Dishing the Dirt

My friend Ingrid posted this on her blog a while ago.

“Many years ago I learned that how people spoke of others in my presence was most likely how they spoke of me (if that was their pattern). If I had tea with Girlfriend Y and we spent the afternoon dishing out the dirt, I could be reasonably assured that next time she was with Girlfriend X she was doing the same to me. I took action ten years ago to either end or shift those types of friendships.”

I tend to be more ‘critical?’ of my friends than I would be of a stranger, which means I sometimes ‘dish out the dirt’ on friends to other friends. I’ve always sort of thought this was ok if I was doing it honestly and openly (ie I wouldn’t say something to someone else that I wouldn’t say to your face). I might refer to one friend as “my crazy friend who gets involved in pyramid schemes” or another as “my friend who doesn’t eat or drink”. Seriously, she forgets to eat! and she doesn’t like eating anyway–drives me crazy. I may tell one friend about how another was in complete denial about her son’s drug use even though the signs were obvious when she first brought it up. I could go on and on, but I’m not sure what my motives are for doing this. Usually, I’m frustrated by a behavior that appears completely contradictory to what she says she wants. She might be involved in an unsupportive relationship for example. What I really want is for friend A to have the ‘insight’ to change a specific behavior or pattern of behavior and usually I can get friend B to agree that the ‘solution’ is obvious. But I suppose the bottom line is that since I can’t change friend A’s mind about something (see early post about the essence of conflict), I just want validation for my opinions.

It is going to be REALLY hard for me to change this behavior. So I hope Ingrid doesn’t ditch me! Saying nice things about people gets boring and I think sharing the more controversial stories is part of a bonding process. Is dishing the dirt always bad? I suppose another thing to consider is that I might introduce friend A to friend B at some point and I don’t want her to have negative pre-conceived notions.

Hey… maybe I should start ‘dishing the dirt’ on my website so my friends would have to read my blog, in order to tell me what to remove!

I died my eyelashes black

Not much to say about this. It was $15 and my eyelashes sort of look like when you just get out of the shower.

I just wanted to write a more uplifting post after my latest rant. I’m feeling a little guilty about it.

Blogging while angry

What is the etiquette for blogging while angry. Is it like drunk driving–to be avoided at all costs? Or is it perfectly acceptable, or something in between? I guess I’ll just do it and see what the consequences are. I suppose I shouldn’t name names, but I got in a tiff this morning and I was right and he was wrong. Seriously though, I was so excited because I found this new website (‘etsy’ I believe) and yesterday I was even thinking about writing a post about ‘serendipity or synchronicity’ to talk about it (maybe later). When I tried to tell old wet blanket/bubble burster about it, he discouraged me from having my earrings photographed professionally (we don’t have a decent camera) and then he said you’re earrings would just get lost amongst all the other earrings for sale anyway. I HATE when people are discouraging without being constructive. If he had said, “but you could do this instead” or “I could help you by doing this”, that would be one thing. But no, it’s just this won’t work that won’t work. Why do I bother!

I’m sort of building up a nasty mood right now and actually seeing it coming hasn’t really helped me avoid it in the past. I wish I could be more like my blog friend Ingrid who is so insightful about her own moods/needs etc. or like Bill who always seems to see the bright side of things. Oh well, I’ll probably just have that really big fight in the next few days (my pattern is to do this right before a big trip) and hopefully we’ll both get over it before we leave.

The essence of conflict

Fibrodenial wrote something recently about how interesting it is that when people argue they frequently act as if they might actually change another person’s mind. In some ways this is obvious. But to me, the insightful part is that she’s pointing out how silly it is to imagine that during an argument, one might actually find just the right piece of evidence or point out just the right flaw in logic to make another person exclaim suddenly “Oh yeah, I guess you’re right”. I guess deep down we know that in certain arguments, people have strong opinions and no amount of ‘rational thought’ or ‘hard evidence’ will change that person’s mind. And yet we still think in terms of I am right and you are wrong. I wonder how often an argument is really this black and white? Probably not very often. Of course there are certain disagreements in which one person is “wrong” and the “truth” can be “proven”. I do “believe in” the predictive power of the scientific method for example (sounds like an oxymoron to ‘believe’ in the scientific method). But there are hard sciences, soft sciences and even non-scientific truths and flawed logic can be used within all of these contexts. Besides, truly scientific arguments are much less common than arguments where both people mostly agree with the evidence, the facts and the logic, but that the interpretation/opinion still differs significantly.

