Between intention and habit

Kelly shares her enthusiasm for paper with a shopkeeper in Old Town Alexandria, April 2015

Kelly shares her love of paper with a shopkeeper in Old Town Alexandria, April 2015

“With all the advantages being online gives us, we’re also offered a set of potential dangers we have to understand.  What we know about how humans react to virtual environments is still in its infancy…In the battle between intention and habit, we need to be able to work out who is winning; who is master, and who is slave.”
Jeremy Dean

In recent years, our holiday gift selection always contains at least one digital or electronic gadget of some kind, and often more than one.  I imagine that’s something quite a few of us have in common.

There’s nothing wrong with these handy and amazing little machines, of course. They can make life convenient, interesting and fun in more ways than we can count, and new uses for them materialize every day.

There’s a risk, though, as our world is increasingly made up of our online interactions.  It basically means we are always elsewhere, acting and speaking and reading and even thinking in virtual venues that are far removed from our physical presence.

It sometimes seems that the more connected we are in the digital sense, the more disconnected we are with many of the essential qualities that have made people uniquely human for centuries.  Is it possible that we are beginning to outsource even our most basic relationships?

I realize that probably sounds like so much psychobabble, but think about it.  What percentage of the words you hear or read daily come directly from someone you know, as compared to the words that reach us via the media — television, movies, gadgets, commercials, computers?

When you are out in public, do you make eye contact (not to mention exchange verbal greetings) with the store clerks, grocers and other service staff whose jobs have not yet been handed off to machines?  Or are your eyes usually on your smart phone?

Do you transact more and more of your everyday business online, where you never even come face to face with another person?

More tellingly, are you most comfortable in the seeming anonymity of the online environment? I plead guilty to that one. Even in the “real world” I opt for the self-service machines every time, at the grocery, library or bank, whether or not I’m having a bad hair day.

Still creepier is the question of whether we’d rather spend an hour with the characters of Downton Abbey or another TV series, than with some of our actual friends.  Television characters can be turned off and on at will, and they never ask for favors or annoy us by calling at inconvenient times.  How very easy and contained and undemanding! Not at all like actual people.

The irony of writing this message via a public blog hasn’t escaped me.  I’m aware that  I’m stepping on my own toes here.  However, I do think there is a degree of person-to-person interaction in environments such as this one, which often lead to delightful real-world friendships and actual postal mail that can be opened and read the old-fashioned way.

Meanwhile, I challenge each of us to increase our face-to-face time this year.  As a special concession to our busy schedules and geographic separation, I decree that Skype sessions count as face-to-face time– as long as it’s still less than, say, 10% of our interaction.

One of the fun things about being live and in person with Kelly (aka Boomdee aka Petals) last April was the way she made friends with everyone she met, even some non-humans such as squirrels in the park. Plus, it seemed like everywhere she went, she left generous tips.  If there wasn’t a tip jar sitting out, she would ask where one was.

It’s hard not to feel happier when you are with someone who is walking around improving the day of every person she comes in contact with.  What cheerful fun!  What a great example for me!  And it’s a perfect illustration of how an online connection can lead to a fabulous week of real-world interaction.

Let’s all channel our inner Boomdee. Take a friend to lunch.  Visit an elderly person or someone confined to home or otherwise at risk of isolation.  Or if you’re too busy to do these things, start with smiling and speaking to that person at the drive through window who hands you your coffee.  Maybe even leave a tip in one of those places where you aren’t expected to leave one.  (OK, I know this will be tough for some of us. I won’t ask for a show of hands on this one. 😉 )

I don’t know about you, but generally speaking, my habits are far more powerful than my intentions.  So Dean’s warning is not lost on me. I plan to become more intentional about increasing the total amount of time I spend in pleasant face-to-face interactions with people this year– and maybe even make a habit of it.

Any thoughts, ideas, advice, suggestions?

