December 29, 2009
Resolve, ME Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 52
Ok. So how did we do on last year’s resolutions?
Are we ready to make more this year?
Are we ready to choose a new direction – move away from the same old goals?
Open our hearts and our souls to ourselves and others in ways we never have?
Are we ready to stop accepting commitments based on convenience and analyze the cost of declining those hard to make and keep ones instead?
Are we lost as to where to begin?
Are we unsure about when to start?
Are we where we want to be? Do we know how to get there?
Are we afraid to try again?
Are we certain this time we can hold firmly to our beliefs and each other?
Are we willing to be as resolute, steadfast, tenacious, and unwavering in our choices as GOD's love is for us?
Because, no matter what we resolve, the gift of any achievement we attain will be received from - and should ultimately be for - HIM.
In this issue: Resolution, New Year's Resolutions, 21 Days to Better Habits
Worth watching; Tony Robbins, "5 Habits to Thrive" @ http://www.tonyrobbins.com/Home/Home.aspx
Now Posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Action Plan, Labor Day - One Month To Go.
December 22, 2009
Gifts, ME Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 51
Foreword: Sometimes GOD smacks me more than once a day. Today was one of those days. First it was a gentle tap, and a little inspiration. Followed later by a slightly firmer “I don’t think you’re getting it” smack that now brings tears to my eyes. Contemplating tokens from my coworkers – a lovely pear, some homemade healthy Cheerios snack mix, and delightful truffles, ornaments, cards and best wishes. I started writing…
Is there a difference between the two?
Language says there is. The dictionary says there is. My research has led me here:
Gifts are more valuable than presents defined by this distinction: Gifts are given from the rich to the poor, from those higher in social standing than those receiving the gift.
Presents are given from inferiors to superiors or between those of equal standing.
To me, it makes sense to be sure we always refer to giving as “presents,” based on the knowledge all are created equal – especially in GOD’s eyes.
We can only ever receive “gifts” from GOD, for he is the only true gifter and our only superior.
Especially at Christmas, the presents we pass among our peers reflect our love and acknowledgement of those we hold in regard.
Especially at Christmas, the gifts we’ve been given must be cultivated and used for the glory of GOD and the betterment of all mankind.
Wishing you many blessings this year as you receive presents, and rejoicing that you’re my gift from GOD.”
As my day went on, amid problems and unhappy employees and cranky coworkers, I found myself approaching an evening of blues. I had truly lost my Christmas spirit. Even so, I stopped on the way home to buy the one last “present” on my list. I stood in line for 20 minutes calculating the “real cost” of this particular effort. Of course, I knew it would be worth it. I’m so looking forward to presenting it to a very special young man.
And then, just moments after getting home tonight, I hadn’t even turned on the living room lights in my haste to drop the mail and my briefcase and presents, when I heard music. Christmas music.
Confused, I checked my phone. I don’t know why –I know it doesn’t sing “Hark the Herald Angels.”
My next thought was, “Boy, my neighbors are really getting into the Christmas spirit. They must have their windows open.” So, I opened my front door to peek outside, and maybe yell across the walk to ask what they were up to.
I wasn’t prepared for the six carolers, bundled up and bunched up at the foot of my front porch stairs. In the glow of red railing lights I decided to hang this year, I began to recognize faces. Faces from church who had driven 15 miles to serenade me with words I needed to hear.
Tonight I see, once again, my words are not my own.
I am touched by the present of the carolers’ time and faith, humbled and amazed, once again, by GOD’s gifts of awesome love and perfect timing.
Thanks be to GOD and the Tecumseh United Methodist Church Christmas carolers.
In this issue: Gifts, Social Value of Gifting, Spiritual Gifts, Potlatch,
New Orleans, Oct 2009: Action Plan: Late August, Early September: Slightly
Humor, That’s Random: Go Ahead - Analyze This & Alrighty Then – Analyze This
Alrighty, then - Analyze This.
I was on a college campus during winter break studying in a heated, indoor grass hilled atrium.
Under the atrium, there was a huge walk in kiln that could fire as little as one piece, and the piece came out of the kiln at room temperature. I wondered if anyone could accidentally get caught in there.
The cafeteria had assigned random seating so you had to sit with people you didn’t know, and each person was given a different question that you had to ask your table mates.
They had 40 different types of flavored popcorn, so I ordered the largest bucket so I could taste them all. When they showed me a sample piece it was twice as big as a popcorn kernel and looked wet. At first, I just thought they were super fresh. Then I realized instead of saying “popcorn” I’d ordered a taste of all the flavors of candy coated shrimp. I was stuck with an $80 bucket of moist and only partly crunchy caramel, blueberry-vanilla, chocolate mint, tangerine and cinnamon, etc. flavored shrimp.
I did make a nice piece of pottery, though: a mini tea pot with a matching serving tray and tea leaf strainer.
