Tag: Love

A Cabbage Patch Guy in a World of Barbie and Kens

 

I was misled.

I grew up in the era of “Ozzie and Harriett” and “Leave It to Beaver.” In my formative years, I was taught that men grew up to be fathers and women grew up to be wives. Marriage was for life, except for that odd situation where a man abused a woman, or either party cheated. Sex was only proper when you loved someone. Somewhere in between first grade and high school, however, that changed. We had the Summer of Love starting in 1967, and the Vietnam War, and the integration of the public schools. Any one of those things would have been a social phenomenon, but all of them together at the same time truly upset the apple cart.

If I sound like a cranky get-your-kids-off-my-lawn old man, that’s not my intent. Integration was long overdue, and purchased in blood and toil. Women had been fighting for equal rights for decades and were not to be limited to one career choice as breeding stock. Allan Sherman explained in his book The Rape of the APE (American Puritan Ethic) that men and women had been having sex and not following the church rules for about 200 years. In fact, the myths that were sold by Ozzie Nelson and June Cleaver were already on their way out. Change is often painful, but stasis is more so. The Vietnam War put generations in conflict with each other, and it took until September 11, 2001, for that rift to finally heal with a united country. It’s taken less than 19 years for the rift to reappear.

John Wood Jr. comes by to talk about Braver Angels, the largest grassroots bipartisan organization in America, focused on the work of political de-polarization. Along the way he and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about his experience being raised by a mother who’s a liberal black Democrat from inner city LA and father who’s a conservative white Republican from Tennessee, and how his white father emphasized the greatness of black culture in the context of the greatness of America and made him proud of being a black man.  He and Bridget bond over their similar experiences dealing with their parents’ divorces. They cover how you can engage conflict without suffering the debilitating impact of hatred in your own psychology, being chameleons growing up and learning to integrate all the different parts of themselves as they grew older, how important it is to see the human behind the opinion – especially when it’s one you don’t agree with,  what’s truly noble and redeemable in all of our American traditions, and whether Trump is actually racist.

Chloé Valdary (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic) returns to discuss her new course Theory of Enchantment an innovative social-emotional, learning course that teaches character development, resilience and love. Her background in international diplomacy and conflict resolution led her to want to create a framework that teaches people how to love each other. The aspirational course blends pop culture and ancient wisdom to teach social and emotional learning and Chloé felt it was necessary as an antidote to the deconstructive ideology that’s permeating our culture right now. She and Bridget discuss why having no reverence for the past leaves us with no way to measure our progress, why we should see suffering as a gift, how people stereotyping others means they also stereotype themselves, and why the world is ending when people no longer dance with each other.

Full transcript available here: WiW87-ChloeValdary-Transcript

The Black Community and Our Culture Has Lost Its First Love

 

I grew up in Pittsburgh. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”, and other speeches were part of my high school curriculum. I married a Southerner in 1987. I was shocked to hear that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a part of his high school curriculum. I entered a different world, a world where in his growing up years, hired help was mainly black, maids, landscapers, and hardscape contractors. I began to see and hear of a South that was not part of my upbringing, but only depicted in movies like “Gone With the Wind.” However, I experienced more racism in the North than I ever did in the South.

Entering high school a naive 13-year-old, it was a landscape ripe with violent protests, riots, marches, Vietnam, Women’s Rights, Black Power. I was a kid growing up in a raucous world, but raised by a generation who grew up under a different tyranny. Being Polish and Ukrainian descent, my family came to the U.S. with nothing and created a home for me. They fled the Communists, Nazism, and Russian repression. They lived through the Great Depression. The women in my family suffered abuse as I learned, going back generations, as men from that era were angry, harsh, and even depressed. That led to drinking and fighting. Fortunately, my dad and my aunt who raised me were nothing like that. I was raised with a respect for law enforcement, the Church, and my elders. Step out of line and I got whooped, which I did quite a few times.

