FPQ #98: I Just Want Peace

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week Fandango poses a provocative question for our consideration. Fandango says:

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest. What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Last week I asked for some suggestions for potential provocative questions and a few of you came through with some good ones. This one comes from Paula Light over at Light Motifs II. Her question revolves around interpersonal relationships. She asks…

When it comes to your friends, your spouse, your significant other, or members of your family, is it better to confront them about things they say or do that bother or upset you or is it better to try to ignore those things in order to maintain peace in your relationship?

It depends on several things: how close I am to that person or how well I know them; what the issue is (really important or trivial); my mood; the kind of person I’m confronting.

With my husband, I sometimes ignore whatever it is that bothers me (like leaving the toilet seat up) or if I am in a prickly mood, I will say something like, “I really wish you would…” But if it is really important, I will say something right away. Sometimes Dale is on the verge of saying something inappropriate (well, I know it’s inappropriate – Dale has no filter sometimes!), and I intervene to stop him, so he doesn’t offend the people he’s talking to or embarrass me (because he rarely gets embarrassed – that’s part of having no filter). What really gets me is when he picks on me to correct a habit and then HE starts doing the same thing! Like turning off lights. OK, I know our monthly payment to this senior community includes utilities, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about wasting electricity! I am always concerned about the environment, and don’t like to waste resources unnecessarily. He used to tell me to turn off the lights, but now he is the primary guilty one. I often just do it myself, because he does a lot for me, for us: laundry, dishes, and other things for the umpteenth time without complaining.

There are some people who are very sensitive, however. I have a friend that I really have to be careful what I say. I don’t criticize her ever. Sometimes she’ll be telling me something, and I say, “Oh, really?” – which is a common response to show interest – she takes it the wrong way, getting very defensive as if my response implied that I didn’t believe her.

I usually don’t confront family members, either – I’m too accommodating. My sister, for example, does something that is really annoying – during a concert or play, when I’m sitting next to her, I hear her murmuring to herself. She always does this, so I figure either she doesn’t realize she’s doing it or she can’t help it. I don’t know why she does this. Maybe it’s not that I’m accommodating, I’m just chicken! I don’t want to provoke or offend her, and I know I have little habits that offend other people too. Would I want them to confront me? I guess I would if it were serious, like if I had really bad body odor. I would want my friend or relative to tell me so I could do something about it.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t confront most people about stuff that annoys me. Sometimes I avoid the person, if it’s possible – it depends on my mood. Dale is the only one that I do confront now and then. After all, I have to live with him, and nowadays, while we’re stuck at home, we’re together almost all the time.

In fact, when other people confront my son, I defend him even when I know they are right. That is because I don’t want him to be provoked because he easily gets out of control and starts yelling and swearing. He is very sensitive, so if someone hurts him, he overreacts. Then the other person gets mad and starts yelling and swearing back. But I know that he is fundamentally a kind person.

I’m also very sensitive. When someone hurts me, I tend to withdraw and lick my wounds, but if it happens often, I will confront the person. Dale sometimes yells “SHUT UP!” at me when he could react less strongly, or he yells at me from across the room in a tone of annoyance when we are on vacation, in other words, in a situation where others in our tour group witness it – that is very embarrassing. I do talk to him about this, but only when we are alone in our room. I have gotten into the habit of reminding him about this BEFOREHAND – because I know it’s going to happen when he gets annoyed when I linger to look at something or take a photo.

I think I know why I am reluctant to confront people about the things that bug me – I just want PEACE and HARMONY among the people I’m with.

Love, Peace, and Harmony #thoughts , #ThinkPositive , #love, #Peace , # Harmony , #SPIRITUAL | Peace quotes, Harmony quotes, Humanity quotes

Why can’t we all just get along?

Countdown to Christmas

Tourmaline is hosting her first Countdown to Christmas challenge this year! Here are the themes:

I am admittedly lousy at keeping up with a daily challenge, so I am going to take this one by chunks, this time at least!

Dec. 1: Decorations
Many people here at our senior community put wreaths and other decorations on the doors and shelves outside their apartments. Last year when it was too cold to walk outside, I instead walked the halls of the apartment building and took lots of photos of decorations. I will probably do the same thing this year. Because of COVID-19, to get us into the holiday spirit, there is a door decorating contest, so there ought to be even more doors decorated this year!
Here are a few from last year. I especially like the ones that reflect different ethnic traditions.

I made this collage of some of the door wreaths.

Dec. 2: Family
I have a large family so we don’t all gather together. Mostly we get together with the kids and grandkids of my sister and brother-in-law, who live in this same community. Last Christmas, our daughter & son-in-law hosted the celebration at our old house (where they currently live).

