Relationships with Moms are Complicated

My mother said to me once that out of her four children that I was the one who infuriated her the most, but during a different conversation she said that I was also the one she wished she was more like. Interesting.

My mother and I rarely see eye-to-eye. In fact, recently while talking about Ellen Degeneres and she said she didn’t like her. I said to my mother…”how did you ever have a daughter like me?” And she replied…”I have no idea.”

I don’t just infuriate her. At times, she also infuriates me. She’s very religious and yet, I feel like she judges people a little too much for someone who lives for God. In my opinion, people who are religious should be tolerant of others. She seems to believe that she shouldn’t hide those opinions.

I find it ironic that the exact issues that my mother complains about with her mother are the same things I complain about with her. It has been an interesting relationship and clearly not one I would’ve asked for. I would’ve loved a close relationship that some of my friends have with their mom. But it is what it is. There are times when we we speak on the phone or have an interaction that is positive and uplifting interaction that I wish could go on and on.

I realize my mother won’t be around forever. I hope that as we both get older that we grow closer and perhaps take this relationship into something it hasn’t been in the past. Something in which she understands me and I come to understand her. I believe that if this is something I want then I can figure out a way to make it happen.

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Discovering that Someone You Trust is Untrustable

Have you discovered something about someone you know that disturbs you to your core? There’s someone I’ve known for a long time and I thought I knew really well, but recently after a series of events I’ve come to realize that this person is not who he represents to the world and is almost down right evil. A master manipulator is how someone else put it to me. Several close friends have warned me about him and maybe I just chose to ignore it, but now I feel like somewhat of an idiot. There are so many layers to his manipulation that I’m not sure I even know all of them yet, and that worries me even more.

This is someone I thought I could trust and now I am questioning everything he has ever said to me and if it was actually true. I feel disappointed, disturbed and now feel like my eyes are wide open. I almost want to go back to not knowing…that is how absolutely sick I feel. It has been a few weeks, and initially I thought that perhaps the feeling would change, but it only seems to have gained strength.

Luckily, with this kitchen remodel going on I have very little time to focus on it. But when I do, I am ill. It doesn’t help that I see this person frequently and I suspect that it will be an ordeal to get him out of my life. I’m honestly not sure what I am going to do.

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Are We Seeing More Irrational Sense of Self Entitlement Than Ever Before?

I sell things online…on eBay, Amazon and KSL (a local newspaper classifieds section). I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. At times, I have a lot of stuff to sell and other times not as much. Right now, I don’t have as much listed online.

This year, I’ve noticed something changing on Amazon and I’m still not sure exactly what it is or what it means about society as a whole. I’ve had a lot of return requests and the reason are varied. Most people say they ordered the wrong book or don’t need it anymore. These are just straight returns (if they even return the book at all after they request to return it). One person returned a book that wasn’t mine (I only sell new books and he returned the same book title but a used one to me and then left me negative feedback for questioning this in the first place).

In one case, I shipped the wrong book to a customer and he returned it, but before I received the book back and had a chance to refund him the return shipping….he left negative feedback saying he had to pay the return shipping. Then, through a series of emails about how someone else used his account to purchase the book and leave that feedback…he started flirting with me through the Amazon website. As far as I know, he didn’t know my name or if I was male or female.

Two months after a purchase, one person sent me an email saying they never received their book for their daughter who was leaving for college and they signed it…”a very dissatisfied customer.” I realized that I had switched a couple of numbers on the tracking number I entered into the Amazon website…so I found the receipt with the right number and re-entered it. The tracking showed that it had been delivered a few days after they ordered it. So I sent them an email and never heard anything back. It was as though they went through their order tracking history looking for mistakes and then complained about it.

Another person had a very expensive book delivered to their work and the office picked up their mail at the post office. The buyer said they never received the book. The tracking number showed that the company picked the book up from the post office. Amazon said that I didn’t deliver it directly to the customer and refunded the order.

As far as I know, Amazon hasn’t made any policy changes lately, and they have always favored the buyer whenever there is any question at all. But this year, I have never had so many dissatisfied, angry, and unfocused customers. I haven’t had any issues on eBay, but I also haven’t sold as much on that site. I’ve had more complaints and return requests this year than in the last 20 years combined. And more people seem to be downright lying about the situation in order to get a full refund. In the past, this might have happened once a year, but this year it’s happened over a half dozen times. It seems to be a sense of wide range, irrational self entitlement.

I’m not exactly sure what is going on. Facebook certainly shows more people complaining about politics and yes, they also seem to be dissatisfied, angry and unfocused. But I’m not sure how that relates to buying textbooks on Amazon or if it does. I also see a few things at work where people are acting irrationally and I am not sure what that is all about either. I hope this is fleeting, but I’m concerned it may be more than that or a sign of things to come.

