Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mindful driving and Brain space

I've been all worried for awhile because it seems my brain ain't as good as it used to be. I've also been describing my to-do list by likening it to me standing under Niagara Falls and trying to deal with every drop of water. When you're under the falls, sometimes it's a little hard to see the forest for the trees, not to mix metaphors or anything.

So I have been on a quest of sorts, with a two-pronged emphasis (ever the multi-tasker!). First, I have been exploring the idea of what it would be like to be kind to myself, instead of keeping my whip going 24/7. At the same time, i have been trying to explore ways to whip my brain back into shape. ('Scuse the pun -- I happen to love them.)

I usually jot down any books Brian mentions during the service and check them out of the library. At that point, my effectiveness ends. The books sit on my bedside table, throwing me mournful looks every evening as I select a novel or a movie on my iPad instead of reading the non-fiction books. It's kinda like the old song -- I'm not gonna read the books -- they're just hiding a nasty stain just lyin' there. (much too cryptic reference to the 1975 10cc song.)

Recently I didn't read "The Way We're Working Isn't Working." I read enough to get the gist -- we need to manage our energy more than we need to manage our time. This idea allows us to work with our natural ultradian rhythm. Don't worry, I just learned the word yesterday. It seems "we" have gradually evolved into a belief that we should work like computers -- at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Apparently, we humans aren't quite computers -- we PULSE through cycles of high and low energy.

Recently I DID read Amy Alkon's book, "I See Rude People." and I finally decided that it is actually rude for me to multi-task while I drive. Previously, I had heard it was dangerous to do, but I believed myself to be the exception. Whether or not I was above-, below-, or right at- average, I was putting my own preferences above everyone else's and in the context of polite society, that's rude. Then yesterday, during a webinar by the author of "The Way We're Working..." I really got it that multi-tasking is not more efficient. And then I began to observe myself as I flit from thi g to thing, rarely finishing one at all, let alone before I start the next one.

According to organization pro David Meyer, switching between tasks takes 25% longer to complete the first task, plus errors are more likely.

And another book that I could arguably say I am currently reading discusses this concept of mindfulness, of being mindful about what I am doing right now. THAT book is actually about food and eating, but all the books meshed Into this idea: what would happen if I did one thing at a time and paid attention to that one thing?

Turns out, a lot of really good things. But I am most excited about something that came to me while I drove today. No phone. No radio. No mail at the traffic lights. No food or drink. Just mindful driving. And I had an actual creative idea for a character and a story. This is major for me. Normally, the thoughts are flying fast and furious, but rarely are they creative or interesting.

According to Tony Schwartz, the difference between people who multi-task and those who are mindful of one thing is the ability to delay gratification. That's another whole subject and post for a other time, but I can see how easy it is to creep into seeking constant stimulation through email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, books, etc. For me, I love the idea of slowing down and experiencing my life while I am living it, instead of always being ten steps ahead or looking back. I see good things coming from this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Problem of Susan

Not long ago, someone I love declared him/herself an atheist, after presumably having been a Christian from the get-go. This got me to thinking about the problems this person has with organized religion, which I've noticed is often interchangeable with all forms of Christianity, and is generally held in very low esteem.

This person's declaration brought back to mind doubts I have had over the long haul, not so much whether or not God exists, but how involved He actually is in our lives. One of the big problems people have with God is the idea that there is some meaning behind pain, especially pain visited on seemingly undeserving people, and especially children.

I was playing with my ipad the other night and I was searching for CS Lewis' The Problem of Pain. You can see my search results above. The Problem of Susan? I wondered what that could mean and discovered it refers to the fact that Susan Pevensie (of the Chronicles of Narnia) did not go to Narnia with her brothers and sister. I remember when Greg was reading these books aloud to the kids -- I had never read the Chronicles before -- and I loved the story and was terribly dismayed that the Susan character didn't get to be with Aslan. I was seriously bummed. OK, so there's no connection between Susan Pevensie and me, but I felt disappointed that she didn't get to go to Narnia. Why would she have been excluded?

