Sunday, April 02, 2017

Sunday afternoon stuff

In a bit, I have to change out of my "Sunday go-to-meeting clothes" (as one of my old labmates used to refer to it, when I'd occasionally run in to check on something or grab some work right after church) and see if it's too wet or not to grab soil for tomorrow's lab, but...

This afternoon was the 80th birthday party for a friend of mine in AAUW. As much as I've complained "adult birthdays are a cheat," I think once you hit 70 or 80 maybe a big deal should start being made of them again. And this one was a pretty big deal - Billie's son and daughter-in-law sent invitations to literally everyone she knew in town (people from AAUW, people from the church she belongs to, people from Garden Club, people she used to teach with....) There were about 80 people there, which is a lot considering how hard it was raining.

(I didn't really want to venture back out in the rain, but I told myself: maybe some of the older or less-mobile people won't make it, and you want for there to be SOMEONE there for her. I needn't have worried....)

Anyway. It was held at the "fancy do's place" downtown (a former bank that's been converted to a reception hall). There was food. I didn't know that going in so I had a normal lunch before leaving. (I did try one of the sausages-in-bbq-sauce but felt that they were far too salty for me to want to eat more, and anyway, I was full from lunch). There were also veggies (I can't digest most raw veggies...) and fruit and some chicken dishes.

I got to see a few people I knew - mostly from AAUW but one or two who were retired from the University.

The best part though, I think, was getting to sing Happy Birthday to Billie. I think there is something good and right about a big group of people getting together to celebrate someone who's had a good long life and has done a lot.

(I dunno. Birthdays were never that big a deal in my family; at the most, you got to pick a restaurant you wanted to eat dinner at (or what you wanted fixed for dinner) and you got a gift or two. And these days I do v. little for my birthdays other than maybe taking a day to go shopping).

But yes, it's nice. It feels good to be part of a group of well-wishers.

There was also cake, and I used the Lenten Loophole ("Sundays aren't part of Lent") so I took a piece. (Well, also, didn't Paul say something about not strictly following dietary restrictions in social settings where it might be more polite/hospitable to let those restrictions slide?)

It was a multi-tier cake with each tier a different flavor. (If I ever have a big do where I get to pick a big cake, I might do that. But I'd have chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and maybe spice as my choices, with something like a cream-cheese frosting). I wound up with a piece of strawberry cake. It was fine, but I tend to feel like strawberry cake is something that always seems better in theory than in practice....Or maybe I just don't like sweetened strawberry stuff all that well.


Today's scripture was Lazarus being raised from the dead. The minister made reference to Martha and Mary (who also play a big role, and Martha here is being Martha) and he talked about a previous church he served at, where there was someone who could (charitably) described as a Martha - she was the person who always pointed out things that "needed" to be done (without, of course, volunteering to do them). And that she often seemed bothered by things that didn't bother other people. And so people did bow to her wishes a little bit. (I suspect most church boards do have someone like that, and yes, it is usually a woman).

During the "shake hands as you leave" time I laughed ruefully to him and admitted that I recognized a bit of Martha in myself, but that I wasn't assertive enough to push for things, and also, that I recognized that a lot of the stuff that bothered me didn't bother other people (And I didn't add, but: I've dealt enough with being "voluntold" to do stuff that I would only bring up something if I were willing to take it on myself - sometimes when I do, someone else goes, "Oh, that's a good idea, I could do that!" and it's off my plate, but yes, I only suggest something if it's super important I would be willing to do it.

And he noted: well, there were other issues in the case I referred to. (He hinted it was someone with an anxiety disorder that was untreated). And I nodded, and remarked: One thing I've learned about adulthood is you spend a lot of time managing other people's feelings. And he kind of laughed ruefully, then.

But yeah, I think that's true, and that's one of the things I find frustrating: I know the only person whose feelings I *control* are my own, but I also do find myself carefully phrasing things, or not saying certain things, or doing things a little differently than I might...because I know some people get upset easily, or have certain thing that make them angry, or whatever, and I honestly find it easier, sometimes, to "censor myself" over certain things than it is to deal with the fallout from someone getting upset.

And yeah, I know, that sounds cowardly, and in the matter of big things, matters of ethics, I wouldn't do it....but sometimes it's just easier not to bring certain things up around certain people, you know?

And I don't know; maybe people do it to me....maybe they do things or phrase things to avoid the topics or things that upset me. And really, maybe, on some level some of that is manners or tact or something? Though I also have encountered people you have to be on SUCH eggshells with that it does become exhausting. I've had a few students like that; I've worked with a few people like that; I've done volunteer work with a few people like fact, the precipitating event that led me to get caller ID was one of those people calling me up, late in the evening  (Like: 10 pm. Late for me....) and they were upset about something and just needed to vent and I've been raised to be too polite and too deferential to say "It's late, I'm tired, ring off now." And of course it upset me (one of the things I've learned from the sort of difficult-emotional people is that somehow they manage to dump their upset onto me) and I slept badly that night....and so from now on, when the phone rings, I can check to see: is it my parents calling late in the evening (and therefore, might be some kind of emergency), or is it a telemarketer, or could it be a wrong number, or is it a friend forgetting I keep early hours (and I will generally pick up in that case), or is it someone looking to dump on me, in which case, I confess, I let it go to voicemail.

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