Archive for the 'Musings on Life' Category

Yet More Headlines – and a TWEET

It’s been awhile since I last shared with you the headlines that cause me to stop in my virtual tracks, shake my head, and wonder why people do what they do. Here they are, in reverse chronological order. I keep a running list, and I put the most recent at the top. Sometimes I go back and look at them to judge if they have aged sufficiently for posting. But the first one in the list made me realize this morning that, seriously, we need to have a chat.

People are putting tampon-shaped speakers in their vaginas so their unborn babies can hear music
I can’t even begin to write what I want to say about this. There are SO MANY things wrong with this from MY perspective. Let me say only that Beethoven’s mother did NOT shove a speaker up her vagina and Beethoven (and Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Hayden, et alia) seemed to learn and appreciate music without any difficulty.

A company called Music In Baby says its Babypod device, which it sells for $150, is designed to help unborn babies “perceive sounds like we do” since it’s placed in the vagina, where tissue and material from the womb normally prevent fetuses from hearing sounds as humans do.
It’s true that babies hear sound differently from inside the womb, but research has not found that unborn babies benefit from hearing sounds, like music, the way we do.

A woman’s infection turned out to be bees living in her eye, feeding on her tears
This is pure science fiction horror, except it’s real. I can’t even think how to describe my feelings about this one, except to say every time I see the words I shudder.

…such bees nest near graves and in fallen trees, so chances of coming across them while hiking in the mountains are high,
Assuming that sand or dirt had gotten into her eye, she said that she cleaned her eye with water at the time.
During the press conference, Dr Hung said: “I saw something that looked like insect legs, so I pulled them out under a microscope slowly, and one at a time without damaging their bodies.”
sweat bees are attracted to perspiration and have a tendency to land on humans to obtain moisture and salts from their sweat,

Naked protesters showed up to Parliament and glued their bums to security glass
I have a friend and former coworker who posts this kind of headline all the time – of antics in Florida that are “only in Florida”. I think this article qualifies for that collection.

The week is young, and there have already been bare-assed protesters in the U.K.’s House of Commons.
To be sure, the 12 protesters that showed up for a Brexit debate Monday night had nothing to do with debates surrounding alternative proposals to leave the EU. They came, instead, to highlight climate change.
Monday wasn’t much better, with MPs attempting to debate a deal while the protesters glued their buttocks to the security glass walling of gallery visitors from politicians. They were removed about 30 minutes after they arrived. In some circumstances, security officers had to use soap and water to remove the glue. One MP seemed relatively pleased with the ordeal.
“Parliament just got a little more nuts,” Tory MP James Heappey wrote on Twitter Monday.
All 12 protesters were arrested for “outraging public decency,” according to the Mirror.

Why you should never release your pet goldfish into the wild

Goldfish are invading lakes and streams worldwide, and it’s all our fault.
For starters, goldfish are smarter than you might think. They have a memory span of at least 3 months which means you can teach them tricks like this. They also can tell the difference between Stravinsky and Bach.

Please note that the goldfish can appreciate the music without having speakers in their mothers’ vaginas.

And for some of these headlines – you need to click through on your own.  🙂

A woman was shot at close range, but it was her underwire bra that nearly killed her
I lied – I have to share these sentences from the article with you: The surgeon thought it might be “some kind of detonation device” and summoned a nearby police officer, Duggan said. “We’re always thinking in medicine of worst-case scenarios,” she added. … “There’s no question in anybody’s minds … that [wearing an underwire bra] was what just exponentially increased her injury pattern,” Duggan said.

Tooth pulled from inside man’s nose after losing sense of smell
You’ll have to click through to see if it was the man or the tooth that lost sense of smell. *grin*

 Singing mice could offer clues about how human brains manage conversation
High in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, there’s a species of mouse that sings call-and-response duets, similar to the high-speed back and forth humans engage in with conversation.

 I leave you with this final observation:

The bushtucker trial meal of sauteed testicle from a bull called Boris was tastier than Theresa had expected…

Words to Live By

There has been a lot happening in my life. Some good, some not as good. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on what I learned in all those years of behavioral therapy. 🙂 Yes, yes, how to behave. 🙂 Although I doubt I’ll win any blue ribbons for best in show. *grin*

I just finished reading an article that came up in my Twitter feed: The key to loving your job in the age of burnout by Cassie Werber. I don’t usually read these articles. I’m not burned out (yet) and I rather like my job and my work. I clicked through on this one because the associated image was interesting. It looked like footprints on water, but had to be mud or sand, but there was someone on the dock next to the footprints. 🙂 It was the picture – I thought if I could see it more clearly I’d be sure of the substance. I’m still not 100% sure of the photo and I’m not sure I am completely comfortable with some of the observations in the article about the nature of work, the gig economy, part-time versus full-time employment, and bespoke careers. That may be because of my age and experience. But I do know that there are several key observations that I consider “truths” to a happier life.

