July 27, 2009
Birthday, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 30
Well, I survived the 7th anniversary of my 39th birthday. Yeah, I'm gonna make you do the math!
Lots of people wished me a happy b’day. Isn’t that some kind of geyser toilet? Not very nice, if you ask me.
Also, an interesting turn – I was called to retrieve, from the front desk, a package that had been hand delivered, marked “Confidential.” It weighed more than paperwork and obviously had an enclosure I was going to have to deal with. Turns out it was a birthday card, and a paper wrapped block decorated with smiley faces and stars in blue highlighter. Felt like a short brick, to me. So, I’m thinking, hey this must be sort of along the same lines as getting charcoal at Christmas – bricks on your birthday, right? Happily, it turned out to be a sweet surprise - a hefty stack of gourmet chocolate bars from some sweet coworkers.
Between the toilet and brick, it wasn’t at all that bad, though.
In fact, it was rather mellow. I borrowed my neighbor’s two dogs – a puggle and a mini boxer-pug (I think.) That was almost like having a party. We sat on the deck and did my toenails. Well, the pups didn’t actually help with that. They kept wanting to lick the polish off.
Instead of Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, my party guests played Plaster-Your-Nose-to-the-Cat. It mainly consisted of some snout-to-snout communing with Fred. Of course, she was on one side of the glass slider, and they were on the other. There was a little whining on the puppy side. Those doggie girls really wanted to “play” with Miss Fred.
I did let the dogs in to have some well needed water. Fred wasn’t even fazed. She just sat there squinting warily – I thought I caught her rolling her eyes as we walked past her. By the time I managed a second glance though, she had returned to her normal I’m-too-cute-to-have-evil-thoughts condescending blinking. Considered letting the dogs off the leashes, but decided I wasn’t in the mood for that sort of party.
So the doggy divas and I went back out onto the porch to enjoy the breeze, and apply some more hot pink polish, plus a few rhinestones, to my one-birthday-older toes. Then we all just sat for a bit, watching the peppers grow in the early evening sun fade.
In this issue: Hybrid Dogs, Nail Polish, Origins of the Happy Birthday Song, Finding Meaning in Life, and absolutely nothing about Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey.
Now posted: Recipe for a Happy Life, Faith, Current
Recipe for a Happy Life
A friend told me once whe wished she knew what to do to make me happier. I gave her this recipe to use.
Recently, I was asked to contribute a recipe for a bridal shower recipe box. I gave her this recipe to use, and a small pad of purple sticky notes. (Plus, instructions for a great dish called Wicked Spaghetti.)
Recipe for Happiness
1 pad of sticky notes
A few colored markers
quotations, drawings, thoughts, bible verses
Practice random acts of sticky notes.
Put them on pillows, chairs, books, mirrors, the front door on the way in and on the way out, in a lunch bag, in a wallet, on a steering wheel, on a lamp shade, by a bedside, anywhere for any reason. Repeat often.
July 21, 2009
Mobile, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 29
I’ve always been in love with him.
Since the day I first discovered, floating above me, huge chunks of steel that I instinctively knew should not be gliding gracefully, I was hooked.
Then, I discovered there was more. I embraced the wire shapes, in their strong complicated simplicity. I adored the pop of colors, always the same colors, and broad strokes of black. The hasty sketches of monumental pieces called to me, impossibly transforming ideas from the depths of possibility within an artists’ mind.
Until recently, I did not know that Alexander Calder was considered to be the inventor of mobiles.
Actually, I didn’t know that until last Sunday, when I purposefully found myself at Meijer Gardens to view a collection of Calder’s work in the outdoor sculpture garden. I started calculating how long it had been since I’d found my younger self mesmerized by a Calder mobile at a NYC museum. I can’t recall if it was the Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim. I bought a postcard at the gift shop, and although I no longer know if I even own that postcard anymore, I’d studied it so well, and so long, I can still envision the turnings above me now - red drifitng over grey on currents I could not feel, but knew without a doubt were there.
To some extent all artists are engineers, and all engineers are artists. While some follow a precise prescribed path to a vision, some have a vision of a precise path un-prescribed. When we consider all that is open to interpretation, it is a wonder anyone gets along at all. Yet, there in Calder’s work is preciseness, whimsy, previously un-followed paths, and an exactness of vision. All intertwined – all in harmonious balance.
And isn’t that the way we are – somewhere between vague sketches and monumental pieces?
Evolving, revolving every minute, never to be caught in exactly the same place again – moving with the currents, among the winds, never stagnant but precisely balanced in our own space, in our own way, connected to each other, independently mobile, yet exactly moved?
And isn’t that the way GOD works - in ways unknown, with whimsy and preciseness?
In this issue: Frederik Meijer, Meijer Gardens, Alexander Calder, GITC
Now posted: Scheduling Conflicts, Humor, That's Random
July 15, 2009
I guess my inflection and intention both weren’t quite in the right place when I recently had to apologize for attempting to multitask and for not following my own rules of courtesy – I got caught texting while waiting on an appointment.
