Wednesday, April 22, 2009
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…
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
Monday, April 6, 2009
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.
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
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, http://annecloward.wordpress.com/) 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.
Even if it is raining, there is sunshine in my world.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Speak of socks for surprises to friends, check out this neat pair my friend Boyd made for a dear friend at http://www.fiberguy.com/
Feeling good about sharing the love and warmth.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I vowed no more sock books, but this is one I made an exception for.
There is a sock summit http://www.socksummit.com/ 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. http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTmonkey.html
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
BTW, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has nothing to do with any of the splinter groups. When they discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890, some diehards decided to continue the practice and started their own branches of the church. In our world today, if someone who is a member of the Church decides to practice polygamy, they are excommunicated. I come from polygamous folk, and have studied the subject extensively. There is a clearly drawn line within the church between us and them.
Stay with me here.
Over 40 years ago, I got married. It was a gorgeous summer day, much like the one in the following photo. I was married in the Salt Lake Temple (see above). It was June 14, 1968, Flag Day, and it was so bright and sunny.
In the 40 years since, I have repeated the ceremony many times, each time acting as a proxy for someone else who has died. Sometimes the name of the person was someone who was a member of my own family. We believe that in the next life, people have the opportunity to accept or reject these ordinances. The language used is highly symbolic and takes a long time to really understand. I am still learning about it, myself and my relationship to God. The first time I went through it, I was overwhelmed. Some days I still am.
Now I work in the Portland Temple, shown below, and help other people who are performing the same ordinances. I support and encourage them and it is very rewarding work for me. I consider this to be a time to renew my contact with God. The temple is also a place of prayer and meditation for me.
The only thing I can compare it to is filming me making love with someone. It's that personal to me. And here they want to put it out there, for people who have no idea what it is all about and make a mockery of it.
There are parts of our lives that are private and sacred and should not be displayed, period.
They don't get it. The fact that they are trying to be "accurate" and "tasteful" does not negate the fact that they have decided to go ahead and show it at all.
That's my rant, but I am distressed by this. How dare they take that part of my life, and stomp all over it with their dirty hands and feet!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My sisters both have much better voices than I do. Ellen even has led choirs and really adds to one. But anyway, I persevere.
I was hesitant to join the choir in my new ward. There are some excellent voices there, both men and women, and they do an excellent job with some involved arrangements. But two weeks ago, after struggling with seven five year olds for two hours, I was ready for some spiritual refreshment. I cut across the chapel and was stopped by the choir singing Come Thou Font of Every Blessing. I meant only to sit and listen, but then found myself leaving my purse on the bench and joining them.
I grew up loving this wonderful hymn. It was in the songbook for years. I loved the beauty of the melody and the language. Then in 1985, the church removed it from the book! (Thank you very much Michael Moody). We sang it in our choir in West Saint Paul ward and I took my copy of the music and put it on my fridge where it stayed for two years.
The lyrics are so succinct and show such yearning for connection to God as well as an acknowledgment of our faults.
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
I Googled it, and found a wonderful recording of it done by the BYU Men's and Women's Choruses. I will try my best to link to it here. Watch this video on youtube.com
We are singing it on Sunday. I will be there, adding my shaky alto voice to the choir and meaning every word of it.
Friday, March 6, 2009
So Wednesday, I found myself in a pickle. My van got towed. I parked in a restricted area at the MAX station. I thought I was out of the area, but I obviously wasn't. So I called the guy, and asked him what I had to do to get my car back. I told him that I had never had my car towed, and so wasn't sure what the procedure was. He gave me the address and I said I would try to be there by six.
The whole thing wasn't a total loss. I got on the train, rode it to my normal station and took the bus to my apartment complex. Piece of cake.
When I told my son, his reaction was to go slash the guy's tires. I am not into tire slashing, but it seemed like a good idea anyway. We went down there and met the guy. He offered to waive the after hours fee of $40, just because it was only a few minutes after the deadline.
We talked for a few minutes, and I admitted I wasn't sure where the restricted area ended and now I knew. I asked him to total up what I owed him.
His response? "I'm not going to charge you anything."
"You came in here and didn't argue with me, and treated me with respect. Most people don't."
