Getting Philosophical As I Prepare To Take A Month Off From Blogging

Pretty blurry striped colors make for a lovely image* at the top of this post, my last one for 2019.

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I LISTENED TO THE LATEST Hurry Slowly podcast from Jocelyn K. Glei.

In it she introduced her new vision for how her podcast will evolve during Season 3.  In a nutshell, she’s loosening up about who she is and will be focusing less on productivity and more on authenticity.

I look forward to hearing what she says as she shares her transformation and her realizations about what matters to her now.  And therein is the nugget of wisdom that I gleaned from her podcast.

It’s all in the now, the person who you are in this moment and how you will manifest as such.  It’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about how you’re doing it and why.

Always the why.

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AS YOU MAY REMEMBER MY #OneWord365 for this year is streamlined.

Since I adopted it last January I’ve thought on it, not necessarily daily, but weekly as I organize my life, hoping to create a clutter-free home and the conviction that I can do things smoothly.

However, if I’m to be truthful here I’ve had a rocky year with this one word. It’s come to mean expense [roof, windows, computer] and idealistic dreams [the basement and garage are still harboring too much stuff] and, by the looks of the inside of this house, half-finished projects strewn about the rooms in messy heaps of indecision.

On the one hand I feel like I’m a failure about implementing the streamlined concept, but on the other hand I wouldn’t be as far along the path to becoming who I want to be now if I hadn’t focused on it.

So there’s that.

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I’VE DECIDED TO TAKE THE month of December off from blogging and instead focus on Susannah Conway’s December Reflections Instagram prompts.

I enjoy writing but feel that I need to get away from my ordinary routine, allowing me to reflect on how and why I’ll be doing what I plan to do in 2020 AND to decide whether or not my attempts to be streamlined have been a personal transformative experience or just another screwup.

Thus all that is left for me to say here is please enjoy whatever it is you do during the month of December. Make it a fun one. Take joy!

Later, kids.

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* Because someone is going to ask: I made this image by photographing a page from Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. I then enhanced the photo using ‘Rainy’ in Waterlogue [here for Apple] or [here for Windows].  

I put that enhanced image into Photos on my iMac where I edited it by adding highlights and cropping it into a rectangle.  It was work-y, but turned out pretty darned cool, if’n I do say so myself.

Three Thoughts Thursday | Doing. Listening. Watching. + A Postscript

This is that thing, my gentle readers, when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it. Here we go.

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ONE

I think that Creating My Dragon Name by following the how-to from pine.and.birch is the most perfectly silly thing I’ve done this month.

I am: Ylla the Tired, Hoarder of Toast and Potted Ferns.

To figure out your dragon name do this: it’s { your first name spelled backward } the { how you’re feeling now } hoarder of { the last thing you ate } and { an object to the right of where you’re sitting }.  That’s it, easy peasy mac and cheesy.

TWO

I think that Happy Face, a podcast, is worth listening to and will chill you to your bones.

It’s the story of serial killer Keith Jesperson, known as the Happy Face killer, told by his daughter, Melissa Moore.  She’s an adult now, but as a child she lived with/had contact with her father– while he was on his killing spree.  Her examination of what was going on then and its impact on her now is fascinating.

And horrifying.

THREE

I think that The Good Cop is quietly hilarious, but will admit that there’s not much to it.

It’s a light TV comedy that’s reminiscent of [but nowhere near as wonderful as] Monk or Psych.  The plots aren’t complex, but honestly, the chemistry between Tony Danza as the ex-con father and Josh Groban as the perfectionist cop, well– those two are a hoot to watch together.  Plus the supporting cast is great.

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Questions of the Day

What’s your dragon name? Listen to any good podcasts lately? Do you admit to watching brain candy TV shows?  

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P.S.  This will be my last blog post of 2018.  It’s been a heck of a weird year;  if you ask me, it’s one that has gone too long.  I’m sick of it.

Soooo I’m going to take a short blogging break by ending 2018 early and starting next year late, which is to say I’ll be back here sometime in mid-January 2019.  Until then, my gentle readers…

Be safe. Be happy. Be. 🐝

My Inaugural Three Thoughts Thursday | Listening. Doing. Watching.

I’ve decided that once in a while I need to have a bona fide feature on this blog wherein I allow myself to just tell you, my gentle readers, a few thoughts.  

To share with you what I’m focusing on without fiddle-farting my morning away writing a whole long involved story about it.  

So with this groovy introduction and with the snazzy image you see above [created by me on Canva], I give you the following.  