 

 

 

61 Comments

  1. Sheila

    Good Monday morning, my friend! ☕️ We’ve greeted several New Years here, Julia.💛 I love the idea of ordering a “cup of Boomdee”, one for myself and one to give away. She is definitely a “Walking On Sunshine” gal.☀️ You’ll recall Dr. Vann’s suggestion of calling those with a name tag by their name. That person suddenly becomes more than just someone on the other side of a counter. I usually sense the person appreciates the small gesture. I told “Donna” at my grocery store how I came about doing this. Now, we greet each other by name and SMILE. My gadget gift this year from Bill was an Apple Watch. He likes the convenience of his so much, he wanted to share the JOY! We laughed when he first started wearing it and called him Dick Tracy. I guess I’ll be “Dixie Tracy”! I have a belated package to send if you’re home now after the holidays. Love to all, Sheila

    • Sheila, isn’t it amazing that this is the FOURTH New Year we have shared? One cup of Boomdee Bliss (the house version) coming up! Do you want sugar or honey with that? (It’s naturally sweet so you don’t need a lot.) As a bonus, we have a few of those lovely Moravian crispy cookies left, but they’ll soon be gone, so you’d better grab one now!

      I need to start doing that name tag thing. Matt does it all the time. For a long time it was one of the ways he reminded me of Raymond in Rain Man. It seemed like something a person who was both literate and autistic might do. I also supposed it felt presumptuous, like something a used car salesman might do to sound chummy. Nowadays, though, I think people really want that sense of connection. Plus, when someone is wearing a name tag, they usually choose the name by which they want to be called. So I’m going to start trying to remember to do that. I’ll let you know how it goes. “Dixie Tracy”– HA! The artists and writers are often as good (or better) at predicting the future than we are!

      Love & hugs to you along with wishes for a fabulous week!

    • Sheila! You’re welcome to come along, there’s plenty of sunshine to go around, ha! Thank you for your nice comment…blush. xB

      • 🙂 She’s bringing the mint julep. For someone else, of course…I’m sticking with my tea!

  2. Gary

    This is very timely. My wife & I have become hermits as we have grown older. We discussed this last night & have agreed to become socially active again. I have noticed I am much more critical of others as I have separated myself from others. Don’t want to my last years to be lived in a cold, dark cave. God has blessed me richly with good friends yet I have forgotten that they are indeed, wonderful blessings. It also disturbs me that the younger generation is losing its social skills because their eyes are focused on smart-phones in the midst of others. Thank you for today’s writing.

    • Gary, thanks for your honesty in sharing a trend that I believe applies to many of us. During the years Jeff and I have been dividing our time between two homes, it has increased the number of our connections but also impeded them and made them more superficial, since we don’t have much time to share in either place. To make matters worse, we are both bookish people who like our nice quiet cozy home and want things the way we want them, so it’s all too easy for us to be sucked into this little self-centered wonderland where everything is as we like it. Yet even there, we often disagree with each other! 😀 Years ago I read a quote that supposedly originated in the Quaker community, that has become one of my favorite little sayings I’ve recited to Jeff over the years: “All the world is mad except for me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee.” 😀 YES, a thousand times yes to the perception that we become more and more critical of others the more we isolate ourselves from them. We all would do well to be aware of this tendency and work against it.

      Safe, cozy and predictable is so appealing, but it can become, as you so aptly describe it, a “cold, dark cave.” I hope that many of us are waking up to just how much we need each other. Looking back over the past 5 years I would say that our diminished in-person contact has NOT been helpful for us, and that’s probably true of most who withdraw. Thanks for adding your thoughts here as an encouragement to me to keep reaching out. Whatever it costs in time and effort, the rewards are well worth it.

  3. blseibel

    Hmmm, great thoughts, I do like my technology and maybe even get too involved in the iPad. I like the idea of becoming more intentional about increasing the amount of time I spend in pleasant face to face interactions. Tomorrow I have plans to go out for coffee with a friend and will endeavor to do that more but I will also make an effort to have pleasant conversation with sales people and others I come in connect with.

    Once again thanks for the idea, before I read this the thoughts popping into mind were that I just want to give up. So much is looming and so much is uncertain I was wishing I could run away….but I know who I am and I won’t, so it’s good to get a new perspective and switch gears.

