A Nasty Comment From A Reader

IMG_0162  I received my first nasty comment from a reader.

I started writing on a site, that I actually discovered back in 2011, it’s called Smith, and they have a section on their site where you can write 6 Word Memoirs.  I posted my little story and picture about the Samba VW Van that I found on the SambaVW site – the pretty green and white one – under Need, Want, Desire, Isn’t She Beautiful. I included the part about donating to my dream at Paypal like I did here. Well that got me a nasty comment: You can read it on the site if you are interested.

The commenter schooled me on the rules of the site, called me tacky, told me no one owes me a damn thing and to get a job.

So, of course, first I needed to check out the “Terms of Use” on the site;

“SMITH Comments and Discussion Terms of Use

In order to make our Comments interesting and informative for our users, the following guidelines must be adhered to by all users posting and/or viewing comments:

– If a comment is made using your identity it will be deemed to have been posted by you.
– Do not post abusive, obscene, threatening, harassing, defamatory, libelous, offensive or sexually explicit material.
– Do not intentionally make, false or misleading statements.
Do not offer to sell or buy any product or service.
– Do not post material that infringes copyright.
– Do not post information that you know to be confidential or sensitive or otherwise in breach of the law.
– Keep all comments relevant and ‘on topic’ to the particular SMITH posting open for comments.
– SMITH will not accept responsibility for information posted in the Comments.

If SMITH receives notice that any posting is not in keeping with these terms and conditions or the intended use of the Comments, SMITH may remove that posting and/or any other related postings.

Please note that unless SMITH is notified of a posting that is not in keeping with these terms and conditions then we will not remove it, furthermore we do not exercise any form of editorial control or censorship of Comments other than the above stated procedure.”

I assume the commenter is referring to the item I have bolded in the list above: “Do not offer to buy or sell any product or service“.  Now I posted that memoir and link to Paypal with as a “tongue-in-cheek” joke and figured one of my friends would send me $0.26 and tell me they have helped me achieve 1/1,000,000th of my dream and say good luck. But now the commenter made me mad with their snarky comments and it has kind of become the principle of the thing.  I am neither buying nor selling with that post and do not think it violates these terms of use.

Second, no where in that post did I say or even imply that someone owed me a VW Van.

Third, why in the world would this commenter think I do not have a job. That part was just to add to the snarky meanness of their comment?

So I am keeping the memoir and the paypal information, not because I was really interested in a donation, but because if the commenter had politely mentioned the “Terms of Use” I would have said, oh my mistake and apologies, and removed that part of the post. But because they lacked class and manners the “tacky” post stays. Tacky apparently begets tacky!!

Do you think this violates their terms of use or was the commenter right? What do you think of donation solicitations on blogs or other sites?

1st Book Review


A friend of mine was recently in the hospital and is now home recovering for a few weeks. She posted a request on Facebook for some suggested reads while she recovers and this got me thinking about some of my favorite books. So I looked through my library to pick out a few to recommend to my friend and thought I would start sharing some of them on my blog as well.

It was very difficult to pick my first one, there are so many favorites and then there are always the classics on everyones top 100 list. I picked the first one I recommended to my friend, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel.

I first read this book riding the commuter bus back and forth from Everett, Washington to downtown Seattle while I was working for one of the Big 5 consulting firms. I was laughing out loud on the bus at some of the passages and a couple times holding back tears. I loaned my copy to at least 4 of my fellow riders and have since purchased at least a half dozen as gifts for my girlfriends.

Ms. Kimmels memoir about growing up in a small town in Indiana is full of some of the funniest stories of childhood. Some of them that felt like they were from my own childhood diary.

