Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Falls To Me...but I can hurl it back...(on my blog)

Before I start in on the things that "fall to me" (as suggested by Elisabeth's latest post), can I just say that I love my blog?  I think you know that I love reading your thoughts and seeing your images. And it's obvious I like organizing all my randomness into blah, blah, blah. But what I mean is, I really love my blog. As in, it's the last thing I want to see before I go to bed at night, and the first thing I want to see in the morning kind of love. After I write a post, I narcissistically gaze at this thing I've created - this wonderful one-of-a kind expression of all that is me. But it's not the same gaze I reserve for new babies in my life. No, that's the normal me.

I can probably blame the stresses in my life right now for this abnormal attraction to my blog. I've received a few comments about my obsessional need to talk about my mother's failing health and I have Rachel to thank for reminding me that this is not fiction I'm writing here - it's my life. And this is what's happening right now, so I'm compelled to write about it and photograph it (new picture of Mom's hands on sidebar). And this brings me back to THINGS THAT FALL TO ME:

It falls to me to care for my mother. I'm the only daughter who lives in town. It fell to me to organize her finances after an unscrupulous trustee invested a huge portion of her money in worthless junk bonds. It involved a law suit and thousands of hours of understanding things financial and legal. There were times I half-seriously looked around my house for convenient places I could toss a rope and quit 'hanging in there' by hanging there. After lawyer's fees, we recovered about a tenth of what he'd lost, so I am more philosophical about what money can do and what it can't do. It's kind of a good thing there were no exposed beams in my home, though. 

When I was married, it fell to me to do a lot of housework. Like I said to Elisabeth - Yeah, things fall, but why do we women think we have to catch it all?

Byron Katie, author of the revolutionary concepts in The Work, talks a lot about things that are our business and things that are not. If we are the ones that want an organized house, then we do what is required to keep it that way. Trying to badger a mate into having our values is pointless. She goes through 4 simple questions about the truth of any matter and how it all goes back to our choice in how we think - concepts so mentally healthy, it makes me shake. I highly recommend it. I know I resist doing things that are healthy because I'm a little addicted to drama. Choices, it's all about choices.

Which brings me back to things that fall...

...and people who scoop things up. I am wondering if any of you are scoopers and if you've managed to deflect some of the falling debris. Stories?...Successes?....Failures?


  1. I'm guilty of dumping. I rationalize my laziness by blaming my upbringing where Mom took care of everyone, when grandmother wasn't. Women have a strength that men often lack, , at least in my experience where fathers were unreliable as well as distant.

    Looking forward to seeing Neon Trees.

  2. TAG - I'm so glad you're going to see my awesome niece. Are you taping it or are you a late-nighter?

    That's very honest of you to admit you're a dumper. Is Sherie? Sharie? a dumpee? I'm glad you think women are strong, but sometimes we need more than admiration.

  3. Dang! Holdmarker. I have something to say about this, but your post hit at my busiest part of the day. Wah! What if I had something to say but had to wait a moment? LOVE The Work, Kass. It's profound. It's got me across some rough moments. I'll be back.

  4. Kass, I will be awake for this broadcast. Looking forward to it. I enjoyed their video so much.

    We have agreed on a split. I clean the house to my liking while she's at work, then she comes home and does it to her liking or not.

  5. I constantly worry about how much I do for my kids. My mother-in-law openly admits she did too much for her kids and now my husband has such poor household habits. He is a wonderful provider and a hard worker, but not so much at home. Now I find myself doing the same thing with my boys and yet I don't want to recreate their father in this way...

    Hmmm, I don't know what that makes me?

  6. Ah, Kass. A great many things fell into my hands. I did the best I could but died (in many fundamental ways) while trying to carry the load.

    This whole "Life" thing ain't no walk in the park. Then, again, it remains a most amazing journey.

  7. Kass, I'm with you on your love of your blog. I love mine too, for all that from time to time it makes me blush for shame.

    The care of my elderly mother has fallen largely to my older sister for all sorts of complex reasons, including geography and gender. In our family at least the girls are all more likely to be care givers, the boys providers.

    I have allowed certain things to fall to me, especially the organization of the household chores and in some ways I recognise that I could encourage my children to do more. And that I am dominated to some extent by the desire to protect them from the things I went through - too much responsibility too soon.

