Mail: Benign and Hostile

Clump #228:  Send off clump of mail and clear, right away, incoming mail; day 24 of the 30-day challenge.

First, a moment of awe, please, for the Cardinal flower I spied today. Like an elegant designer gown: devastating simplicity and breathtaking color.


Now back to our regularly scheduled clump report.  It was a day of getting letters, checks, and packages out into the world.  Phew.  Tedious (especially in the case of the books to Russia), but so cathartic.


Equally cathartic in its own steady way: keeping up with the burgeoning piles of catalogs coming to our house, the start of the pre-holiday buy-buy-buy drumbeat.  Makes me think of my late brother-in-law who used to say when dealing with left-over food, “Should I throw it out now, or next week?”

Shall I recycle them today, or when they start suffocating me?


I’ll close with an excerpt from the Tell Me About It advice column by Carolyn Hax from the August 21st Philadelphia Inquirer.  This exchange stuck with me, to the point that I searched out and reread it.  Good armor-toughening advice for “hurtable” people (all people?), something I needed today.

“Question: Can you elaborate on what you mean by controlling “the access we give people to our sensitivities”? I don’t “give” people like this access to my sensitivities, they just know exactly what they are and how to use them to hurt me. Even if I put on a show like it doesn’t hurt, it still hurts.

Answer: I’ll use my experience in reading hostile mail for 16 years, and also in some volatile, now-ex friendships. Both used to upset me deeply, and now the same things barely register. Nothing about the other parties changed, the abuse still comes. What has changed is inside me: I value their (or anyone’s) opinions less; I am more accepting of, less embarrassed by, and therefore less defensive about my own shortcomings; and I learned more constructive ways to handle my hard feelings. Combine the three and I am just not as, for lack of a better word, hurtable as I used to be.  That’s what I mean.”


The exposure I’ve given myself through this blog has made me a bit more “accepting of, less embarrassed by, and therefore less defensive about my own shortcomings.”  Thank you for reading.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely pictures and your gift of writing enjoyable & informative blogs!! I look forward to catching up on some of my favorite blogs – one of them is yours – in spurts!


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