Besides having my hair problem and my face problem and teeth too big, and besides being always the tallest, skinniest girl in my class, I had what my sister called ” the unfortunate situation” of being deformed. Most clothes that we bought in a store came in sets, and if the shirt fit me even reasonably well, the pants were too short. We had tried buying the sets with the pants the right length, which meant my mom had to take in the waist, and the shirt fell right off my shoulders. I was thinking maybe the solution would be to find the girl who was deformed exactly the opposite of me, and we could share. ”  

And this passage about having to get up and get dressed to go to an Easter service cracked me up;

I grumbled out of bed and stood shivering next to the coal stove. I was instantly cold in the way that causes the spine to shrink up. In desperation, I put my forehead against the black enamel stove and burned it, just a little. Then I tried to straighten up, but failed, I scrunched over again, put my forehead against the stove, and burned it. After I did it the third time I had no choice but to look at my father. 

“You want to just open the door and stick your head inside?” he said, with his harms till crossed. 

“Daddy. Are you going to get me out of this, yes or no.”

“No””

There are just so many great little stories that will definitely resonate with you if you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s like me. I can’t say enough wonderful things about “A Girl Named Zippy” – just read it!

What’s one of your favorite books?

 

 

What I’ve Learned

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Cal Fussman wrote his dream “interview” for his What I’ve Learned column in Esquire. He pulled quotes and attributions to the wonderful author Gabriel Garcia Marquez who passed away last week. Here are a few of my favorites from the “interview”

Then the writing became so fluid that I sometimes felt as if I were writing for the sheer pleasure of telling a story, which may be the human condition that most resembles levitation.”

The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror; the problem in married life is learning to overcome boredom.

The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.

All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.

To all, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love..

Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.”

I wasn’t introduced to the works of the 1982 Nobel prize winner until later in life, but enjoyed them more as an adult, with a bit of perspective, I think.

There is another great “What I’ve Learned” column from Mr. Fussman with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield that I really enjoyed as well.

These columns got me thinking about what I’ve learned, so here it is my collected wisdom;

With a little time nothing is as terrible, upsetting or maddening as it seems.

Work hard and things will work out.

I am not as smart as I would like nor as dumb as I feel.

If you find someone you love who truly loves you back; never let go, no matter how bad things seem in the moment.

Always take care of your teeth. (this was one of the last pieces of advise from my Grandma Buddy and it’s good advice)

If the question is: Get a puppy? or Not get a puppy? Always get a puppy!

Never stop searching for what you love to do in work, in life and in love.

Never take your good fortune for granted for fortune comes along very infrequently.

What have you learned?

Learning to Take a Compliment

IMG_0580  If words could kill, I would be taken down by a compliment!

I am so wired to deflect a complement it’s become an affliction. The other day the Director of the agency I work for gave me a complement in a meeting and I turned red, started to sweat and stupidly did a little 3-year olds clap, you know the little giddily quiet hand clap. What a freaking spaz!

I avoid meetings and events where awards, service recognition or other opportunities to be recognized are happening because it fills me with so much anxiety. And it’s a little strange because I am interviewed on T.V. quite a bit, I have done live T.V. and Radio shows, I talk to people at events all the time and am generally an out-there extrovert selling my book of business without restraint. But selling myself or worse someone pointing out something nice about me puts me into a sweat filled anxiety attack that makes me want to hurl.

I know I should smile, hold my head high and just say thank you, but that is f’ing  hard for me to do!

So I did what any mentally ill person would do, I searched the internet for the best psychological advice I could find. What? I spent all my mental health funds on a new sweater. Anyway, I found some helpful tips that I am going to put to use and I am posting a few of the best here incase some of you repurposed your mental health funds for a cocktail dress. One of my favorites comes from: Manolo for the Big Girl 

“You wouldn’t go up to someone and say “Hi, you know your favorite green cardigan? It’s awful. Seriously. It looks like a tennis ball sexually assaulted your grandma.” (well, I’d say that, but you all are nicer than I am) because obviously they LIKE the sweater and you don’t just go up to people and tell them they have bad taste, even if they really really deserve it.

This is doubly true in states with concealed handgun laws.

See, it doesn’t matter whether you believe the compliment or not. If someone says you have a lovely singing voice and you say you sound like a frog, what you’re telling this person is they have bad taste in music.

Rude.

