Friday, April 30, 2010

Dreams Delayed...Anyone?

I have always imagined great possibilities for my children. Not specific ones like the cliched dream of having a son or daughter become a doctor, for instance, or the president, perhaps. More the open, far-reaching possibilities. The choosing of college and the program of study, or the possibility of a degree in Liberal Arts. Where might that lead? Travel, exploration, quests, those possibilities.

I have encouraged and supported dreams and delighted in seeing some of the dreams take wing and land on the highest peaks. "Go", I said, "Soar, participate, give and take what is yours". The world, the possibilities limitless.

Of course, I have this idealistic viewpoint and philosophy despite the occasional let downs and unpleasant realities of life. Regular daily functioning still needs to be managed, maintained, washed up, and occasionally thrown away. My husband and I have had the great fortune to be able to foot the bill for our sons tuition. He has had the great fortune to earn a few prestigious awards, scholarships, and honors. All of us have worked very hard to achieve this "good fortune".

We, being proud and pragmatic have decided to offer said son, my van. It's got some years and mileage but I believe it will safely take him to his next destination. A few repairs, a signing over ceremony at DMV, an upgraded but used vehicle for me and we're set. Or so it goes.

The dreams, the wind beneath his wings, the philosophy, all came crashing to a head today. I realized this when the van was fixed and inspected without much of a hitch and nary a cost. I was surprised to be entertaining the thought- ok actually sharing this out loud: "Does anyone have any interest in hiding a big red minivan?" The dreams needn't be dashed, just merely delayed a bit. That drive to New Orleans and approximately 1398.99 miles, or so, a real possibility. Scratch that, a reality.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky...Thank you, thank you to whoever hides that van.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glitter and Glue- the Goo That Binds

I like glitter. I like it on home-made cards and pasted pictures. I love the fine powdering version on Christmas cards that depict iridescent snow or glowing ornaments. I am drawn to it. It always hooks and entices me. This attraction, however, has to be monitored and kept in check, less it become a burden.

I am drawn to sparkly, shiny things. Fortunately, I have enough sense, or skill, or have been beaten down by the disapproving looks of others, to self-monitor. I would otherwise buy shiny, glittery items of clothing and then feel deeply saddened that I wouldn’t be able to wear any. I like glitter, I just don't like a great deal of attention.

I have had the proper experiences to know that too much glitter on your personage is directly linked to attention seeking or attention hoarding. Nonetheless, I occasionally wear a sequin-embellished shirt or skirt, camisole, or sweater. A little glitter goes a long way. Less is more in this realm.

This attraction could be linked to my early childhood. I was born in Queens, of little means. I lived within walking distance of my grandparents and walk there we did, often. My grandmother encouraged my artistic leanings, or she simply had little else to offer. Glitter, glue, scissors, paper- manna to my little hands and eyes. Ecstasy. Maybe it was the decadence of it. Giving young children glitter is sometimes seen as the equivalent of offering cake to a diabetic, matches to an arsonist- no good comes from this. Glitter, like Legos, multiplies, gets stuck in odd places and take years, maybe decades to eradicate. (Unlike the binkys that disappear before making contact with the ground-proof of spontaneous combustion.) Glitter, the thrill, the sugar to the hyperactive. More is more in this realm.

My grandmother, Nanny, set up a card table and let me and my siblings go to town. I, however stayed longest. Cutting, collaging, gluing, creating scraps and snippets of great interest. Random pieces of yarn and string, buttons and sequins also found their way to my designs and fabrications. Each tiny fragment admired, or discarded after thoughtful and intentional viewings.

In later years, I had friends who laughed at my use of glitter. Maybe, actually, they scoffed at my permissiveness around the use of glitter in the same proximity of small children. To be brutally honest with myself and to honor their viewpoints, they hissed at the existence of glitter and their own children within a 20 mile radius of each other. Like I said at the beginning, I had friends who laughed.

I have been thinking of my true friends lately, and how these diverse and distinct people have found their way into my life. Some, like glitter, shine and sparkle, and of course reflect light onto me, making me dazzle. Some, like glitter, have gotten into the very tiny creases and crevices- at times a nuisance, but impossible to release and often in the right light they still sparkle unexpectedly reminding me of good times, as well as, hard times shared, and some, like glitter, are permanently affixed to my very being. I like glitter.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

End the Mommy Wars! Support the troops!

