Woe! It’s Wednesday: A Rose By Any Other Name …

I feel the need to confess. The burden has grown in the last few months and I can no longer carry it.

I don’t do nicknames. In fact … I hate nicknames.

My nickname phobia has one major exception.

Senior woman using computer

If, when we meet, I’m introduced to you by your nickname, I will happily call you by the nickname for the rest of eternity.

But you cannot be introduced to me as … Millicent Penelope Ewing, and then a few months or a few years later decide that you wish to be called Millie Pillie. You are in my brain as Millicent and Millicent you shall forever be.

So people who wish to be called by a nickname and wonder why I don’t go along, now you know.

It seems to me that if your parents wanted to name you Millipede or Sista Pup, or any of the many, many variations of every name created by younger siblings learning to talk, your parents would have named you that to begin with.

I’m not ranting or upset, I just thought I should explain why I continue to call you and/or your kids by the name I met you as.

 

I’ve tried to do the nickname thing. I’ve tried to come up with them, I’ve tried to call others by them. The best I can do is a kind of halting, swallowed amalgamation of your given name and your nickname.

I finally gave up. Millicent you were, Millicent you are, and Millicent you forever will be. Just saying … It’s a thing with me.

What’s your “thing”? Who else has something kind of weird, kind of goofy that they can’t go along with? I’m dying to know.

Well, not literally “dying,” but genuinely curious. Really!

 

 

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Woe! It’s Wednesday: Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not come naturally. At least to me, it doesn’t.

I’m sure you’re much better at forgiving others than I am.

Portrait of sad child

Although I do seem able to move on sooner than some other people I could mention, but I’m trying to be modest here, so I’m going to focus on my issues with forgiveness.

I know all the usual answers:

  • To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis Smedes
  • Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for other person to die ~ Many attributes but I first heard it from Carrie Fisher
  • To err is human; to forgive, divine. ~ Alexander Pope
  • Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. ~ The Lord’s Prayer

I recently came across one more quote. It stopped me right where I was, reached in my chest, gave my heart a little rub, and then whispered in my ear, “This. This is what you’ve been feeling.”

Here it is:

To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, ‘You have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However, although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what you’ve done, and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.’ ~ Frederick Buechner

I’ve come and read this again and again in the week since I first found it. It still stops me.

So much wisdom.

So much truth.

Detail of a Christmas quilt with scissors

 

My pride doesn’t want me to forgive others. Pride wants me to wrap my grudge around myself like a warm winter quilt.

The only problem is that eventually that quilt gets thin and smelly. Much like a grudge.

It fades until no one else can see the colors and shapes.

“Here.” I point to a faded triangle of red paisley. “This is when you called me a name. And here”–I rub a green rectangle–“here is when someone else spread gossip.” I can go on, identifying each patch in the ratty old quilt. But eventually even I have to admit I’m the only one who cares anymore.

It’s easier to recognize that although I have a “right” to my hurt feelings, the only one being punished is me.

What about you? Does forgiveness come naturally? Or am I the only one who struggles?

 

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Reputations

There’s an old Shakespeare quote: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.

POBoxWe’ve been wrangling with the post office this week. Two families have been receiving mail here for the last ten months. A change of address form was submitted last week for three people. That leaves three people still getting mail here.

Except someone at the post office decided to have all the mail with this address forwarded out of state.

That included some things Stud Muffin and I had ordered.

It took a trip to the post office and multiple calls to find out our mail was on its way to Idaho. A state I’ve never visited, by the way. But my new underwear, ordered from Amazon, will have visited! undies

The post office has become such a source of derision and frustration, that I wondered today:

Does the United States Post Office seek to hire apathetic jerks who don’t give a rip? Or do they hire hard working, conscientious people and train them to become apathetic jerks who don’t give a rip?

In other words, was the post office born incompetent, did it achieve incompetence, or did it have incompetence thrust upon it?

Has it grown too large to sustain itself?

I don’t know the answers to any of that. I just know that before my underwear is ever worn, it will have traveled more this summer than I did.

Woe! It’s Wednesday

Summer is still here for another six weeks.

So why does it feel like it’s almost over? Each day seems to go by more quickly than the one before.