Scrubbing Away What’s Not Important

 

As a property manager, I look after beach properties for part-time owners. I received a text from an alarmed Atlanta client, saying that security encountered a strange individual who claimed he paid $2,400 to someone on Craig’s List to rent his home. Police were called and the dude claimed he drove from Michigan to Florida to move in.

He gave two numbers of the person who “rented” the property to the police, both of which were disconnected; clearly a scam. My client was alarmed that the person claimed that he entered into this agreement with someone who had the same last name as the owner, a very unusual last name. They also had a private gate code. So scammers are well at work during the worst worldwide event since World War II – why take a day off?

I’ve checked in with neighbors. It’s March and overly warm here in the Florida Panhandle. While watering my garden, my next-door neighbor received a beautiful bouquet from a delivery van. I hollered at the woman, who staggered to the front door with the huge, heavy vase.

A Jolly Challah-Day!

 

“Oh, it’s a jolly challah-day with Susan, Susan makes your ‘eart so light!” OMG. Apologies for the appalling pun, to you, to @susanquinn, to Mister Susan, to the brothers Sherman who wrote the music and lyrics for Mary Poppins, and above all, to everyone who reads this, wherever you are, for inflicting upon you Dick Van Dyke’s excruciatingly embarrassing (embarrassingly excruciating?) excuse for a Cockney accent. Born within the sounds of Bow Bells, he most certainly was not:

Puppy Love

 

I didn’t get this posted for Valentine’s Day because I was out of town, but it’s too fun not to share. Every year I send out Valentine’s postcards to friends and family with an illustration done by one of my children. This year, my new daughter-in-law did the honors. I was hesitant to ask at first, but she seemed excited to be included in this family tradition. After years of asking my sons to remember to marry someone who would like me, I feel very blessed that (so far) they have listened! The dog in the illustration is my six-year-old puppy Inigo.

QOTD: A Fool For Love

 

So I chose Valentine’s Day for my quote of the day, thinking it would be easy to write something about love, since I find myself madly in love with a truly wonderful man who is everything I ever wanted and better than I could ever have hoped for.  While searching for the perfect love quote, I came across this:

“Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.” Samuel Johnson

The Perils of Postmodern Love

 

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, perhaps the one holiday hated by everyone — the one day when all singles long to be coupled and all couples long to be single. With Valentine’s Day come obligations and expectations: Christmas, but without the music, gingerbread cookies, and living-room conifers. (“I bought her a box of chocolates last year — and a bottle of sauvignon the year before that. Hmm. What to get her? I guess a Trumpy Bear will have to do.”)

No doubt, the Internet will soon be awash in articles about the dating scene, which, like the weather, is something everybody complains about … but nobody does something about. It’s frankly a wonder that a problem so universally acknowledged should be in want of a solution. Yet here we are.

Why is it so hard to date in 2020? Why does every single person feel compelled to submit to the ongoing pain and humiliation of online dating? Why does my generation’s romantic pessimism make Greta Thunberg look like a climate optimist? The reasons are simple, really — (a) we’ve failed to develop the requisite social habits, (b) we’ve lost the institutions capable of guiding us toward marriage, and (c) we have standards.

Quote of the Day: Response Outside of Expected Range

 

How do I analyze :heart: ?

ERROR: Response :heart: is not in expected range. (source)

I am a geek. I have had crushes in the past, but nothing came of them. I fully expected to spend the rest of my life alone as I am not particularly attractive, so I did my best to make do. I have friends and co-workers and keep in touch with family.

Then someone on Ricochet introduced me to a nice gal who is as cute as a crate of plushies, and fun to talk with. I figured the only girls like that were in anime, not real life. I responded accordingly. Soon, I began to receive texts filled with :heart: emojis and generally becoming the recipient of emotions I had never dealt with before. It has taken some getting used to, and I can’t quite keep up some of the time. It almost feels like I must have hacked into someone else’s text message stream. Why would anyone act that excited about me?

So as I approach this Valentine’s Day, I still feel a bit awkward, but I am glad to do so.

Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

Basia and the Squirrel: Scruton’s Tale of Eros Transubstantiated

 

“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.

Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.

Basia, at 26, the oldest, most academically-advanced of the bright young things attending Scruton’s summer lectures and their unofficial leader, was an uppity young woman with a checkered past. She wasted little time with Scruton: after his second day in Kazimierz, she waylaid him in the woods to announce she noticed no ring on his finger. Such a frank admission of desire seems likely to end in embarrassment all round whether the desire is reciprocated or not, and perhaps it would have if it weren’t accompanied by her equally frank admission that consummating desire was not her aim:

Member Post

 

Prince Harry and his new wife, Meghan announced they want to step back from royal duties, move abroad and make their own money. The world loves a love story, especially a successful one. I do. I watched their wedding, his mother, Princess Diana’s wedding, her divorce, and sadly the funeral. I hoped as I watched […]

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Can I Tell You a (Holiday) Story?

 

I just got a text from my childhood best friend. She texted three pictures from our other childhood best friend. This time of year, people reconnect, share stories, and think of their lives in context — as in the past, present, and future. Let me tell you a story:

I recognized the older sister, the lovely Mary Beth. She was beautiful, blonde, and so talented. Growing up, I was constantly at my friend Kitty’s house. They lived on the next street over, easily accessible through the alley. I asked Mary Beth to make me a dress. I coveted Mary Beth’s navy and black velvet dresses with lace collars. She could sew anything. I found a pink paisley material and she whipped up a gorgeous mini-dress with bell sleeves. I strutted into grade school and got sent home because it was too short. My best friend Kitty lent me her Maxi-coat; so cool that I’d throw off my plain nothing, kick off my ugly snow boots, and put on that beautiful wool coat that dragged the ground. I slipped and struggled over the ice and snow to school because the coat had to have pretty shoes under it. So vain … Wait – did I tell you Mary Beth was deaf? She taught me sign language. Kitty and her baby sister could hear.

The three texted pictures included Mrs. Kitty and my friend Kitty. I was told Mrs. Kitty passed away last year at 91. Both were named Kathryn. This family burns deep into my past memory. Both parents could hear, but five out of seven kids were deaf. Their doors were never locked. You could pop in for lunch or dinner, shoes off. One child, Barry, used to strut around and put on shows for us and make us laugh. He turned out to be gay – no one cared. Through their church, I met Godsen, a guest from Africa. I saw him in the backyard in a white robe and tall red hat, as black as night. I was curious and introduced myself. He told me about his country.

We’re Losing Our Boys

 

The latest tragedies, raw and painful, seem to be reflecting a similar thread: young men. Look at the age of the recent shooter at a Walmart in Texas (21 years old,) the killer in Dayton (24), the age of the boy being accused of the murder of the young co-ed at Ole Miss. Look at the ages of the boys on a murderous rampage across Canada, the Florida school shooting, the recent California shooting at the Garlic Festival, the Synagogue in Pittsburgh. They are all young men consumed with hate and vengeance, and armed to do as much damage as possible. They leave “manifestos,” they shout, “I’m angry!”, they cease to think and feel, or see their fellow human beings as part of their world.

The struggle to find blame is next. Social media, politics, violent video games, rampant porn and the new virile push of social engineering are playing a role. Young men begin as young boys, innocent, but are being influenced by all of these things, and their core personalities, their sense of self, is being corrupted, at younger and younger ages. I am not sympathizing with the killers, these acts are beyond despicable, but the patterns are showing these similarities.

The radical group Antifa, whose network now stretches across the continent to Europe, is composed of young men mostly, very angry, courting physical confrontation, and at the very least, intimidation and control.  Young women have become more fearful and maybe rightly so.  I have to think that the removal of boundaries, lack of consequences for actions, monitoring what is being taught in schools, what is accessible on the Internet, the decline of the family and faith, are now all bearing rotten fruit.  The family and the Church have always been the armor before sending young people into the world to live their dream and find their purpose, and to sustain them going forward.

