Friday, October 21, 2011
Wandering....Random Bits for the Week
I am puzzled by people who assure me quite earnestly that they don't like people...The world is just full of people! How can you not like your own species? You'd think they would like someone. I am a people person. I love getting to know people. I am forever curious about them. When I meet someone, I want to know how they became who they are: What their background is, what sort of childhood they had, where they've been, who they read (or don't), what their favorite color is, when did they first fall in love and when was their heart first broken...Yes, I like knowing all about people. Admittedly I might just be called nosy but I'm really interested and not the sort to go tell it all as gossip. I don't want to know for the thrill of the sharing, I just want to know how all the pieces of YOU fit together to make up YOU. So, no, I don't understand people who say they don't like people.
And why is it that almost without fail those people who don't care for other people, end up working in service/people oriented jobs? Snarly clerk? People hater. Snarky waitress? People hater. Seriously. Just ask. Nine times out of ten!
I have met people I didn't like. That happens to everyone, I think. It is rare that I don't like someone. I like some people more than I like others. I have learned to mightily dislike a very few. Now and then I meet someone I dislike immediately and I am cautious with those people. I spend a great deal of time examining what it is I find so offensive. I really want my opinion to be changed, I do, but sometimes I have to accept that something about that individual is just loathsome and I will walk away and leave them be.
We had the oddest experience the other night. We got lost. We'd gone to pick up Samuel, and he was driving. We were headed north and realized we'd missed our turn and we turned around and went back and took the western turn that we thought we should have taken. We drove and drove, came to a stop sign turned south and rode and rode and then we turned east and found what appeared to be a familiar street...Until I noticed the fire station with another county's name! I did recognize the road we were on, but it said we were headed North! Samuel turned around and we headed back South...Well we finally saw a sign for the interstate but just barely. It was well hidden by another sign. We drove along a dark street, barely saw the next sign, missed the entrance...Finally we were turned around right way up and got on the interstate. We discovered we were miles and miles away from where we'd started and nowhere near where we headed!
We ended up getting off the interstate just 1 mile from where we'd begun. For all the time we drove, all the miles we'd driven in another whole county, we were only twenty minutes away from where we'd started! It was surreal the way time had seemed to stand still. The roadways were badly lit if they were lit at all. This despite a huge moon overhead. Samuel and I just kept shaking our heads over the whole crazy drive. John said we'd hit a time warp and would never again find that little town (name unknown) that we ended up in, lol. I'm inclined to agree with him.
I've had a sort of funny time of it lately. There's the one hand/the other hand sort of thing going on in my life. On the one hand, I feel incredibly blessed. I am well loved and in a secure position in my life in many ways. I have a great deal of peace. On the other hand...I am so restless! I don't know exactly what it is I want but there's something I'd like to have that doesn't exist in my life at the moment.
On the one hand here's a part of me that is glad to be who and where I am in my life for the most part. On the other hand...Well there's the part of me that has been taking out old dreams and examining them. Do you know how hard it is to let go of dreams you've held on to for years? And yet, the truth is, those dreams don't fit who I am anymore. They were young dreams and this is not a young body or mind or person any longer. Not old, but definitely not a youthful one. I didn't realize how many of these types of dreams I'd held onto and it's long past time to let go of them. And you know what? It's high time I made some new dreams, dreams more suited to the person I might be as I do grow older.
On the one hand, I am excited about this phase. There are new things to explore and learn like gardening (we harvested our first bit of lettuce today...Freshly picked, fully organic and free of preservatives, Yummy!)... On the other hand, this is not how I envisioned this portion of my life. I'm trying hard to embrace what IS and let go of what I thought it would be...oh yeah, that's basically what I said in the paragraph above. So maybe I need to make some plans and dream some new dreams for NOW as well.
Shoes... That subject came up twice today spontaneously. Mama started it when she dropped by. I was telling Mama about Katie's new shoes. I told her they were exactly like a pair I had in the late 1970's. I remember Granny telling me they were just like some she'd had in the 1930's, lol.
Mama remembered my coming home to tell her I wanted 'shoes with puppies inside'. Apparently a classmate had Hush Puppies shoes and that was what she thought I wanted. She expressed her deep regret that she'd been unable to afford them. I recalled that what I wanted was saddle oxfords and she'd bought me saddle oxfords. That was what was important to me.
Later John mentioned that in his growing up years, he'd wanted Bass shoes. His mom and dad's budgets were pretty tight but Bass shoes he got. He said he'd been pretty rough on those shoes, so rough that a second pair was bought for him. He regretted that his dad had spent so much money and he'd appreciated that fact so little.
