Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Facebook Types

There a few Facebook types that annoy me. Not specific people, but broad areas of people. What types annoy you?

Several years ago I did a Facebook cleaning and got it down to a very small number of people. It's grown again, and before I do something rash and wipe out 3/4 of my friends list like I did last time, I'm going to attempt a cathartic list of annoyances. There are at least a few people (or 20+) in each of these groups. Again, not singling anyone out and in no particular order.

Bible quoters - Do they expect people to read a quote, have an epiphany, and ask them how to get closer to God?

Pyramid schemers - No, I don't want to go to your "party" and buy the useless crap you're hawking. I don't want to see your daily or even more frequent posts about how your chosen pyramid scheme has changed your life.

Political posts - I'm liberal, but I don't like seeing posts from either extreme. I'm not going to change anyone's mind politically; they're not going to change mine. I don't even find the ones that are intended to be funny as anything other than propaganda.

Selfies/pictures of your child 2+ times per day (only exception is before/after pics like hair cuts and other transformations) on a regular basis - I know, your child has done 12 cute things between breakfast and lunch. Put them in the baby book instead. As for selfies, print them out and line your bedroom with them instead. You'll soon have your dream of looking at yourself as much as you want. I think 2 selfies/kid pics per WEEK is a reasonable number, outside of a batch upload.

Perpetual pity party people - Crap happens to everyone, but when "woe is me" outnumber interesting observations/polls/neutral/happy posts, I wish I could send some Prozac virtually.

GoFundMes - Actually these are specific posts and not people, but they are annoying nonetheless. Yes, there is legitimate need out there. As a liberal, I think the government should play an active role in objectively determining need based on a rubric and re-distributing wealth. It's not a perfect system, but sorting through hundreds of sob stories is emotionally wearing, not productive, and makes me think of all of these questions that I'd like answered before I even consider giving money. For example, if someone is collecting money for legal fees to get custody of their kids, I want to know how custody was lost originally, the facts in that case, what has changed, is the person worthy of having custody, what's the other side of the story, etc.

Friday, July 17, 2015


I hope I'm not alone in that I sometimes wish I could hit the "redo" button in life. I say something stupid, I do something stupid, there's a litany of mistakes I make. Most of these are relatively minor things that occur throughout the course of a day.


One big thing I wish I could redo is my upbringing. Hit reset, plunk myself down as a baby into a very different environment (two-parent, stable home with traditional parents where mom makes me cookies and dad has a decent job and gives me a parent speech once in a while). I wonder if I'd be in a different place now and perhaps feel differently about my place in the world.


Both of my parents didn't talk much. My mom and dad divorced when I was very young. As I've stated before, he never got his act together; holding down a job and paying his car payment was too tough for him even though he lived at home rent-free. His parents spoiled him and weren't communicative; that's how he ended up like that. His origin story was easy to determine, especially since I experienced my dad's parents first-hand and my uncle was happy to fill in any gaps on how my dad was the "favorite child."


My mom's more complicated. My grandmother died before I was born, and my grandfather died when I was 5. He was great, as I remember. My mom has a lot of defenses built up. She will not admit to being wrong, and she becomes defensive at the slightest comment. She's over-the-top rigid about everything. For example, laundry. She folds her dirty clothes. She washes clothes on a specific day of the week at a specific time. If you call her and ask her to do something at laundry time, she won't go because it's laundry time, even though she hasn't started the laundry, and she has a washer and dryer in her home. She doesn't talk about feelings. She's extremely critical, and I always feel judged around her. And she's rather negative…about everything.


She's also not very generous--with compliments, time, money, the whole bit. If there's a way I could only pick one of the qualities I could unlearn from her, it would be this. She gives crappy, cheap gifts off the clearance rack most of the time. When I was young, I learned to have no expectations of gifts from her because it would be whatever was on the 80% off rack at Target. If someone calls her and asks to do something, she will make inane excuses like doing laundry she hasn't started yet. Or do that exaggerated sigh like you're putting her out. If you have a conversation with her, she will inevitably cut you down as well as many other people. When I was younger, she didn't want to pay for me to have a yearbook or even give me money for friends' birthday gifts before I could earn my own money. She gives 10% tips or less at restaurants even if the service is good. She only gets her hair cut when there are those $6 haircut deals at Great Clips, and then she gives a $1 tip off the $6 hair cut. That's my mom.


Full disclosure: She's giving most of her significant assets away to charity when she dies. THAT is generous, but I feel that there's something said for living a generous life and not just leaving a generous legacy.


I don't feel that I was particularly generous growing up mainly because my only model for such behavior was my mom. Compared to most "normal" people, I feel behind on the generous curve. I see my mother's ways and know that they are way too stingy. I think I've moved myself from where she raised me to a "better" place. I am frugal in many areas, but in others I try to be more "normal." I tip 18-25% at restaurants (rarely over 25% though). I may get the $6 hair cut deal, but depending on how much time they spend with me, I'll tip anywhere from $4-10 on it because I'm still saving money in aggregate, and they're getting a tip more commensurate with how much the hair cut would actually be. If people ask for help/have a question, I try to get back to them ASAP.  I try to be more deliberate about complimenting people, but I could probably be a whole lot better. I buy my daughter the school yearbook.


