Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Gripes 2/22/2010

I have to say, one of my biggest all-time gripes is people who are rude. Whether it's a speed demon cutting me off in traffic, a store clerk ignoring my request for help, or a teenager's roll of the eyes, it's all rude and impolite, and absolutely unnecessary.

I've never understood how it is that people can treat others so cavalierly, being dismissive or downright insulting, with no consideration for the other person's feelings. Do they get some kind of adrenaline boost out of it? Are they asocial personalities, with no feeling for others at all? Or are they just so narcissistic that they only care about themselves?

The world would be a much better place if people treated each other politely. Can you imagine a war starting if people said, "Oh, you're a Protestant? How interesting! Tell me about your beliefs," or "You need more land? We have a plot over here that's just sitting idle. Do move in!"

That may be a little simplistic, but honestly, if people always treated each other with respect, so many little disagreements would never have the chance to escalate into anything serious.

I've spent my life trying my best to be polite to everyone, regardless of how they treated me. "Take the high road," I told myself. "At least then you have nothing to feel guilty about, no matter how things turn out." And that's true, as far as it went.

Yet, when I'm treated rudely or unfairly, it causes stress and emotional fallout. And I find more and more often I'm asking myself, why should I suffer on the account of someone who clearly has no respect for me?

So I'm venturing one toe into the water of "well-deserved rudeness." I would never treat anyone disrespectfully just because I feel like it. But in the case where someone treats ME poorly first, for no good reason...then, I'm starting to think, all bets are off.

It's difficult to be rude, purposely, after a lifetime of polite. But in some cases, it seems warranted and more, it seems to be the only thing certain people understand.

But that's how wars start. Isn't it? Oy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Happies 2/19/10

I've missed a week with the Gripes and the Happies, due to being out of town with my DH on a Valentine's trip to the White Mountains. Definitely all happy, nothing to gripe about there!

So I'm trying to get back on track.

Happy, happy, happy. Let's see. I'm happy it's Friday! But I guess there's a lot of that going around. What else?

It's a little warmer today, and the snow is melting. After the most recent ten-inch storm, I've decided that it should be against the law for me to have to sing "Let It Snow!" ONE MORE TIME this winter. I love snow; it's pretty and Christmassy and the snowflakes are a marvel of nature's engineering. But enough is enough, already. By the time it hits mid-February, I'm ready for temps in the fifties and crocuses popping up. So today's high of 41 and drip, drip, drip from the roof makes me think spring might actually come. Soon, I hope!

Lately, I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out what bird I've seen several times on the tree out my front window. I've seen more than one of them, but I suspect they're moving through and not native to this area as I've never seen them before this year.

I love watching birds, and I keep a couple of bird books handy for quick and easy identification when I see a new one. But this time I'm stumped. It LOOKS like an eastern bluebird, perhaps; but the book's description of its eating habits and natural habitat don't sound right. It's a little blue bird about the size of a sparrow, with a red breast and white tummy. Any guesses from bird experts out there?

Birds are such delicate creatures. I don't know how they survive brutal winters without turning into little birdie popsicles. I try to keep food out for them, but I know their lives must be harsh.

I remember once hearing a bang coming from the direction of our sliding glass deck door. I looked out and there was a small finch lying on the deck. I was so afraid he'd killed himself by flying into the glass door.

I picked him up and held him, and I could feel his heart beating. Good sign; he wasn't dead. I pulled out one wing to examine it, then the other, then turned him over to check his feet. They all seemed to be in good shape, as far as I could tell. No blood, no obvious wounds.

So I just held him in my hands, keeping him warm. (It was a chilly autumn day.) I hoped against hope that he'd just stunned himself and would recover, given time.

And sure enough, in a few minutes, he seemed to be coming out of his daze. He realized where he was--in the hands of a giant--and started to flap his wings. I opened my hands and he flew/skittered across the deck floor. After a minute, he hopped up onto the railing and flew away.

That was one of the most special moments of my life--holding one of God's tiniest living creatures in my hands, and playing some small part in helping it recover from a trauma. I've always remembered that with a smile.

So, whatever those blue birds are, it doesn't matter...they bring me joy. And that's what counts, right?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Monday Gripes 2/8/10

I know I'm not the only one with THIS gripe. Many of my favorite shows are on ABC. Come December, they disappeared. "Well," I told myself, "it's just because of the holidays and all the holiday movies and specials. They'll be back come January."

January came...and went. Most of those shows haven't returned. Heck, "Lost" didn't even start the season until February. Oy! And other shows are returning at the end of March...or later.

