Category: Observations about Life


Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX

Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX

I like being married.  I like it even better that I’m married to someone who gets me.

I read an article yesterday about how it’s important to have boundaries in marriage, and the author stated that she thinks everyone should have boundaries like trying not to be alone with someone of the opposite sex, and never having private conversations with the other sex because people are weak, and it can lead to infidelity.

I’m glad these boundaries work for the author and her husband, but I don’t agree that those are the right boundaries for everyone.

The fact is that most of my friends are men, and most of my husband’s friends are women.  We both have a mix of both, of course, but that’s just kind of how it works out for us.

My husband gets that I like spending time alone, and that it has nothing to do with him.  He gets that I’m not really a morning person, and that I’d rather stay up late than get up early.  He gets that I complain a lot, but if you can ignore my complaints, I’m helpful and pleasant.  He gets that I like to read and write more than I like doing just about anything else.

My husband isn’t perfect; he’s got plenty of flaws.  But then, so do I.  What’s important isn’t our strengths or weaknesses, but that they work for us.  There’s no one size fits all when it comes to any kind of relationship.

A garden bounty Photo Credit: Doree Weller

A garden bounty
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I have a love-hate relationship with my kitchen.

The women in my family don’t cook. It’s not that we can’t; it’s just that we’re not really good at it. We’re bakers. My grandmother, mom, and I can bake anything, but we’re less consistent with meals. I’ve heard stories of my grandmother’s awful cooking. Fortunately, my dad mostly cooked, so I didn’t have to deal with my mom’s cooking often. As for me, I could make food, and it was usually edible. When my husband and I got married, we shared some of the cooking responsibility, but mostly we ate out a lot.

Flash forward many years, and because of some health issues, I decided that I needed to transition to a more vegetarian diet. That made it harder to eat out, and eating out kind of defeated the idea of eating healthier anyway. I expected to be an unimaginative cook when I first started cooking more, and I was. It wasn’t long before I got bored.

Thank goodness for Allrecipes, Chocolate Covered Katie, and Pinterest. Through them, I was able to broaden my repertoire of foods. Things got even better for me once I applied the same principles of baking to my cooking. It drives the husband crazy because I can seldom make anything the exact same way twice. I’m not much for exact measurements, and I almost always forget to follow recipes exactly. But they turn out well, so he can’t complain. Much.

Since I’ve learned to adapt what I make, I also love Pioneer Woman’s recipes. She’s a meat-eater, but with a little creativity, I can modify many of her recipes to suit my needs.

My gas cooking range, once intimidating, is now something I wouldn’t want to do without. These days, I’m actually known as a really good cook! Even meat-eaters like what I make.

Cooking still isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I don’t hate it anymore. These days, my kitchen and I get along just fine.

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

This is seriously one of the most important words in my vocabulary. If I had to choose one and only one thing to be, it would be this: interesting.

Being interesting is how I met my husband. We met online, and though we weren’t all that well “matched,” I read his profile because he asked, “Aren’t there any interesting women out there?”

Why yes, yes there are.

In my mind, boring is one of the worst offenses someone can make, beat out only by willfully stupid.

I like people who do their own thing, even if doing their own thing means doing what others do. As long as they do it because they like it, that can be interesting.

For me, the most interesting people are the ones who have stories to tell. I’m a firm believer that quirks, flaws, and weirdness are what make people interesting. That’s why I’m not afraid to talk about the mistakes I’ve made. People make mistakes, and the sum total of those mistakes (and non-mistakes) make me who I am, and keep me interesting.

I find other honest people to be the most interesting. I like when people aren’t afraid to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly in themselves.

What do you find interesting in other people?

For this month’s A to Z Challenge, I’m focusing on things I love.

Turtle on a Swing, Austin TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Turtle on a Swing, Austin TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

When I was a kid, I hated history. I thought it was the most boring thing imaginable, and in some ways, I still do.

Most of the time, when someone talks about history, they’re talking about what happened. I know it’s important, but I don’t care. I want to know about the people it happened to, what they thought about it, how they lived before, and how whatever event changed them.

On a most basic level, history is about the people, but it often doesn’t seem that way. Sometimes it seems like the stories about people get lost behind the events. And really, what do the events really matter, except how they affect the people involved?

My brother in law LOVES history. I mean, loves it the way I love Dean Koontz books. When the husband and I get together with the in-laws, we tend to go see something history related. Last visit, we went to the Alamo and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library. What could have been horribly boring for me was actually interesting, because I focused on what interests me: the people, and how those events affected them.