PS. Before you ask: I had egg drop soup and dumplings for dinner.
December 16, 2009
Go ahead - Analyze this.
Nuno Bettencourt, a slimmer Jeff, a drive-thru garage with two packed lanes of flow through traffic, my mom, a pink shirt and a 3,300 pound sailfish that wanted to be baptized.
Sweet dreams are made of this.
(P.S. Wasn't sure where to place this tidbit, but I know I found it humourous when I woke up this morning.)
(P.S.S. I've been asked numerous times what I had to eat/drink/smoke last night before going to bed, so here goes: I had green beans, mashed potatoes, and exactly 3 peanut M&Ms. I really need to analyze the chemical proclivity of those ingredients.)
December 15, 2009
The Way Things Were and..., ME Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 50
It was a slightly chilly, yet thoroughly passionate, mid-bleacher gymnasium discussion last Saturday about the way things were and the way things should be.
It’s hard to believe. It was absolutely astonishing, in fact, to have very recently found myself accused of being uneducatedly too politically correct. It’s true!
See, first I had to get used to the practice of cheering for both sides. In elementary school basketball, teams are “equal.” No try out needed, no score is kept, equal play time for all, equal polite cheering for all good plays and baskets (even though no one is “keeping score.”)
So, there I was at my first middle school 5th grade basketball game cheering for all good plays and baskets. After a bit, I received a mildly scorning (but friendly) informational admonishment. Players had to try out for this team, scores are kept, and equal play time is only until the 4th quarter when the coaches reserve the right to play whomever they feel will win the game. This league was for “real”, and I was behaving like an obnoxious visitor sitting on the home side cheering for the home team’s losses. Oops.
You know, it’s just not that easy to teach an old aunt new rules. Apparently, my previous political correctness junior sportsmanship training was very thorough. I found myself having to make grand gestures of feigned stretching or ear scratching whenever I had the urge to clap and reflexively began to do so. I’m sure I wasn’t fooling anybody. I considered buying a donut from concessions to keep my hands busy and my mouth full. In the end, I decided it would be smarter to just sit on my hands.
Now, I’m wondering. If I was so confused, how are the kids doing with all this? That’s a pretty drastic turn-about from the sportsmanship way they were previously taught.
There were a few confused parents as well, when fouls for previously politically-correctly overlooked rules were suddenly enforced. I suppose that facing this adjustment is a great “learning” experience for the youthful team players, and that maybe their minds were too young to memorize “all” the rules. Is there some sort of brain growth spurt that occurs in the summer between 4th grade and 5th grade? Is there a magical moment where it is suddenly ok to throw our children into the reality of winners and losers in life without warning them first?
Just in case you’re keeping score, I’m gonna set that thought on “research hold” for now, and add it to my list of things to check into someday. I’ve got old-fashioned hand-made Christmas cards to finish, stamp and send on their merry way, presents to inventory and wrap, and still have yet to find a clever winning way to tie it all together for this week’s newsletter.
As soon as I’ve scribed my scorecard with big bold checkmarks of completion, I’ll be able to justifiably applaud myself for being a winner - since it's now perfectly acceptable to keep score.
In this issue: The origins of postage stamps, holiday cards, wrapping paper and applause.
Now published: Action Plan, The August Cycle, New Orleans, October 2009.
December 09, 2009
Hot Tamales Cinnamon Flavored Cotton Candy Quiz
On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM, Jodi Korte
Hot Tamales Cinnamon Flavored Cotton Candy Quiz
The fact that this product exists means that:
A. I'm not the only nut mixing sweet and heat.
B. If they mass produce it, they obviously expect people to buy it.
C. I wish I invented it
D. If I still had the Michigan Hot Sauce Club store, I'd stock this item.
E. All of the above
PS. I found it at a gas station. It caught my eye because it was next to the chili-lime beef jerky, but I was actually looking for Cracker Jacks and canned espresso.
Around 1:45 pm I decided to set forth this invitation to my 35 of my coworkers:
Here's your invitation to another exciting candy discovery taste test.
2:00 pm. Timekeeping Office.
PS... No, I haven't tasted it... yet.
Bring water, if you think you'll need something to wash it down.
My expert opinion:
Sigh.... it's only OK.
I could do better with my own cotton candy machine and some hot oil.
It has a weird fore-taste as opposed to a weird after-taste.
However, the after-taste isn’t bad – reminiscent of a very weak Hot Tamale.
Now I am envisioning a mini cotton candy machine and some home kitchen test runs in the near future. Maybe my next career will be a traveling gourmet cotton candy truck driver and fair sales barker featuring flavors like Real Spicy, and Rum Raisin, and maybe Buttered Popcorn.
Yeah, my dreams and aspirations are kinda warped.
But, really… by now you shouldn’t be surprised.
