It’s not you, it’s me

It’s no secret that men and women ‘see’ things differently, and we react differently to pretty much everything. A man will tell you we’re too emotional and read too much into a situation. A woman will say he’s insensitive. At the end of the day the woman will take the heat for two reasons; we simply want to see an end to the conflict (cause there’s another bone we have to pick and this is taking too much time) or, we’ve guilted ourselves into believing we really are at fault here….and therein lies the real issue. Women are too quick to take the blame when things go south in a relationship.

Now take my husband for example. I tell him he should vacuum, the floors are a mess,,,,so he does. The next day I notice the same dead bug on the floor behind the door, the feathers from the throw pillows, still on the floor by the couch, so I say again….”you should vacuum”. He looks affronted and says “I did vacuum, yesterday”. So I take him by the hand and show him….the dead bug…..the feathers,,,,and he takes a stand. How could I not show him where the dirt was? “You said vacuum,,,,you didn’t say where or what?….You should’ve told me”, and he looks at me accusatorily. So, I throw up my hands and say, ‘you’re right! How could I ask you to vacuum and not have the sense to tell you where the dirt was?’ (shame on me) But is it really just MY responsibility to ‘see’ the dirt?

Ok, so maybe it is you,,,,,, and me? (whoa, there’s a sobering thought… wrong? Could it be?) Perhaps, perhaps, being wrong is a collective effort.

Or not.

I’m heading out to get groceries and run errands so I ask my husband to help me by folding the laundry. (sounds simple enough, yes?) Well, first off, he takes no notice of the fact that the dryer never seems to stop. I return home, a good 3 hours later, exhausted, with a trunk full of food (having hit every discount food store I could to save money) and he’s still in his lazy-boy watching a golf tournament. I ask why the dryer is still on and he replies, innocently, ‘it didn’t beep’. Annoyed with him, and, dare I say it, the dryer manufacturer for building a dryer that fries clothes, I open the dryer only to find the whites and sheets I put in are so hot to the touch you could fry an egg on them, and you could smell the ‘burn’ in the fabric. Realizing he’d dropped the ball (but it really was a good tournament….) he scrambles to pull the clothes out and into the laundry basket while I haul in the groceries. (Because he can continue to watch the tournament while he ‘folds’ laundry, and I can carry in the 300 pounds of groceries…yes, this works) And you know what? I do it….because it’s easier than explaining why he should…and that’s my mistake.

He, on the other hand, folds my favourite camisole into the corners of our bed sheets (so I wouldn’t find it for a week), mistakes the foam cup of my sports bra for a kitchen sponge, filing it accordingly in the utility drawer, then complains that his golf cap ‘shouldn’t have seen bleach’ because it could smear the logo (Now I could at this point, note that it was HE who tossed his NAVY BLUE cap into my load of whites….but I won’t) Suffice it to say, I should know better….ya think?  So I ruminate on this and ok, maybe lose it a little. I lay into him about everything I do, and everything he doesn’t,,,,,,and he ‘shushes’ me. This is a critical shot in this tournament…it’s where the win happens, and he holds up a hand for emphasis.  And that, is his mistake.

Time for me to take a long hard look at myself. Did I overreact? Did I miss something vital? So I embark on a mission to evaluate the situation. I review in detail (ok I analyze to death) my criticism, my reaction, my judgement of him and his reactions, and after careful analysis I’ve come to the only rational conclusion.

It is you.

The glass is half empty,,,or half full

Funny how people can react differently to the exact same situation. I have 2 friends, unknown to each other, but both good friends of mine, and I’m not sure what they have in common that would place them in my circle because as far as I can see they are polar opposites.  If, for example, both were searching for mushrooms at the market and they came across the last 3 packages, one would delight in her good fortune at finding them at all, the other would lament in the fact that few are left and she has no choices. The glass is half empty versus the glass is half full.

To those who see the glass half full no problem is insurmountable. They have a passion for life and refuse to let anything pull them down and if they’d found no mushrooms at all they would’ve switched their menu to accommodate the veg they can find. They exude positivity and people are drawn to them for this reason because they know time spent with this person will make them feel better.

To those who see the glass as half empty every day is an effort. They bear the weight of the world and whenever things go wrong it’s just a reaffirmation that the Gods are out to get them (‘Woe is me’) and when they couldn’t get the mushrooms they wanted they’d sooner skip the meal all together because now everything is ruined and they’ve lost their appetite. They live every moment under a cloud of negativity. They thrive on it, because it’s easier to blame anything else than see the light side and look for options.

