Wednesday, April 10, 2013

pressing matters indeed

Heather has determined her future occupation.  A few days ago, as we were en route to dance class, she informed me that she was going to be a "house maker". She then secured a promise from me that when I need a new house, once she is grown up, I will call her to make it.

aaa photo IMG_2364.jpg

I recently spent about 45 unplanned minutes randomly re-reading various posts from this very blog. I was simultaneously pleased at the content and tone of most of the posts, and horrified to see the many misspellings, grammar mistakes, and punctuation errors that I have let slip past my editing eye.

We're only a few months away from the amazing sibling/parent ALASKAN (!!!!!) cruise, the thought of which got me through the doldrums of this past winter on more than one occasion. Which, how ironic is it that the thought of going somewhere cold and snowy in the summer helps me endure living in cold and snow in the winter?  Anyway, I recently got a notice from the cruise line, with the little tidbit that dinner every night will either be "formal" (2 nights) or "smart casual", i.e. no jeans.  Since I live in jeans and don't have non-jean pants that really fit, this poses a problem. The question is:  Do I start on the lookout for bargains on non-jeans now, and risk getting pants that are too big when I lose the 20 pounds that I'm surely going to lose before we board, or do I wait until the last minute, and then madly rush out and buy something in June? Hard to know friends, hard to know.

 photo pants.jpg

I got thinking the other night about things that you should never say to people going through one trial or another, things such as "He's in a better place" to someone who has just lost someone dear, or "Let me know if you need anything" in pretty much any case whatsoever. It got me thinking back to those years when I was 30+ and single and felt like a fish out of water in the LDS Church, but I loved it so much (not to mention, had a testimony of the truthfulness of it all) that it's not like I could just jump ship and go somewhere where being 30 and single was no big deal whatsoever, right?  

Anyway, I think my very least favorite thing that people would say to me was anything that suggested that I was just so on top of things that there just wasn't a man good enough for me, also included in that was any kind of statement on the men in the world, along the lines of, "What's wrong with all those boys, anyway?"  I know these were said in an attempt to be complimentary, but aside from being patently untrue, all they did was make me feel different and isolated (and I so wanted to feel "same" and included), and what was I supposed to do with that anyway?  Get worse?? Devolve??

(Of course, let me be clear-- I am not meaning to compare my experience to that of one who has lost someone dear in any real sense.  We all know that those aren't even in the same solar system of difficulty and pain.)

UPDATE-- For more thoughts on this issue, you might find the comments below interesting.

 photo pedigree.jpg

A high school classmate of mine recently posted one of those "help me find my parents" pictures on facebook.  I had no idea he was adopted.  Within one day, he had found both his parents, and seven new siblings, which I think is pretty amazing. More amazing, apparently the link that he needed was found by one of my friends (another classmate), who used her ninja family history skills to track down what he needed to know.  Who knew that family history skills could be so applicable in day-to-day life?  If that's the case, what's to stop the pythagorean theorem from being critical to us lay people soon?

 photo thorem.jpg

Something tells me I'd better get studying.

pants image from San Diego Museum of Man
pedigree image from saving stories
robot love image from Katy Tresedder


Jake said...

Maybe I'm missing the point of the cartoon, but the Pythagorean theorem doesn't apply to that particular triangle. Maybe that is the point.

Mom C said...

The pants would work for the formal night. Skirts are acceptable anytime. Wear jeans during the day, change to skirt for dinner. You packed enough skirts for 10 days in Spain in your carry-on, just stuff one or two for the cruise and you're set.

Charlotte said...

Ahh Spain. Definitely my finest packing job ever. Legendary, that one.

Charlotte said...

@Jake--or maybe someone with a total right brain drew the comment and didn't realize that it doesn't apply to every triangle everywhere.

Robert said...


As someone who is currently expected to somehow miraculously know just what to say and do to comfort those who are struggling, I am having a difficult time with the middle section of you post.

Isn't having someone sincerely say the "wrong" thing better than not saying anything at all?

