Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Vampires and Personal Boundaries

Dracula-1931Today’s prompt from the Daily Post“It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?”

I had to think about this prompt for a few minutes, and concluded that some people would say I was an extroverted person because I will chat it up with complete strangers.  Others would think I am an introvert, guarded and a bit stand-offish because I don’t readily engage those people.   How can one be both?

I have been labeled with empathic and intuitive qualities.  I don’t know if I altogether believe those labels, but  I would say that I do pick the “vibes” of certain people and gauge my social interaction to them accordingly.   With some individuals, I will feel an immediate connection.  Those are the people with warm and honest with a positive energy.  Even as a stranger, that person will draw me forth and I will have interaction with them.  These are individuals who have a healthy respect for personal boundaries.  They will engage me, but won’t press too much.

However, there are others who may seem open and positive, but they have an erratic energy that tells me to guard myself and don’t give away too much information.  I don’t inherently trust those people.  Typically, such individuals are without filters and without the proper respect for boundaries.  They will press for personal details and may even harangue in order to get me to engage.   My “Spidey-sense” forces me to shut down even to the point of being seemingly rude to them.    These individuals are what many experts in social interaction call “Energy Vampires”.  They will suck the energy right out of me.  In the case of the plane or coffee shop scenario, I would definitely try to find another seat.  I don’t blame them for this.  They are who they are.

I try not to be an energy vampire.  (We always think it is the other person, never ourselves).   I try to assess other people on an intuitive level and if I feel that someone else needs to have their space, I will back away.   I will respect their boundaries.

I don’t want to be the person that drives others to change their seats.


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Today’s Daily Post prompt:  “If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?”

When I read this prompt early this morning, I started mulling it over.  I could not come up with one particular word that I would want banned.  However, I have to say that I don’t like it when people create new words because they don’t want to take the time to select the correct words to make their thoughts known   For example,  I don’t like that nouns and adjectives are turned into verbs when they are not meant to be verbs.   For example, the adjective “onboard’ has been turned to “onboarding” meaning that a person has gone through the hiring process in a business organization.  Why not just say “Mr. Smith has been hired,” not “Mr. Smith has been on-boarded.”  It sounds like Mr. Smith has been kidnapped by pirates.    Or worse:  turning a company name into a verb.  For example, “googling”.   It sounds too much like “ogling”.    “I googled Mr. Smith.”   Well, how flirty of you!

There are also certain phrases I don’t like.  For example, consider “I’ll scratch your back; you scratch mine.”     When I think of this, I envision primates sitting in a tree grooming each other.   It also promotes a self-serving sentiment.  How about we do things for others because it is the right thing to do, not for what we can get out of it.

And the phrase “pet-peeve”?  Another one that annoys me.  Overused.

I guess I should lighten up.  English by its nature is an ever-evolving language with new words and idioms constantly coming in.  I probably make up new words and overuse old phrases as much as anyone.

My point is this:  if one is going to be a word-smith, then be good at it.


Post-script:  As I write this, I just noted my own title to this post, “Word-Smithing”.  A verb from a noun!   Ha!   My bad.  Oh, another over-used phrase!   I concede.  It can’t be helped.   I withdraw my protestations.  (Hanging my head in shame).


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An Observation about “Class”

working handToday’s Daily Post prompt: “Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?”


I grew up in a blue-collar enclave surrounded by neighborhoods of affluence inhabited mostly by doctors, lawyers, college professors, and movie industry execs.  These people drove up property values so that when I came of age I could not (and still cannot) afford to buy a home there.    As an adult I moved to another traditionally working-class town only to watch it gentrify with all the “Silicon Beach” techies and execs.   My rent is becoming so high that soon I will not be able to afford even to rent there.

I have tried to improve my situation.  I have educated myself with advanced degrees and I move in circles of middle and upper-class professionals.  I would say that my social class has improved but not my economic class.    For all intents and purposes, I am still “working class.”    At one time, I was a little annoyed about the whole thing.

Now I am getting older and have given up trying to grab that golden ring — that dream of someone having a better life than one’s parents and owning a bit of America.    I am part of a growing over-educated and under-paid sub-group that doesn’t quite fit into either middle or working class.   The lines between have gotten a bit murky so I have given up trying to figure it out.

To quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam” and I am just trying to hold my own for as long as I can.


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Break the Silence — Not

underwood typewriterToday’s Daily Post prompt:   Break the Silence: When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said.

Recently, a friend and I had a disagreement.  Okay, actually it was a fight.  My friend said something I did not like, I objected, my friend got angry and spewed all over me.  One of the things my friend said was “You have an 18 gauge wire connecting your brain directly to your mouth.  Whatever you think, you say.”   I suspect it was not meant as a compliment, but I took it as such.  I like to think I say what is on my mind.   The reality is that I usually don’t.  This exchange is a perfect example of why I don’t.  When I say what I think, it usually comes back to bite me in the butt.

