Gratitude Sunday: Old Yeller

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots


Sunday Haiku
Beyond clouds, the moon,
and the sun, there are likely
more of us around.

Sunday Musings
Here we are again, the last weekend of April, one third of the year firmly behind us now. Each day we experience remains a gift, every minute precious. We move forward from disappointments, failures, successes, and risks. Change is the only constant. We are not the people we were yesterday or a year ago or five years ago. When I think of all the different jobs and work I’ve done to make ends meet and keep kith and kin together I am amazed at the sum of my experiences. I am that sum in addition to the sum of my thoughts and behaviors.

I used to yell at my family when I was frustrated with them. Yelling was an immediate visceral reaction and employed no thought whatsoever. It just spewed forth venomously until I couldn’t breathe or think. It made me feel worse about situations after already feeling bad enough to yell. I don’t yell any more. It’s been a force of will to stop and think before I open my mouth. I literally have to engage a filter. It doesn’t always work.

Some people seem so polished and unruffled and say the right/best things in most situations. Expletives do not occur to some people as a way of expressing themselves, and they sometimes find these words offensive. That would not be me. I fumble for words to not hurt feelings but get my disappointment and frustration across to the person I communicate with, without evoking anger or frustration from the recipient. I often fail. Is it my tone of voice? The phrasing I choose? The timing of my delivery? This crazy old face whose wrinkles and creases and bags and sags reflect years of pain and sadness and looks as mean as the Wicked Witch of the West?


Is it the avoidance of the expletives the guys use in every sentence? There are so many delicious words in the English vocabulary I like to use every alternative possible in verbal communication as well. I admire well crafted inventive curses that include not one expletive such as “snot eating son of a whore”, which are not really cuss words but denigrating nonetheless, just because these phrases are creative.

Perhaps it is my love of words but I occasionally indulge in a good blue-aired string of true expletives in the privacy of my own home, preferably when no one is around to hear. In certain cases I find the over-use of expletives to be amusing, such as the work of one of my favorite bloggers as she expresses her frustration about the trials of parenting and life in modern culture. Because of my love of words I found an interesting essay on other lovely words you might not know are associated with swearing. I use latrinalia and other common quadrilaterals irregularly. Oddly enough there has been some research on swearing and the studies suggest “swearing is the relief of physical pain.”


I think what is hurtful about expletives is the feeling of violence or anger they express. Well delivered expletives can feel like the modern version of a precisely swung sword. The delivery releases tension for the user and the reception is meant to sting. No wonder people use expletives when speaking to express frustration, anger, sadness, and other emotions that cause physical and emotional pain. Compound that by the emotional frustration of dealing with constant physical pain which disrupts concentration. It’s hard to have the societal filter in place when dealing with pain, anger, frustration, or other challenges.

I’m not terribly fond of embarrassing myself and it seems whenever I use expletives or speak in anger with a loud yelling voice I feel embarrassed about/by myself. Yelling was an instant thoughtless reaction. So I stopped yelling. As this doesn’t come naturally to me, I started using a technique I learned in customer service training. Instead of yelling I take a deep breath. Maybe two. I concentrate on pulling the air into my lungs and then pushing it back out again. It may take several seconds – now we have microwaves and computers we know how long a minute of waiting is – so I may even say “give me a minute to gather myself”. Sometimes I don’t even think about what the situation is but go to my “happy place” for a second or two before coming back to the challenge at hand. I find I embarrass myself less and occasionally manage to say the right/best thing.

Perhaps here’s where I a differ from the person who does not use or tolerate expletives. I believe in the power of a well-placed expletive, especially f-bombs. If you don’t use them often these words are excellent attention-getters, more so when spoken in a quiet and calm tone rather than an angry and hostile voice, as the listener will soon know you are serious when you pull out the best and brightest expletives.

Am I the same person I was when I yelled more? Am I a different person because I now choose to use fewer expletives? Have I changed because my love of language has evolved to a much richer and thoughtful level? I like choosing. I like being able to express a passionate feeling without using one little four letter word. And damn it, I defend my right to choose. And yours as well.

Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – the white and gold throat of a rhododendron; DSCN3923 pale pink and magenta rhododendron; DSCN3539 golden sunshine yellow azaleas, looking like ready made bouquets; DSCN3895 this isn’t a great picture (I have just a simple little camera because I am still learning) but I needed to express my amazement: how did I get to be this old and never before see this iridescent PINK AND GOLD (!!!) winged seed? DSCN7692

Currently Reading – We Are Not Ourselves (2014, fiction) by Matthew Thomas; How to Change Anybody: Proven Techniques to Change Anyone’s Attitudes, Behaviors, Feelings, and Beliefs (2005, communication psychology) by David J Lieberman; My Stroke of Insight (2008, science) by Jill Bolte Taylor; Storybook Style: America’s Whimsical Homes of the Twenties ( 2001, architecture) by Arrol Gellner. Yes, concurrently.


This week I have been grateful for:

    • Time spent yakking with a friend.
    • The sweet fragrance of freshly mowed fields.
    • Not having huge allergic reactions to pollens and grasses so I can truly enjoy the fragrance.
    • The yearly abundance of trees and bushes like lilacs.
    • Deciding what to eat when there are so many food choices in the house nobody else can decide.
    • The smell of spring rain on freshly dug soil.
    • The magic of electricity.
    • DVDs and Netflix, so I can be in control of when and what I view.
    • Choosing not to turn the TV on for background noise. On a different day, choosing to do so. Going with the flow of my mood and not succumbing to habit.
    • A dear friend who has a birthday today. Here’s an angel orchid for her.

angel orchid habenaria grandifloriformis

  • Finding a retail source in my hunting gathering area for a new botanical/organic skin product to relieve the affects of more swim time in heavily chlorinated/fluoridated water. I am picky. The product cannot leave an oily, greasy, or waxy residue and must be readily absorbed by my skin. I must be able to abide the fragrance; some herbal concoctions are pretty heady. I prefer organic, natural, herbal cosmetics because everything you use is absorbed through your skin, the largest organ of your body. The product must relieve the dry itchy flaky skin. And I must not have an allergic reaction. Not too much to ask of a cosmetic. I tried a mail-order cream moisturizing product recently that only failed the fragrance test. I’d like it if this product passes all the tests.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.


Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Old Yeller

  1. heathermama says:

    love what you have to say. i am a yeller, i really dislike that about myself. i don’t feel like it helps a situation at all and yet i struggle with it so much.


  2. billmarydrew says:

    Okay, so this post had me really cracking up. I admire your total honesty and ability to look at yourself as you truly have been and are now. I would actually never have guessed that you are a yeller. You have a soft, kind and soothing tone of voice. You pause as you speak. You are a good listener. You smile as you listen and speak. Your eyes are expressive. My mom was a yeller and it would startle the heck out of me. I promised myself I would not yell at my kids. I broke my promise more than once. Well, probably more like a dozen times. It wasn’t a yell feat and I don’t use expletives because they don’t come to mind when I am that upset. No one can be calm and collected all the time. The wide range of emotion is good for you. A wise counselor told me that once. Yelling and letting out anger is far better than bottling it up and stuffing it, because those feelings will come out somehow, someway and often uglier than yelling or bad words.


  3. billmarydrew says:

    Oops….that was supposed to read “yell fest”. No way to edit comments!


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