Well all of this brought forth a spate of memories. Both our moms and dads worked. I told him how my mom had gone to the major department stores where her friends shopped and looked over the clothing in the junior departments. I was not a junior sized teen and in those days there were no clothes for young girls of size. Mama would look over the clothes noting patterns, fabrics, styles that were current then head off to the fabric shop and buy look alike patterns and fabrics and notions. She was an accomplished seamstress and I had clothes as nice or nicer than many of my classmates. I had a new wardrobe every season...and she did all that sewing after work each evening when she came home, in between gardening and canning and preserving. And yes, even then I appreciated what my mom did for me...even though we sometimes butted heads over her taste vs. mine.
I have this theory about things like news, horror movies, bad language, pornography and other things I consider questionable, vile and just plain repulsive.
It goes like this: In my childhood we lived near the cow pastures. Cows smell. Yes, they do smell, as anyone who has cows can tell you. Cow smells are especially strong in wet areas such as watering troughs, ponds, creeks. It is a mixture of manure, urine, cow hides, etc. The initial reaction of anyone who visited us was always that the aroma was unpleasant, to the point of almost making them gag. However, living near the pastures, we didn't much notice the smell unless someone called attention to it. And being country children we didn't think it smelled particularly horrid (and I don't even now). There was/is a certain richness to country scents. I even kinda sort like the warm rich smell of pole cat...as long as it's, let's say for fun, a few miles away... but I digress. The subject at the moment is cows and their aroma.
This business of what some consider unpleasant was demonstrated to the extreme when Amie was in Girl Scouts and we visited a dairy. Oh the gagging and holding of noses and gasping and begging us to take them away from the smell! But to me, and the other farm girls there, to the employees, the aroma of the cows was not that unpleasant. We'd grown used to it over our lifetimes...
And there you are with all of the above mentioned horrible things. Expose yourself enough and over time you build up a tolerance for it. Continue to expose yourself and it takes more and more awful things to make you feel you've seen something horrible. In a way, it becomes like any drug or alcohol. What used to produce a high no longer does, so you up the amount a bit more to acquire that same reaction....Well you can see how addictive these things become can't you? The same as any other evil thing?
So is it any wonder that our children are more knowledgeable at an earlier age about sex? That they are immune to horrible images or seem a bit cold blooded compared to what we were at the same age?
Do you know that these days it is not just men who have a problem with pornography? Many women do too. Do you wonder that what is on the movie screens must become more graphic, more horrific than before? It is a sickness we are tolerating because people have become accustomed to it gradually. It's the same issue as that poor little frog being boiled to death because the water gradually became warmer and warmer...
Do you really want to be a boiled frog?
Visited with a new acquaintance this past weekend. I was pleased to be invited to her home for tea...but I don't 'do' tea. I confessed that I didn't like hot tea, and was pleased when she laughed and offered coffee instead. So off we went to visit. Admittedly her tea (a lovely peach blend) smelled awesome. She brought the little packet to me to smell. The tea inside was black and aromatic and almost had a sticky look to it. It was obvious this was not ordinary tea bag stuff.
The house sort of went along with the tea. This new acquaintance is living in a home that is stripped almost bare. It is in a state of awaiting renovation. But there were visible signs of her personality in two areas. She had a lovely iron bed that was just filled with white bed linens and coverings and pillows. It was so lush and gorgeous that I didn't even notice at first that it was the ONLY thing in the room! No floor covering (just particle board), no curtains, no other furniture...just that bed. But it was so beautiful that it only gradually dawned on me that the room was empty otherwise.
Her kitchen was nice enough. But just beyond the kitchen was a study area that took my breath away. The room was panelled with dark wood, the floor was dark wood. A loveseat and sofa in creamy white and two tables filled with African violets in bloom. The accents in the room matched colors of the blooms: shades of pink and purple and blues and greens. And the view outside the uncurtained windows was of a lake and autumn colors surrounding the house. Well...In two tiny areas this woman made two spots of her home into a haven of beauty. It was only after we left that I recalled the empty bare rooms that I'd glimpsed. All I could see was the beauty she'd chosen to have DESPITE her circumstances.
How often have I been unhappy with an area of my life and decided that it was useless to try to make it better or to 'waste' beauty on the ugly?...No more. I was so caught up in what was lovely that I just didn't SEE the rest of the house.