I recently read an article that brought up some very provoking thoughts. The basic premise of the article was to promote the joining together of women. You know, women. Women that work and women that don’t work. Because, you know, there are only two different teams of women- the workers and the non-workers. Oops, I mean the women that work outside of the home and the women that work inside the home. Oh, wait, I mean the women that work inside and outside of the home, and the women that work inside the home and inside the schools as volunteers.

This article was written from the perspective of a woman that worked inside the home and volunteered inside the schools. She was feeling frustrated. Her frustration was about the way certain women that work outside of the home, condescend and demean the real efforts of women that work inside the home and inside the schools. The author stated, "Women that work, don’t appreciate all the time (her and her counterparts) put in year after year to better the schools--work for which they receive no pay or material reward.” She felt it wasn’t fair. She tugged at the heartstrings, reminding us that our daughters are watching and need to know there are various choices for women, one not being better than the other.

That was it for me. That just got to something raw. I've decided not to include the name of the article or the authors name. I feel that we have been launching these attacks from both sides for too long and this article was just one more of too many. I don’t remember when the dividing line was drawn and I certainly didn’t have any say in choosing the side of the “Mommy War” I wanted to be on. My own troop of children have survived the battle from both sides of the battlefield. I have chosen to work outside the home, I have chosen flex time, job sharing, time off from work, and once it was chosen for me when a contract expired and I wasn't prepared or interested in pursuing that particular type of work again.

Quite honestly, I see problems on both sides, but I see benefits as well. Taking cheap shots to inflate our own agendas doesn’t help anyone. I hope that most women don’t see their roles as mothers, forcibly being fit into one of two options. These arguments seem to perpetuate the notion that women must continue to feel the burden of motherhood as something they are doing "right" or "wrong" depending on the judgment of other mothers. Believe you me, I have needed all the strength I can muster at various times of mothering, and have not appreciated any attacks or judgments real or imagined because I didn't do it as well as Professor Mommy Pants, that know-it-all mother lurking at every turn.

Have we not come far enough along that we need to continue this particular dialogue? Must we continue to resort to this “Mommy War” divisiveness? The very idea that women have these 2 choices is inaccurate and seriously limiting. It perpetuates stereotypes, as well. Especially the stereotype of women being catty and not able to work together. The choice of jobs and careers for women has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 30 years. The role of motherhood and fortunately, parenthood has also changed. Do we really need to believe that mothering is a one size fits all program? Most of us continue to fall short because the ideal is unrealistic.

Choices and the idea of exposing children to choices is an important and significant goal. The issue for me is when only one so-called “choice” is promoted by default. Working parents are not available during school hours and therefore the particular choice to work is not fairly represented. This undoubtedly skews the concept of choice for women in the eyes of the daughters, as well as the sons, that are watching.

What choices do our sons have? Do they grow up wondering if they want to stay home with their children or provide an income? When men do choose to stay home, is it because circumstances allow the opportunity or is it because they had this option all along? The problem here is exposing our sons and daughters to the concept that the choices for women are dependent on what men can provide. Not all women have or want this choice. Not all men are interested in providing this as a choice.

What is the purpose in justifying being a working mother versus a stay at home mother? Statistics have shown that happiness is the real key. Women that stay home but would rather be working, as well as mothers that work but would rather be home had greater stress that negatively impacted their parenting than mothers that worked happily or stayed at home happily. When there is no choice, it would be much more appreciative for mother’s et al to be a bit more understanding and supportive.

While I appreciate the efforts of volunteers in the schools, I am uncertain why it isn’t more common for all parents to be invited to serve or volunteer their time. I repeat, their time, on their time. Schools that respect the diversity of parents and families and dare I say, the diversity of women beyond simplistic choices can help a great deal by providing varied opportunities to help or be involved beyond the regular school/work day. Yet, the issue of school volunteerism has very little to do with the credibility of motherhood or parenting.

