On Politics.

No, not really.  I wouldn’t go there.

However, I fondly remember the days when you could.  Go there, that is.  To that conversation.  To that discussion. You could go to those places with no fear of reproof, disdain or disapproval.

When I was young, people were always coming in and out of our house.  They were all my “aunts and uncles.” They were related either by blood or by friendship. Affection, laughter and fun always came in the door with them.

I loved to listen to their political chit-chat. They frequently and heartily disagreed in their discussions.  Didn’t matter. They were all committed to being part of the election process. Their vote counted. And may the best man win. (Yes, back then, it was always a man.)

Even though opinions were boldly expressed, civility never waned. Cards were still dealt, gossip was still shared and scotch was still poured.  Friends were invited as friends, they arrived as friends and they left as friends.  Politics, schmolitics. 

I miss that level of openness. Those judge-free conversations.  Sadly, our current political climate warns us not to “go there.”

The risk is too great.  And the potential for anger is palpable.

I grew up with grace, trust and respect. I remember “them” well.  And I miss all of “them”. 

Every single day.

FOMO or JOMO?

I am a full-fledged JOMO.  By character and by birth.  Introverts and only children are accustomed to being left out.  We’ve finally evolved to the point where we graciously accept our plight.  Many of us even embrace it.

Actually, we, the JOMO’s of the world, may be in a better place than the FOMO’s since we can’t bemoan the loss of something we never had or even knew existed.  All those negatives add up to plusses for people like us.

Alas, there are many who suffer from FOMO.  They all know there are places to go, parties to give and people to see. They’re the movers and shakers. Social media sat up, listened and applauded them.  It can get stressful if they aren’t always on their game.  Or in the public eye.

JOMO’s, on the other hand, are neither plugged in nor bombarded by social media. Now, suddenly, we’re the carefree ones. We don’t totally understand why but it doesn’t matter.  We’re just happy not to care.

As a dyed-in-the wool JOMO, I’m hopeful that others might join me in our comfortable, easy space.

No.  Wait.  Stop.  Never mind.  JOMO’s neither want nor need hordes of people around them to be content.  A few good friends suffice.  Especially those who like to laugh.

If you don’t understand any of what’s been written above, which may well be the case, please see below:

In short,

FOMO’s live with the Fear Of Missing Out.

JOMO’s celebrate the Joy Of Missing Out.

Maybe some of the above will make sense now.  I sure hope so.

And a happy Mother’s day to all who either are or have one. Enjoy.

Flight Plans.

I would personally rather not.  Make plans to fly, that is. 

Our last plane trip from Boston to Savannah went swimmingly.  However, it was anything but that for those traveling to Boston from Savannah on the plane’s return trip.  Bad weather up East kept those passengers on the ground and in the airport for the next several hours.  We hear way too many stories like that these days.   

We all know the “flying” lingo.  The rules.  We know what TSA stands for, we know those wands have nothing to do with fairies, and we’re prepared for endless delays and screaming children.

I know that when I fly that I am doing so under their guidelines, their rules and regulations.  And all for good reasons. That doesn’t mean that I like it.

I was delighted, just recently, to read an article on “Gadgets for Air Travelers”.  Seemingly intended to make air travel easier.  I said to myself, now here’s a chance for you to get with the program. To act like a “seasoned” traveler rather than a “once-in-a whiler.”  After all, I also said to myself, it’s never too late. 

The article recommended that I buy a Twelve South AirFly.  I’m to plug it into a 3.5mm audio port and pair it with my Bluetooth. After I’ve done that, my USB-C will then be charged and I can get 22 hours of playtime.  Setting it up takes just seconds, they say.  Even I know better than that.

I’m still confused and not one bit hipper than I was before.  It may really be too late.  At least for me.

OH, BOY!  Do I like this idea!

It’s called The Silent Book Club.  How can that be, you ask.  Book clubs are all about talking, sharing, opining.  So, what’s with the silent bit?   Well, there’s a great answer to that.

I was part of a book club in Dayton. Back then, book clubs were relatively new.  As is the norm, a member was invited to chose a book of her liking for the coming month.  My favorite book of all time, selected by a friend, was and still is: “Crossing To Safety” by Wallace Stegner.

We were a pretty relaxed group. If you read the book, great.  If you enjoyed it, even better.  If you had some relevant comments and questions about it, then, please share them. That book club still exists.  Many have moved; others have died.  Alas. But the memories….all good ones….. linger on.

There are many reasons to join book clubs.  They’re all good and I’ve just discovered another one. 

As mentioned above, it’s called the Silent Book Club.  Members arrive at the meeting with their very own book.  The one they’re currently reading. A book of their own choosing.  Not one chosen by the group. They settle in, read their own book for a half an hour or so, put it down and share with the others what they’ve just read and learned. And why that particular book was of interest to them.  How cool is that?

