Thursday, April 18, 2013

Proper Spring

So, since our brief flirtation with Summer, Spring has properly arrived! And the air conditioning (in the house) is fixed. Life is good.
The above is from my walk yesterday.

These are from my walk today-- I wasn't walking to get the car, but just walking, so I picked a route that went mostly through woods.

I realize that there must be a limit to the number of flower pictures you guys want to see, but I couldn't resist a "parting shot" from the hyper-local (= in the court our townhouse is in) cherry blossom festival we have every year. It's hard to get over how beautiful these are, every single spring.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Summer has arrived, suddenly and swelteringly. Two Sundays ago, I realized that I really was going to have to dry-clean my extra-warm coat, because the weather just wasn't warming up enough to let me keep wearing my "spring" coat. Two days ago, I realized that both the house and the car air conditioner were broken, and that this could not wait a couple of weeks (until the end of the mild spring weather and the beginning of the hot summer weather) to be fixed, because Summer is here.

So, I used to try to keep this blog cheerful but not-Pollyanna(/smarmy), but I felt like I started slipping at the end of that last post, and today I am hot and tired-- exhausted, really-- and still Trying To Be A Good Person, so I am going there. You have been warned.

I am so thankful that I live in a time and place when air conditioning is A Thing! Because, if it wasn't, then this is how hot my house would be all summer. No-- it's probably the coolest it would be. Also, same goes for my car. I betcha back in the days before air conditioning was A Thing, people had clothes that they didn't sweat through before they even left the house for work. Either that, or it was (perhaps) much more socially acceptable to arrive at work having already sweat through their clothes.

I am thankful for my jobs. I am thankful that I get to use my brain at work, that I like both my boss and my coworkers (at the job I love), and that only one of my approximately five part-time jobs is one I sometimes hate. I'm even glad that I sometimes hate it, because it is part-time enough that it doesn't make my entire life miserable, but it is miserable enough to remind me that this is no way to live, that I need to be Looking For Real Work.

The tulip is  from our front yard. Normally I try to take not-washed-out pictures, but honestly, this is sort of how things look/feel right now. I don't know if you can tell very well, but that tulip-- the third in our yard (the rest haven't turned from green to their proper colors yet) has a couple of wilted/brown petal-edges. The heat is, actually, a dry heat-- it's only sweltering if you're inside the non-air-conditioned house (or car), feeling thankful that all the sweat you're giving off has a chance to do some good. We have a fair few Spring flowers that have made their appearances; many of them are wilt-ey; a few have begun shedding petals already. We also have not a few trees still bare from Winter, not quite caught up to this weird Summer-comes-in-with-a-bang thing.

I am thankful for my computer. I am thankful that I have a piano in my Living Room, that it is tuned (basically...), that I get to play it almost every day. I am thankful that I found my camera! And that I found the gift card that dear friends gave me for Christmas, which I thought I had inadvertently thrown out. And for food. And for naps. Of which I should probably try to take one, now that the morning air has finally cooled our house down a bit.

(And for a freezer that works, even when the air conditioner doesn't. Sleeping with an ice pack clutched to you like a beloved teddy bear is definitely the way to go when your room is hovering between 80 and 85 degrees at night.)

And also that the air conditioning tech person is coming today, and that I don't have to leave for work until 2:00, and that (s)he can come before 2:00. And that there are funds available to fix it.

And now I'm taking a nap.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Best Romantic Advice

Good advice tends to fall into two categories: either so specific that it is of no use in any situation other than the one it was originally intended for, or so general that it is hard to figure out how it might apply to any specific situation.

This advice falls into the latter category.

And here it is: Show True Love. Or, put in other words, Be A True Friend. If you like another and they don't like you: be a true friend. Give them space. Be kind, but don't assume that that is going to lead to any particular results. If they like you and you don't like them: be a true friend. Be honest--I've had talks a few times with girls who thought that they were being "nice" when they didn't break up with a boy, because they didn't want to hurt the boy's feelings. My question was always: when do you think this is going to be less painful for him? After you've broken off an engagement? After you've been married for a year? But also: be kind-- no character attacks. No true friend would rip on another's self-worth on top of breaking their heart.

And still another way of putting it (thank you to Immanuel Kant for this phraseology) is to say that you should treat others as ends unto themselves. This sounds really weird until you think about the expression "a means to an end." Using things as a means to an end is fine: you take a class as the means to get to the end (or, ultimate goal) of getting a degree. If you use a person as a means to an end-- if, for instance, you suppose that one person a) can and b) should meet all (or even most) of your social and emotional needs-- then you are treating that person badly. People are not roads to be walked on to get to your ultimate goal. They are people, and as such they deserve to be sought out and associated with for themselves-- or, left alone, because they prefer to be and you are willing to respect them.

For me, I cannot claim (yet) that following this advice has produced a boyfriend, or even likely prospect of one (though I can cite numerous stories in which it comes shining through-- like the ending sequence of Pride and Prejudice). On the other hand, I can tell you with certainty that when I have managed to keep it, this advice has made my life happier, more peaceful, and overall more worth living. After all, even when the one I currently have my eye on wanders off to more likely prospects, I am left with something I get to keep: an improved character.