Empaths: We feel your pain. Here, have some more.

Empath is psycho-shorthand for ‘someone who is empathetic.’

Empaths can put themselves in another’s shoes and experience their emotions.

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You want an empath around when you need more than someone to pat you on the shoulder when you are miserable and say “Poor, pitiful you.” That is a sympathizer. They serve a purpose. When you wallow in your particular wretchedness, the sympathetic person will not get overly-involved. The sympathizer will just feel sorry for you.
Then there’s the role of an aloof. This detached person sees your gloom, and wonders how you got there. And possibly is glad he isn’t in there with you.
Unlike the jurist—who will critique, censure, and castigate you from the edge of the pit of despair.

 
The sympathizer will offer you a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we need sympathy. And sometimes we need cool appraisal from the aloof, to give us a sense of perspective on our hurt. There could conceivably be times when we  need the jurist, who tells us exactly what we did wrong (if anything) that got us into the pit, and MAYBE even instructs us how to get out.

 
But the empath will mourn with you when you mourn. The empath’s cheeks will burn when you are humiliated, and the empath’s heart will beat faster when you are afraid.
The empath will climb right into the ooze next to you and sob along.

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I could always, from the time I learned to read, put myself into a character’s shoes. Shoes? No, I climbed into the character’s skin and walked around in it. If I were a more open child and had shared these tendencies with my parents, they might have been able to act as aloof, or even a jurists, and convince me that too much empathy is too much. By the time I was about seven the damage was complete. There was no going back.

 
That year, our family stood on the sidewalk in our little town, cheering as a parade went by. I think candy was thrown. (I wouldn’t have cheered as much otherwise.) When I heard jeers of some rascally-types up the street, I raised my eyes from the Bazooka Bubble Gum piece at my feet, and met those of a truck driver. He and his truck had somehow gotten caught up in the middle of the parade. All thoughts of that hard brick of pink adhesive wrapped in an incomprehensible comic disappeared. My heart and soul flew into the truck with the man. I was experiencing the humiliation from the jeering children. I was aching for the moment I could break free from the parade, park my truck on a private, tree-lined street, and salve my wounded spirit. The rest of the parade was spoiled for me. I was one with that miserable driver.

 
It wasn’t till decades later—I’m embarrassed to tell you how many—that I could call up that painfully vivid memory. And realize with a shock that the truck driver wasn’t humiliated or scarred or crushed in spirit. He was bored and had a route to finish and just wanted to get out of that treacle-slow speed of a small town parade.

 
And that is the problem with empaths. We might feel your pain. But some of us (I hope I am not the only -nth degree empath out there) will add more pain to what we think you are feeling. We might project, on you, our own perceptions of what we think your emotional state to be. We may assume you are reacting as we think we would. A seven-year-old should never suppose that she is simpatico with a middle-aged truck driver.

 
Us -nth degree empaths might be feeling your assumed pain long after you have moved on to a place of peace, contentment and even happiness. We may picture you in the Slough of Despond when you are actually only splashing your way through a mud puddle, regretting nothing but your dirty hem. We can be found weeping with you even while your joy is coming in the morning.

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The life of an empath is a tough one. Our emotions are constantly roiling around inside, looking for more tribulation and anguish to weep over. Sometimes we can be the most frustrating of friends.

 

 
But when you are in that pit, and the jurist has pronounced judgement and walked on, the aloof is peering over the edge wondering how you got there and how you’ll get out, and the shoulder of the sympathizer is too far to reach, wait for the splash. The empath has jumped in with you, and might even stay there after you’ve climbed out.

Version 3

A Wednesday Recipe from the Tuesday Prude

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This recipe might be all over Pinterest. But no one has shared it on Facebook with me yet.
If no one has shared it with you, let me be the first.
Please.
I’m never first.

It’s been languishing in a stack of old Macmillan activity packs I used with my boys in the mid-1990’s. None of them remembers me making this and I sure don’t. If I had, the recipe would have landed in my cherished recipe box Middle Son made for me when he was about 8.

My grandsons had them at Granny’s Preschool last week. Had them? They inhaled them. These pancakes (oh hey—this is the first I’ve mentioned what they are, isn’t it?) were in their tummies before I could cut them in tidy little squares.

After a glorious repeat performance this evening for Husband and Youngest Son, I realized they are too good to keep to myself. Without further ado, I give you:

Autumn Apple Cakes

2 apples, chopped fine (We cut them into reasonable, manly chunks)
2 cups pancake mix. Bisquick worked fine.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
cooking oil

Mix all ingredients except oil until smooth.

