Clinton Township Newsletter

July 2013 Clinton Township Newsletter

Clinton Township Newsletter, Clinton New Jersey, May 2013 Issue

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C L I N TO N TOW N S H I P N ews l e t t e r July "And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." –  F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" J u l i e F ly n n , E d i t o r 2013 "In Control??" by ® EDITOR'S COLUMN Ruth Keesing A very dear friend recently called me a "control-freak." She said it kindly, but it was clear that she meant it. And, of course, she was right. For instance: I would be far less traumatized on that Delta flight to Minneapolis if I were piloting the plane. When I ride shotgun in someone else's car, the urge to caution the driver at stop lights and intersections is overwhelming. If I were able to perform my own hammertoe surgery, I would have operated years ago on my grotesquely deformed digit. Fred used to want the house temperature set at 110 degrees Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall. We played a sneaky game of adjusting the thermostat almost hourly. Now I am totally in control of indoor temperatures and sleep in a sub-zero bedroom, with wide open windows in the Winter and have been known to lower the thermostat so much in the Summer that a light quilt is necessary. I long for the expertise to control the OUTSIDE temperatures as well. I use self checkout lanes at Walmart. I control which e-mails to answer, which to ignore and which to delete unopened. I used to love the control when I was a boss and ran my "shop" as I saw fit. Those things in life over which I have little or no control are numerous and frustrating. No matter how firm my requests for service appointments with a gaggle of workmen, they arrive according to THEIR schedules, not mine. If the electrician can only come between 9 and 11 on a Thursday morning, it's a waste of time to tearfully explain that would mean missing my yoga class. When the cable TV or internet develop problems (often!) Comcast is sincere in their efforts to find solutions, but I am not on their priority list. I have a plumber who arrives before I hang up from phoning for help to unclog a drain. Same goes for my lawn/snow friend who never fails me. And that prompt service applies to my handyman (Bless you, Ron of "DaFixer"!) He treats this little old lady from Lebanon as if I am his special customer. However, as the years go by, it seems less urgent to exercise control over so much stuff. I've progressed from perfectionist, to control freak, to obsessive/compulsive, to wakeup call. Life is too short for all that anquish. And my life certainly fits neatly into the "too short" category. In truth, "Control" is just an illusion. Life is so hit-or-miss and the best laid plans can, and do, go awry on a minute's notice. So, for me, I'm making an effort to chill out a little more. If my friend notices, I hope she will let me know. J u l y "Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational– but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?" –Judith Viorst I find myself knocking on wood a lot lately, and I'm not the only one. I've had many conversations in groups in which someone will make an optimistic statement ("Wow, it looks like the Real Estate market in Clinton Township is really starting to turn around!!!") then, next thing you know, we're all looking around furtively to knock on the nearest wooden item. (Plastic works as well.) Some of my friends even tell me that there are rules to the wooden object effect – it must be firmly grounded, or something like that. If not, no good luck, I guess? How many of you wear a lucky shirt on game day? Or hold your breath when you drive past a cemetery? Could that cemetery perhaps be partially filled with those who didn't hold their breath as they drove by? Or is that just a Southern superstition? In my early twenties, running around NYC, I came close to danger and death several times. (Thank you, kind stranger who pulled me back onto the curb as that speeding taxi-cab whizzed past me. Had you not, I wouldn't be here today to tell the tale.) Did I take any time to worry about myself? Not really at all. I never was particularly superstitious growing up – in fact, I don't think any of those tendencies truly hit me until I became a parent. Becoming a mother brought on the Anxiety Trifecta: Guilt, Fear and Superstition. All of a sudden, the words "what if" took on a whole new meaning. Many times when the kids were little, when someone would ask "How's everything?" I would answer "Great! The kids are healthy and happy and everything's good!!!" The next thing you know, we'd be in the emergency room with some dire predicament. In fact, we've been to the emergency room so many times now, I feel like we should have some kind of punch card. Like the 25th trip to the ER should be free or something. Now I preface many positive statements with "Dare I say it..." and end them with "...knock on wood." As if I can control anything, just by my words and knocks (as Ruth points out this month as well.) During their sporting events, I find myself whispering, from afar, words of encouragement to my kids and their teammates – as if they could hear me over the din, as if it will really help them score that goal or make that basket. And yes, on an almost-daily basis, I'll offer up a pleading prayer that goes something like this; "Please let it work out... please let them be okay... please keep them safe...please keep them out of trouble... please allow them to access their future-adult rational brain and ignore their unpredictable teenage brains... pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease..." My husband and sons – normally quite a rational group – have their favorite shirts to wear when the Giants play and, when the Giants make it to the Super Bowl, all of a sudden everything in our family-room is scrutinized: where to sit, when to stand, what was everyone in our family wearing and standing the last time the Giants won the Super Bowl? Because, as you can imagine, what goes on in the Flynn house on game day has a big affect on who wins or loses in the NFL (as it does in your house as well, I'm sure.) Matthew Hutson, author of "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep us Happy, Healthy and Sane" states that while superstitious rituals "might not directly have their intended magical effects, they produce an illusion of control and enhance self-confidence, which in turn can improve our performance and thus indirectly affect our fate." Well, that sounds good enough for me. So... dare I say it, I hope you and your families have a very happy, healthy and safe summer! Knock on wood... 2 0 1 3 –Julie Flynn 1

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