Cary Umhau

Boring is the New Special

One of my mantras is “Give me a random Tuesday over a holiday any day.” Which is a grammatically strange mantra, now that I think of it because you can’t really have a Tuesday any day; it has to happen on — well — a Tuesday.

What I mean by that is that “normal” suits me.  “Special” is less compelling. And a corollary of that is that normal can be special. Simply because it’s so normal. Or it’s glorious in its normalcy.

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It Takes All Kinds

Living in a biggish city, I love the variety of people that I encounter. How fun it is to have cross-pollination of the various worlds we inhabit; I do love that.

I often think about juxtapositions among my nearest and dearest. The fact is that within a week’s time:

  • I could have visitors who prefer  Bircher muesli and visitors who prefer Lucky Charms.
  • I could invite over the friends who grew up working picking fruit for pay in elementary school and those who counted their debutante year as the hardest “work”

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The Influence of Pearl Fryar: Topiary Bringing Joy

Many of you have seen the movie, A Man Named Pearl.  If you haven’t, do.  It’s about a man who had no idea of the limitations of topiary art, so he just started pruning and hacking and created a kingdom to behold.

But better yet, hie thee down to Bishopville, South Carolina, as I did recently, and check out Pearl’s yard yourself.  It was positively inspiring, especially for fans of Dr. Seuss.  I don’t know that Pearl claims any inspiration of Dr.

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Truth or TMI?

Let’s say you run into an acquaintance who — naturally — asks you how you are. When is it okay to say how you’re really feeling — even if the answer is “I’m feeling sort of blah” or even “I’m ecstatic because I got a raise?”  When is it better to just say something polite and move on — vs. expressing what’s actually on your mind?

For most of us our conversational baseline is “How ya doin’?” followed by “Fine” or —

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You are what you read.

Ok, I admit it… I used to spy on people.  I fancied myself a regular Harriet the Spy, and I even had a spy route. But I was only 10.

When I matured, I knew that spying was wrong… so I gave it up. And took on “observing.” Same behavior, different label.

I don’t go into anybody’s private business. I don’t read mail that’s not for me. I don’t do dumpster-diving for financial information.  I just pay attention.

And one thing I’ve noticed is that you can tell a lot about somebody by what they read.

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Live vs. Televised

I almost never watch television. People sometimes wonder what I DO with myself without watching shows and sports on television. I love to read; I love to explore; I go on road trips; I like to go to museums and galleries and hang out with friends and do puzzles and cook and — well, frankly — sit in silence.

The American way is to go into one’s home in the evening and watch things, often with alcohol in hand and often alone.

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