So, next time, instead of making an ass of yourself, make A ASS of yourself:

Acknowledge – body language, a nodded head or a hand to the chest (preferably your chest) conveying you heard what they said and it’s touched you.

Accept – the actual words you use, “Thank you” is a good start. Keep it brief.

Smile – a smile lets them know they’ve made you happy, even if you don’t believe them

Shut up – Don’t devalue the compliment or try to repay it. You don’t want them to feel like they were fishing for a compliment of their own.

That’s it.”

 Clementine’s experiment, say it with me….

“So, we’re here with a little experiment. The next time you receive a good-hearted pat on the back, respond with two simple words:

Thank you.

Now, we’re not being sarcastic here. Nor do we have any intention of making light of something we all struggle with on a regular basis. Yet, those two commonly-used words are truly the best solution. Try it with us:

“Congratulations on the big promotion!”    Thank you.

“Wow! You look amazing this evening.”     Thank you.

“Your home is so lovely.”                            Thank you.

That’s it, dearest Clementines. No disparaging qualifying statements needed.”

And how could I not include a tip from the place where all geeks go for information, wikiHow suggests,

“When accepting the compliment as it is, even if it’s not something you agree with, keep the reply simple and stay focused on the fact of receiving the compliment and be appreciative that the person was happy to compliment you. Some examples are:
“Thank you very much” or just “thank you”. These are simple, timeless classics that should be easy enough to utter even if the compliment has caught you off guard. If that’s all you can think to say, leave it at that.
“Thanks, I appreciate that.”
“Thank you; that’s a really lovely thing to say.”
“Thanks – that makes me feel really good.”
“Thanks. That means a lot to me.”
“Thanks, you’re a kind person.””

Now with all these great tips at hand I will move forward in life no longer defecting a compliment but rather replying – Thank You!

How about you – any social situation make you want to hurl?  Can you take a compliment?

I Want It, I Need It – Does Anyone Have an Extra $26,000 to Send My Way?

5582986I found the girl of my dreams a 1966 Camper Bus in Velvet Green! Isn’t she beautiful?!!!

TheSamba.com :: VW Classifieds – 1966 Camper Bus in Velvet Green, Solid Driver.

Oh the trips we could take and the fun we would have cruising the highways with the windows down, Tom Petty blaring on the radio, stopping in beautiful places along the way and meeting interesting people.

A crystal blue sky dolloped with a few fluffy white clouds, a cold Coke between my legs to cool me down from the heat of the desert we are winding through, a stop at a diner to fill my belly and the serendipity of finding the perfect camping spot under a tree so far from everyone that the silence the lets me hear the twinkling of the brightest stars I have ever seen in the night sky.

I’ll keep dreaming, but if anyone would like to make a donation big or small to help me realize my dream, your donation would be gratefully received in my paypal account: Sharireiter@gmail.com.

What’s your dream?

Meditation is Hard Work

New England 2007-23 I began my meditation commitment about two weeks ago.

I enjoy the sitting still and breathing for about 30 seconds, then my mind wonders, I start to fidget, I open my eyes and look at the clock and it hasn’t even been 30 seconds, try 15 seconds. But I do what I’ve read, take it easy on myself, bring myself back to my breath, relax my shoulders and try again.

I have been reading more about meditation and the practice that is going “mainstream” and found this article in the New York Times by Tony Schwartz, More Mindfulness, Less Meditation that had some interesting points.

Here’s the promise: Meditation – and mindfulness meditation, in particular – will reduce your cortisol level, blood pressure, social anxiety and depression. It will increase your immune response, resilience and focus and improve your relationships — including with yourself. It will also bolster your performance at work and provide inner peace. It may even cure psoriasis.”

Wow, if it’s this great why isn’t it required in school just like gym and health class? And now it is really becoming the fad de jour when Rappers and Silicon Valley folks are getting on board, not to mention the Seattle Seahawks.

50 Cent meditates. So do Lena Dunham and Alanis Morissette. Steven P. Jobs meditated, and mindfulness as a practice is sweeping through Silicon Valley. A week from Saturday, 2,000 technology executives and other seekers will gather for a sold-out conference called Wisdom 2.0, suddenly a must-attend event for the cognoscenti.