    While we're on this theme of things that fall to us I'm inspired to put up another post on a related topic.

  8. Kass, Are you saying that folks have commented negatively about your 'obsessional need' to talk about caring for your mom? That would be a hot button for me because my mom lives with my husband and I, suffers from a progressively degenerative disease that will ultimately kill her and it's real life. I, too, blog about it now and again.

    I am a mega scooper. I manage. I organize. They call me a bit "anally retentive", as though it were a bad thing. I scoop things meant for others to scoop, if they're too slow scooping.

    But, back to my first paragraph - if people don't like what's written on a blog, they don't have to read it right? I hope no one has criticized you for what's going on in your life. Sheesh!

  9. Love the picture of your mother's hands. Caring for her is undoubtedly a burden but I think you will come to see it as a privilege. Many things fall to people but only some have the character to pick them up carry on.

    When an outlet is needed the blog accepts all you pour into it and your readers are the richer for your examples, so while your hands seem full of burdens they are also full of gifts that you are passing on.

  10. I love the picture of your mother's hands.

  11. Rachel is absolutely right. The feelings you have expressed make it clear that what you are doing is right for you - so keep doing it.

  12. the photo of your mother's hands is beautiful. it conveys so much.

    so many thoughts on this. where's the line between dysfunctional scooping and healthy nurturing? can we allow others to scoop for us? how do we learn to say no to others, and yes to ourselves, in a balanced way?
    i'm going to have to come back to this one.

  13. I'm back! So much of this post hit me in the gut. I was busy and didn't want to miss saying any part of what I had to say. And first, what a wonderful photo of you embracing your blog (via hugging the computer).

    It pleases me, Kass, that we share The Work. I hadn't realized that before. I aspire to go to a seminar some day. I want to hear her present it in person. I want to do the exercises WITH her.

    I'd seen your mother's hands and your recital there, but hadn't found any appropriate place to comment about it. It looks like someone ripped you off! It happened to me, as well. More than once, same blogger. That's when I put up "Thou shalt not . . . " I'm sorry that happened to you.

    I, too, love my blog. It is not a world class blog. It's not special in any way, except to me. Through it I am able to express my SELF - the things that make me who I am. And unlike journaling, in blogging, one gets all that connecting with others. I've learned many things. One can grow to like or love another person having met only in this way. One can write about some very painful things, protected by the anonymity of the internet. And on a good day, very kind souls ring in with warmth, support and affirmation. Blogging is one of the best things I do for myself.

    When I step out of the shower and spy myself in the huge mirror, it sometimes strikes me how narrow my shoulders are. My body is like my little late Granny's body in that way. Why, then, do I feel like I have played the role of Atlas all my life? Those shoulders should not have been capable of bearing what I have borne. But we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And then we do it again.

    Very thought-provoking post, Kass. <3 <3

  14. interesting thoughts about scooping. i am starting to think that i can learn a few things from my cat and spending more time with God.

    i also like the expression and friendship on the blogge.

  15. LES - Oh, LLLILMSL (for translation, go back to your comment section from Dragonfly Thoughts). I'm surprised you didn't pick up on what was written on my yellow T-shirt.

    About the theft warning - I was surprised how bothered I was when an ex-relative stole my "Why Invite Death" Picture and used it as her Blog Header. How much nicer it would have been for her to say how much she loved it and could she please use it as her header? I would have been so flattered and happy. Oh well. I let her know I noticed and made some comment about how I had looked all over her sidebar, but found no credit for the photo. She quickly repented, but it doesn't feel as happy as if she had asked in the first place. Perhaps I should add to my warning that I'm very generous if asked, or do you think it's OK how it is?

    I've been to 2 Byron Katie presentations here in SLC. In one of them, I was a little put off with how blunt (almost rude) she was to one overweight woman who was trying to work on this issue. She kept saying, "but you are FAT." Yikes. She was right, but her style was severe. This was during the time she was going blind so maybe she was edgy. She has since regained her sight. Did you know she is married to Stephen Mitchell, who has a very popular translation of The Tao?

    I'm glad you weren't put off by my effusive love of blogging. You're right. It's all about the connecting.

    We do shoulder a lot, but I think, in the process of trying to gracefully bear these seeming burdens, we become more tolerant.

