A rose by any other name is called my old lady

Matt and I had a conversation about rednecks last night and it eventually went something like this:

matt:  We need to be careful what we say about rednecks because we live among a bunch of them.

me:  I’m not saying anything bad because we have a bunch of them in our families.

(pause)

me:  But I don’t consider you a redneck.

matt:  You don’t?

me:  Why should I?

matt:  I like to ride four-wheelers, and that’s something rednecks do.

me:  Yeah.  But you like to drink import beer.

matt:  But I also like Budweiser.  And that’s a redneck beer.

me:  You don’t hunt.

matt:  True.

me:  You’re not a redneck.

(silence)

me:  You know, I have heard you call me “my old lady.”  That’s rednecky.  I wish you didn’t call me that.

matt:  You don’t like that?  I hear that all that time.  That’s how guys refer to their wives.

me:  They don’t just say “my wife”?  Like “My wife wants me to come home?” instead of “My old lady wants me to come home?”

matt:  Yes, but there is no bad meaning behind it.  They don’t mean it with any disrespect.

(silence)

me:  I guess it’s more important what you say about “your old lady” than the fact that you call me ” my old lady.”

matt:  Exactly.

(pause)

me:  Like, “Hey, my old lady has taught me how to love again!”

matt:  I have never said that.

me:  Well, maybe you should.

matt:  Could you write it down so I could say it correctly?

I so dislike it when I hear people talking badly about their spouses.  I am surprised, actually, by how often I hear it happen.  I overhear it in the elevator, standing in line in the cafeteria, as part of the chit-chat that takes place before a meeting starts.  You know what I’m talking about:  “My husband is driving me crazy.  He never helps me with the kids.  I have to do everything by myself.  He’s awful.”  Or “My wife is bitching me out about buying a new car.  It’s always something with her.  Buy this.  Buy that.  It never stops.”  I have heard each of these statements more than once from people.  And worse.

I had a co-worker once that used to call his wife the “fun Nazi”.  I always used to think to myself that I would hate to be his wife and find out that he was using such a derogatory term to describe me.  I would have to call foul.

from: quotes-lover.com

Here’s some unsolicited advice.  Speak nicely about your spouse — it only calls into question your judgment in marrying them when you don’t.  Matt can call me his old lady all day long, but I know he doesn’t say anything bad about me when he does.  And my old man is pretty special, too.

Hipster dude.

So, I was listening to NPR the other morning when they did a quick segment on how there is a growing business of beard transplants.  Yes, beard transplants.  The act of taking hair from somewhere else from the body and relocating it to the face is increasing.  Here is a picture of it:

All I could think:  it is one thing to take hair from another part of your body and put it on top of your head.  A completely different thing to take hair not meant for your face and put it near your mouth.

And then all I could think about was this Saturday Night Live skit:

Bosley Hair Transplant  (click)Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.11.58 PM

And I say, “Ewww.”  Being a hipster just isn’t worth it.

Don’t Break the Number One Rule

Matt and I went out to eat for breakfast on Sunday morning.  On the drive home, I started to comment on the work that some local/state/federal agency has completed over the last several weeks.

me:  Wow, they have really trimmed the trees way back from the power lines.

Matt:  Well, I guess they want to make sure that limbs don’t fall on the lines in ice or snow storms.

[silence]

me:  You know, if you were to go back in time, you would really miss seeing the power lines running down the side of the roads.  They are such a part of the landscape.

Matt:  Power lines didn’t exist back then, so no one would miss them.

me:  No, if you went back in the time before power lines, you would notice that they there gone and it would seem weird.

Matt:  No, it wouldn’t seem weird because you wouldn’t know that you were missing them.

me: (throwing him a incredulously look that he missed since he was driving) No, like if you got in a time machine from this time and went back in time like the movie, you would really notice that there weren’t any power lines.

Matt:  Yeah, that’s what you would be noticing.

me:  Well, you would.  Maybe not first thing.  But you would.

Matt:  Ok, so you and I go back in time and -

me:  Well, it wouldn’t be you and me.  It would be scientists and such.

Matt:  Why wouldn’t it be you and me?

me:  Why would it be you and me?

Matt:  Why wouldn’t it be you and me?

me:  Like a giant wormhole with the time-space continuum thingees is just going to open up for us?

Matt:  Yes.

me:  Don’t you think that will happen for someone that is like actually working with wormholes and studying that stuff?

