Softening the Edges

21 02 2018

Life can be rough, whether it’s pounding you with overwhelmingly large problems, pains, and worries or just pestering you with a million little irritations until you are one raw nerve. When the onslaught feels like it might overtake you, there is magic in the company of a gentle friend.

I have smart friends, clever friends, funny friends, driven friends, and intense friends.  I love them all.

I have one gentle friend.

That fact just dawned on me this afternoon.

One Gentle Friend.

I suppose it makes sense, as I have not often been accused of being anything close to gentle. On the contrary, I have been told by former bosses, ex-husbands, and a few unsuspecting door-to-door sales reps, among others, that I am – ahem – intimidating. Now that I think about it, I am a bit surprised that I have even one gentle friend. 

I believe most of us are in the habit of wearing our game face almost all of the time, whether it be war paint or bright blue eyeshadow or henna or a handlebar moustache. We behave according to how (we think) we want other people see us because (we think) that’s our comfort zone.

How lucky I am to know someone who understood, in spite of what I thought about myself, I needed one gentle friend.

I hope you have lovely friends. Mine are spectacular.  I am grateful to have them. At this moment, though, I am especially grateful for this afternoon’s company of my one gentle friend.

May we all be gifted with more gentleness. It’s not natural for me, but I am going to practice.

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Valentine’s Day (No) Surprises

14 02 2018

I know, by the inescapable vista of hearts and flowers and chocolates and jewelry ads, that today is Valentine’s Day. This is the 33rd time I’ve experienced February 14th, married to KFL.  This will be the 33rd time I do not receive a sappy card, drug store chocolates, an expensive dinner out, or other prescribed romantic holiday trappings.

Now, about this time, some of you will be feeling quite sorry for me. What kind of marriage must I be enduring?  How can any husband be so unromantic? 

Well, stop that right now.

I’m going to tell you why the lack of special treatment on (what surely is) a holiday (that was dreamed up in the marketing department of some florist, greeting card company, or diamond importer)  means more to me than any trinket or display. The simple fact is that I have a husband who is kind and considerate and funny and warm and generous and  . . . you get the idea . . . EVERY DAY.

Happily, today is no different than any other.  It is another perfectly fine day in my good-fortune-filled life.

To be honest, I have a real dread of holidays.  I am very lucky to be married to a man who respects that and does not pressure me by making some unnecessary and unwanted fuss over a holiday that, depending on your research, seems to have stemmed from martyred saints or sacrificed animals . . . not sure how the pink roses and heart-shaped candy boxes came into the mix . . .

If you are hoping for a grand gesture from your beloved, I hope you get what you want. If you are wishing for someone to love, I hope you find someone who will love you equally in return.  If you are as comfortably in love as I am, I hope you enjoy another lovely day of your life.

Happy Everyday.





Hi!(bernating)

7 02 2018

Well, I think the weather is evidence of the miraculous feat performed on Sunday by the Eagles of Philadelphia . . . Hell seems to be freezing over!

In this house, most of us are still basking in the warm glow of a long-awaited Super Bowl victory for “our team,” but Rebel and Star are not impressed. 

        

I must admit that I feel a lot like burrowing into some warm soft lair and sleeping until my beloved Daylight Saving Time returns, but I am also enjoying the afterglow of a fine football game where, as happens in all my favorite stories, the good guys win. I’ve even (sort of) convinced myself that the landscape is just celebrating by donning the Midnight Green and White.

 

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Now, when do pitchers and catchers report?

 





A Harsh Lesson

31 01 2018

January,  I’ve had about enough of you. You’re cold and dark. You’re mean and bleak.

                                                                     

You are just not nice.

 

I forgive you, though, because you are honest. There are no gaudy holiday celebrations to sugar-coat your chilly disposition. You don’t play at bluster; you’re seriously and sincerely unpleasant.  You are winter’s MVP.

I also forgive you because, by virtue of your inhospitable nature, you encourage/inspire/force  us to create warmth and comfort for ourselves. You’ve even made me (a little bit) more social.

Our guinea pigs, Rebel and Star, have decided that their haystack is cozier when they share it. Squirrels and birds that don’t need me in the lushness of spring, the haze of summer or the fullness of fall seem to have created quite a large and diverse Lewis Backyard Fan Club, thanks to my well-stocked feeders and de-iced pond.  We all seem to seek out a little more closeness, which is something, notwithstanding my misanthropic tendencies, I think is good for me.

January, we bid you farewell, as we huddle together against you and your bitter and barren ways, and we thank you for reminding us to appreciate the warmth within us, our families, and our friends.

Oh, I still hate you, but I forgive you.

 





I Do It for Me

24 01 2018

Some interesting discussions have been rambling around in my circles of friends and acquaintances this week.  Lots of folks have lots of opinions about – let’s call them mass public demonstrations of displeasure with some bit of status quo. Whether or not you agree with the premise of any of these events is not the topic for this post (although you are all sure I have thoughts about that!); I am interested in the side arguments that have flared up as a result of them.

