Mmmm, Bacon! What’s Your Love Language?

bacon-heart-2“The giving of love is an education in itself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s finally here! The Bacon Post! I do hope after all the hype and the waiting it’s not a disappointment.

I decided to scrap all the fussing and just get this thing finished. The last post was a bit too long, though I enjoyed writing it. I promise, this one is shorter.Plus there are TWO pictures, something smart someone else said, and a bunch of paraphrased material. Hardly any original content at all!

Have you heard of  the Five Love Languages?  In a nutshell, it’s about figuring out what says “love” to you, and to those you care about, and trying to “speak each other’s language.”  There are apparently five “love languages”, and of course you can take some kind of test (which Better Half roundly scorned) to figure out what your top “languages” are.  Want the Cliffs Notes version?

1) Words of Affirmationtelling the other person how you feel and why you appreciate them. that’s the “you’re pretty” part (see picture below)…but it can’t be fake or insincere. That’s no good. It can be anything you say that’s positive about the other person and is meant from the heart. (Awww).

2) Acts of Service – doing things for the other person. It could be washing the car,  cleaning the cat boxes, you know, laundry and all that thrilling stuff.

3) Receiving Giftsuh, giving the other person gifts. That one’s pretty obvious. Oooh, I like diamonds! But this would also refer to that flower you picked from the side of the road, or a pack of gum. It doesn’t have to be pricey. It’s the physical token of affection.

4) Quality Timeshowing you care by spending time together, doing things that person likes to do (and hopefully you also like to do). This could be anything – hanging out watching movies, or hiking, or sunning on the beach, watching paint dry, whatever…

5) Physical Touchsay no more. I think we all know about that one. But it also includes more innocent stuff like holding hands or those little pats or hugs or whatever.

The central notion here is that many relationships struggle or fail because the two people “aren’t speaking each other’s love language”, which means that they may think they are showing their feelings and behaving in a loving way because they are doing what THEY think would be wonderful. The problem is, it may or may not feel wonderful to the other person. If I’m primarily a “words of affirmation” and “quality time” type but you’re more about “receiving gifts” and “physical touch”, you can see the disconnect.

gimme chocolate

Okay, maybe that won’t fix everything, but…it’s worth a try. Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts! Bingo.

So according to the Five Love Languages book (yeah, I took the quiz) I’m primarily the affirming words and quality time type. So if that matches up with what I’m getting from the important people in my life (remember the “love” part could apply to more than just romantic love) then I’m all set. But if I’m not, I’m going to be feeling unfulfilled and cranky.

The key is not only to figure out your perspective, but those of the other people around you. Maybe they’re trying to show you they care, but it’s in a different “language”. Hmmm.

Here’s where the bacon comes in. Picture a Monday evening, late-ish. Tired from working all day and teaching a class at night and hungry to the point where it hurts. That was me. I get home and I’m not in, shall we say, the best of moods.  Better Half sees this, and rather than dump whatever on me about homework or the stuff to do for the next day or what the score was on whichever sporting event was currently on (there probably was one), he did a very loving thing.

He asked me if I wanted some bacon, and he made it for me.

Acts of Service, baby! Okay, that’s  not my top “love language”, but it’s one of his (he didn’t want to take the quiz but I kind of forced him and then improvised a little and that’s what I came up with.)  I was able to see that he was doing something loving, and you better believe I ate that bacon with a smile on my face.

I’m not saying you need to run right out and buy the book or anything, though it’s always interesting to me to see how other people try to unravel the mysteries of human relationships.

How does this apply to you? Are there people you feel you’re not connecting with though you both are trying? Maybe you need some language lessons, or at least some bacon.

5 Reasons Why Tolkien Makes for Troublesome Bedtime Reading

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“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I said my next post would be about bacon. And it was. But it’s not finished yet, so it’s sitting around in “private” status, still being tweaked and fussed about. Fear not, it will appear, eventually.

Some of you will agree that Tolkien is almost as good as bacon, though, won’t you?  I gave you a nice inspirational quote from none other than Gandalf, didn’t I? Well, if not, humor me and read on.

The reason I’m writing about Tolkien (and not bacon) is that I happened upon a really good post about blogging. If you blog, you’ve probably read several of these types of posts: tips for being a better blogger, ways to “monetize” your blog (i.e., put ads in it), etc.  Most of these are earnest and undoubtedly correct.  But until now, none of them particularly inspired me.

Whenever I happen to mention that I have a blog, (which happens incredibly infrequently because I’m super-crappy at promoting my blog) people sometimes give me similar kinds of tips. This is especially true if they are  themselves bloggers. One of the most common “tips” has to do with the title or headline of your blog posts.  You’re supposed to use catchy/trendy phrases or name people/things/events that will come up readily in search engines. You’re supposed to keep them short. You’re supposed to make lists or use provocative-sounding phrases. All of these things will grab readers’ attention. Apparently internet-scanners have the attention span of a fruit fly, and we. must. capture. this!

Until now, I pretty much threw that advice out the window.  Other than the recurring “How to be Happy:” theme or the “Why…” titles, I generally title my posts willy-nilly.  I’m not trying to make a living with this – it’s honestly just for fun at this point.  I didn’t want to look like I was Selling Out To The Man.   But hats off to People I Want to Punch in the Throat  for making me laugh frequently in her blog.  I’m willing to try something new, so I did come up with a Top-Five-type list. Whether this particular topic lends itself to a top-five-type list remains to be seen. You be the judge.

