Share Your World – 2015 Week #5

From the weekly share your world challenge:

Do you prefer shopping or going to a park?

I would definitely prefer  the park.  Especially a park that is large enough to have hiking trails!

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

I guess I’d pick a leather hiking boot.  Strong, sturdy, comfortable, gets to go outside. . .

What’s the story behind a time when you got locked out?

I remember finding an open window and breaking into the house of a friend when another friend and I showed up and he wasn’t home.   It sounds awful, put that way, but it really was ok!!

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts? 

Well, it depends on the food (I don’t put walnut in my mashed potatoes,  or pistachios in my chili),  but I’d go for with nuts.

Old friends

I’m currently in my home town, visiting my family.  About a week ago I went to a sitting mediation with a good friend.  Before the meditation, everyone in the circle introduced themselves by first names.  I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to the rest of the people in the circle, but when a woman across the circle from me said her name, I was sure that I knew her from high school.  When she realized who I was she said “I heard you were in New England” (huh?? how did you know that?) and it turns out she had worked for the local paper,  and spoke to my Dad when he called to place a classified ad.  I remember my Dad mentioning that to me, but he hadn’t remembered the person’s name he’d spoken with.

She’s one of a very small number of people from high school who I have wondered about over the years (high school, while not as bad as junior high, was pretty miserable!).  Two or three times I’ve had dreams about meeting her again, so it felts particularly weird / surreal to actually run into her in real life.   We met up for tea a few days later and talked for a couple of hours, and we have quite a bit in common in terms of interests and life views.  It will be nice to have another friend to spend time with / get to know again

Then a couple of nights ago I received an email from a friend from when I was a young adult, doing a lot of seasonal environmental work.  He was on of my best buds at one of those jobs,  one of the folks who I would go off on adventures with during our days off, someone who I miss having in my life.  Sadly, we’ve gotten out of touch in the past years (although his wife, who I’ve only met once,  is a FB friend!).  I had sent him a couple of emails at the beginning and middle of last year, and had not heard back from him.  It turns out my emails got lost in an email account he doesn’t use much, and he sent me a better email address.  I’m pretty psyched to have heard from him!

I’m feeling appreciative of both of these re-connections.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #3

Questions of the week from the  weekly blogging challenge “Share your world

 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Assuming that my  guest does not have to be currently  alive, either Elizabeth Blackwell or Rachel Carson.  Blackwell was the first US woman to complete medical school, who entered medical school after hearing her her female friends discuss how difficult it could be to talk about all of their health concerns with a male doctor.   Carson wrote Silent Spring in the early 1960s, based on  research showing herbicides and other pesticides widely used in agriculture have environmental risks.  both of them were rather quiet, reserved women (not spotlight seekers!) who saw a major need that was not being met, and decided that they would have to fill that need.  And it was challenging for both,both of them were threatened by people who didn’t like what they were doing.  I admire their courage.

Now, what would I feed either of them?   . . . .

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Not sure, but I do know that I am more likely to sing (alone) when I am not stressed.  I do’t sing to other people.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

My first thought was courage / the ability to stand up for beliefs with ease in the face of opposition (see question 1),  but actually I think I would put equanimity even higher on the list.  Calmly moving forward in my life, without living in anxiety.  that’s what I would really want.  My own life would be smother, and I think I could do more of benefit in my relationships/ my community /  my job

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

I feel more offended by certain tones / attitudes taken by jokers than by actual what should and should not be joked about.  for example, there’s a huge difference in self-deprecating humor and in humor based on contempt for another person or another group.

Having said that, there are:

  • certain jokes about mental health
  • jokes with a strong underpinning of violence
  • jokes that are based on the assumption that all Muslims are TERRORISTS and should be done in before they do all the rest of us in

that really get my hackles up.

 

Sometimes escapist, sometime mind-expanding: my relationship with novels

When I was a kid, I read.  I spent a great deal of my free time reading (and probably some that wasn’t considered “free” by the adults around me — time when my mom wanted me to be doing chores, or even time when I was expected to be paying attention in class.)

I was teased by my family about how much I read, but I was targeted (bullied) in school and rarely had  friends.  Books provided escape, another life, a type of freedom that I did not have of know how to create in myself at that time.  Sure there was pleasure in reading, but more importantly there was escape.  It was a way out of the unpleasant social world that I inhabited.  At that point, I would never have questioned whether it was useful to me to read so much.

Now, as an adult I have a mixed relationship with reading, at least with reading fiction.  I certainly love books and bookstores.  I have a weakness for purchasing books, although I’m much more likely to buy non-fiction works — I don’t often buy novels.  I enjoy really good, solid novels, however, I read a lot of crap (mostly detective novel type stuff).  I do this when I am stressed and tired.  It’s easy, unchallenging reading and it seems like a good idea at the time.  when I am in the stressful situation, I actually crave it,  and I believe that I just “need a break.”  But then I usually read longer than I intended to, and it can suck up time from activities that have more chance of improving my emotional status in a more lasting way.  It is such a long-established coping mechanism, however, that I sometimes don’t even question it.

Minnesota Starvation Experiment during WW II

I’ve recently learned of this experiment, that took place during  WW II, and that was designed to study the best ways to rehabilitate individuals who had experienced starvation as the result of the war.  It’s interesting and disturbing.

One of the (I believe unexpected) results was that the young men (the experimental subjects), after the rehabilitation period, were still extremely hungry and  consumed an extremely high number of calories.  I wonder how many diet designers and obesity researchers are aware of this research?