I’m Not Complaining

It’s been an interesting week here in Lisbon Falls.  No, no, no, my hometown is still wonderful and good things happen every day.  In fact, yesterday I had a trifecta of wonderful all during my lunchtime walk to the post office.

As I was turning the corner by the walking path, a runner jetted by me and said “Hello, Julie-Ann!”  It was one of the Moxie Recipe Contest judges!  We chatted as much as a pedestrian and a runner can chat, given the physics of walking and running.  As he ran off, I stopped and briefly chatted with Mr. Jim, one of my Davis Street neighbors.  He was pruning his raspberry patch, a perfect activity for the bright Maine day we were having.  I didn’t know there were yellow raspberries, did you?

I walked on and the pastor of the Lisbon United Methodist pedaled past me.  I don’t know him personally, but his passionate little congregation loves him and every time I attend an event at his church, I’m impressed by the joy in the building.  So I waved and said “hello.”

It was like a scene from Mitford.

In the back of my mind, though, was an opinion post I’d read by serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.  It was called “Stop complaining, you’re annoying me.”  You can read it here.

Vaynerchuk, known to his fans as “Gary Vee” is fascinating and energetic and I don’t know if I like him or not.  Intellectually, I agree that complaining has little value, but are we really in control of everything?  I had zip control of Ben Bernanke when he was chairman of the Federal Reserve and zero control over his successor, Janet Yellen.

I’m not complaining.

Taking a few of my paper Federal Reserve notes, I bought a loaf of local artisanal bread the other day.  It looked dang good and I was thinking of toasting a slice and loading it up with fresh, local butter.  The sample I tried tasted good, soft and warm from the oven.

Bad BreadAnd yet…when I got home and sliced it…it was not so good.  In fact, it was hard and rubbery.  Yeast is a magical thing, not always gentle to flour.

I’m not complaining.  I cut it up, soaked it in buttermilk and Moxie and made a bread pudding out of it.

Transformed BreadI’m not going to complain about my condemned furnace, either.  Thanks to Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, it’s better to spend money than to save it.  I even spent a little extra on a new oil tank, too.

I hired a couple of Uncle Bob’s buddies from his career in the oil business and they hung out in the basement for two days, laughing and listening to oldies on their boom box while they installed my new furnace and oil tank.  I could hear them laughing and singing while I sat in my office staring at my computer.

The best part of the day was the furnace “trial run.”

“Open up the windows, Julie, we’re going to start it up.  There might be a little smoke.”

There was a bang and a whoosh and a whir and suddenly, smoke came blasting out of my heating vents.  It was comical, actually, and I realized how high my ceilings were when I had to get up on a chair to turn off the smoke alarms.

But I’m not complaining.

In fact, everything is perfectly lovely.

In the event anyone else wants to complain about anything today, come sit next to me and I’ll listen to you.  I might get annoyed if it happens over and over, but I wouldn’t hurt your feelings by telling you that.  I might suggest, gently, that it was ok to be frustrated and sometimes life isn’t easy.  I believe in transformations of all types and maybe your complaint over coffee today will be just what you need to move forward to action.  Thank you to everyone who’s ever listened to my complaints.

Oh…and thank you, Gary Vee, for leading me to a reminder of one of my favorite Bible verses.

“For let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I certainly cannot complain about that.

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4 Responses to I’m Not Complaining

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    The local Cuban breads have a very short shelf life. Baked today, sold today, eaten today. By tomorrow it will make a better doorstop.

  2. Mary Conant says:

    I just love how you turned your not so great bread into bread pudding and it looked delicious. You are very resourceful. Also, I took the time to read Gary’s blog but I, like you, do not agree with him on being in control. I think we all have the illusion that we are in control of our lives and what goes on in them but that, in my opinion, is just that, an illusion. He can think otherwise but oftentimes circumstances are not in our control.

    I love the Mitford story and the simpleness of it although I did not read the book or the series but we, humans, actually like simple. Now that our world has gotten so complicated with electronics and so many choices we are all messed up. Society, that is. We need to get back to simple and the basics. We have stores such as Whole Foods in the big metro areas where people are willing to pay more for natural products or what we now call organic. It will come around again. Simple and natural life. Great blog. I always enjoy your style of writing. Hugs, Mary

  3. Jim says:

    I’m not a fan of Gary Vaynerchuck for a variety of reasons. I read his latest book, followed him on Twitter for a bit, but quickly tired of him. He’s too much of a huckster for my liking. That’s not a complaint—merely a statement of fact from my point of view.

    “Don’t complain,” so says Gary Vaynerchuck. Let’s silence all contrary opinions (except the ones “he” wants to utter).

    Poor Steve Yenco, he dared to complain about the “controlled burn” down at the site that used to be the home of a major local employer, but now is just a big, stinkin’ pile of smoldering rubble. The fire industrial complex (at least the Lisbon Falls version of it) was after poor Steve, who has a point—he’s been tireless in his photos representing the best of the town—yet he dared complain about something sacred to fans of the FB page, the one with the name that shall not be uttered (but I mention it in my latest book) and now, he’s persona non grata to some in Lisbon Falls, some even going so far as to calling Steve a “keyboard warrior.”

    A good portion of the U.S. population (which includes the good people of Lisbon Falls and Mitford) were not in control when the “unwinding” that George Packer delves into in his latest book (and I touch on in the final essay of “The Perfect Number”) began back in the early 1970s.

    Sometimes when I drive through Lisbon Falls and see the changes and the unwinding up close, I think, “I wonder what Norm Fournier would have written about ____________,” if he was still in his prime, putting out the local weekly, The Lisbon Post.

    Thankfully, a few of us are still writing about the place, trying to frame the issues, each coming from a different perspective and point of view, all of them valid and worth considering.

    I’ll be sharing a bit more about my own perspective this Wednesday night in Lisbon Falls, at the Lisbon Falls Community Library @ 6:00 pm. I’ll do my best to keep the complaining to a minimum. But I feel a few things are worth talking about, and I think I’ll talk about Norm Fournier, John Gould, and few other locals worth mentioning that I’m guessing some of those on Facebook going after Steve Yenco are clueless about.

    I wonder what Norm would have written about the controlled burn in this week’s Lisbon Post?

    I love bread pudding, btw. The one you made sounds delicious, and the Moxie twist is just more fodder for an updated Moxie Recipe Cookbook.

    • It’s funny that you mentioned Steve Yenco; I was just contemplating his series of posts and not having the stamina to weigh through all the comments on that Facebook site so close to bedtime. I kept asking myself “well, what is the truth about this situation?” Something sure stinks about it, in more ways than one.

      If it was a “controlled burn” then someone issued a permit.

      And why has it taken more than two years for “SWift Demolition” (or maybe it was “Speedy Demolition”) to take the USG apart? And who owns it now? Who is responsible for this problem? Was there a performance guarantee between the owner and the demolition company? Who didn’t hold up their part of the bargain?

      Someone named “Roger” spun a web of baloney to Dad one day when he went down there to get a few bricks. “Roger” talked on and on about how he was going to “develop” the site, luxury condominiums and houses. That was this spring. Now it’s for sale.

      As far as I can tell, someone profited from the major scrap and all that is left is mostly bricks and lesser metals.

      Norm Fournier and John Gould would have asked a few questions, to be sure.

      Thanks for your timely comments. We can only hope the “development mafia” doesn’t have their eyes on it.

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