Dec. 3: Traditions
We have several holiday traditions, such as putting up my collection of creches (Nativity scenes – I have quite a few), a Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments, and games – we always play some games! We also sing carols around a piano (if there is one). My sister has two Christmas carol games and we also love to play Charades and Categories. Last year our daughter and son-in-law had a new game for us, where everyone at the table takes turns unwrapping a large ball of cellophane full of little prizes. One person unwraps while another throws dice. When the dice come up as doubles, the person unwrapping has to stop and pass on the cellophane ball. It was frustrating and fun!

My brother-in-law unwraps while my friend Marcia rolls the dice. My sister Mary is closest to the camera.

I think we will have to forego the games this year, because we can’t get together – but maybe we can play Categories via Zoom!!

Irreconcilable Frustrations: Based on a True Story

I felt guilty even as I was dialing my sister’s phone number. This was the first time I had called her since the pandemic started, but what better day than on her birthday?

She answered on the third ring, saying, “Hello” in the way she always does, as if it’s a final statement, not a question. I sang Happy Birthday to her.

She was surprised to hear from me but not being the emotional type, I could tell she was glad I called.

“So what’s news?” I asked her. (I may as well get this over with – my sister can talk non-stop for fifteen minutes, at least.)

“Oh, nothing much. I’m staying home a lot, not going out much. But I keep myself occupied.” My sister lives in a senior community where she’s involved in many things. During the pandemic it’s slowed down, but not completely.

“How are your beautiful granddaughters?” My sister has two very cute granddaughters, aged six and five.

“Oh, they’re fine. Ginny is really getting into distance learning with Molly. The teacher has the kids doing projects. They go around to various places to experience them, they look for things, like a scavenger hunt. Ginny says she’s exhausted, what with her new job and Molly’s kindergarten teacher keeping her occupied!” My sister chuckled as she said this.

“How’s Sophie?”

“Sophie’s okay. I’m worried about her though – she’s getting confused, first with remote learning, then living in the house with only her mom one week and her dad the next week…”

“Huh? Why’s that?”

“Oh, I thought you knew. Nate and Julie are living apart. They each have their own place to live, so Sophie lives in the house all the time, and the two of them alternate living there with her.”

“Weird. Expensive, too, I imagine.”

“Oh, yeah. They couldn’t agree on who would get the house, so they left it to their six-year-old!”

“Why are they split up?”

“Well, a lot of things built up over time — Nate’s been taking this computer course, you know. He dropped all his piano students to do it, while Julie works all the time. Apparently she also suspects him of infidelity, but he doesn’t have a perfidious nature. Nate can’t handle her frustration and accusations, so he blows up at her. Then she rants about how she’s having to support the family, while Nate gets to just ‘do his thing,’ you know.”

“Wow, I’m so sorry! They’ve been together so long! I hope they reconcile their differences.”

We moved on to lighter topics and chatted for another fifteen minutes.

Image downloaded from Google Images: https://adamsfamilylaw.com/2018/03/irreconcilable-differences-mean-divorce-case/

Posted for Fandango’s One Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, and Your Daily Word Prompt.

Thursday Doors: A Charming Bakery

I haven’t participated in Thursday Doors lately, since I rarely go anywhere where there are interesting doors. But last week was my sister’s birthday and we went to Highland Park to visit her daughter. My sister had heard of a Caribbean restaurant in nearby Highwood called El Burén, where there are Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes on the menu. Her husband is part Puerto Rican and loves Puerto Rican food, so she made a reservation for the four of us.

The food was wonderful – we ate outside and it was a very pleasant day – but the service was quite slow. So I got antsy and decided to walk down the block. Next door to this restaurant was a bakery with a very charming – and very pink – façade. There were miniature old-fashioned ovens on display in the window.

Here are the doors of the bakery.

I took this last photo next to my car across the street.

FPQ: Satisfaction

Fandango’s Provocative Question #76 is a very personal one, really. I always feel compelled to be as honest as possible. Here it is:

Are you satisfied with your life at the moment. If so, what is it that brings you the greatest satisfaction? If not, what might you do to achieve satisfaction in your life?

Sorry – I couldn’t resist including this. It’s what I always think of when I hear “satisfaction.”

I could answer this question easily without going into detail, but since you asked, I will take the risk of sounding like a whiny, privileged white person.

Five years ago I joined my husband in retirement. With decent income coming in from pensions and investments, we did not need to worry about money, although I continued to budget because I was used to doing it. We had several options for how to live going forward. We could:

  1. Just stay where we are and travel as much as possible.
  2. Become “snowbirds,” going to Arizona for the winter.
  3. Move to another country entirely. (my favorite option, actually!)