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ONE

I think that the By The Book podcast is delightful.

It’s hosted by comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer.  These women pick a self-help book, read it, then live by it for two weeks.  Their subsequent conversations about how living by the book went for them, and sometimes how it went for their husbands, are funny, insightful + mature.  I’m enjoying this podcast, listening to one episode every few weeks.

TWO

I think that the Happyfeed app for your smart phone is useful.

I admit that initially I thought this app seemed flaky, geared more toward teenage girls than grown-ups, but I’m enjoying doing what it wants me to do each day.  That is, I’m creating a small gratitude journal by writing three good things that have happened to me on each day.  The app then shows me my days, in a list, with my good things on the list.  It’s easy.  It’s up-lifting.  What’s not to love?

THREE

I think that Santa Clarita Diet is hilarious.

I binge-watched this Netflix TV show a week ago and haven’t stopped smiling about it yet.  WARNING: it is bloody & gory.  However, once you get past the fact that Drew Barrymore’s character, Sheila, a suburban realtor, turns into a hangry accidental zombie who devours people, the humor in this show is over the top yet *somehow* spot on to reality.

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Question of the Day

What have you been thinking about lately? It’s Thursday, no better day than today to share your thoughts on any topic! Add them to the comments below– and we’ll talk.  

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Here Are My 3 “Sorry / Not Sorry” Opinions 

INTRODUCTION

One of my favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome.

It’s a weekly talk show in which at least two of the four co-hosts, who live in different parts of the USA, talk politely + intelligently about awesome things that they like.  Things like: books, TV, family, relationships, travel, health, beauty, self-awareness, personalities, social media, blogs.

The episode that hooked me in this time was Episode #110 in which all four women shared their 3 “sorry / not sorry” [potentially unpopular] opinions.  This was a conversation [with a digression into raw chicken that was priceless] that at times had me laughing so hard I feared that I’d pee my pants.

But I didn’t. 

Grateful for what didn’t happen, and upon reflection, I decided that this Sorta Awesome “sorry / not sorry” topic would make for an interesting blog post.  So without further ado, I give you the following…

MY 3 “SORRY / NOT SORRY” OPINIONS

#1

I question the smarts of people who place flags in such a way as to have the flag pointing back toward the house, instead of having the flag point forward.  It’s all about history and common sense, kids.

Flags are the colors + symbol that you follow as you’re going into battle: they show you the way.  Therefore, you don’t point the flag back at yourself, because you might impale yourself on it as you move forward.  That would make no sense.

So for the love of all that is good, fly the flag properly. Please.

#2

I do not believe that curly/frizzy hair is a sign of improper grooming.  Here’s a news flash: God gave some people curly/frizzy hair and it’s okay to let it be curly/frizzy.

Not everyone has stick straight hair [natural or forced] like the Kardashians or Melania Trump.  No, some people, like me, have curly/frizzy hair that we keep clean, professionally cut– and wear in a style that is *gasp* natural.

Yep, that’s the truth. Deal with it.

#3

I refuse to pretend that mochi balls are a tasty treat.  I don’t care how deliciously on trend you think they are, how calorically perfect you think they are, how cleverly Japanese you think they are… I don’t like ’em.

They taste awful to me and have a miserable texture.  But that is, of course, because I don’t like to eat blobs of fruity-tea-flavored melting ice cream wrapped in color-coordinated Play-Doh.

In a word, I’d describe mochi balls as: bleech.

CONCLUSION

You may or may not agree with what I’ve written above.  It matters not to me, which is the whole point of this exercise in honesty.

I figure that by sharing, what I’d describe as rather benign, opinions on a variety of topics, I’ve opened up the blog comments to all of you, my gentle readers, to do the same.

Blogger see. Blogger do.

So… tell me a few of your “sorry / not sorry” opinions.  I’d love to know.

Of Black Coffee, Morning Clouds, and Self-Expression

EARLY THE OTHER MORNING about 6:00 a.m. the clouds floating over our house were so pretty that I decided to sit on the deck, drink my mug of black coffee, and photograph the clouds as they drifted overhead.

AS I WATCHED CLOUDS morph into one shape after another, I remembered a recent interview I’d heard with Carly Simon.  She was on Here’s The Thing podcast with Alec Baldwin.  [Interview here.]

WHENEVER I THINK OF Carly Simon I think of the lyrics to You’re So Vain, specifically: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, Clouds in my coffee.”  It seemed like the perfect thought for where I was sitting, what I was drinking while musing on clouds.