He also gave me a coupon good for money off if I ever needed a tow.
So, my being nice just saved me at least $250. Not a bad return for not getting angry and nasty, which I don't do well. I run out of steam pretty quickly. I don't do confrontations well at all.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Valentine's Day, but Alix has issues. I got to spend two hours with them at the Salt Lake Airport in January whle on a layover on a flight to Boise. Yep, you go through Salt Lake on your way to Boise from Portland. Jordyn delighted us by counting from one to 10 in English, Spanish, and French. Alix walked.
These girls are such cuties. I wish I would see them more often.
Go to http://www.stitchjones.com/ to see see her fabulous yarn.
Here are two of her combinations of yarn. I love them.
Friday, February 13, 2009
One of the knitters, Sharon has her own business hand dyeing yarn. I bought some in her color, Blush. The yarn is 100% merino superwash. It's the softest yarn that I have ever knitted up. The URL for her yarn is http://www.stitchjones.com
Even someone who is allergic to scratchy wool could wear it.
It made into the most gorgeous pair of socks. The pattern is by Cookie A, and is called Monkey socks. It is so easy and looks as though you have spent days on it. Here is a link to the free pattern http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTmonkey.html
This pair is going out the door to someone special who needs a lift. They are heading out the mail this morning.
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
T. S. Eliot
I just finished re-reading that wonderful poem again. That line,"there will be time, there will be time/ to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet," jumped out at me again and again. Don't we all do this in our lives, I think as a means of surviving.
How many times have we poured out our souls here, opening old wounds, sharing anguish and pain, and then gotten up from our computers, straightened ourselves up and gone out into the world, confident or at least seeming that we are "just fine."
It got me to thinking about the face I prepare to go out with when I meet others. Creating that face is an art we develop in order to survive in our professional lives. We are taught early that,
"No one likes a frowny face/ change it to a smile/Make the world a better place/By smiling all the while." That's something I learned that from the cradle, I swear.
People comment that I smile a lot at work. I do, rather than be the spreader of gloom and doom.It has taken some conditioning for me. I am such a transparent person, and everything shows on my face. But I have learned over the years to just hide it, and not share all of my life with my co-workers. For one thing, my personal life is just that, personal. I don't feel comfortable sharing much of it with anyone at work. The good stuff,maybe, but not much of that.
We are supposed to get work done, not share each other's personal problems. But personal things do intrude sometimes. They slide in, and if I listen, I can learn a lot. During one work interview, I was asked at(DCIP) how it was to work in an all male environment. It took some listening until she told me that she had been the subject of inappropriate remarks and attention at her previous job. Another time,a co-worker let slip that his oldest was 11, after celebrating his10th wedding anniversary. That one, I just let slide. The dividing lines are invisible, but just as real as the ones that Les Nessman used to draw on the floor of his cube in WKRP. Does anyone remember that? He didn't have cube walls so he drew them on the ground with tape, and everyone had to honor them.
The image I present is that of someone who is capable, organized, and full of energy, ready to tackle anything given to me at work. This is one I have worked hard to create. For one thing, it's to dispel the idea that I am an older worker. I am a good 15 years older than many of my coworkers in their 40s. I never let on how old I am. Never mention the year I graduated from high school, since many of them were not born yet. I color my grey hair, so that I don't look so old.
Lately, I have lighted my coloring up, so it doesn't look harsh and phony, which has the effect of making me look older. I also walk a lot and try to keep fit. I struggle, but work on getting enough sleep, so I don't look so tired early in the morning. I keep my wardrobe neutral, I hope no frumpy old lady looks, or inappropriate fashion trends that would look stupid on me. I can remember when mini-skirts were all the rage, the first time. I wore them proudly, then, having great legs to show off.
There are so many unwritten rules that govern the workplace. I don't apply for permanent full time positions. There is such underlying ageism there. I don't put the date I graduated from college on my resume. I fudge and save I have more than 15 years experience, rather than the 20+ that I actually do have. One of my best resumes has a summary of my accomplishments on the first page, rather than chronological listing of my experience. Contracting is a safer route to go. Most hiring people don't care how old a contractor is, but HR people see dollar signs of increased insurance with age. The fact that I have not been in a hospital for over 17 years would not cut it with them. But their bias about older workers is out there.