  16. TAG - I like the way you and your wife have split housework. That seems reasonable. Thanks for watching Neon Trees. I fell asleep. I will have to watch the recording.

    VICKY - I understand your dilemma, but I think your boys may not mirror their dad if you have confidence in how you manage things. Perhaps they will pick up on your attitude and model it. I get the impression you have emphasized to your children what an important role their father plays and, like I said, I think your confidence and attitude will be the thing that makes the bigger impression. AND...sorry to carry on about this, BUT, it's been my observation that how either female or male children keep their homes once they leave ours has nothing to do with example or training. It's really just part of their personality....I could be wrong, but that's been my experience.

  17. JONAS - WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree! Well said.

    ELISABETH - Thanks for inspiring this post. Like I said to Vicky, no matter what we do to mold and protect our children, certain aspects of how they eventually run their lives are innately embedded and it's hard to ascertain how our influence molds them (or makes them rebel). In my case, I rebelled in every way to the things my mom was trying to train me for, so it's interesting that I am the one "caring" for her. If anything, it has made me care for her more.

  18. P.J. - Some of the comments about my obsession with my mother came from people who read my blog, but don't choose to type in comments. Some of my friends want the funny, lighthearted Kass back. I do too.

    Yes, this is real life. Like you, I manage, organize and retain in said area. If other people have a problem with this, I say it's THEIR problem. I'm going to have to scroll through your blog, as I am interested in seeing your posts about your mother.

    I agree. Sheesh. People are funny.

    JUNE - For some reason, your comment kinda made me cry. Your words meant a lot to me. Lately, it has been a privilege to care for Mother. Alleviating the suffering of another human being is satisfying.

    Thank you so much for those well-put and kind words.

  19. Girlie, guess how good I am? I GOT LLLILMSL without referring back! I'm pretty good that way. I pay attention. And I love you, too, Kass.

    Guess what else? I DID notice the T-shirt, but forgot to comment on it. I'd already gone on so long I was embarrassed to pop back on. But now that you've re-engaged with me . . .

    About the pirating: you are a very elegant and gracious woman, Kass. The way that feels best to you is the right way. Be stern, or be stern while offering hope. When I was plagiarized, my words were stolen. Both times. I don't believe the blogger even knows the breach occurred. But I know. My words mean much to me. Yes, I use a lot of them. And they are all deeply considered. I don't appreciate someone just taking them, even if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And when I wanted to use 2 of your words, I ASKED you. Very early on in our relationship.

    I did know that Byron Katie's husband is Stephen Mitchell! I'm put off that she would be even borderline rude to anyone who attended her seminar. You're right ~ we don't know what was going on with her that day. But to pointedly press about a person's shortcoming . . . hmmmm. The woman had already stated that was the issue she was working on, so she invited comment. I'm conflicted about this. I want to say something about fat. I don't want anyone to be fat. It's hard on one's health and it keeps a person from being able to enjoy some of life's best things. But if the person chooses to be that or can't control that, it's not our place to be unkind. If it's aesthetically displeasing, we can look the other way. Hmmm, again. Byron Katie picking at a fat woman who is trying to work on her problem has aroused some fire in my belly. I feel a post coming on.

  20. JULIE and DAVE - Thank you for your acceptance and appreciation.

    STANDING - Boy, you hit it on the head - the balance between scooping and nurturing. I'm going to have to come back to this balance too. You've stirred up more thoughts and a possible post. Thanks.

    NANCY - Your cat and God! I'm going back to your blog for some scrolling. I want to know you better.

  21. DearKass,

    Blogging is a mean we use to express ourselves. Blogs can be based on fiction or on real life, they can be about anything we like or dislike, through it we freely express ourselves.
    But we do need to keep in mind that once we post something, we are subject to criticism – which can be positive or negative as everybody is entitle to their very own opinion and taste.
    Since we are the ones driving our blog, we choose what to post or not, then people will keep coming back or not – but that should not stop us from blogging or changing our style just to feat everybody taste. That will be indeed an impossible task and a very sad one too.
    So, with that in mind, I’m telling you – keep loving your blog and keep blogging whatever you please, people love you just the way you are – never forget that!

