Monthly Archives: May 2012

Middle-Ground, Understanding, Covenant

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I’ve been thinking a lot about compromise lately. I’ve been reading new blogs from people who read mine. It’s a nice way of exposing yourself to different ideas and opening your world up a bit. Blogging can be a blatant excuse for editorializing.  How entertaining or compelling you are depends on who follows you. Really? Hmmmm, only if you can compromise.

I believe our government and the American culture is losing the ability to COMPROMISE.  The definition of compromise: A settlement of differences by mututal concession in which a party gives up part of their demands, or, agreement through communication, or, between or blending qualities of two different things.  How about agreeing to disagree? The very problem exists because there are so many different meanings to the same word. You can also use compromise as a negative, if for example, you compromise your beliefs or integrity. It’s an oxymoron. Love those.

There are so many issues today that have divided our country and I think make us weaker as a democracy. Not because we have the freedom to disagree but because we have become embattled with defending it. We don’t want to look at any side but our own. If we do we might be giving up ground. We become entrenched in convincing anyone who will listen that we are right. Our two party political system is a classic example. A civil war of ideaologies. Kids on the playground learn very quickly that one has to take turns and share. Where do we lose this ability when it comes to politics? We have Fox and MSNBC, authors, and talk shows getting rich while vying for opposing positions that feed the fires of our discontent. Enough already!! When does the compromise start? Do we even learn that anymore?

Synonyms of compromise are: accommodation, accord, adjustment, arrangement, bargain, contract, covenant, deal, happy medium, settlement and my personal favorite, fifty-fifty. Everyone knows that is only possible in math, just ask any couple in a successful marriage. It seems to me the secret to compromise is the WILLINGNESS to. It shouts respect louder than any other message can. Agreeing to disagree has probably saved more relationships than the word NO has but it’s hard to pass legislation with this technique.

We don’t engage or listen attentively to those who have a message we don’t agree with, we don’t try to see it from their perspective or to imagine what it must feel like for them to feel as strongly as they do and not be represented. It appears that compromise has a very large auditory component. Faith, religion, spirituality, believes that God (or whatever your belief in a higher power might be) is all powerful and knowing. Why do we feel that he/she can’t succeed without our actions, interpretations and opinions? We surround ourselves with the like-minded within our segregated churches and schools out of fear that our God will be diluted or corrupted. God hasn’t personally wiped anybody out recently (that I know of) for being different but people sure have, and they are willing to fight to the bitter end. How does God work in that? What is diversity? Is it the color of our skin? Our religious and cultural beliefs? Or is it something simpler? I think God must have a great sense of humor. I imagine him visiting and then telling us we are doing it all wrong. He wants all religions and governments, to share the SAME space and church, no exceptions. Now there is a visual on compromise.

The bottom line is no one gets everything they want. Let me repeat, NOBODY gets everything they want! So why are we fighting so hard?

Living In The Present

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This is my friend TC’s favorite children’s book. I always tell her she reminded me of “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” as a child because she was so fair with long blonde hair and the cutest darn freckles that ever marched across a nose. I’ve been thinking a lot today about our long history. The past two months have not been without adjustments and I give her a lot of credit for being so willing to put herself out there for me. Me living here effects every routine that TC and her husband have. Granted, I try hard to minimize that and be as helpful as possible but there are still lots of give and take. It’s easy to be self absorbed in my position and I have to be careful about that. Expectations have to be paraded around often to see how they match up and communication is crucial. Who needs the frustration? Certainly not them. We do manage to have fun though and laughter has been the best medicine for me.

TC leaves for a visit with her parents tomorrow. Her mom is failing and she often travels back to help out. My mother passed away last October but I was not in a position to help. TC is  a great daughter and takes care to see them often. It feels bittersweet when we talk about how it used to be. It’s easy to live in the past as you get older, things looked so shiny and new back then and time has a way of softening hard edges, but the fact remains that life can be tough no matter what age, no matter what year and no matter who we are with. Life must be lived going forward, in the present. That’s why it’s so nice to be with people who have your back. I got yours TB.

I signed up to volunteer at the new public library that is opening in town. They have no formal funding yet so they are dependent solely on volunteers and donations. I got a call inviting me to jump in and will start next Saturday with sorting. I can walk or bike thankfully and I am pathetically excited to be doing something (anything) with a library. It’s nice to be needed. Speaking of books…our book club choice (TC’s) for June is the 2009 version of “The Birth Order Book, Why You Are The Way You Are” by Kevin Lehman. I read this book a long time ago and it has always intrigued me and I refer to it a lot. People are naturally curious about this subject and always ask me about it. I’m looking forward to reading the latest research on this. I’m leaning towards “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” for my choice in July, or maybe “Stones for Ibarrra” by Harriet Doerr. I need to get going on “Snobs” and the next Tarzan book came in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series. Better start cutting back on house work (just kidding T).