What's up with that?

It's not like there's a writer's strike this year. So what's their lame excuse? Are other networks doing this as well, or only ABC?

All I can hope is that this means they'll continue showing new episodes well into summer. Hmmpfff.

Another thing that bothers me is that no one writes letters anymore. I'm as guilty of that as the next person, I confess. Since the invention of the personal computer, people have been getting farther and farther away from the pen and paper. I'm not even sure anyone could read my handwriting anymore. (sigh)

Now, I know it's easier to pop open an e-mail program and type a note, or open up that IM box and "chat" away. But those things are ephemeral and once you close the box, it's gone. (Or once your computer crashes.)

I remember writing love notes to my then-boyfriend (now husband) and using scented stationery. I remember shopping for stationery, and there were lots of choices: floral and opulent, cream-colored and official-looking, or dotted with terminal kitten cuteness. I always had two or three boxes on hand and chose based on who I was writing to.

And when I received a letter...oh, that was special. I'd get a cup of tea, sit down in a comfy chair, and open the letter. What news would it contain? Questions for me to answer in my next letter? Jokes? Sad tales?

After reading it, I could save it in my desk drawer, to read and reread whenever the fancy struck me. Something permanent and real, to hold onto, something that symbolized a relationship between two people.

I guess I've talked myself into it...I'll have to go write someone a letter!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Happies 2/5/10

My happiest event of the day today was meeting my husband for lunch. Friday is always my "grocery stock-up" day, and it's anything but fun. Plus, it delays when I can get my "real" work done by carving out the highest-energy portion of the day. And Dan, of course, is in the middle of yet another long workday. So we meet for lunch, and it gives us something to look forward to and a chance to debrief a little.

Today we went to Taco Bell. It's one of my favorites, because I'm a vegetarian. It's tough to eat at any fast-food restaurant if you're a vegetarian, in this burger-is-king culture. But at Taco Bell, I can order *anything* on the menu and just ask for beans instead of meat. Simple! And don't think they don't know it...I saw a sign up today reminding people that during Lent, they can get any item made without meat.

My second happy of the week was Groundhog Day. Now, I know that good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so that means six more weeks of winter. And I have to say, are you really surprised? At least in our neck of the woods, spring never comes this early.

But for many years, I've been a fan of the movie "Groundhog Day," with Bill Murray. I especially enjoy the scenes at Gobbler's Knob, when the groundhog is pulled out of his burrow and, with much pomp and circumstance, foretells six more weeks of winter.

So imagine my surprise when this year, I went to the Reuter's website to see what Phil had predicted, and found a video of the event. I viewed the video, and it's almost a carbon copy of the movie. I was so excited! I've watched it three or four times and now, I really have to watch the movie again.

Have you had any surprises or unexpected little tidbits of info about your favorite movies? Do share!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Monday Gripes, 2/1/10

I was reminded today of a catastrophic misspelling (the offender shall remain nameless) that really sets my teeth on edge. It's an adverb that's defined as "without much doubt, seems reasonably true."

The word is "probably," and as you may guess, it comes from the word "probable."

What really drives me batty is when people spell it "prolly." Oy! My only guess about this flagrant misspelling is that those people are spelling it phonetically--and "prolly" is the way they pronounce it.

(Suitable interval while Liz faints from the pain of it all, falls to the floor with a thud, slowly reawakens, shakes her head and staggers to her feet)

Oh. My. God. Please people, please, the word is PROBABLY. Pronounce and spell it right, and you'll add years to my life. I swear.

Okay, I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest!

My second gripe for today is my own failing memory. I suppose everyone forgets things now and then; it's only human. And as we get older, we tend to forget more than we used to. (For instance, we forget what it feels like to be able to do a hundred sit-ups in a row. Seriously.)

What really irritates me is when I forget things that have a timely nature to them, i.e., a doctor's appointment, a phone call that needs to be made, when the post office closes. It's not so much that I forget them that bugs me, but that I remember them when it's too late to do anything about it but smack my forehead and swear.

What, exactly, is up with that?

I mean, if I'm going to forget I have a doctor's appointment until it's too late to go, why remember it then? I'd be much happier, if I have to forget, then to never remember at all. Because you see, remembering too late creates guilt and stress, something that's bound to only make me forget even more things.

So that's my request of my own peculiar gray matter: either do your job with one hundred percent efficiency (okay, I'll take ninety), or just forget about it. Tell me, is that too much to ask?