    About what falls on you, well you just read my latest post about “change and human nature”, so there isn’t much for me to add…

    Keep being Kass!!


  22. GABI - I always have a lot of mixed feelings when I post on my blog. It's so much different than writing in a diary which no one reads. But even when we put our thoughts down in our diaries, we are writing to an imagined audience, whether it be another aspect of ourselves or our concept of God. Both our very complex expressions. Thanks for your insights into this subject.

  23. It's hard to know where to draw the line sometimes ...

  24. S. ETOLE - It's a delicate balance on that line, especially for women.

  25. Great post, Kass. I guess it falls to me to do most of the things that, traditionally, have gone the way of the female catcher and scooper. So housework and school run have made of me an honorary playground mum and now after school I stand watching the kids and discussing ironing routines and cheap outlets for quality goods. Which, after a career wrestling with an intractable educational system, I like just fine!

  26. DICK - I didn't realize you did so much of this. I would love to hear more about it. Maybe I should scroll through your blog....

  27. LESLIE - Sorry, I forgot to comment on this, but I did read it. I'm interested in what you have to say about the Byron Katie 'fat' comments. BTW, I did try to soften my theft warning by adding another sentence. I think I'm OK with the 'borrower.' She has commented on a facebook post so I guess she has forgiven me for accepting her repentance in a slightly strong way, but really, it's not aimed at her. I just don't want it to happen again. I never imagined I would feel this way. What subject were you waxing eloquent on when your words were stolen?

  28. I wasn't sure you'd seen me pop up again yesterday because we seemed to be writing at the same moment and our comments kind of crossed in the mail, so to speak. You did nicely in your anti-theft warning. ;~} You are a very gracious person.

    You know, ironically, I can't remember specifically which posts were plagiarized. It probably doesn't matter, because all I do is the rambling free association, anyway. But in both cases, the words lifted were phrases od my own creation that described how some emotional events felt to me. They were lifted verbatim and then used in commentary on other blogs we both frequent. I thought, "Hey, I'm nothing special, but I dug HARD for those words. They're MINE."

  29. LESLIE - You know, since I've been reading and re-reading your blog, I find myself kind of talking like you and thinking like you. It rubs off. Some of your phrases are damn good. I'd like to make them my own. I've borrowed 'venerable,' but I think just one word is OK, right?

  30. You, Cookie, may use any amount of any of my material. To you, I give it freely. And, for the record: I do not use the names "homes" or "home dudes" in any setting other than work.

  31. I started my blog as a way to document my creative journey,and like you it has become so much more.I also have a thing for my mothers hands,perhaps because when I was younger my mother always used to say that we(the five kids)were always a part of her hand,one child,one finger.Each child a part of her.My mother was a catcher,a fixer,a scooper.And for as much as we tried,trust me,we tried,to not become like her..we all did anyway.Telling me,..I am,what I am.I dont fight it,not anymore..I only manage it..which is where my selfishness comes to play.I have always been the selfish one..and my selfishness has become a blessing,graciously allowing me to have the need to catch and scoop and yet still push away those that cant accept me for what I really am.A lover of words and expression,of art and wind,of clarity and honesty.We are what we are,and it's up to us to catch ourselves once in a while.Blessings Kass.
    Warmest Regards,Cat

  32. CAT - That was a beautiful response to my rambling post. "A lover of words and expression, of art and wind, of clarity and honesty." I think that could be the byline for a lot of bloggers. Nicely put.

  33. Hi, new here. I really like your blog. I just wanted to say, I'm sorta glad we women always try to pick up the things that fall. If that wasn't our nature, so many good things would still be in the dirt.

  34. ST. DOLORES - Good point, but we can't retrieve all good things and every stray animal.

  35. Sighing. I used to love my blog in the way that you love yours and then, I dunno...it became sort of cumbersome for a while there. I had to take a break. It helped. I realized that I had somehow gotten into the thought pattern that I OWED my readers a story four times a week. Once I let go of that nonsense, I was fine.

  36. I love that you commented on my blog, because I got to discover your delightful writings. I am so glad that the K is no longer silent. Keep coming back and read my rambllings, and I'll do the same over here.

    Warmly, Ferret

  37. MARIA - I go through periods where I feel that way too, especially when I start neglecting REAL life.

    FERRET - I will. Thanks.


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