The Peace Police

What does it take to make us civil? A good upbringing helps, but it’s not enough. The law contributes its part, but that’s a pretty small piece of the puzzle–those who are unlikely to be civil are unlikely to care all that much about the law either. Education and experience are necessary to making us capable of civility, let alone willing to exercise it.photo collageThe flip side of this is the darker compulsion within that drags us into rudeness, insults, argumentative attacks and other such ugliness. Sometimes the wonders of the cyber-world convince us that we live in a moral vacuum where anything goes and we can think, speak and live completely unfiltered realities as we invent them, but it’s no more (and perhaps far less) true in the ether, where we don’t even know the people with whom we interact long-distance, that it’s permissible to tread heavily like that.

One Good Thing by Jillee is the marvelous namesake blog of a woman who is exceedingly creative and thoughtful and consistently gives us readers masses of useful ideas that we can use every day in the operation of our homes and lives. Want to consider making your own detergents and skin treatments? Find out how to do DIY projects to make and fix things all around the house and garden? Learn a new recipe or two? Our Ms. Jill is here to help. More than anything, her posts always get me thinking up further ways to make, do and use all of the delightful things she’s introducing, and how to tweak the things that I like but can’t use as-is–say, one of the lovely creams and potions she likes to make with lavender essence, which I agree smells nice, but I’m sensitive to it and can’t be around it for long. Even though this excellent blogger rightly touts the various medicinal qualities, aromatherapeutic uses and topical applications the fabled lavender blossom can offer, none of it’s right for me when I can’t tolerate any kind of significant presence of the stuff, so I have to use these posts as inspiration, a jumping-off point, rather than as carved in stone. I know when I arrive to read her posts that I may or may not find what she presents entirely applicable to my situation or taste every time even if it were practically infallible, nor does she ever claim such a thing.

So I was more than a little taken aback to see the comments that came in response to her recent post about reducing the calorie load in various recipes and foods by substituting alternate fats, sweeteners and the like. My own preference in my eating is to try to eat less processed foods rather than lower calorie foods, so if I wish to use any of the suggestions from this particular post, it will be because I think they’ll make the foods taste better rather than that I expect them to improve my health. But when I came to the comments made by other readers, there were a number of those correspondents who not only criticized her suggestions as though she were publishing them in a medical journal but, in some cases, got rather mean-spirited and began verbal fisticuffs amongst themselves. It struck me as not only exceedingly ill-mannered but was about as far from germane as possible, given the forum of that blog. All quite uncivil, if you ask me.photo collageBut of course, you didn’t ask me, so it’s not only not incumbent upon me to express my opinion in this matter, it might in fact be just a little bit uncivilized to take any other readers to task. Tricky business, this etiquette stuff. It’s certainly not up to me to ‘fix’ what I think is not ideal in others. I am not the law or the arbiter of good taste for anyone else, to be sure. I just hope that I don’t forget myself how to be at least as civil as my parents, teachers and betters have worked so hard to help me grow to be. I’ve got enough to keep me busy just remembering how to write a semi-civilized daily blog of my own and mind my own life’s business. But I don’t mind sending you over to the Good Thing blog so you can also have the benefit of its excellence–and perhaps skew the tenor of the comments back to more fittingly responsive–since I happen to know my readers have such gracious manners!

The Red Shoes Dairy

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The Human Animal strikes again. And if you recognize the tune, I'm not using it to *blame* anyone, mind you, just to say we're all in this together . . .

Since I’ve already allowed as to how I’m pretty much a farm animal at heart, doing what comes naturally to me and without excessive amounts of couth or savoir-faire, I’m constantly amazed at the ever-so-much-cooler people who deign to hang around with me. Maybe my rare moments of actual and impressive wonderfulness have sufficiently inured them to my shortcomings so that they can kindly turn a blind eye when despite my wanting to be on my best behavior and attempting refinement I fail, sometimes spectacularly, to do so. I dress up in my prettiest red high-heeled shoes and yet I still go and Step in It. And if you don’t know what I mean by It, you have clearly not been paying attention around here.

