Friday, November 25, 2011

Flaw #567

Thanksgiving is a day that gives you plenty of time for long discussions. Especially during the extended exercise of hand washing and drying all the china, silver, pots and pans. It is probably a little late in the game for me to be figuring out that the world is fraught with danger and intrigue but I finally came to that conclusion and shared it with one of my younger sisters in the midst of our dish washing.

I have a bad habit of being what I'd like to think is honest. I  talk about what I am thinking at any given moment. It is intended to be a dialogue with the conversee but it seems that most conversees see it as a pronouncement that is set in stone. My sister declared this "thinking out loud." People quickly jump from a pronouncement to drawing a line in the sand while I am still rolling thoughts around in my head......out loud.

The danger comes from thinking out loud with people who may not want to be a sounding board. Or the danger is ...not knowing when to shut up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cooking Disaster

So I have confirmed why I am only allowed to cook once a week. Yet another cooking disaster. It was really more of a buying disaster. I decided to try a new brand of gluten free pizza. Gluten free products are pretty mediocre at best... so you can just imagine the results. I do not recommend King Arthur brand gluten free pizza.The gold standard continues to be Bob's Red Mill. King Arthur came out more like a focaccia which is fine if that is what you are expecting....read more on unmet cooking expectations here.

While waiting for said leaden experience in baking to rise I had a chance to finish a review of the most recent biography on George Kennon. An interesting character during interesting times. Makes you start questioning the right of the masses to vote and rule our country. Note to self....buy biography and read...right after you have finished that biography on Copernicus.

Also had a chance to read about Margaret Sanger and the history of "family planning"more commonly known as birth control. We have come a long way but it is beginning to feel as if we are sliding backwards. Another note to self- those damn Europeans have it all over us Americans when it comes to pizza and social policy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Facing Off

Typical, everyday Sarah being unglamorous, unfashionable, unsophisticated and uninteresting.

I started doing Facebook a few years ago in an effort to learn about all the free marketing tools at my disposal....along with blogging, twitter and e-newsletters. In tandem I created personal and business accounts. It has proved to be a great marketing tool for my business. On the personal front it seems to be an exercise in self-esteem management.

Making my life sound interesting on a daily - or hourly- basis is a chore. I read every one's posts and wonder how they do it. When I start to analyze I realize that many don't have a fascinating life. They tend to post the same thing over and over......sort of advertising how boring they are. I made a rule for myself about not posting something if I have said it one or two times already. It keeps me from repeating "Oh my GOD I woke up at 3 AM again!" The world and my friends don't need to be reminded that I am an insomniac.

Being witty and on for the world to see is, likewise, a burden. I try to save the bon mots for the friends who will share in a delicious giggle with me- in real time. I appreciate when people share something witty on Facebook but it seems strained when they constantly have to one up themselves to maintain the facade.

And the biggest burden is for Facebook users to appear engaged, civic minded and selfless at all times. They are supporting a cause, being righteous or telling you what side of the political fence they fall on by "liking" someone else's post, cause or whatever. It all feels so superficial to me. Does no one do anything nice or right just for the personal thrill of it? Does it need to be broadcast? I will admit that I have participated in some of this self promotion in the past because it feels like the rules of the game. I feel as uncomfortable doing it now as I do in sporting bumper stickers on my car. I do nice things because it is the right thing to do.... not because I am branding myself.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Power of Andy... Squared

I stayed at my sister's house the other night. It was still dark when I woke up and snuck downstairs to find some coffee. As I walked past her bedroom her husband, Andy called out "is that you Sarah? Come cuddle with me." My sister Reta has the weirdest work habits of anyone I know so she had already cleared out of bed to jump on her computer...leaving her hollow in the bed for me.

Andy's invite was all I needed. I climbed into bed and assumed the world's most comfortable position, spooning- pushing my butt into his union suited stomach, his arms around my shoulders. He noted how familiar my body felt- being practically a double of his wife- and then proceeded to tell me how beautiful, funny and personable I am. As I struggle with the definition of happiness and what a relationship is these were words that were soothing.

