Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.

Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.
How I feel after throwing a party...

Thanks for the visit!! :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rain, Service Projects, Old Boyfriends and Whirling Dervishes

Lot of things on my mind as I start up this day.

I'm just going to bullet them out for now...

Getting ready to go to the BYU Women's Conference. Time to recharge the battery packs of light and love everlasting. I always look forward to it and usually end up with a posse of friends and family that go with me. This year I am alone. Haven't gone alone for a long, long time. Lots of introspection time no doubt. I'm looking forward to the service projects the most this year and the 20,000 women singing together...yeah...that will goose-bump you right into the next day.

Loving working at the new job. It's mostly women in the leadership positions. I'm enjoying this. It is a big change from everything else I've done. I like it because women, while you have different personalities and blah, blah, blah and etc. usually think very similarly when it comes to the needs and desires of children and how things should be run where they are concerned. I have enjoyed not having to deal with men and all of their testosterone. Love men, but don't mind not working much with them right now.

Men make women offense...but it's true. Speaking of...

Got sandblasted from the past a couple of days back by an old boyfriend with a complicated past. That has been interesting--definitely knocked me back on my heels a bit. You would think 20 years would be enough to get over something--to put it firmly on a shelf in the past with a little note saying "Note to self: These are not the droids you're looking for. Don't look here...and definitely don't open this can of worms back up!"--apparently not. Apparently the stab and twist to the heart of a grand lost love, even if you were just a kid when it happened, always feels a little bruised when you poke at it with little memory sticks no matter how long ago it was. Probably because that level of rejection is a great blow to the heart and to the ego.

Let me briefly set the stage: I was 21 (and had loved him since 18) and everything is a drama when you're young. about this time...

At the time, I was devastated, but also knew that it was permanently over. Not once did I ever doubt that. My best friend and another close friend and I dropped him off after a weekend together. I laid down in the back of the car and I sobbed my great broken heart all the way home. My girlfriends shushing and whispering "What happened? What happened??" and I could say nothing more than "It's over--it's over." Dreams crashing and burning to nothing but ashes all the while. I cried for 3 days straight. I couldn't get around it, but at the same time knew that there was no going back. There was nothing for it. He was gone and we were all moving on.

Anyone who has ever loved greatly and lost it, knows that time heals. New love heals. Being happy and returning to routine and life heals. And so it did. I moved on, like I knew I would. I found a new grand love and my pain faded into the past as love bloomed again within my heart and I moved on.

As a completely human side note, which no doubt many would understand--I would be a liar if I said that in the beginning, and on occasion through the early years if I didn't hope and eventually wonder if he realized he was wrong and still pined for me through the years. It didn't matter that I had moved on and was happy, but dammit--he should hurt too!! He had been wrong and he should regret it!! LOL Ahhhh the bruised ego of a slighted know the line...Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...yeah...well Shakespeare was least a little bit. ;)

For the most part though--even from the beginning, I hoped that he found whatever it was he was looking for that was not me. We were friends and lovers, how could I love so deeply, and despite loss not still hope that somehow, somewhere he found happiness? I'm not so cold...and so I wished him well and now here we are.

Anyway...who knows why he looked me up now or what he was/is looking for. It's a moot point though because I doubt he would tell the truth if asked directly about it and it doesn't really matter anyway. I think it's the "40-ish" age group. Looking at where you are, where you were, and wondering what has happened in the in between.

I'll tell you what has happened in the in between--it's no great mystery as I have recently discovered myself. Life happened. And most of us didn't expect a lot of it. Should you have made other choices? Did you make the right choices? WHY did I make that particular choice? I know...we've all been through that whole rigmarole.

Everyone has perplexities, consternations, regrets, wonderings, and if wishes were fishes we'd all have a fry. The coulda, shoulda, woulda train is not one that is even ride-able. Going back in time never works. Hindsight is skewed with what you know to be now and...anyway, you can never go can never go back...nothing is ever the same. All there is, is moving forward--packing your little hobo kerchief bag of regrets on it's stick over your shoulder as you make your way to the next train.

Time marches on and waits for no man and no matter what has or has not been, you need to keep moving along and make the best of where you are and decide where you want to go, or else your next pit stop at 50 is going to royally suck.

Anyway--so there you have it. The whirling dervish of my brain this morning. It's raining on top of it all...which I love...but is definitely perfect for introspection and contemplation.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unrequited Love & Peanut Butter

Haven't done a Facebook post in a long, long while. So, I decided that a Sunday morning would be a good time to do another one.

Here are some of my favorites from this past weekend:

Acee: Feelin' like your head's full? It's called thinking. Go with it. -- Meredith Grey

Janell: OHHHHH MY!! My butt just stuck to the chair so bad when I stood up, I think I ripped skin off!" -Las Vegas quote of the weekend

Renee: "There's nothing like unrequited love to take all the flavor out of a peanut butter sandwich." - Charlie Brown

Kristin: Having a rough patch...made a quick little melancholic mix of some old Duran Duran on my iPod. It was like finding the old quilt out of the back of the closet that's worn soft and comforting and covers just right.