Those were the three options I had in mind, but Dale added another one:

4. Move into a retirement community which will take care of us but gobble up most of our income. Meaning, cutting back on travel until our 10-year annuity matures and gives us more income.

I resisted this idea as long as possible. Both of us have arthritic knees so staying in our 2-story home with laundry machines and Dale’s “office” in the basement was become untenable. I suggested we start looking to sell our house and move into a condo. That way, we could stay in the same town, with our kids nearby, and we’d get rid of an awful lot of stuff.

But then our daughter and her new husband decided they wanted to rent our house and buy it eventually.

To prepare for that, I stepped up pressuring Dale to make a decision on one of the before-mentioned options. My sister and brother-in-law, meanwhile, had moved to a nice retirement community in Arlington Heights, and after looking at several places like it, we chose the same community. What an advantage, having my sister nearby! However, I had to give up the fight to move into a condo in order to be able to travel.

Don’t get me wrong – I like it here very much. Those of you who read my blog have seen many photos that I post of the nature on campus. The grounds are beautiful. But in order to move here, we had to take out two loans so we literally have very little in our account at the end of each month.

Which brings me back to Fandango’s original question. The thing I love and desire more than anything else in the world is to travel, while I still can. I’m still relatively young and able-bodied. My husband, while several years older, is also in pretty good shape after recovering from quadruple bypass surgery last year. We try to exercise as many times a week as possible, which is now mostly walking.

So, am I satisfied with my life? Yes and no. I haven’t traveled outside this country for a little under a year now, and I’m chomping on the bit to do so. But now with the pandemic and such poor handling of it on the part of our federal government, we can’t go to most to Europe, and probably would be required to spend two weeks in quarantine in order to go to other places we’d like to go. And I’m a bit scared of taking a road trip because Illinois is one of the best states right now in terms of getting Covid under control (thank you, Gov. Pritzker!). Cases are rising rapidly in many states, including at least one that borders Illinois.

So most likely, we wouldn’t be traveling now anyway. And really, I’m grateful now to be living here. Our meals are delivered to our door each day, everyone has been tested for Covid-19 and not a single resident tested positive, which is better than any of the other retirement communities/nursing homes/senior living facilities in this area, and we have a lovely campus with landscaped grounds and two lakes. I find much joy in walking over to West Lake to watch the swans, geese, and duck families, and I always hope to see the heron than drops by almost every day. So, yes, I am satisfied now with our living situation.

What brings me the most satisfaction right now is being able to pursue my interests without having to worry about time and money, spend time in nature, and being able to see the kids and their cats and spend time with part of my family.

The unsatisfied part of me desires two things: travel (which is impossible right now) and a grandchild. Neither our daughter & son-in-law nor our son plan to have kids.

I am also unsatisfied with myself, a lifelong struggle. I’m very critical of myself and I hate that I don’t do all the things I want and should, that is, to take advantage of the opportunities I have right now. I waste too much time playing games on my smart phone.

But I can’t have everything and I know that I am lucky to have a good husband, family nearby, and money for the future. If I have the patience to wait – wait for Covid-19 to go away, wait for the sale of our house, and wait for more income to travel – I will have a very satisfying life. So I am basically satisfied with my life, but right now I’m bored and restless – like millions of other people right now!

Also, I want the fitness center to reopen because I need to lose some weight!

See the source image

A Photo A Week: Adults At Play

The topic of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge this week is At Play. While I cannot match the adorableness of the little girls in her post, I am submitting a few shots taken on Christmas Day at our daughter and son-in-law’s house. They had prepared a game which I’m calling “The Saran Wrap Game.” This took extensive advance preparation and a lot of plastic wrap! It involves a ball of plastic cling wrap in which have been inserted various small objects – small gifts, candies, etc. plus a pair of dice. To prepare, you start with the largest object in the middle, and start wrapping plastic wrap around it. As you apply layers of cellophane, you add other little prizes, and so on – it can be as big as you want!

When ready to play, the ball is handed to the first player. The person next to him/her has two dice and rolls them continuously while the first player frantically tries to unwrap the ball (you have no idea how hard this is – especially if it’s prepared with a cheap brand of plastic wrap!). When the person with the dice rolls doubles, he/she says “stop” and the player with the Saran Wrap ball hands it to the next person, keeping whatever little prizes fell out during that player’s turn. It’s best played around a table with 6-8 or so players. You just keep going around this way until the ball is completely unwrapped – and recycle the plastic wrap if you can!! The prize at the very center is usually the best – and my husband got it!

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Sarah rolls the dice while Betsy unwraps (you can see the discarded pile of plastic wrap in the foreground).

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Betsy has the dice and Marcia has the ball.

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Elmer gets aggressive with the plastic while Marcia concentrates on the dice.

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Mary’s turn – the ball is getting smaller!