The Unplanned Encounter


Standing at the edge of the woods, amygdala primed, you know exactly what you’re hunting for and have a plan to actively and purposely avoid eye contact so as to keep moving if you see other hunters. Flight is really your preferred response. Most of them seem to share your predilection and are content to share a quick greeting and continue on. They have “things to do” just as you do, and want to get this particular chore over with. There are exceptions, those hunters with whom you want to share something.

Stepping in, almost immediately you think you see a hunter you know just ahead, but she’s moving quickly away with her own prey in sight. You manage to avoid detection. Winding along the trail, you fill your basket, ticking off items in your head while still ever alert for danger.

Behind you, someone calls your name. Was it that hunter you thought you saw? Turning, you don’t see anyone at first and start to turn back when you realize a danger even bigger. It’s Tiger. She knows you see her, so flight is not an option. Wary, you approach.

Tiger? She wasn’t always danger. She’s the one hunter you might have happily chatted with for a few minutes, but you haven’t seen her in over a year and a half. Not since your last lunch together that didn’t go so well.

That’s not entirely true.

You thought the lunch went well. Even in the midst of a personal crisis, you could share (mostly) what was going on in your life, and you could certainly listen to your friend, Tiger, chatter on about herself and her family. The catch was at this lunch you decided to be your authentic self, to be honest. For so many years, you just agreed with everything Tiger said because … because… why? You wanted her to like you. You were new in town and needed a friend, any friend. You didn’t want to offend her, even when she offended you. She thinks you two are like peas in a pod.

At the lunch, you didn’t set out to be confrontational, but if she said something you disagreed with, you would speak up. First, you shared a bit of your crisis, and she implied it was your own fault. Ouch. A religious thing came up, and you politely added your honest comment. Ouch returned. Then the subject changed.

That was the last you heard from her. There were no Christmas cards, no birthday cards, no extremely long (and kind of annoying) voicemails. No random drop overs, and no invitations to her favorite charity event. Sure, you could have reached out to her, but the personal crisis got worse before it got better, and you could barely take care of yourself, much less nurture a friendship.

You were okay with that. The friendship wasn’t based on honesty anyway, at least on your part, and if it were to proceed, you would be making some serious confessions; all those things that are the opposite of what she believed about you. Letting go worked for you.

Back in the woods, you are face to face with Tiger. She opens by exclaiming that you haven’t moved away after all, and you bite your tongue, and just say no, you’re still here, but guess what, you’re about to be a grandma. Several minutes pass catching up on the whereabouts of your respective children. You take surreptitious glances into your basket, hoping to see the ice cream (that isn’t in there) melting so you can make your getaway.

Then she says something about needing to hurry home and you say your goodbyes, neither of you saying you should get together soon. Scurrying away, you retreat in your mind back to the job at hand. Using all your willpower, you manage to walk by the jumbo bag of “fun size” candy, leaving it on the shelf. Your skill with speed hunting serves you well, and soon enough you are sitting in your car, breathing again.

For the win, seeing her car right next to yours, you drive away from the grocery store first, not looking back.


Best Picture Commentary: Spotlight

Spotlight_(film)_posterStill in theaters, Roland and I saw Spotlight recently. This Best Picture winner for 2015 was one in a field of 8, of which we had only seen one other, The Big Short. For whatever reason, none of the nominees particularly intrigued us on first look, but since Spotlight won, we decided to give it a go (plus it was now on my challenge list).

Go see it! Or rent it or whatever! It could be described as a psychological thriller with a documentary-style slant.

First of all, the subject matter was horrifying… children molested by Catholic priests. But the story was ostensibly about Spotlight, an in-depth investigative department of the Boston Globe newspaper, and the power of the media.

If watching a bunch of journalists work on a news story sounds kind of boring, you’ll have to rethink that position after watching this movie. The scandal itself was compelling, but the acting, direction, film editing, and screenplay are outstanding. It garnered over 100 industry and critics awards and nominations.

I had not expected to enjoy this movie as much as I did, but it is an excellent presentation of an historically significant event that everyone, of any religious persuasion, should know about.

Another Book Challenge?

