May 28, 2016

An Open Letter on Surprises

My Garden Continues to Grow...in
real life and symbolically!
Dear Reader and Friends,

You always surprise me. One day I will post an article with no notice from you whatsoever. On another, I can't turn my back before you are all over. It is one of the great things about blogging.

I suppose that all of us that write about what interests us without any respect for genre or subject know that inconsistency is going to happen. What catches my attention may simply bore everyone else.

The article I wrote about a personal experience with shunning that reflected the life an elderly person has, evidently hit a hot button. Remaining effective and needed becomes increasingly hard as we age. For me, the story is not nearly over and you will hear a lot more about that subject.

On an election year we are all a little on edge. This year the "edge-o-meter" is off the charts. Republicans and Democrats have become so accustomed to voting for their party that they cannot even imagine doing anything else. No one that I know is all that fired up about Trump but why do I feel that those people will vote for him anyway just because they are stuck. We will see. The comments on that post were extremely interesting. Thank you all for chiming in...we need to begin listening to each other.

You didn't even blink when I posted about my grandsons school open house. Back in the day, I did not get any traffic unless it was from grandparents. They were the only people that were older and blogged back then. AND they were all women. Not any more. I like that a lot.

The ebb and flow of life is reflected in these posts. Keep on doing what you have always done. Keep right on surprising me please. And have a wonderful day.

Much love,

Barbara

May 26, 2016

Politics: Supporter or Evangelist

Hillary Clinton at the 2004 March for Women's ...
Hillary Clinton at the 2004 March for Women's Lives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I received a "Support Hillary" bumper sticker this morning. I don't really think I have ever had that happen before...no politician has ever noticed me at all...my husband yes but me no. I was surprised.

But...what surprised me the most was my unwillingness to wear my heart on my sleeve. When I my husband told me to put it on the car I didn't want to do that so I didn't. What was that all about?

I am a Democrat and very liberal in some ways. I do think that Clinton is very smart and of course she is a woman and there is always that. So why don't I feel completely certain that she is a good choice or a bad choice.

I do support her candidacy and watch the primaries. I did vote for her. It could be that I have seen too much in my life and honestly know what could go very wrong.

It turns out that I am not the evangelist for the woman. In the end I simply will vote for the best of the two people that are running.

There you have it!

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PS: I cannot even bring myself to slam Trump even though I know I will NEVER vote for him. Did you read the article about his wife in the New Yorker? Yikes!

And, is this campaign driving you crazy?

May 25, 2016

The Quietest Classroom of 2nd Graders in the World!

I visited my grandchildren's "Year of Learning" open house last night. I am a retired teacher so this sort of thing just makes me happy.

Brycen and sister Shay
My youngest grandson, Brycen, read a book and shared his books about the farm. He is in kindergarten. He is doing a great job of being 5.

The oldest waited patiently until it was his turn. As we left Brycen's classroom the kindergarten teacher remarked on what a treat it was going to be when we visited Brayden's second grade classroom. We could hardly wait to see.

This is what we were greeted with:

Quiet Brayden and real Brayden

The quietest class in the world!
...the world's quiets class!  When Brayden introduced me to his teacher (beautifully if I do say so) I asked her where she found this genius idea. "OH, a teacher friend shared this on Facebook." Isn't that wonderful. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think that Facebook sharing teacher is going to be flattered all around the world!

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My hat is off to that Kindergarten teacher of Brycen's. She made Brayden feel very proud. I liked that!


May 23, 2016

On Being Invisible

I have a "friend" that shuns me. I am assuming you know what that involves but just in case you have never hear about the practice here is what it is:
Shunning can be the act of social rejection, or emotional distance. To refuse to accept socially; to avoid having  social contact with.
This definition is the one I have experienced from my friend. Although this has nothing to do with religion, the people that she gathers around her do nothing to change her attitude.

This has been going on for many years so I have come to terms with it. I do not know why she does it. It just is.

I began thinking about how being shunned is in a sense becoming invisible to one or more people. I have had women tell me that they feel "invisible" now that they are older. I have asked myself why that is many times.

Becoming invisible can happen for many reasons. I have found that when no one will listen to me I feel as though I am not there. It happens occasionally at family gatherings.

When my opinions are disregarded because of my age, I feel invisible. I am a very smart woman and can out shout the best. But, as I age, I just don't have it in me to raise my voice in disagreement or even affirmation. I suppose I really would like the room to hush when I have something to say. But we all know a hushed room is never going to happen. I feel myself fading awy.

Being invisible also has to do with my basic belief system. Being clumped together with all those other people that share a part of my beliefs actually makes me invisible. Being part of a mass is not the same as being a whole person. I feel myself fading away.

I live with the shunning woman at my country club, in the desert and in social gatherings. By now it is just a fact of life. But I still feel myself fading away.

People have asked me over and over what I have done to her. I honestly do not know. I don't really think she would tell me. I always say that I suppose I am at fault and shrug.

Do you ever feel invisible?

May 22, 2016

A BOOK WORTH READING: WHAT THE DOG SAW

What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell for years. In fact, I have most of his books and actually carry them back and forth with me to Arizona. I know...weird huh? But there you have it.

I find that his stories are ones that you read and say to yourself "wait" here it comes. And it always does. The punch line for an incident or even a whole chapter. He makes the connection that somehow I don't see coming.

I visited the bookstore last week and bought some books for the grandchildren, a puzzle book for my husband and What the Dog Saw by Gladwell for myself.

I began reading immediately, because a new book is very exciting. I read the introduction and the first chapter. Then I handed it to my husband with the instructions to read what I had read so we could talk about it. These Gladwell books are just too good to keep to yourself.

In this book Gladwell strived to explain what goes on inside the mind of a person that does what we do not understand.

The first chapter called "The Pitchman" is about a family of boardwalk pitchmen that lived and worked in NYC metro area. A family member was the pitchman that invented and went on to pitch the Veg-O-Matic, a spray on hair that actually looked real and the Showtime Rotisserie. Ron Popeil was the focus.

Gladwell told his story concluding with Popeil pitching his machines on QVC. In one hour Ron Popeil broke the rule books and the records for sales in that length of time. He did not do any of the marketing things we think of as normal in this day and age. For some reason, he saw what people wanted to hear and the voices in his head took him forward.

He sold a product by showing a group of people how it worked and then told them, over and over, that they needed it. He was a very old man when he pitched on QVC but it was evident that he still had the magic. The final sentences in that chapter, the aha moment went like this:
 "At that moment, on the other side of the room, the door opened, and a man appeared, stooped and drawn but with a smile on his face. It was Ron Popeil, who invented a better rotisserie in his kitchen and went out and pitched it himself . There was a hush, and then the whole room [of QVC executive and employees] stood and up and cheered."
I think that Gladwell made it very clear that inside Popeil's head what he saw when he pitched all those wonderful machines that really were as good as he said, was a room full of people rising to their feet and applauding. It was the connection, the aha moment I had been waiting for.

My husband and I will talk about this for a long time. I am only beginning but a really good book is always too wonderful not to share as the journey progresses. There will be more about this I am sure.

The bookseller liked my choice and then asked me if I had read any of Oliver Sacks books. They are on the list. Wow...is reading great!

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