I HAD ENJOYED LISTENING to the podcast as Carly explained her life, her music, her memoir. Her conclusions.  My impression was that she sees her past clearly, with a wit and wisdom that made me appreciate her struggles. And her triumphs.

AS I WATCHED THE CLOUDS, reflecting on what Carly Simon had said, I began to wonder about my own abilities to understand and describe myself to others.  Would I ever be able to explain my past, either in verbal or written form, as eloquently and truthfully as she had explained hers?

NOT THAT I HAVE an overwhelming desire to tell all to everyone, but should I feel the need to do so for some reason, would I be able to do it?  Would you?

Share Your World | Tulips A-Go-Go

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  

• Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes, *sigh* back when I was a crazy, younger, athletically inclined woman who followed the crowd, I was a cyclist.  I did lots of 30+ mile bike rides for charities, and even once went so far as to go on a Backroads bike tour vacation.

This adventure in hell vacation started in New Bern, NC, and involved days of bike riding on dodgy, bermless country roads, littered with dead snakes and frogs.  Roads, filled with 18-wheeler lumber trucks zipping past us, spewing bits of pine bark and needles as they went by.  It was scary.

Throughout the tour we were on a strict time schedule to get to ferry-boats to go island to island along the NC Outer Banks, with the goal of getting to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, this did not happen because a huge storm, the aftermath of a hurricane, disrupted the ferry service to Cape Hatteras.  Meaning that our last ferry-boat was abruptly cancelled, leaving us stuck one island short of Cape Hatteras, on Ocracoke Island.  In a dumpy motel.

So with torrential rain falling and nowhere to go, we abandoned the pretense of cycling, made note of Ocracoke’s famous ponies, and drank excessively in the one bar that was open while it stormed, all the while lamenting that we were never going to get to Cape Hatteras.

Which *sigh* was the whole point of the bike tour.

• Name one thing not many people know about you.

I will not wear the color orange, so keep all your sports fan gear away from me.

• What is your favorite flower?

Tulips. Graceful and colorful, with no excessive leaves to muddle up their lines or draw attention away from their colorful petals.

• Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

While it’s true that I like things, and that if my life had gone in a different direction I might have become an interior designer, I feel that for me to list all the things that I want to have in my home would take hours.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the following quote by William Morris that summarizes how I’m learning to evaluate the things in my home: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the cats featured in the YouTube video below.  They make me smile.  I’m beyond impressed by their focus and skill– and that any human being was able to get them to do what they’re doing.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to Zen-Den listening to S•Town podcast so that he and I can discuss it.  At length.  Produced by Serial and This American Life, S•Town is the most compelling investigative-journalistic-true-crime-ish story I’ve heard [or read] in years.  Think Southern Gothic genre.  The language is coarse.  The topics are mature.  And the story is so good… in a bad way.  Highly recommended.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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A Look At Archetypes: Who Are Your Friends?

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.00.45 AM
Laverne & Shirley: Back in the day one friend was all you needed! { Source }

This is something fun to think about.

I was listening to Sorta Awesome, a podcast I enjoy.  The conversation topic of Episode 54 was how every woman needs a variety of friends in her life because each friend serves a different, but necessary, role in your life.

They were talking about archetypes, not specific names of people. This wasn’t gossip.

As the show went on I started thinking about who I need in my life. The women on the program believed they needed 10 friends, but I decided that at this point in my life I need 5 friends.

Call me a minimalist.  Or an introvert.

Below you’ll find my list of the five friends who I need to keep me grateful, connected, grounded, hopeful, and happy.

[A digression.  Yesterday in The Guardian I read an article: “Why don’t I have any friends?”

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The Biographer is the friend who knows all the nuances + details of your life, meaning that any problem you take to her needs no background story because she knows it, she knows you, and she knows what you need to do.

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The Oprah Fan is the friend who knows what’s on-trend, whether it be spiritual or sartorial, funny or frowned-upon, healthy or home-y, and she is willing to share her knowledge so you’ll be on-trend, too.

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The Loyal Opposition is the friend who, like you, pays attention to the events in the world, but often comes to a different conclusion about what’s going on and why it is happening.

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The Cheerleader is the friend who is on your side, without any need for you to explain or justify, in-depth, what you are up to;  she’s your own personal pep squad.

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The Snarkologist is the friend who makes me laugh out loud because she is unfiltered, truthful, and willing to skewer, in a most wonderful way, anything or anyone who deserves to be taken down a peg.

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How about you, my gentle readers?  Who are your friends?