    • Thanks for your honesty here. I’m sure many of us can identify. Oh, how often I just want to run away! Sometimes I indulge this wish in small ways, such as staying in bed 5-10 minutes longer, or procrastinating on some task I dread, or avoiding a difficult person or situation. Temporary little escapes aren’t so bad; they can preserve our sanity at times. But I try to stay away from even the notion of more drastic forms of running away, because that never ends up being a solution to anything. When things become almost unbearable it’s so tempting to just give up, and while there are times when we absolutely must (such as grieving over the passing of a loved one, or trying to change things that can’t be changed) we have so many sources of inspiration in history to encourage us NOT to surrender to trials and troubles. I have a post coming up on MLK day on this theme.

      • blseibel

        This has impacted my life , thanks to you or Boomdee, I am being more intentional about interacting with salespeople I encounter and try to spread a little sunshine.

        • Thanks! I’m so happy it helped. If it can get me through a couple of hours at the DMV, it’s worth a try. 😀

  4. raynard

    Julia, I make sure every Sunday if I see visitors I greet them B.O.L.O( lol) At work I greet visitors coming and going. Sending out new invites for Shady Maple and the Philadelphia Flower Show( March 5-12 2016) and I’m for the first time ( trying to pull off a surprise lunch with a few people for my wife’s birthday this coming weekend.. Only when I’m in a hurry I’ll use or avoid ” self check out”.. I dont do online banking. I even managed to ” stay out of Walmart during the holiday season” WOW…. LOL… . A Skype chat for Christmas was discussed with a few members from the Upper Room.. It got ” lost in space”.. Might try a Skype bible study with a few friends who work diffrent schedules and live in different
    states.. Have not been on it in 2 years. Staying connected is a challenge these days.. But I dont lose hope. Hope all is well with you and the family. It’s finally beginning to” feel like winter”..I just ” remembered” that I have to bake a cake this weekend.. Be blessed

    • Hey Raynard, the Shady Maple and Philadelphia Flower show sound like big fun. I hope your surprise lunch for your wife goes well — will Mr. Potato Head be showing up with more surprises this time? 😀 Staying away from Walmart for the holiday season is a good goal — I almost managed it this time but had to run grab some last minute items — maybe next year! I have wondered myself whether a Skype Bible study or just reading might work. Thanks for not losing hope and keeping those cakes going out to bless others. Now every time I see a magazine photo of a cake, I think of you. Hey I meant to send you guys a Christmas card this year, but couldn’t remember if last year’s address was the same. I know you moved once in recent years but I couldn’t remember whether it was before or after Christmas. The past 3 years are sort of a blur to me. Hope you have a wonderful weekend — give my hugs to the ladies.

  5. Good morning Virginia and everywhere else your lovely guests may be visiting from. Tis I, ‘La Bomdee’ spreading butterflies in your cereal…LOL, wait! That might actually be horrifying. Do over ! Tis I, ‘la Bomdee’ harnessing the sun and drawing it closer to you to brighten your day….bahaha. Good grief, what a cornball. This is how I tend to manage compliments, I throw humour at them. Probably because I’m just rotten at taking a compliment.

    Geez Julia, you must know how easy it is to be happy in your company, so thank you for your generous observations and thank you for your delightful company. As I mentioned in email, the tipping thing has been cultivated by the knowledge that “thou can not live on minimum wage alone”. I might have inherited my chattiness with strangers from dear dad. He seemed to be able to engage just about anyone in conversation. As a kid, I’d tag along with dad on weekends to a hockey rink, parts store or tire shop and we’d spend all day just doing a few errands because he talked so much. If you don’t always have the means to tip, a generous smile, how’s it going and thank you, can sometimes suffice. Either way, I’m a strong believer to, “what goes around, comes around”. I like to think of it as my Happiness Bank Account. If I make generous deposits, I’ll get lots back.

    I try not to be a slave to my technologies. In one fashion, it’s how I stay in touch. But nothing can replace face to face. That being said, I can’t wait to visit again……and again…..and I miss you xoxox K aka Boomdee ❤

    • Oh, joy! A comment from la Boomdee is the icing on the (delicious, baked by Raynard) cake of blogging. I know what you mean about the compliment thing, because both times every time I’ve gotten one, I’ve felt embarrassed. You are lucky to have had a dad who made friends with everyone. I’d say that’s a rare talent for a lot of men. When you said that just a few errands would take all day, it reminded me of when Matt was in high school and he used to work as an office aid taking messages to teachers or paging students (back in the day before everyone had cell phones). He loved messenger duty and was very good at it, BUT they had to train him NOT to try to stop and chat with everyone he took a message to. 😀 But I’m sure he kept giving them his trademark grin.

