Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Get By with a Little Help

I Get By
What would you THINK if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
I get high with a little help from my friends,
Oh I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

What do I do when my love is away.(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you're on your own)

No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.
Someone in the Beatles

Boy, does this take me back to the days. I had just finished college and was teaching Chicano kids in Whittier California. I was totally enamored with another, group, Simon and Garfunkel, so really did not appreciate the historical significance of the British Invasion and the effect it would have on the world. Oh well, another trend missed in my youth. Only later, did I come to have their lyrics embedded into my consciousness, as did the everyone else on rest of the planet.
This message, hokey, as it is, has rung true for me recently.

We are constantly told to use our friends to network, as if they were another resource, like a recruiter or hiring manager who will help us get a job. I have a serious problem with this. I struggle with the idea that the only reason to have a friend is to use them to help you find employment. In this world of Facebook with the competition to have hundreds of friends, twittering (and having 1,000, 000 people linked to you), Linkedin with its thousands of tiered layers of people, maybe we should stop a minute in our job search and look to our friends, our true friends and look at what they add to our lives.

When I was a teen and in love for the first time, my beloved gave me a book by Joan Walsh Anglund entitled, "A Friend is Someone Who Likes You." I still have it, with his dedication, packed away in storage. The complete text is printed in this blog. I do want to quote the last two stanzas, though.

And then you think you don’t have any friends.
Then you must stop hurrying and rushing so fast…
And move very slowly,
And look very carefully,

To see someone who smiles at you in a special way…
Or a dog that wags its tail extra hard whenever you are near…
Or a tree that lets you climb it easily…
Or a brook that lets you be quiet.

Sometimes you have to find your friend.
Some people have lots and lots of friends…
And some people have quite a few friends…
But everyone…
Everyone in the whole world
Has at least one friend.

My two best friends are my two sisters. They are both married and live in another state from me, but we are still connected so tightly. Between the three of us we have 12 children and have been through life together. We have buried both of our parents, written a novel and laughed a lot together. I don't know what I would do without them in my life. No matter what rivals we may have been as children, we are there for each other in so many ways now.
I have other friends who I call my soul sisters, who have shared much with me also. I can think of about 10 of them. Not all of them understand my profession, but they are there for me in my life. One is in South America right now, and we Skype. Several are back in Minnesota and we keep in touch by email and phone. Some are new friends who are a part of my life now. I never know when a soul sister is going to show up in my life, but when they do, I almost immediately recognize them for the jewel they are.

There are my online friends in CJ who have been with me for over 10 years now. There are 30 of us who share our lives on a daily basis. Last summer, I was able to meet some of them in Denver at the famous international journaling conference. Whenever we met, it was instant hugs and recognition of old friends even though we were meeting in person for the first time. We have shared life's deepest mysteries and joys with each other. I have posted about some of our struggles and good times here in the past.

There are business friends, those with whom I have worked and shared assignments. Sometimes they blend into my soul friends, and then others stay in the "work only" category. I enjoy their company and respect them for their gifts and the many ways they have enriched my personal and work life. I lean on them a lot. Their honest feedback has been a source of help when I have been floundering around wondering what I am going to do when I grow up. If I don't know I have a flaw (moi?), how can I fix it?
I have gathered a small group of friends who are technical writers. I met them at a much larger networking meeting and selected eight of them to meet on a weekly basis. We support each other in our careers and job searches. They are a knowledgeable group who understand what it is like to want to write with passion, but need to make money also. I grabbed a name out of the air, CC Writers, since we met at a CCC Job Seekers meeting. Three original members of the group are now employed. We have explored our options, crafted our resumes and shared our experiences. They are an invaluable asset in my career development.
There are my Linkedin friends, with whom there is some familiarity, but to a lesser degree. They are still a valuable part of my life. One of my goals is to get to know some of them better so that we can enjoy a mutually productive relationship.
Will one of these friends help me find a job one day? I don't know, but I do know that they make my life what it is.
How about you? Who are your friends? Where do you find them?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter Time in a children's world

These photos are of the kids in Salt Lake at Easter time. Lexi still doesn't get the egg hunt!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The bitter and the sweet

It was General Conference weekend, which meant my staying inside for some time listening to talks on the Internet. The weather was glorious here (unlike the grey skies in Salt Lake) and I walked each day. There were many messages of hope and encouragement from our leaders, which we all need at this time.
I am not a Luddite, but I choose what technology comes into my life, lest I get overwhelmed. I do have a cell phone, but I don't text, and I am working on building a website, taking the easiest way possible to put it together.
I love Skype. I use it to to talk to my dear friend Pat, who is currently serving with her husband in the Asuncion Paraguay temple as missionaries. Pat and I lived five minutes away from each other for seven years and dropped in and out of each others lives as needed. We are just comfortable with each other. I stayed with them when I sold my townhouse and was homeless for two weeks. They are such great friends.

Their time is three hours ahead of me, and Pat is a night owl. We talked late last night, catching up and sharing with each other. Doug slept through it all, and we chatted away after midnight her time. Congratulations on your new calling, Doug. It is so very cool.

We can't do much about what is going on with our children far away, but we can be there to comfort each other.

