Tag Archives: thedailypost

Nothing Funny to See Here

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image courtesty of reductress.com

Seriously, if you’re looking for something amusing, you might want to come back tomorrow….

 

When I read that today’s prompt from The Daily post was “stifle” I was immediately thrown back in time to my childhood. Literally, with the really cool crossfade from color to B&W and retro music.

Open on –

Family, gathered around the television, foil wrapped tv dinners TV trays in front of them.

Camera pans faces. Mother, father, son all smiling/laughing.

Camera pans to and tightens on daughter, 14, not smiling. She looks from family to television and back to family curiously.

“Stifle yourself Edith!” comes from the television, and everyone in the room laughs. Daughter’s expression darkens.

“This is NOT FUNNY” the daughter snaps as she runs from run the room.

Ok, so I’m never going to get a job in Hollywood as a screenwriter – but I still don’t think that All In The Family was funny. I understand that Archie Bunker was supposed to be a caricature – a laughable buffoon of a man, whose ideas and comments were mocked and ridiculed as being boorish. I think that those involved with the show (and many of them who watched it) believed that the days of racism and misogyny were on their way out – that we were moving into a bright and shiny future where people where nobody was judged solely by their race/religion/sexual identity. Archie Bunker’s stubborn insistence on living as if time was standing still was supposed to be funny.

I could write an entire post on how the past year has shown how little things have changed. That sexism, racism and the bitterest of hatred towards anything “different than me” are alive and well and living in suburbia.  I could, but I won’t – not because I find this behavior acceptable. I won’t, because I can’t. When I think about how “far” we’ve come (HA!), I am hit by an icy wave of despair.  My brain freezes, and I find that that I can barely breathe, much less put words together to form sentences*. My 14 year old self runs from the room, screaming and crying hysterically once again (why, yes I was a Teenaged Drama Queen, why do you ask?).

TBH I’m not sure why All In the Family bothered me as much as it did. Was it his racism? Possibly, but I doubt it. Although I didn’t know anyone whose hateful language equaled Mr. Bunker’s, I was intimately familiar with people I considered “friendly racists.” “Black people sure do run fast!” “Yes, Grandma, and Asians are really good at math” (FYI I spent a lot of time in my room thinking about my “smart mouth”). Could it be the way he picked and chose and misquoted the bible? Maybe, but I didn’t spend much time with The Book either. If I had to choose, I would say it was the way he spoke to his wife. He was forever admonishing her to “stifle yourself” or “dummy up”. It rankles, even 40 years later.

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But the “lovable bigot” isn’t the only man who would prefer that women stay quiet. Over the weekend I became aware of efforts by Conejo Valley Unified School District board of trustees president Mike Dunn to silence Anonymous Mommy blogger Jess Weihe. The president of the Conejo Valley Unified School District board of trustees went so far as to threaten retaliation against her employer. Unfortunately Mr. Dunn’s tactics have worked – at least one person has pulled his business from Mustang Marketing.

I was appalled (but not surprised) that a local politician would go so far in an attempt to silence an opposing viewpoint. Curious about his mindset, I sent him an email. I didn’t expect him to respond, but he did.

“In my opinion, Jessica Wiehe is a cyper (sic) bully. For months and months she has been attacking republicans, conservatives and Christians on her website…the purpose of my email was to encourage him to stop the abuse.”

I’m not quite sure how  threatening someone’s livelihood can be construed as “encouraging”, but maybe his dictionary is different than mine.

IMHO Archie Bunker and Mike Dunn are both assclowns. The difference is that Archie Bunker was a character on TV (superbly portrayed by the amazing Carroll O’Connor). Mr. Dunn is a character who has made it to 2017’s Top Free Speech Offenders and Defenders.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I responded to Mr. Dunn. “It always amuses me when bullies believe they are being bullied….It can be scary when a woman speaks her mind, but our country is supposed to allow us the freedom to speak up. It does not allow us the freedom to threaten others.”

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in my room, thinking about my “smart mouth”.

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image courtesy of janevoigts.com

*Appropriately enough, the first definition of “stifle” from Oxforddictionaries.com is “(to) make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate

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If at first you don’t succeed….

