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Decisions on a Sunday

Today, my husband and I went to Home Depot to buy odds and ends for the house.  We bought light bulbs, batteries, and a/c filters. flower-bulb-shop We looked at flowers and appliances and flashlights.

For us this was huge. We almost never go shopping together on Sundays.  I mean, the last time we did something like this was when we went to Costco a month ago.

Shopping for house items is one thing, but going with one’s spouse is another. Continue reading

The Grands

My son and daughter-in-law went somewhere the other day and left our grandson,  their two-year old son with us for a few hours. He screamed and cried so loudly when they left, “Mommy, Daddy,…” that I thought the neighbors down the block would hear. (some exaggeration here).

But seriously, he really cried like he meant it. He eventually calmed down and was a happy camper, but his method of communication that was so “real” and “honest” made me think about my own honesty in my communication.

Do we all express our feelings to our close ones like we really mean it? Or do we muffle our sound because we want to please the next person? Are we afraid to look bad so we don’t express what we really mean, or at least tell the other one  “Let’s agree to disagree,” rather than misrepresenting ourselves and our reality? Continue reading

The Ultimate Friend

Saw this somewhere on a Group that I follow:
“G-d doesn’t use an iPhone but He is my favorite contact.
He is not on Facebook but He is my best Friend.
He is not on Twitter but I follow Him nevertheless.
He doesn’t need internet yet I am connected to Him,
And although He has a massive communication system,
He never Un-Friends me, nor does He put me on hold.”
As I shared this on Facebook (the app that is on my blackberry), and then jumped at each of the “Likes” I got while browsing the internet, I decided I have a ways to go before integrating the essence of the above quote.

C’est la vie. It’s all about the process.






I couldn’t resist. It’s Friday, a day that I’m usually occupied with preparing for Shabbos, running myriad errands, and getting my final paperwork into my work supervisor’s box. And yet here I am blogging. I had to get something down, and fast. Before I forget it. Before the inspiration runs out.

That is the pattern of communicating for me. I get ideas, and I jot them down. Sometimes in my notebook for a to-be-developed-later article. And other times on this blog.  It’s a good thing as a writer to do that. Ideas don’t fly away, and inspirations get used.  But sometimes what is good for one area, can be a flaw in another area. Writing can be tweaked and revised; words on paper can be edited and cut.

But, when we say things too fast, before thinking them through, or planning for how the other person will take it, we run into problems.  My close friends know that “yeah, Miriam is just venting; don’t take her too seriously. She’ll calm down later. She’ll write an article and figure it all out, or she’ll compose a song, or she’ll just forget about it. No worries!” But still, I try to curb that need to speak things out, and often I write it out in my notebook or process it, or let it ride, before speaking it out.

I have realized lately that we all have our styles and “languages” of communicating with speech. I have also noted that some other people I know speak quite a different “language” than I do, and my job in these relationships is to understand that language. One of these patterns is regarding punctuality and time management.

For example, when I invite someone to my home at 8:00 for dinner, I figure they will come to my home around 8 or 8:10. Maybe 8;15. If they are going to be later than that, I suppose they’d let me know. But I have learned over the years that for some people, “Come over at 8:00 to our house for dinner,” is translated in their mind as “Oh – we’d love to have you over for dinner. Please come at 8:45 or later. That would be great!”

That is what the speakers of the non-Miriam-language hear. Have you ever been to a wedding that was called for 5:30 pm, and when you arrived at 6:00 pm, you were the only ones there? Even the bride and groom had not arrived yet? The family of the bride and groom usually trickle in at around 7, maybe.

Some grandmothers (that would be me!) are famous for expressing things to their family), and others may need translating. How about this?

“What’s the matter with you? Can’t you put on a clean shirt on the child?” (uttered in supposed-English to English speaking adult child).

Grandmother-Speak Translation: “I love you so much and I really want you to look nice, so make sure the child looks nicely all the time  (read: when I’m around).”

I’m still not so sure that the latter translation is that different in tone than the previous one, but it somehow conveys a different message – slightly more positive and loving.

In short, there are many ways that we can communicate. But make sure when you speak to someone else, you are speaking the same language. If not, make sure to get a good dictionary and translate accordingly. You will be happy you did.


Splinklers and Ekscalators

When my kids were about 2 or 3 and were developing their language day by day (hour by hour!), I loved when they mispronounced words. In fact, I would refrain from correcting them, because it was music to my ears to hear the way they chose to form the words. I found it to be utterly creative. This stage of parenting was so joyous for me, that I recall many of those words and the way the kids said the words.

See if you can figure out the “real” adult word from the words or phrases below:

Splinkers, ekscalators, upslide-down, pubulups, Yes, I’m are!.
Now, that I’m a Bubby – I not only embrace the words my grandsons use (strangely – these boys are soooo articulate that there are not so many of these mispronunciations these days), but I look out for them. When someone says a funny word, I get so excited, and I practically reinforce the mispronouncing! But have no fear, the kids grow up and all learn to speak perfectly well, and are quite skilled in their diction.

Here’s a song I composed together with one of my toddler and pre-school sons to sing at bedtime — he who had a whole slew of words that he said in his own creative way:

To the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Splinklers and some ekscalators are working

Upslide down

I tried to tell my mohzer – yes I’m are all the way

down town

I asked her to seal my pubulups

Before I went to sleep

We said hello to Mrs. Habraham

And didn’t make a peep!

Shabbat Shalom!

Have a great weekend…full of speech and lovely communication.

Disqualifying Disclaimers

Someone my husband and I know who lives in another state, often prefaces and concludes comments to us with a sandwich of D.D.’s.

The Disqualifying Disclaimer.

For example, this person begins the remarks with “I really don’t want to make you angry or upset.” Then he/she continues on with whatever he/she has planned to tell us. And at the end of said comments, our friend concludes with, “Now, if I upset you, please forgive me.”  By the time  we, the listeners have figured out that an insult is coming, the speaker has already rattled off the criticism, and wrapped up the monologue with a concluding Disclaimer (such as: sorry to have had to tell you this…).

I call  this pattern of communicating and “introducing” unpleasant remarks, the “Disqualifying Disclaimer” because once it (the intro) is said — if the listener is alert — the D.D. can be the ultimate give-away to the listener. The give-away is  that whatever is to follow, will be the exact opposite of what the Disclaimer/Intro has claimed it would be.

The D.D. disqualifies what the speaker is about to say, rather than strengthens it.

The D.D. goes something like this:

Well, to be perfectly honest….(followed by some gibberish that the listener now knows is NOT true).

Well, trust me when I tell you that…(followed by some serious discussion of some material that the listener now is warned NOT to trust).

Here’s another winner:

You see, I hope you don’t mind me telling you, but…(I’m now going to rattle off a  harsh insult directed at the listener because I already said I hope you don’t mind, so it’s okay.)

When I hear these introductions, I try to tune out the rest – by singing (to myself – in my head) “It’s a small world after all….la la la la…” or other such distracting ditty.

But more often than not, I forget to do the ditty.

I vow to myself that next time I will respectfully ask the person to communicate more positively.

All these disclaimers have one thing in common:

Defensiveness. The person who is speaking them or writing them, is defending his or her position before actually saying it. One should not have to defend or protect something that is true, accurate or valid.

And all these D.D’s only serve to weaken —not strengthen – what is to come.

Rule of thumb? Just say it. Say what ya mean, and mean what ya say. No need to defend or introduce.

And if it might be offensive, then try the rule: “When In Doubt, Don’t.”

Now, if I offended anyone by this post….please forgive me. (NOT! Scratch that…)

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