Today we’re discussing Measure of Love as part of the GRAB(ook) Club, and I’m participating too. You can answer my question without having read the book (though… you know… what are you waiting for? It’s a great summer read).
Arianna presents a sticky situation in Chapter Two. She’s at the dry cleaners when an annoying woman holds up the line for twenty minutes, arguing about her missing clothes. Arianna falls into a conversation with a man standing behind her who turns out to be a writer for a comedy news show. They end up grabbing coffee together and chatting after they get out of the dry cleaners. They part ways without making any plans to see each other again; in fact, she doesn’t even have his last name though it wouldn’t be difficult to find it since she knows where he works.
Rachel thinks this crosses a line, especially since Arianna is in a committed relationship with Ethan. Arianna doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with grabbing a cup of coffee with a stranger.
Which person do you think is correct and would you have gotten coffee with the man if you had been Arianna waiting in line?
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for Measure of Love. You can get your own copy of Measure of Love by Melissa Ford at bookstores including Amazon.
June 12, 2013 32 Comments
This is the inaugural post for the GRAB(ook) Club. Like the idea of a book club where you don’t have to leave your living room? Then read more about the GRAB(ook) Club which holds the book discussion on blogs, a Facebook group, and a GoodReads group.
June’s Book is Measure of Love by Melissa Ford. You can jump into the discussion by clicking any of the blogs below (links will appear when the post goes up), or joining the Facebook or GoodReads group (links to those groups are in the information post).
- Stirrup Queens
- Bereaved and Blessed
- Me Plus One
- Are You Kidding Me?
- The Road Less Travelled
- Lavender Luz
- Two Bees in Love
- CD1 Again
- Slaying, Blogging, Whatever
- Adventures in Writing, Reading & Bookcrossing
- The Book Diva’s Reads
- Two Adults, One Child
- Queen of the Slipstream
- River Run Dry
- Sticky Feet
- Better Full Than Empty
- Bionic Mamas
- Pepper (on GoodReads/Facebook)
- Linda (on GoodReads/Facebook)
- Anne (on GoodReads/Facebook)
- Amy (on GoodReads/Facebook)
- Jacqueline (on GoodReads/Facebook)
NEXT STEP: sign up for the July book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (discussed on July 18) by leaving a comment below telling me that you’re in, the name and url of your blog, or whether you are blogless and will be discussing on the Facebook/GoodReads groups.
June 12, 2013 11 Comments
Updated at the Bottom
What doctors seem to forget is that there is a physical cost, a financial cost, AND an emotional cost to infertility. A neuroscientist has developed a new method that he claims can get people pregnant within 24 weeks or he’ll give you your money back. No IVF required.
And that’s swell. IVF has a big physical cost, so conceiving without it is obviously better for the body. If there is a money back guarantee, there is no harm, no foul when it comes to the financial cost. But what about the emotional cost?
What about being put through the wringer because someone has filled you with hope only to dash it? What about finding out that you fall in that much smaller category of people who don’t have success with his method? And beyond that, for the most part, it sounds like the equivalent to taking a sugar pill to cure cancer. Walks in the woods and going to sleep by 11 pm isn’t going to help a person who has zero sperm or no fallopian tubes. Last I checked, exercising won’t cure my clotting disorder.
But regardless of the fact that his method sounds like it only applies to those who are subfertile vs. infertile, I do want to point out to hucksters and doctors alike that it’s not just the physical and the financial that come into play when it comes to treating infertility. We don’t just need mindful IVF policies and shared risk programs. We need the team to address the emotional side of infertility too.
Because there’s no sanity back guarantee.
And — for once — there is an infertility that you are going to want to read. Caveat — I haven’t finished it yet, but so far so good.
June 12, 2013 15 Comments
I was Googling for something else and came across this very moving article about an art installation David Foster Wallace’s widow created after his death. Karen Green made a machine that gave a person forgiveness. The article speaks about this piece of art she made after her husband’s suicide:
For a long while after that, she says, she couldn’t make any art at all, wondered if she ever would again, but eventually, tentatively, she developed the idea for her conciliatory Heath-Robinson. “The forgiveness machine was seven-feet long,” she says, “with lots of weird plastic bits and pieces. Heavy as hell.” The idea was that you wrote down the thing that you wanted to forgive, or to be forgiven for, and a vacuum sucked your piece of paper in one end. At the other it was shredded, and hey presto.
We have machines that heat our food, wash our clothes, suck up the dirt in our carpets. It makes sense that we’d want a forgiveness machine for those of us who find it difficult to ask or give it.
Of course, it wasn’t that easy because it made people face the big what if: what if it worked and they had to forgive someone? What if it worked and they had to be forgiven? How would they forge those relationships they needed to have now without another machine to do it for them?
Justine had a beautiful post about forgiveness that made me think about how I approach forgiveness on the various levels in which forgiveness needs to be requested or given. There are those who ask for forgiveness, and the ones we’re supposed to forgive even though they’re not remorseful at all. We have the small transgressions and irreparable damage. And then, moreover, Karen Green reminds us that we have the people to forgive who will never know of our forgiveness because they’re no longer here. And then the forgiveness isn’t really for them, but for ourselves.
