Saturday, January 24, 2015

Isn't It Simply About Respect?

I know I've ranted about clothing styles, pajamas in public, jeans, leggings worn as pants and so on. Whereas I'm not one to present myself as any kind of fashionista, I do make an effort when such is warranted. I had this discussion with both my daughter and my hubby recently.

While she was away, my daughter attempted to dress in a more formal, covered up style which is the custom in Curacao. She did this for two reasons. One was that it was her adopted country and she wanted to fit in. Despite the heat, people dress modestly. Secondly, she didn't want to be harassed in a country where females can potentially be the target of inappropriate male attention. She shared further thoughts on this.

Since this was now what she considered her temporary homeland, she actually found herself offended by tourists, some of which were getting off cruise ships, in even less than casual attire. For example, what is someone thinking when they disembark wearing little more than a flimsy bathing suit, with or without a partial coverup? Are they expecting to locate a previously undiscovered beach in the middle of downtown Willemstad? Are they making some kind of statement? That's just one example. I don't think there's any reason, particularly with modern technology, why people can't do a modicum of research about places they're visiting. It's nice to understand what's acceptable or preferred in any particular culture. On the other hand, there should be a degree of common sense, something severely lacking in this day and age. Would you wear a bathing suit to visit downtown Toronto?  It goes way beyond "I'm on vacation. I want to relax. I'm entitled," particularly when these same individuals return home only to complain about the poor service, the rude looks or the ignorance of the people in other countries.

Hubby and I talked about this further. He prefers a more comfortable look, is clothed nicely when necessary, but it's not his preference. I pointed out that I always welcome opportunities to make an effort. I suppose it's a sign that I'm getting older. What appears to have become the accepted norm doesn't sit well with me anymore. If you don't wear something other than your house and garden attire for church, for specific functions and special holidays, or at a better restaurant, when do you dress up? Perhaps the answer is never.

Again, I reiterated my point to hubby. I enjoy the more formal opportunities afforded when going on some cruise lines for example. Being retired, I wear grubbies around the house all the time and don't get many chances to dress up.  A friend of mine shared that she would never go on a certain cruise ship again. Her reasons were very similar to mine. She related that she made reservations and paid extra for a specialty restaurant while on this cruise line. She was offended, when she dressed for an evening meal and found that people with t-shirts and baseball caps were sitting at a table next to her. Are we to assume that they showered and changed into their best t-shirts and baseball caps after a day of touring, shopping, or going to a beach? Perhaps.

I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the days of  "Leave it to Beaver",  when the woman walked around the house in a dress, makeup, hose, and pearls, with her hair perfectly coiffed and the man sat reading the newspaper in his shirt, tie and suit. Those folks always seemed ready for any occasion. They could leave the house at the drop of a hat and go anywhere. Don't get me wrong, I like my casual wear, at the correct times and in the appropriate places. I have no idea how Mrs. Cleaver was able to avoid gardening dirt, bleach streaks, oil stains or food chunks on her clothing and in her hair.

Essentially, in my opinion it's all about respect...respect for others, respect for the circumstance, respect for the surroundings and above all,  respect for oneself. As the saying goes, "a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mid January Blues or Blahs?

I've decided not to write anything controversial about politics, religion, pets, the weather, the younger generation, fashion, or the deterioration of the English language just yet. Clearly, I am easing into 2015 blogs. Either that, or I've been busy. Pick one. I suppose the reason for my lack of productivity is that I'm trying to walk a fine line with my craziness and I'm afraid I won't be quite as successful as Nik Wallenda. At my age, it's far too easy to be thrown off balance and fall from everyone's graces.

I had one of "those" nights last night. You know the kind. I was lying in bed thinking about this blog. I formulated a brilliant idea...several in fact. The words flowed so easily in my head. It was as though my mind was clear except for what I wanted to put in print.  I determined that it wasn't necessary to turn on the light and  jot down my thoughts as I drifted off to sleep. The ideas just kept coming. I knew I'd remember everything in the morning. As the saying goes...famous last words.

On another note, there's a day every January that's been labelled, "Blue Monday". It's said to be the most depressing day of the year. Perhaps they should give the whole month that distinction. That is of course if you're living in a climate like ours, and are of an age where thoughts of tobogganing, skiing. skating, and the like invoke nice memories of the past, but cause you to imagine the painful joints, kidneys, and potential hazards of the present.
It is said that Blue Monday is the day when December bills rear their ugly heads. Add to that the joy of walking to your community mailbox in the freezing cold. (Blog - You've Got Mail, 01/11/14) It's the day when people finally admit that they've broken their new year's resolutions. It's dark in the morning and dark early in the evening. The world is sad and gray and January seems endless.

Of course there are all sorts of online suggestions for how to get through these dark days....wear a bright colour, clear some clutter, skip work, dance with a broom, sing a song, have a cup of tea, go to a spa, exercise, Need I go on? Fortunately, not too many of these require leaving the house.

I'd actually like to offer some of my own solutions to the January problem. The computer can be a terrific friend. Find jokes, such as Maxine to make you feel less alone. Look up the weird and bizarre of the animal and plant kingdom. Have you ever actually googled "geoduck images"?  Did you know that there are swimming pigs in the Bahamas? I have since added Pig Beach to my new revised bucket list (soon to be published). If all else fails, plan for February, the best and shortest winter month crammed with all those wonderful special days. Decorate and celebrate.

Perhaps the best solution of all is in this final cartoon. Today, hubby announced that we should head south for a week. Great idea. Spontaneous. Sudden. Perhaps it will result in yet another travelogue blog. I just purchased the tickets...Happy Valentine's Day to him.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

I found this on facebook and liked it so I'm sharing.

I think I'm tired of my blog. It seems to have veered off course at some point to where it has become a diary, a travelogue, a photo essay or some other conglomerate of adventures and experiences. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what I had in mind when I first began writing several years ago. I suppose that's why I've been procrastinating and haven't written much of late.

I want to do something about it. Maybe I'm just disillusioned. Perhaps I need to change my life entirely. I suppose it was Gandhi or some other *iconic person who said words about being the change you want to see. I know he was talking on a world wide scale but I think this works for day to day personal events as well.

Think about it. The lines about change and personal growth are endless and profound.

"Progress is impossible without change."  G. B. Shaw

"If you don't like something, change it." Maya Angelou

 I gripe about things, but I don't do anything to make them better. I wait and wait for things to happen instead of making them happen. I wasn't always like this. I've become complacent. This in turn causes me stress.

So I suppose this is a resolution of sorts. If I don't like it, I'll change it. If I'm not happy about something, I'll try to fix it so that I will be. I'll start with my blog.  I'm turning a corner. Let's see how long the turn lasts. It's all too easy to fall back into old habits. That's not to say there won't be the odd home improvement or baking tip or even travelogue. Hopefully, they just won't be as frequent.

So after I change the entire format of my page, I'll get on with my next blog. It promises to be the most unpopular thing ever written.
*** Whereas I hate the overused word 'iconic', in this particular case it fits. It is not necessary however, to use iconic for every person, place and thing when one is stuck for an alternative choice of appropriate adjective.