Matt:  Let’s just assume it’s us.

me:  Why would I go back?  I have nothing to offer the people of the past.  I’m not a scientist or a doctor.  I can’t offer the people of the past something that will make their lives better.

Matt:  That’s great.  Because you can’t break the number one rule which is that you can’t alter the future.

me:  That’s the number one rule?

Matt:  Yes.

me:  According to who?

Matt:  Everybody knows that.

me:  More number one than love thy neighbor?

Matt:  Well, you’re being silly.

And apparently I’m useless enough that I couldn’t alter the course of the future.  Even if I tried.

Hospital

Missed me?  Well, I was in the hospital recently for 6 days and 5 nights.

After I heard the words (the scariest words that I have ever heard) “You have a blood clot in your lung” and after the trip in the ambulance to the hospital, the learning experience about our health care system began.  And here are some of the things that I learned:

  • In a panic, don’t overstate your weight by 100 lbs because it may affect your meds dosage
  • Leave modesty at the door  – they’ve seen it a million times
  • Until you’re “in the system”, do not expect to be fed.  Quarters and vending machines are life’s sustenance
  • Looking for your next stop?  Look no further than the paper that is delivered every morning.

photo-44

  • Don’t suspect a porno movie when you hear someone yelling in another room “Swallow it!  Swallow it!”.  It’s just a nurse trying to get a patient to take their medicine.
  • Expect food when it’s delivered to you, not at the same time every day.  Expect some feelings of intense hunger.
  • Eat peas even when you hate peas.  See learning above.
  • No one cares how you smell but you

Now, I could comment on how the doctors and nurses treated me, how I never saw the same therapist or laboratory person twice, how out of the loop of their own care a patient feels, or how isolating a trip to the hospital can be.  But I purposefully chose to concentrate on the positive and the ridiculous during my stay.  (And besides, there are plenty of well researched, cited and professionally written articles and books on our health care system without me trying to act like an expert.  All I can write about is my stay.)

The positive and the ridiculous helped me keep my calm.  Helped me to combat the fear that came to me along with the understanding that I could have died.  I have had another moment in my life in which I will now begin to measure events:  things that happened before my embolism and things that happened after my embolism.  I have a feeling that I may be one of those schmucks that decides to live life a little differently as a result.

Here’s the best part:  I have a wonderful memento of my stay.  It’s the most expensive piece of jewelry I’ve ever owned:

photo-43

Matt and I are estimating that it will cost $50K.  Luckily, we don’t have to pay “retail” since we have insurance.  I want to buy a bedazzling machine and bling it up.  I think I can dress it up or down.

Finally, in the spirit of not taking myself to seriously, here’s a conversation Matt and I had at breakfast this morning.  We were talking about his cold and how he was feeling better today than yesterday.

matt:  Freaking hospital.  That’s where I got this cold.

me:  Well, at least you can’t catch a clot.

(pause)

me:  Even though I can throw one!!

(major laughing on my part)

matt:  Much funnier in your head than said out loud.

Two thousand zero zero party over whoops out of time

Another holiday season is coming to an end.  I’ve been listening to NPR in the car, and there have been several “Best of 2013″, “Most Interesting of 2013″, “Most Polarizing of 2013″, etc. lists going around.  I’m ambivalent about all those lists.  I hardly ever agree with the choices because I see events through a different lens than the authors of the lists, but I enjoy the reminders of the events that have taken place in just 365 short days.  It’s surprising how much can happen in just a year.

But what’s been on my mind lately hasn’t been recent memories–it has been more distant memories, specifically those of my teenage years.  Two things have prompted teenage reminiscing:  my mom just got her first smart phone and my uncle found a copy of an old VHS tape of my dance recital from 1986.

I am excited that my mom got a smart phone.  Now we can text, we can Facetime, she can try all these new apps.  The phone paid for itself when she got to see my nieces and nephew on Facetime all the way across the country on Christmas Eve.  Awesome.

And as my mom was asking me all these questions about her smart phone (as she was talking to me from her “land line”, as we call her home phone), I started to think about not having a home phone anymore.  Matt and I don’t have a home phone, we each have mobile phones.  You want to reach me, you call me.  Want Matt, call his number.  When I was growing up, however, you called a person’s house and you got whomever answered the phone.  It was a crap shoot.  And for a long time during my growing up years, an answering machine was nonexistent.  No one home?  Call back later, chump.

How do teenage girls do it these days?  For me, the home phone was the key to maintaining hope. My mom wouldn’t let me or my sister call boys — “if they like you, they will call you.  Ladies don’t call boys.” — so we had to rely on the boys to make the first telephonic move.

