Mercury Is In Retrograde & My Subconscious Is On The Blinketh, Me Thinketh

I’VE BEEN KNOWN TO SAY: trust the process.  I don’t know that I do that all the time because my ego gets in the way, but when I chill out and reflect upon situations it seems like a worthy goal– if you’re trying to live your life in a heart-centered way.

Thus I give you the following series of events, hoping that there is something good + insightful to be gleaned from this.  I mean, there’s nothing bad or tragic with the following, it’s just weird– even by my standards of self-awareness.

Which are low during this time when Mercury is in retrograde.

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PERHAPS YOU KNOW ABOUT THE idea of posing a question to yourself as you fall asleep at night, allowing your subconscious to give you the answer, revealed in your first thoughts in the morning?

I learned about doing this from a yoga teacher, a woman who was one of those totally centered, but not unrealistically cheerful, instructors who was all about helping other people find their way IF the other person was sincere.

I liked her classes. Useful.

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HERE’S THE QUESTION I ASKED myself last night was: what could I write about on my blog this week?  And my subconscious tossed a question back at me that is about as random and unexpected as they get.

It’s a question for which I have no answer, nor need to know an answer.  And I realize that no one is alive that would be able to answer it.

Here’s what I woke up thinking about: did my mother, who was three years younger than her older sister, know that when her older sister stepped on the train headed for a holiday in Texas, that her older sister was going off to elope? 

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THIS IS AN ODD QUESTION that has left me baffled about what is going on inside my brain.  I mean, what do you suppose my subconscious is trying to tell me?

Is it saying that I need to go on a vacation? That it’s time for me to tell stories about my ancestors? That it’s broken and needs a professional tune-up?

I dunno, but I will say I’m a little bit freaked out about what the heck is going on inside my mind.  I’ll admit to being older and more addled than I once was, but I’m usually not so far out there with the answers to my questions.

However, be that as it may, let’s blame it on Mercury in retrograde, just like I did many years ago.

The One About Beautiful Wedding Photos & Sneaky Weasel Words

Here’s a story I heard from an acquaintance wherein weasel* words created a situation that is not dire, but truly annoying. See if you don’t agree.
Photo by Pexels via pixabay

Acquaintance’s mother recently married.

Acquaintance’s mother had a lovely, perfect wedding that included hiring a well-known local professional photographer to take photos.

Beautiful photos.  Many of them.

But here’s the thing, what acquaintance’s mother did not read [or understand?] in her contract was that this photographer would not use his expertise to discern which photos were the best ones, instead giving acquaintance’s mother the opportunity to see all the photos he took of the wedding.

In practical terms this means that acquaintance’s mother has a problem.

She is now forced to sort through 3,000 photos and decide which ones she wants to keep and have put in an album.  In many cases there are 20 or 30 photos of the same thing like a bouquet… or of acquaintance zipping up her mother’s dress… or of the cake from a gazillion angles.

As you can imagine this sorting process has become a tedious burden for acquaintance’s mother.  It’s overwhelming and is an unwanted game for acquaintance’s mother as she tries to figure out which photos are the best ones.

Acquaintance’s mother is flummoxed by this situation.

It’s not as if she has the time, or the eye, to fuss around with three thousand wedding photos that she’s has contracted for, assuming the photographer would narrow down her choices.

Acquaintance has offered to help her mother, but she can’t intuit which photos her mother and new stepfather will want, nor can she wrap her head around how this happened.

Can you imagine…?  What would you do with 3,000 photos of your wedding day?  

* Oddly enough this has turned into animal week here at The Spectacled Bean.  First ducks, then squirrel, now weasel.  I didn’t plan it this way but go where the road stories take you, I guess.

If I Text “Hi!” To You, How Does That Make You Feel?

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PEOPLE BE WEIRD.  If I say that once a day I say it ten times.

So keeping that thought in mind, let me tell you what’s floating around in my brain this morning.  It’s not a big thing, but one that’s got me a’wondering…

How far out of touch am I?

Or alternately…

How self-absorbed are people these days?

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HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED.  Instagram suggested that I might want to follow a new-to-me person so I went to see who this was.  In the process of doing so I came upon a long conversation in a comment section below a photo there.

