Tag: Relationships

Welcome to the New (Brainwashed) Civilization


I had a disturbing conversation with a relative, a cousin who is an off-the-charts left-leaning liberal and much older than me. She lives out west. She’s my flesh and blood and I let it drop today that I, and others in our family and my husband’s family had not been vaccinated.  My reasons are personal preference due to major food allergies and a very bad reaction to a flu shot in 2008.

She and her husband have been vaccinated and boosted out the tail. When I disclosed this, she had a meltdown. “OH! OH! Oh no!! Oh!  NO!  I never would have thought you were like that!  I am sweating — I can’t talk — I have to end this conversation! Oh no! A super spreader — how could you not?!!  We had no post-symptoms!

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Tonight we will begin the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year but literally the “head of the year.” This Jewish month of Tishrei commemorates the day of creating man, and starts the Ten Days of Repentance preceding Yom Kippur. During this period, G-d determines whether, through our actions, we are to […]

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Stand-up comic, Erica Rhodes, stops in to trade stories with Bridget about their various adventures that always seemed to start with “there was a boy…”. They discuss the winding roads that brought them to comedy, why spoken word poetry is a lot harder than you might think, acting as a gateway drug, the joys of creativity, the embarrassment of journals full of men, and their struggles with love and commitment. They also cover therapists who flirt with you, the nightmare of online dating, Bridget’s “one headshot per couple” rule, Erica’s tactic of playing dumb which allows her to see who people really are, losing people close to you, searching for validation, and why what you think you want in a relationship is very different from what you actually need in a relationship. Don’t miss Erica’s new comedy special La Vie En Rhodes.

Can We Trust Anyone?


Over a lifetime, the question of trust comes up almost from the moment we are born. Trust is implicit in honorable relationships, in our putting our lives in the hands of others, in taking risks in partnership with others, in simply trying out new things. Unless we came from highly dysfunctional families, our parents tended to us in ways that helped us feel safe in the world. They did their best to feed us and clothe us, to make sure we picked up our rooms and wiped off our muddy feet before we came into the house. We followed their direction because we trusted them to care for us, and they in turn learned to trust us.

In the larger world when we were small children, we were told to look both ways before we crossed the street; the drivers couldn’t be trusted to see our miniature bodies as we stepped into their paths. We were told to honor our teachers who were entrusted to educate us and socialize us with our peers; we learned to trust them when they helped us with our homework or relied on us to complete a classroom chore.

Is Loyalty a Meaningless Word?


Does anyone care about loyalty anymore? Loyalty to principles, country, people and institutions seems to be disappearing, or its meaning has been manipulated to meet a multitude of agendas. And along with all the other cultural disruptions, the state of loyalty is endangered.

We used to believe that loyalty to principles was a significant commitment. It’s not that we couldn’t examine, evaluate or discuss all principles, but we pursued activities to better understand them, to learn how our principles interfaced with the principles of others, or even how we might act to uphold them. We were both proud of and humbled by the principles we held, and looked for opportunities to realize them in our lives. And yet many have embraced a loyalty of convenience—they’ll put their chips where they can get the most power and leverage. There is moral relativism as well, where everyone gets to decide for him or herself what matters and what is sacred.

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Clifford’s topic for this month gave me the opportunity to look at the many things I have collected over the years and refused to give up, and to look at those items that I have purchased more recently for practical purposes. I realized that the old items reflected a very different time in my life […]

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I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. –Thomas Jefferson Here we are, about to have the results of the 2020 election finalized. Much chaos has ensued in the last four years. Relationships have been strained and, in some cases, ended; much hurt […]

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Raising Cain


There’s this funny thing about relationships – they require communication. A great many times, relationships break down because of a lack of communication.

I once had two very good friends that did something they knew would hurt me. Instead of coming to me and giving me the opportunity to be a loving friend, they went behind my back and tried to hide it. It didn’t work. Eventually, I found out. I was hurt by what they had done, but what ultimately destroyed one of the relationships is that she never trusted me to be her friend. My relationship with the other continued for some time after because he apologized. She never thought she did anything wrong.

We Have Each Other!