Photo available on facebook.
Espresso and Cracker Jacks
Espresso and Cracker Jacks, first snow of the season followed by sleet and rain, and crawling down the road in a commuter van behind a 45-mph driver for 30 miles can make you a wee bit loopy by the time you get to work.
The first person I saw this morning appeared to be wearing referee stripes. Strangely, so did the second person, too. When I pointed the coincidence out, I was abruptly corrected. “I am” said the second person, “Inmate # 11123.” I giggled until the first striped jersey referee approached from behind and emphatically announced, “I am # 11124!” Then, I laughed.
Then there was the milk jug incident. A very sane and appropriately distrusting co-worker marked her little milk jug with her initials and a thick black sharpie line indicating the fullness or emptiness of her container. “To see if it’s being used,” she explained. I pointed out that it was a bit sad she felt she had to do that. “Well," she said, ”I’ll tell you this much – if there is anything less than this line when I go to use my milk again, I’ll be doing breath checks!” I guffawed.
By this time, inmate # 11124 had a ticklish thought. She would run out at lunch to buy some bovine ammunition, and then add her newly acquired milk to the black lined jug, just to see what sort of reaction that would bring. Hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing.
I guess the moral of this story is that at 7:30 am, everything seems funnier on cracker jacks and espresso.
I make this commitment now,
'though you are not aware
I will give real pieces of my
heart somehow, to fill the empty air
to fill deep hollows torn away, then
with metered patience wait, until you
notice how it fits, and then see
your puzzled heart is due - to me.
December 08, 2009
Fan, Out. ME Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 49
This week’s tangent has been quite an education for me. I started with one simply word, and discovered a couple of new ones. At least, they’re new to me. Words like “fandom” and “fen.” Although, I prefer not to ever find myself in a fen.
For me being a fan is about the enthusiastic, wholly belief that you have found something that touches you, brings you joy, and gives you a little something to own.
An early Christmas concert ticket gifting exploded into instant mind-shattering and reformative-coagulational fandom. Even if there were only two of us to begin with, all the necessary factors factored us IN.
The reason for my fired-up-ness: WPA - also known as Works Progress Administration.
Nope, I’m not talking about the 1935 WPA work producing relief measure, either.
Perhaps I’m a bit prejudiced, or maybe even a little over educated on the roots of this conglomerate band featuring a fantastic mix of pop-folk-bluegrass love-dripping only semi-sarcastic cynicism that would make Lou Reed proud, Guy Clark laugh, and will probably end up way overlooked in the world of music accolades because no one will be able to pin a definitive category label on it.
Hurray for me! It’s nice to, once again and suddenly, be a fan. Out!
Now posted: Wheeling Into August, New Orleans, 2009 & 10 past Nashville, Poetry, 2009
In this issue: Fan, Fans, Fan Out, Fandom, and the Works Progress Administration.
10 past nashville
10 past nashville
cheating on my own memory
hiding behind shelves
old photos and trophies
that might easily explain
more about who i am
and who i was, and how i wasn't
quite the me, i've now come to be
10 past nashville
moves like a ghost
wispy and white, like roads
of snow driftings shadowed
by cold clear night, pale
moon glow whispers its brief
knifing light, has me looking
around and back tonight.
December 06, 2009
WPA, The Ark, Ann Arbor, 12/5/2009
You know those little heart plugs you self-install? The ones that must be stable and permanent and fail-safe because you put them there so very long ago and they’ve stayed in place so far?
Well, y’all yanked one out.
The catalyst: a song whose title I don’t know. It was one of those weird, “have you been shadowing my life in your dreams?” moments. It may very well have something to do with the fact that I have been surrounding myself with people who don’t know much about me.
In fact, for the first time in the 3 years since my husband’s death, I held a dinner party in my home. It was deliberately the day after Thanksgiving, because I chose to spend Thanksgiving alone this year. I only invited my new friends, because, well, you sort of end up falling away from the couples you shared your married life with when you become only one and a constant reminder that someone else is missing.
Before my visitors arrived, I methodically went through the house removing certain pictures from the walls, moving gold records to rooms not likey to be visited, consciously tucking parts of my life away. Otherwise, I’d have to explain, and they don’t really know how broken I am.
Can I u-turn my life? I’ve done it before. Right now I’m ten years past Nashville, and none of this is really your concern. And it’s not at all the point I was aiming for when I began this mid-night, post Ann Arbor Ark show ramble.
Even though I’m hurting with the self-divined knifing knowledge that I am still broken no matter how successfully I’ve managed to hide it, I wanted you to know that you were so absolutely right when you said you were in the right place.
Congratulations on taking charge of your own destiny, doing it yourself, and surging through life’s uncertain surf; and a heartfelt thank you for sharing your gifts.
I’m thanking GOD for that, and for you.