The Problem of Susan is an essay written by someone who is trying to explain what may have happened to Susan after the train crashed and her family was killed. I haven't read the essay and don't know that I need to. It's not really important what the author thought happened to Susan afterward. I thought it was more important to note the reason she didn't go to Narnia -- she no longer believed, and acted as though it had all been a dream or a fantasy. But when she and Peter were king and queen of Narnia, Aslan said "Once a king in Narnia, always a king in Narnia." Apparently in the film adaptation, they added the words "or queen," and I'm ok with believing that Lewis meant king OR queen.

No one knows what would have happened to Susan after her family was killed. No one knows what choices she would have made the rest of her life, and no one can presume to know. But let's say she still had a life to live, that she lived it, and that she had to make a choice at some point (a la The Great Divorce) whether or not to spend eternity with God. I love the idea that she had more of a life to live, experiencing the love and pursuit of God.

I'm not a deep thinker. I can't make connections across disciplines and quote song lyrics and books to demonstrate whatever salient point I am trying to make. But I do understand that relationships are fluid, and that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. So, Aslan didn't force Susan to come to Narnia when she had stepped into disbelief, but I think neither did he write her off, and that if the story had continued, there would have been ample evidence of his continued love for her.

I think I'm kind of like Susan in that way. When I experience God in a relational manner, it's easy to understand He exists and cares for me. When I stand aside and judge His motives, it's hard to understand that He could be anything other than evil. I think Aslan would be glad to have me as a queen in Narnia, but he wouldn't force me. That seems to be a central truth of Christianity -- God loves us, and He loved us before the foundation of the world. Atheists, feel free to ask me hard questions about what I'm saying, but I'm not sure I'll have any answers that would be considered evidence in a court of law. As a matter of fact, I may even believe some unbiblical things -- for instance, I believe deeply that each person will get a choice after they die whether or not they want to live with God forever. It won't be a trick questions. There won't be anything other than an honest option offered, but I think there will be people who choose NOT to spend eternity with God because of all the choices they made throughout life to turn away from him. They will have convinced themselves that they'd be better off without God. I think CS Lewis' book The Great Divorce influenced my thinking here. I can't quote chapter and verse that says this, and some of my readers may be able to quote chapter and verse that says the opposite of this.

And there you have today's thoughts. Wish they could be more decisive! strong! clear! But they are what they are. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Partying with 4-year-olds

Yesterday the Crossroads band started the service with that great Black-Eyed Peas song, I Gotta Feeling. Although quite tired from having Kepler sleep with us all night, I perked right up when those chords started. "I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night." (FUN song, but with the double fun of remembering the BEP singing it in Norman last year to open for U2.)

I had this idea a few weeks ago to invite all of Kepler's classmates and families to a get-together at our house, just to get to know each other at the beginning of the school year. Kepler obviously doesn't talk about his classmates, so I never know the first thing about any of them. With the addition of the deck and the trampoline in our backyard this summer, I suddenly felt like hospitality and I could be friends.

My invitation needed approval from the principal -- don't want to break any rules, I guess -- and then traveled home with the kids in their backpacks. The RSVPs trickled in. I wondered if I had miscalculated since so few responded. As I called the non-RSVPers, I re-discovered the truth of how easy it to do the "urgent" thing, as most of the families had sports commitments that would preclude their involvement. Ah, but I realized that it was definitely going to meet a felt need in the guests that responded and in myself as well. Kepler's beloved teacher and assistant teachers made time for the party and we loved having them there.

And it was a rousing success! I can now identify Drew, Tamara, and Eleanor when I walk into the classroom, and I sure feel like I got to know the parents much better. I loved seeing Greg having a good time. Food covered the table, and people raved about the hot caramel apple cider.

I thought maybe my original 3-hour time frame might have been a little over-optimistic, but apparently the food, fun, and friendship fit the bill. Quite a diverse group -- parents from Mexico, Louisiana, Scotland, Kansas, and Ohio, and some really cool connections happened.