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“If at first you don’t succeed, give up” – Homer Simpson

I know I promised I’d try to write every day. I could lie, and say that I’ve been journaling, but the lie benefits nobody (well, it soothes my fragile ego, but lying to myself doesn’t help, because even I don’t believe me). Instead of spending the rest of the month in my blanket fort, beating myself up for failing to keep yet another New Year’s Resolution, I’ve decided to start over.

I realize that, at 3 weeks into the new year, I am getting a very late start to All Things New, as promised by a fresh and shiny New Year. I am #tardy* to the party. I refuse, however, to beat myself up (any more than I have already). I may be late, but at least I’ve shown up.

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image courtesy of digitalbloggers.com

Happy New Year! I am well aware that we are more than two (3) weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far?

So far 2018 has been 2017 (cont.) – not bad for our little threesome (not THAT kind of threesome, cochina!), but filled with too much heartache and loss for those I love.

IT NEEDS TO STOP. RIGHT NOW. I’M SERIOUS 2018, I’M NOT PLAYING

That’s not true. I am playing. Or I’m trying to. My daughter and I have been spending our evenings playing cards, Boggle(tm) and other games. It hit me that my daughter, who was born 2 1/2 Momyears ago, is turning 18 in March. She’s leaving the day after graduation to spend her summer in the mountains, catering to the wishes and whims of a group of tweens (she thinks she’ll be working as a camp counselor. Same difference),  We’re three weeks into the new year, and it will be June before I know it and I’m not even close to being ready for a teeny tiny taste of empty nest syndrome. I’ve only JUST gotten used to being Suburban Soccer Mom. WTF Time, slow your ass down!!

I have friends who have been preparing for high school graduation since their child(ren) started kindergarten. Others started making plans the first time their surly teen slammed a door. Oh, there have been a few holdouts. Those who waited until the first day of high school to start working on the blueprints for their new mancave/sewing room/gym. And then there’s me. The former DINK turned accidental mother. The woman who JUST REALIZED that there are less than 5 months until graduation.

I may be late, but I’m here now…and I’m going to do everything in my power to make Time slow down after work so we have time to play.

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image courtesy of likesuccess.com

*Better to be tardy than tarty

tart·y. (from Oxforddictionaries.com)

[ˈtärdē]

ADJECTIVE

BRIT.

informal

  • (of a woman) dressed in a sexually provocative manner that is considered to be in bad taste.
  • (of clothes) contributing to a sexually provocative appearance.

 

 

 

 

I’m Shocked!


th[5]Happy New Year!

I am well aware that we are more than two weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far? Most importantly, how many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept? According to the Huffington Post The first two weeks of the year are the easiest to stay committed, with 75 percent of people maintaining their resolution through the first week and 71 percent through the second. 6 months into the year, that number drops to less than half.

I’ve decided not to make any this year. It’s not because I’m afraid to make a commitment (the fact that it took me 5 years and one false start to marry A Very Good Man notwithstanding). I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I refuse to set myself up to failure. Every year I make resolutions, and every year I fall short. Even the idea of making “new daily habits” feels like an opportunity to set myself up for failure. This year, I am making vows instead. Even if I fail, it’s NBD – people break their vows ALL THE TIME.

Actually, I have one vow this year. I vow to try. I will try new things. I will try to break out of old patterns which no longer serve me, and create new ones which do. I vow to write on a daily basis, even if it’s only to say that “I have nothing to say today” or “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.

Sigh. I can see myself breaking my vow already. Writing is hard. I have vowed to write every day before, and I haven’t succeeded yet. The past few years have been hard, but last year was one for the recordbooks – a year filled with loss and heartbreak that completely derailed my creative endeavors.

But it’s a new year, and I’m starting again. So far this year I have started 3 new pieces. I might, one day, finish them, but I doubt it. As a procrastinator and a perfectionist, finishing what I started is a hard vow to keep – which is why I am vowing to TRY.

Most importantly, I vow to use The Daily Post’s #Dailyprompt as a jumping off place. Somewhere to start a piece every day, whether or not I finish it. In fact, I vow to post something every week, even if it’s not “finished” (what? Submit something for public view that isn’t perfectly polished? How shocking!)