“Sorry, I’m…” I mumbled, trailing off as I waved my cell phone in silent explanation. Shrugging my shoulders, I finished with just the tail end of my inaudible thought, “…scheduling conflicts.”
I received an incredulous response. “You’re scheduling conflicts?”
I had to laugh. And I probably appeared a bit too amused.
Truly, I’m not the sort of person who has to schedule conflicts.
They’re a regular natural occurrence in my every day world.
However, wouldn’t it be grand if we could schedule conflicts?
Knowing they were coming, preparing for them… what a concept!
I suspect that knowing of a conflict in advance and having ample prep time could possibly dissipate the event. As opposed to taking a few cool down days, we could take a few days to warm up. And to consider options for responding: raised voices, monotone voices, written complaints, tears – maybe even backing down after applying some self-reasoning.
You know, they could have a “Scheduled Conflict” seating section in the back of the retail "Confidence Store" I’ve been dreaming of. Couldn't hurt to throw a little caffiene in that mix, right?
It sure would be nice to confidently anticipate disagreeing about next Thursday’s dinner menu.
So… who needs an appointment for next week? Just let me know.
My conflict calendar’s wide open.
July 14, 2009
Diametrically Opposed, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 28
I don’t know why I ever bother saying, “No.”
Especially, when it comes to my usual emphatic impartation, because it seems those situations I am diametrically opposed to are the ones I always surrender to. Well, not exactly surrender… maybe more like end up being funneled into a narrowing space, and then finally GOD-pushed directly into my refusal.
It is entirely possible, as I’ve mentioned before, that I am interpreting strong feelings as negatives instead of positives. Maybe the racing heart jaw clenching is merely anticipation of change, and not a herald of fear. Perhaps just the strength of my reaction confuses me.
There are two things I have repeatedly said “no” to. One of which, most of you are aware, and one I’ve barely shared with my own soul. I’m not ready to talk about the second one yet, but the first needs immediate address.
I acknowledge unashamedly that I have absolutely and repeatedly said I’d never allow myself to be put into a position of leading a mission team to New Orleans, or anywhere else for that matter. And when it comes right down to it, I haven’t – allowed myself – that is. It simply isn’t a question of “allowing” anything when you find yourself railroaded into what seems like your perfect objection.
Still protesting, even after I have uttered “yes,” I write a note I never intended to really send, until now:
“I know that you think you are pulling me in for my own good.
But that is not my calling – to be in the thick of it.
I’m more comfortable as a peripheral presence. There, I find myself more focused on support - on a more personal level. What I learn from you is more important than what could ever be learned from me. Because I can turn that around, and make you face it. Sort of like a mirror bouncing the truth back at you, showing you yourself in a way you cannot dodge - without judgment, without repair, and probably not without tears.
To stand with you in the center of the storm, means neither one of us has a clue where it might be going. Since this isn’t my storm, I will step back. I can’t hope to change its magnitude; I will pray to influence its path. Steering with these words and others, I continually ask GOD to raise you up so that you know you are worthy.”
Perhaps my lesson in this is to stop saying “no,” and say something more like “not just yet, or “maybe.”
In this issue: Diametrically Opposed aka Antipodal, Turning Someday Into Today, GITC 8 October 2009.
July 07, 2009
Growing Down, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 27
Relationships can be hard. Oh, ok..let’s be real. Relationships are always hard!
Take for example a recent exchange between a friend and her beau. He was reacting to a serious situation in what she felt was a foolishly lighthearted way. She retaliated with an angry demand, “Would you please just grow up!”
A little while later, the tables were turned. She reacted to a not-so-serious situation in a much too serious way, to which her beau exasperatedly responded, “Would you please just grow down!”
I know a few people with the gift of a fascinating child-like mentality. I’ve often wondered where the joy comes from; the happy, bubbly, today-is-a-gift-made-especially-for-me radiating attitude. In the past I have been sad and jealous that I was not made that same way. I’ve tried to achieve this on my own, and have not been successful. In my eyes it equates to having to “act” happy all the time, which for me is stressful and a bit deceptive.
I enjoy the loud happy of others, I just can’t seem to bring myself to shout along.
I love the evident joy some folks shine out like a hot summer day; I just tend to shine in a warmly diffused winter-through-the-window sort of way.
I am happy, just not a jump-up-and-down happy.
I’m a quiet happy: a calm happy, a pleased to have made it this far happy.
I’ve grown down quite a bit, from over-serious to sort-of-more-relaxed.
I'm willing to grow down more. But I still don’t know if it will ever show on my outside.
In this issue: Vitamin D, Garden, Upside Down Gardening, Hydroponics, Ammachi & thoughts on growing down.
Nothing posted: This weekend I begin a new adventure… New Orleans, again. In a very different way.