I have worked hard to expose my sons and daughter to choices. I hope they are able to achieve whatever dreams and goals they set for themselves. I would like to think when, and if, each decides to make the choice to become a parent, they will have healthcare and employers that understand the demands of parenting. I hope that they will have child-care that is above standard, available and accessible if they so choose. I hope they will be able to choose living arrangements that are affordable. I hope they will be able to spend time with their children and nurture them. I hope they will have all that they need, and some of what they want. I hope their choices will be made in a manner that best meets the needs of their families. Not mine. Not someone else’s. I hope they have the choice to be involved in their child’s education in a way that is meaningful to their situations.

Most of all I hope we can continue to support our troops, each other, and ourselves. End the Mommy War once and for all!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are You Happy, Now?

Quite some time ago when I was young and “ballsy”, or young and bolder, I was at a friend’s summer party. There was a pretty big crowd. A bonfire ablaze, folks gathered around a folksy, guitar playing, singer. Ah summer, youth, - Happiness! For what ever reasons, I was talking to a friend about his happiness. It may have started out about my own happiness or the happiness of someone else all together. This doesn’t matter now. It became philosophical- “Are you happy?” turned into “What is happiness?” It quickly became cynical- “Define happiness- “There is no happiness”, “It’s fleeting”, “It’s not sustained”, “It’s a sham.” I pressed on, being younger and ballsy, (or egotistical and insensitive- ah, youth). I strongly believed at that time that happiness was real, it was absolutely a possibly permanent condition to strive for, sustainable and true.

The singing continued- that seemed more of a sham to me. Who knows all of those folk songs? Honestly! It wasn’t the late sixties it was the early nineties. Who still sang “Michael Row the Boat Ashore? Who the hell was Michael anyway? Maybe they were “happy”, maybe I missed the hash brownies. So with the background music and the warm blaze of the fire, we continued our discussion. Slowly others joined in or at least settled themselves within earshot. I was happy. My husband, on the periphery, was smugly smiling. I believe he was thinking- “That’s my girl!, or here she goes, or Oh boy, he’s in for it”. He could detect the devil in my eye. He was happy. I wanted us all to be happy.

I continued. My friend, a colleague, a person I admired was getting agitated. We had the capacity as friends to push each other and we respected this energy in each other. We didn’t have to agree. We liked the friendly “fight” from time to time. We had many discussions about many topics. We worked successfully together on many work projects, made tight deadlines, worked late hours and got to know each other. We had similar work ethics and similar life experiences. We both had ambition and drive. The happiness idea seemed simple. Wasn’t that the goal? We worked hard, what else was that for, but to be happy? Work hard = happy. That’s what I believed and believe still. I suppose that formula isn’t the known modus operandi. Working hard might mean income. It might be a way to avoid other aspects of life, as in the case of workaholics. Working hard might mean an internal drive to prove worth. It may have very little to do with happiness. It had much to do with his unhappiness about happiness.

For me, working hard is part of the model. When something isn’t working, I typically work hard to fix or change or address the problem. Because, I believe, if something is not working it will surely be unpleasant and that hinders my happiness. The something could be abstract or concrete. Conceptual or discrete.

Earlier, I stated that I believed (past tense) that happiness was real and it was a possible permanent condition. I still believe it is real. I believe it is a viable goal. What has changed for me is the condition of happiness and the idea that it is a possibly permanent condition. I now think of it as a bit more conditional. The permanence a bit more fluid and interconnected. Around that bonfire I truly exhorted that happiness was alive and well. It was necessary, and if it was missing from your life, damn it- find it, get it and own it. Happiness is important and available, then and now.

I questioned and provoked. Why get up for work each day if not for some happiness? I still believe this, but life has a way of bumping into you and knocking you around and at some point along the way, I stopped waving the happiness flag and proudly sounding the trumpet of happiness, at least temporarily or in some areas of my life. The evidence of happiness wasn't so apparent. I knew it was happening but I didn’t feel up for the smiles and giggles, or more accurately the work.

As often happens, I remembered or channelled another important friend, also male, for what that’s worth. He posed this to me in my earlier youth: “If you are not happy at least 50% of the time in a relationship, it is time to move on.” At the time, I thought this percentage was pretty grim. Mediocre, in fact. Merely average, fair to middlin‘. Not up for my happy crusade by a long stretch. I’m more about joy and exuberance in my happiness. This seemed more like oxygen tank, headed toward "Do Not Resuscitate" in the happiness campaign.