Who Needs Lipstick?

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Yesterday the train to downtown Portland was over flowing with a long-weekend-vibe. The weather was cool and overcast but didn’t stop anyone from having fun. It was very crowded at Saturday Market. I loved it and had fun from the time we left at 9am until we got back at dinner time. We laughed, we had some great conversations and of course good food. Thank goodness we walked all day long. The bottoms of my feet hurt when we got home. I don’t think my niece fully understood what she was in for when she agreed to go. Her tastes and needs are quite different but she was a great sport. It was fun seeing some of her favorite spots. She took us to 23rd Street and I loved the renovated, vintage houses turned into a retail mecca. We stopped to rest in front of this apartment building that literally had me gaping. I whined and got J to snap a picture. I am a tad envious of anyone who gets to live in this gem. I can just picture myself, watering can in hand, sprinkling the plants hanging off the balcony. Can’t you?

Stopping at make-up central, Sephora was an experience. I was waited on by a sweet, 20 something (maybe) sunbeam named Sunshine who painted on her own freckles. And yes, that is her real name. I wish I had a video of TC telling her how I needed more color in my liptstick, that I was a throw back to the sixties. They both proceeded to talk about my lips like I wasn’t there.  At one point I looked over at my niece (for morale support) and  she looked like she was searching for the nearest exit. I’m sure Sunshine will probably hide if she sees us come in together again. I might take  my niece (for morale support) back some time for a make-over. I’ve always wanted to do that but I’ll probably have to drug her first.

I am thinking that “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak will be a book that is required in high-school lit class for generations to come. This book was nothing like I expected. There have been a lot of fictional books based on the Holocaust in the last few years and I found myself avoiding it for that reason. I’m glad I plowed through the confusing (for me) beginning to the reward of the climax. This is one of the first books I’ve seen that tells about the Nazi takeover from a German point of view. A small village that isn’t all that supportive of Hitler and his plans. The relationships within relationships are done beautifully. Zusak is brilliant in this regard. Things are never as they appear. If I were Liesel I would be compelled to steal books too. They were her survival on so many levles. And saying goodbye… how many times can you say goodbye before you are changed irrevocably? I love the last line of the narrator. I am haunted by humans. This is not a book you can ever forget.

Life Is

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The glorious sun is out today. I see a long walk in my future. I finally was able to send a job app last night after days of frustration. I had done it so many times I had it memorized and my wrist hurt. My old laptop has issues it seems, and doesn’t like the new software that was loaded. It better get used to it, if I have to, it has to!  I’m taking an on-line class and I need it’s cooperation. I also got notice yesterday that I was passed over for a position I applied for when I first arrived. I thought I’d at least get an interview out of this one so it was very disappointing. I’m not devastated but definitely bummed. It may be time to expand my job horizon from just a library focus-but that makes me even sadder. You have to do what you gotta do. I’d like to stay here.

My son is coming from Ft. Collins for a visit soon and will be here for a few days. He asked me to go back with him and stay for a couple weeks and look for a job in the city that both my kids were born. If I’m unemployed I’ve decided to go. The beauty of the internet is you can apply for jobs anywhere. I’ll have two local addresses to reference so I might as well improve my odds.

I’ve become numb to moving. I take that back; I’ve become used to moving. It’s not nearly as terrifying or difficult emotionally when you do it a lot.  You adapt and deal.

I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think possible. I’m proud of myself.

The trappings of success are expensive and it takes very little to be happy.

 

When I found out FH and I were moving to Iowa without my son (at 17) I felt like I was asked to do the impossible. I had to do what was best for him and not me. Instinctively, I knew it was the right thing to do, and one of the hardest. I decided to leave Iowa and didn’t want to return to Ft. Collins because he was making a life for himself there and I was struggling to build mine.A parent doesn’t want their kids to see them struggle. We find it hard to hand over the illusions of parenthood in tough times. We are to provide, not need. Getting INVITED by my son changed my attitude. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my special son.

I have come to know that both my children will  learn more from my struggles. They know I am persistent. You have to take chances to get what you want. The irony now is that I had to leave my daughter in Iowa and the roles are reversed. She is older and more prepared to be on her own than my son was so it was easier to leave knowing that. Both my kids have made the transition beautifully, a huge compliment for a parent. They both have great support systems in place. A secret ingredient of the recipe.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. My niece, TC and I are traveling by train to downtown Portland Market tomorrow. I’ve heard about it since I arrived so looking forward to that, the train, and a day with my besties.

