Monthly Archives: February 2018

Sibling musings

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I have always had more than a passing interest in astrology, although this post is not going
to be about that. My interest was probably sparked by one of my mother’s comments when
dealing with anyone she didn’t quite understand. For example, if she found something dis-
turbing about a coworker, she might simply say: Well, of course, so and so is a Piscis, so…
I have devoted countless hours to reading about astrology but in a hobby sort of way, now
I am thinking of delving into it more profoundly.

My feelings for my older sister have always been complicated. I have never considered her
a “good” big sister, the one everyone else seems to have, the one that has your back, the one
that is a role model to admire, etc. No, I didn’t get that sister. My older sister is bossy, mean,
narcissistic and manipulative. And that’s just the beginning. We are both in our 60’s now
and have had periods of estrangement throughout our lifetime. Right now, we have not
spoken for over two years and I am hopeful that this will be the status quo for some time
to come. Sibling relationships are so very complex. I have a younger brother and sister also.
Perhaps because my brother and I are the “middle children” and share many of the same
values, we get along fine. My younger sister is also complicated for me but I feel I can handle
our relationship better. This brings me back to astrology. I believe strongly that we are born
into a family that meets all the criteria that we need to work out the various issues we have had
in previous lifetimes. It does not matter that you believe or not believe that, it is enough for me
that I do so otherwise the family that I was born into makes absolutely no sense. But I have
read a little of Edgar Cayce, Rudolf Steiner and others to know that coincidence is just not so.

In any event, getting back to my complicated relationship with my older sister. My mother
worked outside the home since before any of us were born. She was a woman of great ambition.
She vowed she would never be poor (as she was in childhood) and did everything possible to
guarantee that. She was very successful. When she passed away, she and dad had amassed a
small fortune, some property and with good management my father will be well provided for
until it’s time for him to go, which I hope is not soon.

My parents could not afford child care (indeed if that was even a thing in 1960’s New York).
They depended on their two oldest children, ages 12 and 9 to watch and care for the younger
siblings ages 7 and 4. It was up to us older ones to make sure the younger ones were picked up
from school and did their homework. We also had to start preparations for dinner so that it was
underway by the time our folks got home from work.  My mother went back to college to get
her Masters Degree because having it would move her up a few notches on the success scale
and add some necessary income. She excelled in these activities, unfortunately, she paid the
price in terms of time not spent with her kids.

I somehow always “got” the situation; my older sister (rightfully resentful) challenged every-
thing with senseless arguing (I didn’t ask to be born!) which caused me no end of stress. Since
I was more interested in peace within the family, I ended up accepting her outrageous demands
(You have to pick up so and so today, I’m going to the park with my friends!) and bullying.  These
days, the more I write about it, the better I feel that I made a decision (estrangement) that is at
last serving me and only me!

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Writing…

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only gets done by sitting down and writing! How true it is. Yesterday I was incredibly prolific,
not sure any of my writing made sense or would be worthy of a pulitzer prize but it was plentiful
and by day’s end, I felt that I had found a nice rhythm. For this week, I would like to challenge
myself to just sit and write without worrying too much about grammar, topic, misspellings,
using words incorrectly, etc. Indeed, it is better to just sit, write and then go back and edit
than to spend a lot of time thinking about a good topic.

In my country, elections are coming up in another 5 weeks (second round). I am nervous
about the outcome, it seems to me that people are focusing more on the personality of the
candidates (neither of which got to this point by being particularly popular with anyone)
rather than their plans to get us out of debt and back on track to celebrating our 200th
anniversary with our Carbon Neutrality in place.

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about our small writers group and how one member suggested
we invite others along. Although I am fine with the status quo, I guess it is not entirely up to
me to decide for everyone else.

I have been reading and watching movies that I would not normally watch. I think getting away
from my “Pollyana-like” choices has opened my eyes to a lot of things. Some of the dark humor
contained in the recent movies I’ve watched (plus the fact that they are foreign) has allowed me
to tap into my imagination the way I used to when I was a child. Hopefully this will translate into
some kind of motivation to write more and to write different and to add those necessary traits
that will allow my protagonist to have some depth.

Here we are again, Monday!

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It’s a funny thing about Mondays. Here in my country people have a saying: Even chickens don’t lay eggs on Mondays! I guess I always have so many things to do…and in fact, I often go out of my way to program things for Mondays just so I don’t fall into the trap of letting its reputation as a weekend spoiler beat me!

