Archives for category: musings

IMG_2652People are talking about the jealousy they feel when they look at Facebook. Some are deactivating their Facebook accounts to save themselves the “drama.” The drama, of course, being the envy they feel, of not being able to afford to go to the beach, not having a relationship, not getting married, not having kids, whatever. Not having a beautiful job!

It is well known that only the high points of peoples’ lives are presented there. So why are we jealous when someone is smiling behind a Pina Colada?

I think it is because we are desensitized, due to the everyday assault of images coated in glamour. Reality TV has become a standard. We accept it as real. Reality TV came about when no one was around to write screenplays for television shows. There was a writers strike going on at the time. It was cheap, plotless broadcasting. And remains cheap, plotless broadcasting.

Given this, people actually think their ‘friends’ on Facebook are doing better than they are. And the number of ‘likes’ are there to prove it.

I guess it makes sense to brag about your child’s accomplishments rather than talk about how much yeast medicine you have to use due to a long term prescription of antibiotics. Or while you had the flu, the nearest place to vomit was a trash can right outside the movie theatre. Granite countertops do not barf, yell at their kids, have nosebleeds or smear jelly all over their jeans. We all want granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and sunken sinks with “OMG! I can’t believe it!”

Is a selfie of those people taken, straining out from a line at the pharmacy of, say, six people? Or, better yet, a selfie taken of the pharmacist and the sick person? How many ‘likes’ would a person get there?

Because real life is not Facebook. Real life is not Reality TV. And those people who seem to have everything, do not. They just don’t take photographs of themselves when they are wiping a stain off their shirt, eating chips and salsa. The people on Facebook pose for those Facebook pictures, iphone clicking away, with a face they think looks best on them.

A face that looks like they have everything too!

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 All Rights Reserved

DSCN0771We as a family were bumming around New York as we usually do, going to bookstores and thrift stores, stopping here and there, soaking in all the wonderfulness of Manhattan. I cannot remember the year, but our daughter was probably between six and ten at the time. Not quite up to my shoulder.

We were in SoHo, and happened upon a lovely neighborhood, as they all are in SoHo. We walked up the stairs to a consignment store. Or used clothing store, more aptly.

I picked out a particular shirt to try on. It was only $16.95. As I was in the dressing room, I tried on the simple gray plaid shirt. I honestly did not like the way it looked on me, nor did I have anything to go with it. I decided to put it back. As I was taking it off, regretting that I had to actually reject something to wear, (God forbid) I looked at the price tag. It was $1695.00!!! I silently said, “Yikes!”

I opened the curtain and the entire staff working in the store surrounded me. I merely said, “I didn’t have anything to go with it!”

We descended the stairs, walked down the block and I told my husband and daughter what happened. We wondered about the origins of such a shirt, (a celebrity owned it?Perhaps Madonna?) It looked rather worn. But in any event, (as my mother would say), we were aware that the workers in the store wanted to see who was behind the curtain trying on this plaid shirt!

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 All Rights Reserved

images I was told I would have bad karma.

A member of my family is not speaking to another member of the family. This has been going on for years. Rather than go into the drama of why she is not speaking to her, the family member just says, “She died in a mining accident!”

No further questions are asked. A look of horror passes over the questioner’s face and the subject is dropped.

We all thought this was best, since it really is boring to talk about family members’ wrong doings and such. And to play the victim is ridiculous. No one in my family is a victim. We may seek council from an attorney once in a while, but we are never victims.

One school day in the fall of fifth grade, our daughter was questioned about this family member as in, “Do you have any relatives living close by?” Our daughter answered, “Well, we did, but she died in a mining accident.” The teacher was not put off. He asked what mine. Our daughter said she did not know.

Since then we have filled in the blanks for everyone in our family, so that this second question does not throw us. Usually we just have to say, “She took one step back too far!”

Copyright  Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014  All rights Reserved

IMG_1674Some of the trees in our woods were cut down yesterday. Maybe thirty trees. The tallest one was taller than our house. I felt like it had feelings. The man who owned the arbor company said it was a “weed.” I guess he knew. A lot of pruning was done. And now when you look at our woods, it’s not thick and black like a jungle. Which is good.

He was very knowledgable about the trees. As we made our way into the jungle a day before the buzzsaws and tree shredders started, he pointed out the different varieties of trees by name. I swatted mosquitos. He talked about this one’s leaves being good for making tea. And this one needing to come down because it housed insects that killed the other trees. One, he said, was even struck by lightening!

Among all this learned pointing, was a Southern Coastal monologue about almost everything else. He used the expression, “She was as country as a ham sandwich!” He made me laugh as I itched, wanting to get the heck up the hill to air, daylight and bug spray. He spotted a little patch of something and he said, “That’s a white oak.”

White oaks surrounded The Twin Towers in New York. When we were at The 9/11 Memorial, the permanent one, recently completed, white oaks were replanted around the Memorial. The leaf was used in the museum. Every person killed in the attack was represented with a photograph, several times. Those whose picture could not be found, were assigned a white oak leaf with their name underneath.

I thought about the footprint of the North and South Towers and their massive box like fountains, which is now the Memorial. The space above them remains empty in honor of the people who had worked in those buildings.

Sort of like my tree that used to tower higher than our house. Its spirit still there. But this big empty sky now visible.

ImageOn television, when there is a haunted house show being shown, featuring a
“specialist” carrying around something like a ghost detector and the black and white video is shot so that spirits can be spotted with infrared heat, I am too scared to watch.

When I go to New York, I go for business, hanging my art show and then I go back three weeks later, to take it down.

I used to stay at the Salisbury Hotel. The staff knows me by name. It is centrally located in Midtown and the breakfast is luxurious, very inexpensive and on the second floor.

But during the last three or four years, I became fond of staying in a boutique hotel in the Lower East Side. Close to SoHo and Little Italy, and the new gallery district on Orchard Street, I could do a lot of walking. It had been the hotel of choice for rock stars. I have the love of celebrity in my blood, therefore seeing Kirsten Dunst on the steps was exciting also.

Nostalgia has its grip, though, and one New York stay, The Salisbury beckoned me back. Just for the weekend, it said. It was to be a very short trip since this solo show consisted of a video being shown across a seventeen foot wall, and most of the take down was fairly simple.

That night at the Salisbury Hotel, in my room, my by nightstand, I became unexpectedly cold. In fact, at first, only cold in one spot of the room. Intensely cold. I asked the front desk for extra blankets. Then more, more. I think I had ten extra blankets piled up on my side of the bed. I kept trying to jump out of the cold spot, but it did not release me. My husband, who was with me this time, was not affected. In fact, when he was in the bathroom, I screamed “Come out this minute!” Terrified he came out. I told him about the intense cold and he was annoyed at something so trivial.

You would think the hotel staff would be irritated at having to send up so many blankets to one room. Maybe it was because they knew us.

I put a camera next to my side of the bed the second night (I can’t believe I stayed there another night!) I told myself, I would aim in the darkness and take a picture when I woke up. I woke up in pitch black, aimed the camera but was too afraid to take the picture. More precisely, too afraid at what would show up.

The next day as I was leaving, I called the front desk and said, “Our room was abnormally cold the last few nights!” “What room were you in?” I told him. He pauses and let out a sigh. “Ah!”, he said with a little mischief in his voice……….“Room 237!”

After I wrote this story and I was searching around for a visual, I found out most of the horror movie, “The Shining” took place in non other than Room 237! I knew nothing about this! Never saw the movie! It was a total surprise. But let me caution you, the weirdness of this tale is true and I would not book my honeymoon hotel in a room with the number 237!