Nobody was asked to read an “assigned” book.  Nobody had to cram and read a quick review to keep up with discussion.  No one could say they didn’t like the book.  After all, they’d personally chosen the book they were reading. 

Through sharing personal reasons for reading that particular book, other members could get a glimpse into that person’s interests and way of thinking.  Further, they all learned of new books they themselves might want to explore. Seems like a win/win situation to me.

It’s certainly a unique and fresh twist on book clubs.  And, I like it.  A lot.

Where Did Silly Go?

It seems she just up and left. Did she feel unwelcome?  Unwanted?  Unappreciated?  Unloved?

And am I the only one who misses her?  Surely not.

Silly holds a unique place the world of laughter.  Responses to her brand of humor include groans, eye rolls and the occasional belly-laugh.   Hers is most definitely not high or sophisticated humor.   She’s especially appreciated by children and by our own “inner children.” There will always be those who won’t stoop that low but there’s little we can do about that.  Someday they’ll realize what they’ve missed.

A friend of many years ago loved to give dinner parties.  She never asked her guests to bring food of any kind.  The only request/demand she made was that we come prepared to share a silly joke. We always left with full tummies and big, happy smiles on our faces.

With that in mind, I share these quick, very silly, one-liners with fervent and sincere hope that you’ll either laugh or forgive me for being silly.  Or both.  (It helps if you read them out loud.)

First question: “How do you catch a unique rabbit?”  Answer: “Unique up on him.”

Second question: “How do you tame a unique rabbit.”  Answer: “Tame way.”

There, now.  Didn’t that feel good?   We need to find Silly and bring her back where she belongs.

Oh, and by the way, if you think of anyone you know who might enjoy these little “blogs,” you can let them know the contact which is www.lifeonthemay.com.  We love to have new readers on Sundays.  And the cost always stays the same.  Zero.

It Was a Hot and Steamy Night in South Carolina.

And it was surely a good and happy thing when the air conditioner kicked in.

And then it kicked off. 

And it stayed that way until help arrived the next day.  After much inspection, much exploration and a hefty non-repair bill, it was determined that the air-conditioning unit, now known as IT, thought IT was sick and so IT quitI    All by ITself. 

Apparently, IT has an inner robotic sensor which, on that hot and steamy night, made a bad decision and told IT that something dire would happen to IT if IT kept doing IT’s job.

Happily, on this day, all is well.  But there’s a dark cloud hanging over us. 

The next time the weather gets hot and steamy, and it surely will, we will ask the obvious. Will IT behave ITself and keep us cool and comfy?  Or will IT succumb to IT’s  imaginary aches and pains and turn ITself off again.   

If that happens, we can only wonder: is IT a hypochondriAC? 

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Social Studies and History Classes.

They were, at least in my day, required courses in high school.  Neither held much interest to me but they were part of the curriculum. No way around taking both if you wanted to graduate.

I still remember a particular history test.  I got an E.   Accustomed as I was to reasonably good grades, I assumed the E stood for Excellent.  It did not.

My grades eventually crept up to passing, allowing me to graduate, but my interest/enjoyment of the factual subject matter remained low.  Both classes taught me the value of our country’s constitution and our rights.

While I remained steadfast in my refusal to memorize dates and other nasty details from history classes, social studies gave me an appreciation for our country and its uniqueness.  I may not have “learned” everything the classes had to offer, but a good amount of it eventually seeped into my pores, and perhaps even my brain.  And there it’s stayed for all these years.

I got it then. And I get it now. I get our freedom, our democracy, our constitution and the importance of our three branches of government.  Don’t pin me down on specifics. I don’t do details. But I’ll defend our democracy up one side and down the other. In my own way.

Sadly, I fear for its well-being. For once, I’d love nothing more than to be wrong

To Go…

Or not to go.. 

To church…

On Easter Sunday?

For many, it’s not even a question.  For others, it’s not so simple.

For “Regulars,” going to church on Easter is a given.  Easter’s one of the most important liturgical days of the year.  And for the “Regulars”, it’s also a matter of the same time, same place, and same pew as every other Sunday.   Of course, they’ll be there.

For “The Most-Of-The-Timers”, Easter is largely a must.  The service and its message beckon.  “The Mosts” may miss a Sunday here and there, but they’ll usually go to church on Easter.

Then, there are the “Occasionals”.  They’re a long way from “Regulars”.   Or even “Most-of-the-Timer’s”.   But, it IS Easter, after all.  And, if they don’t go to church, they know they’ve missed something important.  They can go either way.

Finally, there are “The Stragglers”.   This group is way too diverse and too broad to be categorized.  They’re unpredictable, at best.  Anyone’s guess is as good as the next.  Just don’t save them a seat.

