Friday, July 25, 2014

WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS

This photo was taken in Jackman, Maine during the summer of 2007.  I spent two years in the early 1970's in a drug rehab located in Jackman that was more like a concentration camp at times than it was like a drug rehab.  This quote describes exactly how I feel about that whole experience.  Just for the record, my choice was to let it strengthen me.
 
 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

PLEASE GIVE ME CHOCOLATES AND ROSES

Every time I go stumbling around the blogosphere I always come home scratching my head.  I guess that's better than coming home black and blue, toothless or pregnant!  Today, I discovered the 7 Deadly Sins To Ensure People Won't Follow Your Blog.  After leaving a brief comment for Carol Graham, blog author of Battered Hope,  I immediately came rushing home to Mildred Ratched's Deja Moo to see how guilty I am of these 7 deadly sins.  According to Carol, the following are 7 common blogging mistakes many of us make:
 
Sin #7  -- Make sure your blog is very busy.  Put as many 'cool' things on your side bar as you can fit.  Put all your awards and badges there as well.  Lots of ads work too.  The busier it is, the less people will see the 'meat' of your post.
[My meat is always easy to spot and as for cool stuff like badges...everyone must hate me because no one has ever sent me a badge. Maybe I need a booby prize badge for my blog! Personally, I'd rather have chocolates and roses from all my admirers, well wishers and readers.]

Sin #6 -- Don't put your name anywhere on the blog.  Make people search for it.  Sometimes, I will go to Facebook or Twitter or an About Me page and still not find an actual NAME.
[I've been called many names in my life, but the one my mother bestowed upon me is Karen (no middle name really and truly and I actually wrote a blog post about it) Goggins.  Mildred Ratched is the horrible nurse from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.  Mildred and the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz are my all-time favorite villians.] 

Sin #5 -- Use small fonts.  This will help eliminate anyone past the age of accountability to read it without having to squint.
[I'd only use small fonts if I was whispering behind someone's back or writing out a contract to sell someone shares in my blog.  Does anyone want to buy a few?  I can make you a deal you can't refuse!]

Sin #4 -- Center your entire blog post.  This makes it almost impossible
 to read consistently.  Your eyes are always trying to find where the next line begins and the last one ended.
[I never tried this one, but it sounds like a great way to annoy people or to keep them confused.]

Sin #3 -- Use stark white lettering on black (or any very dark) background.  This may look great but very difficult to read without getting a headache.
[I've done this in the past, but it gave me a headache so I switched to a white background. Call me a conformist!]

Sin #2 -- Make your paragraphs as long as possible.  Or write a multitude of paragraphs without any captions or photos to break up a long post.
[Okay, I know I get a little long-winded at times, but I do post cute pictures amongst my ramblings, don't I?]

And the best for last .................

Sin #1 -- Don't respond to comments left.  Ignore the people that actually took the time to read your post and comment on it. 
[oh uh! I guess I need to be more attentive!  No really, I think I do interact with my readers, but I'm guilty of not visiting other people's blogs as much as I'd like.  Time seems to be the culprit that gets in my way.]
 
So after close scrutiny, I think I should get maybe a C+ or a B- for an overall grade based on these 7 deadly sins and I promise to strive to do better in the future.  I'll aim for that elusive "A" and all of you can let me know when I get there, okay?  And I promise to keep my Maine sarcasm from oozing out all over your computer screen in the future!  I know how messy it is and how hard it is to wipe clean.  All joking aside, our blogs are a reflection of who we are.  Yes, we have complete control over their content, but I think most serious bloggers/writers/authors are mindful of the first impression they give their readers and potential readers.  After all, isn't it the goal of any writer to have other people read what they write?  That is, unless your name is Mildred and then your goal is seeking out people to send you chocolates and roses!

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILDRED

This week's Words For Wednesday are: calamitous, fraction, spanx, glittering, ambitious, indispensable or 'a glitch in time saved mine'.

I usually write a poem using the words from Words For Wednesday, but this week I decided to write a short story using them instead.  When I saw that one of the words was "Spanx", it immediately brought an incident to mind that happened about six years ago.

