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Tag Archives: thoughts

The Old Lighter Under the Shirt Trick

30 Jun

Reading  another blog  reminded me of something that happened in my little world recently and made me think about my first impressions of people…

One weekend, my husband and I had agreed to take a drive to help my mechanical-minded father-in-law pick up an old Jeep he was purchasing from a random seller (online). We drove him there to get the car.

Actually, first we waited for Jeepman to call back to arrange a time.

A time was set and we arrived and waited for Jeepman to return from fishing. There was a boat; there were children; there was chatting.

There was an enthusiastic pit bull that wagged her tail so hard it was like having our legs beaten with a very happy stick. Honestly, it hurt. It may have left bruises, I forgot to check.

The purchase was made. We were to follow in case the Jeep broke down.

And it did break down. About five minutes down the road.

A large pickup truck pulled up beside us, and there was an offer to tow the Jeep out of the intersection. We were towed away from traffic by the pickup guys.

I thought that was kind.

Then, the pickup guys parked and one of them got out and started trying to help fix the car so it would drive.

There was looking under the hood, there was tinkering… there was lying on the pavement underneath the back of the Jeep.

This was some real Good Samaritan stuff. Beyond kind.

I was truly surprised —  and I probably should not have been — not only because the guys took so much time to help out some complete strangers, but because the first guy I saw get out of the truck looked kind of scruffy, like a television version of a drug addict.

Stringy hair past his shoulders, missing teeth, tattoos, cigarette, worn clothes. His t-shirt had a design that seemed to blend into the tattoos on his arms.

He saw me watching him from inside our car. He grinned and waved at me. His hair was blowing everywhere. I should note that I stayed in the car because I thought it would not take long. I was wrong.

I watched as Scruffyman searched the ground after his fresh cigarette blew out of his grip. He picked it up from the sidewalk at the edge of the grass, put it in his mouth and pulled his shirt over the lower half of his face. Then he stuck his other arm under the shirt. His face emerged with a lit cigarette.

I had never seen this before.

I thought maybe he should have a hairband if he was in the habit of smoking with long hair on windy days. Seemed risky.

The Jeep got started again as I reflected on the kindness of Scruffyman.

We went a few miles before the Jeep stopped again.

This time, the Jeep was pushed by hand, and a tow service was called. We sat in my car with the windows open and the radio on. It was windy, hot, boring.

There was a deer across the street running inside an enclosed fence. It disappeared into the tall foliage as if it had never been there at all.

We waited. Sometimes the deer’s head popped up to look at us. We stared back. Sometimes we saw a bit of brown between the leaves, but mostly we saw nothing.

After about two hours of waiting, with assurances that the tow truck driver was “almost there”, we went to pick up my father-in-law’s big truck to tow the Jeep ourselves.

The day was long, but I felt my hope for humanity restored by Scruffyman and his generosity of spirit.

It was a reminder that our outsides do not reflect our insides.

 

 

 

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Beyond Stories One Through Five

13 Jun

Several years ago my father made some comment along the lines of “There are only about five different movies in the world.” An exaggeration, of course, but when he explained what he meant I had to agree. Nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes. A handful of plots and some variations. Over and over. Sometimes blatant imitation.

The older I get, the more I feel like I have already watched what I am watching.

I read quite a bit, but television is very good for certain times and moods. When my husband and I married we agreed on using a particular streaming program/disc service that starts with an N, and avoiding cable or dish service. No commercials, so we save time and plenty of money, plus we control our own programing to a large extent. Nine years have passed, and frankly I don’t think we have missed much.

Recently, I have been enjoying Switched at Birth, a family oriented show. A portion of the main characters are deaf/hearing impaired and there are whole sections of the show that are performed in signed dialog, sometimes without speech or background noise of any kind. This makes it harder to go to the kitchen for a snack because I must watch the screen for subtitles, but I am thrilled to see something NEW on television.

I also like the BBC show Sherlock. It is odd and sometimes confusing. I feel challenged. How refreshing. Also, I like that one of the stars is named Benedict Cumberbatch. Best actor name since Randolph Mantooth.

If you have any favorite shows or films that don’t make you feel like you have already seen them, and are possibly even original, please share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality Across Time

1 Jun

Material possessions are not on my list of What is Important in Life. However, I like things made with care and quality, things that last.

There have been times in my life when I have bought “disposable” clothing or furniture, and I have always regretted it.

Thrifty as I am, I need to know that what I buy will continue to serve its purpose for many years, and hopefully look beautiful doing it.

NOTE:  I wrote these words many months ago and saved the draft, waiting until I had more to say. I have not been writing on this site, due to having less time and energy to write the kind of posts I want to write. I have decided to go ahead and post my occasional thoughts, however brief they may be.

In this case, I am writing about things made with care and quality and then telling you that I will publish writing with a little bit less care and quality. I do see the irony.

I think, right now, it is more important to bring some care and quality into my Real Life. I care about writing…and so, actually doing it– even in smaller pieces– improves the quality of my Life, if not my Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Different

29 Dec

I have been reflecting on the fundamental differences between different people and what happens when we make the mistake of thinking everyone is the same — or that they should be.

I am an introvert. Some people do not know what this means, although nearly half the population is introverted. We don’t call attention to ourselves as extroverts do. A book called Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking  gave me much to think about.