The Book Thief is amazing and I’m glad I committed to finishing it. Mr. Zusak is such a creative, young writer and throws all sorts of interesting twists of words in. I am in awe of that kind of gift. Using words, sentences in ways you never thought before.

Kind of like life.

What A Difference A Day Makes

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This did not start out to be the best day. I had major computer issues. I’ve been trying to send a job app and log on to a class for two days with no luck. It’s been raining for three days and I started to get a tiny bit cranky. Like REALLY, REALLY, cranky. The sun came out at four and I was out of here with the leash and Bianca. It was windy and I felt great, like it was blowing all the cob webs out of my head. I’ve been feeling panicked today about my future. Where am I headed? Is it the right direction? Will I find the job I want? Will I find ANY job in this economy? Faith has brought me this far and I have to ride it to the conclusion. I believe in me. Really.

While B. and I were circling the park I hear this cheesey music drifting on the air. I look around and see a mini van slowly moving through the parking lot with it’s side door open. It was packed with ice cream and a music box version of “Do Your Ears Hang Low” was eminating from the interior. I chuckled at the 21st century version of a classic childhood memory. My day didn’t seem so bad after that. Hey maybe I should do a doggy ice cream truck!! 

The highlight of my day was the American Idol finale. I felt like it was the last day of school. Remember that anticipation and energy? My favorite Phillip Phillips took the prize. I can hardly wait to hear his first album. There is something really different about him and he’s got a special gift. And I was there, well sort of. Music is a wonderful thing.

An angel fixed my computer problem and tomorrow is a new day…nice.

Don’t Smoke!

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I just HAVE to blog about this. Either I am easily impressed or “Google Images” is freakin amazing! Yesterday I blogged about a book and I was complaining about how boring this character’s career choice was for a murder mystery. I randomly made up a few job descriptions I thought would be more interesting. I am serious. I MADE them up! I started thinking it would be fun to find some Google images to give you a visual. I’m thinking to myself  MAYBE I’ll find a pic of a merman but definitely not the balloon artist on the beach. WRONG!!!

Ok, so I’m impressed right? Now I start to run with this. I wonder if they have a picture of a horse smoking a cigarette?

I went WILD! So what about a turtle smoking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG! A hyena??!!

I love blogging.

Book Binder Trouble

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I am ready to start back on “The Book Thief” and I am determined to finish it this time.  No more distractions. I’ve been wanting to read this for at least four years, I think it’s time. I really liked  “I Am The Messenger” and am intrigued by what this author will turn out down the road.

Blah day. It put me in the mood for a murder mystery so I started “Murder Under Cover” by Kate Carlisle. So far so good. The star of this novel is a book binder named Brooklyn who gets into all sorts of trouble. Who knew book binding was so exciting? This is book number three so I’m diving in without reading the first two but it’s easy to find your way in serial mysteries. She has just fallen for a hunky Brit who is also an ex-spy who starts his own security firm. Why do all these guys make it big with security firms? I wish they’d come up with jobs more original, like a merman at Busch Gardens or a beach artist who makes balloon sculptures. Come on… use your imagination!

 

Anyhoo, the story is kind of exciting. It involves an ancient copy of an infamous text from India given to her by her best friend Robin, to restore for a client. Things get exciting when there is a grisly murder of a mysterious Russian man at Robin’s apartment. And they say bibliophiles are boring?!!

Heart Smiles

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I reluctantly finished “Tarzan of the Apes” and I am surprised that I want to read the next in the series. I didn’t want the story to end and it doesn’t! “The Return of Tarzan” is in my immediate future. I will be starting a library mystery or “Snobs” by Julian Fellowes tomorrow after I do chores. Hmmm hope I can stick to that. I also have homework so it’s a good thing there is 100% chance of rain. Bianca got cut and blown today at the groomer and is irresistible with tiny black bows with white poka dots. Like she’s not cute enough, now she smells great too.

I walked to the park by myself yesterday. Bianca is too pokey and can be distracting. I’ve walked every day this week and I’m feeling great. There is a leafy, shaded trail that I walk through that ends at the green. When I arrived there were numerous little league games going on and the park was also hosting a nature day. They had set up eight stations that kids could visit (via a map) and observe wild things that lived in the park. I was passing by the adjacent parking lot when a compact pulled up and a large, pewter colored Weimaraner exploded out of the car and headed to the dog park fence. His ears flew straight out behind him as I stood stupefied watching. He knew exactly where he was going and how to get there. His owner wearily chased after him with the leash. My heart smiled watching this.

I headed back on the trail and passed a mom with two young boys and she was begging them to keep moving to the last station. The boys were mesmerized by a pile of silly string on the path. Nature wasn’t going to compete with this miracle. I chuckled and gave the mom a sympathetic shrug as I passed by. Another smile crept into my chest. Getting in shape is not the only benefit of walking.