My daughter and I used an upcoming wedding as an excuse to go on a mini shopping spree. I decided to let vanity guide me all the way on our rather ambitious endeavor. Usually shopping holds no appeal for me, but on this occasion I unleashed all my almost nonexistent girly girl tendencies. After trying on many dresses, I selected the hot pink pleated one. I liked the way it looked on me because it disguised all the usual flaws that happen as a woman gets older, but accented all my remaining physical virtues. Plus I was up for exploring new territory. Short and sassy was the way to go for this old bird, but something was missing! Oprah always claimed that each woman’s wardrobe needed one indispensable item. She emphatically stated, “ALL women need Spanx!” Who was I to dispute Oprah’s claim? So I decided to give Spanx a whirl.

Trying on Spanx was funniest thing I had experienced in ages. I tugged and pulled and finally after much laughter and a few bad words I had it on. Wow! As promised it flattened what needed to be flattened, smoothed everything else out and had the extra bonus of pushing up my breasts and making them look young and vivacious. I was amused at how easily they came off after the difficulty I had putting them on. I felt like a banana as I literally peeled the Spanx off. Next up on the list of things to do was to purchase shoes and accessories. I normally don’t wear heels because I’m tall, but I decided to go all the way this time and forego flats by purchasing the pair of glittering silver heels that made my legs look so good that even a super model would envy them. Yes, I broke the bank, but I was ready to dazzle all my old friends and shake my tail feathers on the dance floor.

After the ceremony, most everyone took a short walk to where the reception was held. Only a small fraction of the guests drove their cars two blocks to Seville Square. Upon arriving at the reception, I slipped my shoes off and opted to commit a usual Karen cardinal sin by going barefoot. I did, however, put my shoes back on when a group of us visited the restroom a little while later. I thought, “Here we go again” as I struggled with unhooking the hooks of the Spanx so the lady in pink could go tinkle. I carefully rehooked the hooks and sashayed my way back into the reception. By that time, toasts were being made so a lot of standing up and sitting back down was going on. About the third time I had to stand and raise my glass, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A young man leaned in close to me and quickly whispered, “Ma’am, you need to fix the back of your dress.”

As I nonchalantly ran my hand down the back of my dress trying to find what the young gentleman was talking about, I discovered that my Spanx had gotten caught on my dress causing the whole right side of my derriere to be exposed. OMG! Thank goodness my backside remained covered by my Spanx, but I could only imagine how many pictures of me standing there clueless had been taken and posted to Facebook for all to see. Kodak moments like that don’t happen often. I chuckled and acknowledged to myself that this was just another in many uniquely “Mildred” moments. I know had the look of a defeated beauty queen as my calamitous fashion faux pas was revealed and finally resolved. Once again I pulled and tugged at those damn Spanx and finally without too much damage, my dress came loose. And as my friends and family all chimed in and reveled in utter joy, each one thanked me for making the occasion a truly unforgettable one. Yes, Mildred may clean up well, but somehow the true Mildred always comes out no matter how hard I try to stifle her.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HERMITS BUT NEVER ASKED

As defined in the dictionary, a hermit is a person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence often times for religious reasons (Mildredism).  The primary residence of a hermit is called a 'hermitage'.  I lovingly call my hermitage "the cave".  Several 'hermitages' in close proximity make up what I call a 'hermitdome' which most people might consider to be an enigma or a paradox since hermits like solitude above all else. Urban and suburban hermits may live in solitude together, but the rare rural hermit is revered by all hermits for he/she lives in true solitude! Regardless of where a hermit dwells, clustering too closely together is clearly avoided...or at least hermits claim they don't cluster unless it's mating season.  Then you need to batten down your hatches and put up the NO VACANCY sign. Trust me, there's nothing more menacing than a hungry hoard of horny hermits (now that's a tongue twister in more ways than one.) Say it 5 times quickly without smiling and you get a prize! 

A collection of 'hermitdomes' comprise the 'hermitsphere' or better described as the solitary cosmic universe in which a hermit spiritually resides.  The atmosphere inside an individual 'hermitage' is called the 'hermitude'.  A 'hermitude' is a true depiction of who the hermit is and reflects the hermit's general attitude...and altitude at all times.  It can be dark, and dank inside and or it can be sunny and inviting or it can fluctuate between the two depending upon the ever-changing mood of the hermit. A 'hermitage' can be as simple or complex as a hermit wants it to be.  Usually it's structured to fit the specific needs of the hermit that dwells inside so that outside contact can be kept as minimal as possible...except during mating season and then anything goes!  