I can mention my grandchildren, generally or that they are all under the age of seven, (except Kayla, but then I never mention her). I just say that my husband died at a very young age (54), but don't mention how long ago that was.I take the stairs when asked, walk the half mile to work each way,walk to meet people for lunch downtown, not mentioning it might be a stress.
My age works to my advantage in subtle ways though. I learned how to identify parts of speech, diagram sentences, good usage, and to write while in high school. So many younger tech writers have no idea how to do these things. They take a course or two in college, and call themselves technical writers, but don't have a clue as to how to go about organizing themselves.
They have never had the experience of standing in front of a bunch of seventh graders and having to keep their attention for an hour. After that, corporate America training is a breeze.
I have picked up a lot of information about page layout and design,business process flows, software development, how to get production work done. These are all things that an employer gets with me. When asked about my rate (which is generally near the top), I focus on the"hidden value" they get as a benefit of my experience. I can interview subject matter experts, and manage complex projects, because I have done that so many years. I don't miss deadlines, and know how to manage my workload. I also don't complain or say that something is not in my job description.
I know that many of my contemporaries are retired, or have never worked. I plan on working until I am 70. A general lack of money has made that a necessity. But my employer will never know how old I am.They will just have to judge me on my output.It's the face that I prepare each morning to meet the world.
K is for. . .
K is for what? Well, for one thing I think it is NOT for Kool, Korny,Kute, or Krazy! This is something that just gets under my skin, the deliberate misspelling of words to be "cute."
It's a part of a trend that I find creeping into my life. And Kewl is another one I don't get.
But the worst part is the names people give their kids, including me. Can totally understand a Katherine vs. a Catherine, and then Kathy vs. Cathy. I wonder if it is just laziness sometimes. Catalog vs.catalogue.
If someone has a legitimate reason for spelling something a particular way, that's fine, but it still causes confusion to the rest of us mortals who are trying to decipher letters and words along the way.I have a hard time with cutesy spelling of kids names. Katilyn, Kaitlyn, Caitlyn, Catilyn, or Katelyn. I have seen all of these spellings at one time or another. Sean, Shawn, Shon, is another name that seems to be prey to this disease.
Two of my kids are caught in this: Erick is spelled Erick, not Eric, or Erik. I say that's because I was coming out of anesthesia when my husband asked me how to spell his name for the birth certificate. I thought Jeremy was pretty straight forward with his spelling, but I have seen Jeremi, and Jerami, also. And his wife Nancy, how can you mess that up? Well, Nanci comes to mind. My niece is Christina, but is called Christy for short, excluding Christi, Christie, Kristy, Kristie. Another cousin is Kerstin, but it could also be spelled Kirsten, Kersten, Kirstin, or whatever someone felt like messing it up. Darcy is Darcy, not Darcey, Darci, or Darcie. Jayna is not Jana. I have also seen Jenny spelled Jennie, Jeni, or Jenni, much to every one's confusion.
Jeremy and Nancy's kids are Jordyn (not Jordan) and Alix (Alixia). So that gets to be a bit much. And Bre is short for Breanna (with a soft a, not a hard one). Her middle name is Clare, not Clair, or Claire. That's because she is named after Deb's dad, who was Clarence. Liam is the only normal one. It is just plain Liam. But his middle name is Colin, not Collin. Deb is short for Deborah, but it could have been just as easily spelled Debora, Debra, or Debby, Debbie, or Debbi. Jeannine at work is not Jeanene, Cindy, who sits across from me is Cindy, but could have been Cindi. Jayme is not Jaime, Jamie, Jami, or Jamey, all of which I have run into. Pegie is the supervisor here, but she could have also spelled it Peggy or Peggie.
Brian is my nephew, but he could have been Bryan. Mathew is another nephew, who lost a T somewhere along the way. Amy is Amy, not Ami, or Amie, fortunately. My niece is Honaye, a name I have never heard anyone use before or since. Her brother is named Star, but it could have been spelled Starr.His older brother is Kevin, which could have just as easily been spelled Keven.