Kepler partied hard all afternoon and into the evening, but finally reached a point where he just wanted his familiar couch, a cup of milk, and a Zone bar. Kepler kind of spoke for everyone, and families began to gather up children and stuff and started home. The setting sun made us all put jackets and sweaters on, and the kids suddenly found their hunger and snarfed down as much as they could before leaving.

Easy clean-up; lots of help from Greg and the kids; and the satisfaction of a successful soiree. Looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

When Karate Kid came out in 1984, the thing that grabbed my attention more than the karate was the bonsai collection that Mr. Miyagi lovingly tended in his little apartment. I believe I must have been a little ahead of my time, because I was unable to find bonsai plants anywhere for sale at that time. I considered creating my own bonsai plant, but never did get around to it. Of course, now you can buy them everywhere, but I've moved on . . .

Besides a very short foray into Tae Kwan Do (by Joel) a few years back, none of us Taylors have ever had the slightest interest or involvement in martial arts. This summer when Greg and I did the Loveland Amazing Race, Patten's Martial Arts (Patten family pictured above) sponsored one of the stations. One activity we had to do was 7 side kicks in a row, and I REALLY enjoyed that. I went away from the LAR having had a great time, and having found the motivation to look into karate at Patten's.

What a treasure I have found! Mr. Patten is very family-oriented, as you can see in the pictures of his family, all of whom are black belts, except for the littlest one, and I'm sure she'll get there one of these days. He's an excellent teacher, with a great sense of humor, and a fun sense of playfulness, which one wouldn't necessarily expect from a martial arts instructor. Since the adult classes incorporate everyone age 14 and up, Anna-Jessie is still in the children's classes. Therefore, I have the privilege of hearing how Mr. Patten instructs these kids to be the best they can be, at home, at school and at play. I love seeing how much Anna-Jessie loves karate.

In the adult classes, he encourages us to be the best we can be as well, but he leaves out things like "Clean your room" although that wouldn't be a bad idea for some of the adults to hear!! He's a fierce defender of his family, deeply grateful for his wife, and genuinely appreciative to the students who grace his life.

In the sense that I appreciate being reminded that I have physical strength, karate reminds me of weightlifting, but that's where the similarities end. There is a sense of camaraderie among the karate students, and that social piece was definitely missing from any weightlifting I ever did. Higher-level students are patient and helpful with newbies, and positively complement what Mr. Patten teaches.

I also see it as an amazing privilege to stand side-by-side with my husband and older three kids as we learn and develop ourselves together. That sure never happened with soccer, basketball, or skateboarding. As great as those other sports are, and as positive experiences as they were for the players and the watchers, I believe the Taylors have found their niche. I'm looking forward to having Kepler start classes sometime in the next year. He will be amazingly cute in his little outfit.

When I was 8 years old, my ballet classes were just a few blocks away, and I rode my little blue bike with the "Susan" license plate attached to the seat stem. One day, as I rode to ballet, some bigger boys stopped me on the sidewalk. I. Was. Terrified. Of course, that probably was pretty exciting for them, but they finally let me go after telling me they had stolen my license plate (liars in addition to being bullies). If I knew then what I know now, I would have been brave and confident and looked them in the eye and said "Can I help you?" And they would have known I was a tough little cookie, which I was, but hadn't learned yet how to show it! I'm glad Patten's is around to teach other children how to defend themselves against bullies and meanies!

We recite this student creed at the beginning and end of every class:

"I am developing myself in a positive manner, and I avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health. I am developing self-discipline to bring out the best in myself and others. I am using what I learn in class, constructively and defensively, to help myself and my fellow man, and never to be abusive or offensive"

Sure can't go wrong with that philosophy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Defriending Facebook?

Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

A good friend of mine recently mentioned an article he had read about such topics as facebook, narcissism, and co-dependency. I love to Google things, so I tried to find the article. Although I did not find the article he mentioned, I did find the one I've linked to. This quote interested me:
"Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises—a surer sense of who we are and where we belong? The Delphic oracle’s guidance was know thyself. Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself."

I decided a long time ago that I was going to hide every last one of those "game" updates for Farmville and whatnot. I'm not good about going to external links to read articles or watch videos. I get irritated with posters who constantly use song lyrics, and just assume everyone already knows who sings the song. It's frustrating to me to have posts that hint at something and never ever clarify what the issue is.

I have Facebook friends from high school, college(s), present life, friends of my kids, long-ago acquaintances and friends, and a few people I have met along the way with whom I share some common interest. I've posted about Facebook before, and I may have written this before, but I really wonder how many of the 400-500 friends I have really care at all about what I post, and to be fair, how many of those people do I genuinely care about? I suppose it must be said that I may care about someone even if I do not post on their status. But I think I am missing that connection I want to have with people. Actually, I do experience it with a few people on Facebook, especially the ones I care about but cannot see because of distance.

Facebook seems to be good for keeping in touch with people I don't get to see because of time and/or distance. But even in the days when I was writing Christmas letters every Christmas, the level of involvement I had with most people really left something to be desired. I long for deep relationships; conversations about things that mean something to me and the other person. Those types of relationships seem to be diminishing these days. Perhaps it's just my own level of busyness that renders me less involved with others, but I know everyone else is busy, too. After all, haven't you already heard "I'm so busy!" 20 times this week, either out of your own mouth or from others?

I recently friended some people I remember from high school, but probably haven't even thought about for over 30 years. What's with that? I think the people I send friend requests to are people I remember as being kind to a very insecure teenager all those years ago. But I'm not that insecure teen anymore, and I have no idea who those kind people are at this point. I've noticed that there are a handful of people whose posts I look forward to and often comment on. I suspect this is a common experience for adults closer to my age. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to "share" the minutiae of my day, and like I said, who cares anyway? Is it really the way I want to live my life that I know more about my sisters, both of whom live ONE MILE away from me, by what they post on FB than what I find out in face-to-face conversations?

Again from the New Atlantic article:
"Today’s online social networks are congeries of mostly weak ties—no one who lists thousands of “friends” on MySpace thinks of those people in the same way as he does his flesh-and-blood acquaintances, for example. It is surely no coincidence, then, that the activities social networking sites promote are precisely the ones weak ties foster, like rumor-mongering, gossip, finding people, and tracking the ever-shifting movements of popular culture and fad. If this is our small world, it is one that gives its greatest attention to small things."
I've never been much for fads, and my grasp of popular music is certainly more tenuous than when I had hours with nothing to do but listen to the radio and hang out. I don't have the time or desire for the games like Farmville (that's the only one I know the name of), and I'm not big on "liking" things. I would comment sometimes on things that people "like" but there is no comment link, only the opportunity to choose to like it too.

I see a lot of sarcasm on FB, and some genuinely funny things, but overall, I'm not too sure it's something I want to continue on in the present form I am using. I'm considering creating a new account, and limiting it to just a few people I really care about knowing about. There are people I care about, but if I don't have time in real life to see them even 5 minutes in a month, how good of a friendship can that be? I suppose if I am going to share the contents of my head (ht/Annie Lennox), then I would rather do it via blog. These really are Siouxsie's Musings. Facebook doesn't seem to be designed for musings. I think it's definitely good at what it is designed for; I'm just questioning my own level of involvement.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Twelve Things on My Mind

Hello (every)one --

Why have I not posted, you ask? Ah, who knows. Different reasons, different days. Let's just focus on the present, shall we.

1. I worked hard on a friendship for a very long time and just recently this friendship ended permanently. I didn't realize how much energy was being drained from me on a daily basis, being in relationship with this person. There have been many days since the ending where I have realized with relief that I was no longer going to be given the third-degree for things I thought or felt. It is so nice to be able to breathe and relax again.