The author, Mr. Schwartz, has been a regular meditator for nearly 25 years according to his article and wrote a book about it called “What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America” but his years of experience tell him that it isn’t a magic cure for all that ails you. He writes,

The simplest definition of meditation is learning to do one thing at a time. Building the capacity to quiet the mind has undeniable value at a time when our attention is under siege, and distraction has become our steady state. Meditation – in the right doses — is also valuable as a means to relax the body, quiet the emotions and refresh one’s energy. There is growing evidence that meditation has some health benefits.

What I haven’t seen is much evidence that meditating leads people to behave better, improves their relationships or makes them happier.”

 He goes on to write;

“Consider what Jack Kornfield has to say about meditation. In the 1970s, after spending a number of years as a monk in Southeast Asia, Mr. Kornfield was one of the first Americans to bring the practice of mindfulness to the West. He remains one of the best-known mindfulness teachers, while also practicing as a psychologist.

“While I benefited enormously from the training in the Thai and Burmese monasteries where I practiced,” he wrote, “I noticed two striking things. First, there were major areas of difficulty in my life, such as loneliness, intimate relationships, work, childhood wounds, and patterns of fear that even very deep meditation didn’t touch.”

I don’t expect meditation is going to solve all my problems, but I hope if I keep practicing that it might bring me a little bit of peace, help me focus more on what matters and help me understand myself a bit better. Maybe I am asking too much?

Mr. Schwartz’s column also gives some suggestions about starting with the basics. I might need the remedial class!

“First, don’t expect more than it can deliver.

Second, start simply.

Third, don’t assume more is better.”

The three steps in the article include more practical advise about using it wisely including this comment from Catherine Ingram, author of “Passionate Presence“,

“There is a difference between mindfulness meditation and simple mindfulness. The latter isn’t a practice separate from everyday life. Mindfulness just means becoming more conscious of what you’re feeling, more intentional about your behaviors and more attentive to your impact on others.”

I see both mindfulness and meditation with possibilities for improving me. If I improve me, I can use what I learn to improve things for others in and around my life. So I will keep trying, two minutes at a time.

Do you meditate yet? Why not – everyone else is!

Getting Grumpy

IMG_0098 Men get grumpy around age 70 – No Kidding!

A recent NPR piece caught my attention this week. The Grumpy Point: When a Man Turns 70. They were looking at a study published in the March 2014 issue of Psychology and Aging about how men approach their “Golden Years”. I wrote previously about how my husband is not very impressed with his “F’ing Golden Years“.

Gerontology professor, Carolyn Aldwin, from Oregon State University and the lead author on the study says;

““Some older people continue to find sources of happiness late in life despite dealing with family losses, declining health, or a lack of resources,” she said. “You may lose a parent, but gain a grandchild. The kids may leave the house, but you bask in their accomplishments as adults. You find value in gardening, volunteering, caregiving or civic involvement.”

Aging is neither exclusively rosy nor depressing, Aldwin said, and how you react to hassles and uplifts as a 55- to 60-year-old may change as you enter what researchers call “the fourth age,” from 75 to 100, based on your perceptions and/or your life experiences.”

“The Fourth Age” is an interesting concept, with more and more people getting to those magic numbers, but ill-equipped  for the costs mentally and physically of that age. My husband is in this group now and has definitely been experiencing the challenges that come with age; more health complications, his energy levels isn’t the same, he gets upset that his mind just isn’t as sharp as it used to be. He says his head still feels like he’s 40, but he definitely knows his body is now in “the fourth age” and it is tough on him.

Little things seem to upset him the way they never used to, silly stuff like spilling something or the dogs fighting or kids making noise in the neighborhood, he just no longer has a tolerance for any of it. The cranky curmudgeon is what I like to call him sometimes. The good thing is it generally only lasts a short time and then the mental laps kicks in and he forgets why he was mad in the first place.

Are you in the “Fourth Age” or dealing with someone that has gotten grumpy?