Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Smokey Skies ...

This is a picture of the Sacramento skyline yesterday.

There are so many fires in northern California right now that the drifting smoke and ash is beginning to obscure the sun. It reminds me of Long Beach many years ago when there were fires that caused ash to fall from the sky like rain.

We've all been advised to stay inside, preferably with the doors and windows closed, air conditioners on recycle. It will probably be this way for the next few days. The air is unhealthy to breathe. Looking outside, I think most of us could have figured that out without the help of local media.

I've been watching movies. Lots of them. Thank goodness for NetFlix. Just yesterday, I watched "Freedom Writers" (really liked it), "Children of Heaven" (really liked it) and "Yogis of Tibet" (really liked it).

This unexpected time-out has also given me plenty of space to think about many things that will hopefully become posts one day.

Here's a question I've been thinking about: how useful is it to compare ourselves to others, to determine what's "normal"? While I know the obvious answer, it's still something that may be useful in some cases.

Just curious about your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I'll wait for the mail (poor post person out in this stinky air!) and see what Netflix offers for today.



Amy Y said...

Oh wow ~ I'm glad you're staying safe and cool inside.

It's obviously not useful to compare ourselves to others to find "normal" but I don't know if it's likely or even possible to find a way to not do it.

Everything I teach my kids and try to teach myself is about loving ourselves for who we are... and loving other people for who they are ~ despite or even because of their differences.

But it's one of those things that is easier said than done, unfortunately. I know I shouldn't compare but I can't help looking around and also feeling compared by others.

slouching mom said...

that is one scary, apocalyptic photo.

i'm sorry. glad you can stay indoors.

what is "normal"? i can't even wrap my mind around defining it. i suspect the definition is different for different people. so even if we try to compare ourselves to "normal," we're probably all using a different standard.

so it's hopeless.

as it should be.

Brandi said...

honestly, I can't think of too many situations where it useful at all. In fact, in terms of my creativity, I find it detrimental.

flutter said...

No one is normal. There, I said it. We are all a mixed bag of nuts and it is just a matter of which ones we choose to show to the people outside.

QT said...

yes, chani, I'm with flutter. I agree that "society" has some ideal of what it means to be normal, but even now, it seems like that definition changes daily. It has to be more useful to learn to accept your unique self, right?

I love Netflix, too. I just saw "Away From Her", which made me cry.

PeterAtLarge said...

There's this old rhyme:

All the world's queer (old sense, please!)
Save me and thee;
and even thee's
a little queer.

I've always tried to think of myself as the most normal person in the world. Everyone else, of course, is a little "off"!

jen said...

i'm with Flutter on this one too. No one is. But the media likes to portray it like some people are.

crazymumma said...

There is no normal. Never was never will be no way no how.

Olivia said...


I don't compare myself to others to see what is normal. My husband says that I "take pride in always being different", which I think is true. He tries to figure out what everyone else does and think and then tries to be like them. I seem to obnoxiously take the opposite view. But for me it is not to be obnoxious; I really think differently! I don't want to react in lockstep, just to be authentic.

Having this online community has helped me to feel better about being different, since so many of us are unique here and it's okay. It's the first time I've really been in a group like this or felt acceptance like this.

I have always felt very different, even as a child. I was called the "black sheep" of my family. Sometimes as a defense, I've looked down on those who do try to be like everyone else. My challenge in maturity is to accept everyone, whether authentic, judgmental, open-minded, close-minded, etc.

The only time I can think of when it would be useful is when blending with the larger world to get something you really want. Like to win a scholarship or get a job or something. I do things like dress conventionally when I go to do errands; I think "what do normal people wear to go to the bank" and such. But beyond that, I don't really think of it much!

It sounds like you had a fun day :)



womaninawindow said...

I'm constantly at odds with what California IS and what we might think of it ('cause of all those movies, thanks very much Netflix) but that smoke...that's not what I'd be thinking of without this post. Scary.

As to what's normal...I'm finding it interesting and a little scary at how easily we're influenced by other people's normal. I'd like to just OWN my own.

hele said...

In anthropology a lot of discourse is about the way our culture often look at space as linear and then apply these concepts to all aspects of our lives. Backwards, forwards, forward progress, lagging behind, higher lower...

I think this same linear thought process is a killer when comparing ourselves with others.

However, if we see ourselves as circular beings comparisons could be interesting. We could think along the lines of: "Hmmmm, he or she is in this part of their cycle and I am in this part. Curios. How do they act because of it, how do I, how would I act if I was in their cycle? How might they act in my place? What could I learn from their way of doing, because soon I'm sure to find myself in that part of the cycle again?"

we_be_toys said...

Man, that is some seriously smoky air - bleah!

As far as the measuring of oneself against others to determine normalcy: my advice to anyone who wants to take it is, embrace your inner weird. Conformity is highly over-rated, and in my opinion, touted by the unimaginative.

tap, this thing on?

Anonymous said...

Thinking about how one should do "normal." I don't think it exists either.

I clicked on your Wellness Wednesday badge today, btw. Wow, tons of great blogs in there! Sad to see some of them have closed....doesn't keep me from reading older posts anyway. :)

I hope the weather there improves soon.

All the best,


Molly said...

Have been hearing about those awful fires from my daughter who lives out there and was trying to drive out to the coast[Humboldt Co. incidentally!] from the mountains, with her horses. She does not like barbequed horse!. Hope you guys get a good soaking soon, no floods please, but enough rain to snuff out those fires.......

Angela said...

I'm glad to know that you're safe and find myself really feeling for everyone affected by these fires. Yikes! Thank God for Netflix (and good movie choices!). Here's hoping the fires subside soon.

And yes, I second (or tenth) everyone else. "Normal" is vastly overrated and a non-entity as far as I'm concerned.