365 – April 2017 Posts

Book Review: Sketch by Didi Oviatt

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SketchSketch by Didi Oviatt
Sketch is the fifth work I’ve read from Didi Oviatt. It tells the story of a group of young adults in Montana in the early/mid 20th century, just on the border of historical fiction for me — a perfect blend of setting, scenery, and the past. I’d consider it a lengthy novella that reads quite quickly, perhaps 2 hours on average. The kids are young, poor, and in need of guidance. They live off the land, have troubles with their parents, and refuse to admit their feelings for one another. It is, after all, nearly 80 years ago when life was quite different. Then… the serial killings start happening again.

Michael and John are brothers. They are raw, rugged, and tough. But not as much as Chloe, Michael’s secret crush. In a fairly opening scene, she kills, skins, cooks, and eats a snake. Steven enters the picture, and he’s a bit aloof. We know John has a thing for Misty, but when her father comes looking for revenge, readers learn Misty has gone missing. Is one of the group responsible? The sheriff and a few other law protectors get involved, then we start seeing the violence happening in this very tiny town which doesn’t even show up on a map. Now that’s the way to start telling a gory story – all the essentials for a dramatic confrontation and fearful denouement.

We’re quickly dropped into the scary search for Misty. When we find her body, scattered and dismembered, you know for certain — without a doubt — you’ve entered the world of Didi Oviatt’s marvelous imagination. In most of her previous works, readers are treated to that criminally insane killer who thirsts for blood. But she pushes it even further this time when we watch the visceral murder scene of two characters — one we could’ve guessed, another that was a shock. Oviatt clearly shows us why her antagonist stayed in hiding since the killings began over a decade ago. How could anyone not figure it out? Clever is her killer who knows what not to say.

When I pick up an Oviatt book, I’m guaranteed a thrilling adventure / killing spree with the finest finesse and balance of drama, dialog, and murder during the high points. You swiftly turn the pages. You briefly skim something that seems non-essential because you just HAVE TO FIND OUT what’s happening, then you’re forced with your tails between your legs to return because you know you missed a clue five lines earlier. Don’t do it! Read every word and enjoy the boiling as it explodes. Unfortunately, it’s so good that it’s too hard to slow down; she makes you thirst like the killer for your own solution.

Add to it, in this case, a setting when there were no cars in Montana, people took the law into their own hands, and murders went unsolved for longer periods of time. Wow, this was a ride. And what the killer keeps in his/her little jar of mementos is sickening. But of course, it’s brilliant. I enjoyed this latest edition from Oviatt’s startlingly vivid imagination. I’ve got one more book to finish reading all of her work, and I’m very curious to see how it compare — it’s a different genre, so that’ll be something to look forward to this fall. Congrats on another winner!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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365 Challenge: Day 49 – A to Z Least Favorites

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A to Z Favorites: A list of 26 things that I hate, one for each letter, a challenge posed to any readers who would like to participate

ATOZfavorite

As a follow-up to last week’s favorite things from A to Z, this week we’re focusing on our LEAST favorite things, continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) of sorts that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

Oh, But I love both!

Rules

  1. Pick something that starts with that letter and add it to your own list. Don’t think about it… just come up with a couple ideas in under five seconds and choose the best of the bunch.
  2. It can be a thing or place, but not a named person. We don’t want anyone to feel left out!
  3. This week it’s your LEAST favorite things… but next week will be something else. Add in any extra comments if you need to explain.
  4. Nominate 5 people at the bottom of your post that you want to re-post with their 26 items. Pick at random – no favorites!
  5. It’s a fun game, but if you are nominated and DO NOT want to participate, you don’t have to. Just ignore it! Totally OK.
  6. You may not have been nominated, but you can totally participate by following these rules.
  7. Post it as a reply on the person’s blog where you found it. Also post it on your own blog as a new post.
  8. Should we use a tag so we can see all the responses? Suggestions…
  9. This may not go anywhere if there is no participation other than me. And that’s OK. The 365 Daily Challenge was about me to start, so I cannot expect or force anyone else.
  10. Have fun and get to know your online friends. Tell us when you post your 26 items.  Thanks!

My A to Z LEAST Favorite Things

A – Arguments

B – Bedbugs (never had them, but friends have… not pretty!)

C – Cancer (too many loved ones have died)

D – Death

E – Eggplant (tastes like dirt)

F – Fake plants (I abhor them… won’t let them into my home… only real ones)

G – Grinding my teeth (can’t seem to stop myself lately)

H – Heat (just when it’s too hot in the summer)

I – Illness (who likes being sick?)