More recently I couldn't help thinking, “50%? I can live with that, for now”. I started applying the “50% happy” toward various aspects of life, not just relationships. I even push the margins a bit; is the percentage standardized? Do I have wiggle room? What are the standard deviations? Is there a curve for some areas? What is this measured against? 50% today or across a week, a month, a decade? If I was 100% happy about a publication, or a piece of chocolate cake can I average that into the 30% I felt about a payment, sent but late, a comment toward a loved one that was more hurtfully received than snarkily intended? I have been averaging. It helps. I still need to deal with the unpleasant comments and be accountable of course. That’s my model after all, working for happiness.

I am happy, now, again. I feel strongly about my happiness. It’s important to me and worthwhile. Moments, strung together with purpose and happiness, this is success to me. I have also learned it’s personal. Telling someone to relax, or smile doesn’t typically make them feel relaxed or happy. It tends to make them tenser, or causes them to display a forced smile which is usually pretty scary, not so happy. Asking someone if they’re happy and not allowing for their answer doesn’t buy them a ticket on my happy train or promise that they would be interested in the excursion.

Oddly enough, and perhaps fortunately for some, several of those that gathered around the bonfire for my happy conversation ended up leaving marriages, altering lifestyles, and changing careers. I would like to believe they were somehow inspired and seeking the happiness they had been denying themselves. Maybe I was onto something. I can hope, but I think it best to express my happiness without exhorting it onto others. I find happiness to be a desire and a need, a worthwhile pursuit and a venerable state of being. I hope there are others who feel likewise. I can respectfully understand happiness isn't for everyone. Well, maybe not, but I can be respectful.

If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray! Smile. Hug a tree. Celebrate it any way you like, pass it along. Happiness shared is compelling. Happiness achieved, a dream worth having.

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." Groucho Marx

I like this philosophy and Groucho certainly had a knack for making others smile.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Feminine, Womanly, Wow!

I told a friend she was feminine and I meant it. I'm not afraid to use that word and I stand by it. Somehow, it wasn't received well, or adequately. It may have offended. It definitely wrankled. I meant it as a compliment almost a place of honor or certainly high regard. This friend of mine is attractive, yes. Hair, touseled, colored with a blend of highlights and lowlights, a cut that can handle a bad hair day without so much as a whimper. Clothes, a choice blend of trend and classic, fitted without harming circulation. Accentuating attributes while minimizing flaws. (I'll hear about this) She can talk about waxing, waning and meatloaf with confidence and self-assuredness. Motherhood has softened her and informed her. She hadn't realized how loving she was until these beautiful little boys entered her life.

So what's so feminine about all this? She's strong. She's intelligent. She is interested in learning more and finding out more about herself and the world around her. She is a force to be reckoned with when the reckoning comes. This is the feminine piece. This is what I admire in her. Strength. When and why did that become something not considered feminine? Well, reviewing the definition of feminine and womanly provides a bit of insight.

Feminine- adj. 1. Of or relating to women or girls. 2. Characterized by or possessing qualities generally attributed to a woman.
Synonym- Womanly, womanlike, womanish mean having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult women.

The term womanly goes quickly downhill. It starts out strong and honorable: having the traits or qualities that a culture regards as especially characteristic of or ideally appropriate to adult women. Womanly is usually a term of approval, suggesting the display of traits admired by the society, such as self-possession, modesty, motherliness, and calm competence. I, myself being from a matriarchal Irish culture can relate to this. (Although, it is a bit tricky and subversive in some ways, the Irish-matriarchal and somehow not)

This moves into a worthless attribute pretty quickly when adding ish; a womanish petulance; womanish disregard for the rules. When applied to a male, these characteristics are deemed outrageously inappropriate and denote sexual confusion; a womanish shrillness in his speech; a womanish way of stamping his foot in anger. Of course, the same holds true when describing a woman as manly or masculine. Personally, no one can hold a candle to me, when my hand is placed firmly on my hip and I am about to give a what for. Feminine? Maybe. Positively, Ginger, Mommy in a huff, etc. more like it.

