Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Three Cs

"The three Cs: compromise, communication, and cuddling! If something seems to be wrong, it's usually because one of these things is missing." -Kim (Cosmopolitan Online)

Wow!  I so agree with that statement as simple as it is.  A couple fractious days in relationshipland.  And although we don't always get along as well as we'd like, I always think that at the end of the misunderstanding, miscommunication, or mis-something we are able to learn a little more about one another.   Yup, we had a bit of a disagreement & as always it had to do with time and waiting--reference to the post just before this one.  And I think in some ways all three of the above Cs were missing which is why we argued in the first place.  For me, sometimes the only thing that my BF needs to do when we've been at it is to simply say that he's sorry & give me a hug & believe it or not, all of my vitriol, etc., will quite possibly just, dissolve....even if he's sorry for just a small part of the issue--like sorry for just the act of getting into the argument in the first place, that small gesture will move the situation miles forward.  When that happens, I don't need to win, I just know that I've been heard & that is most important.

Another piece of this relationship stuff is growing familiarity--everyone knows the hackneyed phrase, "You always hurt the ones you love." Why?  Perhaps one part of the answer comes from something I saw on TV this afternoon (DVR'd).  I've begun watching The New Girl & I really like it.  But I found these statements ring true:

“You know what sucks about getting old?
Your friends have known you for way too long. They’ve got too much on ya’.
I want friends who still lie to me because they don’t want to hurt my feelings.  I sadly kind of mean that.”

Familiarity brings verity...when a relationship is new, one is on one's best behavior--now things are different.  But unlike Nick, I'd rather hear the truth & work through it because who wants to cruise through life with only superficial friends?  I hope that when we have disagreements that the resolution brings about a deeper understanding--as well as the three Cs.  :)

I haven't really touched on the compromise thing yet...but I will--that's a big one.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I am currently reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (really liking it thus far, btw) & have been fascinated by his use of Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse: Fragments in the novel.  I am struck by Barthes' analysis of love--his descriptions of the feelings one may have as he/she falls in, out, develops unrequited love, desire, & passion.  Many feelings he writes about are echoed by all of us--I challenge anyone not to agree.  Interestingly, it is one part that Eugenides excerpts that struck me quite viscerally.  It was about waiting.  I HATE to wait for anything.  I am extremely impatient (strangely though, when I was teaching very emotionally disabled kids, I was the utmost in patient--people would comment on that in fact). So, when I have to wait for Xing Fu, which I often end up doing, I get anxious & agitated.  Some of the exact descriptions that Barthes has indicated.  Following is a piece from that "fragment" on waiting:
attente/ waiting
Tumult of anxiety provoked by waiting
for the beloved being,
subject to trivial delays (rendevous, let-
ters, telephone calls, returns).

...Waiting is enchantment: I have re-
ceived orders not to move

I am stuck in a holding pattern--I cannot go forward & therefore it feels like my spirit is squelched in some way--maybe it means giving up control & all the anxiety that goes with that.  It is exquisitely painful for me.  And why am I always the one who waits?  What's up with that?  Is it that way for most of us--that there's always one who waits for the other?  Which brings me to another quote from Barthes:

The necessity for this book is to be found
in the following consideration: that the
lover's discourse is today of an extreme solitude. 

Yes, Barthes is correct, these feelings that one has usually occur in solitude; in our minds & nowhere else.  The absence of a lover, love, unrequited love, etc.--historically, writings about love are all about that.  The waiting (for something to happen or to see the person, e.g.). God, I hate to wait.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