J – Jellyfish (they sting)

K – Killers

L – Loudness

M – Mushrooms (taste worse than dirt)

N – Nonsense (when people do stupid things on purpose, I get annoyed!)

O – Octopus (tastes like rubber)

P – Pretenders (just be real people)

Q – Quid Pro Quo (that saying annoys me, just a fancy way of saying “can you do me a favor?”)

R – Reality TV show (those people drive me crazy)

S – Stealing (it’s not very nice, is it?)

T – Tickled (I absolutely can’t stand being tickled… feel so unprotected)

U – U-Turns (I much prefer using a traffic circle… easier)

V – Vandalism

W – Wasps

X – Xerox (this was a hard one… I like the company, but I hate when people say “I’ll make a xerox.”  Just say “I’ll make a copy.”)

Y – Yelling

Z – Zilch (ugh… the word sounds awful. Just say “zero.”)

People You Are Tagging

  1. cindy knoke
  2. susandyer1962
  3. BrizzleLass
  4. Patricia
  5. alwaystrustinbooks

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 48 – Generous

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Generous: showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected; showing kindness toward others; larger or more plentiful than is usual

Everyone is generous at some point in his or her life; however, we are also stingy from time to time. It’s often a matter of what’s being asked of us, our level of available resources and our mind-set. I’m no exception, but I will say outright that I am not as generous as I should be and want to be. And it’s something I need to work on.

For the purpose of today’s post, rather the cover examples of how I’ve been or not been generous, I’d like to discuss why it is people often struggle with being generous. It comes down to a few key things — in my opinion:

  1. Fear: It is easy to be afraid to do something. Perhaps you feel you don’t have enough money or time to share, so you hold back rather than lend or donate. Or maybe when you’ve been too generous with someone in the past, they’ve taken advantage of the situation. (No judgment here; each person should determine what is best for for him or herself, or how to handle relationships with others).
  2. Laziness: Often, we want to be more generous, but don’t make this a priority because we forget to think about it. (Again, no judgment; we are all aware of our own selfless level of thinking about things outside our own realm).
  3. Unknowing: I’ve found people are unsure of how to be more generous or knowledgeable about the ways they can actually follow through on it. (Double again, no judgment; we’re not always shown or taught the way to find these options on our own).
  4. Exhaustion: At the end of the day, we’re so busy focusing on the things we NEED to do, we forget the things that we SHOULD do. That said, there is an argument for saying being generous is a NEED and not just a SHOULD. (Yup, you guessed it about judgment… sometimes we just have no energy left, I get it).

I’m sure there are other reasons, and perhaps they don’t fall into 1 of these 4 categories in the most appropriate way, but that’s where I’ve gotten to in my head on this topic. Let’s look at ways to improve how we are doing in these areas:

  • Fear
    • Determine why you are afraid and either confront it, remove the roadblock or ignore it and move forward. Don’t stall or freeze by doing nothing.
    • If it’s fear of being taken advantage, find ways to limit the impact back on you. Or choose to be generous with others and not with that person if for some reason (s)he always takes advantage of it.
    • If it’s fear of doing something on your own, i.e. volunteering somewhere, find a buddy and go with someone else the first time.

  • Laziness
    • Make a note, send yourself an email or leave a reminder on your calendar to find 15 minutes a week where you do something for someone else — not just yourself.
    • Associate something you love to do with a method for being generous. If you have a secret ice cream fetish and go every Tuesday night, tack on 15 minutes to (1) buy a cone for someone else (if you can afford it), (2) clean up some garbage in a park on the way to the ice cream store, (3) donate books to a shelter for someone to have the ability to read.
    • Find something you love to do and figure out how to share it with someone else who doesn’t have access to it as easily as you do.

  • Unknowing
    • Ask your friends, colleagues or acquaintances.
    • Look it up on the internet.  You obviously have access if you’re reading this post (not meant sarcastically!). Find something local that would work for you.
    • Drive or walk around your neighborhood and see what is already there — or what’s missing. See how you can be of help.
    • Think about your relationships… is someone is need of a friend a little more often? Could you buy someone lunch once a week if you know they are struggling financially to support him or herself?