I asked him to hold me tighter.... and he did. With his lips practically on my ear he told me how wonderful his relationship with my sister is. She is even tempered. She never holds a grudge. She says exactly what she wants. She lets him know when he is being a jerk. And he appreciates being told. She follows her heart and allows him to do the same.

I want that. And it felt good just to be held.

As I wandered downstairs finally to find my first cup of coffee. Reta looked up from her computer and noted I was up. I told her I had been in bed with her husband cuddling.

"He's a good cuddler, isn't he?"

Yup.

Andy and Reta sharing a smooch.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Digging Up Some Personal Dirt

Things can take a while to sink in/fit in/make sense in my head. On my drive to work this morning I thought some more about the shootings out in Arizona and the media response to it. Most people have moved past it to more recent news but I am just starting to figure it out.

It would be nice to apportion blame to a larger force than a lone, crazy gunman. It is human nature to want to find a reason behind something that has disturbed us and if it was a lone crazy gunman the reasoning stops there. No linear thinking or reasoning involved. So we start to blame everyone but the most obvious instigator. We blame the "other." And the media played into our collective deep, dark needs.

I think the truth is that it was a lone crazy gunman. But just saying the shooter had faulty wiring doesn't satisfy our need to seek retribution. Punishing an insane person serves no one- they won't ever show remorse or be deterred by punishment. Only a sane person can understand the concept of cause & effect, crime & punishment.

But I don't think this lets everyone else off the hook. And by "everyone else" I mean the people who have used inflammatory language in this current social climate. We all need to respect the power of words- their ability to strengthen, destroy, marshal, belittle and enlighten. Political and military leaders have used language to sway and persuade. It is a huge disservice to our ability to communicate if we say we cannot make someone do something with words alone.

I also think it is human nature to try to find a place to put our strong emotions. I think the young shooter had huge feelings of anger, hate & resentment. His past shows a history of similar problems. I think he latched onto a seeming struggle between our political factions and poured his feelings into it. And these feelings allowed him to turn people into enemies, something less than human. He conflated anger into moral right.

And I think there is a much smaller lesson to take away. And I will make it personal here. As I struggle with feelings inside of me- sorting, dividing, dismissing & exploring- the confusion wells up in me. I find I lash out, make pronouncements, ask and weep as I struggle to make sense of it all. And those around me pay. I pour my heap of confusion into my bucket of relationships.

But I would like to think that a love that binds will keep them by me as I do for them.

Sarah uncovering more dirt. Or is it a new lily garden?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Miss Communication

Is there some trick to it that I don't get? Did I miss yet another queue for an important life skill manual because I was busy contemplating my navel?

And most importantly.... why do they make it look so easy in the movies?
  • Communication
  • Misunderstanding
  • Reiteration
  • Resolution
In an effort to be the most honest, selfish & happy person in the world I keep running smack into other people trying to do the same thing. Their thing sometimes runs counter to my things.

On the other hand I reflect that if all went smoothly every single day it would be boring. I would cease to put effort into things. I would walk around in a stupor. It would be the proverbial happy pill.

Happiness can be in the stretching, growing and trying.

Cheers! Sarah having a cappuccino in Florence.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Okay, Enough About You....

I had lunch with my good friend Michelle yesterday. She is certainly someone I would call a fellow traveler. We both are struggling along to become the best people we know how to be. Which, in my case anyways, is quite a bit less than perfect.

Over a cup of tea and garlic/chicken nachos (disgusting-eh?) she said she had to say something to me, get it off her chest, clear the air. She was slightly misty eyed so I prepared to hear another of my occasional transgressions... which it was. I had hurt her with what I thought was an unimportant comment. But it didn't matter what I felt about the comment- it had hurt her to the quick. She felt judged.

What to do? #1- Apologize. #2- Explain.

But the explanation didn't involve any minimizing of the intent of the comment. I took full ownership of it, but tried to explain the state I was in at the time. I was in a bad place. My comment reflected what I would have so harshly said to myself in similar (but not quite) circumstances.

And I am also relearning that each person's experience is unique and trying to extrapolate from my own experience and apply to an other's just plain, old doesn't work. Along with the lesson that words can be very, very powerful.

And then Michelle tried to explain away her tears. "You think too much, I feel too much." She is right- again.

Henry & Charlie making nice.