Andrea: Enjoying a beautiful, sunny morning at the cabin with my fabulous friends. We went for a little hike yesterday and I read a book on the deck for hours last night. This is some badly needed rest and relaxation!

Me: "May your joys be as deep as the ocean, your sorrows as light as its foam." Anonymous

Lisa: got sunburned in Juneau today. I love Alaska.

Kara: is sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth, and singing "the sun will come out tomorrow".....

Julie: The big boys are going flying today...landing for lunch and then off exploring again...Jake and I are the HAPPY grounded photographers-

Nirvana: It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. ~ Marlene Dietrich

Grace: We all had a fun day of painting, rice crispy treats, naps, walks, basketball, magnets and now building a door!

I love my friends and I love hearing how things are going for them, good and bad. Facebook may suck with all of its advertising, promotions and marketing ploys and its constant efforts to subvert your privacy, but it has been really great for keeping in touch, finding out the latest on babies, break-ups, new romances, jobs, ideas, opinions and favorite dinners and other minutiae in the day-to-day lives of friends and family.

There are a lot of criticisms on the whole premise of Facebook and the idea of daily minutiae and minute-to-minute details that are thrown up as status updates and other miscellaneous commentaries, but I think it's what you and those you know and associate with make of it. People who are going to be crass and gross and obscene are that way in real life, not just on Facebook. If you don't like that type of behavior, eliminate them from your friends listing. Tighten up your privacy settings, and definitely be aware of who you are associating with.

For the most part, I've found Facebook to be a mostly positive experience and a fantastic way to keep in touch with a variety of people that I have enjoyed and had friendships with through the years.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If you can't play nice, keep your hands off of the kids.

I have been very disturbed by the things I see in the world regarding children and youth of late. Where do I even begin? China: the ongoing infanticide of baby girls; England: padding bikini's for children; US: bullying, cruelty and murder in our youth; Thailand: child slavery and prostitution...

And it's not like these are new issues that I have been previously unaware of...but daily there are new stories, new extremes, nuances and new additions to this streaming pile of filth and abuse committed against children and youth.

The blurring and graying out between what is right and wrong, between what is socially acceptable and what slowly creeps into acceptance, all contributes to the degradation and maltreatment of those in our communities who don't just deserve, but require, our protection.

The weak, whether they be children, youth, the elderly or the mentally and physically challenged, all need our eagle eyes and sharp tongues when something goes wrong or looks to be heading that way.

Children, youth, adults--none of them can be permitted to roam around in unruly rabid packs chasing and persecuting, tormenting and teasing, physically abusing and damaging others. We are each responsible for our people--our families--our communities. If someone you love does something wrong, just because you love them doesn't mean they get a "pass..." for their behavior. You can love and still punish and discipline. By making every person an exception for their bad behavior does nothing to improve the situation.

There is no law that can be passed to eliminate the abuses and behaviors. The only thing that can truly impact this type of criminality is vigilance, discipline and punishment by the general population. Not accepting the behaviors, speaking up, becoming involved, standing for something, being involved in your community, knowing the people around you, serving others and setting and implementing your standards in your own homes are the things that create permanent change.

I am not for a lawless land--but I'm also not for micro management through law. My point is that laws don't need to be made in excess for those who aren't breaking them to begin with. Laws need to be effective for corralling and addressing lawless, thoughtless and victimizing behaviors. Ratcheting down the rights of the common person who is a law abiding citizen is not a solution.

Case in point is the story of Torry-Ann Hansen from Shelby, Kentucky. She adopted a 7 yr. old from Russia and after running into, what she deemed as significant issues, typed up a letter, put some cookies and toys in a backpack and set his feet on the path of an international, trans-Atlantic journey back to Russia.

Regardless of whether the child has issues or not...YOU adopted him and he is now YOUR responsibility. You do not put a child, by themselves, on an international flight back to Russia with Return to Sender on the child. There is no Return to Sender. This woman paid someone $200 to pick the kid up??? The level of irresponsibility on the part of this woman is stunning.

I think it's a can of worms all the way around. Obviously children who have been institutionalized and abandoned are prone to pre-existing issues of every possible variety. However, the poor execution of judgment on the part of this woman has made a lot of trouble for anyone else attempting adoption from Russia. When performing international adoption you need to seriously and soberly think it all out. This woman is a contributor to the exceptionally high cost of adoption and, in my opinion, one of the core reasons that the adoption process is so outrageously complex and tedious. As a childless woman who would like to adopt but cannot possibly foot the $15-40K bill for adoption I find her choices outrageous and sad. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

A friend of mine added an additional dimension to the issue by saying when he needed adopting in his own country, and for all of their outrage with the U.S. now "where were the Russian families" before? Agreed my friend. Agreed. If you can take over his care now and people are clamouring to adopt him, where were you when he was alone and institutionalized along with all of the other children in the crowded orphanages all over the country? Why does it take an international incident for people to become aware of the plight that surrounds them? Why does it take someone else's mistake for people to see what is right there?

