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#MicroblogMondays 142: Concerts

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I did not participate in the 10 concert Facebook meme because (1) I don’t go to a lot of concerts.  Yes, I’ve been to over 10 during the course of my lifetime, but I’m not a big concert goer and don’t really feel like reminiscing about them.  (2) I go to most concerts for other people.  Therefore, my concert list doesn’t reflect my musical tastes.  (3) I didn’t really get the point of the lie unless you constantly speak about concerts.  I did a tongue-in-cheek version swapping in theater instead of concerts because it is a running joke that I talk about certain plays incessantly.  The ones on the list are the ones that people generally roll their eyes about when I start quoting from them.

A side comment: when we cleaned out our bookcases, we found 8 copies of the same Dürrenmatt play.

Anyway, I did go to a concert last week — Midnight Oil.  It felt like slipping on a t-shirt from high school.  90% of the reason I wanted to go to the show was to watch Peter Garrett dance.  But normally, not a concert fan.

Do you like concerts?  And did you do the meme if you don’t really like concerts?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

1. Lori Lavender Luz 9. Shilpa 17. Daryl
2. Traci York, Writer 10. Parul Thakur | Happiness & Food 18. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
3. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 11. Different Shores 19. Journeywoman
4. Laughing IS Conceivable 2 12. Counting Pink Lines 20. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
5. Isabelle 13. Failing at Haiku 21. Middle Girl
6. Turia 14. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 22. Jamie
7. No Kidding in NZ (Mali) 15. Unpregnant Chicken
8. A Separate Life (Mali) 16. the OCD infertile

May 15, 2017   23 Comments

Switching Whys to Whats

It is really hard to answer “why” questions, and now someone has actually done research to explain how it gets easier to think when you change “why” questions into “what” questions.  The author states:

Why questions draw us to our limitations; what questions help us see our potential. Why questions stir up negative emotions; what questions keep us curious. Why questions trap us in our past; what questions help us create a better future.

If someone asked me, “what kind of ice cream do you like?” I would say, “Coffee chip.”  Black-and-white question, concrete answer.  But if someone follows that up with, “why do you like coffee chip?” the answer gets a lot more muddled.  Because… it’s bitter and sweet at the same time?  But I don’t really like other bitter and sweet combinations.  Because… it reminds me of coffee in the morning?  Not really…  I don’t know why I like it; I just do.

What asks us for information.  Why asks us to explain ourselves.

I really liked the part where she talked about how answering “what” questions got the guy rolling towards helpful information.  It’s as if hearing some truth sparks a person toward deeper truths because the words feel right.  It’s like when you put on a new pair of jeans and you know it’s the right fit before they’re over your hips.  I mean, once the jeans are zipped up, you know it’s right.  But even before that, you have a sense that you’re putting on something that fits.

And maybe hearing some facts that ring true as we work toward understanding drives us closer to gathering useful information about ourselves.  If we can just take a few steps down that road, the rest of the thoughts come to us.  Like therapy, like talking things out with a therapist and realizing things that were dormant in your brain the whole time.

I don’t have a huge decision to make right now, but I’m going to try this the next time I have to figure something out.  Switch my “whys” to “whats” and see where things go.

And lest you worry that “why” questions have no place, the author points out that “a good rule of thumb, then, is that why questions are generally better to help us understand events in our environment but what questions are generally better to help us understand ourselves.”

Grappling with anything at the moment?  Does changing your questions from why to what bring you toward clarity?

May 14, 2017   3 Comments

646th Friday Blog Roundup

I babysat for the same family for many years, and the little girl always said “fitch the lights” when she got into bed.  She was trying to say “pitch the lights,” like her parents (who were from South Africa), but it always came out as “fitch the lights.”  So for years, my friend and I would say, “fitch the lights!” whenever we wanted someone to turn them off.

I was recently reading a book and the word “fitch” popped up, and I decided to Google the girl (she became an OB/GYN) and then the term “fitch the lights.”  Of course nothing popped up.  But then I Googled “pitch the lights,” and nothing came up for that phrase, too.

Weird.

So I turned to Josh and said, “what does ‘pitch the lights’ mean?”  And he answered that it meant to turn them off.  Then I asked him to Google the phrase and we couldn’t find it.  And then I asked on Twitter and Facebook.  Most people said they would assume I meant to throw out the lights, but clearly that thought never crossed my mind.  The only thing I have ever thought since the first time the family said “pitch the lights” is to turn them off.

But if you Google it, this is likely the only place that phrase will show up.  Even though I’ve used that phrase for the last 20+ years, having learned it from this family.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

My Path to Mommyhood has a bittersweet post about the decision to stop the family building process.  They are not renewing their home study and will step away from adoption.  It is a post about making a hard decision and understanding that while it will hurt, it is also what is best and healthiest.  I love how it is framed as a birthday present to herself.  She writes: “But also, I feel that it is the right decision, despite the ways self-doubt creeps in via imaginary voices and arguments with people who might question our decision. Despite the fact that anyone who we have actually told has responded with nothing but compassion and empathy. As they should, quite frankly. This is a huge loss.”  Please also read her follow-up post.