Through the years, we’ve been a part of each of those sectors at one time or another.  As a result, we long ago arrived at our own comfort zone. 

What’s important about all of that is that we had the freedom to explore, consider, and experience each of those phases, fully and without condemnation or rebuke. And, that’s one of the extraordinary gifts that Easter gives us. 

Image courtesy of Aaron Burden/unsplash

“Politics.”

It’s not a four-letter word but it sure feels like one.

One must be very careful when and where one utters the very word.  It’s currently not acceptable at dinner tables or with new acquaintances.  And it’s most certainly not welcome at ladies’ luncheons or cocktail parties. 

I vividly remember heated political discussions among my parents and their friends.  It was fun to watch them, to listen to their opposing views and opinions and then sit back as they tired of the whole thing and got back to the fun of being together.  Politics discussed; friendships maintained.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see much of that these days.  It seems we walk on eggshells, parsing our words, our opinions, our thoughts.  If there’s political agreement, that’s all to the good but it’s even more valuable and important to hear and discuss differing viewpoints.  It’s called conversation.

It may be fantasy, but I have hope that we’ll get back there someday.  Our children and grandchildren need to watch and listen as we share differences and maintain friendships.   Sooner rather than later would be good. 

Stormy Weather

It’s so strange.  I was going to write about our (mis) fortune and (dis) pleasure of living in places known for their susceptibility to damaging storm activity.

Ohio, where we lived for many years, always gets more than its fair share of tornadoes. The South Carolina coast, our current home, is unnecessarily hurricane prone.

Both hurricanes and tornadoes can, and often do, cause catastrophic damage.  And they attack in such different ways.

Hurricanes can be forecast weeks in advance; tornadoes pop up with little or no warning.  We can pack up and run from hurricanes; hunkering down in a low and protected spot is the only defense against tornadoes.

Last night an EF-3 tornado popped up in a little town not far from our old home in Ohio. There were no warnings, no sirens, no time to prepare. The town is essentially flattened. Poof! Gone! Just like that.

I wrote the following piece years ago.  It’s still etched in my mind and, as a result of last night’s tornado, it’s spinning around and around again in my head.  It’s remains my personal experience and one I’ll never feel good about.

Foul and Damaging Weather (written October 23, 2016)

The sky was pitch black.   At  4:10 PM.  On April 3, 1974.  In Dayton, Ohio.

But we knew why.  We were used to tornado warnings and watches.  We weren’t a full-fledged, designated, tornado-alley community but we were close enough.

Even as the tornado sirens were wailing, we were outside with the children, watching the wind direction, looking for unusual cloud formations and fallen tree limbs, but we weren’t scared.  It really was business as usual.

Later, when it seemed everything had blown over, we went back inside, did our normal every-day things, and went to bed.

What we didn’t know was that a small town just slightly east of us had suffered the brunt of an F -5 tornado.  It touched down at 4:40 pm and destroyed much of the town.  34 people were killed; 1500 injured.   Massive, massive attack by Mother Nature.

Those are the facts.  Readily available on Google.  “The Xenia Tornado.”  

Our phone rang about 6:00 am the following morning.

It was a Red Cross volunteer.  Through her I quickly learned of the devastation and disaster that had struck, so close to home.  She asked if I could/would join the others who were gathering to go to Xenia and help those whose homes, families, businesses, and lives had been totally destroyed.

I quickly told her that our family was on its way to Hilton Head Island for our annual vacation and that I would be unable to help.

And I hung up the phone.

Those words, my thoughtless words, haunt me to this very day. I dearly wish I could re-write history.

Storm clouds photo courtesy of Unsplash

If Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder…

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Then what is in the Ear of the Listener?

Joy?  Conflict?  Happiness?  Sadness?

It’s all that and more. But it can be tough when the words aren’t ours.  When they’re expressed in languages we don’t know.  Or speak.  Or understand. 

But does that mean those words, those expressions, those feelings have no value?  Simply because we can’t understand them?  Of course not.

We just need to try a little harder.  We need to look for clues rather than listen to words.  We can watch faces, study eyes, observe body language.  At some point recognition, understanding,  and appreciation will emerge.   And voila! We will have successfully communicated. 

It may not be everything but it’s something.  It’s a start.  And it sure beats the heck out of turning our backs on those who’s words are not ours. 

It’s also simply what we do when we are fortunate enough to live in a democracy.

SUITS

No, not bathing. Not birthday. Not monkey.

No, I’m referring to the SUITS television show of many years ago.  Starring, among others, the one and only Meghan Markle.  Who, BTW, is not a bad actress and has great legs.  But I digress.

