The Do-Over

I believe there are an infinite number of times you can start over and I also believe we aren’t told that enough. 

kickball-yellow-dog-56a2c9cb5f9b58b7d0ce899c

When we were kids we were all well acquainted with the “do-over.”  We used the words as a noun and all of us knew exactly what it meant.  Simply put, it meant the event was an outlier and there would be no consequences for failure. 

If the kick ball got stuck in the tree branches, we all just yelled out, “do-over,” and the ball was retrieved and the kicker got another chance.  We didn’t take the ball getting stuck in the tree as any real reflection of the players ability nor did we think the game needed to be disrupted because of this one moment.

We all had such wisdom back then. 

But then someone always came along who wanted to discredit the “do-over.” 

This test is not a do-over!

You can’t just have a do-over whenever something doesn’t work out!

You have damaged our relationship and I won’t let you have a do-over!

This is real life!  There are no do-over’s!

Bullshit.

I argue that in every situation there is an opportunity for a do-over.  Remember, a do-over was an outlier, something that was not deliberate and hey, a lot of stuff just happens.

I’m not talking about the kid who tries to throw the ball when its kick ball or picks it up and runs with it to keep it away from others.  A do-over has nothing to do with  the person who runs and gets the adult when they feel they are being slighted by the rules or the neighbor who gleefully takes the ball when it lands in their yard and won’t give it back.

A do-over is just one of those things that happens now and again.

Here are a few examples from my own life when I should have acknowledged the “do-over” potential,….

My husband who is wonderful and loves me dearly, has a busy month and forgets my birthday. 

My son, who works and goes to school, knocks over an open bottle of laundry soap as he rushes to get to class. 

My mother, who promised me we would do lunch, makes plans with others instead. 

My good friend borrows my platter and breaks it. 

To my utter dismay I admit after I got over the initial anger, I held grudges and often brought up the issue to the other person involved.  I did not acknowledge the “do-over” potential. 

Jobs can be “do-overs,” and I have had some of those also.  Granted those are tougher not only to recognize, but to get over because it’s all tied up with money or status or identity or pride.

I had a job once that I really didn’t like, but I was fortunate to have a boss who believed in the power of the “do-over.”  She asked me if I even liked the job as she was going over how badly I was doing the job.  I showed some uncommon good sense and told her point blank I hated it and then we both agreed it was best to part ways.  But she recognized the skills I had were simply not meshing with the job and she ended up giving me a great recommendation which helped me move onto a new job that I love.

That is still one of my most beloved “do-over” moments. 

There should be more relationship “do-overs.”  Every had the lover that you just all the sudden didn’t love anymore.Don’t you wish you could just yell, “Do-over!”  and then you could both agree to never see each other again with no hard feelings.  Or the friendship when both of you realize you really only share one interest together and now that the Chopped – Barbecue-Cheese-Kids- Championship Marathon is over, you could apply the “do-over” principle, no harm done.

There are some who say the whole experience of life can also be a “do-over.”

If you don’t get it right this time around, don’t worry you will get another chance to try again. reincarnation10

My plea to you, dear friend, is to look out on your life today and everyday and recognize your “do-over” moments.

 Laugh while you run to get that ball down from the tree and feel the joy of the moment when you kick it back into play. 

Unknown-1

 

Advertisements

Taylor Swift’s Brilliant Take on Double Knavery

Good morning, all!

I’ve been binge watching Taylor Swift’s new video, Look What You Made Me Do, and  sure I’m not alone in drawing some Shakespearian parallels.

Like many of you, after seeing the video, I immediately exclaimed, “Iago!  There you are, you little mischief maker, you!”

For those of you poor unfortunate souls who have not had time yet to read all of Will’s work- a brief note on who Iago is….Iago puppetmaster

Iago is the villain in the play Othello and he’s a great villain.  He’s creepy and smart and vicious and he’s always speaking to the audience as if we are his squad.  And he owns his own evil which makes him one of the best villains of all time.

Very early on he says flat out, “I hate the Moor.”  He doesn’t say, “I’m upset by the Moor or  I strongly dislike the Moor or I’m feeling some negativity related to the Moor.”