Now looking into what it means culturally, and how a culture may determine womanly or feminine characteristics, I came across Gloria Steinem's discussion of the origins of patriarchy from 1972:

Once upon a time, the many cultures of this world were all part of the gynocratic age. Paternity had not yet been discovered, and it was thought ... that women bore fruit like trees—when they were ripe. Childbirth was mysterious. It was vital. And it was envied. Women were worshipped because of it, were considered superior because of it.... Men were on the periphery—an interchangeable body of workers for, and worshippers of, the female center, the principle of life.

The discovery of paternity, of sexual cause and childbirth effect, was as cataclysmic for society as, say, the discovery of fire or the shattering of the atom. Gradually, the idea of male ownership of children took hold....

Gynocracy also suffered from the periodic invasions of nomadic tribes.... The conflict between the hunters and the growers was really the conflict between male-dominated and female-dominated cultures.

... women gradually lost their freedom, mystery, and superior position. For five thousand years or more, the gynocratic age had flowered in peace and productivity. Slowly, in varying stages and in different parts of the world, the social order was painfully reversed. Women became the underclass, marked by their visible differences.

Ok, so men want to hunt and they are strong. Women make babies and they are also strong. Basically we need each other for one thing or another. We can all come to the table, or the boardroom, the war zone or the fields. At this point in the game, we can all be weak, strong, masculine, and feminine. Me? I like my feminine side, but when that hand is off my hip and my sleeves are rolled up, I may just be doing something manly, like grilling a steak. My friend? No doubt, her husband is doing the grilling, but she may be out on the four wheeler tooling through the woods and dropping the f-bombs like a sailor, or trucker, or feminine woman.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What you see isn't always what you get

Living in a culture built for speed makes it hard to gather anything but superficial details beyond the first glance. We want everything now, 15 minutes ago, yesterday, but some things take time to understand and process. You can't "see" thoughtfulness, kindness, introspect, empathy, or experience, during a once over. You can see fashion faux pas, bad hair days, some clues about financial disposal. Many of us often predetermine lives and their significance through this limited vision. We view people through our own colored lenses. Labels come quickly and easily, but perhaps inaccurately. We can see whatever we choose or we can limit the view to fit squarely into ready-made constraints.

For me, some of my own limitations have left me speechless. Worse yet, those very limitations have made it nearly impossible to explain myself. I am shy. Or socially anxious. Or introverted. Clinically, I have auditory processing weaknesses and attention deficit disorder in addition to shyness. I can also appear arrogant. Or snobbish. Or self-righteous. I am generally taking a few moments to process or I have attended to some thought triggered by a scent, or term, or the color of a scarf…..However, I do sometimes feel and express; humor, confidence and liveliness when I am among a few safe and valued friends.

Often when I have difficulty speaking, listening gets very tricky. The listening part is compromised when I am internally counting to ten because I just made a deal that I would add to a conversation after counting to ten. I probably appear distracted and disinterested or disengaged at those times. I don't generally appear like a wilting flower or a doormat. At times I can seem nervous and I do stammer or wildly use my hands while attempting to make sense with my verbal output. In the worst scenario, I begin to tremble and turn red. I become self-conscious and avert eye contact. Shyness, however, is not all encompassing, one size fits all.

Maybe this is no surprise, but I find perceptions and first impressions are somewhat limited by the beholder. Beyond the stereotypical concepts and beliefs that are available through visual scrutiny, there are cultural beliefs and values that may predetermine how others see me. In some cultures and within individual preferences, being quiet is considered thoughtful, and respectful. I may appear to be a deep thinker- of course I am. In some cultures and individual preferences, being quiet is considered weak, uncertain, lacking in opinion, and not very worthy. Still others may view it as mysterious, or intelligent. Maybe frightened, too dependent, and not very bright. I am many things, but not very “typical”.

So what does one do when she is attempting to express herself about issues she is passionate about or hold up her end of the lightest conversation? Initially, I avoided speaking around people I was unfamiliar with. I would shake, break out in hives, turn beat red and stammer out something barely audible and hardly worthy of capturing anyone's attention. Culturally speaking, (no pun intended) I developed the skill of being able to drink with the men. A few, couple of, several beers or alcoholic beverages can loosen up anyone's vocal chords and soften the worst of inhibitions. I have enjoyed a few good rounds of Molly Malone to soften the heart of many a stern-faced bar hound. I am not so very proud of this, well except for the singing, or strategy to avoid speaking. Unfortunately, it did seem to provide temporary relief to shyness, but prolonged the inability to build effective social skills.