Today’s prompt surprised me. I thought “shock” would be an easy jumping off place for my New Year’s Resolution my year’s vow. I assumed that today’s post would be cake (mmmmmm. cake!) until I saw the definition of “shock” (courtesy of mirriam webster)

shock.

[SHäk]  

   1 : the impact or encounter of individuals or groups in combat

   2 a : a violent shake or jar : concussion

      b : an effect of such violence

   3 a (1) : a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something  (2) : a sudden or violent mental     or emotional disturbance 

     b : something that causes such disturbance ·the loss came as a shock

     c : a state of being so disturbed ·were in shock after they heard the news

 4 : a state of profound depression of the vital processes associated with reduced blood volume and pressure and caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, or burns

 5 : sudden stimulation of the nerves and convulsive contraction of the muscles caused by the discharge of electricity through the animal body

The EIC started in right away –

“Oh, this is going to be hard – there are a lot of topic choices! Way too many choices! How can someone who’s having trouble getting started succeed when faced with so many choices? Which one of them is the “right” choice? You should wait until tomorrow. As Scarlett told us “Tomorrow is another day”.

The Evil Inner Critic is an asshole, whose voice gets louder if you try to ignore him. It’s best to address him/her calmly yet firmly.

“Bite me (so much for my vow to remain calm).I vowed to write every day, and I’m starting today. I’m not letting the multiple definitions stop me. I choose to think of all the possibilities they provide”.

“Good luck with that.”

“I could write about the increased number of concussions in youth sports and associated health risks”

“Been done to death” replies the EIC.

“I could write a piece about a shock of corn”

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“Yawn”

“Maybe a piece about the phrase “shock and awe” (with its own subset of trite phrase, movie and/or book”?

“Snore.”

“Or I could write about ECT (aka electroshock therapy).”

Silence (he must be sleeping).

As it so happens I am currently listening to Carrier Fisher’s audiobook Wishful Drinking*. She opens by admitting that ECT caused her to lose some of her memory. It’s just that ECT has forced me to rediscover what amounts to the sum total of my life. I find that a helluva lot of it fills me with a kind of giddy gratitude. Some of my memories will never return. They are lost—along with the crippling feeling of defeat and hopelessness. Not a tremendous price to pay when you think about it. Totally worth it!

At least she has a valid excuse – the only excuse I have for my CRS (Can’t Remember S…stuff) disease is Oldtimer’s Syndrome. I prefer Sherlock Holmes’ explanation that our memory is like a mind attic – and that we only have so much room to store stuff (time to get rid of those boxes filled with childhood games and nursery rhymes). For those of you too young to know who Sherlock Holmes is, think of the brain like a hard drive. Evidently mine needs to be defragged to free up some memory (on another note, you need to watch Sherlock immediately, if not sooner. Benedict Cumberbatch is AMAZING).

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Where was I? Oh yeah, having a whole slew of definitions makes it difficult to start a piece, and not starting makes it hard to finish – which brings me to here and now. Without a good “jumping off” place, my weasel brain flits from thought to thought, and everything is put down on paper. I usually spend most of the day editing a piece – spending so much time deleting and searching for the perfect word that I am unable to polish a piece to my satisfaction, which is why I have 3 unfinished pieces this year (for a total of 6 in my “drafts” bin).

But I vowed to publish a piece, and (seeing that we’re still in our honeymoon phase), I’m not ready to break it. So here you go. My first (completed) piece for the new year. It’s far from perfect, but I’m going to try giving myself permission to make mistakes. After all –

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*That’s not exactly true. I finished it last night.

 

 

 

 

Yet another F-word

howtofocusimg[1]Once again, The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt has me stumped. I have no idea who he/she is, or how he/she comes up with the word of the day, but I’m pretty sure it involves a couple shots of tequila, a dictionary and a blindfold (sounds like a party to me).

So I’m going to cheat. It’s ok, I’ve done it before. Cheated on my diet, cheated while playing Monopoly with the girl (c’mon, if you don’t cheat, the game is ENDLESS).

I’ve talked about the F-word once or twice. Hell, I’ve blogged about the F-word so many times that today’s original title (The OTHER Other F-word) was already taken.