Admittedly, in this particular case, I was angry and what I said, even though I stand on it, was probably not stated in the most diplomatic way.  However, in most cases, the atmosphere is not so highly charged.  I will see a situation that I feel needs to be addressed, yet I don’t because I fear the consequences.   I want people to listen, but I don’t want them to react.  How cowardly is that?

I guess it is important that there be an element of emotion involved. If I get fired up enough about something, I will speak.  I remember that happening in a planning meeting I attended.  I quietly sat through the meeting, listening to everyone, when finally someone made a preposterously ill-conceived suggestion.  I saw everyone nodding in agreement with that suggestion.   I became alarmed at that and said to the moderator, “Gimme the microphone.”  I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I was on a roll.  My heart was pounding, my voice was a little higher timbre than normal, and when it was over people were applauding.  Yeah, they went with my suggestion.

Now if I could only get that passionate about the real issues in life —  justice, mercy, love, and the rest — what things I would say.

ljg (c) 2015



Being Messy

Today’s Prompt:  Sweeping Motions:  What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.


For a variety of reasons, I have not posted for several days.  First, I have been preoccupied with the day job and other life issues.  Second, the prompts for this week were stumbling blocks to me.  This second reason requires some explanation which I will address in a moment.

First things first:  today’s prompt is superficial and requires only a superficial response.   My bedroom serves as a sleeping place, an office, a writing and art studio, and an extension of my clothes closet.  Therefore, it is a mess.  Piles of clothes, papers, artwork, shoes without mates, and other detritus litter every horizontal surface (and some vertical) plus the floor.   No, I am not taking a picture of it.   On the other hand, my desktop computer and my hand-held device are immaculately organized.  There is a folder for everything and everything is in the right folder.  It takes me just minutes, if not seconds, to find whatever I need.  Enough said on this.

Let’s go back to my comments about the prompts being an obstacle to my writing.    The prompts fell into two categories:  those involving writing about other people and those having to do with writing fictional responses.

Writing about other people:  I have made it a point never to write about close friends or relatives unless they have given me permission.  Even with permission, I would not feel free enough to be candid without worrying over stepping on someone’s toes at the least, or destroying a relationship at worst.  So I don’t go that way at all.

Writing fiction:   I have written a number of short stories.  I think some of them are fairly well-crafted.  Many are not.  But almost all of them have to do with a female protagonist who is either an eccentric person trying to navigate the ordinary world, or a “normal” person who meets with “extra-normal” circumstances.    There are only so many ways you can tell the same story.    So when prompted to write fictional accounts this week, I ran into a big block.  It was too much effort and time to come up with something new and different.

I am sitting here trying to figure out how a prompt about being messy made me self-reflect this way.  Maybe it is because my “inner-writer” is in a pretty messy state as well.

That’s all I got today, folks.


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At the Wishing Well

coinsToday’s Prompt:  “Three Coins in the Fountain:  Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?”

I think I may have tossed a coin or two in a fountain at one point because I have this vague recollection of someone — probably my mom — scolding me about throwing hard-earned money away.  And if that did happen, I would say she was spot-on right to tell me that.

No offense to anyone,  but how can anyone be so gullible as to think if you tossed some money in a fountain, you were going to get something in return.  Some may think it is the “positive affirmation” through the “intentional act” that manifests one’s desires.  The universe does not work that way.   The fact is the owner of the well or fountain is the only one getting anything from this.

I remember walking by a wishing-well one day and thinking that if all those coins I could see at the bottom were scooped up and totaled they would make a generous donation to some worthy cause.   If you are going to give away money, give it to someone who needs it.

The idea, I suppose, is a vestige of a prehistoric ritual to placate some pagan entity.  Even some non-pagans do this still today.  I have heard it preached that if you tithe to your faith community, you will be rewarded many times over.  Some tithers give only for this reason.   I believe that we should give to a worthy endeavor because it is the right thing to do, not for what we get out of it.

Maybe we have the idea turned around.  Maybe the reality is that we are given our wealth so that we have the means to give it away to those who need it.

We don’t give in order to get.  We get in order to give.


ljg (c) 2015


Through Rose-Colored Glass

rose windowToday’s Prompt: “Through the Window:  Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.”

I have very few windows and all of them look out upon the backs and sides of other apartment buildings and busy streets and walkways.  It is a dismal experience to look upon the plain boxiness of the adjacent buildings, my neighbor’s parked cars and trucks obscuring the view, the thin film of dust on the window panes from the construction site down the street, and the terrible waste of water as the automatic sprinklers feed the tiny patch of lawn under the front window.