Extended isolation is killing us, physically and emotionally. Suicides, drug overdoses, and untended health problems are deadly outcomes during this virus pandemic. But I’m here with positive news and a way for us to remind each other that we are in this together. Rather than dwell on what we can’t do, I’m choosing to focus on what we can do.

I’ve finally realized that the most important thing for me to do is to reduce my isolation! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Here are some of the steps I’m going to take:

  1. Connect with one friend per day. That means I will make a phone call or send a personal note. Now I dislike talking on the phone, but if I keep it to a few minutes, it will be worth it. Hearing the other person’s voice, finding something to laugh at (I usually make an easy victim), or telling a story will lighten my load. Since I know others are busy, I will first ask if they have a couple of minutes, and then say I won’t be long. I could call people all over the country that I haven’t talked to in ages. It would be fun to catch up, and share our lives. I’m feeling better just talking about it!
  2. I will send an email just to say I’m thinking of that person. Remind him or her of a memory we shared or a joke I’ve heard. (Well, maybe not a joke because I’m terrible at punch lines.) I would make a point to only include funny, light, or heartfelt comments. It shouldn’t be a long email, but just a way to make a sweet connection.
  3. Before the virus, I was in the process of organizing a Jewish group. It was called Teshuvah, and after our first meeting, the virus hit. I’ve only rarely been in touch since we can’t get together. We were going to meet with an agenda to become better acquainted with the Jewish holidays. Instead, for each holiday I will send out a blurb, maybe call it, “Did You Know,” with something unlikely to be known about the holiday, maybe include a quote from a well-known Jewish teacher. It will keep the connections going and maybe add a few new people. I could do this every couple of weeks.

But I realize that I also have relationships with like-minded Conservative people all over the country! I have all of you, my Ricochet friends! I would like to think of these relationships as a Web of Friendship, may be present in every state of the Union. I will want to know that I have engaged, sustained, and continually supported all of you, even after the election, no matter what happens. So here’s my proposal:

Brothers and Sisters


I have a baby brother. Well, he’s not a baby anymore. At 68, he’s two years my junior. My mother used to tell me that he and I were close when we were very young; he would wait on the doorstep for me to return home after school. Neither he nor I remember that, but I was always pleased to take her word for it.

Over the years, my brother and I have not been close. There was never a formal breach, but I had expectations about how a brother and sister should treat each other and he wouldn’t comply. I was glad to initiate our communicating with each other, but not 100% of the time. He was supposed to reciprocate at least occasionally. That wasn’t his way.

We did have differences. He and his wife were going to buy a mountain condo with us; we discovered in the process that we had conflicting plans for using the condo. Our intention was to use it primarily for rental, especially at the holidays; their expectation was to use the condo whenever any of us wanted to use it. Our plans were different; I got angry at their plans (which they’d never mentioned, although neither did we) and I think that has forever been a nick in the fabric of our relationship. Many years—probably 30 years—have passed since my outburst, but I think the scars remain.

We’re All Afraid


Fear is a normal state in human beings. At one time another, we’ve all experienced it. Soldiers know fear when they dive from bullets; some of us know fear when we need to drive on black ice; others experience fear when our children are seriously ill. We’ve all known fear.

Fear should also be a temporary state. It heightens our senses and awareness to notice when our safety or well-being is threatened; once the emergency passes, however, our bodies, for the most part, should return to a “normal state,” which is different for each person.

What’s Truly Important


I’m a bit depressed this morning. Normally I make an effort not to let the ugliness and destructiveness of the news get me down. But the world weighs heavily on my shoulders today: feckless actions by Macron, the usual contradictions by Trump, efforts to pass anti-Semitic/anti-Israel bills in Congress (which I will write about later). I can’t find the space to let in the joy and knowledge of blessings. And then I remember that in one hour, I will do something good.

On Monday mornings I visit with my friend, Earl. He is 88 years old. I’ve written about him before—his concerns about racism (he’s black and liberal), Donald Trump, the state of the world.

