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.

Measuring tape and hula hoops

Here are the things that have been on my mind a lot recently:

  1. My job
  2. My future
  3. The government
  4. Random crap

I’m tired of thinking about my job and my future, so let’s talk about the government.

My friend, Paula, and I used to say that we wanted to go into every meeting with a measuring tape and ask all the men to take out their penises and let us measure.  Once we knew who had the biggest one, we could get on with the business at hand.  By measuring, we could skip all the chest pounding, the braggadocio, and the metaphorical circling of each other that would normally take place for the first 20 minutes of the meeting as they worked out who was the “big dog” in the room.  I thought it was an excellent efficiency idea.

I want to do the same thing with our government.  Let’s just measure them and move on.  Yes, John Boehner, yours is huge.  We’re all impressed.  Now, let’s get this government open.  Oh, Harry Reid, how do you find pants that fit?  You surely make all men weep with envy.  Now, let’s start negotiating some deals.  And Mr. President, of course yours is beyond compare.  We all know that the President gets an implant on inauguration day — so you shouldn’t feel threatened at all.  You, above all else, should be helping those less blessed than you find a way to work together.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT HOW BIG YOU ARE AND START THINKING ABOUT THE NATION AND ITS CITIZENS.  Your desire to come out “on top” ensures that many of us feel like “bottom-dwelling people.”

Ok, that’s my rant on government.  What else can you say that we’re not all thinking?


So, for random crap.  My friend, Kristin, and I ate lunch in Davidson the other day.  It’s a really neat little college town.  I love the creativity of college kids:


Hula Hoop on, People.  Hula Hoop on.