I eventually faced this problem from a more therapeutic approach, the Self-Help book! I read about shyness and researched shyness and embraced shyness. The biggest impact these studies had on me was discovering shy people spend an inordinate time concerned about themselves. Cultural Landmine! I stepped right on it and it exploded with such force I had no choice but to confront it and survive the blast. My ethnic and religious background does not condone self-involvement. It is certainly considered sinful. There's a motivator! (Well maybe not, my religious background seems to consider a great deal sinful.)

Thinking of shyness in these terms really made me evaluate what was going on. Why on Earth did I believe myself so important that what I had to say would somehow alter the winds or the alignment of the stars? Did people really care if I was sharing something worthy of focusing a great deal of attention on? Did I listen to others with such intensity that I somehow expected others would be listening to me? Not very often. Sometimes I was counting to ten to simply agree or say hello- by the time I finished cutting deals and making promises, the conversation changed, the conversant had moved away or on to a different topic or possibly started sleeping. The problem is, I have a lot to say! Sometimes I feel like a fast moving Yankee trapped in a southerners unhurried expressive drawl. Slow down, join someone on their great, big, old porch and find out who they are- they may just have a bit more to share.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What will the neighbors think?

Growing up with Irish, Catholic, Blue Collar, New York City to Long Island Suburbia, working class values, it was instilled in me to worry about what “the neighbors” might think. This message was conjured to keep some of us in line. It helped others determine how far they could push things. My own children have used a classic derivative strategy to help garner favors and treats: “All my friends are…, but so and so’s mother lets us, we’re the only family that still…… It typically doesn’t work but admittedly there are occasions when I do examine and reevaluate decisions based on what others may think or do.

Recently a dear friend brought up “the neighbors” and it made me wonder about the power that particular constraint has had on me. Growing up, I fancied myself the feisty, rebellious type. I liked to challenge the norms and question the social mores. I’m sure I got a good long eye roll working through my system at the thought or suggestion of what “the neighbors” might think. Scoffing aloud and questioning why I would ever need to consider anything the neighbors had to say. “How or why would they ever weigh in?” I wondered.

One of “the neighbors” had a string of men coming in and out of her life and children that looked a bit like the cat that dragged them in might have been a mutant lab experiment. Loud cars, broken bottles, cursing matches to frighten the best of us were typical fodder. The daughter had L O V E and H A T E hand-carved into her fingers. This was a tad worrisome to me. I imagined myself to be so rebellious and willful, but the do-it-yourself carvings caught me by surprise. Fortunately I was young enough and innocent enough to have a difficult time imagining how one achieves such an inscription. There must have been some feist and rebellion percolating on that side of the hedges.

Another neighbor kept the lawn manicured, the street swept, the search lights and sirens aimed and at the ready to ensure no rogue child entered the grass shrine or came near the floral sanctuary. He used enough toxic chemicals on his lawn to ensure mankind would forever be altered and deemed incapable of siring a child on this sacred site for many a generation to come. Not exactly your neighborly neighbors.

So why then has this been such an influence on me? I don't want to have to alter my behavior based on what someone else may or may not be thinking. I do, however, want the acceptance of others. I’m not sure if it’s the appeal of a larger “family” looking out for me, or the hope that someday I will find the perfectly imperfect neighbor that means so much to me that my every action will be carefully thought out as to not offend, or to deeply influence those around me. Probably not. Perhaps it’s the need for community or a clan where we all look out for each other, offering acceptance as opposed to approval, or worse yet, disapproval. Comforting each other in times of need, supporting and encouraging each other as we face challenges, allowing quiet, excitement, sadness, joy, a place to come to without question, without judgement.

I think worrying about the neighbors has made me a bit too cautious. Added to my fractured ability to trust and reveal myself to others. What would they think, after all? I am at a new place now, ready to tear down the fences and expose myself a tad more. Maybe that’s how you go about finding the neighbors you want by your side. I have spent too long worrying, certain that others were spending their time scoffing aloud about me. Quite honestly, I am not doing a great deal that would be of interest to most that I wouldn’t be willing to openly share. Along with a cup of sugar, or a thoughtful ear.

Won’t you be my neighbor?