2. I have fallen in love with summer this year. This may be due to the spiffy new deck Greg put on the back of our house. For the first time in 10 years, we have a place behind our house where we can just enjoy our backyard. Greg has done SUCH a great job on the deck and I spend time out there every day.

3. The other reason I have fallen in love with summer is because of my bicycle. I have had this fine bike since 1986, when it was a high-end bike, so it has lasted and is in great shape. I have a bike seat on the back for Kepler, and since he loves bike rides, we have spent a lot of time this summer riding around. Anna-Jessie and Joel also love to ride, and I love the time we spend together riding and talking.

4. The honeymoon phase with Crossroads is over. So now what? I still love what they are doing there, and I'm not going anywhere. I just wonder what's next in terms of my involvement there. It's a very huge place, and is definitely oriented toward seekers, which is fine. I just wonder what it means for me to be involved there.

5. I've come to terms with living a fairly isolated existence. I have my family, of course, and my family of origin is close by. But as for friends, I don't spend time with people very often. Occasional lunches with a couple friends, nice chats with the people I come into contact with casually, a few discussions with people at church. But I had this idea of what I "should" be like, socially, and I'm not really like that. I think I have finally come to a place of accepting that the life we have chosen -- me being a stay-at-home home schooling mom -- means that I will be mainly at home, or with my family, at least for this season of my life. I am ok with that now.

6. I miss my dad. We had a lot of fun for a lot of years.

7. I'm enjoying Major League Baseball this summer. I got turned on to baseball when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I was so proud that I knew who the pitcher was. I told my next-door neighbor, Steve, one of the boys I played daily games of baseball with in the cul-de-sac, "Hey, Steve, I know that Jack Billingham is the pitcher for the Reds." He was not impressed. "He's just one of them," he allowed. I took it hard, as was my tendency as a child. But I still enjoyed baseball, and knew all of the players on the "Big Red Machine." Cincinnati pro sports is usually a pretty depressing interest these days, but the Reds are doing well this summer, and it's been fun to listen to the games. There aren't as many radios around the house anymore, so I mostly listen in the car, a rare treat that I enjoy when getting to drive alone or with a sleeping child.

8. I am proud of what I have done this summer in redecorating our bedroom. The most exciting part was to use some embroidered sheer that Greg brought me from Amsterdam in 1983. I had never been able to find a place to use the sheer, and finally decided that I was going to put it on our bedroom windows. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to have our room finished this way. This room had paneling on the walls for 1000 years, until we removed it earlier this year. Removing it caused quite a few problems which remained unsolved for awhile, as they were kind of beyond the expertise of the resident carpenters. But I fixed them -- not perfectly, but adequately. I installed new baseboard, even cutting it myself by hand (Greg finished two walls when he got back from his canoe trip), and best of all, I made it all a surprise for Greg that he came home to after the trip with the boys.

Twelve was an arbitrary number. I guess I only have eight things on my mind. I WILL post again sooner rather than later!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Love me Some Greg

Long, long ago, and oh so far away -- 28 years ago in Wheaton, Illinois, I met Greg. At first glance, he was not as dynamic! and exciting! and showy! as some of the other guys at the college, but at second glance, I knew he was a good, good guy.

We went to a homeschool meeting several years ago when the topic was marriage and parenting. We were given several handouts that night, but the one I have gone back to over and over is entitied "Marriage Satisfaction across the Family Cycle for Husbands and Wives." You were even going to get to see the actual handout, but Google apparently can't handle uploading it. Alas.

The idea, as I understand it, is that research has shown there is a gradually lessening of marital satisfaction from the time of being a young couple without children to the time the first child enters adolescence. Things start looking up at the point where the children begin leaving the nest, typically between the 45th and 55th years of their parents, in terms of marital satisfaction. Of course, there must be intention on the part of both spouses to stay connected during those years. Greg and I are on a little different timetable. For one thing, as young marrieds we spent a lot of time processing our own childhoods, so we would hopefully not bring those unresolved wounds into our parenting. (Did it work? Well, sort of.) We also married a little later than a lot of our friends. Greg was 27 and I was 23. Then we waited pretty long to start a family.