“More and more, our sense of self is connected to the kind of person we believe ourselves to be—a combination of profession and meaning—and not to our place of work. In this, we’re reverting to an earlier mode: before we had companies and careers, we had professions (for example, stone mason) and tasks (build a bridge.)”

Yes, absolutely yes. My corollary to this is that we need to appreciate ourselves and value ourselves in order to be confident and content. To phrase that differently: other people cannot ‘fix’ us. Happiness (contentment) begins within. The foundation is internal, not external. Yes, other people and external factors can make us unhappy, sad, stressed and other negative and bad things. But if we can see that as OUTSIDE of our core, we have the strength and belief to keep going and not despair. Or so it is for me.

“Despair, and railing against the unfairness of the system, are both reasonable. Many people, globally, do not have the freedom to choose. Some work situations—losing your job through no fault of your own, being bullied, suffering discrimination—are certainly unfair. But the narrative of entitlement to a fulfilling job obscures the fact that it’s not our job’s job to be meaningful. It’s our job to find meaning in what we do. Some of us have the option of changing our work situation if that becomes absolutely imperative. But we can also change the narrative we choose to explain our work to the world and to ourselves—and in so doing, change our experience.” (Boldface my addition to highlight the text.)

WORDS! The words we choose to express ourselves and describe our situation make so much difference. I used to say such things as: “I can’t STAND IT ANYMORE”, “This is killing me”, “I HATE him”. It’s very hard to feel as if I can make a change when I use such absolutes. I’ve learned to dial the emotion back a notch: “It is so frustrating when this happens”, “This is so uncomfortable”, “That behavior is not enjoyable”. The latter group of phrases gives me room to maneuver. Did anything about the external situation change? No. But how I perceived it did. I can handle frustration and discomfort. Those are normal experiences.

“… the difference between finding a situation bearable—possibly, indeed, happy—and unbearable is about whether we experience ourselves as performing a willing sacrifice, or simply as suffering. When working hard tips over into working too hard, or with too little reward, sacrifice has slipped into suffering. … “Sacrifice might be hurtful and exhausting, but it is a conscious choice,” he writes. “Suffering is the result of feeling that we cannot slow down or else we will be shamed and lose control. Sacrifice makes us who we are. Suffering keeps us captive.””

You need to read all of the article to understand the “because” part of sacrifice. We sacrifice for a goal. We tell ourselves a narrative to put the sacrifice in context, to make us feel that the ‘suffering’ is bearable and acceptable because of the end goal. We have choices. There are at least 2 choices in this sacrifice/suffering discussion. The first choice is that we choose the language to describe it, we CHOOSE whether we make it a sacrifice or suffering. The 2nd choice is the harder one. We can choose to change the situation (leave the job, leave the relationship, not fix the roof). I used to argue this one over and over and over and over. “It’s NOT a choice” I’d scream, “I HAVE to fix the roof if it leaks!!!” And Howard would say, “No you don’t. You can let it leak.” And I’d point out that the wood would rot, the house fall down and on and on. And he’d reply that it was a choice I was making – to NOT let the wood rot. There are obviously practicalities involved. But there is also a choice, when you stop, breathe and look at it. Once you frame it as a choice, it’s easier to confront. If you can confront it, you may also see how you might bring about an actual change, not only an emotional perspective change.

One of my former co-workers, Jim De Piante, had fantastic presentations about managers and project management. I have always remembered something he said (and my apologies to Jim for any mistakes in the quoting): “Think of your management as your client.” That change in wording shifts the perspective radically. It goes back to the point that words matter. It goes to the point we have a choice. The difference in connotation between ‘client’ and ‘boss’ is HUGE. When we have clients, we are in the driver’s seat, helping to make our clients successful. When we have a boss, we are powerless with no buy-in to the outcome. I think of this approach whenever I have the endless tracking and administrative work that comes with being part of a huge corporation.

“Unreasonable conditions and real misery need to be met with concrete changes. But other conditions, Petriglieri says, can be radically changed by reframing what we expect from ourselves—and how we see what we do with our days in the context of our lives as a whole. “There’s some pain that needs a solution, and some pain that needs a story,” Petriglieri says.”

Tell yourself a story, and choose your words with care. 🙂

An Unexpected Gift

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, meaning it happens long after the fact. What do they say about gifts that appear long after the gifting? There must be some equally apt phrase. Maybe it’s “good things come to those who wait”.

fricker1I have finally decided to upgrade my blog from a free account to a paid account. I have no good reason. Or rather, I suspect the final straw is NOT something that will be handled by a paid account. The last week or so I’ve been getting trackbacks from spam sites. It was annoying. I’ve also used over 75% of my media storage. I thought I’d investigate and see what I’d learn.