We also need a teeny tiny bit of backstory here. I don’t want to just launch into a list; it seems ill-mannered.  The Curious One really likes being read to at night, and I really like reading to him. We tackled The Hobbit some time ago, and he wanted to move on to the rest of my impressive 1980’s boxed set (see fuzzy picture below):

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When I was a kid, I got through the first two books and fizzled out somewhere in the first third of The Return of the King.  There’s a dog-eared page as a permanent remnant of my failure as a reader of Tolkien.  But that all changed when we started the bedtime reading schtick.  Now, I will be certain to finish the whole set (unless The Curious One fizzles as well).

So, this is a really great thing. Completely win/win. It’s a series of moments filled with things that are important to me: being with my kid, having alone time and being really “there” in that time, reading, etc.  However, this particular selection of bedtime reading material is not without its challenges.

Caveat:  Please, please, Tolkien-lovers and afficionados, don’t flame! I love Tolkien too! That’s why I tackled the boxed set! This is a happiness blog, for cryin’ out  loud. We have no haters here. I think Tolkien is a genius, and I want my kid to know his work, and I could only hope to write 1/1,000,000th as well, ever.  Having said that, one must choose bedtime reading carefully.

Now, without further ado:

FIVE REASONS WHY TOLKIEN MAKES FOR TROUBLESOME BEDTIME READING:

1) Unless you are British, you sound sort of stupid reading it.  Or at least I doI keep lapsing into my horrific Brit accent, because saying things like “ere long” and “we shall make merry” and “O! Lo beyond the hills” just doesn’t work with my flat Midwestern accent. (“What accent?!” I hear my fellow Michiganders declaim.) However, my listener does not appreciate my Gong-Show-quality abilities, and protests. So, I’m stuck listening to myself sounding pretty foolish. But hey, it’s for the children!

2) J.R.R. is constantly describing directions, weather –particularly mists–, and foliage. Most of these phrases are descriptive and lovely. You can really see the scene as you read (e.g., “The mist was flowing past him in shreds and tatters .  .  .  faint stars were appearing overhead amid the strands of hurrying cloud and fog. The wind began to hiss over the grass.” (p. 193 of my copy of Fellowship).  That’s not even one of the best ones; it’s just an example I could find quickly.  This is amazing stuff.  But some of it leaves me bewildered, and it’s late. Did I mention it’s bedtime? Sometimes I get through a particularly lengthy passage and The Curious One says fuzzily, “Mwhah-huh?  Uh, what were you saying? I fell asleep.”  No, I’m NOT reading all THAT again. But don’t worry, we’ll wax poetic about the leaves or the directions (or the  mist, or the sunlight, or the drops of dew) again soon enough.

3) Odd names make my child giggle uncontrollably, thereby shaking bed and interrupting my “flow”. I’ll admit it: sometimes I get into the Zone while reading to The Curious One. I start reading really well, like those people who do the books on tape. I have different inflections for different people’s dialogue,. I’m pacing dramatically. And then…I have to read “Oin, Gloin, Ori, Dori, and Nori” or ” Fatty Lumpkin” or “O! Ho, Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!” and he loses it.  He’s giggling and bouncing around and wiping his eyes. I’m trying to focus on the tiny font and faded pages, and my really excellent elocution, and completely losing my mojo in the process. Sigh. Thanks, J. R. R. (Secretly, though, I love watching my kid crack up, and I know it’s a special moment that shall someday not happen, etc., etc.  So maybe this isn’t so troublesome, after all.)

4) Some truly creepy characters are inexplicably glossed over. Warning: potential spoiler alert, if you’ve not read Fellowship.  Here’s an example: Barrow-wights? Frodo & co. stumble around in the Barrows (though they were expressly told NOT to, might I add) and then somehow wake up in white robes, covered in gold, half-zombified. What the–? And some haunted, eerie personage called a “barrow-wight” has apparently put them there. Okay, this is getting good. It’s not just directions and hilltops and flora and the River Withywindle. This is ACTION! But pretty much all we get to hear about (at this juncture, anyhow) is some kind of screeching and a clawlike hand scrabbling about.  Really?! I have about 30-45  unanswered questions here. But, for now, at least, they’re rescued (by none other than our good pal Tom Bombadil) and they’re frolicking naked (yep) and eating (of course) in a meadow.  Hmmph.  Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes less is more. I’m not looking for Saw, here. But just give me a little more on this scary guy!

5) Too many songs.  Yeah, yeah. Don’t start flaming, here.  I know you love the dwarf-songs of yore as much as the rest of ’em.  I’m just saying, remember I have no British accent, and no music is provided. So if I start reading the songs, I’m pretty much just chanting along.  Songs are meant to be sung, not read. Sometimes the songs repeat stanzas/verses/whatever, as songs are wont to do. The Curious One holds no truck with this. “Skip the songs!” quoth he. So, unless it’s really short, or seems like it’s important to the story (like when Bilbo and/or Frodo mysteriously break into song/poetry and then are perplexed about why they’ve done so), I do as he asks.  Which takes away a good chunk of the beginning of The Hobbit, anyhow.

And there you have it. If you can get past these challenges, you too can delve into Middle Earth and all the adventures therein.  The Curious One and I are still game, and we’ll see if we ever hear from those pesky barrow-wights again…