  • Exhaustion
    • Schedule it. Block out 30 minutes a week, an hour a month, whatever works for you. Make it part of the routine, not something you do if you have free time.
    • Start small. Increase as you can. Don’t take on too much at first.
    • Save coins you don’t use until it adds up enough to buy a cup of coffee, a meal or a coat for someone else.
    • Take a break from the things you don’t need to do every minute… don’t clean for 3 hours one day, only use 2 hours and save that last 1 hour for someone else who needs your help. Your house won’t fall apart. Another person can pitch in that last hour.

Here’s the deal (yikes, I’m sounding direct in this post when I really mean to just think aloud)… I have done maybe 10% of the things I just suggested. I’m not as generous as I should be. And just sitting here typing this kinda cements it for me. It’s time I became a bit of a better person. So my commitment to YOU — I will take on 2 new things (from what I’ve listed here) in the month of May. And I’ll report back to you (hold me accountable please) to review it. The good, the bad and the ugly.

With all that said, do you know of any other reasons besides these four (4) items that contribute to our lack of generosity with others?  I’m flat out ignoring the fact that some people just don’t care to help others or be considerate. So reject that one!

Whether it’s giving more time, spending more money or being more open-minded, what stops you from being more generous? Or… tells us how you are a generous person and offer some suggestions on how we can be even better. Thanks!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

 

365 Challenge: Day 47 – Healthy

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Healthy: indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health (free from illness or injury)

Being “healthy” has been on my mind more than usual in the last few days. And while this may not be a typical trait or characteristic to describe oneself, it feels like an important one to discuss right now. That said, I am not a doctor, health practitioner, therapist or fitness guru; I offer no advice other than random thoughts occurring in my mind…

If I had to guess where I fall on the scale of being healthy or unhealthy, specifically relating to the supposed norm for my gender, age, body type, etc., I’d say, I’m likely on the fairly healthy end. I certainly have moments where I am not a good example, but I generally strive to be healthy when it comes to my body. I’m not covering being healthy with the mind today, as that’s a good topic for another day.

Being healthy for me is more a way of or an approach to life. I am by no means very knowledgeable on the topic as a whole, but I try to incorporate little things throughout the day — to improve my chances… I’d like to live a long life free of pain and illness. To do that, I know I need to pay attention to certain areas along that path. I can’t change my genetics, which have a large contributing role to my health. I can’t prevent accidents or impacts from other people or environmental conditions, which will also have some control to my future healthiness. But I can ensure I take positive steps.

Let's get physical

Many thanks to the GIF creator on this one. Angela Lansbury made a video called “Positive Moves.” My friends and I love “Murder, She Wrote,” but became obsessed with this video… shocking stuff and commentary on her video for someone so seemingly innocent!

And so… a few areas I try to focus on when attaining a healthy lifestyle:

  • I monitor what I eat on a regular basis.
    • It doesn’t mean I don’t make bad choices, but the decision process is a conscious part of my day. I try to balance the intake of vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, dairy, et al, not consuming too much or too little of any one item.
    • I know most pre-packaged or processed foods are not good for me and should only be eaten in small quantities. I’m trying to swap snack bars with fresh produce, nuts and grains wherever possible. I’m much better at it now than I was in the past.
    • I think about limiting portions so that I am not feeling over-stuffed and bloated.
      • GOOD – I’ve tried swapping a few meals a week with healthy protein shakes or juices. And my online friend Jenn (Read,Rant,Rock&Roll is the blog) has some great tips. Check them out here — plus her blog has tons of book reviews. A must see!
      • BAD – I had IHOP yesterday with my parents (splurge day, and I love me some IHOP) but I was so bloated for hours afterwards. Good thing we went for a 30 minute walk afterwards, to at least try to fix it.
    • I plan my meals a little more in advance; I think about using leftovers, making a lunch for 2 or 3 days, and knowing food options if I’m away from home during meal hours.

  • I occasionally take vitamins, but know that I should be more diligent.
    • I buy them, and usually take them 3 to 4 times per week. But to be honest, I often forget as they are hidden in the bathroom cabinet. I don’t like things sitting out on counters; if not in sight, I miss it.
    • I should associate taking daily vitamins with another mid-morning activity so it goes hand in hand… Need to think about this approach or consider always taking them at lunch.
    • I need to research this area more. I honestly do not know the proper amounts for someone like me, e.g. age, weight, ethnicity, height, etc.
    • I drink water, coffee and OJ. No sugar-added juices or soda. Not for about 20 years at this point. I’ll have a glass maybe once every few months, but that’s it.
  • I try not to take any medicine unless absolutely necessary.
    • I am not on any prescriptions, so that’s easy. I’m lucky.
    • I only take Advil or Tylenol when I have a really bad headache. Otherwise I try to get through it with water, coffee or stress-relief tactics.
    • I’m not big on going to the doctor for colds or smaller things. OJ and Vitamin C are my friend. Doctors are for big items in my world. It’s not a money thing. It’s a “don’t be wasteful of someone else’s time” thing.
    • I am learning to balance my drinking… sometimes it’s 5 per week, sometimes it’s all I want on Sat & Sun, but none during the week. All depends, but I make sure it’s not an every day thing! Even tho, I firmly believe:

  • I workout regularly.
    • I try to walk whenever possible. Unless it’s hot out. I hate to sweat. So then it’s public transportation all the way, baby.
    • I get to the gym at least 5 days per week. Usually 45 to 60 minutes each time, alternating between weights/machines and cardio/abs each day.
    • I sit on the couch a lot when I should be getting up and about more often to keep the muscles moving around frequently.
  • I’ve been healthy most of my life so I’m lucky it’s been easy to follow.
    • Occasional kidney stones… those are painful! Especially when I was 11 or 12 and got my first one. I was also starting to go through puberty around that time… And I was so messed up about everything going on in that area! Not that you really care to hear about that.

  • Every year at my regular “check-up,”(yes, I will go for this reason) the doctor tells me I have the blood pressure of a teenager. It’s something like 100 over 60. I think it’s because I am in tune with my body and keep stress free whenever possible!
  • My cholesterol has always been low until the last two years when it started approaching 200. I know it’s what I am eating from time to time, so I’m cutting out the cheese (except as a treat) and other contributing factors. No need to take medicine to fix that yet.
  • No broken bones or injuries.
  • Eyesight is pretty poor, and I wear contact lenses or glasses.
  • Family history of cancer, diabetes, kidney issues, alcoholism and heart disease. Almost every single person who passed away (grandparents and great-grandparents) had at least 2 of those issues.

Knowing all this, it’s my responsibility to do my best to be healthy. It saves my own pain and problems, but also the rest of the world:

  • My friends and family will worry less.
  • Doctors will be free to see other patients who are sick because of things they had no control over.
  • I can demonstrate a better way of living to younger generations.
  • I have more free time.
  • I will live much longer.

Let’s hope I’m not putting a little curse on it by writing all about it today. I don’t actually believe in something being a jinx, but this is also not a topic I’d mess around with. I want to be healthy. To torture you with posts forever, of course!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 46 – Simple

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Simple: easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty; composed of a single element; straightforward

Simple is usually a good thing, when it’s applied to things or actions. You can accomplish more and feel less restricted when something is simple to do. When it’s applied to people, it can more often mean something negative as well as something positive, even at the same time.

I consider myself simple, when it comes to keeping myself entertained or interested in others. I tend to follow that ole familiar saying: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), meaning don’t over-complicate whatever it is you are trying to do. Ensure everyone can understand, then you make a bigger impression with whatever is the goal.

For me, I apply the simple approach for most things right out of the gate, increasing the intensity or complexity depending on whatever I’m trying to accomplish. I’m not focusing on work-related items, as that’s similar but in a different manner. I’m referring to how I keep myself focused during the day. Examples:

  • I don’t need to be entertained 24/7. I’m perfectly comfortable reading, watching TV, wandering around the house… not needing a lot of conversation or interaction with others. Of course, I couldn’t do that all the time, but generally, that’s a simple approach.

  • I attempt to limit any and all stress in my life by keeping my days simple. Certain things get me worked up, but generally, I’m not going to get upset when I don’t need to.  It’s all a matter of perspective and analysis, understanding what the real item at hand is.
  • If I have multiple paths to complete something, I tend to look for the easiest one that will accomplish the most. “Biggest bang for the buck.”

I certainly don’t take those tendencies overboard… but it’s a fair balance to be able to do more with less. I’d rather not spend hours trying to design something until it’s perfect, when I can find a good/solid approach and be comfortable knowing there might be something better and I didn’t get there or do that. I don’t see this as not being a perfectionist, which I’ve already confessed I am. A perfectionist needs things to be perfect, but simple can also be perfect.

When things are simple, you have less expectations. When things are simple, you can observe the beauty of something in its natural state or its innocence. When things are simple, you have a moment to breathe and enjoy it.