Sometimes when I consider my life as an outsider might view it -- my beautiful children, my loving and faithful husband, my loving parents and sisters, my education, and all the wonderful experiences I have gotten to have -- it mystifies me why marital satisfaction would go down during the years of raising children. Of course, the reality is that children do take a lot of time and effort and more energy than either of us have. I find facing the reality of the wonderful challenge of children does take courage, and I find comfort in knowing that many other husbands and wives experience something similar during the years of raising children. It's not THAT mysterious.

But through it all, through all the years of trying to have children, then having them, and having them, and having them, and thinking we were all finished and having one more, Greg has been a husband who is trustworthy, loving, faithful, and almost always willing to dig deep and find something to give, no matter how tired or burned out he is. Case in point: last Monday morning I needed to drop my van off to have some bodywork done, and I needed to pick up a rental at the same time. Greg took the initiative to go to the car place ahead of me, meet with the rental car guy, and ask for a nicer car (2011 Toyota Camry -- yes!), and sign all the paperwork for the repair and the rental both. All I had to do was show up, transfer all my junk from the van to the Camry, give Greg a kiss and a hug and drive off.

Of course I could have handled all those details myself. I wouldn't have asked for the upgraded rental, but I know how to look at a rental car with the guy and see if there is anything that needs to be noted on the little form. The thing is, as facilitators for the Building Blocks for Marriage class at Crossroads, we had just been talking about love languages over the weekend, and he was reminded how much "acts of service" mean to me. Greg went to the car place and did those details because he was thinking of me, and of what he had learned over the weekend, and was looking for ways to show me he loves me.

I never need a Valentine -- he shows me his love every single day. Even though it can be hard at times to manage his travel schedule, me getting behind on the laundry, needing to go to the store for milk AGAIN, and all the details of life with five active children, I never ever doubt that this man loves me. All week long as I have been driving this car, I have been reminded over and over what he did for me on Monday, and I just wanted to tell the world that even if it's hard to find the time these days to go on dates, or to stay awake long enough, whatever marital dissatisfaction arises sometimes pales in comparison to the long-term satisfaction of loving and be loved by my sweet man.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Missed Me, Missed Me, Now Ya Gotta Kiss Me

Sometimes it matters. Sometimes it doesn't. Tonight it did.

Last year we spent six weeks with three lovely couples, all of whom live in a higher economic level than we do. That wasn't an issue at all last year. This year we spent six weeks with these three lovely couples, plus one more lovely couple. Tonight was the sixth meeting. Greg and I were really uncomfortable, because most of the conversation was about topics about which we simply do not have anything to say -- cruises, vacation cottages, shopping in foreign countries, dinner with important people -- well, except that last one -- we have dinner with important people every time we eat dinner as a family.

But, dang. I just think the new couple, well, especially the husband, is so used to his lifestyle --that of the movers and shakers -- that it maybe doesn't occur to him that not all of us know the CEO of whatever company. Last year, we met in one couple's home all six weeks. This week, we all took turns. I really came to a place of peace about having them all to our house, even though three of our houses could fit into one of theirs. So, it's not that I'm ashamed of having less, or living in a smaller house. It's just that we didn't seem to have as much in common with them this year.

But, I'll tell you -- when we walked into our house this evening and Kepler came up to me with his sweet voice wanting a hug, all the rest of it faded away. I wouldn't trade this life for any of theirs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things must be looking UP!

It's only fair since Eeyore got a voice yesterday, we should allow Tigger to have his say today.

Isn't the snow beautiful! There's something so peaceful about the big flakes falling outside my window. I used to sit in my bedroom at home at night, and watch the snowflakes fall through the light of the back porch spotlight. I loved that sight. Today, the cupboard is almost bare, as is the till, but who cares! The snow is gorgeous!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Today I organized the toys. Most are toys that have 20-1,000,000 pieces. Therefore, they have been taking up space in about 25 different places in the house. A veritable olio of missing pieces, passing time, waiting to be reunited.