No Kidding in NZ has a post about how changing where she is on Mother’s Day makes facing the day easier.  You don’t need to travel halfway around the world to test her idea.  Her point is that going about your normal day in your normal space means you’ll encounter exactly what you dread encountering.  Doing something completely different means the possibilities will change.

Surrender Dorothy has what is definitely the best duck-related story of the week but it’s really a post about finding signs when you need them.  And… we were celebrating Truman Day that day, which we’ve always claimed for our Truman.  So including that in the post — for me — went hand-in-hand with the ducklings as a sign that everything is going to be okay.

Lastly, as LTYM comes to a close, I wanted to highlight a gorgeous LTYM post by Family Building with a Twist.  She writes, “On quiet news days, I want to exhale and think that it will all be OK.  Maybe we’re just hyper aware of everything in 2017 thanks to social media and the Internet.  On other days, I feel like that poor guy in Munch’s painting, screaming into the void.”  She puts into words what a lot of us have been feeling while processing the news every day.

The roundup to the Roundup: Pitch the lights!  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between May 5th and 12th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

May 12, 2017   4 Comments

Close Friends

I really love linguist Deborah Tannen’s work (and I think every writer should read her books before tackling conversations between characters) so I was excited to read her recent article in New York magazine about female friendships.  She writes,

As a linguist, I’ve tried to figure out how language can be both an unseen source of trouble in relationships and the key to making them better; why it can be so comforting when an exchange feels perfectly tuned, or so disconcerting when it goes awry; and how the words we use to describe relationships can also help to define them.

Specifically, why do we call some women our close friends?

While some people used the term to mean people they see often, more women used it to mean someone they spoke to intimately.  “True friends, I tell them everything I feel and everything I think.”  I’m assuming that by “everything,” they mean a curated intimacy.  (There are people I speak with more openly and I would never hide a major moment in my life from them, but everyone gets a curated intimacy.  I don’t think anyone out there wants to know everything I feel and think.)

But it’s not really the information imparted, it’s the fact that someone is willing to listen.  You can have a close friendship without imparting anything you wouldn’t technically tell the rest of the world: “You feel closer to someone if you know they care about where you went, what you ate, and who you saw. ”

I thought that was the most interesting part of the research.  Closeness isn’t defined by what is being revealed.  It’s not as if people need to spill their secrets to consider each other close friends.  It’s entirely based on whether we believe the other person cares.

It made me think about how often I reach out (an action that lets other people know I care) or how well I listen.  The types of questions I ask.  Am I good friend?  Someone worth being close with?  Do other people think they can be themselves with me?

I aim to be someone “you can just be sitting quietly on a log and feel good and happy that you are with that person.”  Whether I achieve that is determined by other people.  But I can say, on my part, that I’m grateful for my log-sitting close friends.

May 10, 2017   3 Comments

Why Do You Blog?

Okay, yet another post (like the first one) inspired by Every Exquisite Thing.  I’ve finished the book by this point, and I mostly liked it.  At the very least, it has given me a lot to think about.  Once again, you don’t have to read the book to think about these posts.

On page 103, the author in the book (by which I mean the author of the book inside the book) emphatically states that they will not discuss his “failed” novel.  The main character responds that it wasn’t a failure, and the author asks why she thinks it “succeeded.”

“It’s my favorite novel. Alex’s, too. And this kid Oliver who Alex—”

“I know all about Oliver. Alex writes about him constantly. But is that the purpose of writing a novel—to be someone’s favorite novelist? Is that why we write or make art? Do you think that’s why I wrote that book? For you? You and Alex and Oliver didn’t even exist when I went mad for literature and sent that collection of desperate words to New York City. I didn’t write it for you. No, I certainly did not.” There was anger in his voice, which was not like Booker.

“For whom did you write it, then?” I asked.

He smiled and said, “You won’t get your answers that easily.”

In general, I agree with Booker, the author. He didn’t write the book for the people who became the fans of the book because those people didn’t even exist when he first wrote it.  Those people may see it as a success, but in Booker’s mind, there is another reason for writing his novel, and he is a failure when it comes to that reason.  He can’t be successful by this fan’s standards; he has to be successful by his own standards, his own reasons for writing.

It made me think about our blogs and how we deem them successful or not.  I don’t write my blog for you.  I mean, I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you keep reading.  I love that part of blogging — talking about stuff that appears on the screen — but even if you weren’t here, I would keep writing.

The reason I see my blog as a success is due to my reason for writing it: to take everything out of my head and make sense of it outside my brain.  To hear other people’s thoughts and see my words in a different way.  If I’m leaving behind things in my brain, I wouldn’t call it a success.  But I’m pretty good at vomiting out words right now, so… sure, chalking this up to a success.  That could always change in the future.

Other people may deem this space a success for other reasons, but I judge the success of Stirrup Queens on whether I’m hitting the mark when it comes to the reason why I write it.

So think about why you blog or write (or blogged or wrote in the past tense if you’ve stopped) and tell me if your work has been a success based on your reasons for blogging or writing.

I wonder if this post will make anyone start writing again who stopped when they realize maybe they were a success in the first place…

May 9, 2017   15 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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