Truthfully the whole tea thing reminded me of my ex-husband. He smoked a pipe. His reason for smoking a pipe was plain and simple thrift. As he pointed out people who smoke think nothing of 'bumming' a cigarette if you smoke,too or a 'chaw' of tobacco, or a dip of snuff...but no one ever asks to borrow your pipe or pipe tobacco. Far stretch from tea? Not at all. You see the tea that I smelled was a deep rich black tea and it had a wonderful rich aroma. It was far and away from that stuff in my tea bags used to make iced tea here at home (and I buy a decent brand!). It was QUALITY tea. When my ex bought tobacco he often bought a packet of standard blends of tobacco available in most stores, but now and then we'd visit a tobacco shop and the pipe tobacco there was black with curing and rich smelling and a little pricey but oh the aroma!
Well it's no different from coffee either. The coffee we'd been drinking was a good brand...but as the price climbed nearer the cost of the better German coffee we'd enjoyed for years, it seemed a small stretch to choose the luxury of excellent coffee over good coffee. We are drinking less coffee and it's not been a conscious choice but the result of having BETTER coffee, which satisfies more deeply than the good coffee we'd been used to drinking. So that was lesson two from my new acquaintance. It's better to have a little of really quality items than a lot of mediocre things.
So obviously the question must be "Why don't you 'do' tea?" I am sure it is psychological. In my growing up years every time Granny or GrandMama made tea for iced tea, they'd steep the tea bags, then pour into a pitcher of water. "Don't drink it while it's hot," they'd say, "it will make you sick." And so of course, being a typically stubborn child I drank some and felt a bit sick...And to this day warm sweet tea makes me feel ill. I always thought it rather funny that I am something of an anglophile and tea sounded such a cozy thing in all the books I've read. My two girls and Samuel love properly made hot tea, but I cannot stomach it. Tea, for me, must be iced and not too sweet (I learned the term 'half and half' a couple of years ago and have happily been drinking restaurant iced tea ever since) and is most certainly a warm weather drink for me. Mind you, growing up it was the only beverage served at meals (except breakfast) and we drank gallons of iced tea year round.
Another evening spent in an odd for us manner. Wednesday night I was watching a bit of tv (The Dick Van Dyke show which now is playing on Tvland) and heard what sounded like thunder. We're in the practice flight pattern for the air base and typically hear great heavy planes(jets?) coming in for landings at night. So I muted the tv, wondering if what I'd heard was a jet, but no it wasn't and it hadn't really sounded like a jet anyway. John came from the music room and headed into the kitchen towards the back door. "That sounded like GALLOPING," I said, and he looked at me and said "That's what I'm thinking!" He opened the back door and said "Nothing here...Oh hello! What's up?" I could tell he was carrying on a conversation with someone, so I went to the front door and peered out and yes there they were the four galloping (now grazing) horses.
Of course, they chose the 'sweet spot' of the lawn over the septic drainfield where the grass is rich and green and thick. Same place the cows chose last year when John hadn't mowed the lawn in a while. My brother had gone into the pasture, the gate flew open, the horses flew out and came up the hill to more familiar territory. Typically they graze and dust and seek shade just over the fence from here.
Maddie who willingly chases the horses when they are in their field decided she preferred the safety of sitting between John's feet instead while the horses were in her territory. Trudy, who is finding these first cool nights a bit chilly for her thin fur came up to sit as close to me as possible, shivering strongly every few minutes and looking out through the railings of the porch at the horses with a worried look. Now and then she'd whine, shiver harder than usual and lean into me. Funny how quickly the tides turn when the big old horses are out of the fence!
It took roughly an hour or so to lure the horses down to the pasture they'd just been moved to, which was all of two minutes walking for me and required my brother, my cousin and my brother's girlfriend all working in the pitch dark. I can't even imagine how they managed not to twist an ankle or fall. And what a blessing it must have been that John was keeping that section mowed. I'd have been stumbling about half blind I am sure, because that lovely full moon was well covered yet with clouds.
We all grew up in the country (well, not John) and we are familiar with the way animals will remain happily penned for the longest spell and then suddenly decide that there is freedom just that side of the fence and take off. It amuses me that no matter how long they might have been penned, nor how familiar they are with the area in which they've been pastured, these animals will take off for new territory in a heartbeat, on a whim one day and get right into the most stubborn frame of mind about going back into custody. And it's never at a convenient time (if there were such) when you're not busy or the weather is perfect. No, it's almost always raging weather, pitch black, early morning when you have an appointment or work to get to, just after you've gone out of town, etc.