.  Recommended if you like veteran actors and the idea that life is what you make of it.

The Grass Is Greener – Intriguing, albeit dated.  Because of financial problems, a British Earl and his wife [played by Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr, respectively] allow public tours of their mansion.  An American tourist [played by Robert Mitchum] falls for the wife & they have an affair.  Meanwhile, her friend [played by Jean Simmons] playfully tries to seduce the Earl.  On the surface this movie sounds trite, but the ensemble cast + witty writing make this movie entertaining.  Recommended if you enjoy 1960s style, some absurdity and learning about social mores.

2 Books

The Serpent’s Daughter [a Jade Del Cameron mystery] – Charming + clever.  Set in Tangier, Morocco, in 1920, Jade and her mother plan to go on vacation together.  However, Jade’s mother is kidnapped and Jade must find her… in time.  This mystery, by Suzanne Arruda, is campy, travelogue-y and totally fun.  Recommended if you like spunky heroines, fascinating settings and lighthearted mysteries.

A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison – Amazing, but macabre.  In the 1750s during the French and Indian War in what is now western New York state, the Shawnee Indians capture a white girl and her family.  The Shawnee murder her family, but the girl goes on to live with the Seneca Indians.  She marries, has children and adopts the ways of the Indians.  When she is in her 80s she tells her story to a local white man who writes it down– in the flowery vernacular of the time.  Originally published in 1824.  Recommended if you have an interest in Colonial American History and biographies. [Free on Kindle]

1 Delightful Truth

I was surfing the web looking at design blogs, when I came upon this delightful truth by Amanda Hill.  She said: Beautiful things don’t just happen.  If you want something marvelous, you’ve got to make something marvelous.  [Punctuation added.]  

And I thought to myself: that is so true.  What good advice.  I need to take that advice to heart, henceforth.

So I have.

The One With Ally’s Weird Dream

b & w movie still - with sallie
{ Image Source: The Silent Films Still Archive – Up the Road with Sallie (1918)}

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First, I’ll tell you about the dream: 

driving in my white coupe down road in flat farm country where I grew up – get behind slow-moving gray van – pass on the left but van pushes me off the road into corn field – drive safely through field and get back on road in front of van – once in front of van my car turns into my blue bike from when I was a girl – ride bike to lowest level of parking garage at a mall near where I live now – lock bike on bike rack – rearrange all of my stuff into bags so that it is comfortable for me to carry – Abby Sciuto [of NCIS] looks on as I do this – then off we go together to shop upstairs in the mall

Then, I’ll explain the weird part: 

In the dream I lock my bike using my girlhood yellow bike lock.  When I first look at the lock I’m dismayed because I don’t know the combination, but then I think about it– and remember the lock combination.  For real. In my dream. The actual lock combination for a lock that I haven’t used in decades. 

Finally, I’ll hypothesize about what this dream might mean: 

  • I’ve flipped for sure this time.
  • My subconscious is telling me that I’ve unlocked something [important?] from my past.
  • I need to stop watching NCIS before I go to sleep.
  • My subconscious is telling me that I’m all organized now, so it is time for me to move on.
  • On the roadways of life, small & determined  [my coupe] trumps large & in the way [the van].
  • My subconscious is telling me that it’s time for me to start exercising more.
  • I’m way cooler in my dreams than I am in real life.