What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

In Which Breakfast Disappoints Me & I Am Not Happy

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“A helpful Tribe Called Quest flow chart” via @MarionDowling

THE FIRST THING you need to know is that I dislike eating the end of anything.  Heel of the loaf of bread? Yuck.  Last of the peanut butter in the jar? No thanks.  Final serving of the mac and cheese in the casserole? Ugh.

[Character failing or intriguing personality quirk? You, my gentle readers, are free to decide which it is.]

So this morning, half-awake, as I prepared my breakfast, I went outside my comfort zone when I decided to voluntarily eat the end of the Orange Marmalade.  I like Orange Marmalade, and in the winter when it’s cold and dreary outside Orange Marmalade cheers my soul, which I believe is an admirable thing for a condiment to do.

[It makes me think of England where I went to college for a term.  In the spring, when it was pretty and green outside.  The opposite weather of this morning.]

# # #

SITTING DOWN TO breakfast at the kitchen counter, with my mug of coffee and my tasty toast smeared with Orange Marmalade, I bit into what I thought would be the perfect midwinter anti-gloom breakfast.

[Oh, but was I disappointed.]

It seems that in our refrigerator we also had a jar of almost used up Apricot Jam, which just happened to be sitting beside the aforementioned Orange Marmalade.  And as fate would have it, glancing casually at the orange color, I picked up the Apricot Jam, plopped the end of it onto my toast, and then took a big bite of the wrong thing.

[BLEECH! A thousand times bleech!]

And that’s how my morning started.  Reminding me that my comfort zones are there for good reasons.  To keep my safe, healthy– and HAPPY.  Which I am not, right now.

Aging Gracefully: A Query, A Quandary, A Questionable Answer

“Explain the phenomenon of aging gracefully.”

  • You just never know, do you?

Looking at recent search queries that brought readers to this blog, the one written above caught my eye.  It amazed me.

Usually people find The Spectacled Bean when they’re looking for answers to garden problems [deer eating pansies], self-awareness [Quaker questions], or vanity [V-beam procedure].

I know it’s odd, but it’s true;  those are the three most popular posts on this blog.  Not exactly what I’d consider to be my focus or my best-written stuff, but Google’s algorithm does what Google’s algorithm does.

All Hail Google!

  • My first thought upon seeing this query was to feel a little insulted.  

Aging? Moi?! Pish posh, I say!

But then I remembered that one of my blog tags is Aging Gracefully so I had to lighten up on being insulted, and I shifted my thinking to “isn’t this wonderful?”

I was being asked to impart the wisdom of my many years so that others could learn from my depth of experience, keen observations about human nature, and buoyant spirit. 

So I sat down at my computer ready to compose a post in which I’d answer that query in such a way as to goose Google’s algorithm.  I’d write something so profound and pithy that anyone who asked a similar query, for years to come, would be directed here.

The dream, so close.

  • But here’s the thing, and it’s significant, I have no real answer to this query.

I mean, I dunno.  Maybe the answer is to never stop exercising?  Or maybe it’s to commit to being a lifelong learner?  Or to attempt to let go of any person, idea, or thing that no longer serves you?

None of these? Some of these? All of these?

Or maybe, just maybe, the real essence of the phenomenon of aging gracefully can be summarized in one crotchety remark: “DON’T BOTHER YOUR ELDERS WITH SILLY QUESTIONS!”

You got that, you nosy little whippersnapper?

Let’s Decide Now: Which Nickname Do You Prefer For Our 45th President?

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-47-56-amI have no love for The Donald.  I imagine the feeling is mutual.

We have nothing in common, or so I thought until I remembered that during the campaign The Donald made a point of telling us that he was good at making up nicknames for his enemies.

Remember “Crooked Hillary” for HRC and “Pocahontas” for Elizabeth Warren?  Such clever [?] zingers from that man.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-56-54-amThinking on these nicknames I realized that The Donald and I do have something in common.  We’re both good at finding what we believe to be the perfect way to describe another person who we do not care for.

So today in honor of his inauguration, and as a way of showing respect for his leadership regarding the use of nicknames, I’ve created a poll using nicknames that we might call The Donald during the next four years.

 ~

After reading the list, compiled from nicknames I found all over the place, please indicate your choice of what to call The Donald. You may choose up to 3 nicknames.

[Please note: Suggestions for nicknames not on this poll may be added in the comment section of this post. Remember, this is a PG-13 blog, so use discretion when adding nicknames. Thank you.]

 ~

[Images via Join The Uproar. Many more available. All for free.]

Saturday Morning At The Grocery: Of Red Blazers And Rousing Enthusiasm

You know, my gentle readers, that you can always count me in for some harmless unexpected looniness…

•  Walking into our small town Kroger on Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. I chanced upon a group of people, clapping loudly, who were, depending on your point of view, blocking my path OR gathering together in the floral department to watch an important event.

[I’ll go with the latter explanation.]

Looking in the direction that everyone was looking, I saw 8, maybe 10, little old white-haired ladies, all dressed in bright red blazers. Some of the ladies were in wheel chairs. Some, seated on folding chairs, had their walkers beside them. A couple were standing on their own.

