TGIF: I Answer Jill’s Questions Over There While Announcing Summer Hours Here

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THE JILL’S QUESTIONS OVER THERE PART

Jill Weatherholt asks questions, oh yes she does.

In fact she asked me to answer her questions, so I did.

Should you care to read my answers to her questions then click on I WANT TO READ ALLY BEAN’S ANSWERS TO JILL’S QUESTIONS and you’ll be magically taken over there to her blog.

Forsooth.

THE SUMMER HOURS HERE PART

Wanna know a secret, my gentle readers? Yes? Well then lean in closer and I’ll tell you one.

When I chose SIMPLIFY as my word of the year I planned on taking this summer off from blogging.  Just bug out completely.  Detach entirely.

However plans change.  Perhaps you, too, live in a state where you are still being asked to stay at home?  Well, we do and we are.

This is the end of Week 13, by the way.

Now clearly I have the time to post to this blog, but summer [in the northern hemisphere] is when I’ve found that personal blogging slows down to a dribble.  Plus I’m in a blogging rut, in the mood for a change, a simplification as it were.

Thus I’ve decided to adopt what I’m calling SUMMER HOURS.  To wit:

  • I’ll be posting my usual flapdoodle and twaddle here every other week instead of weekly.
  • I’ll be posting mid-morning, probably on Tuesdays, thereby allowing me to have a relaxed morning in keeping with summer’s mellow vibe.
  • I’ll be commenting less frequently on your blogs, keeping up weekly with the cool kids who keep up with me.

And with that I wish y’all a groovy weekend and a happy summer.  I’ll be here when I’m here.

LOVE ‘YA. Mean it.

Which Three Personality Traits Are Helping You Deal With Today?

Photo by Johnson Wang [@jdubs] via Unsplash

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YEARS AGO I TOOK AN ADULT EDUCATION night class about managing your stress. The 4-part class was offered by a regional hospital and was taught by a woman with a background in massage therapy who was at that time working on a graduate degree in religious studies.

She was wise & funny. Delightful in her pragmatic approach to life.

To be clear this was not a class aimed at finding the causes of your stress or analyzing why you had this stress. It was a class based on the assumption that the sources of your stress were your own business, specific to your own life.

The class was about creating a “tool box” of positive coping behaviors;  that is, by learning to breath in the moment or detach from your ego or chant a soothing mantra or acknowledge your own worth, you could deal with your stress in a healthy way.

The premise being, quite simply, that if you know how to calm down in any situation, then you’ll do better at whatever it is you’re doing.

Is this not true?

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ONE OF THE TOOLS I REMEMBER FROM this class was the question I posed in the title of this post. We were encouraged to think about who we were based on our own particular personality traits. [List of 600 personality traits here.]

This was trickier to do than you might think it’d be.

To wit, we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our relationships so saying I’m a wife, a niece, a sister-in-law was wrong.  And we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our job titles/hobbies so saying I’m a manager, a writer, a walker was wrong.

While those descriptions of myself were accurate they weren’t the point of this mental health exercise.  They were considered a distraction from understanding yourself better, a way to gloss over who you really were.

NOPE, we had to state who we were based on our own self-awareness.  We had to acknowledge our individual personality traits whether they be considered a strength or a weakness, then accept the trait.

To thine own self be true, you know?

~ 💚 ~

I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CLASS IN a long time, but over the weekend I realized I was reminding myself each day to focus on three personality traits, allowing myself to feel empowered as a result of it.

I realized why I was asking myself this question and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from using this simple approach to stress management.

So in conclusion here is my answer to the question.  For me, most of the time my personality traits that are helping me deal with my days during the pandemic are: 1) I’m organized, 2) I’m creative, and 3) I’m perceptive.

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What about you, kids? Care to share which three personality traits are helping you stay above the fray, cool in every way? Or if not cool, at least sane for most of the day?

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Flowers Of Yellow Make Me Feel Mellow When Words Escape Me

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It’s Tuesday, the day of the week when I plan on posting to this blog.

‘Tis a fact.

However, I’m finding that I have less to say than normal, words escape me.  Or perhaps I’ve become more succinct with my words when I use them.

In truth I’m becoming more relaxed, introspective about my current lifestyle.  All things considered I’m cheerful and content to spend more time at home;  I figure if this is how you stay healthy, why not become a hermit?

[Meant to be a rhetorical question but worth pondering.  How well are any of us adapting to this stay at home lifestyle?]

So in lieu of me rambling on here, attempting to write about my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, I’ll give you the following which is delightfully wordy and worth a listen.

On The Allusionist, a podcast by Helen Zaltzman, there is an episode called “Tranquillusionist: Your Soothing Words.”  It’s 10 minutes of unexpected aural mellowness while Zaltzman reads 343 words.

[Click on HERE to be taken directly to the page on which you can find the doohickey thingie that lets you listen to a podcast on your computer. Or follow The Allustionist on a podcast app on your phone and find the episode there.]

And with that, I wish you well, my gentle readers.  May you find ways in which to honor and center yourself while remaining safe during a strange time in the history of the world.

Live with intention. Engage with clarity. Share with joy.

Everyone doing OK under the circumstances?  

In Which I Answer 20 Questions Because It’s Something Fun To Do

I haven’t done anything like this in a long time, so why not change it up? After all, variety is the spice of life blogging. Therefore today I’m answering 20 questions I found on View from the Back who got them from The Life And Travels Of Mrs Suvi

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Your most memorable fancy dress costume?

A few years ago I wore a purple cocktail dress with silver sparkly trim to a black-tie business event that was a horrible affair. I was physically and emotionally uncomfortable the whole evening: my dress was tight & my feet hurt while I was standing in a room filled with status-seeking people cursed with negative energy. I vowed to never do anything like it again– and I haven’t.