Heat a skillet to about 325 degrees. Or whatever is your favorite pancake temp. Mine is “pretty hot but not smokin’ hot.”

Coat the surface with about a teaspoon of oil.

Drop batter onto hot frying pan (I’m going to call it a griddle from here on out. And the pancakes just became flapjacks. I’m feeling mighty autumn-y and yesteryear all of a sudden.)

The recipe says 2 tablespoons batter for each flapjack. I probably used about a third of a cup.

Fry till golden brown and turn. Ever notice how the first side of a flapjack takes almost a millennium to brown and side #2 is char in half an eye-blink?

Oil the griddle again and repeat.

The recipe make about 12 good size pancakes from this. Recipe says 25 if you follow directions. (Seriously. What are directions for if not to flout?)
We did top with butter and maple syrup, but Macmillan tells you to serve with applesauce. We like a little contrast, ourselves.

If you make them, let me know what you think, could you? I don’t always trust my taste buds. After all, I like Miracle Whip.

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No name is credited on the recipe but it is from a Macmillan Seasonal Activity Pack from 1996.

Last of the Lake

Time to wrap up vacation memories. The lake was lovely, the little 60+ year old cottages winsome and cozy, the company unsurpassed. But autumn is almost upon me, and it’s time to turn thoughts to apples mellow, pumpkins yellow. Blessings on these little homes and my daughter-in-law’s wonderful family who share them and all the lake toys, big and small, that go with them.SONY DSC

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These little ones had magical poles. They caught a bright yellow fish EVERY SINGLE TIME

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Except for the time Uncle was going to demonstrate casting, and caught a pine tree

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The absolute coolest swing ever created

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The hammock was a big hit. Once you got used to it.

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Discussing life, and bait.

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Best seat on the beach

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How to raise a delinquent: let him gamble while eating pizza. How to delay delinquency: don’t give him any coins to insert.

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I adore this kitchen. Maybe not to cook Thanksgiving dinner in, (but worth a try).

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Full disclosure. We didn’t stay in the little cabin this year, but in the bigger “Big Cabin” next door. This is a photo from when we did stay there. This table and chair almost make me swoon.

Till next time. Goodbye, little cabins.

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Love at the lake

Raindrops weren’t the only things in the air on our recent trip to Lac Courte Oreilles. (As described here: Lake Luck )

Love was everywhere. I mean everywhere, and expressed in the sweetest possible ways. (Except for the expressions of love we saw by the Ring-Tailed Lemurs at the Wilderness Walk zoo. They express love—or something—in the grossest possible ways. Don’t even ask. And whatever you do, don’t let your mind wander to the absolutely most disgusting things an animal can do.)

Young love in all its pathos was demonstrated by my smitten 2-year-old grandson and his little playmate. She would have none of it, and he was absolutely flummoxed.

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Tales of his prowess as a pantsless fisherman weren’t working

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So he tried the ol’ “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and rubbed his eyes. Too late. She was on to toes.

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She’s up! That’s a good sign. Right?

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Wait. Did she just WALK AWAY?

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Confusion and dejection. The course of true love never did run smooth.

We still hold out hope. They have about 22 years to work things through.

You can tell a couple is meant to be together if, after 9 years of marriage, they still can cooperate to untangle fishing line.

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Baby Girl loves her Grampy—

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and her uncle.

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Big boy loves his Grampy too.

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And me? I love the whole kit and caboodle of them.

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Lake Luck

 

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Morning storm coming

No, I don’t believe in luck. Sometimes, though, we are the recipients of good fortune, but “Lake Fortune” does not convey the same associations as “Lake Luck.” The first could be a lake named Fortune, or it could be an adventure story about a fortune found at a lake somewhere. So at the risk of incurring wrath, and because I enjoy alliteration way too much, (oh, and because I couldn’t come up with anything else) the title stands as “Lake Luck.”

We are fortunate that one of our daughters-in-law has a family who owns a couple of completely charming cottages on a lake, and doubly fortunate that they will share the these cottages with us.

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The cottage side of the lake. We stayed in the two middle ones.

 

The lake’s name is “Courte Oreilles.”

 

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Here, dear non-Romance language friends, is how you say it: Coo-da-Ray. But it is so much cooler, when saying Coo-da-Ray, to picture all those interesting vowels with random consonants thrown in for variety, isn’t it?

We were up there last week, at the tail end of the summer, when we saw more storms brew than sunshine. It was marvelous. Want to see some photos of this wonderful little region of the north woods? (That is a strictly rhetorical question.)