After another very nice Thanksgiving meal with my family, including my little sister, in from Chi-town, I wake this Friday morning being blasted about the head & neck about Black Friday.  Let me just state for the record that I DO NOT DO Black Friday.  I am not up at 2 o'clock in the morning like my co-worker, camping out at Walmart with her hubby hoping to get the latest cheap-o laptop/net book, nor am I hanging around Old Navy hoping to grab that elusive pair of special jeans that are only available between this 2-minute long, deep-discount, special, door-buster, Black Friday monogrammed time.  Let me state unequivocally that I really HATE Black Friday--it just makes me cringe.  All that Black Friday serves to do is remind me that after we have all given thanks for the wonderful things that we have in front of us: family, friends, etc., off we go re-affirming that we are a superficial, consumerist society grabbing as many new, shiny, electronic, Kaye jewelery encrusted gadgets that we can before the highly commercialized, now-meaningless all-consuming BIG-ASSED holiday is upon us in a month's time (especially since all of these lovely stores began decorating for X-mas even before Halloween 2011 was a memory).  OK, yeah, I'm sounding a little shrewish but you know, when did we turn what was supposed to be an extra day of family football & turkey leftover time into the biggest crazed-induced consumerist holiday?  I guess we need to extend the Black Friday holiday to "Small Business Saturday" & "Cyber Monday" too. You can accuse me of being a "Bah! Humbug!" scrooge if you'd like & I'll agree with you. But I really wish that people would pause in the action to think that this behavior just re-affirms what a lot of OWS is all about--paying more money to the corporate bigwigs.  I'm just saying.  

This post is also inspired by my sister's blog post about her friend "Ivy" who is being made to work the overnight shift at one of the bigwig corporate stores on Black Friday...she points out that we should thank these folks who are working these shifts--think of them & the sacrifice that they make--I agree.  Pause for a moment in your feeding frenzy to thank them, smile & be nice even if that last jewel-encrusted gadget you just reached for was snatched out of your hand by the grandma across the sale table.

What am I doing this Black Friday you ask?  Well, I am hanging with my lil' sis--we rarely have time together JUST us so we plan to have lunch together & do what we'd do together regardless of the date--go shopping at small boutiques.  I guess in one sense the fact that it is Black Friday will garner better deals then normally offered at these stores but that is coincidence. Black Friday is secondary to being with my sister & doing what we'd do anyway.  I'm just hugely thankful to have that one-to-one time together--isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prove It!

by Shel Silverstein
It's scary that Thanksgiving is so near--seems like yesterday I was hiking out during a windward leg of the Screwpile Regatta.  Sigh....I think this weekend may be the last sail of the season.  As we talk about all of the things that we are grateful for & give our thanks for family, friends, etc.,  during the season, I think this little piece of advice fits right in. I keep coming across things in my travels that strike me as important & good ideas to try.  Xing Fu is a good sport because I keep trotting out activities & he very willingly jumps right in.  I haven't run this one by him yet, but I think he'll give it a go.  

Anyway, I was reading Good Housekeeping (I know, I know, me??  Good Housekeeping???),  and inside there is a monthly advice column called "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.  It's all about finding your happiness--through various thoughts, actions, with yourself, family, etc.  I usually find a few good tidbits in it--in fact, may have written something from it before, but I was struck by this one.  Her happiness thought for December is: 
Hug more, kiss more, touch more.  These actions take no extra time, energy, or money, but they make a big difference.
She goes on to include this advice for greeting family warmly when they come home or making sure to bid farewell also.  This builds connectedness, creates feelings of worth & meaning, & shows that family members are cherished.  I like this & I want to try it.  But also I like what she says about her "spiritual master" St. Therese of Lisieux.  St. Therese said, "It isn't enough to love; we must prove it."  We often forget to show the people we love that we love them.  Saying "I love you" is nice to be sure, but hugging, touching, going out of our way to welcome someone home is a simple way to prove love.  According to Gretchen Rubin these are "proofs of love."  I couldn't agree more.  In fact, I often write about the little things--here's another one that I hope becomes a big habit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Warts & All

I was reading a (go figure) article about the "4 Kinds of People (And What You Can Learn From Them) by Gladstone & was struck by a saying that he says has been out there for a while.  I must be naive 'cuz I've never heard this before: 

There are four kinds of people in this world:
people who like you for the wrong reasons;
people who like you for the right reasons;
people who dislike you for the wrong reasons; and
people who dislike you for the right reasons.

And it's only the last group you need to worry about.

Ok, I'll buy that & it is the last group that I do worry about to be sure, because it's all about doing better in life & working on your faults. But I'm also reading a book by Alisa Bowman entitled Project: Happily Ever After  which examines her road to fixing her marriage & how we all can do better with our SOs, hubbies, BFs, etc., & came across a point about allowing those we love to really know us.  She found the following statement from The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly:
"We are afraid that if people really
knew us they wouldn't love us...