Which social media platform do you use the most?

WordPress

Favourite season?

• Autumn

If you had to choose the beach or mountains, which would it be?

• I’d choose the beach because I like walking on sand, looking at the waves, searching for shells or driftwood, BUT I choose this with the proviso that I can visit the mountains whenever I want to.

What can you play very well?

• Candy Crush Soda Saga

What kind of cheese do you like?

• All non-stinky kinds

Life goal?

• To put things or ideas or people together. Metaphorically speaking I see puzzle pieces everywhere and want to make the picture whole. Or maybe I see tesserae everywhere and want to make my own mosaic. In either case I put things together.

How many cities have you lived in?

• I’ll answer this by defining cities as metropolitan regions, thus my answer is 8.

What language do you wish you could speak?

• Spanish

What can’t you stand?

• A mocking tone of voice. The idea that education is of no value. Green peppers.

If you have an hour to kill on your hands, what would you do?

• Depending on the situation I’d: go for a walk;  read a book &/or some blogs;  play a game on my phone;  or become a lounge lizard watching the people go by.

Your favorite routine?

• I’d say it’s showing up to my blog at least once a week, usually on Tuesday, and talking with everyone in the comments. Like I’m doing now. *Hi!*

When do you become hyperactive?

• When I’m forced to travel by plane, often leaving the house before the break of day, I become hyperactive with worry about locking the house and all things related to the hassle at the airport. It makes me crazy until I’m sitting at my gate.

Text message or phone call?

• Text message

Your most precious treasure?

• I like things, but as for precious treasure I’m not sure any one thing would rate that designation. I mean, any thing I have can be replaced so how precious is it really?

Your latest foreign language mistake?

• I probably mispronounced some French word. The few I know trip me up when I try to say them.

What’s the best therapy for you?

• A glass of chilled dry white wine sipped while gazing into nature

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?

• I rather liked Piper in Charmed. She could make a great meal, stop time in order to decide what to do next, and vanquish evil when necessary. Plus she married her true love. All-in-all, she’s my kind of badass.

Where would you like to travel?

• Dreaming big here: UK. Ireland. Italy. Hawaii. Australia. NZ. Vietnam. South Africa. Argentina.

Where did you meet your spouse/partner?

• We met in college. In fact, this past Valentine’s Day we received a card from our alma mater telling us that we are among about 2,000 couples who met on campus. Of course the Valentine’s Day card was also a solicitation for monies making the card less lovable, but the factoid was interesting.

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If you decide to do this on your own blog please link back to this post so I can go read what you wrote. Deal?

A Character Study: Justifying Your Rationale About Doing A Tango With The Truth

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I NEVER INTENDED TO write about this person, she’s someone I knew a long time ago.  I’d guess that I haven’t been in touch with her for over a decade, maybe longer.

I got thinking of her because I found one of her business cards wedged in the back of my desk drawer.  I’m surprised I kept it, to be honest– but there it was and memories of her flooded into my brain.

So here’s a story, a character study if you will, of a pleasant someone who had her own unique way of rationalizing that which she said and felt no shame about telling, what were ostensibly, falsehoods.

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ONCE UPON A TIME I knew a lovely woman who introduced me to a college acquaintance of hers;  I shall call this acquaintance Nedra.  The lovely women moved away but out of respect for her, Nedra and I still got together for coffee every few months.

Our relationship was superficial, but delightful at first.  Nedra and I had interests in common, reading and healthy eating.  She was dating at the time and had funny stories about her experiences.  I was remodeling the kitchen and had ridiculous stories about my experiences.

All would’ve been well IF I hadn’t come to realize that Nedra was making up stories about her love life. And her career. Stories that she told me, doing what I’d describe as, a tango with the truth.

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I STUMBLED OVER THIS dance with reality while we were having coffee one day.  I hadn’t seen her in a while and I asked her about a guy she’d been on a date with, a date that she’d described in detail months before.

Well, she looked confused, baffled by my question– and told me I must be wrong about her, that she’d never been on a date like that.  Clearly I was mistaken.

Except I wasn’t. I’m not that addled-brained. I remembered quite specifically her conversation and joyfulness vis-à-vis this date. That hadn’t happened, but she said it had. Uh huh.

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AS YOU CAN IMAGINE after that conversation I became more disinclined to believe what Nedra said to me, but I was intrigued because I’m a curious person who pays attention to people– and here was a character for me to watch.

Up close and in action, so to speak.

Time passed, like a year or so, and I was to a point where I didn’t want to meet Nedra for coffee anymore.  Beyond her propensity to make up stories, I no longer needed to be in her part of town on a regular basis so getting together with her was a chore.  On many levels.

Still, I wanted to know more about her reasoning for making up stories: why she did it and, you know, if she experienced any remorse about deviating from the truth. So I asked her, politely, tactfully, why she made up stories about her life and this is where it got really interesting.

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NEDRA BELIEVED THAT BY making up stories about her life she was showing people how to make themselves whole.  She was, she felt, merely using her fictional tales to guide people to make better decisions about themselves.

She justified this by saying that when you think about it, scripted TV shows and movies were often fabricated stories that we accept as having a real impact on our minds, hearts, psyches.  We believe the stories and accept the messages contained within.

Therefore she was doing the same thing with her stories on a smaller, more personal, scale so that she could help people become more self-aware and feel empowered to do better. And as such she felt no guilt for what some of us might call lying.

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Have you met anyone like Nedra who does a tango with the truth?

Do you think she has a point about scripted TV & movies being basically lies so why not do it too?

Was she naive or manipulative?

Have you found a business card from someone you lost touch with and got thinking about them, for better or for worse?

~ THE END ~