We never watched a single, solitary episode of SUITS in its prime time.  There were too many ads.  It was on too late.  It sounded too soap-opera-ish.  All valid reasons at the time.  But streaming has allowed us little peeks into some of those old shows.  And, right now, we’re doing a fair amount of peeking at “SUITS.”  Apparently, and surprisingly, we are not alone.

SUITS is enjoying a resurgence of popularity.  We know this because we have told others about it and have found that many of them are also watching for the first time.  Why, we ask ourselves?

There are reasons.  Followed by other reasons.

For starters, SUITS has lots of seasons.  No need to constantly learn new faces and names.  (A huge plus for The Mister who has and always will have issues with names.)

Second, it’s on NETFLIX and almost everybody has NETFLIX.  Availability is key.

Third, people like to have suggestions from people they know.  Word of mouth and all that.

And, finally, who doesn’t want to watch a bit of MM before she met Harry?

But, the real reason it appeals to us is that it’s fun.  Just that one simple word.  FUN.  And who doesn’t want a little fun right now?  And right at your fingertips, to boot. 

The banter is fast, the women are pretty (and usually smarter than the men), the sets are glamorous, good wins out over evil and so forth. To say nothing of all the legal twists and turns and the fabulous women’s dresses, inappropriate though they may be for a law firm.

In short, I always liked the bath-additive advertisement “Calgon, take me away.”  We’re letting SUITS take us away these days. Just like a good hot, bubbly bath.

Polarization.

We have never experienced more visual, more guttural, or more powerful statements of polarization as we did during our life in Ohio.   Everything since has paled in comparison.

We could always see it building.  Friends and neighbors taking sides.  Hard lines being drawn and compromise a mere word in the dictionary.   

Signs were everywhere.  Banners flew from car antennas.  Flags filled every front yard. Nearly everyone sported buttons and caps, tee shirts and hats, blatantly flaunting their allegiances.

Happily, and as was always the case, once the referee confirmed the final score, foes became friends again. No one questioned the outcome. Congratulations and condolences were offered and accepted. Losers and winners shook hands and got back to the business of life. 

And it was over!  At least for a year.

This, of course, has nothing to do with “political polarization.”   This is all about the annual Ohio State/ University of Michigan football game.  Take another look at the images above.  Red and grey for OSU; blue and gold for U. of M.  (And by the way, red and blue mixed together equal purple!)  No politics there but plenty of passionate polarization!

As to “political” polarization, wouldn’t it be grand if, even in some small measure, it could be as congenial, civil and honorable as the polarization of our favorite sports rivalries?   

Nothing Ventured…..

Nothing Gained.

Such was the case with our great Ketamine experiment/experience of last week. 

Ketamine is known to occasionally cause a high blood pressure spike after the injection and during the “experience.”  Apparently, I was vulnerable to that.  It was a no-brainer to quickly grasp that dystonia is one thing; a stroke would be quite another.

We, the Mister and I, as well as the doctors at the Ketamine clinic have decided to halt all further appointments.  There were to be six of them.  But the possible benefits in no way outweigh the potential harm.  Thank goodness this is/was an optional treatment; not a necessary one.

No one has told me this is “age” related.  They’ve simply said that it’s most likely just “me.”    We’ve heard many positive things about the drug and still believe they’re valid.  I’m not a good candidate to be a “ketamine kid” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable treatment option for many others. We’ve done too much research to discount the benefits simply from my outcome.

We were enthusiastic and hopeful about the process. A good friend who was wishing the best for the us and the foot said simply: “Bummer.”  We agree.

There’s an answer somewhere.   There has to be. This just wasn’t it.

Ketamine.

Ketamine is a drug that produces hallucinogenic responses.  It can distort reality and perception.  Frequently, the user is not in control and feels disconnected to his/her environment.

Under normal circumstances, I couldn’t run fast enough to get away from such a thing.

Why then, am I choosing to have a Ketamine injection on Monday?  With more to come, perhaps? And with the full understanding of what my response will most likely be.

The answer:  ketamine, used properly and in a clinical environment, can, and hopefully will, assist in the recovery of my long-standing and seriously unwanted relationship with focal dystonia of the foot.

The Mister and I don’t know for sure about this, of course. Right now, one of us is scared. The other is confident that all will go well. Together, we’re hopeful.  And we’re optimistic. 

Dystonia is not, in and of itself, simply a physical condition.  The mind is powerfully involved in dystonia.  It may or not be the genesis of the disease.  No one knows for sure.  But once it’s part of you, it’s a tough nut to crack.

Hence, the mind/body approach that ketamine professes.

I’ve not used this little blog very often to direct you, my dear readers, to my situation.  But doing so this time around, may be helpful to me.  And it may be eye opening for all of us. As always, I thank you in advance for being with me on Sundays.