No, no! Not our man, Iago.

I hate the moor

 

So he decides to destroy his enemy and several others along the way.

(The rest of the play is wonderful, but you can find that out on your own, so I won’t tarry around in the explanations of sub plots and motivations.  Yes, I used the word, tarry- get over it.)

Very early on in the video, Ms. Swift, sings, “And I don’t like you.”  The words may not be as tough as Iago’s, but the graveyard imagery speaks more of hate than dislike. 

And then when she’s sitting on that throne of snakes! Wow!15-taylor-swift-look-what-you-made-me-do-screenshot-2017-billboard-1548

Doesn’t that just scream, “How am I a villain?”

That scene in the video is Taylor-made(get it 🙂 ) for Iago’s wonderful soliquiqy where he mockingly asks his Elizbethan Squad how he can possibly be a bad guy for trying to give some honest advice to a friend. Well, maybe because sometimes something really bad happens as the result of good intentions.

The Divinity of Hell.  

I love it!

Another one of my favorite lines in the song is, “one thing’s for sure, maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours.”  Again, just like Iago’s sentiments when he gets passed over for promotion by Othello.  Sure he’s angry and jealous and embarrassed, but he is damn sure not going to be the only one who suffers, not while he’s still around.branagh-iago-BIG

 

And finally, my absolutely favorite part of the video…..the tower of Taylor Swift images being flattened by Taylor Swift herself as she lyrically declares that she trusts no one as they feel the sameTaylor-Swift-Look-What-You-Made-Me-Do-Video-Meaning about her AND she is going to be the nightmare to her enemies.

 

 

 

Or as Iago would put it,

“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at; I am not what I am.” (Act I, Scene I, lines 64-65)

 

Well done, Ms. Swift, very, very, well done!

Taylor Swift -Rep

 

 

My St. Helena

GettyImages-146793866_super_csNapoleon Bonapart was exiled twice in his lifetime.

The first time to Elba, an island in the Mediterranean, where he seemed to have a pretty nice time.  He was still afforded the prestige he was used to, his home was maybe not a palace, but still some very nice digs and he made time lying around eating fresh cherries with one of the local girls in addition to spending time with his mistress.  Napolean stayed on Elba less than a year before he went back to France and messed up even more.

It was called Waterloo and it prompted the British to exile him to the remote island of St. Helena, an island in the South Atlantic, which is still one of the most remote, hard to get to places in the world.  And in our age of globalization, that’s no small feat.

So there he was on this tiny rock of an island in the middle of vast ocean.  I imagine him walking around on the cliffs, looking out at the expanse of water surrounding him and knowing he would die there.

But maybe he felt like he was already dead.

From the pictures I have seen St. Helena seems very like a purgatory type of place.  Craggy, windy, moldy, steep, quiet, lonely, isolated, hard to reach…are just some of the words used to describe it.

For a man so used to intrigue and power, how devastating.

We don’t have to wonder or speculate on his state of mind, as so much has been written about the feisty French emperor.  He detested St. Helena Island.

Exilethe state or period of forced or voluntary absence from one’s home or country. 

My Facebook account has not been active for several months now.  I have left all of my volunteer commitments.  My phone now only serves to keep the time or occasionally check the weather forecast.  My contact list has been pared down to emergency only numbers.

I still go to work every day.  I shop and cook and clean my house. I read copiously and write on the computer or with soft pencils.   I watch and wave from the dock as my family and friends venture out, each to their own battles and adventures.  And then when they return I greet them with either trumpets or gauze.

At first it was hard, this self imposed exile, but it was needed.  Exhausted after too many Waterloo’s where I had not been Wellington I felt a bittersweet relief as I stood on the sandy beach.

I do not detest my  island.

I embrace my silence and my exile.

I walk my craggy cliffs and look out at the vast ocean around me and I am thankful for my St. Helena.

Monday Morning Book Reviews

Good Morning!

I have two book reviews today- one good and one bad!  Both are non-fiction, which is something I have been getting into lately, and that’s a whole other discussion.  Stay tuned!