Mr. Tinder, or, How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the App


Last week, the most popular man on Tinder was all over the news for finally finding love. Stefan Pierre-Tomlin was named “Mr. Tinder” back in 2017, after accumulating 14,600 right-swipes in a mere two years, an all-time record according to the app. An untold number of likes later, Pierre-Tomlin says he’s found the love of his life, but, in one large, delicious dollop of irony, not on the app that earned him his moniker. Pierre-Tomlin met his girlfriend in person, through a friend—or as tabloid headlines are declaring “the old-fashioned way,” which is a fairly damning critique of modern society if non-digital meetings are indeed now considered passé.

Pierre-Tomlin’s story alone is, of course, purely anecdotal evidence, but when viewed with available statistics on apps and modern dating culture, it paints a rather nasty picture. Out of all his matches, for example, Pierre-Tomlin only found two women with whom he had relationships. Which shouldn’t really be surprising: according to one survey, only 44 percent of women and 38.4 percent of men on dating apps are looking for a serious relationship.

(A slightly unrelated but still interesting aside: 0.8 percent of women on these apps are in it for free food and drinks, while 2.9 percent of men are. I’m not sure what to do with that information, but there you go.)

The Map, the Model, and the Territory


The Map

Let’s start with a simple question. How long is the coastline of Lake Superior? Here, let me google that for you. “Shore length 1,729 mi (2,783 km) plus 997 mi (1,605 km) for islands”. Thanks, Wikipedia! Right away we can see a problem. Are you counting those islands or not? I’m saying count every last thing. All of it. Okay, include the islands. What other complications are we going to run into?

I Break Shovels (or, Taking Shortcuts)


I’ve broken a few shovels in my day.

Have you ever dug a hole on the beach? I used to dig a lot of them — for work, not for fun. If you’ve ever wondered how professional volleyball courts pop up on a beach one day and are gone tomorrow, it has a lot to do with digging holes. Every piece of equipment has to be secured with anchors into sand. The anchors have to be deep enough to withstand the tension from support posts, and in those days it meant digging up to 30 four-foot deep holes, 16 inches in diameter.

It wasn’t hard work, but it was tiring. Around hole number ten I would start to get lazy — no doubt thinking about lunch — and I’d start cutting corners. There aren’t that many corners to cut when digging a hole on the beach, but the deeper you get the wetter the sand is, and the heaver the scoop. The temptation is to stop moving around the hole and to pry from the side you’re standing on. And sometimes — a few times, in fact — that meant all the energy that 19-year-old (finish-this-darn-hole-fast-so-I-can-go-eat ) Vince could muster fell on the fulcrum of the wooden handle, and snap!

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Since Mom went Home to be with Jesus, there have been a few well-intentioned people tell me that I need to start dating; put myself out there and find someone. Every time I field the comment, my eyes roll so far back in my head I can see the inside of my empty skull. “Not […]

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There has been a big hullabaloo about the TV ratings for Rosanne. I can’t comment on the show, because I have never seen it. Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of television. But, some of the comments I’ve seen about the program are uplifting. I gather it is about a diverse family who, even though […]

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@katebraestrup put up a wonderfully thoughtful post and it inspired me to write about one of my favorite pet peeves (is that an oxymoron?). I have heard this statement mainly  from younger, foolish women, but it makes me nuts: “Well, he’s a little [fill in the blank] or not enough [fill in the blank] but I’ll […]

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Why It’s Hard to Be a Conservative


Is it difficult to be a conservative? That’s the question I was asking myself this morning. It seemed like an odd question, like some hidden part of me invading my psyche and challenging me to look at the truth.

The question seems strange because it’s like asking myself if it’s hard to breathe, or if it’s hard to exercise regularly — uh, well, no that one really is hard. But then I realized there are, for me, responsibilities, limitations, and even difficulties with my wearing the conservative mantle. (Many of you may choose to substitute “conservative” with “Republican,” because they are similar, but in certain cases, the distinction matters.)

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A great deal of our lives is driven by fear. In some ways, having some fear is normal: there are dangers in the world. Drunk drivers, rapists and murderers, jihadist immigrants, thieves and scammers are abundant. We read about them in our newspapers, see them on the internet, and watch them on TV. Even if […]

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