2011, One Word at a Time

December 31, 2011

Let’s sum up each month of 2011 with a single word, plus the corresponding post.

January: Smiling
February: Bridesmaid
March: Emotion
April: Audit
May: Mothers
June: Mailbox
July: Limbo
August: Satisficing
September: Zen
October: Kiln
November: Yaaaaaay!
December: Transition

Why no link for December? Because I’m telling you about it right now.

Fittingly, December’s events bring me full circle to the encounter with Lori that started the year. In January, her family came to my region of the country. In December, I visited her house as part of a reconnaissance trip, because… this coming January, I will become her neighbor.

I got a job! A better job than any of the four for which I’ve been the runner-up in the past year and a half! We are moving to Loriland!

I am temporarily in transition, but I am finally out of Limbo.

Uhhhh… anybody want to buy a really cool house? I’ll throw in some pottery!

Happy New Year!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Liar

December 29, 2011

Thoughtful ThursdayAside from my years of duplicity trying to hide infertility, I am scrupulously honest. That’s just who I am. Sometimes it requires some creativity to be totally honest but still say something someone wants to hear. If asked about someone’s new dress that doesn’t flatter her, I might say, “That’s a great color,” or “It coordinates so perfectly with that gorgeous necklace.” That also means that if I say something, you can believe it. Unlike most people, I don’t even like to tell white lies to toddlers; rather than saying that we don’t have any cookies, I come up with truths like “we don’t eat cookies at breakfast” or “we are not eating any cookies today.” DH and I are so opposed to lying to our children that they will never experience Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or any other magical creations. Of course, the Judaism thing also takes Santa and the Easter bunny out of the equation, which is actually very convenient: a Christmas-celebrating family who refuses to acknowledge Santa is going to get a lot of pressure from all sides. “Burrito and Tamale are Jewish” gets us off the hook pretty easily.

A coworker of mine says that he is honest all the time not for moral reasons but because he has a bad memory. If he were to lie, he’d have to keep track of who knew what. So, he stays honest.

One of my sisters-in-law, Murphy’s mother, only lies when it comes to compliments. Do you really look great? Is she actually happy for you? You’ll never know, because she says the same things, in the same over-the-top syrupy voice, no matter what. It has served her well at times, such as when she worked the front desk at a day spa and told the customers how fabulous their skin looked after their facials. Some people see through it, though — like my mother, who once remarked that DH’s sister was “a little too nice” and “kind of fake.”

The flip side of the easy compliments, though, is that DH’s sister expects them from other people. Last week she flat-out asked me whether a parenting choice she had made with Murphy would be bad for him long-term. She is currently very unhappy with the results of her actions and she desperately wants her baby to stop doing what he’s doing, and I don’t foresee what she’s doing turning out well. So, I told her that. I was matter-of-fact but truthful. I wasn’t harsh, but I didn’t soften it. I would never have said anything about it at all, except that she specifically asked me. But, even though she asked, I don’t think she expected me to tell her the truth. Although we email each other often, I haven’t heard a peep from her in over a week since I told her the truth.

DH’s buddy Mr. OH is such a fibber. I never realized the extent until we went on a road trip with him a few years ago. He made all sorts of personal and business calls on his bluetooth while he drove, and to every single person he lied about something. He is pretty convincing when he lies because he is kind of sleazy whether he’s lying or telling the truth. Usually it was something unimportant which would never come up again. Sometimes the lie did benefit him, which I don’t agree with but I can understand, but usually the lie did not benefit him at all. The most bothersome to me was when he lied to his wife, who had stayed home; it was a pointless lie which didn’t benefit him and wouldn’t hurt him. If you’re going to lie to your spouse to protect their feelings, or because you’re having an affair, or whatever, fine, I get it. But lying for no reason, just for the sake of lying? Bizarre.

Which brings us to our current nanny. I posted a couple of months ago about the tremendous tolerance I have shown for her lies, some of which she has been caught in and some of which I have detected without letting her know. In most cases, I wouldn’t have had any objection to the truth; in almost all cases, I would have been willing to go along with it or work something out if she’d just asked. A few weeks ago, I discovered a lie that was particularly annoying. She took my car to the supermarket while Burrito and Tamale were napping to stock up our groceries, which she does several times a week. The market is about a mile away. She came back 2.5 hours later, long after they had woken up from their nap. She had a convoluted story about getting pulled over by a cop and having him lecture her about her driving for an hour. Even if that were true, it doesn’t explain the huge block of missing time. Because she’d taken so long, I couldn’t run an errand I’d scheduled to pick up my finished pottery, nor could I go to my office. That night, on the dashboard I found a parking meter slip from a town 20 minutes away — 5 minutes away from my pottery studio. If she had just asked me, I would have driven her and dropped her off to do whatever she was doing (more on what that was next week) while I did what I’d planned to do; an extra-long, with-my-compliments lunch hour. But she didn’t ask, so I sat around the house for 2 hours waiting for her to come back. But, the part that annoyed me the most: she didn’t even cover her tracks and remove the parking meter slip. She is never very detail-oriented, and it obviously slipped her mind to remove the incriminating evidence. If you’re going to lie, at least be good at it.