When things don’t work out as expected consider the alternatives and there’s always alternatives – you can’t just accept failure or loss. I believe everything happens for a reason, and if something doesn’t go as planned maybe it’s because a better plan is your destiny. You just have to trust. Besides, positive thoughts breed positive outcomes, so it follows then that  the one who is focused on the half empty glass is the one I measure my time with. I have to be in the right frame of mind to indulge their negativity because if I’m not strong enough to deflect it, they’ll pull me into the vortex of their negativity,,,,,and life’s too short for that,,,, so I limit my time with these people. (and I suspect many do for the same reason) Look in the mirror friends,,,,it could be you.

I think we all have the ability to focus on the positive in life. It just takes discipline. Focusing on the negative however, drains you of energy and joy,,,,so why would you do that to yourself? (it also depletes your circle of friends cause nobody likes a downer) Besides, I haven’t tried a recipe yet where you couldn’t substitute mushrooms for something else, (zucchini, tofu, eggplant?) get creative already, make an effort,  get positive.

If you see your circle of friends narrowing, take a good hard look at the energy you exude, and ask yourself what kind of person you’d want to spend time with. If you can honestly say you are upbeat and positive, you probably have a busy social calendar and people see you as fun to be around. If you find yourself alone more than you’d like (and I’m not returning your calls) you’re likely one of those who lives for the next tragedy to befall you, and unless you change that attitude prepare to be alone, a lot.

So it seems that the glass is half empty,,,,,or half full,,,,and it’s up to you to decide which one you’re going to drink from.

That’s Entertainment?

The Covid 19 virus has curbed, and in some cases, collapsed businesses everywhere, least significant of which is the entertainment industry. Theatres are closed so there’s no point in producing movies and tv shows, putting a number of actors out of work,,,,,and I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a bad thing, cause let’s face it, there wasn’t a lot of quality viewing to be had even before the global pandemic.

My husband and I tend to tape the shows we like for viewing at our convenience, but over the last few years there hasn’t been much worth taping so we find ourselves watching and re-watching the same shows. They are generally home renovation shows, cooking, documentaries, and of course, sports. I defy you to find a new sitcom or movie worth laughing over because the newest tv shows center around society’s basest, the so called ‘Reality tv”.

‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’, is a series about a band of American gypsies and their quest to put on a ‘society’ wedding. They have little or no means and even less taste, but they are determined to have an extravagant and splashy wedding. Now I get that much is exaggerated for television but I can’t imagine where the viewer would find entertainment in the antics of these mouthy vagabonds. Their ‘kinfolk’ almost literally crawl out of the hills to attend the prestigious event and the family chaos that ensues is nothing short of an excerpt from ‘The Hatfields and the McCoys’ (at least that had some comedic value). The language is colourful, the attire garish, and the storyline nonexistent. Who’s entertained by this crap? Surely not someone with a functioning brain?

How about the series of reality shows around ‘housewives’? The REAL housewives of Orange County,,,,,or California,,,,or Manhattan,,,or,,,,,,those that focus on a famous family – ’Keeping up with the Kardashians’ (mercifully on its’ way out). There is no storyline. These are shows about a bunch of botox  injected Barbie dolls whose faces and rears have seen so much plastic surgery they’re all starting to look alike (could it be they’re going for a secret society of clones?) The language is vulgar, the cleavage sightings high, and the intelligence quotient exceedingly low. Watching the day to day drama of a trashy family argue about infidelity, money, and their latest acquisition (usually an expensive car or shiny new bauble for the Barbie) is mindless,,,,,,and yet they have an audience, and a big one. How scary is that?

Now, these ‘informative’ shows aside, the only other options for new viewing is often shows about deranged minds. ‘Prodigal Son’ is a series about a serial killer who uses his ‘twisted genius’ (?) to help solve crimes. (ok, I guess that absolves him of the crimes HE committed,,,,cause he’s a good guy now) Yes, by all means, let’s put him on a pedestal and teach other warped minds how to get away with murder!

‘Luther’, a tv series about a police detective who has a ‘knack’ for getting inside the heads of killers often via disturbing and dubious methods (de-ja-vu). And most of these thriller/ mystery/ drama shows involve a lot of graphic detail and violence. What could an individual possibly find entertaining here? (good grief, isn’t there enough violence and unrest in society without stoking the fires of potential copy-cats?) How do people sleep at night after watching this stuff?