Here’s an example of a discussion item and two (real) responses:

I’m an artist and someone wants to pay me to make them a sign to carry in the march.  I think this is

A.   terrible because the person does not care enough about the cause to make her own sign

OR

B.  wonderful because the person cares so much she wants a powerful artistic statement to match her passion for the cause.

Continuing in that vein, here’s another:

NFL player donates a boatload of money to charity(ies) and is all over the news for his magnanimity.  I think this is

A. terrible because he’s just showing off, bragging about how rich he is. Anyway, it was just a drop in the bucket, compared to what he earns.

OR

B.  wonderful because this guy puts his money where his heart is and  that money is helping to educate, house, feed, protect people who have no champions, but for folks like him.

Okay, I think this choice is REALLY simple. 

Choose B. 

Why?

B is the answer that brings the best to us and the best from us.  B is the answer of optimism. B is the answer that assumes that people are generous and kind and truly care about something outside their own walls.

Oh, don’t mistake my position as one of naively believing that these folks are selfless saints . . . of course, they do it for themselves.  They do it because it makes them feel good about themselves as people. They do it because it improves their brand.  They do it because it makes their mommas proud.

Who cares that these people who give something also get something? That their egos (or even their bank accounts, as a result) are raised by the process does not, for one minute, make their efforts any less valuable.

We’ve been trained, thanks to too many years of partisan-to-the-teeth politics, that, if there is a winner, there must be a loser.  That’s some fake news, my friends.  Win-Win is not only possible; unless you’re playing Scrabble, it is the best outcome!

 

I generously provide the finest seeds and nuts for the wildlife in my yard. They do not care that I do it to get them to pose for my camera; they’re just glad for full bellies! Pretty sure this dude’s channeling Charlie Sheen – WINNING!

 

 

 

 

 





Good Sport

17 01 2018

It’s January. It’s cold. It’s gray. These things make me a little testier than usual (don’t even think it!) so, for a moment, I took exception to a fluffy Facebook post:

Seeing everyone’s posts about their team makes me feel so happy that I don’t care at all about football!! 

Well, my feathers were ruffled!

 I don’t feel compelled to post a celebratory proclamation of my disregard for things they think are important. Why do they think they need to put me down for being a sports-head? It’s like they’re telling me there must be something wrong with people like me.

My conversation is peppered with “Did you see that play?!” and “Wait . . .who got traded where?” and “When do pitchers and catchers report?”

I’ve seldom been presented with a situation that did not call for a sports analogy. 

I have been known to yell at the TV loudly enough to scare the neighbors and the guinea pigs. 

All that might be boring, mystifying, or just shallow to the non-sportsy crowd, but let me assure you, for many of us it is anything but!

I appreciate that sports-watching has enabled me to make friendly conversation with work colleagues – a way to get to know folks on a casual, but interesting level.  I like the way my adrenaline races when some kid (and I do NOT CARE how much money he makes – he’s a kid) makes a spectacular play in a crucial moment of a game.  I love that fandom comfortably connects my family across generations.

I love watching sports, but I understand that there are folks who don’t. I think it’s great that we all have different hobbies and passions. Keeps us from crowding each other too much and makes life more interesting,  so let’s agree to live and let live, okay?

If you don’t mock my EAGLES jersey or my Curly W cap, I won’t snigger at your Rose Ceremony party.

What do you say?  Are you game?

 





Nostalgic? No, Thank You!

10 01 2018

Seems we’re in a bit of a maudlin mood, with many mentions of “the good old days when we  . . .” and “when we were kids, we had to . . .”  and “We never got to . . . and we turned out fine,” popping up in many conversations.

I suppose it could be the combination of the end of the holiday season and the brain-numbing cold spell that’s gripped my neck of the woods, but can we cut the nostalgia nonsense, please? I realize that I am tiptoeing very close to my own line – no whining in the blog – with this one, but bear with me, if you will. All I ask is that we remember the good times in our past as they were, but that we don’t forget for one hot minute that there is much about those times that was not so good.

 Some things will always be terrific: baseball cards clothes-pinned into bicycle spokes, swings and monkey bars on the school playground, Captain Kangaroo.

Others are unquestionably better left behind: cars without air conditioning, thalidomide, air-raid drills in elementary schools.

I’m not begrudging us a little waltz down Memory Lane. It’s even okay if we change in the music we hum to make it just a little bit brighter. I do, however, hope that we do not get so drunk on the old tunes that we forget just how much wonder and good there is today; things we never even imagined when we were racing the neighbor kids in our P.F. Flyers to the corner store for some nickel-a-scoop ice cream. I’m glad to have had those childhood experiences, but I do not, for one moment, want to go backward. There is too much beauty, adventure, and wonder in front of me.

Right now, I am about to enjoy the beauty of my flat-screen television that will take me on an adventure through hundreds of entertainment options while I wait for Siri and Alexa to agree on what I should microwave for dinner.