      About the tips, you are right that it doesn’t always take money to brighten someone’s day. In fact, for most people, money would not be the thing they needed most anyway. But often it’s all we can do. Many years ago one Sunday in church a visiting preacher told a story of how he once had this coffee shop waitress who was rude and doing a terrible job, and he was tempted just to leave her a penny as a tip, but then thought better of it and left her a $5 bill as a tip (for serving him just a cup of coffee and a donut, which in the early 60’s, was a lot of money). As he was leaving the coffee shop, she came running after him because she thought surely he had left the money there accidentally. He told her no, that’s for you, and she started to cry. She asked him why he left her such a big tip when she had been so mean and rude, and he told her that he had resolved to leave everyone he met a little bit better off in some way. He said that was all he could think to do in this case. The really neat part of that story is that she asked if he would talk to her some more and they went back in and talked during her break and she told him all about her life, which involved a lot of difficult situations and sadness. He and his family went on to correspond with her for some time. He said “I would give a $5.00 bill any day to have a new sister.” I was just a child when I heard that story but it made a deep impression on me. I think resolving to leave everyone you meet better off in some way is a great ideal to strive for. Being a hothead I naturally don’t measure up to that but it’s a great goal. I think you are VERY good at it and I like taking lessons from you!

      I miss you too! Can’t wait until we have more time to run around getting soaked in the rain, making cab drivers get lost, talking to squirrels, and coming home to laugh and sip and talk about it all.

      • Hello little J, how was your day? I’m just settling in from work then dinner, so how great to read your nugget from that preacher many years ago. That’s a good message for everyone, at any age. True enough, it’s much easier to make a quick judgement when we deal with surly people. But we can never know where they’re coming from can we? I like the idea of “leaving everyone we meet better off in some way’ I’ve never really thought about it that way. Maybe that ol’ lesson of ‘do onto others as you’d want them to do onto you’ sunk in deeper than I know. There’s enough challenges in our day without been dismissive or insulting to people we interact with. There’s no winners in that scenario. They’ll still be surly and I’d be mift that they were surly. So, that’s just a bummer. I think you’re too hard on yourself Julia and you’re too kind to take any lesson from me. I’m the one who learns so, so much from you. Well then, what a good team we are then!

        You know, I’d forgotten about that rainy night, LOL. I wish they had that on some kind of surveillance video….two middle aged chicks running thru a military base, along walls, hiding in darkened entryways and you with a plastic bag on your head from the liquor store….Omgosh, they’d probably play it over and over again and laugh their heads off. Maybe we’re in some kind of blooper reel? Well that was a highlight for sure, there were a number of them. Too bad we didn’t get a photo, that’d make a funny post. You crack me up xo K

        • Well, today I put the old “pleasant interaction” goal to the acid test…I had to go to the DMV to get Matt an ID card! The woman who checked us in was clearly serious about the nationwide DMV core value “try to always look like you just ate a lemon” but luckily after waiting our required 90 minutes, we got a very nice lady who actually smiled back at us. But her supervisor caught her smiling and yelled “HEY, CUT THAT OUT! THIS IS THE DMV, DANTE’S FIFTH CIRCLE OF HELL!” Just kidding!!! But I must confess, I left NO tip whatsoever.

          The security forces at Ft. Myer probably did have surveillance cameras on us. I can just hear how disappointed they must have been to figure out we were not highly incompetent terrorists. For a few minutes there they were breathing sighs of relief in between laughs – “well, no threats here, they don’t even have the sense to come out of the rain.” At least they didn’t see the part where we were holding hands and skipping. 😀

          • LOL, You should go on some kind of comedy tour. OMgosh Julia, Jim just asked what I was laughing at so I read our conversation to him. “Dante’s fifth circle of hell”. That made me roar. I’ve heard of this DMV core value. They seem to stick to it across the nation. Our licensing and registry offices are privatized. So there’s lot’s of them around and they have to be nice and efficient because next time I can go to different one.