I actually enjoy Mondays. My laundry gets done, my hair gets washed (yes, just once a week because it is dry, very curly and very thick…), my sheets get changed and every other week, I get to socialize with people that I serve on a board of directors with for our local Senior Citizens Residence. My do-good facet.

My thoughts at this moment are jumbled. I have so many things I want to get done in the next few hours but the writing muse calls to me and I find myself unable to go from task to task without sitting down at the computer to write a few words before the muse leaves me.

Right now I am working hard to give more dimension to my fictional protagonist who has been largely ignored by me the last six months. I belong to a small writers group and although I was enthusiastic about the character and the group a year ago when we first formed, now time and life have made me place a hold on my emotions. I know a lot of people who put others on a pedestal when they first meet them, it is not something I am predisposed to do. Perhaps it is because my mother rarely took people at face value and unwittingly passed on those lessons to me by way of direct comment or insinuation. I am not sure where I was going with this thinking, maybe a recent comment from one of our small group that we should invite others to join us made me stop and question some motives.

I have been somewhat instrumental for the creation of the group because I stopped publishing a local e-magazine for which some members wrote. I casually mentioned that we could still continue to write, that perhaps a writers group and blog would be a good idea. A member of the group pounced on this and before we knew it we had five members. We recently took a trip together during which some personality clashes were in evidence because of the amount of time we spent together. So today when the suggestion of adding another (or several) writer was mentioned, I am crediting the trip’s outcome as the driving force. Even though it is not my desire to add more people (the more people the more it takes to do anything), I will keep my thoughts to myself and listen to the reasons, the people being considered and the opinions of the rest of the group. As we are in a democracy, I think the majority should win. I can (and will) continue to be reserved, something I learned at a young age from my dad. I am happy about that being one of my strong traits: the best word is often the one not spoken.

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Another weekend …

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They come so quickly, the weekends! On Sunday afternoons, I usually feel the blahs that so
many of us are prone to as we start to make the switch from two days of (mostly) relaxing
to the upcoming obligations of work, school and general parenting.

When I was a young, single gal in “like” with a co-worker, I used to hate weekends and love
Monday mornings! Naturally, it was because my quasi SO would be there to greet me. I am
happy that I have those memories because sometimes I can remember what it felt like to be
excited about Mondays and try to “fool” my brain into thinking all those things that made me
feel giddy will be mine again.

I have not been writing in this blog, although I have been quite busy writing everywhere else.
Ever since I was a child, I have placed many responsibilities on my shoulders, something that
I can’t explain and maybe I shouldn’t try. The reality is that while my siblings were out there
enjoying their allotted 1/3 of the day of “their” time, I was busy doing whatever it took to keep
the home fires burning and the household running smoothly. It was not my job, and in fact
try as I may, I cannot place any blame on my parents for this self-imposed mandate. My
mother worried sometimes that I was not social enough. I never thought of myself as a wall-
flower but I can look back and see that indeed when all my friends were out having fun, I could
be found listening to music in the background while I vacuumed, loaded or emptied the dish-
washer, did the laundry, started dinner, etc. I guess I felt needed in a way and then it just
became a habit so ingrained in me that to this day, I feel I am wasting time if I am not doing
something I consider “productive”.

My life is very different right now. At this moment, my children are grown and living in another
country. We have a wonderful relationship and communicate almost on a daily basis. My husband
in away for the next 12 days or so. We have a dog who is about to turn 8 and of course, I have my
dad who is 89. These are my very strong connections and I love them all. Today, after the cleaning
lady left (my house is spotless for one day!), I realized that I have a very blessed existence. I can
do or not do anything I want after I meet my obligations. I have fed my dog, turned off the water
that is making the lawn a lovely green in this dry weather and am eating a comforting lentil soup
that I made earlier this week. My kitchen is spotless, just the way I like it, no dishes in the sink.
My food plan has been successful this week and for that I am also very glad.

I look forward to this particular weekend because I get to indulge in a massage tomorrow. It has
become a necessity rather than a luxury and I am blessed to be living in a country where household
help and massages are affordable. My writing is coming along and hopefully this weekend will have
me taking out my latest attempt at a novel and begin again to work on it. My protagonist needs to
get some attention, he is so superficial I can’t even fall in love with him, how do I expect my readers
to do so.

Let’s all have a great weekend, and us writers especially!

 

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