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My own Ruby Slippers have taken me to many an Oz . . .

Yet despite my persistent trippings-up and fallings-down, somehow I have thus far not only always ended up right back on my red-shod feet but in the midst of this great, forgiving, and ever so friendly good company, wherever in this world or my own universe I’ve happened to land. So I have ceased to be surprised when people come knocking at my door bearing presents and kisses and kindness of every sort. It’s not my deserving, you see, nor any prowess I’ve shown for being dignified and distinguished, so much as the boundless goodwill and generosity of spirit in those around me. While I may not be fabulously tasteful myself, I do have fabulous taste in other people.

Thus it comes as less of a shock than a delightful piece of exceeding niceness when my admirable and ever-sparkling muse over at Year-Struck has popped by with another glamorous pair of red heels for me to try on and admire. Maybe even to grow into, if I can. It’s not that my feet are so dainty in size but that my Educator skills are pretty itty-bitty and underdeveloped. However, if the award allows for conferral upon those who are getting a superb education here ourselves, why then I’m your woman.

With that, I will gratefully and happily accept the challenge. My wish is to share the award further, however, with some blogging friends who are educator-bloggers. I bow to those who have been particularly good at educating me and others, both with the content of their posts in which they teach us great and useful and desirable things and in their mentoring commentaries and the supportive role they play for those of us who follow in their admirable footsteps. Please rise and sing a hymn of happiness with me for these guardian angels in our midst:

Cecilia (thekitchensgarden), Marie (mylittlecornerofrhodeisland), Claire (promenadeplantings), Steve (portraitsofwildflowers and wordconnections), and John (fromthebartolinikitchens). The only rule I’ve been able to ascertain as purportedly attached to this award is to use it to recognize five of my most supportive commenters from recent posts, and as it happens, these folk are not only stupendous teaching mavens in their respective areas of expertise but are just that sort of supportive commenters referred to in that single shining rubric. So I can fulfill my own agenda whilst pretending to comply with the award’s original intent. Pretty much the way your Miss Passive-Aggressive correspondent tends to behave most of the time. I wink at you in your newly conferred complicity.

The Lovely Lauren Scott, meanwhile, has also graciously extended One Lovely Blog Award to reach me over here in my gift-strewn cubbyhole. As her blog is simply shimmering with genuine loveliness, I can easily ascertain why she would be a recipient herself, and can only assume that she is able to accomplish such a beautiful environment there by wearing some nearly-purple-they’re-so-rose-colored glasses, whereby I appear worthy of the award myself. Another excellent reason for me to be thankful I surround myself with such fine companions!

This award does ask that we share a little bit about ourselves once again in order to ‘earn’ the honor, which I think is only fair. To me. Not so much to those of you who have sat through over half a year of my yammering about myself, but bear with me.

What haven’t I already revealed to you about my inner workings (or playings, if we’re to be realistic about it)?

Did you know that:

I love a good thunder-and-lightning storm. Throw in some hail and I’m entertained for a long time. But don’t get it on my car or happening with me stuck under a big tree with my umbrella up, please.

When I try to wear ‘warm’ colors, especially a good deep yellow, I look just like I have severe jaundice and must be rushed immediately to the emergency ward. People who have to look at me when I wear such colors should also be treated with some kindness, to help them recover from the horror of my appearance.

I took an Archery class in college and enjoyed it quite a bit; I was even fairly decent at it. I probably couldn’t even draw a 60-pound bowstring nowadays. But give me a half hour and I’ll give it a try.

Dante Alighieri wasn’t quite thorough enough for my taste as he missed describing a particularly subterranean Level where Bullies should take up their eternal residence.

Being near natural water sources–oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, ponds, and all of their cousins–is a source, also, of tremendous pleasure and comfort to me.