These are normal people with normal sounding names. When you get to celebrities, the naming goes wild. I remember when Frank Zappa (way cool name, in my book), named one of his kids Moon. Who can forget Moses, and Apple, or Knox or Vivienne or Bruno Mowgli? I honestly think these kids are going to need a lot of therapy someday.
I know I am a voice crying in the wilderness, but as someone who has taught school in the past, deciphering names was a real challenge. When I would get the class rolls at the first of the year the challenge was to figure out just what the kids' names were. I am glad I am just an Anne, and that even gets mangled by recruiters from India, who think the e is pronounced. I feel like screaming at them, Annie is Annie, not Anne. But I don't think they would get it. So I am signing this, just plain
Or Anne Lorene, if anyone wants to get fancy.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
She is seven now and is a beautiful girl. She resembles her mom so much. She inherited Deb's build, which is fine, but she is not a tiny and petite little girl. Deb is 5' 7" and Bre takes after her. She is not overweight, but because she is taller, is heavier than many girls her age. This is the way Deb was when she was little. I have no trouble with it, but Barb, Deb's mom, used to make Deb feel so bad about her size, and Deb to this day feels that she is too big.
She has Deb's big brown eyes, but blonde hair, that comes from Erick, who was a towhead. His hair would bleach almost white in the summer. Unlike her mother, who is big on plain shirts and jeans and denim, Bre is very much in touch with her feminine side. She loves playing dress up, makeup, nail polish and jewelry. Her favorite colors are purple and pink. She loves ruffles, too. I hope she can continue to develop this part of herself and just learn to have fun with girly things.
We have rituals that we do when I am there. We read together before bed. For years, I did the reading. Now she reads to me. One of my challenges is to find books for her that she can read by herself. As her reading skills increase, I am sure this will get easier.
We have been learning to cook since I got here. After nicking her finger once while chopping onions, I decided to get her a chopper for onions and peppers and such. We found one and gave it to her for Christmas, and she was so thrilled. I also bought her three cookbooks, with some good wholesome recipes for kids to make. I gave her and Liam aprons for Christmas, also with their names on them.
She seems to have adjusted well to the divorce, and has accepted Mark as her stepfather. His parents dote on the kids, and she flew to Sacramento on her own to visit them last summer. I told her the other day that she was blessed to have lots of grandparents to love her and Liam. There's grandma Barb (Deb's mom) and her companion, Charlie, Mark's parents, and me. I don't want her to ever feel that she has to choose between us. We all love and care for her.
She is a wonderful big sister, and is so loving towards her little brother, Liam, and guides him through some of the rough spots in his life. I know that when he starts kindergarten next year, she will be there watching out for him. She is also very affectionate and gives spontaneous hugs to us all the time, which we think is way cool. I am a bit nervous though, since she is so outgoing an open to talking to strangers. I know we need to work with her about trusting the right people in her life.
I don't know what she wants to be when she grows up, but I am grateful she has a solid foundation of people who love and care for her and want only the best for her. I wish I could freeze time and just have her always be the sweet carefree little girl that she is right now.
When I was little I bought into the conventional definitions of beautiful and ugly. Beautiful was defined by blondes with willowy waists and long legs and white teeth. Ugly was anything else. Part of this was just my being a child and accepting what other people said was beautiful. I had dark hair and was short, so never fit the profile, and therefore I was not beautiful, so I must be ugly. I used to think, what about Elizabeth Taylor, and Annette Funicello,.two of my idols at the time. What about them? Weren’t they beautiful?
As I grew up, I began to redefine what was beautiful and ugly. My mother was beautiful with her dark hair and white skin. My father’s sisters, my aunts, had the same coloring and they were beautiful with the voices of angels as they sang. My first grade teacher who had white hair and was plump was beautiful to me.
So I realized that my off kilter definitions had as much to do with how I felt about someone as it did about the way they looked.
And that is why I have often felt that older people are beautiful. I love it when e
Ellie writes about some of her older clients, and the beauty she finds in them.