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The second morning, the second storm moving in

 

Below is a sports bar and grill. We took the pontoon over. The name escapes me, but let’s just say that if Santa Anna and Davy Crockett had met over a plate of their sublime nachos, we’d have no need to remember the Alamo. SONY DSC

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Lake loon

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There’s fish in that there Coo-da-Ray

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Lake life, where you shed stress, and, if you are so inclined, your pants

These photo essay posts are so easy! I’m going to do this again, soon. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put up “Love at the Lake.” Can’t hurt to come back and check, right?

Garden-variety hypocrite

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Not a Garden Guru

My dad was a farmer before he was a teacher, but good old Michigan muck stayed (figuratively) under his fingernails for his entire life. Till he was in his seventies, Dad raised glorious vegetables in the not-quite-up-to-snuff Wisconsin soil.
My mom took care of plotting and planting and caring for flower beds.
Gardening is in my blood.
Unfortunately some cosmic leach sucks it out at regular intervals.
Those green cells build up enough for me to engage in a spring planting frenzy before the siphoning off process begins again sometime after the summer solstice.
Several years of throwing random perennials here and stuffing the earth with various bushes there could almost make one think I understand how to put my concepts of beauty into practice. It would be hypocritical to let that thought linger.

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It’s the mechanics of gardening that elude me.

Not a Grammar Guru Either

As a voracious reader from age 5 upward, syntax and grammar and punctuation and spelling entered my psyche by default and constant reinforcement.
So do sentence rhythm, appropriate locations for apostrophes and commas, and which(not witch) hear/here or there/they’re/their fits where(not wear).
If the subject and verb don’t agree I automatically sense dissension. After all, subjects and predicates and I have been interacting for well over half a century.

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The look and feel of good grammar branded itself into my brain.
Yet some unscaleable wall exists between the part of my mind that knows what is right and the part that comprehends how that rightness is achieved.
It’s the mechanics of grammar that eludes me.

(Everything to do with mechanics eludes me. Mathematics and analytics and order and reason. The leetle gray cells are so leetle and gray that I’m pretty certain I sneezed them out during long addition in second grade.)

Recently, my 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class labored over a fill-in-the-blanks exercise. My helper was the high school sophomore sister of one of my students. When she checked her little sister’s work she snorted in disgust.
“Your sentence is ridiculous. Look, there’s a comma. It means a clause follows and YOU NEED A VERB IN THERE.” Because, you know, even the lower orders of mammals comprehend the grammar rule that a clause preceded by a comma requires a subject and predicate.SONY DSC

Never in a million years would I have written that sentence incorrectly, and never in 2 million would the reason for it rolled off my tongue as glibly as it did from a 16-year-old’s.

 

Hypocrisy Guru? Maybe…

I’m a hypocrite, people.
Last year I did a few posts on the “Garden of Grammar” where I exposed the errors and shoddy language practices that drive a grammarian right up and over the garden gate. But I am neither a gardener nor a grammarian. The snooty grammar guru-type posts were written while I wielded a false spade and hid behind a fake set of gardener gloves.
Yes, I can tell at a glance a rose from a dahlia from a marigold, a cuke from a zucchini from a pattypan, a contraction from a plural from a plural possessive.

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No, I don’t know what kind of soil each plant grows best in or how to prune them or fertilize them or identify leaf moulds.
No, I can’t diagram a sentence or easily conjugate a verb.

But. Oh glorious day. I don’t need to grow a rose to know how one smells or looks and I don’t need to name a non-defining relative clause to correctly utilize it to enrich and clarify my sentences.

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So forgive me for the hypocrisy. Please don’t come to me for the finer points of grammar technicalities, or to ask for tips on raising day lilies. But I’ll be happy to tell you if your garden—or your grammar use—are things of beauty and precision and care.

You’re not doing it right

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Ever hear of Bulletproof coffee? My boys introduced me. Start with rich, dark coffee, add approximately equal parts of coconut oil and butter, blend really REALLY well (trust me on this) and enjoy. Sound simple?
Forget it.
If you follow my directions, you’re not doing it right.

DOING IT RIGHT? HA!
Notice my instructions were vague? Dark, rich coffee. Forget about it. To do it right, according various online sites, you can’t just use the brand you bought on sale at the supermarket. Nope. Fairtrade, organic, low-toxin beans are the way to go.
Use $1.99/pound butter? Are you KIDDING ME? Grass fed all the way, baby. Unsalted.
Make sure to buy the coconut oil that boosts your brain power. I forget what it’s called.

 

Please hop on over to Heart”wings” via the link below to read the rest of the story!

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