Needing some downtime

Pink flower
The simple beauty of nature.

It’s been a few weeks since our vacation to Utah and I’m already feeling the need to get away. There’s something about the heat of the desert, being stuck inside because of 100-plus degree temperatures that gets to people.

I remember in my former life in Palm Springs that controversy always bubbled up mid-July to early August. Especially with our swim team. You take a bunch of over-involved parents who are competitive about their kids — put them on a hot pool deck — and you have a recipe for a few outbursts.

Once the former president of our swim team told me “Take this team and shove it up your A**!”

Then he walked off the pool deck with his kids and started his own team, taking about 30 or 40 swimmers with him. I stood in shock. As a board member, I had been in the middle of a power struggle between our coach and him. He wanted to be the coach and was actively trying to discredit our current coach.

It was an ugly episode in my parenting years. We noticed every summer around the same time things began to boil.

I don’t thrive with conflict. I try to avoid unpleasantness in my life.

Last week, a club meeting rivaled the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

A woman who I consider a friend acted horribly out of anger. I don’t know where the anger came from. But what should have been a nice night of having dinner and friendship turned into a battleground. I feel especially bad for the woman who opened up her home, prepared dinner and dessert for the club.

Now I feel caught in the middle. It’s a bad place to be. I want to get along. I am willing to give people a second chance and the benefit of the doubt. Even when they lose their temper and act badly. We are all human and make mistakes.

I’m going to distance myself from all these clubs for awhile until my emotions settle down. I can’t wait to get out of the heat and out of town, which is in a couple weeks.

How do you handle conflict? Do you forgive people for bad behavior or write them off?

I had to turn it off

sunrise view in Arizona
Sunrise view from my bedroom. It’s going to be a hot day! Again.

This morning I had the news on in the background and I had to turn it off. Between the shark and alligator attacks I finally lost it when a man got hit by a car and people robbed him while he was lying in the road.

I too was hit as a pedestrian. I was lying on the road inches aways from car tires rushing by my bleeding head. At least I wasn’t robbed!

The reporter kept mentioning that it was a hot summer and therefore would be a crime-filled summer. Does hot equal violence and crime?

I decided to look it up. Here’s an excerpt from the first article I found:

Tracking ambient temperature and crime rates, a Finland study used nearly two decades of data to identify a possible connection between them. Researchers found that temperature changes were responsible for 10 percent of fluctuations in the nation’s crime rates — a 1.7 percent increase in criminal activity for each degree centigrade rise in the temperature. More specifically, the study found that increased serotonin levels resulting from high temperature likely contributed to increased impulsivity and a higher risk of crimes.

https://online.vwu.edu/news/environmental-studies/weather-and-crime/

The reasons why hot weather equals an increase in crime included more opportunity. In freezing winter climates, there aren’t as many opportunities for crime. The other reason was that hot weather increases aggression.

I turned off the TV after I started to feel anxious. I don’t need all this sensationalist selling of soap in my life. I’ve got a busy week and want to have a positive outlook.

What are your thoughts about hot weather and crime? Do you think they are related? Does a heat wave make a crime wave? Do people get “hot under the collar?”

Don’t try this at home!

Healthy saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
A saguaro across the street in the nature’s preserve. It’s well over 100 years old.

Saturday was errand day. My husband and I drove to Tempe — 45 minutes away — to pick up a bookshelf for my son’s birthday present at IKEA. It’s out of stock in California, but he found it here. Our plan was to pick it up and ship it — after the one that I shipped last week was damaged en route. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on this one.

After IKEA, we spotted Dick’s Sporting Goods across the parking lot. We stopped in for a few plates of weights. At Dick’s, the clerk mentioned that their cameras had picked up the murder suspect’s vehicle during their getaway.

“Murder suspect?” I asked.

“Yes, didn’t you hear? We had a shooting in the IKEA parking lot a few days ago.”

No I hadn’t heard, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I googled it and it was a drug deal in the middle of the day gone bad. Yes, in the IKEA parking lot. The shooters were 17 and 18 years old!

Not the story I cared to hear about on a sunny Saturday standing right where it happened.

During the time we left the house, to the time we left Dick’s and headed to our final stop at Costco, my phone rang every two minutes. It was nonstop and I was going nuts. I was already stressed by the crazy drivers on the freeway and learning about teen murderers. I didn’t need my phone blowing up with “Spam Risk” and random lending companies.

I was exasperated and asked my husband “Why do you think my phone won’t stop ringing? What’s going on?” I finally realized I could turn the darn thing off.

“Uh, I was um looking online this morning and I saw some sites about interest rates,” he confessed. “It asked me to fill out a little information and they’d tell me where the interest rates are now. I just wanted to know.”

“And you entered my phone number???!!!”

“No, I put in mine,” he said.

“Funny! It’s my phone ringing.”

It’s now days later and my phone still rings, although it’s not constant. I asked some of the companies to take us off the list — that we aren’t interested. That doesn’t stop them.