I didn’t have a lot (count any) boyfriends in my teen years, but had lots of crushes and wanted desperately for my crushes to call me on the phone.  Thank goodness I grew up before smart phones because I totally relied on the “he must have called while I was gone” excuse.  The “he has a sister that is always on the phone so he can’t use it to call me” rationale.  The ever-popular “he’s not at home to call me” logic.

I was the teenage princess of denial, but I had the perfect tool to feed my delusion with the home phone, sans caller ID and voice mail, stuck to the wall somewhere in the house, totally not mobile.

I feel sorry for teenagers these days.  There’s no way to create an illusion of “I missed his call” anymore.  There are no more “missed calls” — the number and time and date of every call that came in is captured until deleted.  There’s no way to call his house and hang up when he answers and not get busted anymore (I don’t think, but I don’t know all the rules).  Everyone’s number and name (and sometimes their picture) pops up when they call you. 

The only thing that you can’t hide is the fact that when they don’t call, you know that they don’t call.  So sad.  I’m sorry, all you teenagers.  Technology’s not looking so great now, huh?

Then there was THE dance recital.  My uncle found the VHS tape and I sent it off for conversion to DVD.  Loved watching us dance to what we thought at the time was the greatest dance ever choreographed.  A little sad to have another delusion exposed.

For your enjoyment, here’s a loop of me (in the middle), shaking it like I was 16.  Hard to believe that I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends, right?

lionm

I’m failing, and I will get up

I am failing.  At least I feel like I am failing, so the end result is the same.  Stress and anxiety.

The good news is that I feel like I am failing in my professional life, not my personal life.  Plus, I am aware that I am failing.  I have had some instances in the past where I thought I was doing a good job, but those around me didn’t.  I would rather be “in the know” on this topic and not surprised at the end.

Feeling like a failure is no fun.  It really sucks, actually.  My confidence is tested, I question my judgement about most everything, my nerves are stretched, and I may, just may, have a small touch of paranoia.  (Now, I’ll be concerned that you all are talking about me behind my back after reading this post.  Hmmm….maybe should rethink posting this.)

While I am not enjoying this interlude, I am not fearful of it.  Some of the most important milestones and turning points in my life have happened as a result of a failure.

I have recently heard a lot of people around me say things like, “I refuse to fail” or “I will do anything to keep from failing” or the old standby “Failure is not an option” and I think “That’s unrealistic.”  And it’s a lost opportunity to grow.

I have learned more from my past failures than from any of my successes.  No lie.  As painful as they were when I was going through them, I know that I am a better person because of those failures.

I used to interview up to around 100 people per year for a training program.  One of my favorite questions to ask was “Tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way that you planned.”  A very open-ended question.  Most of the candidates that I interviewed were just out of college, looking for their first “real” job, so I heard lots of stories about group projects that weren’t smooth, or summer jobs that weren’t all that were promised and so forth.  I was interested in hearing how their project had gone awry and how they tried to mitigate, but I was always most interested and impressed by those who ended the answer by then saying, “And what that experience taught me was…..”  Yes, I used to think, someone who learned from adversity.

So, I’m in a super-sucky place right now.  I wonder what I’ll learn.  I’m really looking for a bright side here, and learning is it.  Smile at me, people, when you see me walking by, and just know–my brain cells are expanding from all the learning going on.

________________________________________________

Completely and totally changing topics, I mentioned in my last post that I was going to start spicing up my tweets.

Did It.  By Accident.

My friend, Nikki, and I had dinner last night and we discussed how we didn’t understand all the selfies girls took these days where they were pooching out their lips, like duck lips.  So, today I tweeted Nikki a selfie of me doing the duck lip thing:

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.18.34 PM

Then I quickly had to tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.19.04 PM

 

I hate when I get my “d”s and “f”s confused.  It causes all kinds of issues.  Eh, in this case, however, it was probably ok either way.

 

When it’s time to write my biography

I was listening to Marketplace News on my local public radio on the way home tonight, and I heard an interview with Nick Bilton about his new book, Hatching Twitter:  A True Store of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 6.58.17 PM

It was an interesting interview and it made me want to read the book.  Apparently, the creation and building of Twitter had been nothing less than chaotic (I mean, check out the subtitle).