45 Years, or a 12-Step Program for a Successful Marriage

 

I would never have imagined that I would be married so many years. In fact, when I first met my husband-to-be, I told him that I didn’t know if I would ever get married. It just seemed like such a traumatic, demanding step; besides, who would have me?

But I was wrong—and I’m so glad I was. In meeting my husband, I found a man who is generous, smart, funny, helpful, and kind. He can also be stubborn, determined, and obsessive about detail. But I digress . . .

Today we will be married 45 years, and I thought I would write about the reasons we’ve had a successful marriage. Yes, there are things I could complain about, but I’d have to confess to my own shortcomings and I wouldn’t want to ruin my image. I’m even going to ask my husband to critique this post, and if I’ve distorted anything or left out anything crucial, I’m absolutely certain he will let me know—in a kind way, of course. (Right, dear?) So here are my twelve steps to our successful marriage, in no particular order:

For the Love of God!

 

I have to write this while it’s fresh in my mind. Where do you stand in this world, in your life? As a property manager, I am responsible for checking on second homes (three and four story luxury beach homes) in a tourist area. My clients are mostly wealthy, very wealthy, and some are average. I love my job. I’m self-employed and I make my own hours. The idea for the job was my husband’s, a landscape designer and manager. I created this job because I have scoliosis and needed to bow out of my 35-40+ hour admin life because sitting and standing for long periods became intolerable. It was a great idea and I love my clients – but not for the reasons you think. While I treat each property as if it were my own, I have come to know very successful people on a different level.

So here we are during the week of the July 4th holiday – roads busy with cyclists, golf carts, beachgoers, and kids everywhere, I get a voicemail from an alarm company that an alarm has lost power. I hop in my car and head to the property. All ok, I unlocked the door and the husband pops out. The alarm failed because there was a breaker issue, my second one today. But the husband, a very successful, wealthy 66 year old man follows me out to my car in his bare feet and keeps talking… Tomorrow is his wife’s birthday, and he winks. He bought her a wine cooler and stocked it, I’ll shoot her a happy birthday text. She told me about his appendix attack and emergency surgery at 2:00 AM last year, but as he walks me to my car, he tells me more, that he’s had multiple strokes in the last year. What??

Book Review: I Want To Live

 

“The absolute raw truth of the matter is this: I have no idea what I am doing now, much less what I will be doing a year from now. Years of living my life for another person has left me without a clue as to how to live for myself.” from the book,

“I Want to Live – Confessions of a Grieving Caretaker by Susan D. McDaniel.

I Just Read ‘The Great Good Thing’

 

When Ricochet member @andrewklavan posted about his new book called The Great Good Thing – A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ, I was curious. I was curious why he took a little flack from a few Jewish members of Ricochet when he posted about his new book, who didn’t feel he gave Judaism a fair shake. But that’s not why I ordered the book.  As a Christian, I was born into the faith, but came to a more personal faith backward and sideways, sometimes kicking and screaming. I was curious to hear about another person’s journey of faith – was it worse than mine?

So I ordered it and threw it up on my bookshelf for another day.  Published in 2016, I am three years late in picking it up, but not really. I read it at the perfect time. There are times in a person’s life when a book like this is profound and quite frankly, more appreciated, than other times. The recent deaths of people I love and thoughts about mortality and immortality flowing through my mind, rapidly changing world events, including challenges to people of faith, especially Christians and Jews, with the dramatic rise in antisemitism, religious persecution across the world, and the upcoming peace talks in Israel made it the right time.

This book is a story of a soul – we’re all born with one, and Andrew Klavan, an atheist at one time, then an agnostic, could not shake this truth. His awareness seemed to start at around eight years old. Then there was the abusive father, along with the distant mother. In the midst of great suffering, somehow his spirit was never extinguished. I am amazed at how some people can put in words what cannot be put in words. It’s like he turned himself inside out. Andrew Klavan found the words to hold his heart and soul out to the world, that others might find comfort. This book teaches how fragile children are, how innocent, and how parents especially, form their mental and emotional health and well-being.