Sunday, December 12, 2004

Easter eggs

My original intent was to write every day while I was in TX. But how? And where? I find that I let these technical specifications get in the way. As I approach my pen, I think "I really should type instead". But as I approach my laptop I start wondering, "But what file structure should I use? How will I find this tidbit later when I feel like working on it again?" and "How will I ever think to run across it again once I've forgotten it exists?"

Starting as early as elementary school, I felt compelled to get thoughts and ideas down on paper. To be more accurate, I felt compelled to get the beginnings of thoughts and ideas down on paper. A number of my childhood notebooks contain segments of stories, parts of poems, inklings of ideas. Whenever I felt like reviewing what I'd written, I would grab a stack of notebooks and page through them. But even better than that was accidentally finding something from years before whenever I pulled out a half-empty notebook for some other use. In the middle of taking score for scrabble, for example, a muse would tap on my shoulder reminding me of an idea that was interesting to me and that I wanted to work on.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Home again, but different

In TX again, I'm sitting indian style on my childhood bed. (Where does the term "indian style" come from?)

What's different from when I last lived here, 13 years ago? I'm older, my hair is approaching "salt and pepper", I'm out of shape... That cannot be it, but those are the first things that come to mind.

The first, I can do nothing about. Time marches on, dragging us by the hair behind it. We can resist, straining with all our might to stay put as our hair gets pulled out and the soles of our shoes get worn down. We can let our bodies go limp and feel the torture of the road as we bump and scrape against it. Or we can try to walk along, adapting to changes in pace when necessary.

I am 31, but I still let my parents "parent" me in some ways. When I come home, they still insist on paying for my meals, buying me socks, handing me the gas card if I'm going to fill up their car... I read recently that domestic pets never mature to full adulthood due to the relationship with their owners extending the parent/kitten, parent/puppy dynamic. Is that the same of my generation? At least for those of us who are marrying later, having children later, buying houses later, etc...?

As for my hair, I'm fine with the gray. If I were to dye it, what would that change? Underneath the dye, my hair would still be gray. :)

And physical fitness? This is the one factor I technically have complete control over but that I have done little about. Am I refusing at a subconscious level to be more like my 18 year old self? Perhaps this is the only real way in which I can truly say that I (not time, not genetics) have changed!

This is silly of course. But so again is the fact that I am still out of shape.

Friday, September 17, 2004

With a side of toast

I got back on Monday from a week in MN. It was nice to hang out with Michelle and her husband Chris, but a part of me was starting to feel a little bad about the wedding toast that Chris had asked Michelle to ask me to do.

I had over a month to work on it, yet I showed up to MN with NO CLUE what I would say. I told myself, "I will work on it in the evenings, after Michelle and Chris go to sleep" but instead I found my lazy self fast asleep after bidding them good night. Each night. For a week!

But I guess some subconscious part of me was working on it even though my conscious self felt too overwhelmed. The day before the wedding, something just clicked ON and turned off my procrastination button. I stole away secretly to take notes here and there, I walked off with Michelle's brother and sister-in-law to harvest more stories, and I thought and thought and thought.

When I got up to start my toast, I felt weak in the knees. This is not a feeling I'm used to, but then again this was really important to me! I started off asking who in the room had seen "the Gremlins"-- I looked over at Michelle and could see her nervously looking at Chris like "Oh my gosh, where is she going to go with this?!"

I was in a room full of people who knew Michelle-- so they either loved her too, or at least liked her an awful lot. There was so much inside me that I wanted to share-- all these little stories about times that I've spent with Michelle, ways in which she has blown me away, ways in which she has fortified my spirit, ways in which she has made me laugh until I cried. Everything just clicked.

A woman sitting at my table told me, "You could do this on TV!" But I laughed and explained "not everybody would be so interested in hearing all about Michelle..." ;-) All kidding aside though, it was a real high for me.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Learning through listening

I spent Friday evening through Sunday afternoon steeped in stories. Arranged by Meg Gillman and facilitated by Elizabeth Ellis, the workshop I attended was an excellent way to spend the weekend.

Today, I spent the day with coworkers from CRCP discussing race.

It's interesting how you subconsciously get to know people as issues/stories are raised, responded to, and/or discussed. Although I can't name the subconscious "learning" that takes place, I am aware that it happens.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


At a meeting today, I was reminded of my experience as a "Big Sister" a couple of years ago. My match, upon our first introduction let me know that she wanted to be a store manager when she grew up.
"And if not a store manager, then a cashier. And if not a cashier, then a person who stocks the shelves..."

Being a store manager seems like a pretty worthwhile living. What struck me was that her goal was something she was proud enough to have dreamt up that she introduced herself to me with it. It also struck me that her goal seemed a bit fixated on stores.

After a few questions, I learned that at some point in her family's past her mother had been a store manager. (For some reason, the position wasn't permanent.) This position, in my little sister's eyes was the Big Time-- and she was aiming for it.

I made a point of exposing her to wider selection of Big Time careers. I brought her to my alma mater and gave her a tour of the engineering classrooms; I talked to her about friends in medical school, friends graduating from law school, friends working as professionals in different fields.

Almost immediately, her visions of her future reflected the input. From "I want to be a singer" one week to "I want to be an engineer" the next, it seemed clear that her imagination had been given a little more wiggle room within which to play.

At any given point, there are countless possibilities open to the average adult. But, just like the many children out in the world who have no idea what possibilities are open to them due to lack of exposure, many of us adults are walking around with blinders on. Where do the blinders come from?!

And, if we manage to remove the blinders or catch a glimpse beyond them-- what keeps us from heading in a new direction? Fear, stubbornness, pride, misguidance? "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"?

At that same meeting, someone quoted Scott Fitzgerald
Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.

How do we learn to start over? How do we learn that it's okay if we might have to start over in the future?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


What did the anxiety dreams of cavemen look like? Did they *have* anxiety dreams, or are anxiety dreams a product of modern society?

Common themes: showing up to work with no clothes on,
forgetting what room your class is in,

What would the caveman equivalent be?

When I am dreaming I have a hard time reading numbers. Is that what it feels like to have dyslexia?


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