That's the sweet part. Now for the bitter. Fourteen years ago my daughter gave a baby girl up for adoption. It was supposed to be open, but we have not seen her since she was three. This points up a truth that we have had to face. People and circumstances change, and life does not always happen the way we want it to. Adoptions are messy. For every set of joyful parents receiving a newborn into their empty arms, there is a confused and hurting young woman who has made one of the most agonizing decisions in her life.

I have lived it from both sides. We had contact for several years and got to see her. For their own reasons, her adoptive parents have chosen to not have contact with us for the past nine years. I have to respect their wishes. We have never regretted our decision, but I ache because I am not a part of Kayla's life. I wish I could know about how she is doing and how life is treating her. The picture above is one that was taken one of the last times we saw Kayla. She is such a lovely little girl, and I am sure at the age of fourteen, she is a beautiful young woman.

Heather kept Kayla with her for a week before surrendering her. During that time we talked about the possibility of keeping her and raising her ourselves. But neither Heather nor I were in a place where we could do this. That Sunday night when we gave her over was wrenching and agonizing, and I never want to go through it again. Looking back, I realize that this must have been one of the longest weeks in the life of the adoptive parents. I am sure they feared that Heather would change her mind and they would be left alone with their lives and hopes destroyed. But we never doubted the wisdom of this decision and even today, after all that has happened, it was the best decision for Kayla.

That's my side of the story.

I have some good friends back in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. They are a gay couple, devoted to each other and sharing their lives together. They have wanted with all their beings to become parents. Three times they have tried to adopt, and three times the baby has been sent to another home. The first time, the birth mother selected another family. The second mother, decided to parent her child herself. This decision was made quickly without much preparation and my friends understood.

But this last time was different. They met the birth mother well in advance. She made her decision. They spent five months with her, taking her to doctor visits, making plans, even sharing in the birth with her. And then, bowing to pressure from wherever, she decided to keep this beautiful baby girl. I have to question the wisdom of this decision. She is not in a good place and the enviroment her littlle girl may not be the safest. I worry for her and her child.

There isn't an answer that wraps everything up in a nice bow. The nursery in Boyd and Harald's home is empty. There is so much pain there.

Old wounds have been opened here. I feel the pain on both sides. I wish there were an answer where everything would work out for the best for everyone.

It hasn't in this case.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Time to Celebrate!

It's been an up and down week. It's been raining all week in Portland, but what else is new? Monday was pretty dismal and I was struggling. Nothing happening on the job front, no movement. Things were just so flat.
But Tuesday, everything started to turn around. I facilitate a focus group of eight fellow tech writers and two of them found jobs that day!
It's been a long time in the desert for both of them, but they start on Monday, and we are celebrating that today with lunch.
I have been submitted for a position and have applied for several others that look promising.
My other blog (the business one, is getting rave reviews.
And yesterday a long awaited child arrived safely to the collective joy of many anxiously waiting friends. Welcome to the world, Siri Grace (what a cool name!).
No, this is not Siri, since her exhausted dad has not had time to post any pictures. It's Paige, my adorable great-niece at a few hours old. But all newborns are beautiful gifts from God.
Another good friend received the news that her brilliant quirky son, has been accepted at UCSC. She is a single mom and one of the most resourceful people I know. It has only been through her hard work and grit that this kid has done so well. So, Congratulations, Ellie and Jacob.
And lastly, today is my sister Janet's birthday. (See picture below from her book jacket).
My baby sister, the successful writer and wonderful grandma, became a part of my life years ago. Out of deference to her, and the fact that she doesn't look it, I won't mention her age.
She was born wise and with a unique view of the world, which has brightened many of my darkest times. When we were growing up, mother always made us matching dresses, in three sizes. I was the oldest and wore one, then Ellen wore hers followed by my version when she got bigger. Janet had three versions of every one!
Every once in a while, we go shopping and buy three of the same dress, just for fun!
Today, I have a networking meeting in the morning, a celebratory lunch in the middle of the day and then my shift at the temple until nine.
Even if it is raining, there is sunshine in my world.
May you have lots of light and happiness in yours.

Monday, March 30, 2009

She got them!

My friend Gina, who lives in Canada got the surprise socks. They fit and she loves the colors. I so like it when things turn out so well.
Speak of socks for surprises to friends, check out this neat pair my friend Boyd made for a dear friend at
Feeling good about sharing the love and warmth.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I had to be the first!

I am a great fan of a sock designer named Cookie A. ( and she has come out with a book a some really cool designs. It is due out April 1st, and I had my local yarn shop reserve a copy for me. They called yesterday at 1 and I had my copy by 3. It is so very cool. She goes a lot into design and how do make your own patterns.
I vowed no more sock books, but this is one I made an exception for.
There is a sock summit coming to Portland in August and she will be there. I am going to see if she will sign my copy.
Her most famous pattern is the Monkey sock which is free online.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My new Project

I downloaded this pattern from Northern Sunshine Designs which I love. It's called Prairie Gold. I am making it in Panda Silk in pure white. I will post the finished sock when I am done. They are going to be worn in the temple, when I work there.