Today’s F-word (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is focus

[ˈfōkəs]

VERB

focused (past tense) · focused (past participle)

    1. (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly:

“try to focus on a stationary object”

      • cause (one’s eyes) to focus:

“trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett”

      • adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument):

“they were focusing a telescope on a star”

synonyms: bring into focus · aim · point · turn

      • (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.

I find the word ironic, because I can’t seem to focus lately. I could blame my new prescription. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted (can’t see to find my glasses unless I’m wearing my contacts), but now that I’m “a certain age” my vision needs an additional adjustment if I want to read a menu or the display on my cell phone.

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I could also blame menopause – evidently hormones are the culprit for my adult onset of ADHD.

But I don’t feel like blaming anyone or anything today. Instead, I’m going to use this blog to talk about the importance of changing focus.

This year has been a hard one. Too much loss. Too much death, illness, sadness and hate. I found myself being dragged into the pit of despair by the black dog of depression. This morning’s prompt reminded me of the importance of focus. As Sandy Henson Corso says in her 2013 Huffingtonpost piece “Whatever you focus on, expands is such a simple, easy and truthful idea.”

I know for a fact that this is true. I know it both from personal experience, and from a Google search for “What you focus on changes your life.” I found dozens and dozens of links to articles on the internet, and everything you read on the internet is true.

So I am choosing to change my focus – to focus on the miracles and gifts that surround us – to find something to be grateful for every day. Who knows, I might even start a gratitude journal. Probably not, but I AM going to pick up a copy of Rapt, by Winifred Gallagher. I  loved the excerpt I read on Utne.com this morning.

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I also love this video on battling the black dog of depression:

 

 

Leaf Me Alone

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photo courtesy of Hypnogeniablogspot.com

When I saw today’s daily prompt, my first thought was “Leaf? LEAF? WTH? Who the &%*! comes up with these prompts anyway?” (evidently my pre-coffee brain is a foul mouthed Bitch).

 

Then a quiet voice spoke up (yes, I hear voices – don’t you?) “You’re a writer. Stop resisting. See where it takes you.”

Good morning, and welcome to Leaf – the stream of consciousness experience.

Leaf like the car?

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I’m not a big fan of electric cars, and yesterday’s articles on the Nissan’s new Leaf didn’t do much to change my mind. If anything, the Time’s article freaked me out. Supposedly a new feature allows you to drive without ever touching your brakes. That doesn’t sound safe to me. Does it brake for you? Will it brake suddenly as you’re driving down the freeway, drinking your coffee, eating your breakfast sandwich, changing your shirt and putting on your makeup? (not that I’ve EVER done any of those things)

Or did it mean a leaf from a tree? Leaf…leaves..leaving. Too many people have “shuffled off their mortal coil” this year. Too much loss. Too much sadness. Too much change. Let’s leave that train of thought, shall we?

Leaf – leaves falling. Falling leaves is much better than falling people. I tripped on an uneven bit of sidewalk last week. Bailed big time. Hit my knee, twisted my ankle, bruised my arm and my ego. The teen responded with “I guess it’s starting.” “What’s starting?” “Old people fall all the time.” She was “just teasing.” I responded by putting up a “Free to good home – slightly used teen” flyer. JK. Maybe.

Fall is almost upon us (where the hell did this year go? I must have done something to piss off Time because it’s WHIZZING by) – days are getting colder, leaves are falling from the trees. I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. I tried jumping in a pile of leaves once, just to see what I’d I missed as a kid…TBH I’m not really sure that I missed out on anything at all (maybe I just needed a bigger pile of leaves, or a dog to show me how it’s done).

I love Fall – love the cool crisp nights that mean roaring fires and soft cozy sweaters. Of course, it also means the start of everything pumpkin, and I am so over that trend (pretty sure someone’s going to come out with a pumpkin flavored tampon next). Mostly I love Fall because it means that my favorite holiday is on its way. Could it be Thanksgiving? Mmmmm. Turkey and sweet potatoes and stuffing and family and friends and football and food…but no. Christmas? Cards and caroling and friends and family and turkey and sweet potatoes and stuffing and PRESENTS…wrong again.