Book 1Tales of Remarkable Birds, Dominic Couzens

I picked up this book because of the images and I stayed because of the writing.  To be honest, birds kinda scare me.  They are all fluffy and colorful, but then they have those weird talon feet and sometimes they have the crazy eye and…ugh!!!  But this book not only had amazing photography, but the writing was some of the best non-fiction writing I have read in a while.  Each bird has it’s own little chapter and the facts about them are, yes, REMARKABLE, yet the writing is so entertaining I could not put it down. Every night I would look forward to my time reading this book and every morning I would beg my husband, “Please, let me share my bird facts, please!”

Book 2The Gratitude Diaries, Janice Kaplan

I’m sorry, but the whole idea of this book turned my stomach.  This premise of this exercise in torture is a rich, white woman decides to be grateful for her doctor husband, handsome, successful kids, privileged lifestyle and she meets up with movie stars such as Matt Damon and Daniel Craig, who are also grateful.  Wow.  And she writes a bit like a teenage girl also.  I picked up the book because I have been working on being more grateful myself and I wanted to read the experience of someone who focused solely on the subject for a year.   But what I got was a sticky-sweet companion who I was ready to smack by chapter three.  It didn’t bother me that she has a wonderful lifestyle, but nothing she did seemed difficult.  I wanted to hear from the mom whose child has been diagnosed with cancer or the homeless person or the teenager in a foster home.  This woman didn’t even really have a house or car repair!  And how does she still have friends?  She kept meeting her friends who actually had some difficulties in their lives and she advises them to be grateful instead of getting upset(Just ignore the fact that your marriage is in the toilet!) and getting a pretty new journal and write down how grateful you are you can eat lunch with her!

“Janice, honey, I’m happy for you, but could you just once drive your cheerful

attitude to an intensive care unit and find out how hard gratitude can really be?  Sure, you can finish your cappuccino with Matt Damon first.” 

 

You say I am.

Why are you so afraid of me?

Do you not believe in your own convictions, values, ideals, statements?

“________ people are wrong, stupid, evil, whiners,biased, dishonest,dirty, treacherous. We know what is right.”

Why does it matter to you  if I disagree?

Why does it matter to you if I read or question?

How does it harm you if I hold a sign or march in a group?

You have power and money and influence.

I have none of those things.

You say you are helping me, you are protecting me, making my life better, that if I disagree with you I should move away, I am ungrateful.

I have no money, no power, no influence….I am no threat to your strength, your control, your dominance.

And yet, you fear me.

Why?

Because I will not be cruel.  I will not condemn others.  I will reach out to those needing help and I will show decency and I will work hard to be kind and I will not be a slave to money or greed and I will learn about others and I will work for peace among all nations, for all people.

And he said, “Why?  What evil has he done?” 

But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Matthew 27:23

Busted at the library –AGAIN!

tumblr_mfk8q3a8mt1qfrrv2o1_1280

“There is a problem with your account.” 

“Please see a librarian for assistance.” 

NOOOOO!

It happened again!  My overdue fees had exceeded the $25.00 mark(don’t judge- just don’t!) yet again and now I was going to have to make that walk of shame up to the check- out desk and well, it could not be a worse time….my mother was with me!

NOOOOO!

My mother, who checks out just as many books as I do, but somehow manages to keep them all in one place and never pay fines.

“Of course I pay fines,” she corrected me. “Last week I had a fine of eighty cents and thank goodness I had cash on me to get that taken care of.”

I just don’t know how the library puts up with me.  They even let me volunteer there.

My husband insists the library not only puts up with me, but loves me.  He says he has done the math and roughly a quarter of our yearly income goes to overdue fees.

Ha,Ha.

As I tuned out my mother’s lecture while driving home, I got to thinking about my lifelong adventures with books and bookstores and libraries and reading…and it was a nice something to think  about.

When I look at my family of readers and how we use the library, we couldn’t be more different.

My oldest son, once he learned how to read, quickly adopted the “been there -done that” attitude toward the library.  He does not read for pleasure.  I can’t complain too much about this because he is doing very well in college and has gotten us lots of nice scholarships.  But he is not a library user.  He views walking into those hallowed halls with all the excitement of standing in line at the DMV.