            No doubt we’d make really bad crooks, more like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, hehe. Maybe we’ll be one of those folklore stories they tell new recruits, except it’ll get sillier and sillier every time they tell it. If that’s possible. I forgot how fun it was to skip, we should do it often and hold hands of course. xo Love and Hugs

            • What a great idea to privatize the DMV! We tend to think of Canada as having even more government-run programs than we do. But the DMV could definitely be improved by going private, I think. It has no place to go but up in terms of customer service.

              We are probably the stars of the “how NOT to act in public” video being shown to new recruits (military, underworld or whatever) even as I write this. I bet that gate guard at Arlington wishes he had captured us on film obeying his command to hold hands and skip. What a fun memory — one of the highlights of 2015 for me! ❤

        • Well, this is the first that I’ve heard that story! You two had a doozie of a day, didn’t you?

          I’m having fun ease-dropping on your conversation. 😉

          • And that’s just the parts we remember… 😀 😀 😀 I’m still waiting for a copy of the photo of me holding hands with Jimmy Carter, and I have a secret stash of tiara photos I can use as leverage…

            • Well, well, well! 😉

            • LB

              Excuse me, as one of the photographers in the group, I’m pretty sure that I need to see those tiara photos!!
              And yes, Alys, it has been fun eavesdropping on this convo!

              • We have to wait for LaBoomdee to give me the go-ahead, as she swore me to secrecy before she consented to that photo session. Actually, though, I think they are totally ready for prime time — completely G-rated and five star fun!

            • oh dear, didn’t I send that along? Check your email honey buns! x

              • I loved them! I totally forgot about posing with that guy with the watch. We need to upload our photos to the cloud so we can share them with each other. No telling what else I forgot.

          • ? oh wow, didn’t we talk about that at our first Skype following the trip? It all began when the cabbie tried to make gravy. He claimed he didn’t know how to get there. So we turned on Google and directed him. So we ended up at the wrong gate I think. Is that right Julia? Plus, we’d walked and walked downtown and I think it wasn’t the warmest day either. Man o man, we made miles that day. Whitehouse, two Smithsonian’s, Arlington Cemetery, Ford Theatre too. Or was that day one? It was one happy blur. xo

            • The whole thing was complicated by the fact that many of the gates at Ft. Myer close at 5 or 6 pm. Such as the one I parked right outside, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery! Such as the other one that was the only one the cab driver knew how to get to. By the time he found an open gate, he was afraid to go in (he didn’t want his cab searched) so we paid him off and went on foot from there, in search of my car. Yes, it was cold and rainy that night, which is how I ended up with that plastic bag on my head. I told K she could pretend she didn’t know me if she wanted to! 😀

              I don’t remember what we saw which day except I know we were at Great Falls just before we went to pick up Pauline and wandered around Dulles Airport for an hour before we found her. We can probably compete for the title of “got lost in the most different places within 48 hours and still had fun.”

              • Oh Yah! Pauline, the airport, two doors, those two old guys at Customer Service…what a Gong Show. Poor Pauline was so lost. Pauline calling home, Alys calling me !! and that was only the first hour, ha! Woody Allen has made a career of writing stuff like this, LOL.

                • I wonder whether Woody Allen ever knew anyone like us. It would explain his gift for humor. Not to mention his neuroses, hee-hee. What I’ll always remember is when I FINALLY spotted Pauline way off in the distance and went running toward her full blast, she initially looked at me as if she was thinking “Why on earth is that wild old woman running at me??” I yelled “Pauline, it’s Julia!” before she had a chance to whack me over the head with her tote bag. 😀 I was so happy we had FINALLY found her! NOTE TO ANYONE PICKING UP A VISITOR AT DULLES: don’t trust the “information” personnel who tell you repeatedly that the flight has not yet arrived, even an hour after it was due in. EPIC FAIL! Welcome to the USA, Pauline…lots of frustration, but never a dull moment!

            • The cabbie tried to make gravy? Now I’m really confused. I do remember the part about all that site-seeing and the walk. I must be remembering selectively.