Things we should all try to find simplicity in:

  • Don’t get caught up in “what should we do” today… enjoy the time together, even if it’s just sitting in a quiet room and doing nothing for an hour.
  • Find a picturesque landscape and reflect on different aspects of its beauty. Think about your five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
  • Don’t over-analyze why the other person did something that made you upset / confused. Ask them… or let it go… or choose to accept the simplest answer (I’m talking about the little things!)
  • Don’t get angry about things (again, minor items) and be sure to find a way not to let it impact you.
  • Don’t over-plan such that you can’t sit back and let something happen naturally.

Having a simple approach can make your day and your life a whole lot better. That said, I am not always simple. A few points I need to improve on as the way I work below can be stressful and the opposite of simple:

  1. If I have company, the apartment needs to be spotless. I always clean.
  2. If I’m cooking a meal, it is usually not simple. Must have 20 ingredients.
  3. If I’m doing anything financial (bills, projections, investments), it is never simple. I obsess over pennies, and we’ve talked about that part of me before.

Just be careful you don’t become uncaring or lackadaisical about things. Sometimes it is important to be more focused. You also don’t want to give off an impression that you are non-committal or too removed from a situation.

How do you ensure more simplicity in your life? I’m asking for a friend… who is me… so I can keep on improving every day. Give me 20 ways please, it’s on my mind all the time… and I must improve. LOL

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 45 – Neighborly

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Neighborly: being good neighbor [person who lives close by to you], especially helpful, friendly, or kind

Being neighborly can be a good and a bad thing. As I begin writing this post, I’m smack in the middle of the barometer on the whole subject. Let’s see where I end up at the bottom of this post.

Seems like an easy one, right? You’re nice to the people who live next door to you. But how far do you actually take it? Do you become friends? Do you dog-sit? Do you lend items? Do you stalk? Oh, wait, that’s taking it too far.

I’m proud to say I’ve never had a combative relationship with any of my neighbors. I’ve had a few times where they bothered me a little bit with excess noise or a sour puss… but those things can be ignored or fixed with a minor conversation. Except for once. One neighbor always looked like she was miserable… and trying to be a nicer person, I said “hi, how was your day?” in the elevator. She looked at me, pulled her glasses down towards the end of her nose, smirked and said “There’s no need for us to talk.” I had never spoken to the woman before. Our apartments don’t share a common wall. And I’m extremely quiet, so I couldn’t have bothered her before.  A few days later, a friend stopped by, and we all got stuck in the elevator together riding down a few floors. I admit it was childish… but when the woman stepped out of the elevator before us, I mumbled just loud enough for her to hear… “Shh… talking will send you straight to hell around here.”  Ah, that’s on my board of “Moments I am Proud of.”

Historically speaking… your neighbors were people you were often very close to, related to, or at least knew enough about. Nearly 100 years ago, it was acceptable for your neighbor to complete the US Census for you when the census taker couldn’t get hold of you. And when the cops came around looking for you, your neighbor always knew where you’d be!

Today, people sometimes live in an apartment building for years, never once seeing or meeting their next door neighbor. When I lived in the suburbs, I thought that was completely nuts. How could you not see the person every day? Then I moved into the city and realized… it’s definitely possible.

As a child and teenager, I lived next door in the suburbs to my best friend. We were the same age, went to school together and played or hung out every day after school and on weekends. Everyone on the block knew one another… until slowly generations changed and people moved… then folks started talking about that new couple that moved in… and the nosy gossip started!

When I lived in the dorms in college, I knew my mates and the 2 or 3 dorm room inhabitants directly around me, but not everyone. And when I bought my first house, I made zero effort to get to know the people who lived nearby. So where do I fall on that neighborly scale?

Reasons Why I Am

  • I love small town charm and knowing everyone else’s business. But they can’t know mine.
  • I love being helpful in case (s)he needs to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • I kinda want to know if someone creepy is living that close to try not to get on his/her bad side.
  • It’s probably good someone knows what you look like in case someone else is trying to break into your place. At least there’s a chance (s)he will try to call the cops for you.

Reasons Why I Am NOT

  • I live in NYC where everything is a rush. Who has time for chit-chat?
  • I’m a shy and quiet person. I don’t like to be interrupted.
  • I tend to get a little “that’s mine, don’t touch it” attitude every so often. I was an only child. And I don’t like border disputes! 🙂

In all seriousness though… being neighborly seems like a good thing. It can run the gamut from friendly to just a nod of acceptance. We’re all in this world together, a little gesture now and again shouldn’t kill us. And you never know who or what may come out of getting to know them a little bit.