I feel that after so long, what we think and do shows in our faces and bodies. Wrinkles are not ugly if they belong to someone who still has a zest for life and who shares smiles with everyone. Mae, my father’s second wife, was such a nasty person, and she had the most malevolent look about her. We called her the gargoyle, for the way she would glare suspiciously at everyone who came within her range.
People who know what their mission is in life, and their willingness to share it with others, who are clear and focused, are beautiful. They often just shine, and I want to be around them.
To me all of you on CJ are beautiful, because you have shared so much of your souls with me through the years. Being so honest about yourselves has brought out your beauty. I know to the outside world, we look like such ordinary people (except maybe Harald, who is really good looking eye candy). There is nothing that is spectacular about any of us, to those who are viewing us on the surface.. They don’t know what they are missing. Our talents, our gifts our sharing make us the spectacular people we are. There is not an ugly person in the group. When I met so many of you in Denver , I was not disappointed by your physical appearance. I was overcome by so much about you, your honesty, your talents, your just being you.
And it has never been a negative thing in my life until now.
A word of explanation: I work for the Business Controls group, and the A/P department is under us. It is made up mostly of women, who have a high school education at the most. I have to sit in the middle of them, which is not fun, but I just go about doing my job. They are petty and mean to each other, but I really don't let it get to me. It's their department and I just happen to sit in the middle of it.
A recent audit of the department showed they were deficient in a lot of their processes, making many errors. Despite policies and procedures, they double bill, double pay, and incorrectly pay many invoices for Regence. Things got so bad, they brought in a new person, Pegie, who is supposed to whip things into shape. So far, all she has done is “team building” stuff. They have spent hours decorating their cubes, (rows compete at each major holiday), have lots of pot lucks, have a lending library (of romance novels) and go to movies as a reward for getting their jobs done. Aren’t they supposed to do their jobs well, anyway?
I have tried to ignore them and their noise most of the time. But one time they had a pot luck for their department, and one was week later for the whole floor. I came in and wondered if I had misunderstood and had missed bringing in what I had signed up for. I was told very pointedly that the food was for THEM, and I was not included. This came from Cindy who sits across from me.
She is just very negative. I think part of her resentment comes from the fact that she processes our invoices and thinks I make the $75 hour or so that I am billed out for. I don’t make nearly that, but I do make about four times what she does. But that’s not my doing. I do a lot of specialized things that she hasn’t a clue about.
Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk, knitting on a hat for Heber. It was after 1, but I had a snack at 11, and so wasn’t ready to eat lunch until then. I ate lunch and then did a few rows. Well, you would think I had pulled off the crime of the century. She went to her boss, who went to my boss who called me in today. I told Chris that it was my lunch hour and I was not keeping her from doing her work. It’s the perception that I was not doing anything that seemed to bother her.
Another co-worker has been working on a pair of socks. We have chatted about them, very briefly, in passing. She is a new knitter and has been struggling with some things. We have probably talked a total of five minutes about knitting over the course of three days, but that got reported, too. Since when does doing something on your break that has nothing to do with them get you in trouble?
Now Cindy and Jayme, who sits next to her, think nothing of spending ten minutes each day rehashing Jayme’s love life and problems with her boy friend. I have no choice but to listen to it, since they go on about it right next to me.
So I promised Chris I would put a sign up the next time I knit at my desk. It would either say Break or Lunch. That should get her off my back. I swear I haven’t seen such juvenile behavior since I taught seventh grade years ago.
Sarah (She Who Will Not Be Mentioned) has recently responded to the report that an additional $30,000 in clothing bills have been charged to the RNC, and they were wondering what the money was used for. Her response was a vague, "loose children's underwear."
Now, Sarah Baby, you have five kids. I only have four, but in my time of raising them, I never spent $30,000 in underwear for them. In fact, I don't think I have spent $30,000 total in clothes for them and they started buying their own clothing about 20 years ago.
In fact, there were years when I probably spent about $400 total for all clothing for them period. We didn't have much money and I learned how to be very frugal with what I did have. I remember times when my grocery bill was $20 a week for dad, mom and two little kids. I am still careful in the grocery store, buying lots of stuff to cook from scratch. I can make a giant batch of chili for under $3.00, and that includes using a pound of ground beef in it. I use my 30 year old pressure cooker to cook the beans, and they are pretty darn cheap. Our Thanksgiving turkey is still providing meat for soups for the kids. I put a large container of leftover meat in the freezer and will thaw it out in a few weeks and make some more dishes out of it.