The conversation in the comment section wasn’t about the photo. No, the people commenting were talking about how they hate, hate, hate receiving one specific short text from their friends and family.

The offensive text was: “hi!”

That’s it.  Nothing more.  Just this one word was enough for these commenters to feel put upon…

To the point of complaining about it.

And the people who sent it to them.

And the awfulness of such a rude text message.

When I read through these 30+ comments my first thought was that certainly someone here is going to defend the sender of the allegedly disruptive text message, but no one did.

It was universally agreed among these people that this “hi!” text was a bad. thing. to. do.  And oh the vitriol about it.  Oy vey!

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I SHALL CONCLUDE.  I get that some people gotta have something to whine about no matter what, so maybe this was an example of that.

I also am aware that some friends and family don’t understand personal boundaries, so they can be a bother until you tell them how it’s going to be.

But honestly I’m confused about how a “hi!” text could make any person so miserable that this person would feel the need to bash the person who sent it.

Couldn’t you ignore the text– or answer it with a “later” reply text?  I mean if you leave it to me, EZPZ problem [if there really is one] solved.

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So what am I missing here? In what way is texting “hi!” offensive? ‘Cuz to me this seems like a text tempest in a teapot. 

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Blogging: When Nagging Doubts Take Over Your Mind

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Would you like to know a secret? Something about me, as a blogger, that I’ve never told anyone before?

Well lean in closer, my gentle readers, here goes…

I’m spending way too much time worrying about what to write here.

I mean, if I learned one thing from my blogging break it is that when I’m not blogging I wake up in the morning with a mind filled with mellow thoughts.

And I start my day with a sense of clarity and purpose that’d make Covey [and his Seven Habits] happy.

But when I’m actively doing the bloggy thing I wake up in the morning uncertain, with confused ideas about what to write here and low-level anxiety about whether or not what I published earlier in the week was a good idea.

Doubts fill me in a way that only the Devil [and his Seven Mortal Sins] could take joy in.

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So you know what I did? How I handled these nagging doubts that worry me?

I conducted a study on my bloggy self and my writing behavior wherein: 1) I tracked the time I spent blogging during October;  2) I reviewed my following/commenting process looking for a better way to do it; and 3) I evaluated my categories with an eye to revision.

Here are my findings + changes:

1) I put in about 3 hours per day on all things blogging, such as researching, writing, editing, publishing, reading other blogs, and commenting;

2) I follow a variety of bloggers and to do this more easily I’ve ditched WP Reader entirely, choosing to upgrade my Feedly account wherein I can have everyone filed away, all orderly like;  and

3) I need to have fewer categories, well-defined in my head, so that when I sit down to write I’m focused and unworried, thus I’ve re-envisioned my blog with 7 categories.

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So has my little foray into personal blogging self-awareness helped me feel more in control of what I’m doing here?

In a word, YES.  Most definitely.

And maybe the message of this blog post is that once a year I need to revisit what I’m doing on this blog and how I want to keep on doing it, so that writing my personal blog doesn’t cause me to worry.

Seems obvious as I say it here, but sometimes the obvious doesn’t come so easily to me.

No secret about that, now is there?

Laughing With A Friend About Her Peeping Mom Problem

HERE’S the dealio. Friend and her husband live in a house on a country road, with an acre front yard, situated on the top of a steep hill.

This is rural. Very rural.

Directly across the way on the other side of the road on top of another hill is Friend’s husband’s parents’ house.

From their front doors they can see each other’s houses in general, but not the specifics, such as what’s going on inside the house or who’s sitting on the front porch.

Because they’re isolated up on their hills, it is private.

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Antique wire-rim spectacles

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EXCEPT that Mother-in-Law recently retired from a full-time job and bought a pair of binoculars to watch the birds in the trees that surround her house on a hill in the middle of freaking nowhere.

However birdwatching has not been enough to keep MIL entertained.  She is bored. And clever.  

In fact, MIL has figured out that by sitting just so in her living room she can use her birding binoculars to look inside Friend’s house.

Or to see who’s sitting on Friend’s front porch.

To spy, in other words.