Does anyone care to interpret the dream I had last night? I spent last night dreaming about a rather large crack I have in my hermitage that was letting the sunshine inside.  What a revolting development that was! I sat in my cave pondering the best way to repair the crack and then I noticed it!  A huge FOR SALE sign was hanging by my front door.  I sprung to my feet and quickly started trying to remove the sign, but the harder I pulled the more securely it stayed hung.  I looked around and thought, "These deep red bedroom walls have to go!  It's time for a change!"  Yes, indeed it's time for a change!  Any suggestions?  Maybe purple instead? Perhaps I should wait for mating season and get a big, burly hermit to fix my crack. Oh no!  I didn't just write that.  What's wrong with me? Could it be that I'm one of those hungry, horny hermits, too?  Okay folks, it's time to batten down your hatches and stay away from Mildred until she stops drooling.  I'll wave a white flag when it's safe to come out of hiding...

To all my fellow hermits and kindred spirits alike, in the words of Robert Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep...

Monday, July 21, 2014

THE ANATOMY OF A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

It’s a well known fact that Mildred is a glutton for punishment and a wee bit on the impulsive side, but for many years now (nine to be exact) she’s been in time out.  In those nine years she’s done a lot of soul searching and has carefully examined all the bad choices she’s made in the past especially where love and men are concerned.  Her last relationship was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back and sent her into the cozy hermitage in which she lives.  Although it was a long distance relationship, it had many more factors going against it than just the distance factor. Those factors she overlooked until they shook her entire whole world.

Mildred is now on the threshold of embarking on another cruise upon the Love Boat, but this time she feels more equipped to handle the rough seas when she encounters them.  The relationship she is forming is with someone she knew as a teenager.  In fact, he’s the first male she ever kissed, but they didn’t have a relationship with each other until now. Due to the past, she occasionally has a knee jerk reaction.  Maybe if she discusses long distance relationships in general, it’ll help her put and keep things in proper perspective where Mr. Right (MR) is concerned and it’ll help her not judge him by what someone else has done to her in the past.  The following are things Mildred has learned about long distance relationships and relationships in general during her illustrious relationship history:

1.       A person needs to listen to their instincts and do only the things they feel comfortable with doing.

2.      Someone who truly cares about you won’t bully you or manipulate you into doing anything that goes against who you or what you believe in.

3.      Being honest, no matter how hard it is will save a person a lot of frustration and grief in the long run.

4.      If boundaries are set and expectations are discussed in the beginning, no one will be able to say "I didn't know you felt that way" or "I didn't know that's what you wanted."

5.      Telephones and computers make communication easy and convenient, but should never replace communicating face to face.

6.      Rational people don’t pick up and move far away leaving their family and friends behind for a new love interest unless the potential for a real future together is a  possibility.

7.       While it may be appealing, venturing into the unknown is always scary thing for anyone. Being patient is crucial while developing and sustaining a new relationship.

8.      Maintaining a long distance relationship can easily cause a financial hardship. 

9.      Both people having the long distance relationship should travel and spend time with the other person. Being on someone else’s turf can be a very revealing thing about the other person. It's rather hard to get a realistic picture of who your new love interest is if you never see the person in the surroundings they call home.

10.   Any successful relationship has to be built on trust and a long distance relationship will test that trust like no other. 

11.    If being distrustful and skeptical is in your nature, a long distance relationship will be a source of constant upheaval for both parties.

12.   Long distance relationships are probably one of the hardest, but not impossible types of relationships to maintain successfully.   

With all that said, I do think two people who are meant to be together will work out the details, so they can have a meaningful, committed relationship. I also believe that in any relationship there has to be sacrifices at times and going that extra mile for the other person is just part of it.  In a long distance relationship it may mean going that extra several hundred miles and sometimes even thousands of miles.  If you're willing to gamble and it feels right, then you definitely need to go for it!  Don't always take the safe road in life...take a chance, but take that chance without being clueless.  Don't walk into the dark without a flashlight to see your way.  If it's meant to be that other person will hold your hand through the darkness and help show you the light at the end of the tunnel. If it's meant to be, you'll never feel alone, even when you are and you won't feel as if the relationship is all one-sided.  A good relationship is always two-sided and always a work in progress. 