              • Alys, I’m not surprised if you don’t remember it all — neither do I! The cabbie may not have been trying to drive up the fare; that may have simply been an overly cynical observation on my part. In DC, it’s easy to imagine how the military bases would be confusing to cab drivers. In any case, it gave us a fun story, as cab rides often do.

              • LOL, “Make gravy” is a term for, ‘trying to get more than you deserve’. Like if you collect all your bottles for recycling, drive over there and the guy stiffs you by paying less than he counted but puts the extra in his own pocket. That’s why they have a ‘pre-counted’ lane here. For people like me who’ll call them out if they cheat. Do you have this dilemma there?
                I ALWAYS pre-count and know what I should get. Even though I give it away, I’d rather it go to someone in need than a dishonest bottle depot guy.

                • That sounds just like something I’d do if we had recycle-for-pay here. In CA it went by weight; not much way they could cheat on that. Here in VA you don’t get paid, you just do it for the sake of conscience and keeping stuff out of landfills. But I’m still a compulsive recycle fanatic. I totally hate throwing stuff in the trash so I try to avoid things that can’t be recycled or re-used. That’s probably an ingrained habit since my mother was a compost freak way before it was cool, and we could’t even throw out eggshells, banana peels or coffee grounds without her fussing at us “That’s supposed to be composted!” My friends would ask me “why is there a pot of garbage sitting on your kitchen counter?” 😀

                  Since we can recycle pretty much every category (paper, metal cans, glass of all kinds, many plastics) we usually end up with more recycling than trash. I know there are those who scoff at recycling as costing more than it saves, but I just can’t imagine there being endless places to put garbage…

                  • Your mom really was ahead of the curve. Amazing foresight. It’s surprising to me about the lack of recycling incentives in your area J. We have a waste disposal in our kitchen sink and most left over’s can go thru it. We actually pay a deposit when we purchase bottled or canned drinks and milk and juice too. If you don’t return them, you don’t get the deposit back. Even people who don’t go to a depot can recycle them in a blue bag on trash day. The city recoups your deposit for the coffers. I like to give them to a needier person at the depot. We live downtown, so there’s always someone there, with a cart that they’ve desperately collected. It’s a small thing I can do.

                    • I don’t think we pay any sort of deposit here, although if we do, we don’t get it back by recycling, as far as I know. It’s so cool of you to give your deposit to others who are there cashing in recycling. We had a horrifying story in Newport News recently about an older woman who was severely beaten for unknown reasons while she was out collecting trash to recycle. The people who ran the businesses nearby saw her out frequently collecting and it pretty well upset everyone. Apparently it happened quite early in the morning. I don’t know whether they ever found out who did it, or why. It seems especially sad for someone in need who was obviously doing a good thing to be attacked for no reason. Hearing stories about people such as you who show some kindness are reassuring.

                • Ah. I learned a new expression today. I like it.

                  And on the subject of gravy, *good gravy* they actually cheat you out of deposit money? That is crazy. You are so good to give your deposit away, and rightly want your full deposit.

                  We save all our cans for a friend of Sharon’s and her friend recycles them for the cash, so I haven’t had to deal with it here.

                  • Alys, what a great win-win you have there. I wish I knew someone to whom I could give our recycling so they could cash it in. But here in VA, there’s not much anyone can do with it. I always thought the deposit system was such a good thing because it results in a voluntary litter collection. I see a lot more cans and bottles on the side of the road here than I ever did in CA.

                  • Kudo’s to you and your generous ways. I like to think the ones cheating might need it too. But if they were upfront and had a tip jar, I’d be generous and then pass on the rest. Oh well, in a perfect world, I’d also be 5’7″ and 120 lbs….k-sera-sera, LOL

                    • But then you might be a snob with an eating disorder! I think Boomdeeville is as close to a perfect world as we need right now. 😀 ❤ (NOTE TO ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE 5'7" AND WEIGH 120 – YOU ARE PERFECT TOO! NO OFFENSE INTENDED)

                    • Julia, I read your disclaimer and laughed out loud!

                    • 😀

                    • LOL Ah, that elusive perfect world, eh?