I guess, the main reason I thought that this insight (regarding how desperately we want to change another persons mind) was so important is that changing another person’s mind is rarely going to happen. Knowing this may help me become less “invested” in future arguments. If I know from the start that I won’t change your mind, then maybe I need to rethink what it is that I want from you in the first place (do I want to change your behavior? maybe I just want a pleasant exchange of ideas?). It’s probably more fun to share opinions with people when they aren’t too invested in changing your mind anyway. If everyone could think in these terms, I’ll bet most negotiations would become MUCH easier and we could achieve world peace in a few short days (ok maybe I’m getting a little carried away).

My sister, Kitty also had some interesting thoughts about conflicts a while back (she was reading Critical Conversations at the time). She was talking about how important mutual respect is during any type of argument or negotiation. I love to argue, so I will try to remember these key points (mutual respect and I won’t change your mind) next time I get into an argument.

I almost, sort-of like to run

It probably wouldn’t surprise a type A exercise addict-type (Haus Frau) to hear that after running regularly now for about 3 years and completing 3 marathons (Chicago, Grandmas and Milwaukee) and pretty much hating every minute of it (I do it for my health/weight control). I’ve finally decided that I almost, sort-of, kinda like running, some days. Here’s the change—WINDSPRINTS!! Yes, WINDSPRINTS! Who’da thunk it. Fartleks, speedplay, whatever you call it. Yes, Speed….Play—sounds like an oxymoron!! Who’da thought I’d enjoy torturing myself on a treadmill? I think this is what it took for me to finally get a brief taste of the ‘runner’s high’ that everyone talks about. Hubby, Don Aldo, says it’s just oxygen deprivation. If so, maybe I should just breathe into a paper bag.

Anyway, I don’t necessarily enjoy the actual running yet, but I feel great afterwards and sometimes, early in the day, I almost look forward to seeing what I can do on the next try. Usually though, this anticipation fades quickly by the end of the day when I actually have to decide whether to go to the gym or go home and eat. Then I just have to suck it up like I always have and force myself to go. I think the reason I prefer windsprint days to ‘easy jogging’ and ‘long run’ days is that the time goes by sooo much faster. I break the runs into 2.5 mile/2 minute ‘sprints’ interspersed with 2-2 ½ minute light jogs. Even when I did 12 of these– the time went by much faster than my usual 45-50 minute run. I’m not sure this will really get me to a 4 hour marathon (like the book I’m using suggests). But even if it doesn’t, I’ll be much happier training for my upcoming marathon. Wouldn’t it be cool if I eventually really started liking running. Can a confirmed couch potato really convert to an exercise enthusiast?

Life before television

My mom wrote this recently….Your dad and I are the last generation that was born before television. That is OLD!!!! We both remember the first TV’s. The only thing on was wrestling (eds note: WRESTLING!!?) and we were both, as children, fascinated (FASCINATED!!??). Even then, however we knew it was fake!! Some pretty good actors in those days….Gorgeous George and Don Eagle were two of our favorites. Tag teams were fun too. I wonder if that stuff is still around!!

She never told me what the ‘Tag teams’ were. It made me think about what I might be able to say to future generations. I am the last to remember turn-tables or record players, I remember black and white TVs and TVs without remote control or Tivo (anyone remember those rabbit ear antenna things we used to improve the reception). I remember the moon landing. I remember hand punching cards to program the computer in the one computer lab at my high school. I remember typing my papers in college (I remember typewriters!)

A while ago, my sister and I were talking to my grandmother about her life as a young woman and she talked about how completely inappropriate it was for a young lady to be seen in a bar of any kind, ever. I think she had a real ‘ice box’ (chilled using ice!!?) instead of a refrigerator. I think she said something about a coal heater that had to be stoked in the morning? I can’t even imagine. I would love to hear more about these types of things from the older generations, but alas, most of them are not on-line reading blogs. I should call my grandmother sometime soon and see if I can get her talking about how things have changed over her lifetime.

Creativity exercises

I got these from the creativity book that I’m reading, but I am paraphrasing.

1. If you could be talented at 5 things what would they be?

2. If you had the time for 5 new hobbies what would they be?

3. What are 5 things you would never do, but look fun?

4. Name 5 careers that sound like fun.