Now if you don’t like any of these options, there’s always romance to be found in shows like ‘My 90 Day Fiancé” or ‘The Bachelor’, where a group of desperate young airheads battle it out for the superficial affections of some guy they never knew, but hey, it’s television,,,,so they embark on a mission to get a proposal  at any cost. Cat fights, slander, and propositions are the theme so it must be true love (oh, and I think there’s a financial payoff to the successful little virgin)

Whatever happened to good old fashioned entertainment, where people actually had an aptitude for singing, or dancing, or acting, and when did we lose our appreciation of these genuine talents? And when did entertainment become about violence, and profanity, and deviation, and sex (I know everybody’s doing it, but do I need to see it on tv?) I don’t love serious entertainment because I think there’s enough bad news in the world and I like to keep my world light, but I can appreciate a good drama if it has intelligent value. Teach me something. I love a good comedy because it’ll probably replay in my head for days after, setting off spontaneous laughter. (Does anyone else remember ‘The Honeymooners’, ‘Green Acres’, ‘Gilligans Island’, ‘Bonanza’?) And a good musical (with a storyline, of course) will have me singing show tunes for years, without the nightmares. ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘Showboat’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, Moulin Rouge’. Now THAT’s entertainment!

Eat the cake already

A close friend recently recounted a conversation she overheard between her husband and his dietician. He had submitted his menu of the previous week and the dietician noted that he had ‘cheated’ 18 times. We had a good laugh over it, at his expense of course (because if you can’t laugh at your husband why have one?)  but in truth, we both acknowledged that his situation was not unique. We all struggle to eat well and everyone wants to lose that extra 10 pounds. I wake up every morning declaring this to be the day my diet starts….only to have it all go to hell by 3:00. (I can’t help it – we are surrounded by deliciousness and my resolve never lasts more than 12 hours)

The same close friend once lamented her own dieting issues, then questioned her very need to. She said we struggle all our lives to eat well, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight – surely by the time we pass middle age we should be entitled to slip a little, no? I have to admit her reasoning resonated with me. Why are we so determined to deny ourselves the pleasure of food? If you drop dead tomorrow are you going to regret that you passed on that big slice of chocolate cake with fudge icing the day before? (I know I would!)

I remember a young woman I worked with, years ago. She was heavy, no doubt and constantly on a diet. A group of us went to McDonald’s for lunch one day (ok, not a healthy diet establishment, for sure) and I recall being surprised that she ordered a Quarter Pounder with supersize fries and a ‘diet’ Coke (she whispered conspiratorially to me that regular Coke is exceedingly high in sugar and she was watching her sugar intake) Now I’m no genius, but by the time you’ve inhaled that greasy burger laden with cheese and scarfed down 3 pounds of fried potato your sugar ship has pretty much sailed – just get the regular Coke and book yourself in for an Angioplasty.

Now I’m not saying we can’t indulge occasionally. I love a Big Mac and fries every now and again but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking a low calorie beverage is going to reverse the effects of this junk food meal. Eat it, enjoy it, and make a mental note not to do it again for 6 months because denying ourselves the occasional treat (junk) is just stupid. And no one would be impressed by a gravestone that says ‘she lived a full life on 1200 calories a day’.

In my family we have a number of birthdays in August which means a lot of cake. Now we discussed celebrating all birthdays at one gathering and that’s fine, but don’t deny me my cake. I have one birthday and on this one day of the year I want to eat and drink whatever I like without worrying about the repercussions. And none of this low fat crap. I want a chocolatey cake with a sickeningly sweet chocolate icing because if you’re going to give me cake I want the real deal, and substituting flavor for low fat options is akin to going to Baskin & Robbins where they boast 31 exotic ice cream flavours, and ordering vanilla.

Now this rule applies to coffee as well. The low fat, low foam, no cream, no sugar, no flavor, latte is a miserable alternative to a freshly brewed coffee with a squirt of caramel and a dollop of whipped cream, full fat of course. Unless you drink 6 of these a day it’s unlikely you’ll break the scales over a specialty coffee. I guess what I’m saying is, I think we need to ease up a little. Maybe live a little more and stress about our weight a little less? Unless you’re morbidly obese what harm can a few pounds do? It’s a good cushion if you fall and great insulation for the winter.

I suppose at the end of the day it all comes down to moderation. Anything in moderation is ok. Indulge yourself. Eat the chips today – don’t eat any tomorrow. And if you’re going to celebrate an occasion, do it right. Pour a big glass of milk/wine, grab your fork, lock the door, and just eat the cake already.

Eat the cake