My favorite holiday is HALLOWEEN. Little kids dressed up as their favorite superhero/popstar and jack o’lanterns, candy and SCARY STORIES and things that go bump in the night and jumping out to say “BOO” just as the cute little kids come to the door (well, maybe not the littlest kids…that’s just mean). For the past few years my daughter and I have been part of the best Haunt ever – Deadzone805. Great group of people who put on a great event. Unfortunately they’re taking a year off and we will have to find our victims elsewhere…

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the little scaractor

 

Or did the prompt refer to a newly budded leaf? A symbol of Spring, of love, and Hope.

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photo courtesy of Georgraph.org.uk

 

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because today is the Autumn Equinox.

Huh. Guess it wasn’t such a weird prompt after all. Happy Fall Y’all!

 

The S-Word

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image courtesy of whatsyourgrief.com

 

Today’s post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt

Sympathy, as defined by thefreedictionary.com:

sym·pa·thy

   (sĭm′pə-thē)

pl. sym·pa·this

1. A feeling of pity or sorrow for the distress of another; commiseration. See Synonyms at pity.

2. often sympathies An expression of such feeling: offered her sympathies to the mourning family.

[Latin sympathīa, natural affinity, fellow feeling, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, affected by like feelings : sun-, syn- + pathos, emotion; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.]

Sympathy, as defined by my mother:

“If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis”

My mother was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. She had a huge soft heart which was full of love and laughter, so when she told me to “look it up in the dictionary”, I was surprised.

In retrospect, I’m sure I deserved the snarky response. I have no doubt that I tested my mother’s patience on a daily basis, and my brother will be quick to tell you that I managed to give her shingles. I was a bit of a teen age drama queen. Not that I’d ever admit to it. (dammit, I just did, didn’t I?).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – my mother was an amazing woman. Not perfect (is anyone?) but pretty darn close. She was my hero. She taught me a lot. She taught me that strangers are simply friends you haven’t yet met. She taught me the importance of “please” and “thank you” and the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”*. Mostly she taught me that kindness costs nothing – that sympathy and compassion are not a sign of weakness.

As strange as it sounds, I’m glad that my mother’s not here. She would be heartbroken by the bigotry and hatred that are so prevalent lately. Other than offering sympathy at a time of loss, we seem to have lost the ability to sympathize for anyone who is different from ourselves. The wealthy have no sympathy for the poor, the homeowners turn away from the homeless, and race relations seem to be a thing of the past (Literally. Race relations seem to have returned to those from the 50’s).

We need to remember that being sympathetic to another’s plight doesn’t mean that you are releasing them from accountability for their situation. I have a friend who is always complaining about her health/weight, yet refuses to change her diet or exercise plan. As someone who used to eat ice cream for breakfast (hey, I was ahead of my time, as this study shows) I sympathize with her, even while I hold her responsible for her actions. I have another friend who is always complaining that she’s overwhelmed and sleep deprived, and yet, she’s the first to raise her hand when they call for volunteers, Oh, wait. That’s me. I’m perfectly aware that I need to learn the “n-word” and yet, I refuse to do so (Will you sympathize with me, or should I pick up my dictionary?)

We need to get off our current path of violence and hatred. To do that, we need to learn to sympathize with people we might not agree with – to communicate compassionately.

In a perfect moment of synchronicity, this article from sonima.com on communication dropped into my newsfeed this morning. In it, Sonima’s psychologist and meditation teacher John Rettger offers a 3-step plan and guided meditation for compassionate communication. He instructs that we should do this from a place of empathy, compassion, and authenticity. You can connect to these qualities by taking space to remember what nearly all humans are seeking: To be loved, held with kindness, and accepted.”

Perhaps then, sympathy is not enough. We need to empathize with one another – to support without judgement.

 

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image courtesy of lifehack.org

Or, as Steve Martin says:

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”

I know we can do this – if we can offer Sympathy for the Devil we can sympathize with ANYONE

*For those of you who are not Southerners, “ya’ll” is singular.  and “all y’all” is plural.

So – tell me – what is your definition of sympathy, and who do you have a hard time sympathizing with?