I had a wonderful, informative, upbeat chat with the online chat support. Do you know that they are called “Happiness Engineers”? I think that is a GREAT title. The person with whom I was chatting was a fantastic representative of that concept. She gave me a discount code to give me 2 months free. I noticed something odd when I went to pay. The screen was showing me a $15 credit, bringing the bill to $33. When I put in the discount code, the amount was just over $39. ???? I asked my happiness engineer where the $15 credit originated. She said “The $15 credit is applying the value you have left in your current plan to the upgraded one.” Well that was odd. fricker 3My current plan was a FREE plan, I had never paid any money to WordPress. The HE agreed my plan was a free one and she investigated further. “I show $15 in gift credit from a user named “Fricker Fraker” back in 2009. Dear reader, I kid you not – tears came to my eyes.

Fricker – I don’t know where you are, or how you are, but thank you, thank you, thank you. What a sweet, generous gesture on your part. Which is exactly how I remember you.

Ahuva ❤ Fricker

Why Me?

I’ve been very busy lately but I have NOT forgotten about you all out there. I have a half-written post about how MUCH I LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitchen. Unfortunately there are several other people, cats and issues that seem to think they have priority over my posts. But this was in my spam folder today and I couldn’t help but think “Why me?” I really hate to think that something, someone, somewhere thinks these topics are relevant to me.
why me

The Love Swans has appeared in my spam folder every day for more than a week now……

Conditioned Behavior

I spent a lot of time in therapy, not a big secret. I went to a behavioral psychologist. We didn’t focus on WHY I had issues, we focused on what behaviors I exhibited that I wanted to change because they didn’t bring about positive results. He told me repeatedly that behavior is very difficult to change, we have to consciously work at it. Given my own experience and time with him, I’d have agreed 100% with that, until this renovation.

IMG_9014There is a doorway between our dining room and our kitchen. You’ve seen it in the pictures – it’s always covered in plastic sheeting. Our only access to the kitchen area (and, therefore, to the basement and deck) is through the front hall into the kitchen. We’ve turned the dining room into our ersatz kitchen. For weeks we would start to walk through the dining room door only to find the plastic sheet blocking the way. We learned to walk out through the living room, into the front hall, into the kitchen, and then to the bathroom, in order to get water from the sink.

This past week the men putting in the floor opened the plastic in the doorway so they could lay the floor. The door is open. WHAT A RELIEF!!!! Except…. I find myself walking the long way around all the time. If I am not actually looking at the dining room doorway when I head to the basement or deck, I will be walking the long way around to the front hall. 🙂

Why isn’t it this simple to change behavior we DON’T like????? 🙂

Satisfaction

I did not know how satisfying it would be to smash something with a hammer.

In my defense, it seemed to be the only solution.

My husband THANKED me for taking a hammer to it.

I promised him that if it happened again, I’d let HIM use the hammer.

You may remember that we have torn apart a good piece of our house for the kitchen renovation. One small bit of that is the smoke detector that used to be in the front hall. I’m not sure WHY we still have it, as the contractor put up a new one when the knob & tube wiring was replaced there. The old one has been sitting peacefully in the dining room, doing nothing. Until this evening.

I was sitting here reading, and my husband was on his computer, and the smoke detector decided that there was a fire. The blaring alarm sounded, and her concerned voice chanted “warning! fire!” Except there was no fire.

I kept pressing the button to make it stop. Oh please dear heavens STOP!!!! Every time I thought I had stopped it, the alarm went off again. I took it outside and tried to find the right spot for stop. My husband came down and brought it back into the light and tried to find the right spot for stop.

I went for the hammer. I said to him “take it outside and put it on the front walk”. He did. I took the hammer and began smashing at the alarm. It stopped. I hit it a few more times anyway. It felt very good to hit it. 🙂

We brought it back in and tossed it on the table. My husband is secretly hoping that it goes off again so that HE can smash something with the hammer. 🙂

Smashing things with a hammer is very satisfying. This may be my new hobby.

IMG_8996

Headlines I’d Have Preferred NOT to See

11+ Brutally Honest Tweets About Using A Menstrual Cup
Seriously – there is nothing I can add to that headline other than the fact I’d never heard of that particular approach. I was living a very full, productive life having never heard of that particular item.

Tourists In Utah Throw Dinosaur Tracks Into Lake Thinking That They’re Regular Rocks
It was a kid. Maybe we need to start vetting folks before we let them into our national parks. I’m not sure who is more culpable with these stories – the parents or the children. Disgusting.

Bounce house flies onto California highway with child inside
Yes – the child was safe.

He lured young men looking for weed. Their bodies turned up in a pig roaster.
Sigh. I can’t even…….

Ukraine says military dolphins captured by Russia went on hunger strike
Again – I can’t add to this. You needed to read the article, which was even more unbelievable than the headline.

Bear breaks into SUV, eats 24 cupcakes
Okay, the bear one made me smile. And then I read the article where it says this particular family has had the bear visit before and eat food, THAT THEY HAVE LEFT ACCESSIBLE. They want the bear killed. As one commentator said – why not STOP leaving food OUT???


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