It never made sense to me that I disliked history. After all, as my post last week indicated, I love antiques. But the reason I love antiques is because those things meant something to someone at one time. I wish I had understood when I was younger why history bored me, and how I could have better learned it.

It’s never too late though. I’m learning new things everyday.

Is there a subject you used to hate that you’ve grown to like or understand better as you’ve gotten older?

As part of the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month, I’m going to post about things I love or that are important to me.

Pear tree, Texas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Pear tree, Texas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Forgiveness is important to me. When I was younger, I had a hard time forgiving myself for anything. I blew up the tiniest mistake in my head and made it into a really big deal. I thought I had to be perfect, and I’m not sure why. When I couldn’t be (and since perfection is impossible, that was often), I felt bad about myself. I always just figured everyone felt this way.

I held other people to unrealistic standards too. I remember that one person said something that set me off, and I figured that meant they didn’t care about me. If people didn’t say the right thing at the right time, then I thought they didn’t care. It took me years to realize that not caring and not being able to read my mind are two different things.

I don’t really believe in forgive and forget, not about what I do or about what others do to me. I think that forgetting is unrealistic and dangerous. Willfully forgetting says that I should give up part of me, and I think that all experiences, both good and bad, are important parts of me.

People say that you should “forget,” but what they really mean is that once you forgive, you should let go of what hurt you. I can let go, and still remember. Remembering doesn’t mean that I’m sitting around listening to The Cure, endlessly rehashing what happened. It just means that I’ve learned something from the experience. Or that I’m trying to learn.

I really believe that forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. To forgive means to let go of the hurt and pain. It means we’re flawed and imperfect, and that’s okay. It means realizing that other people are just as flawed and imperfect as we are. I’ve done and said things in my life that I wish I could take back, and I’ve been forgiven for them. Doing bad things doesn’t make me a bad person, and most of the time when I’ve done bad things, it was because I was hurting in some way myself. Holding onto grudges wouldn’t do me any good, and it wouldn’t do anyone else any good either.

It’s taken a long time for me to learn to forgive myself or others. Some days I have to re-learn it all over again. But it’s always worth the effort.

Waterfall in Skagway, Alaska Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Waterfall in Skagway, Alaska
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

For the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month, I’m going to post a different letter of the alphabet every day. I’m trying to stick to the theme of “Things I Love.”

I love doing things I’ve never done before.

It doesn’t matter if I think I’ll like it or not.  If I’ve never done it before, I’m game.  I’ll try pretty much anything once.

I store experiences away in my head, just in case I might want them for a future story.

I believe that my experiences have shaped me, and that good and bad, they have value.  When I’m going through something, I try to keep in mind that whatever I’m going through can help me grow into a better person.  Looking at things that way helps me get through them.

I like to go new places and meet new people.  At home, I mostly prefer to keep to myself.  But when I’m somewhere new, I try to encourage myself to get the most out of the experience, and to do that, I need to immerse myself as much as possible.

It’s fun, at least for a little while.

Interestingly, I think I was less open to new experiences when I was younger.  I know it’s usually the other way around, but I kind of was a stick in the mud.  On purpose.  I wore being boring with pride.

These days, I want to try new things and take lots of pictures.  Life has some amazing things, just waiting to be tried.

 

For the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month, I’m going to post a different letter of the alphabet every day. I’m trying to stick to the theme of “Things I Love.”

I love to draw.

The fact that I’m not very good at it is beside the point.

My stick figures look like a kindergartener drew them.  When I got back into journaling not too long ago, I wanted to start adding doodles to my work.  I can draw spirals and stars, hearts and 3-D boxes.  Since I wanted to expand my drawing horizons a little bit, I actually Googled “how to doodle.”

Yes, I actually did.

 

Original artwork by Doree Weller Isn't it wonderful?

Original artwork by Doree Weller
Isn’t it wonderful?

I think drawing is like dancing.  Some of us are just self-conscious about it.  I took art as an elective in high school, and I watched other students.  Their wrists were relaxed as they sketched pencil lines and shaded things that turned into actual drawings.  I never wanted to be an artist, but I wanted to learn how to make those pencil lines.

I think it’s the nature of being human to yearn for something you’re not good at.  I have many other talents, but none of them have filled that space where I wanted to draw.  I use color to make up for my lack of talent.