Greg was off today, and he took Anna-Jessie and Kepler out for the morning. What a gift that was -- as much as I love having the kids here all the time, having some prime daytime hours freed up gave me an opportunity to gather and sort the pieces. I'm still missing ONE Measure Up cup from one set, and EIGHT from the other set. I thought I looked in every container of "stuff" in this house, but I must have overlooked a few spots.

Finally, the monkey is back in the puzzle, and the puzzle is complete.

And you wonder why I haven't been blogging? I think January and February are just hard months -- so gray, so cold, sometimes snowy and slushy. Months into the school year, but months left to go. I'm still here, just hunkered down, waiting for the winter to turn to spring.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Had to Get Tough Today; OR Further Adventures in Homeschooling

I do not like AP Spanish. I do not like AP Spanish. I do not like AP Spanish.

Without identifying it by name, I would like to mention that one particular school taught me a hard lesson today.

NEVER MIND that this school's platform does not work on a Mac and they didn't tell me that. NEVER MIND that they did not assign my student classes until after the entire first, important week of school had passed by. NEVER MIND that they told me something completely untrue, and distressingly so at that, in December. NEVER MIND ALL THAT.

Fact is, in education, as in life, we don't always get to have all the facts, nor are we always treated fairly.

The untrue thing had the effect of taking some pressure off of me, back in December. I didn't find out its falseness until today. TODAY it has some permanent implications. In December, I would have had a choice to make at that time that is no longer a possibility.

This is all really enigmatic and mysterious, I know, but the consequences are not really mine to share. All I can say is, it was a tough situation, and I did the best I could to shape the conditions to be favorable, and although I could not make them favorable, I was thankful to have been able to handle the situation with relative grace.

Just another one of the many blessings in my life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Meme

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before? MET BONO.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Haven't made these for many years -- they just don't seem to be useful to me. However, I do think it would be excellent to start something at the beginning of the year and continue to do it through the end of the year (like maybe exercise on a daily basis).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My father, January 14.

5. What countries did you visit? No foreign countries. Just traveled to Des Moines, Chicago, Raleigh, and Norman.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? The opportunity to express myself musically.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 14th - my dad died; September 12 - Chicago U2 concert; October 3 -Raleigh U2 concert, I met Bono; October 18 - Norman U2 concert; December 25-26 - I read Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Traveling to 3 U2 concerts.

9. What was your biggest failure? Probably the whole puppy thing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Tickets to U2 concert in Chicago.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Anyone who made any kind of a positive step in their life.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? The Congress of the United States of America

14. Where did most of your money go? Foodstuffs.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? U2 concerts, meeting friends at concerts, and U2

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Unknown Caller, Miracle Drug

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? not thinner
c) richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? laughing

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? frowning

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? family traditions focusing on Greg's birthday and looking back/looking forward

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? Yes.

22. How many one-night stands? Right. Stupid question.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Only thing I watched this year was NFL Football.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Don't hate anyone at all.

25. What was the best book you read? Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb; Snow Patrol; Jupiter One; Crossroads music

27. What did you want and get? I had wanted to meet Bono for many years and I got to.

28. What did you want and not get? Wii

29. What was your favorite film of this year? UP

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Flew home from the concert in Raleigh where I had met Bono.

31.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? The opportunity to express myself musically, either with my flute or my voice.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Find something I love and then wear it a LOT.

33. What kept you sane? Weekends away singing and dancing with new friends at U2 concerts.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Bono

35. What political issue stirred you the most? The Health Care issue

36. Who did you miss? My beloved father.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Bono, Robert, Cle, Stefan, Doug, Craig, Daniel, Phil

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Music is the thing that makes my heart sing.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I could never take a chance, on losing love to find romance.

(thanks to DollyMama for this meme.)