Not Lonely, Not Bored

The Forest Primeval says Good Morning to You.

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Another rainy morning here.  Unlike earlier this Spring when the rain made me cranky, this rain is soothing.  Now that bushes and flowers are in bloom the different colors outside combined with the rain make the scene look serene.  Funny what a few weeks will do to a person’s perspective.

Seeing as the forecast says that this rain will continue most of the day, I’ve gathered my favorite electronic gadgets* and am thinking that I’ll make a nest for myself on the TV room sofa.  We’ve got lots of pillows in there and with the window blinds up, I’ll be able to watch the subtle changes in the trees in the Forest Primeval [aka our back yard] without getting damp.

Only five years ago a Summer day like this one would have made me irritable.  But today, thanks to wi-fi, I can sit anywhere in the house and not feel lonely or put out by the weather.  Thinking about it I realize that this development might be one of the biggest changes in my lifetime.  Used to be that a rainy day meant only reading a book sitting in a corner all by myself.

However, now in addition to reading a book I can: connect – research – catch-up – enjoy without going outside in the muddy, wet world.  This is progress, my gentle readers.  Oh yes it is.  Don’t try to tell me otherwise.

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* On deck sofa for today are:

  • my [new] Kindle – reading a book 
  • my [relatively new] iPad – watching a TV show or a movie, tweeting on Twitter
  • my [ancient] Motorola clamshell wireless phone – chatting, texting with whomever about whatever, as usual
  • my [almost new] Nikon Coolpix camera – observing the world in case there’s a photo opportunity
  • my [old] MacBook – reading + commenting on blogs, writing a post should the muse strike 

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.

Odds & Ends

::  We started putting together pots of flowers and herbs and vegetables this past weekend.  The project turned out to be more difficult than I thought that it’d be.  With our revised backyard [2 summers ago we added a lower level terrace at the back of the yard], we have fewer trees near the deck and more deer in the backyard.  So I’m looking for sun-loving flowers that deer won’t eat.  Not so many of those around.

Hence, the pot project has been postponed until next weekend when I hope that I will be more clear about what plants I want to put where. Hello Google.  Time to research.

::  We like coffee cake.  Once upon a time there was a product for sale in our grocery store called Aunt Jemima Easy Mix Coffee Cake.  In the box there was a small cardboard baking pan.  The dry coffee cake mix came with a small plastic bag that you could use, instead of a bowl, to mix the batter with water and an egg.  Then there was a small packet of streusel topping.  We liked this small coffee cake, but it is no longer available.

So, I decided to try Martha White Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake Mix instead.  It isn’t as small nor as fun to make as the Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake, but the results were good.  We’ll use it again, but with much less streusel topping on it.  Oy vey!  It was way too sweet for us.

That being as it may, Martha White has gifted us with a new family saying:  all streusel, no cake.  [Think “all foam, no beer” OR “all hat, no cattle.”  That kind of saying.]  Clearly, we are a simple people who are easily amused– or maybe it was the sugar talking.

::  Over the weekend our new loveseat arrived.  We ordered it a few weeks ago from Arhaus, but because it was a standard style + fabric there was hardly any wait time before it got here.  It is gorgeous and looks perfect in the living room– very grown-up, but not at all stuffy.  Plus it’s a mid-century modern frame which I find comfortable to sit on.

Now, I need to get going and find a rug to put under it.  It’s been over 3 years since I started this living room make-over, but I promise when it is complete I’ll post some before & after photos.  Well, definitely the after photos.  I don’t know if I have any before photos to share.  Huh.  Bad planning, that.

[Hello FTC!  Blah, blah, blah.  Not getting any kind of compensation for my personal opinions here.  Blah, blah, blah.  Disclaimer written.  Blah, blah, blah.] 

I’ve Looked At Blogs From Both Sides Now

A few weeks ago I wrote about having been around the blogosphere for nine years.  As I said then, I’ve seen and experienced many good things during my blogging career.  But as you can imagine there have been weird things that have happened to me, also.   

So, in the interest of full disclosure, and as I have nothing else I really want to talk about today, I thought that I’d share some of the less-than-friendly experiences I’ve had while blogging. 

Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, now is it?

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 1.  Years ago a woman with a public blog asked me to remove her blog from my blogroll because she did not know me in real life.  She told me that she only allowed people who she knew in real life to put her blog on their blogroll.  I did as she asked and sent her an email apologizing for any distress my connection might have caused her.

To this day I have to wonder how she’s doing at keeping strangers from connecting with her.  If you don’t want people to take an interest in your life, then don’t keep a public blog.  Seems logical to me, but then I’m a pragmatic person, so what do I know?

Kind of trippy, that one.

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2.  I’ve always included some photos in my blogs.  At one point someone liked my photos so much that he or she set up a Flickr account using a version of my name.  Then he or she stole some of my photos off my blog, and placed them in this account.  Under my name.

This was one of those “to what end?” experiences.  I was given credit for my work– which was good.  The account was public– which was good.  However, I never determined why someone would do this.  Was it supposed to be flattery?  I don’t know.  It was harmless, but really?

Just a little too weird, if you ask me.

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3.  As many of you know, I like to leave comments on other people’s blogs.  I only comment if I have something to add to the conversation.  Never anything rude or disruptive.  So one day I read a post, complete with a photo, that spoke to me.  Consequently, I left a short heartfelt comment based on experiences in my life.

I returned to the blog a few days later to see if this blogger had responded to my comment, only to find that she had taken down the photo that had sparked my comment.  And that she had deleted my kind, non-confrontational, positive comment.  I was shocked at first.  But then it slowly dawned on me that this woman was a diva and she might have felt that my comment upstaged her [?], so she got rid of the photo– and me.

Flip city, huh?

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So, tell me, what weirdnesses have you experienced while using social media?  I know everyone has a story to tell– and what better place and time than here and now?  

Hmmm?  ‘Fess up.