Archive for October, 2011

“You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!”

Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based columnist, commentator, and political veteran whose writing is showcased on The Current Conscience. On Sept. 12, 2011, he wrote about gaslighting,  a term “to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.” That blog, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”  helped me think about the number of times I’ve experienced comments like those above and seen other women try to deal with them, knowing those comments were a form of emotional manipulation yet still unsure if they were valid or not. I’d never heard the term “gaslighting” before, but think it’s a helpful one.

Please read the blog and, if you’d like, let me know what you think.

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I’m parked at the Rest Area in Seeley, Ca, near El Centro, eating lunch and catching up on email,  but wanted to write a little about making this RV mine.

Ever since I’ve had this little motorhome, five years now, I’ve been bugged by one of the propane sensors. That’s right, ONE of them. For some reason, someone installed not one but two of them. I’m pretty sure the original is the one in the correct place: about six inches off the floor in the kitchen area. That makes sense because propane gas is fairly heavy and doesn’t really rise. But the second one was (catch that word?) located about a foot from the ceiling in the living area, about as far away from any propane as it could possibly be. I have no idea why they stuck it up there, right above a window.

Anyway, that one regularly beeped for no particular reason. It was just a fault and I was always able to stop the beep by pressing the fault button. But what a pain.  I turned off the propane at the tank when leaving Tucson yesterday, so when the thing beeped again at 2:30 this morning, awakening me from a sound sleep, I decided to get tough. I pulled the special automotive screwdriver, you know, the one with the square tip, out of the drawer and flipped the levers on the circuit breaker. After removing the two screws and pulling the sensor away from the wall, I disconnected all the wires, taped the plastic caps back on the ends, and stuffed them into the hole in the wall. And now that hole is now covered with a small picture.  I turned the propane back on and everything is just fine with no more beeping in the middle of the night.

My next project to make this rig mine will be to replace the panel on the front of the refrigerator. I thought I could just reverse it but in their infinite wisdom the company didn’t make it reversible. However, it will be an easy fix to replace it with something other than brown. I’m plotting what it will be.

Last year I probably wouldn’t have removed the malfunctioning sensor and tossed it in the trash, thinking perhaps that the company probably installed it for some good reason. But, I’m now discovering that my own knowledge and experience usually is correct. Feels good, too.

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Just when I started questioning myself, wondering if my need to help change the world in a compassionate way was somehow wrong, not normal, misguided, whatever words people have used, someone I care about very much let me know my craziness has helped her and her husband communicate better. “Although I don’t always agree with what you say, I’ve found that instead of just watching TV, we are now able to talk about what we’ve seen.”  She added that they now even allow themselves to question some of their long-held ideas and beliefs and be a little more open about disagreements.

To me, that was worth all the self-questioning in the world.

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It was way too hot to stay inside tonight because 275 miles of heat from driving through the desert today refuses to leave this little RV. So, I ate dinner outside under the stars. After munching carrots, celery, peanut butter, cream cheese, a plum, and half a bagel, I brought out a couple of pillows for my head and an afghan to pad the top of the picnic table a bit. The moon hasn’t risen yet and the Milky Way is beautifully clear. It always amazes me to realize that we’re all part of it. I saw quite a few planes, I assume from Tucson International Airport, as well as a satellite gliding smoothly across the sky from south to north. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a bright meteor streaked from north to south. I assume it might be a remnant of the peak of the Orionids yesterday and the day before. It’s so quiet out here, eleven miles from the highway, that chewing even seemed too noisy. It’s still too hot inside, so I think I’ll put the narrow memory foam topper from the bed on the top of the picnic table, add the pillows, sheets, and a blanket, and sleep out there tonight. The temperature is supposed to drop from a high of 98 today down to a balmy 66 overnight. Perfect for sleeping outside.

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I just found this on Facebook and loved it so much I wanted to share it widely. I wonder how many of us see ourselves in the words? I sure do. Enjoy.

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Watching and listening to the audience’s almost blood-thirsty booing and cheering at last night’s Republican “debate” in Las Vegas, I felt as if I’d been somehow transported back to the coliseum “games” of ancient Rome. It was almost as bad as the candidates themselves.

Romney and Perry spar

Oops. The gladiators ran out of animals

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Pennies from "not quite" heaven

I think I should get my eyes checked as a misreading of the online weather forecast last week cost me FIFTY CENTS! I really did read the sunrise time here as 4:30 AM and sunset about 4:45 PM. Friends at coffee told me, “no way!” But I persisted. Finally, one friend asked if I wanted to make a bet on it. Since I was so sure I’d read correctly, I was all set to wager $5.00. Oh, geesh. That really wasn’t so smart, considering the most I’ve ever made by gambling of any kind is about $30 from a penny slot machine at a casino. Luckily, this friend suggested $.50. So, I went with that.

After checking a couple of online weather sites, I discovered that I had indeed read the times wrong – way wrong. So, I bit the proverbial bullet and asked my mother to take a quarter to my friend the next day since I wouldn’t be able to go. She did  that but returned with the news that he wanted to know where the rest of his money was. Since we had kidded around by email a little, I knew he was just continuing the kidding. So, I decided to repay the rest in a little more interesting way.

Okay. I don’t normally watch a lot of television. However, while watching Rachel Maddow’s news show on MSNBC, I cut a piece of white tissue paper into small squares, dug out the tape, and rounded up 25 pennies. During the show, I wrapped each penny in a piece of paper, taping each package closed with a tiny piece of tape. I then found a sample box of toothpaste, removed the tube, and dropped each little penny package into the box. After wrapping the box of pennies with more tissue paper, I stuck on lots of little wild animal stickers and included a quote about wagering by Ralph Waldo Emerson. And waited for two days until coffee yesterday morning.

When I presented him with the rest of his “earnings,” the look on his face was almost priceless. He read the quote and checked out the stickers. He shook the box. Everyone else watched in rapt fascination as he pulled out his pocket knife and deftly and carefully slit open one end of the wrapping paper, saving the rest of the paper and the stickers. He then opened the box and dumped the contents onto the table – all 25 individually-wrapped pennies, each one looking, as my mother thought, like small pieces of white candy.

We waited. We laughed. We wondered if he would indeed unwrap each or even any of the little packages.

With his knife, he slit the tape on the first package, carefully unfolded the tissue paper from around its content, and let the first penny slide to the table. Oh, first he checked the date of the coin to make sure it wasn’t valuable.

We waited. He then proceeded to do the exact same thing with each little package, tossing the unfolded paper to another friend who likes to collect pieces of trash and paper cups from the table and throw them away each morning. It gives him something to do.

When each penny had been unwrapped, it was time for a count. Somehow he counted only 24 pennies. Oh, oh. Did I make a mistake and only wrap 24 coins? Finally, someone found a penny on the floor so I was safe. Good thing, too. Who knows how I would have presented ONE PENNY to him the next day. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

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