I know how to make five meals out of a rotisserie chicken. I shop at Target and Goodwill, with the exception of shoes and bras, which come from Nordstroms. Since my foot surgery in 1994, I cannot wear poorly made cheap shoes. And as I diabetic, my feet need to be pampered. I have several friends who have had amputations due to poor fitting shoes and wounds that would not heal.
I am sure there are those of you on this list who can beat me at this game. But that doesn't mean that I don't have a good quality of life. I just work the numbers and try to be as careful as I can with what I don't have. I never spend more than I make, having given up credit cards about 8 years ago. With the instability in my income, I save when I am working so I can live during the times when I am not.
How different is that from the government who tosses numbers around with such abandon that we are in shock. I don't know why the Bush administration claims they are fiscal conservatives. The amount they spent on the war alone goes into the billions on a monthly basis. And what do we have to show for it after five years? Over 5,000 Americans dead and how many Iraqi civilians? (As if an American life were worth more than that of a Iraqi).
The financial bailout keeps producing more and more numbers of astronomical proportions. The salaries of the Wall Street executives alone boggles my mind. How much money does one person need in order to live? They attempt to justify their obscene salaries with the comment that "they are worth it, and worth keeping." Hello, who got us into this mess? Freddie Mac people robbed so many people of their homes, and when confronted with the possible consequences of such reckless lending, fired the risk assessment people who questioned their judgment.
I know this is a ramble, but one number I am proud of is the number of people who voted this last election, and the number of people who voted for Obama in the hopes of putting an end to this unrestrained fiscal insanity. Someone characterized the Bush administration recently as an eight year long drunken frat party. No one felt the need to justify or change their behavior.
Looking back on a number of those relationships, I found that many of them did not go the distances, and a little more time taken in choosing a mate may have made a difference. But then such stories are not nearly as thrilling. How boring to tell your grandchildren years later that you dated for a year before deciding to get married and then had a long engagement. Where is the drama? The confirmation of the heavens that you knew the instant your eyes met that he was “the one?”
I don’t trust my judgment concerning men, having made such a poor choice in my marriage. Not that I have had many serious romances in my life, but I don’t’ flirt well or play games. I am totally professional at work, rarely discussing anything of a personal nature. Since the main place I meet men is a church, over 90 percent of them are married. I am usually good friends with their wives, and know lots about their children. Most of them are utterly faithful to their spouses, and that’s what I admire about them.
They just don’t show up on my radar that often.
I know, it’s safer that way.
Tom was an exception. He was always one who could ring my chimes. I suppose he could have even when we connected three years ago, but the circumstances were too awkward. He didn’t think marriage should stand in the way of our getting together and it it became obvious after a while that he had some extra curricular adventures, and saw me as another conquest. I, having been through what I had been, was not willing to play the role of other woman. I had been a wronged wife. I would not inflict that pain on anyone.
I have gone out to an LDS Singles site, but maybe I am too picky. I see too many red flags. Many of them don’t want to even look at a divorced woman. We are damaged goods. I remember meeting one guy at a single’s event who had been married twice. He stated that he divorced both of them because they disobeyed scripture and were not “obedient” enough to him. Or there was the guy who lost his wife to cancer two years earlier. He posted a photo album of 10 pictures. Seven of them were of him and his wife and the kids!
Anyway, I have learned that I need to be responsible for my self, for earning enough to survive on my own, to make friends and find things I want to do to fill my life. I can’t expect anyone else to do that for me. I see so many women who live in a bubble, and have to ask their husband for permission to leave the house. Now, I am all for coordinating schedules, but permission should not be needed.
Tonight is another singles event. I promised to show up. I have been resisting joining the group since I moved here. But I spoke last Sunday at their meeting and met a few people. I know that I will be older than most of the men, and so will probably find some more women who will be more interesting. Maybe I can find another movie buddy to see chick flicks with, like I had in Woodbury. Maybe I will find someone to attend the temple with. But a knight in shining armor, not likely.