I am such a sucker for any kind of list challenge, but I have just come across one (found wasting time broadening my horizons on Pinterest) that nicely overlaps with any other book challenges I may inflict on myself (and you lucky blog readers). And it’s a game! Well, I suppose you could classify any challenge as a game, but this one is gamier than others. Gamier?

BINGO! The 2016 Bookish Bingo Challenge that is the brainchild of Maddie of The Girly Geek Blog fame.

Basically, you read books, and if they fit into one of the categories listed on a square, you have “completed” that square. One book is allowed to apply to only 2 squares.

2016 bb challenge
2016 Bookish Bingo Challenge

How have I done so far? 1984 ticks off 2  boxes: “Read a book with a number in its title”, and “Read a book you’ve owned for over a year”. The Secret Garden applies to “Read a book that features an unlikely friendship” — that would be Mary, Colin and Dickon becoming friends because it seemed unlikely that Mary and Colin would be friends as unpleasant as they both are and it also seems unlikely that Dickon would ever become friends with either Mary and Colin, never mind both of them!

Since I’m late to this party, Mystery Mission #1 has been revealed: Read a book featuring your dream career.

That’s it for now… have a great weekend!






Maybe he should have titled it “2016”

Penguin UK, 2008, design by Shepard Fairey

Big Brother. Even if you haven’t read 1984 by George Orwell, you probably know what it means. Big Brother — the all-seeing, all-knowing, (not-God) entity that is ruler of all.

Orwell prophetically wrote this novel of negative utopia in 1949, describing life in 1984 as the removal of humanity from humans. There is Big Brother, the Inner and Outer Parties, and everyone else (the proletariat “proles”). Joy, love, hope, all are gone for everyone, even the elite. The proles “enjoy” a life with little oversight, but constant fear of random death.

1984 lives on almost every “must read” list. In the same genre as Brave New World which I read earlier this year, I enjoyed reading 1984 much more. Yes, it is extremely depressing, but despite the way that it ends, I felt an undercurrent of hope that was absent in BNW. Maybe I just wanted to see that hope.

But did Orwell predict the future? There are lots of cameras in public places (I am particularly fond, for some reason, of British crime dramas and their police calling for the tapes from CCTV). Have you ever been given a ticket from a traffic camera? Our computers certainly know everything about us which is a little disturbing. Seriously, does facebook have to pop up with ads showing that I have just looked at orthotic sandals? Geez.

What else did he predict? I’ll let Orwell tell you in his own words.

It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary … . [p. 62]

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. [p. 129]

What is concerned here is not the morale of the masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. [p. 158]

It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no contact with foreigners, …. … he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lies would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. [p. 162]

A party member is expected to have no private emotions and no respites from enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. [p. 174]

Draw your own conclusions, but there are elements of truth in this book throughout our world today.

On a scale of 1 (the negative end) to 5 (it depends) to 10 (the positive end), my conclusion about 1984:

Readable: 9 (a page-turner in many chapters)

Enjoyable: 7

Does it deserve to be on “must read” reading lists: 10

Am I glad I read it: 10

Would I read it again: 5 (maybe)

Would I recommend it: 8

Score: 8.2


Comments on 1978 Best Picture: The Deer Hunter

220px-Deer_Hunter_soundtrack_coverDisturbing. Long.

Annoyed first at how long the wedding was (about 1 hour 15 minutes), relieved in the end because it meant less disturbing content.

Russian roulette. By most accounts, this was not a method of torture that was used during the Vietnam War, but for me is a credible means of both psychological and physical torture.

I wouldn’t watch it again. As it was, I watched on my computer in 2 “installments”.

Is it the great movie it’s claimed to be? Yes, probably, I just didn’t enjoy it.

One shot is what it’s all about. The deer has to be taken with one shot. I try to tell people that – they don’t listen.

~Michael Vronsky (played by Robert De Niro)





She’s a baby.

Diapers, band-aids, mean girls and tears.

Boyfriends and breakups, college, the beer.

A wedding, grad school and the career.

A house in Virginia, I wish she was near.

Has it really been so many years?

She’s having a baby.