I would like to have the resources to design any object, from buildings to clothing, tools, pieces of furniture, vehicles, jewelry, gardens, hardware, housewares–you name it–and then hand off the plans to world-class craftspeople and see the designs realized. And then put to use, hither and yon.

Funny sounding words make me happy. Blubber! Flabbergasted! Cooties! Marsupial! Splurge! Glyptography! Carbuncle!

One Lovely Blog Award logo

This is my chance to recognize some really lovely blogs and their creators, those who fill each post with heart. I know a whole lot of people who are especially gifted at creating an environment that, for sometimes very different reasons from one blog to another–or even from one post on the same blog to another–compel me to return again and again. These are bloggers who make magic on a regular basis, with words and images and ideas that carry me along and fill me with amazement and inspiration, dark reflection and introspection and great measures of pleasure. I commend to your attention these marvelous and yes, truly lovely bloggers.

Barbara (just a smidgen)

Desi (The valentine 4)

B. (Just Add Attitude)

Raymund (Ang Sarap)

Geni (Sweet and Crumby)

Dennis (The Bard on the Hill)

Cyndi (Cfbookchick)

Caroline (sweetcarolinescooking)

Eve (Redwater Ramblings)

Eden (litrato-ngayon)

Allison (“Il Faut Goûter”)

Bella (winsomebella)

Nors (Foodtrip)

Sawsan (Chef in disguise)

‘Nessa (Stronghold)

David (DFB Poetry and Painting)

Lindy Lee (Poetic Licensee)

Teri (Images by T. Dashfield)

Tanya (Chica Andaluza)

Belle (belleofthecarnival)

Geraldine (Alternative Poet)

I was just reminded by one of my ‘honorees’ of the many fine reasons for politely declining blogging awards, not least of which is the duty imposed by response and acceptance. While one of the excellent reasons for declining would clearly be modesty or humility, as you all know I have neither. But I was also taught that accepting an undeserved gift with good grace is a certain sort of return gift in itself.

Furthermore, as I told my correspondent in this instance, the real reason I perpetuate any of these awards is simply to bring the standouts among my blogging compatriots to others’ attention. If not for that, I would indeed have declined all of these kindly meant notices myself, but this gives an unknown like me the chance to showcase some of the other writers and thinkers whose work I really admire for one reason or another, or for many reasons. Having responded to a number of these awards, I know that simply responding properly is in fact quite a bit harder than making up one’s usual post, because the content is externally dictated, and let’s face it, even a mathematical dullard like me can do enough basic sequential thinking to realize not only that the passing out of the laurels to new honorees becomes an obvious exponential impossibility but that merely fulfilling the self-revelatory or self-evaluative portion of the requirement becomes onerous when repeated. Especially when all I ever talk about on my blog is All Me All the Time anyhow!

Therefore I refuse to enforce any “rules” among the honorees I choose, hoping only that you and your companions will accept my personal admiration and accolades and feel free to bask privately, if that’s not anathema. So there are no chains requiring the smiting, nor any other attachments except the one of hoping that each of you will allow me to trumpet your blogs to my modest yet lively readership because I know others will appreciate what you offer! If you like to ‘play the game’–why, that’s another thing entirely! Passing along gifts in blog-dom is not the same as Re-gifting in the wrapping-and-ribbons world, so my real gift to you, since I believe you all earned the recognition, is that I don’t require you to respond in any particular way, or at all, if you don’t wish.

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Having Red Shoes has never turned me into a dancer, alas, but only a vain creature . . . this is an instance when I greatly prefer my own sort of amusing fantasy to the dark old fairytales . . .

PS–I wasn’t (entirely) trying to be cruel, tricking you with that post title and all, so if you are here just hoping to catch a glimpse of David Duchovny, I’ll give you something to ameliorate my sins if you’ll forgive me once again. The Red Shoe Diaries aren’t exactly my sort of thing, but you know how my frivolous mind works, and when I see a pair of red shoes, no matter how Educational they’re meant to be, well . . .