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Fall is Coming

Fall is coming. It’s my favorite time of the year. Over the next few days, the temperatures going to drop dramatically and it looks like it probably won’t go back up into the 90s anymore here in Salt Lake City. I love the feeling of fall. I love the briskness of the air, the fact that it’s usually back-to-school season, the changing colors of the leaves, and all of the fall drinks that warm us up. I eagerly wait for this time of year all year long. It always seems to me that winter and summer last forever, and fall is only here for a month or two, but I look forward to it every year.

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Getting Ready for a Complete Kitchen Remodel

We are about to start a kitchen makeover and all of the choices have been a little overwhelming. While I was on vacation, I saw a friends new fridge and she sold me on it. So that became the center point and everything else seemed to fall into place. We are changing everything in the kitchen. I’m amazed how it’ll go in stages. Demo day, then the floor, etc.

We are going to be in charge of the cabinets which are currently a really nice wood color and we want white. We were planning on taking them to The Stripper and then sanding them down, but a visit to Loews enlightened us to another possibility which was using a bonding primer sealer and then cabinet paint. I’m not sure it’ll work, but I’m excited that it may save us quite a bit of time and money.

I’m trying to stick to a few basic colors of white, gray and blue on backsplash and one wall. I don’t want to go crazy with too many colors, and would like to keep it very simple. We looked at a house awhile back that had been owned by a realtor who was selling. I was emotionally attached to her kitchen (see photo above). The woman had excellent taste. It was mostly white with stainless steel appliances and a little bit of black thrown into it. I realized later that I loved it because it was so simple and streamlined.

We have a lot of other home projects that need to be done and depending on how this goes, we may or may not do them all. One of the reasons I’ve resisted buying a house for so long is that the fixing up and remodeling is not only time consuming, but seems to be a complete waste of money. It lasts ten years or so then it is remodeled again. I’d rather use my money on experiences or travel…things that will matter in the long run. I guess this project will allow me to see if it’s worth it.

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The Beauty of Small Art Towns in the US

I’m on a trip right now in Phoenix and I drove here from Salt Lake City. It has become increasingly clear to me that I love small art towns and not big cities. Too many people live in big cities, there is traffic, and too much going on. Small art towns are more laid back and no one seems to be in a hurry to get anywhere. There are cool stores, coffe shops, creative business that introduce you to local surroundings, restaurants, art galleries, and people trying to sell their creations. Just taking a walk down the street can be an adventure. It’s filled with the promise of finding or discovering something new.

Yesterday, I walked through the streets of Sedona, Arizona. Although it was excruciatingly hot outside, people seemed to be enjoying themselves and would duck into a store to escape the heat for a few minutes. There were a few outside patio restaurants that had street misters that patrons and passerby’s enjoyed. Most stores only carried products from local artists even though numerous stores carried the same products. There were ceramics, beautiful photographs of the surrounding landscape, clothing, and plenty of Indian made jewelry. The tall red rocks were mountainous and surrounded the town. I visited Sedona many years ago and it has changed quite a bit since then…perhaps it is more industrious now. That seems to happen to small art towns as more people want to visit them.

One of my favorite books is called and it describes some of the best small art towns in the US, what can be found there and where they are.

The 100 Best Art Towns in America: A Guide to Galleries, Museums, Festivals, Lodging and Dining, Fourth Edition

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Living in the Minutia Distracts from Enjoying Life

I’ve listened to “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero on CD a few times now. It’s one of the best books I’ve listened to in awhile. One of the things she discusses is what she calls living in the minutia. We get distracted by things that really don’t matter and before we know it we are off on a tangent that distracts us from what we really want in life.

She uses a funny example of getting a parking ticket and how she can’t afford it because it’s her third one this month. So she sets off to fight the ticket. Her energy is spent on fighting it, going to court, etc. All the while, what she really needs to focus on is ignored because of minutia.

I’ve noticed quite a few times now when I am doing this. I get started (and usually upset) on something that takes my focus away from my goals. It’s something that doesn’t matter and most of the time just sets me off in the wrong direction and usually one in which I am going to get frustrated or upset. By realizing this and stopping it (I just say to myself….minutia!) when it happens…I avoid getting wrapped up in it in the first place. It’s been nice.

Now I am starting to notice when other people do it. I’ve watched friends get wrapped up in something for days. Not only is it distracting, but their anger level can’t be good for their health. I remember once talking to my mother about complaining and how bad it is mostly for the complainer. She said to me that she liked complaining, and she didn’t want to give it up because it was one of the few joys she had left in life. Wait. What?! I think she missed the point. It is minutia. Maybe for my mom it cures boredom. I’m not sure.

We have so many things these days to distract us from life. I think it’s important to make sure we are focused on life and what is important to us. Otherwise, we will just end up angry and frustrated. I choose to be happy, relaxed and to enjoy life.

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