Despite their matching crimson attire, these little old ladies didn’t look they were emissaries from the Devil sent to steal my soul, so I decided to join in and clap too.

# # #

# # #

 Naturally I wanted to know what was going on, so I continued to watch.  First, an older gentleman, our MC, dressed to the nines in his Sunday best, mumbled something into a microphone… and we all clapped and nodded in agreement with him.

Then with a dramatic flourish of his arms, which left him wobbly, he pulled a shiny white polyester tablecloth off an easel that was tucked in among the roses. Being a latecomer to this event I hadn’t noticed the easel before, but I could tell that underneath that tablecloth was a piece of art.

The crowd, upon seeing the art, oohed and aahed… and we all clapped enthusiastically.

The MC, still tottering, then presented a large award plaque, presumably for first place in whatever this event was about, to one of the little old ladies… and we all clapped and smiled in her direction.

Continuing on, he slowly handed smaller awards to the other little old ladies in the bright red blazers… and we all clapped as each individual received her award.

# # #

# # #

 Now I know it’s often said that kids today get too many participation trophies that devalue the winner’s accomplishment, while falsely inflating the value of everyone else’s contribution.  And that may be true.

But after seeing the joy on these little old ladies’ faces, I’m going to suggest that when it comes to a Senior Citizen Art Event In The Floral Department Of Your Local Grocery, it hurts no one to give participation plaques to everyone involved.

Especially when each recipient, upon receiving a plaque, grins like the cute kid she used to be.

Pillow Talk: Of Snowy Nights and Annoying Logic

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I woke up with itchy eyes.  I have lots of boring medical problems with my eyes so this happens.

Downstairs on the kitchen counter was a bottle of prescription eye drops that I knew would relieve my itchy eyes, but it was all. the. way. downstairs. and I was toasty warm in our bed upstairs.

Botheration.

However, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I begrudgingly got up and went downstairs at 3:00 a.m. to instill [that’s medical lingo!] a drop in each eye.

Of course while I was downstairs waiting for the drops to do their thing, I glanced out the window to see what was happening outside.

Curiosity.  Or habit.  Maybe both.

I dunno for sure, but I took a look-see.  Just ‘cuz.

~ • ~

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Is this me OR is this a showgirl featured in a promotional photo for the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940)? { source }

~ • ~

ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER I WENT back upstairs to bed where I thought I quietly slipped into bed again.  But apparently my blanket shuffling was more disruptive than I realized and I awakened Z-D.

After politely inquiring if I was “ok” Z-D, who knows my habits, asked what the weather was like outside.  I told him that it had snowed, but that it had only snowed on the grass, not on the sidewalk, driveway, and street.

He mumbled: “that can’t be.”

I assured him that was what had happened outside.  It had snowed on the lawn, not on the hard surfaces.  I’d seen it.

Again he said: “can’t happen.”

Then he rolled over away from me taking the covers with him and began to snore.  I would have ignored him entirely but he had swiped too much of the blanket and I wanted my part back.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-29-56-am
Is this our bedroom OR is this a photo from the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940) Town of Tomorrow Exhibit? { source }

~ • ~

SO I TUGGED ON THE BLANKET which roused him again.

At which point, in his sleepy daze as if the conversation about the weather was still ongoing, he said to me: “you’d have to be some kind of stupid to not know that snow falls on everything outside.  It just doesn’t land on the grass, it falls on hard surfaces, too, where you don’t see it because it’s melted.”

And with that he fell fast asleep, leaving me, the stupid person, to realize that: 1) he was absolutely right;  & 2) I had no more interest in talking to him if he was going to use annoying old logic.

I mean, really– this is a man who can’t find his car keys at noon when they’re on the kitchen counter right in front of him, but he can tap into meteorological reasoning when awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?

Who does that?  Honestly…

Meh.

When Home Isn’t There Anymore This Is What You’ll See

This is what curiosity, based on nostalgia, will get you.

On a whim, while using Google street view to see what my doctor’s new office building looks like, I entered the address of where I grew up as a young child.

I was only thinking about my early childhood home because my dad’s modest medical office was on the first floor of the building, and we lived in the apartment above the office.

[Different times, eh?]

When I found the photo of where the building used to be I started laughing.  I mean, I haven’t been back to my hometown in over a decade, maybe longer, but when they say you can’t go home again, who knew it’d be literal for me, an English major educated to think figuratively?

However, be that as it may, getting to my point here, as the photo below proves, there is no house to go to anymore.  Of course, considering my family is long gone the loss of the building seems insignificant to me. Funny, even.

No doubt they’d laugh, too, if they saw this photo.

I’m sure that this just goes to show you something, but I’ll be darned if I know what that something is.

All I can tell you is this photo made me smile thinking about how everyone else shares lovely pics of the house they grew up in, but me?  I have a photo of a blank space.

Uh huh.

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Question Of The Day:

Have you ever searched online for a photo of where you used to live? If so, what did you find? If you’ve never tried searching, why not?