I also think it’s a different type of neighborly when you live in the same building versus separate land and property. It’s easy to chat in an elevator with someone who lives on your floor. (REALLY, it is…) You may need to make the effort when they live 100 feet away.

How about you? Do you want to know your neighbors or would you prefer to keep some distance?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 44 – Ornery

Posted on

Ornery: stubborn, crotchety, bad-tempered and combative

Ornery is the type of word where you guess what it means from how it sounds, as in a bit of onomatopoeia showing itself around the edges. I really don’t think of myself as ornery, but I have been known on occasion to act as though I am. I chose the word because I felt a bit “off” today when I began my morning. To truly be ornery, I’d need a bit of anger or ill-temper as the definition points out to us; however, my brand of ornery is slightly different.

I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to blog. I didn’t want to exercise. I didn’t want to do any job searching or researching. I wasn’t in a bad mood, just that nothing appealed to me. Sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing felt appropriate. But that’s just silly and wasteful. It’s likely just boredom creeping in a little too much this week, but I’ll need to be careful to keep the ornery parts at bay.

Ornery usually applies to older men, at least in my experience. Think of the movie “Grumpy Old Men,” and you know exactly what I’m talking about in Walter Mathau’s character. I find myself on occasion showing those tendencies even though he was at least twice my age.

A few examples:

  • I’ll see people holding hands walking down the street blocking my ability to pass them and think “Ugh, stop being so silly and romantic. Get out of my way.”
    • But I am often a romantic guy, so it was just a fleeting moment.
  • I’ll be forced to go to a bar (I prefer my drinking at home or in restaurants) and watch the “young-ins” making fools of themselves, thinking “You have no sense of boundaries or self-respect.”
    • I’ve been quite immature a few times in the last decade. I’m no one to talk.
  • Friends want to do something new and I’ll just think it’s silly. “Huh? You want to go sit in a park and talk to people while listening to what music? That sounds stupid.”
    • But I will get upset when other people say or do the same thing to me.

Yes, I have had those thoughts. And consider parts of my personality truly still have me feeling as though I am 20 years old, there is this odd balance where I also feel 80 years old. And when I feel 80, I’m already reflecting on how much the generation coming up after me is just not as good as mine. Of course, that’s completely false and ignorant of me. Yes, certain things indicate there is a potential they are not as mature as I thought I was, but certain things show a lot more intelligence and open-mindedness as each new generation comes of age. It’s just perception playing games, depending on where you are in life and how old you are during which time period.

This post has nothing to do with people’s maturity. Not sure how it went in that direction, but since it’s important in these 365 posts that I just write what I am thinking and not spend time crafting it to perfection, it remains in print.

What I’m essentially saying here, is that for someone of 40, I certainly exhibit early onset ornery behaviors that I’d like to go away! I don’t want to turn into that elderly guy in the corner house who complains all the time about someone standing on their lawn.

True, I am never that guy in public, only in my own head and in my own home or when near close family / friends, so maybe 6 or 7 people actually see this trait in me… but enough that I need to be careful about it.

On the flip side, I have those moments where I’m pushing people to stay out longer, do more things, be more fun… so there is a fair balance. But when I am ornery, I am ornery. What contributes to this behavior? It almost feels like once you let one or two ornery thoughts creep in, the flood opens and it’s a massive takeover. And generally only time will force it to go away.

I’m grateful my orneriness has a bit of humor about it. As I will talk to myself, fidget with things, make things seem so much worse than they actually are. And those closest to me kinda get a kick out of it, as they see me with limited self-control, not the usual robot, and enjoy my little dilemma. I’m often locked in my own room to sort it out myself once I get too far off the deep end. Even Ryder, my dog, runs in the other direction when I’m ornery. He doesn’t like the word “no” and that often is the first word out of my mouth in these situations.

“No, I do not want to go there for dinner.”

“No, I am not up for leaving the apartment.”

“No, I’m not taking you for a walk.”

“No, stop begging for treats.”

Maybe confessing it will limit the appearance in the future. It seems to be almost gone today, but I’m still a little grouchy and unsure what today will hold. Ever feel that way? How do you handle it…

For your amusement… as I am doing a quick re-read and spell check before hitting “publish,” Ryder is huffing at a noise outside the door. My response: “Oh shut up and stop being so ornery. Other people live in this building. Where did you learn this ridiculous behavior from?”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.