My youngest son is an ambitious reader, to say the least.

Joe– I think I will check out this large book of ancient cartography essays in the original Greek.

Me– Can you read Greek?

Joe– I’m sure there are footnotes….

My husband is a focused, determined plodder.

He finds a book he wants online, checks to make sure it is available, sets a date and time to go pick up the book, picks up the one book only and proceeds to the electronic check out system, reads the whole book(no matter if he finds it dull or boring–he has made a commitment!), renews his check in date if needed and returns said book to the exact same library.  And he also refuses to let me use his card to check out anything!!  EVER!!! 

My mother, of the no fines, checks out lots of books at a single time.  She loves fiction and devours mysteries and historical fiction.  She can work that library card of hers on the computer like nobodies business.

Renew this one, put a hold on that one…she has the surgical precision of an air traffic controller.

And then there is me. 

The last time I was at the library and paying my $25.00 fine, my stack of books included a book about reading books, one about how classical education has changed over the years, a book giving the main points of six major world religions, a book about the discovery of cave paintings and one about a woman who rehabbed injured song birds.

Remember what I said about judging!

And they are all wonderful!

Now you may be asking how I can’t keep track of them…well, it’s like this….

I might take one in the car to read while I wait to pick up Joe or I might have one in the kitchen to read while I make dinner.  Lot’s of times I take them out on the porch or into my  bedroom or shove them in a tote bag for time at the coffee shop.

Well, they end up all over the place.

But I do get them back to the library eventually!

And if any of my money goes to the support the wonderful institution which allows me to explore my world and the wonderful, wonderful librarians  who never once have gotten upset with me—then it’s money well spent!

 

Tuesday Morning Thoughts

img_1699if-you-should

I recently a received a  bonus point reward card in the mail and it got me thinking about this line from Jurassic  Park.  Let’s see if I can explain what I mean…

The following is the “Meg’s Lens on Modern Life” interpretation of bonus/reward points programs.

Me– “Hello, I would like to buy that thing over there.”

Business -“Great!  And you get reward points!”

Me– “Wonderful!  Let’s use them for the purchase.”

Business(Laughs a little) “Oh, no!  You can’t use them now.  I’m going to give them to you, but it will be later, pretty much when I decide, because I am never going to tell you how often you receive them and I am going to be very vague about how many points you will receive.  But rest assured it will be way, way less then you spend.”

Me-“Um, okay.  Well, at least when I get them I can use them on what I need.”

Business – “Actually…no, you can’t.  There will be a lot of exclusions because I really need you to pay full price for a lot of stuff, so they will only work on the items you don’t really need or want, but you are still going to buy those items because you are going to use your points!”

Me– “Um, okay, well at least those points will be easy to use.”

Business(Laughs harder now) “Not really!  I am going to set up a system where you have to do most of the work in keeping track of these points.  So I will either give you a punch card or ask you to carry around a receipt for over a month or something similar which will add to the stress of your already over-stressed life. And please remember, if you lose those things you are screwed and I will not be able to look them up for you despite the fact I have all of your personal data such as phone number, email and zodiac sign keyed into my system.”

Me-“Well, what about sending me something in the mail?”

Business– “That’s right, I will, but only after you haven’t been in the store for a while then you will hit a list and we will send you a dinky amount which won’t equal anything in the store, so you will have to spend more than the reward card anyway.  Have a nice day!”

Which leads me back to the card I got in the mail the other day.

“You’re good at this. Here’s proof.” (Doesn’t that sound just a little smarmy?)

I’m good at what exactly…..spending money, buying items I really don’t need, shopping in general?  Who is judging this contest anyway because I think we can all agree I have made some very questionable purchases in my time–anyone remember those leggings?

And the proof!  The proof seems to be a discount card which I can’t use on sale items, can’t use on certain brands and the total amount is roughly 1/8 of what one item in the store costs.  Really?  Really?

Which brings me back to Jurassic Park–just because I can get a bonus/reward card – should I use it?  Isn’t it just tempting me to make decisions based on what I could do instead of what I should do?

And in turn, doesn’t that just lead to dinosaurs running amok- yes, it always does!