OMG!  That funny feeling Mildred keeps having isn't heartburn, but what can it be?  She just took a long, deep breath and then exhaled... I think this might be the beginning of something interesting, so stay tuned to see what develops!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

PET PEEVES #3 - NO SOLICITORS

I not only support, but I also respect a person's right to worship in any manner that best suits that person. This also includes a person's right to exclude themselves from religious worship altogether and perhaps walk a road a little less travelled by claiming they don't believe in God at all.  The older I get the more I realize many people don't have the capacity to live and let live. They seem to want or need everyone to be the same cookie cutter image of themselves.  Any variant is feared, hated, ridiculed, judged and then condemned.  Where religion is concerned I see less tolerance in differences than in any other aspect of life....even politics.  

So many people try to ram their religious beliefs down other people's throats and act as if they have a direct pipeline to God.  How they interpret His Word is 100% correct and only like-minded people know the way to live righteously and will receive true salvation or so they think.  I may be wrong...I've been that way a time or two in my life, but  somehow I see a direct correlation between those people who cry loudest about being be Christians and those who judge other people the loudest and most adamantly.  I may not be up on many Bible verses, but correct me if I'm wrong, isn't judgment saved only for God Himself?  With that being said, my pet peeve isn't about what these religious lunatics believe, but about how they act because of their beliefs.  When I hang a sign on my front door saying NO SOLICITORS  that includes selling religion door to door.  I'm sorry, but I hung that sign for a reason so when you knock on my door anyway does that mean you don't have a true grasp of the English language?  Should a I hang a dictionary next to the sign? Or are you just that arrogant as to think you know what I want more than I do? 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN

Communication breakdown, it's always the same
Havin' a nervous breakdown, drive me insane...


Hey wait!  That's the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song and not what I intended to write here.  Oops! I'm sorry for clearly leading you down a road paved with good intentions and although I'd like to say it won't happen again, we all know Mildred does get side-tracked from time to time.  What I really had on my mind is discussing a communication faux pas we all are guilty of committing.   I know you're all thinking, "What about PET PEEVES #3? Does Mildred only have 2 pet peeves?"  The answer to that is...stayed tuned for the next PET PEEVES installment coming real soon!

It's a well known fact that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but in today's world the communication breakdown goes much deeper than just between the sexes.  It's virtually everywhere! Most people are frequently caught up in the intention vs. consequences battle of the wits and are clueless when it comes to how to approach the recipient of their failed good intentions.  In an article written by Peter Bregman from Harvard Business Review he claims that intention vs. consequences is the root cause of so much interpersonal discord and I have to agree with him. 

Mr. Bregman states that "it's not the thought that counts or even the action that counts.  That's because the other person doesn't experience your thought or your action.  He or she experiences the consequences of your action."

Mr. Bregman goes on to explain that when you've done something that upsets someone-no matter who's right-always start the conversation by acknowledging how your actions affected the other person. Save the discussion about intentions for later.  Much later.  Maybe never.  Because in the end your intentions don't matter much.  He also points out that it doesn't matter if you feel the other person is justified in feeling the way he or she does. What a person should be striving for is understanding and not agreement.  Once understanding of the consequences is expressed, the need to justify intentions dissipates. 

What comes to mind after I read the article is something a sagely person told me many times in my misspent youth.  Each time I got defensive and tried to adamantly justify my (good) intentions, he would tell me "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions."  It took me many years to realize truer words were never spoken.  What I know now is paving any road with good intentions is never worth the effort.  What matters most isn't what you intended because let's face it life has a sneaky way of screwing up even the best laid plans.  In the long run what matters most is your ability to accept responsibility for your actions.  In doing that it somehow helps history from continually repeating itself. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

PET PEEVES #2 - CALL THE FASHION POLICE

I support anyone expressing who they are through fashion. Some people aren't afraid to make a fashion statement and develop a keen fashion sense that's bold and unique.  Those people aren't a cookie cutter version of the next person in a crowd.  Those are the people who truly get a tip of my hat and a standing ovation as well. 