I was still thinking about the book when I watched a film called The King’s Speech. In the film, two sons of a king are both unsuited for the throne they stand to inherit. One is unable to sacrifice his personal desires for the sake of social rules. The other is uncomfortable with public speaking, due to an unfortunate lifelong stuttering problem.

As I watched the streaming film, my internet connection became repeatedly interrupted so that I could watch only a few moments at a time. The screen had a stutter of its own. This affected my viewing of the film, but added, I think, another dimension to it. I felt that I had an additional understanding of the frustration of the family and friends of the title character, listening to his fractured communication, as I watched the fractured film. The idea of being a king or queen would thrill some but horrify others. I fall in the latter category, in case you can’t guess.

A friend of mine wrote something about the harmful nature of “unsolicited advice“, which is another way of saying “telling others how to live their lives”. I responded that I think unsolicited advice often comes from those who believe others will benefit in the exact same ways from whatever worked for them. If a woman has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of pregnancy and parenthood, she may think that every woman should become a mother. If she has achieved much wealth and personal satisfaction from working in the financial sector, she may think everyone should apply for such employment. Well intentioned advice, perhaps, but thoughtless, unhelpful, and self-centered.

Should we all live the same life, hold the same job, raise our children the same way? I do not believe so. Do we all have the same inclinations, abilities, and traits? Of course not.

I like the title of the book Quiet because this is a term that has often been used to describe me. “You’re so quiet.

The term is accurate, and yet it is used almost exclusively by strangers. Anyone who knows me feels no need to describe me this pointless and impolite way. It would be like commenting on my obvious physical characteristics. Imagine someone who has known you for years saying, “Your hair is so brown!” or, “Your feet are so small today!”

Those who do not know me, unless they are quiet themselves, often see my quietness as a reflection of my mood or my response to them. Am I depressed? Am I bored? Do I distrust them?  They do not consider that quietness is simply a part of my innate character. They certainly are not complimenting me, with the exception of one or two men from foreign countries in which quietness is a more desirable trait than it is in this culture.

We are all different.

Some are loud, some are quiet. Some constantly seek more in life, while others are content with whatever they have. Some are anxious, some are calm. Some are leaders, some are followers. Some are big, some are small. Some are dark, some are pale. Some make jokes, others are serious.

We all contribute something different to the world.

Mental Magnets

9 Nov
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”—Mary Lou Retton

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new car (even a used car) you start seeing that model of car everywhere — as if you had just acquired the top-selling vehicle in the nation?

Similarly, when you have just been dumped by your sweetheart and you are moping around all alone, thinking about the happy times before your beloved kicked you to the curb, you can be sure that blissful couples will appear at every turn, cuddling and sighing contentedly.

I believe the human mind seeks familiarity. We see whatever we are thinking about.

We may feel as though we are drawing these things toward ourselves like a magnet, when perhaps we are simply more attuned to what has been there all along.

Either way, it seems to be a good idea to focus on what you want in your life, rather than what is wrong or what is missing.

Don't be this guy.

A Simple Philosophy

18 May

“If you don’t get what you want, change your mind.”

I heard this from an art teacher approximately twenty years ago.  As a philosophy it has served me well — both in art and in life.

The next time you feel frustrated, think about changing your mind.  Try looking at life from another angle.

See where it takes you!

Change

9 Feb

I have been posting on this blog once a week, but this week I had expected that I might not write at all.

I thought, “I have too much anxiety this week.  My life is turning upside down.  I can’t think straight.  I can’t write.”

Then I realized, “That is exactly why I should write.”

Recently, I took some pictures of Spring branches and used them in a post.  The branches were bare to start with, but tiny buds turned to flowers and a few leaves.  The photos showed beauty, but they also showed change.

Sometimes you think you have it all together.

Everything changes. 

Some people looked at my photos of blossoming  branches and made comments about the speed of nature and the speed of life.

Sometimes life is too slow and we are impatient.  Sometimes it is too fast and we want it to stop.

Today, thirteen days after I brought them home, the branches still hold my attention.  Most of the flowers have now withered or shattered.

Petals are strewn across the tablecloth.  That is not a serious problem for me.  Something is always strewn across the tablecloth around here, and it is normally far worse and more difficult to remove than a few pink petals.

The branches have changed again.  They are not bare, however.  The few green leaves have become many.  At this point, there are more leaves than flowers.  Something dies and something else appears.

I am thinking about closed doors and open windows.  I am thinking about caterpillars and butterflies.  I am thinking about the nature of change.  I am thinking about chaos, about simplicity, and about Life, and how it is never the way we plan it out, or the way we expect it to be.

That is the adventure of it, right?

Sometimes life is messy.

Our family is preparing for a move.  This is a forced downsizing of our household, for financial reasons.  My life will change dramatically over the next six weeks.  Such is the nature of life.

Life is messy and stressful.

Life is surprising and interesting.

Life changes and we change with it.

One of my mothers-in-law ( I have two) refers to problems, difficulties, or struggles as Periods of Growth — as in, “Her husband left her with six children and no support, and wow, she experienced a real Period of Growth.”

My Period of Growth will be relatively minor, but I will grow and I will change.

It will be interesting to see how I turn out.