                      I imagine cheaters were either taught to cheat by observing others (parents) do the same, or they’ve never been taught. I read a parenting article years ago that said their are no bad children, just bad behavior. If that behavior is never corrected, or worse, encouraged they’ll grow up to be insufferable. It’s not restricted to your situation either. Corporate greed practically celebrates being a cheat.

                    • I really like that thought about children and yes, there’s plenty of corporations that could win an Oscar in the “how to foster an atmosphere of greedy winners” category but luckily just as many doing the right thing. Yahooo! for them ❤

                    • And Yahooo! to you for giving them a shout out. My inclination was to say how it’s not just the corporations that are greedy. Don’t get me started on the use and abuse of adjunct faculty in higher education, for example, or the extensive corruption in any number of governmental departments. Greed has indeed become a deeply-entrenched part of society, and with the rampant rejection of any sort of objective standards, one person’s dishonesty is another person’s reasonable compromise…but you are right to recognize the ones who buck the trend and do the right thing. Let’s hope their numbers increase.

    • To know Boomdee is to love her. She inspires us all.

  6. No truer words spoken of our high tech age than in you post, Julia. When in the presence of another person give them your undivided attention. Unlike a machine, that attention may be appreciated.
    -Alan

    • Alan, I agree. Plus, talking to people is a whole lot more fun. Machines have no personality at all. 😀

  7. Sheila

    Good morning, with a cup of java. “Get your motor running”, like the song goes! ☕️ I thought you might like a coastal visual this morning. It’s a cold one though. 🌊 It’s rather cloudy, very gray ocean, with much current moving south. When we look to the horizon and the seas are rough offshore, the line is far from straight. Pretty fascinating stuff! I’d better get some warm oatmeal, with baked apple, cinnamon, and butter started. Homemade, old fashioned, of course. Stay warm…. Sheila 💛

    • WOW, I loved this vista. Perfect for the oatmeal, too. Oatmeal is a great favorite around here. We go through lots of it and cook it just as if it was instant (just add boiling water to quick or old-fashioned oats and your favorite add-ins, such as the ones you describe…YUMMY). I hope you aren’t getting any bad storms there. I felt so sad to see the footage of Santa Barbara that Jeff pointed out to me on the news tonight. I felt so thankful to be safe, warm and cozy, and so heartbroken for all those people who are being affected by the floods. Thanks for sending me a bit of the sea today! It was a bright spot for me.

      • Sheila

        We are trying to get info from family about the Santa Barbara condo. It’s how weather can be, one extreme to another, so quickly.

        • Oh, no! I didn’t realize you had a condo there. I hope everything is OK.

          • Sheila

            I haven’t heard from Houston family about the condo. We stayed there in November, thanks to our sister in law whose family owns it. It’s not ours but hope we get invited back! Hope all is well with you! 💛

            • Sheila, I hope you get invited back, too! Santa Barbara would be near the top of my list of “places I’d like to own a condo if I was as rich as Donald Trump, but smarter Hillary Clinton, but less ambitious Warren Buffet, but much younger.”

  8. Sheila

    Julia, I hope it’s not a problem if your package doesn’t arrive until Saturday, USPS, although I’m hoping for Friday. 😘💛

    • Sheila, no problem at all, just more time to get excited about it! But just to make sure, I’ll put a hold in the mail if it doesn’t get here by Friday. Thanks for giving me a surprise to look forward to!! 😀

  9. Good morning, Julia! I’m a bit behind in following your blog, but I enjoy everyone’s comments, too.
    I’m an “INTJ.” We don’t like talking on the phone (it’s an actual typical trait! I was so relived to read it)! That leaves us with … electronic or in-person communication.
    Oops – I’d better run; I promised a friend that I’d meet her this morning for Zumba!

    • That must mean I’m at least close to the INTJ personality (I don’t remember ever taking the Myers-Briggs) because I do like to avoid the phone. I always supposed it was because, to paraphrase the old commmercial, “I’m talking and I can’t shut up!” The phone, like the computer, can eat up WAY too much time. Kudos to you for meeting a friend for Zumba! And thanks for stopping by — I’m more than a bit behind on reading blogs but I keep promising myself I will SOMEDAY be able to make the time to get back to it. Hope your 2016 is off to a great start!

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