I know part of the reason is that many schools have already started classes or are about to.

summer-photographer-pier-adventureDidn’t summer break used to be nearly three months long? It’s down to less than two months for most kids now.

I know the argument for having year-round school: students retain more when they don’t take a break. And we’re no longer an agrarian society with family farms that need all hands on the plow for the summer growing and harvest season.

But something about having that summer break just seems to fit with our natural God-given biological rhythms. We stay up later. We get up earlier (well, some people do).

Each year we plan to take a grandchild on some sort of trip or adventure. We — okay I, really want to take them to Southern California to visit some of the places we used to take their parents. The Space Museum. Griffith Park Observatory. Gene Autry Museum. A Dodger game. The beach.

The most we managed this year was a long weekend and a visit to the Fossil Discovery Center.  We did get to go swimming a few times and watched some movies.

But I’m writing on next year’s calendar right now to plan some summer trips.

Woe! It’s Wednesday

I’ve been quiet here a long time, but I’m planning to be more intentional with my blog and posts.

I know, I know, the road to hell and all that …

Sarmizegetusa Regia 2011 - Dacian Paved Road
Sarmizegetusa Regia 2011 – Dacian Paved Road

By Codrinb (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ro (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ro/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a busy few months around here.

I hesitate to say this, but I feel like I can catch my breath now. Every time I’ve felt that way for the last two or three years, something has happened to leave me gasping and feeling kicked in the teeth by life. So we’ll just pretend I didn’t say that, and move on. Okay?

So far this summer we’ve been to San Diego for the Romance Writers of America® national conference where we had a great time. Stud Muffin visited the world-famous zoo, the Maritime Museum, and the Midway. I spent four days walking around the Marriott Marquis and feeling right at home surrounded by writers.

We took the grand-daughters to tour an alpaca farm and to see pygmy goats. It was a fun outing although there were no alpacas to be found. The goats were adorable!

This week we plan to take the grand-girls to the local dinosaur fossil museum.

We’ve only got so much time to cram in the fun!

 

 

Woe! It’s Wednesday

A lovely person died recently. Her name was Mavis and I knew her a long time ago.

We were in a Bible study/diet accountability group together. She was older than me. Older than my mother, in fact. But we met together weekly for probably ten years. Even after our group stopped meeting, we continued to exchange letters and Christmas cards.

We had lots of things in common. We loved books and reading. We loved Hawaii. We loved our families. She grew up in Kingsburg, not far from I live now, and we both knew the Central Valley well.

When my family moved out of the area, we continued to keep in touch. When Mavis’s health grew more frail and she went into assisted living, her daughter kept up the annual tradition of letting Mavis’s Christmas card list know how she was doing.

2015’s card said Mavis was quite weak, but she had hit the century mark back in October.

Monday, I got the note that she had died on February 13.

I let my girls know and they both remembered Mavis well. The picture on the note was just how we remember her. Short gray hair, sweet smile.

The only time I ever saw Mavis angry was when she was telling our group about a conversation with her doctor. She’d lost a bit of weight and expected the doctor to tell her she’d done well and to keep it up. Instead he said, “Well, Mavis, you’ll never be svelte.”

She was spitting nails as she repeated that. “I don’t care about svelte! I care about healthy. What a jerk!”

Svelte or not, Mavis was indeed healthy, living to 100 years old. I bet that doctor has been dead a long time.

Seems that Mavis got the last word after all. As it should be.

 

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Waiting and waiting and wait…

This year’s holiday season is full of firsts.

We have a grandson due any minute as I write this (Sunday). He’ll likely make his appearance today, so by the time you read this, he’ll already be three days old. But yesterday was going to be his birthday, and we thought Friday might be it, and we thought … well, you get the idea.

So we have our first grandson, our first December grandchild, our first Christmas while Dave’s been working again, so we have a Christmas break like teachers and students. He’s also been remodeling our bathroom. But each day, each week, other urgent things take his attention. He’s looking forward to this break to finish that project.

Being on baby alert means making all plans with a big question mark. It means my gifts should be wrapped by now (they aren’t) and all my baking should be done (it isn’t).

But who cares?? There’s a new baby coming to town!