However, the prompt instructs us to look out the window for a full minute.  This is good.  This is necessary.  Taking the time to really look at something can reveal many things.   For example, I see the jade plant just outside the window.   This crassula ovata has been here as long as I have, even longer.  It has grown so large that I can no longer see the ceramic pot it lives in.  Looking at it closely has made me wonder how this plant can thrive so well in such a confined space.   Then it is revealed to me that this plant’s life mirrors mine.  I live in this tiny apartment, yet I thrive as well.   Confinement makes one appreciate what one has.

Looking through a window often adjusts perspective.  If I turn from the far-sightedness that sees only the ugly buildings across the street and become near-sighted, I see the objects that I have placed in the window sill to beautify the space.    There is the stained glass rose panel I acquired years ago down in Baja.  It reminds me of the days when my circumstances allowed me to wander a little further than I do now.  It reminds me of the friendships long gone.  blue glass ballThere is also the hand-blown glass globe that I purchased from an glass artist in Mendocino even longer ago.  The swirling blues of the glass remind me of the colors of the sea crashing upon the rocks on the northern coast.  I remember the beauty of that area and my time up there as one of artistic and personal growth.

Looking through rose-colored and blue sparkling glass makes me realize that, God willing, those days will return.   I will one day travel again.  I will one day have a view of the world that is not clouded by ugly buildings and dusty cars.

In the meantime, I will continue to thrive like that jade plant.

ljg  (c) 2015

Note: I have pointed out the waste of water to the manager but nothing has yet been done.  If I knew where the timer was I change it to once a week.  Such a horrible waste.



Tattoo….You? Um….Well….No…..

Today’s Daily Post prompt:
Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?”


I do not have any tattoos. That being said, let me add that it’s not because I have anything against them for others. In fact, I have seen some amazing pieces of fine art engraved on the skin of some equally fine looking people.

There are a few reasons why I don’t have any.

The first two reasons fall into the “nature/nurture” realm. By nurture: I didn’t grow up in a family where anyone had tattoos (and back in the those days, girls did not get them). Compounding this is that I belong to a faith community that discourages tattooing. These two factors alone excluded from me any thought about getting one in my younger days.

By nature: I am a person of aesthetic and artistic whim. An image or work of art that I like today is not necessarily one that I am going to like tomorrow. In fact, I may even come to hate the image if I had to look at it on my body every day. I am reminded of a line in the movie Eat, Pray, Love when the character portrayed by Viola Davis says “Having a baby is like having a tattoo on your face. You kind of want to be committed.” There’s no image to which I would ever be so committed as to have carved into my body.

However, there is one overarching reason that makes me to this day not want to have any tattoos. And it can be stated best in one word:


If you feel compelled to get a tattoo — and ladies, I am specifically talking to you here — you need to consider what it is going to look like in twenty or thirty years. That cute little fairy-sprite you have emblazoned on your chest is going to be a shriveled old hag hanging around your knees in a couple of decades. And that lovely full moon you had so delicately rendered on your derrière? A deflated and wrinkled balloon. NOT the look I would be aiming for.

Like I said, do as you will. Get a beautiful one in a place that going to stay upright for the rest of your life.

As for me, I am going to find other less permanent ways to express myself.



Blue Burlap and Snake-Skin Pumps

RedToday’s prompt: “Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.”

Short answer:  comfortable, flowing, and eclectic.

Long answer:    When I was a child, there were people in my family who liked to sew.   I remember when I was about six or seven there was some sort of big family to-do — an anniversary celebration or wedding or something along those lines– and I had to have a proper dress.   So one of the seamstresses in my family made this teal blue dress out of a dreadful fabric.  It was probably just a cotton broadcloth,  but my memory wants to call it burlap.  Thick, hot, stiff, scratchy burlap.  Long sleeves.  Stand-up lace on the collar and wrists.  An ice-cold metal zipper running down the full length of my back.   I remember having to try it on for “fittings”.  I would stand with arms outstretched and totally immobile to keep from being poked by the straight pins piecing it together.  I remember being hollered at for not moving around naturally so they could see how it fit.  I remember sobbing because it was so uncomfortable and I just wanted to rip that scratching shroud of torture off my body.   I received no sympathy.   I have no idea how the dress went over at the function.  I have blocked that memory because of the trauma.

The results:

As an adult, I allow no person to dictate what I wear.

I will never wear anything stifling and physically uncomfortable. (Though I did go through a high-heel phase because I fell in love with a pair of snakeskin pumps to DIE for).

And I have been around the block enough times to have picked up many disparate and resonating ethnic and stylistic themes.  I conform to conventional style when I want to conform, not when I am required.

My apparel style is reflective of many aspects of my life.  I am eclectic in my interests and pursuits, I am flowing with positive energy and emotions, and I think, for the most part, people find me comfortable to be around.

Finally, I may not always be “proper,” but I always strive to be classy.

I guess I owe a debt of gratitude to that hideous blue party dress.

ljgloyd (c) 2015