Look Again

A couple of things have come up lately that have made me stop and take a hard look at myself.

Yesterday, my friend mentioned something about being intimidated by some people.

I pooh-poohed her at the time, thinking, "Oh, how could you feel intimidated by anyone? You're so awesome!". But then I thought about it some more. A lot, really.

Here is this beautiful, funny, talented, intelligent and accomplished women and SHE feels intimidated by other people. What she said struck a familiar note, and reminded me of a saying that Grandma had about a mirror and a magnifying glass.

Another friend has been struggling with self-doubt, too. She has looked full in the face of her own complexity and found herself reeling. All of the things that I think make her amazing, make her feel uncomfortable with herself and different. 

Huh. I often feel intimidated and oh-so-very different. Here I am, 50 years old, and incredibly contented in my life. My husband is my hero and my heartthrob every day, even 30 years into the deal. I'm healthy, happy and fairly successful. I don't have a college degree, and I took a ten-year hiatus from the working world to raise my sons. Even with the late start and the (then) skimpy resume, I managed to rise to a level I am comfortable with and respected for.

Our sons have grown to become honorable and healthy young men. My dog is well-behaved and my garden grows just fine. WHY would I ever feel intimidated by others? Inspired? Yes! Intrigued? Absolutely. Interested? Sure! But why should I go through my life feeling like I'm actually a bit of a fraud?

The mirror doesn't have an answer to that question, but I think it's a sign of personal growth to ask the question at all.

A Legacy

I was a lucky child in many ways, not least of which was that my Holland Grandma lived with us for much of the time. She was wise and patient, witty and insightful and a wonderful grandma in every way.

She loved the way onions sauteing in butter smelled and would usually come into the kitchen, just to smell, if Mom was cooking them. If Grandma was feeling a little "off her feed", the smell of those onions would kick start her appetite almost every time.

Grandma got her own apartment 40 years ago, and has been gone for almost 20 years, now. But every time I have onions cooking in a skillet, I think of her and smile. (I love the way they smell, too).

You just never know what people are going to remember about you when you're gone. I doubt she thought of a love for onions as some kind of legacy. What she really handed down to me was to remember to appreciate those little moments in every day.

When my husband leaves for work in the morning, I bury my face in his chest and enjoy just breathing him in for a moment, before we part for the day. If I song I really like comes on the radio, I pay attention. I appreciate the way my dog jumps up to see me. She kind of stands on her hind legs and gently places her front paws on my ribs. I've never seen a gentle-jumping dog before her. I take a moment to notice the pink and orange of the western horizon at day's end.

And when I am cooking onions in butter, it's a pleasant moment worthy of notice. I thank my Grandma teaching me that lesson.

Wine to Try - Frusion Juicy Orange

It had to happen sooner or later. 

I'm sorry to tell you that this one is, in my opinion, a White Elephant wine. But let me tell you about it, because maybe it's a wine you would like.

It is Frusion Juicy Orange. Sounds delicious, don't you think? Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Maybe if I liked orange marmalade, I might like Frusion, too. Unfortunately, this one had too much of an orange peel flavor, with that bitter edge to it that makes marmalade unpalatable to me.

If you like grapefruit and marmalade and those slightly bitter citrus flavors, you might really enjoy this. It might be nice to make a wine-based Orange Dream drink: vanilla ice cream in an icy cold glass of this might be very summery and good.

Or maybe I'm just trying to justify the fact that I really didn't care for this one at all. But don't worry, I'm not going to re-gift it, because quite a few of us tasted it. I don't believe anyone particularly liked it. 

Sorry, Frusion. Do you make this in a strawberry version, because your Juicy Orange is a total White Elephant.

My disclaimer:
Bear in mind that no one connected with any of the wineries I might mention here knows who I am. Of course, if they appreciate what I have to say and want to forward along cases of wine, I won't mind. I won't hold my breath, waiting for that day, either. :-)

My rating system:
Sip: a nice wine, goes deliciously with (or IN) food. I enjoyed it.
Guzzle: my idea of a nice sociable wine. The kind of thing I am happy to drink out of cheap plastic cups, sitting around the campfire, or out of a cool stemless glass while enjoying the company of someone I care about.
White Elephant: it isn't like drinking kerosene, exactly, but does not suit my taste. I'll pass it along to someone who might like it. This rating will mean more to you if you agree with my Sip and Guzzle ratings!
Drain-O: this stuff could hurt someone, so I'll send it to the wastewater treatment plant, via the kitchen drain. Maybe it will disinfect the p-trap, while it's in there

The Little Things

It's surprising, really, how much little things can matter. A good example is one teachers use to stress the importance of punctuation--the difference between these two sentences:
Let's eat Grandma!
Let's eat, Grandma!

The comma is just a tiny little spot of ink (or pixels!) but it changes the sentence dramatically.

Many years ago, some of the relatives were together for Thanksgiving and we were playing Pictionary. My teammate was drawing a man in striped clothing, and I was guessing words like "convict, prisoner, criminal, inmate".

The right word was "umpire". The direction of the stripes made all the difference.

And then one day I answered the phone at the insurance agency where I worked. The man on the other line had a fairly strong accent, and he asked if he could "Make an appointment to have a look at Debbie."

"Pardon me, sir? Have a look at Debbie?"

"Yes. I need to look at Debbie."

In the background someone said something and he returned to the phone, "I need to see Debbie."

OH! Well. That sounded much less creepy, even though having a look and seeing are practically the same idea.

How easy it is to miscommunicate what we really intend, all because of a stripe, a comma, or simple semantics.