My son said the same thing happened to him. He was looking to buy a car and there were some sites that offered to find the best deals. He made the fatal mistake of entering his name and phone number. His phone immediately blew up with car dealers from throughout California.

Don’t try this at home! Unless you enjoy your phone ringing every two minutes. If you want information on cars, interest rates or whatever, take the time to contact the businesses yourself.

Have you ever filled out an online form and gotten a million phone calls? What was it for? How did you get them to stop? What would you do if your spouse entered your info on a random website?

A New Low? Who Yells at Kids?

man love people woman
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I read an article yesterday about Girl Scout being harassed for selling cookies.

Seriously?

I wrote about being yelled at sitting at a booth registering voters HERE. If I was shaken up after being yelled at as an adult, can you imagine how a five or seven-year-old would feel?

The article was called “Girl Scout cookie sellers as young as 5 are being harassed for selling unhealthy food and a conspiracy theory about cookie money funding abortion” by Lela Moore on a website called Insider.

It turns out that young girls are being yelled at for selling cookies because “they make you fat” and they use “palm oil” that means forests are being destroyed. Then there are those who have linked Girl Scouts to Planned Parenthood because one local council had their Girl Scout logo on a Planned Parenthood brochure one time a decade ago.

Here’s an excerpt:

Girl Scout cookie season is upon us, and young saleswomen in uniform are everywhere: holding court in office boardrooms for an afternoon, manning booths outside the local grocery store, or posting cheery video messages on social media, offering door-to-door shipping. You may even have a Girl Scout under your own roof, filling your garage with cases of the chocolatey, caramelly, peanut-buttery goods. 

But Girl Scouts, and the women who lead their troops and volunteer with them during cookie season, say that the organization’s tradition of face-to-face sales is increasingly accompanied by customer harassment.

“I feel like in the last 10 years, and maybe especially since the pandemic, that people are getting even more aggressive with girls and the volunteers,” Oona Hanson, a Scouting parent in Los Angeles, said. 

https://www.insider.com/girl-scout-cookies-harassment-planned-parenthood-abortion-unhealthy-palm-oil-2022-2

Another thing the teen Girl Scouts have to endure is sexual harassment.

When I was in kindergarten, I joined Bluebirds, which was the youngest group of Camp Fire Girls. When it came time to sell the Camp Fire Mints — which were delicious by the way — my mom bought them all. She refused to let me go door to door selling mints. This was in the 1960’s. I was disappointed because it seemed fun to me. I’m sure Mom had her reasons, and she was very strict and overprotective.

What are your thoughts about Girl Scout Cookies? Has our society gone off the deep end with people yelling at the girls selling cookies outside grocery stores?

They’ve gone too far!

A painting my grandma made for me at our cabin when I was around five years old.

i wrote this post in August last year when I discovered extended family were building on my property. I have added an update at the end.

Question: What would your reaction be if you were looking at Facebook photos posted by relatives and noticed a deck had been built on your property?

Here’s the story:

My brother and I have owned a piece of property jointly since 1995. Our mom quit claimed it to us. It’s in Robe, Wash. It’s been in the family since the 1930s. My grandfather bought 10 acres along the Stillaguamish River and gave parcels to his three kids (my mom was one) and to his sisters.

Robe is a beautiful, magical place. It’s pristine. There’s no running water or electricity. My dad designed a cabin in 1959 before I was born. My mom and dad, with their own two hands, built the cabin that has given me some of my best childhood memories. Fishing at dawn for breakfast trout. Snuggled into our mummy bags listening to the roaring fire at night. Floating down the rapids with friends. Jumping off the giant rock into the deep swimming hole.

About 15 years ago, my brother and I had the cabin torn down. It was falling apart. Someone had trashed the interior and lit the floor on fire. The roof was leaking. It was a liability and was inviting trouble. We left the fireplace. Some relatives hauled it off in exchange to access to our property which my brother arranged. I thought he had paid a service to do it.

cabin in the woods
The cabin in the 1970s.

Although the extended family — I have no clue who most of them are these days — have their own lots, ours is where they gather for an annual reunion. I go from time to time. They prefer our lot because our property faces the swimming hole in the river with a big rock. There used to be a sandy beach, too.

Now here’s the question of whether someone has gone too far. I was glancing at photos on facebook from the recent family reunion that I was unable to attend. This is a photo of a deck on my lot. I’ve never seen it before. Nobody asked me if they could build it. Apparently it was for a distant relative’s wedding — that I didn’t know about. My brother knows nothing about any of this either.

deck near the river
Our property at Robe now has a deck.

What are your thoughts of somebody building on your property without your knowledge or permission? Or holding a wedding?

fishing in the river
I caught one! Me in my 20s.
My aunt gave me this painting of our cabin. It was painted by my grandma.

UPDATE:

Our extended family has an entirely different vision for Robe than we do. They have hired a logging company to come in and remove trees on their adjoining lots to ours. They are going to park RVs on the property and install a manufactured house.

They aren’t going to touch our property, but having this destruction right next door affects us.