The interviewer asked Bilton if he got full cooperation from the principal characters while writing the book, and Bilton made a comment that really got my attention.  He said that he went back and reviewed the four Twitter founders’ Facebook status updates, their Tweets, their posts to Flickr and to YouTube, and in many instances these didn’t match their memories.  He used their social media posts to help verify, clarify and, I would assume, prompt recall of events.

Ok, so I may late coming to this realization, but we are daily contributing to our biographies via social media.   With pictures.  And videos.  And often snarky one-liners.

Ignore that I am stupid and late to this game.  But I don’t think that my contributions to social media have been good enough to use in my biography (to any future biography writers out there).  I have always been cognizant of the “rules” of social media, the rules according to me.

  • Rule 1.  Assume that everything that you post could end up being seen by anyone in the world
  • Rule 2.  Assume that you can’t make everyone happy, but you shouldn’t try to piss everyone off
  • Rule 3.  Follow the advice of your mother–don’t talk politics or religion in someone else’s house
  • Rule 4.  Your mother has already seen you nude as a child, and she doesn’t want to see you that way as an adult (refer back to Rule 1)
  • Rule 5.  If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.  (I don’t always follow this rule.)

When you follow these rules, your social media contributions are pretty bland.  And I’m pretty private, as well.

I think that I’m going to have to SPICE UP MY TWEETING!  Bam.  It’s on.  Cause I want it to be a good story.

(Should also have a good story….but that’s beside the point on social media, right?  It’s just about telling a good story, right?)

This should have a title, but I can’t think of one.

Matt and I visited the Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va, this past week.  It is a fancy-schmancy place.  We, however, had a Groupon — we’re not fancy-schmancy, just fancy wannabes.

This is what you see when you drive over the hill into the resort:

Pretty cool.

Matt checked us in.  When he came back to the car, he informed me, “I saw Hoit and Toit in the lobby.”

The Homestead was a very nice place to stay.  The history is amazing.  The resort was built around natural hot mineral springs that many Presidents and other notables have used for the last 300 years.  This was one of the reasons we wanted to go.  Until Fancy Wannabe #2 (me) realized 90 miles from home that she forgot her bathing suit.  The f-bomb was used extensively.

Hoit and Toit lowered their noses long enough to not bump into us in the halls.  Actually, I think a lot of people there were fellow Groupon-ers.  We did see one older couple in the joint that either had money or had a lot of debt.  I only assume that because the woman had much, much, mucho dollars invested in plastic surgery on her face.  As we passed them in the lobby, Matt and I both noticed how her skin was so tight that her eyes were barely open.

Matt:  Cristy, what was that?

me:  That was a lot of botox and plastic surgery.

Matt:  Well, it’s messed up, right?  A bad job?

me:  No, she meant to look like that.  In some circles, that looks good.

Matt:  Those circles are crazy.

I saw this cartoon on Pinterest last night and it made me laugh out loud because it reminded me of what we saw.

On another note, I stumbled across this YouTube video and I love it.  This little girl has got the right idea.  Play with others, but make it your own.  And wear tap shoes.  Always wear tap shoes.

I see evil people. Do they see me?

I saw this TEDTalk several months ago, but the message in it has been rattling around in my head since then.

Kathryn Schulz is a “wrong-ologist”, at least that is what I am calling her even if the rest of the world isn’t calling her that.  She gave this TEDTalk a couple of years ago about how we humans hate finding out we are wrong and the lengths we go to in order to avoid it.

If you have 18 minutes, watch it!

Schulz says that one of the big reasons we humans like being right so much and hate being wrong about any given topic/issue/idea is that we are socialized to strive for “rightness.”  Getting the answer right on tests in school, answering questions correctly in class, etc., were rewarded with praise and were treated as indicators of whether one was a “good” kid or a “goof off” kid as we are growing up.  We learn early that being right is good.

And thus, we constantly (albeit sometimes subconsciously) strive to be right, assuring ourselves that our opinions, our ways of doing things, our methods are the “right” way.  Because we are good people, so we must be right.

The internet has certainly increased my knowledge and awareness of how many people do not share my viewpoint on a lot of topics.  I can’t count how many times I have read a news piece on-line which I thought was so straight forward, i.e. man convicted of killing wife after jury heard details of how he was found with bloody knife in hand and confessed, to only read dozens and dozens of comments by other readers that lambasted the jury, criticized the judicial system, vilified the police.  “WTF?”, I think.  “Aren’t they reading what I’m reading?  Can’t they see what I see?”

This, says Schulz, is the big challenge with needing to be right.  People will not agree with me 100% of the time.  People will not think like me 100% of the time.  People will not act like me 100% of the time.