And although we are afraid to reveal
ourselves because of the possibility of
rejection, it is only by revealing our-
selves that we will ever open the possi-
bility of truly being loved."

That statement is huge--the trust involved in allowing that level of intimacy can be exceedingly difficult to achieve--especially if you've been burned before--as we all have, but in particular having gone through a separation & a divorce.  The sense of thinking that you've allowed someone to know you & perhaps rejecting them or their rejection of you & then allowing someone in that close again is scary.  It takes a lot to allow the one person you hold closest (besides your children) to see what you often hide from yourself & allow them access.  It's saying "Here are the reasons that some folk don't like me, but because I trust you & hope that you'll help me to become a better person, I'm going to allow you access to my ugly."  And hope that they still love you & want to be with you.  It's hard to do & doing it makes one vulnerable--but I think one of the ultimate gestures of love is opening yourself up to do just that.  Because one of the reasons I chose you to become so close to me is that I believe that you will help me to overcome the bad qualities & become a better person.

Friday, November 11, 2011


But I was alive
And kicking through this cruel world
Holding a notion of you at 11:11
Tell me what else can I do
What else can I do? 

--Rufus Wainwright "11:11"

Yeah, me & everybody else.  But it's a cool thought--the palindrome of it, the binary, the prime number, the auspicious meanings...not even 12.12.12 is as cool.  And, if you wanted to have a kid on 11.11.11, you would have had to conceive on 2.14.11--Valentine's Day!  I've looked through a few websites about the significance of 11.11.11 & I came across this one by Nina Amir.  I like it:

"Geller says 11:11 is a positive sign whenever we see it–on a clock radio, a hotel door, the odometer of your car, the columns in front of your house. See today’s date as just that–a positive sign that it’s time to wake up. Have you been sleeping, sleep walking through life? Just becoming more awake will change your perspective, your consciousness. That’s also worth considering at least for 11 seconds at exactly 11:11 a.m. on 11-11-11 and again at 11:11 p.m. on 11-11-11. Don’t you think?

Not surprisingly, from a Kabbalistic standpoint, the numerology of today’s date also points to the beginning of the new age: the arrival of the World to Come or Heaven on Earth. If you add up all those ones (1+1+1+1+1+1), you come up with the number 6. Six equates to Tiferet on the tree of life. Tiferet is the domain of beauty, harmony, artistry, gracefulness, synergy, peace, blessing, and balance.  It can be best described as many voices blending together in beautiful harmony; it’s the opposite of discord. Sounds a bit like peace on earth, no? A bit like heaven?"

I like this in particular as it references Judaism a bit.  But 11:11 has personal meaning as well.  Xing Fu once told me that as a teen he & a group of his friends would be out driving around near his home in Texas & one kid had an 11:30 curfew.  At 11:11 they'd have to stop & begin driving him home.  They'd always say, "It's 11:11.  Time to take N___ home."   So now, we often pause at 11:11 and say that.  Goofy, yeah, to be sure.  But it is 11:11 & synchronicity seems to be in the air for all of our collective consciousnesses. Everyone, if you haven't done so already, make a wish at 11:11 PM on 11.11.11.  You will be glad that you did.  Oh, & while you're at it--go hug a Veteran--it's their day too--

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catch The Wind

Heard this last night on Parenthood & was entranced--I know I've heard it many, many times before but for some reason it spoke to me last night in particular.  Great show by the way if you haven't watched it--I highly recommend & the music is usually top notch.

In the chilly hours and minutes
Of uncertainty
I want to be
In the warm hold of your loving mind

To feel you all around me
And to take your hand
Along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while
Behind your smile
And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find

For me to love you now
Would be the sweetest thing
It would make me sing
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near
To kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind

Standing in your heart
Is where I want to be
And long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind 

by Donovan

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rock Island

"Gone, gone
Gone with the hogshead cask and demijohn, gone with the sugar barrel, pickle barrel, milk pan, gone with the tub and
the pail and the fierce"