One of these days, I’ll take a drawing class, and hopefully I’ll learn to relax my wrist.  I don’t have great aspirations of becoming an artist.  I’d just like to be able to use pencils to create a shadow of my internal landscape.  Even if I can never capture it, the fun is in trying, right?

Do you like to draw?  Are you any good at it, or are you more like me?

For the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month, I’m going to post a different letter of the alphabet every day. I’m trying to stick to the theme of “Things I Love.”

I love things that wake up the creative part of my brain.

Pinterest is strangely good for this.  I love browsing quotes, interesting places, ideas for journaling, and drawing tips.  There’s a fine balance with this though.  While it can help me get un-stuck, I can also get sucked into the black hole and end up wasting time.

Drawing and coloring also make me feel creative.  I’m not the best at drawing, but I enjoy it, and doodling does give my brain time to get into that creative space.

I used to wait around to feel creative, but it’s true that if I sit down at my computer and don’t allow myself to browse Pinterest, Facebook, email, webcomics, or the million other things that are waiting to distract me, I tend to feel more creative.  Sometimes it just takes a moment to sit, breathe, and remind myself to be where I am.

What makes you feel creative?

 

San Tan Mountains, Arizona Photo Credit: Doree Weller

San Tan Mountains, Arizona
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

For the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month, I’m going to post a different letter of the alphabet every day.  I’m trying to stick to the theme of “Things I Love.”

I’m not sure I could live without books.  Some people might think that’s an exaggeration, but books feed my soul in the same way that food feeds my body.

The first book I remember loving was Orange Oliver: The kitten who wore glasses, by Robert Lasson.

th-2

Such a great book!

 

I’ve always rooted for the underdog, and this book was no exception.  Poor Oliver couldn’t see anything, and so he got picked on.  Plus, he was different, and the book appealed to me because I was always a little different too.

There were many other books as time went on, and my mom took me to the library, where I checked out stacks of books that I couldn’t see over when I carried them.  I checked my favorite books out over and over.  Once I got an adult library card, they wouldn’t let me check out kids’ books anymore.  (This was before everyone was reading young adult fiction.)  I didn’t understand it, because I still loved the same books I’d read before.  I just wanted to read new ones too.

Reading has always been a process of discovery for me.  I’m transported elsewhere, living someone else’s life, being someone else for at least a little while.  A good book is like an old friend, and re-reading it is like visiting.  As I grow and change, my understanding and relationship with the old books grow and change as well.  But as with any good and faithful friend, I like to think that we can grow together.  The book doesn’t change, but it won’t be insulted if my interpretation of it does.

I take books everywhere with me, and I read anything I think I might like.  Classics sit side by side on my shelves with romance novels and young adult novels.  Science fiction sits next to books I read as a child.  I love anything with a good story, and I’m not ashamed to defend low-brow books or condemn high-brow ones.

A partial view of my bookshelves Photo Credit: Doree Weller

A partial view of my bookshelves
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I think that the books you read say a lot about you as a person.  My book choices say that I’m not afraid to be myself, and I don’t pigeonhole myself into any one category.  I care more about what’s inside than I do about what others think.  Most of all, they say I love to read.

What books do you have a life-long love affair or friendship with?  What do your book choices say about you?

 

April is the annual blogging A to Z Challenge, where I blog a different letter of the alphabet daily.  Click the link if you’d like to learn more about it.

I’ve decided to stick to a theme this month, and it’s going to be Things I Love.

Bench in garden, Pennsylvania Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Bench in garden, Pennsylvania
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time traveling with my grandparents, who sold antiques for a living.  I knew what a hatpin holder and an oyster plate while I was still in elementary school.

We would drive to dusty old flea markets in their van, and before we could sleep for the night, we had to unload all the boxes full of fragile things.  My grandfather and I would set up his tent (a metal structure with a tarp bungee corded to protect us).  My grandpa told me that people would be more likely to stop by if we had something to protect them from the rain and the sun.

We set up tables and put tablecloths over them to make them look nice.  Ink stained my fingers as we unwrapped the newspaper protecting tea sets and dolls and candlesticks and iron coin banks.

I grew up loving old things.  Whenever I walk into an old junk store and inhale the smell of dust and mustiness, I feel like I’m home again.  Going to a flea market feels like visiting an old friend.

Many of my best memories are tied up with flea markets, antiques, and my grandparents.  Things that might be old and forgotten by the time you get to them were once loved by someone.  Next time you come across an antique, don’t just wonder what it’s worth.  Instead, close your eyes… and feel the history.

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