This new turn of events has put a strain on Friend and MIL’s relationship.  MIL sees nothing wrong with peeping in on her son & wife’s daily life, and despite being asked to, will not stop her peeping.

Friend is peeved.

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Bowl of plastic eyeballs

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BEING a pragmatic soul I asked Friend why she didn’t shut the blinds on the windows on the front of the house. She told me she didn’t want to do that because it was unfair for her to have to do something she didn’t want to do because of her MIL’s interference in her life.

Uh huh.

So I suggested that Friend needed to do something to get MIL’s blood pressure up and offend her enough so that she’ll stop being a peeping mom.

“Amuck, amuck, amuck…”

To wit, I suggested that Friend could join a coven, dress like the witches in Hocus Pocus, and have a witches meeting in her front yard, complete with dancing, spells, and a big cauldron of boiling something, like the witches of Macbeth.

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Friend told me that I was being silly, unsympathetic to her plight, and that I was: “NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY.”

To which, between giggles, I managed to say: “You’re right, because this is not a problem. This is an opportunity to EITHER get over MIL’s interference & shut your dang blinds OR cause some mayhem.”

The choice is hers.

Question of the Day

With a peeping mom directly across the street from your house, would you buckle under and shut the blinds?

OR

Would you stir the pot and cause some trouble to make a “mind your own bidness” point to peeping mom?

I await your insightful answers in the comments below.

Just A Closer Walk: We Attended A Funeral Last Week

It’s been 2 weeks since my FIL passed away.

He was 89 years old, diabetic, and had Alzheimer’s, the long good-bye.

His funeral was a week ago Monday in the city where Zen-Den grew up, a 4 to 5 hour drive from here.  We drove there on Sunday and came back later in the week.

The funeral wasn’t a sad or maudlin affair because the person FIL had become was nothing like the person he’d been in his prime;  even then, in his better days he was a ‘hale fellow well met’ with some Archie Bunker thrown into the mix– stubbornly clinging to the past.

However, as is the way with people who suffer with Alzheimer’s, FIL deteriorated slowly, forgetting his resentments along the way.  He became physically weak, and seemingly ready to leave this world.

The best part of the funeral was FIL’s 3-year-old step-great-granddaughter who stole the show.  She was cheerful, of course.  Dressed in a sundress + straw hat.  Delightfully curious.  So much so that at one point during the memorial service she went up front, quietly, to join the pastor, sitting her little self down on a chair nearby him to watch.

Which was cute– and a visual reminder that life goes on.

And on that positive note I’ll end this post.  I’m not even sure why I’m telling you this, but some days, occasionally, I write here in a serious way as if this were my journal–  instead of a personal blog filled with flapdoodle and twaddle.

Today is one of those days.

Rambling Thoughts About That Which I Spot

{ By Ingrid Chang Via Join The UpRoar }

ON SUNDAY WHILE READING COMMENTS on tweets about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with the mean lady who said the bad things [either Michelle Wolf or Sarah Huckabee Sanders depending on your point of view], I saw a comment that said: You spot it, you’ve got it.

I had no idea what this meant so I googled it and after a cursory investigation discovered that this is a way of saying that: if you notice someone’s hurtful behavior and it annoys you greatly, then you’re aware of this behavior and feel the way you do because you do the same thing.

The meaning of this new-to-me phrase was a surprise.

I thought it was going to mean that if you’re aware enough to notice that another person is behaving in a bad way [spot it], then you’ve got the situation covered so that this person won’t negatively affect you [got it].

I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS phrase all week.  There’s a truth to it, no doubt.  But I dunno, here’s the thing.

Is it not possible that you notice hurtful behavior in other people because you’re an observant person who watches how other people behave and misbehave, thereby giving you insight into what makes someone else tick?

Just because I can spot what’s going on with someone else, doesn’t mean that I’m like that.  I’d say it means that I’m perceptive and empathetic and tuned-in to the people around me.

I’ve no pithy conclusion here, other than to say that my assumed interpretation of this phrase was wrong.

And now I know better.

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Questions of the Day:

Anyone ever hear this phrase before? Use it in polite conversation or in comments? How far out of the mainstream am I to not know what this means?