But sometimes people carry their right to wear whatever they want to a little too far. It nauseates me when anyone exhibits absolutely no taste or self respect by dressing like they have no brain cells or eyesight.  For example, when I see a woman wearing short shorts with the cheeks of her derrière hanging out and her love handles flapping to the wind for everyone to see, it makes me want to ask her if she owns a mirror.  Any size woman can look good by wearing clothes that flatter her figure, but ladies, COVER THAT STUFF UP!  It's not sexy!  It's not cool!  And it certainly doesn't look good!  Just because you have it doesn't mean you have to flaunt it.  No one wants to see your fat ass except maybe your boyfriend or your husband (or both)!  And if you're a friend or family member of someone who dresses that way, do them a HUGE favor and tell them they look horrible.  Here's a golden opportunity to be honest and to do the rest of the world a huge favor as well.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

PET PEEVES #1 - ON THE ROAD

Even the most liberal, easy going, peace loving person has pet peeves. Unlike some people who exhibit road rage or go postal by shooting up a place killing a bunch of innocent people, my petty pet peeves aren't fuel for much more than a series of blog posts or a real life bitch session with my friends.  Yes, for the most part I'm an easy going, live and let live type of person.  I do, however, have a few pet peeves that not only ruffle my feathers at times, but sometimes have me scrambling for heartburn medicine and a muscle relaxer as well. 

I'll kick this series off by saying my sources of discontent aren't listed in any particular order.  I'll just write about them as they pop into my otherwise "kumbaya" mellow existence.  Although my most recent trip to North Carolina was enjoyable in so many ways, it also was a refresher course for several of my pet peeves.  While they're still fresh in my mind let me kick this series off with ranting about my drive from Florida to North Carolina and back again.

Like most people who are driving a long distance, I take the fastest route by traveling on the Interstates between point A and point B.  I have to admit I don't adhere to the speed limit and perhaps I could be categorized as having a lead foot at times, but I mainly drive about as fast as the flow of traffic...give or take 10 or 15 miles per hour. What makes me crazy is getting behind someone who can barely see over their steering wheel and who drives 30 miles per hour slower than everyone else on the Interstate.  Why are these people even on the Interstate and not on some secondary road if what they want to do is sight see?  If you drive like you have nowhere to go and have trouble putting pressure on the gas pedal, then I think your ass belongs on a bicycle or dog sled and not driving a car that's holding up holiday traffic.  My mother always gets a kick out of me ranting about F.O.P.'s and kindly reminds me that I'll be one myself someday. I'm sure she's right...she usually is!

My second "on the road" pet peeve is the availability and cleanliness of rest stops.  Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina have ample rest stops, but Georgia doesn't think people should have to urinate or stretch their legs in their state without getting off the Interstate and buying gas or food.  The rule of thumb where rest stops are concerned seems to be that the further North you travel the filthier the rest stops become.  Some states (Connecticut is the guiltiest, by far) should bulldoze their rest stops completely and replace them with a porta-potty and a spigot to wash your hands.  

Call me old fashion, but I think anyone who texts while driving is not only crazy, but is unsafe to be behind the wheel of a car.  I used to think the same thing about women who applied their make-up while driving, but I was accused of being jealous because I could never master that skill.  People have become so plugged into their electronic devices that they've forgotten how and when to act sensibly or how to be courteous when in the company of other people.  Is any text message really that important that it's worth putting people's lives at risk? Say what you will, but I think anyone driving should be focused on the road and not be playing Russian Roulette with their vehicle.  Driving is a privilege, not a right and maybe if the laws were changed to revoke a person's license if they're busted for texting while driving then more people might think before they reached for their cell phone.   LOL or :) really can wait for an more appropriate time. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

LOVE'S CURSE

I'm back from North Carolina and ready to roll with this week's Words For Wednesday.  This weeks prompts are:

insinuate
method
reverse
pleasantries
donkey
darker
OR
the phrase, 'darkening shadows, deadly intentions' can be used.
 
 
Call me a donkey!
No, call me an ass!
Call me quite clueless
I’m a hard-headed lass.

You’ve smiled falsely
It’s love in reverse
Your method is madness
Your love is a curse.

As time has grown darker
My loves has grown thin
Insinuate that the future
Will never begin.

Our pleasantries fall victim
Like leaves on a tree
In winter it’s barren
Lifeless and free.

The darkening shadows
Fall heavy below
Deadly intentions
Is something we know.

Love has departed
We lie crippled alone
We lie in life’s harvest
It’s what we call home.