We run into the lack of remorse aspect a lot when it comes to helping the kids navigate forgiveness. “Say you’re sorry!” we tell kids, and they do it, but we know they’re not really sorry. They’re just sad that they got caught and are being reprimanded.
So do we accept apologies that are meaningless? Do we ask our kids to give them?
Josh and I have a One-and-Done policy when it comes to bullying. It’s actually not really a One-and-Done policy because we’re talking about kids, and kids say and do bonehead things. It’s more like a Confirm-and-De-germ policy. Once we’ve confirmed that a kid is bullying my kid (vs. two kids having a kid-like fight as all people do), we squash that virus by removing our kids from that situation, limiting contact, and telling them to treat the other person pleasantly but don’t engage. They need to co-exist in the same world. They don’t need to attempt to be their friend.
We know other people who have a very different policy, keeping their kids engaged even with the bullies in the hope that friendship will bloom if the kids are given enough time to work through whatever internal struggles they’re dealing with. And that is a fair policy too; I can see the benefit of turning the other cheek. But we don’t do this.
What I want them to do — in certain cases — is revisit. This year, you couldn’t be friends. Maybe next year, you’ll discover you had more in common than you thought. And in other cases, we’ve encouraged them to keep a far distance forever. How do we help them determine which people are worthy of forgiving and attempting to friend again, and which ones are worthy of moving away from forever? Call it intuition.
Because while I think forgiveness is nice, I think there is something very healthy about taking a stand on how you’re willing to be treated. To ending a relationship and saying, “no, thanks.” To not continuing to try to work it out when it’s clear that you’re not going to be able to overcome differences. You don’t need to wish the person ill or sit stewing in your anger forever, but you also don’t really need to forgive terrible behaviour. And that goes for work relationships and romantic relationships and even friendship and familial relationships. It is a very powerful thing to know what you’re willing to accept and put your foot down accordingly. And no, you don’t really need to give forgiveness in order to draw those boundaries and move safely within them. If you wish to give forgiveness, great. But I do think it’s possible for some people to disengage and stand their ground without giving forgiveness too.
I’m basing this on the definition of forgiveness as provided by Wikipedia: “Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” It is wonderful that there are people on earth who can let go of their anger and resentment, but I don’t think that it’s an admirable quality whereas those who can’t have some foible. I think they’re just two very different but equally good personalities: those who cease to demand restitution and those who continue to hold those accountable for their actions.
I think the danger comes when we ask people to be something they’re not. When they’re naturally a forgiver, and we ask them to continue to be riled up and hold onto their anger. Or when they’re naturally someone who is fueled to use their experiences to create change.
We have a word in English — unforgivable — and as long as we don’t apply it lightly, I see no reason why we shouldn’t use it along with the other millions of English words. Some things are simply unforgivable, and what those things are differ from person to person.
David Foster Wallace’s death irreparably changed Karen Green’s life, just as all suicides do. Just as all deaths do. Who does she even forgive in that case? Her husband? Herself? The doctor? The brain? The medicine makers? The medical system? His ancestry that led to his brain chemistry? And is forgiveness even the correct word because I don’t think anyone who has ever been touched by suicide thinks about it in terms of punishment or restitution, at least not directed at the person themselves. How can we punish the dead? How can we demand restitution from them for the new lives they’ve created for us?
What I got from the article is that humans like neat endings. Humans like understanding; to creating meaning where there is no meaning. And forgiveness is one of those things that we yearn for, think we should do, even when we also know that there are rarely neat endings and plenty of moments in life devoid of meaning. So why should we ever have the hubris to think that forgiving is always a possibility? That forgiveness is something we need to give in order to continue living well? Even while at the same time, we ask for it: forgive us, please.
June 11, 2013 15 Comments
Updated at the Bottom
Now that we’ve established whether we’re bath-takers or shower-ers, I’d like to discuss the order of things which applies whether you’re soaking in a tub or standing in a spray of water. I don’t literally want the order of things, especially if it’s going to turn into one of those uncomfortable moments like that Friends episode with this exchange:
Joey: Hey, why can’t we use the same toothbrush, but we can use the same soap?
Chandler: Because soap is soap. It’s self-cleaning.
Joey: All right, well next time you take a shower, think about the last thing I wash and the first thing you wash.
I guess I am really wondering whether you have an order to things, or whether you soap yourself willy-nilly. I have to keep the same shower routine every single day, down to washing body parts in the same order. If I go out of order, I feel off the rest of the day. I have to kick off the shower by washing my face before I wash my hair. My right leg is washed before my left leg; my left arm washed before my right one. See, there is a deep, unchanging order to my shower, and if I alter anything, I feel out of sorts for hours.
So do you keep to the same order when you bathe or shower? Or do you wash yourself willy-nilly?
I’m sort of amazed by two things: (1) how many people go from top to bottom. I go in a very set order, but that order jumps around my body. (2) How many people shave daily. I’m willing to bet that if I did this, it wouldn’t feel like such an arduous task. But it literally never occurred to me to shave my legs daily until now.
June 10, 2013 38 Comments