Since we can only control our own thoughts and actions maybe we could make a list of things we should never allow ourselves to think when people say things they should never say.

I'll start it for us
1) Don't think mean things about my brother when he uses MY BLOG to whine about things that are bugging him. :)

Charlotte said...

You make an excellent point Robert, and I should have been more clear in the middle section. It was not my intent at all to vilify anyone trying to help anyone else, and in my opinion and (limited) experience, having someone say something that might be less helpful with love and concern is far far better than being ignored or left alone (which is ironically often perceived as being 'forgotten' even though the truth is generally the exact opposite), because a loved one can't think of the "right" thing to say.

My main intent was to just share a random thought that I had, and my secondary point was to try to be helpful. As we all have opportunities to bear one another's burdens, I personally am usually grateful to know how I can be of the most help to one who is enduring a situation about which I have no experience or frame of reference.

Since really the only "tragic" (and I use that word entirely facetiously) circumstance I've endured in my life is that of being single in my 30s, that is the situation about which I can share my own experience.

(Although I do stand by my "let me know if there's anything I can do" stance. I feel like saying something like that is much more about easing the would-be giver's conscience than actually providing help to the person in trouble, because it's just so easy to say, and it puts the burden on the person in trouble to think of their needs, then weigh the pros and cons of whether or not you are willing to help in that manner or if asking for that is asking too much, not to mention trying to decide if you were really serious when you said that you would be willing to help in any way. In my opinion, it more helpful to say, "I would like to help you. Would it help if I did xyz or abc or qrs? I'm happy to do any of that, or really anything else you need." Something along those lines I think provides the person with a baseline of your willingness and ability, as well as giving them more of a confidence that your words actually have the potential of action behind them. And there's MY soap box :)

And just for the record, any of my brothers (as well as anyone else that is respectful) are/is welcome to use MY BLOG to whine about things that are bugging you.

Harmony said...

I'm with your mom. Forget buying pants and throw a few casual skirts in for the dinners.

Also, be sure and post a full report of your cruise after the fact, because I've never really been inclined to go on a cruise, but if I was going to, I think an Alaskan cruise would be my choice. Good luck finding stone lions up there too! :)

Carol said...

An Alaska cruise?! Sounds fabulous and I hope you enjoy. Never having been on a cruise, I'm not able to comment about pants versus skirts in that environment. However, I am a devoted skirts gal (in fact I went for 15 years without owning 1 pair of pants). A skirt can suffice for so many situations that I am certain you will find a couple of more skirts better than pants any day!

Soap Box Alert:
I agree that the 'let me know if there is anything I can do' when it is all that is offered. However, I have found myself with those very words coming out of my mouth when I have just finished assisting in some way and wanting to make sure that my friend knows I am still available. I'm not sure what else to say at that point. I think that phrase by itself is a bit of a way to alleviate one's responsibility to truly 'mourn with those that mourn'. Maybe I need some help here!

Thanks for the interesting and thought provoking post!

loveland9 said...

Best cruise ever!! Formal nights are a s formal as you want to make them. You'll see everything there. Just no jeans. I'm so excited for you.

Tanks for the insight on being single and thirty. Gets me thinking about how zi can make others feel comfortable and what not to say.

Charlotte said...

@Carol--Personally, I think saying "Let me know if you need anything" AFTER you've just done something is just fine, because you've alreay "put your money where your mouth is" and proved that you really are willing to do what is needed.


Kami Willis said...

In many cases the only thing you can say is "I'm sorry". It is better to say that than to say nothing at all. I'm sorry and a hug can do wonders. Or an "I have no idea what you are going through but I am here if you need me, and I love you (if you are close)." I was just visiting with a friend (an only child) who lost both her parents within a couple of months. She said how alone she felt because people didn't know what to say so they just stayed away.

Also - Alaskan Cruise. My funnest vacation EVER!!! So jealous right now.

Kami Willis said...

One more thing. I found some nicer dresses at Ross for cheap that I used for the formal nights on my cruise and I just went with the skirt thing the other nights.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...