When do you lie? When do you tell hard truths? Why do you tell the truth — because you should, or because you aren’t good at lying (can’t remember, can’t be convincing, can’t cover your tracks…)?

Thoughtful ThursdayThis year as I’ve sent out our holiday cards, I’ve taken a different tactic than usual for updating the list.

In the past, with these types of lists, address books, or birthday calendars, I would delete people who had become obsolete — either because they’d moved out of our lives, or because they died.

This year, I instead hid those lines on the spreadsheet. I did this for a couple of reasons: first, there are a couple of people whom DH has had me remove from the list at some point only to request that they be added in a subsequent year; hiding allows me to restore their address rather than having to contact them. Second, it’s hard to know what to do with people who have died. I remember reading a blog post from Mel several years saying that when people die, she leaves them in her address book untouched. At that point in life, her approach was very different from mine: I made a dramatic point of deleting them, a symbolic goodbye. But, I don’t think deleting works for me anymore, nor do I want to look at a potentially painful entry without warning. Hence, hiding the row.

Past deletion has come back to bite me: for example, a relative died last year, and I deleted his birthday from my list. Now, I couldn’t tell you his exact birthday. I know the month, but not the date. And so, when his daughter was suddenly sad on that day, I had no idea why, and I didn’t treat her as gently as I would have until someone else filled me in. Even if the deceased person can’t celebrate anymore, others might want to honor them — or mourn them — on that day, and it’s handy to have some kind of reminder.

There are some entries that I won’t forget, whether or not they appear on a list. I will never forget my mother’s birthday, for example, nor her address, nor the fact that she used to be at the top of my list and she isn’t there any more.

What do you do with obsolete entries in your address book, birthday calendar, etc.?

Thoughtful Thursday

Some of you have seen recent news stories about a woman who recently died from childbirth complications. I was particularly interested not only because of the many parallels to my experiences — infertile for 7 years, boy-girl twins from IF treatments, planned c-section because one baby was breech, severe hemorrhaging after delivery — but also because I actually am separated from her by only one degree, through a common friend.

When our friend passed along the horrible news, I scoured the website and the news articles, curious about the extent of the parallels between our lives and wanting to know more about this truly special person. And yes, some degree of lookie-loo motivation too, there but for the grace of G-d go I.

When I told DH about her and the parallels, his reaction was to refuse to listen to another word about her, horrified at the parallels, there but for the grace…

DH can stop me from talking to him about this family, but he cannot stop me from donating to help a bereaved husband and overwhelmed father of newborn twins take care of those beautiful babies.

When you see someone just like you befall a terrible fate, do you want to know more or shut your eyes and pretend it never happened?

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the December Intelligentsia, the people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post in November (not as hard this month, since I only managed two Thoughtful Thursday posts).

#26: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#18: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#15: Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy
#10: Tara from Turkey In My Oven
#9: Ana
#8: St. Elsewhere
#7: Lori Lavender Luz fromĀ Write Mind Open Heart

and new member Sara!

Thoughtful ThursdayI just spent several hundred dollars on new bras. I’ve had the same bra size all of my adult life (38F), but I was near a top-notch bra store and thought I’d get fitted. I don’t know if it’s because of pregnancy and nursing or because my past fittings have been good but not great, but the size at which they measured me was pretty different: 34G-H.

Unlike most shops, which have slim pickings in my size, this shop had piles. Once the clerk had fitted me, she literally brought in everything in my size, and then I worked my way through about 30 bras.

Among the selections were a couple that I’d never encountered in my size: deep cleavage bras. I don’t ever wear anything that would require such a low-cut bra — with a chest like mine, at least at my age, showing a lot of cleavage would be overkill — but even so, it was pretty fun to try them on.

Burrito seems to have even more conservative views. Both he and Tamale rarely have opinions on others’ clothing, good or bad (though they are huge fans of DH’s bear sweatshirt), but Burrito has very strong opinions about my shirts. Normally I wear crewnecks or high v-necks, but every time I wear a lower v-neck or scoop-neck, he freaks out. He starts patting my exposed chest frantically and chatters in a very concerned way, “mama shirt mama chest mama shirt!”

What’s your stance on cleavage?