My mom's a big literal and figurative scorekeeper about life. I did this one favor for you, and now you owe me. And I'd say she gets resentful very easily if she thinks she's done more for you than you have for her. She taught me the scorecard, not explicitly but in her words and actions. And I now have that stupid scorecard in my head. I intellectually know it's meaningless and doesn't matter, but I can't get it out of my head. Scorekeeping isn't generous. It's not something I can just will to go away either.


So I work on the concept. My husband is very generous. My friends are generous. I have numerous examples of how I WANT to be. But 18 years of ingrained stinginess is difficult to eliminate. I just take the chisel and start picking away at it.


And then my mom will call and muck it all up. Seriously. She focuses on the "I'm being taken advantage of" element of everything.


She calls me. This was late last week, my most recent interaction with her. After very little in the way of formalities, she starts.

Mom: "I'm going to Anaheim for a conference in October. There are a lot of hotels we can stay at. Which one are you staying next month at Disneyland?"

Me: "Red Lion."

Mom: "Let me see. That one's $149 a night. Is that more or less than you're paying?"

Me: "I don't know." (I don't because I booked it on Expedia, and each night was a different price, long story but I did two different reservations.) "I think mine was a little bit less though."

Mom: "These conferences don't get good rates. I think they take advantage of so many people coming at the same time. I was thinking I could get a better rate if I booked it myself. But they told us not to do that…" Rant continues for a few more minutes as I glaze over.


We went on a mini vacation a couple months ago. I say where we're going, and her first statement is: "That's expensive." Actually, she says that about everything.


I need to quote more conversations with my mother. EVERYTHING she says revolves around money and things being too expensive. The implication seems to be that I should be like her and buy food from the dented can store, never do anything that costs money, never buy anything, and basically count my nickels daily like Ebeneezer Scrooge. Needless to say, it's not that enjoyable to hang out with her, and why I frequently think about that "redo" button on being raised by a more generous person/family.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I form attachments to useless items--worn, sad items that have absolutely no market value. But I'm not a hoarder, I swear, so it's an interesting contradiction. I still have my feather pillow from childhood, one that I can frankly pick out by smell alone because it's a really old feather pillow that you can't wash, but I still use it every day. In other words, it has an interesting fragrance. Other things I've actually parted with, either throwing away or giving away. Some of which I've regretted disposing of, and others weren't even mine in the first place.


I just read a fun book that was a collection of short excerpts with a picture of a piece of clothing and then the reason why that piece of clothing is so special to its owner. The sentimental part of me loves this kind of book that shows how people can be attached by memories to a piece of clothing.


So I wanted to do something like that. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures because I don't own them anymore…or never owned them.


Purple velcro sneakers - As a little kid (circa ages 6-7), I loved these sneakers. It was probably just because they were velcro and a cool shade of purple. I wore them with everything. I kept insisting I fit into them even after it was logistically impossible for my feet to fit into them. I literally cried when my mom threw them away. I think those shoes were my first love.


My first boyfriend's brown leather jacket - He always wore that leather jacket unless it was 90 degrees or warmer. I loved everything about it. It had an identifiable smell. My boyfriend smoked, but tried to hide it under waves of cologne, so it had a vaguely smoky, cologne-y, sweaty, intoxicating smell. I think my boyfriend loved all its storage space because he had just about everything in it, and consequently it had the weight of one of those lead coats they put on you at the dentist office to protect you from the X-rays. I always wondered what he carried around in that jacket, so I'd just watch--captivated--when he searched it. If I ever observed him rooting through his pockets for something, I'd see stray pieces of paper, a tiny memo book, pens, a utility knife, chapstick, things that he seemed much too old to be carrying (rocks he liked), and things he seemed too young to be carrying. His jacket was a study of him, complicated, jumbled, so close to me yet so out of reach. The collar of the jacket was slightly darker from his skin and body oils. It was so inextricably linked to him in my mind, and I wished I had it as a reminder of him.


His jacket also reminds me of kissing. We kissed so much while he was wearing that jacket. He liked to kiss, and it didn't matter where we were. We were on the bus for over an hour a day, we waited for the bus for a chunk of time, we had lunch together. We were one of those obnoxious PDA couples that spent over half their time in public kissing. It's still this odd automatic response that if I see a guy in a brown leather jacket, I feel an urge to kiss him, which could be a rather odd scene if I ever let myself go on automatic pilot.


Navy hoodie - I still own this hoodie, so I could supply a picture. I bought this in the late 90s toward the end of college after my five-year flannel shirt phase died down. The advantage of the flannel phase was that it covered my chest. Once I gave up the flannels, I was left with small shirts, relatively speaking, and I felt uncomfortable. So I went to Target, back when Target had the Honors brand, and bought this hoodie. I usually run hot, which meant I tried to get the thinnest hoodie because the purpose was to mainly disguise myself. I wore it…a lot…and now it's seriously stretched out from almost 20 years of wear. It's so stretched out that I have to zip it up most of the way; otherwise, it just falls off my shoulders. It's seen me through college classes, dating a few guys, it was what I'd wear after getting home from my first job, I wore it hiking, I wore it during my pregnancy (let's be honest, that's probably what stretched it out). It symbolizes the everyday-ness of life. I wasn't wearing it when anything "special" happened to me--after all, it's simply a hoodie and not appropriate for special occasions. Even so, it's experienced so much of my everyday life that I feel so very attached to it.