My brother and I think that keeping the property natural is what is magical about it. It’s an hour and a half from Seattle and the river, trees are beautiful. We are 100% against removing hundred year old trees for a little cash.

I’m devastated.

Is civility a lost art?

I wrote this post six years ago about getting yelled at by a stranger. It really unnerved me. I asked if civility was a lost art. I’m sad to say that I think things have gotten worse over the years. Not better.

images

I think we are on the verge of losing an important piece of our society. The art of civility and decency. In my humble opinion, the virtual world has a lot to do with this. Look at the comment section of any news site or political page and what you’ll read will turn your face red. Name calling, cursing along with disgusting references to body parts. Their mothers and grandparents must be so proud!

It’s so easy to comment and be rude when you’re not face to face with another person and you’re hiding behind your keyboard. As a former board member of my kids’ swim team for a million years, I was often surprised when someone who I had enjoyed talking with on the pool deck sent me a scathing email. I guess it was easier for them to vent over the keyboard rather then express their opinion to me in person.

Olive cat in an uncivil mood.
Olive in an uncivil mood.

What happens when this “no-holds-barred” behavior moves from behind the screen to the real world? Think about that for a few minutes. If every person you encountered in a day had to let loose with a verbal attack. (What does that expression mean anyway? From Merriam-webster online: free of restrictions or hampering conventions <a no–holds–barred contest> This expression was first used in wrestling matches allowing all types of holds.)

I was sitting at our local Street Fair this week, volunteering five hours of my time to register voters. Most people were very friendly and polite. It wasn’t a busy night for our “register to vote booth” because there’s no big election coming up in the next few months. I smiled at people as they walked by. It’s fun to see them smile in return. I was enjoying that.

Then one woman stopped in the middle of the street and yelled at me.

“Why did you give us that look?”

I said, “Huh? Excuse me?” I had never seen this person in my life. I had not seen her walk by.

“You smiled at those people,” she pointed. “But you gave me a dirty look! What was that about?” she shouted at me.

“You’re mistaken, I wasn’t looking at anyone.” Indeed I was lost in my thoughts. I had a brief moment of missing my kids who are away at college.

“You’re very rude! Typical for someone in your party!” the woman yelled at me.

I was a little shaken. Wondering what gave her the right to yell at me — someone she’d never met before. I thought this was a prime example about our loss of civility.

We tell our kids to be kind to other people and we teach the Golden Rule. We punish them if they get in a fight and we are horrified if they are mean to anyone. But, seriously? They learn more from our actions then we care to believe. I have an idea. Let’s try to be examples to our kids. Let’s try to be someone worthy of our kids adoration and someone we’d like them to respect. Be kind to one another. And if you can’t be kind, at least be decent.

My daughter and lifetime friends, enjoying life on their swim team.
My daughter and lifetime friends enjoying life on their swim team.

“Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.”

– Benjamin Franklin

What are your thoughts about civility? Do you think things have gotten worse over the past six years when I wrote this? Do you think the anonymity of social media and hiding behind our computers or phones adds to it?

Did someone go too far?

A painting my grandma made for me at our cabin when I was around five years old.

Question: What would your reaction be if you were looking at Facebook photos posted by relatives and noticed a deck had been built on your property?

Here’s the story:

My brother and I have owned a piece of property jointly since 1995. Our mom quit claimed it to us. It’s in Robe, Wash. It’s been in the family since the 1930s. My grandfather bought 10 acres along the Stillaguamish River and gave parcels to his three kids (my mom was one) and to his sisters.

Robe is a beautiful, magical place. It’s pristine. There’s no running water or electricity. My dad designed a cabin in 1959 before I was born. My mom and dad, with their own two hands, built the cabin that has given me some of my best childhood memories. Fishing at dawn for breakfast trout. Snuggled into our mummy bags listening to the roaring fire at night. Floating down the rapids with friends. Jumping off the giant rock into the deep swimming hole.

About 15 years ago, my brother and I had the cabin torn down. It was falling apart. Someone had trashed the interior and lit the floor on fire. The roof was leaking. It was a liability and was inviting trouble. We left the fireplace. Some relatives hauled it off in exchange to access to our property which my brother arranged. I thought he had paid a service to do it.

cabin in the woods
The cabin in the 1970s.

Although the extended family — I have no clue who most of them are these days — have their own lots, ours is where they gather for an annual reunion. I go from time to time. They prefer our lot because our property faces the swimming hole in the river with a big rock. There used to be a sandy beach, too.

Now here’s the question of whether someone has gone too far. I was glancing at photos on facebook from the recent family reunion that I was unable to attend. This is a photo of a deck on my lot. I’ve never seen it before. Nobody asked me if they could build it. Apparently it was for a distant relative’s wedding — that I didn’t know about. My brother knows nothing about any of this either.

deck near the river
Our property at Robe now has a deck.

What are your thoughts of somebody building on your property without your knowledge or permission? Or holding a wedding?

fishing in the river
I caught one! Me in my 20s.
My aunt gave me this painting of our cabin. It was painted by my grandma.