--"Rock Island" from The Music Man

Okay, I wish this house thang would move more quickly--I must admit though, with Merryfish's dedication, the main floor of this house is actually coming together.  It looks like a hotel--so many of the things that I valued at one point I've let go or packed away.  To quote The Music Man, "Gone, gone."  Mixed blessing to be sure--Xing Fu & others have commented that it must be nice to have room (especially in the kitchen) to do things--that one can breathe easier with all the stuff gone--I do admit in some ways it is nice but in others, well, I liked my stuff...But Merryfish pointed out that many of those things were from a different life (why do I feel like I'm a blushing bride moving out of her folks' home?)  & I'm getting ready to embark on a new one--time to let the baggage go. So gone are the Spongebob, head, & fake flower frond. Gone with the candles, & vases, & potpourri....

Yup, got The Music Man on the brain--my son is in this musical--so funny 'cuz I was in it too about 26 years ago.  It was very thrilling to see my kid on stage--Xing Fu, one of his kids, & I went to see the production--I thought it to be quite well done for a high school staging--the 2 leads had good voices.  And, even the barbershop quartet kept in tune.  The music is difficult in that musical--my hat goes off to the cast & crew.  My kid has 3 more performances & then he's decided to take on Shakespeare's Twelfth NightAuditions are 3 days after the close of The Music Man.  I figure, since his grades are good, if he wants to try his hand at it, so be it--a great experience for him if he makes it.  

Ok, time to close--got to go into work to sell baked goods for 2 hours during the city elections...nice to have a day off.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oops! Missed Blogoversary

Chicago Skyline

The "Bean" or Cloud Gate
Don't know where to start--it was a crazy, fun weekend in Chicago with my sis & her family--Yup, missed my blogoversary--was gonna write from my sister's house but I just never found the time--good.  So I'll just celebrate after the fact & show why I just couldn't get behind the 'puter until now.  
From walking around the Loop to Millenium Park & geocaching at the Cloud Gate to a somewhat chilly boat tour of the Chicago River to Lake Michigan--it was jam-packed!  Even more was a great time spent with my sister, her husband, & my niece. 

Saturday it was time to explore the city--Xing Fu & I booked a boat tour & had a couple hours to kill before it so we took a walk over to Millenium Park & spent a good bit of time playing with the bean or Cloud Gate. We even geocached there--a virtual geocache where we had to take our pictures reflected in the bean & post on the web site--

Next, off to our boat tour--a bit nippy 'cuz it is the tail-end of October--looked at the cool architecture of the city, learned about how an engineering feat created the Chicago River to flow backwards & keep Lake Michigan clean.

And then, walking over to meet my sis & BIL for dinner at a very yummy Frontera Grill.  The Mole--OMG, the mole....I can only hope that the next time I decide to make mole that I can even get that close...and then...we drive over to The Aviary.  I so wish that there was something like it here, but no such luck--Molecular Gastronomy for your drinks!  First we were invited downstairs to the very selective Office--you get your own key to open the door--the vibe inside was distinctively speakeasy--dark corners & heavy furniture.  We watched the bartender (you really can't call him that--more like a drink artist--REALLY!) mix our drinks--mine had infusions of herbs & spices with a tonka bean as a swizzle stick.  The ice was a chipped ice ball--beautifully reflecting the drink around it--so cool.  Upstairs in The Aviary, I had a drink called the Oolong--infusions again but it happens as pear brandy is heated & forced up a tube to swirl around with all kinds of herbs & fruit--served in a mini tea cool.

Sunday was no less busy--slept in & then went to the Bongo Room for brunch--great stuff there too--we kicked around my sister's old neighborhood Buck Town & also Wicker Park--spent some time hanging with my niece--I think she was far more entertained by Xing Fu...I'm just not used to girls--I'm soooo a boy mom....anyhoo, I digress. Finally, my BIL cooked an amazing dinner--very nice way to end the visit.

Up at 3:30 AM on Monday morning just sucked--we almost were able to get a $400 voucher for giving up our seats for a later flight at 8:45 but the folks never checked in for the flight so we winged away as planned--6:15 AM.  It would have been so worth it too--mebbe not so much fun hanging at O'Hare, but we'd have found stuff to do & made money by just waiting around.  AH, well...better luck next time.  And then I went to work---I haven't stopped until now which is why this is the first I've been able to write.  More to come--