You Tarzan, Me Jane!

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Wasn’t inspired to blog yesterday. As you can see that doesn’t happen very often, this being a life-line and all. I did the usual checking on my job sites and found a new posting for a library assistant at a private school k-12. It looks really interesting and this would be a position working with 9-12 grades. I love kids that age!

Ironically I got a facebook message yesterday from one of my favorite kids from Iowa. He would come into our library almost daily with his younger brother. They were a real contrast. The older was very serious and quiet, the younger was chatty and gregarious. I loved the relationship they had. On Saturday they had to babysit their two preschool siblings while their mom was working. One would come at 9:oo am when we opened, stay for two hours (the limit for computer/game time) and then switch. I asked them how they decided who came first and they said “we take turns”. I could have never been that reasonable with my siblings. My brother terrorized me and knew too many moves from old 3- Stooges reruns, I did what ever he said. Anyhow, these were great kids that I enjoyed getting to know. We built a relationship over time to the point they would share gum with me, things that happened at school and felt comfortable enough to tell me I looked sick one day when I didn’t have makeup on, or my face was real red when I did. I wasn’t sick and guess which one told me? I loved their spontaneity and humor. My life is better for having known them and I was touched to get a message.

I finished “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me” and enjoyed most of it. She is an Emmy-nominated writer/actress on The Office and is soon to have her own show. I liked the parts in the book that described her experience with the show and the entertainment industry more than I did her editorials. It will be interesting to see if swearing loses it’s allure as thirty somethings start heading into the golden years. I got the distinct impression that it didn’t come comfortably to her culturally. She was raised in a professional, intellectual family and was a late bloomer by American standards. I was always ragging on this subject with my son who turned into a very colorful linguist in high school. I grew up with colorful linguists myself  and followed in their footsteps in my youth but have come to love the variety of the English vocabulary too much to cling to what was modeled for me. Besides, the older you get the more stupid it sounds don’t you think?

I wouldn’t have picked Mindy’s book to read myself but am glad I did. That’s what I love about a diverse reading group. It’s too easy to get in a rut. I am finishing up “Tarzan of the Apes” and I am simply head over heels for Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bet you expected me to say Tarzan didn’t you? When Tarzan meets Jane and they fall in love it’s genteel and savage at the same time! Mr. Burroughs captures the dare-I say-animal-passion of the jungle and Tarzan’s transformation. It reduces romance to that elemental, cellular level of “you are my woman and I am your man”. Neanderthal attitude comparisons aside, there is something to be said for someone willing to fight for you to the death, scooping you up in his arms and swinging away through the jungle. You couldn’t get more opposite than these two but look at what their love transcends! I have to say their passion had my heart pumping more than reading a typical steamy novel. The writing is superb and was better than Romeo and Juliet. Except for…”Parting is such sweet sorrow”.

Dorks and Bozos

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I went on two walks yesterday. Count em…TWO!  I have been motivated by the inspiration I have found on this blog written by Mark called  A Fat Man’s Journey… http://afatmansjournal.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/another-pound/#respond  Check it out if you need inspiration for anything! Bianca and I went on an extra long one today and I’m feeling it. So is Bianca. Yesterday she was hyper even after we got back. Today, not so much. We are both kind of droopy. It was so beautiful today I didn’t want to be in doors.

I am eagerly waiting for American Idol to come on because I’ve become shamelessly hooked on this season. I frankly have never watched  but the talent is so amazing this year that it’s been hard to ignore. I think my roomies are secretly enjoying my dependence on our Wednesday and Thursday ritual. I’m sure I sound like one of those snobs that say “I don’t watch t.v ever”, but it’s not true. I’m too cheap to spend money on cable and it’s a waste for me because I’d rather read. No duh.

I am majorly taken with Phillip Phillips. His voice is unusual and unique and he refuses to bow to trendiness. He has dressed the same simple, mangy way since the season started but it only has made him more charming. He is so comfortable in his own skin and laid back (until he sings) that you can’t help but be taken with him. He has this goofy way of smiling while singing that is adorable!!  But, like I think my son is adorable, he is a little young. I’m pullin for you Phillip!

Mindy Kaling’s book is pretty funny and I’m SO enjoying it. She’s from a different generation than me but what she writes about I can relate to. Acting or looking like a dork, getting your feelings hurt by bozos in high school. She makes an interesting point about the popular ones in high school having peaked and there is no way to go but down. She is now out of college and hitting the entertainment circuit.  Self-deprecating and admires her parents, there’s a lot to like here. Gotta run, Idol is on. Ewwww I can’t believe I just said that.