How do I reconcile someone not thinking/acting like I do if I am right most of the time?

She says we compensate by using a set of “Unfortunate Assumptions”.  The first assumption is that if someone doesn’t think like you about a particular topic, then they just must not have all the information that you have.

From TEDTalk video

From TEDTalk video

Yep, that’s me.  Been there, assumed that.

If you share the knowledge you have or make sure that they have the same knowledge you have, and they still don’t think the same way you do, you assume that they just aren’t that smart.

From TEDTalk video

OH BOY, so me.  In fact, my friend, Nikki, says that I need a t-shirt that says “[ ... ] is an Idiot” because I have called so many people that.  Guilty, Judge.

If you find out that the person is actually quite smart (that is, NOT an idiot) and that they still don’t think like you, well, there’s only one conclusion to draw.

From TEDTalk video

From TEDTalk video

YES, they are just evil and trying to make me look bad and disagreeing with me for no other reason than to be mean.  They should be destroyed!  Mwah-ha-ha!

When I first watched Schulz’s TEDTalk, I laughed out loud at the part about the “Unfortunate Assumptions” because it described me perfectly.  I could have been the person that she studied to develop it.

But as the months have gone by, I’ve tried to have a more serious response to this.  And that response is to be more careful and thoughtful to someone who doesn’t think/act like me or disagrees with me.  My first reaction cannot be a trip down these three assumptions.  More than likely they are making the same three assumption about me.  (Wonder how fast they are getting to “Evil”?  Oh, wow!  I wonder if they are even getting to “Evil” or have just abandoned it as a case of “Idiocy”?  Crap, that would sting.)

My first reaction should be some questions:  questions to them to understand their point of view and questions to myself to understand how I came to my opinion and how strongly I am attached to it.

I’ve been working on this for several months — and IT IS HARD!  It is hard to stop myself from automatically taking a defensive position on my opinion.  It is hard to question the strength of my belief in my opinion.  It can be hard to admit that I am wrong.  And sometimes (I confess) I still don’t admit it.  (Because my wrongness is occasionally outweighed by my stubbornness.)

But I do enjoy calling fewer people “Idiots” these days.  If I ever called you an Idiot, I apologize.  I’m sure you were calling me one, as well.  No hard feelings.  We cool.

By the way, there is a whole lot more in Kathryn Schulz TEDTalk than these three assumptions, so really, if you get a chance, watch her.

Billy Joel, thanks, dude

I know that there have been dozens (or more) of articles and blogs about how music can evoke memories.  You know, the song that takes you back to the year you got your driver’s license, or back to your senior prom, or the song that was playing when you broke up with a serious girl or boyfriend?  For years I couldn’t listen to Bryan Adam’s Everything I Do (I Do For You) without getting sad.  I am not sure why it had such a powerful effect on me — I assume it had to do with the rough patches my ex-boyfriend and I were going through at the time Robin Hood was released.  Now I can listen to it with no problem.

Joan Jett singing Crimson and Clover takes me to the amusement park at the Pavilion at Myrtle Beach and a ride there, where the song was blasting and I felt as good as I have felt.

Then sometimes a song captures the feelings that you are having right now, rather than bringing back emotions.

That’s what happened to me today.

The best way to describe how I’ve been feeling lately is like time is passing and I’m missing something.  I think there are several things driving this feeling:

  • I’m having a mid-life plight.  Not a crisis — a plight.  Let’s get that straight.  But I am pondering how I have spent the last 20+ years and if I want to spend the next 20 doing the same thing.
  • My sister and I closed our dad’s estate last week.  I wasn’t expecting it to make me as sad as it did.  And it also made me think about what a person leaves behind when they pass.  The material things are not important — it’s the stories and the memories by which my sister and I feel most blessed.

So, today, when my iPhone music shuffled to Piano Man by Billy Joel, two things happened.  First, a Billy Joel song took me right back to my adolescent and teenage years.  He was one of my favorite singers when I was growing up.  Second, the lyrics of the song hit me in the gut:

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

Oh, Billy, you say the best.   Time is passing, and sometimes the memory is just out of reach.  But I can take comfort in the fact that the memory is sad and sweet and it was mine.  And I’ll have sweet, sad (and happy) memories from this stage of my life, too.

Now, I just have to find the music that will bring me back to now.

Hey, Matt — let’s buy those tickets to shoot zombies with the paintball guns.  And let’s play some rockin’ music while we do it.