My issue is the "Return to Sender" action and not with the fact that she was having problems. Problems can be worked out one way or another--shipping a 7 yo to another country with a note "To Whom it May Concern" to solve that problem is not acceptable at all. No doubt she experienced a huge level of "buyers remorse" when all of the issues reared their ugly heads, but children are not cars or TV's and shipping them back to the factory is not a viable option. What if the child had been biologically hers? Then what? There are many ways to find a solution, additional abandonment of an already abandoned child is cold and rejecting in the worst possible way and holds no true, long-term interest in the welfare of a child that you adopted to make yours for life.

The international implications of her actions are significant and potentially jeopardize thousands of individuals. There are many good families, worldwide, who would love to welcome a child into their home and plenty who have and others who are in process for making this happen. By acting stupidly and thoughtlessly, she has placed many of these families in a potentially devastating situation.

Russia on the other hand, needs to settle down with it's anti-U.S. rhetoric. If you think the Cold War is over, think again. The walls may be down and people may travel, but in reality it has only taken on added dimensions and subversions. Russia still dislikes the U.S. and is continually looking for reasons to be offended and to inflame the popular sentiment of its people against the U.S. The entire adoption process between countries should not be jeopardized by one idiot woman who probably shouldn't have adopted anyone in the first place. If you truly have the best interests of the orphaned and needy children in mind, why would you threaten to suspend and freeze the existing process to a significant majority of good families and homes?

Russia claims that Russian children have been adopted and mistreated through the years. The numbers they have quoted are 17 children in 19 years. While the number should be 0...always, always 0, out of over 60,000 adoptions, the maltreatment and abuse cases should be dealt with on an individual basis and prosecuted as private and isolated criminal acts.

Another key concern is with the level of human trafficking that occurs in our world today, a lone child traveling this ridiculous distance is frightening. As a human being, never mind as the caregiver, how was this not a major concern for everyone involved?

As this child's guardian and mother, and as a nurse who no doubt is very aware of child abuse in all of it's guises, as well as psychological issues that can occur in plethora, her negligence is astronomical. And yes, I do believe her accountability corresponds to the training and schooling she received in her field as well as the fact that she is not an inexperienced 22 yo.

Of course there are always two sides to every story, but in the world and in society, not all actions are gray--there are actions that are right and actions that are wrong. This wasn't just a poor choice, this was a wrong choice. While I am interested in hearing her interview, I am skeptical as to what possible reasoning would justify this choice over so many others.

When it comes to child welfare and safety my tolerance for putting a child deliberately in peril is minimal to nil. My thought is she just wanted the problem to "go away" so she did--she made it fly away.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beats & Boiled Hippos

I am reading "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks" (terrible title that makes me cringe every time I think of it or say it) by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. This led to an extensive research project last night on the Beat Generation and the respective players...a fair portion of which I already knew from my Jack Kerouac phase in my late 20's, more of which I know now.

I am reading it for my Late Night Bookies book club. It was not my selection, but it has been an interesting, though not entertaining read thus far. It is based on a true life event, a murder, in New York in the 1940's. The book was written by William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac and is told with the tone of their respective experiences and memories of this event. Due to the people involved, and as a courtesy, it was agreed that this book would not be published until after the man, and mutual friend, who was convicted of this murder had passed away. Now that this has happened, the book has been published.

The story is told in an alternating chapter style, where Burroughs speaks as a character and Kerouac as a character. The premise is interesting (it is touted as a "hard-boiled detective novel"), and I was originally looking forward to the read. The writing feels very black and white and is such a way as to truly radiate the despondency, irresponsibility and laziness of all parties involved. It is prolific in its description of drug abuse, alcoholic behaviors and lax sexuality.

As I have gotten further into the book, nothing has been surprising--every sad fact has been surprisingly mundane and predictable. Perhaps it is because we live in a socially and morally broken world ourselves and so the story is easy to see as far as how it will all play out in the end. Yes--perhaps that is it. Perhaps this was shocking in the 40's because the behaviors were not common and therefore predictable, and so the writing would have been stunning and unbelievable.

As far as "The Beats" are concerned...

I don't like William Burroughs at all, though Jack Kerouac holds a special spot in my heart due to The Dharma Bums. I LOVED The Dharma Bums. I read it when I was in my late 20's and it spoke to me and I felt like my mind stretched around it and vibrated with the electricity of new wisdom and understanding. It was a phenomenal reading experience and I have recommended it freely to many through the years. Maybe I should re-read..but I digress. Back to our friend William...William Burroughs was self-indulgent and corrupt. And while I know that he has been regaled as some kind of a master and genius of American Literature...I'm going to go ahead and beg to differ. Just because you have a circle of gifted literary friends, does not in turn make you, a literary genius yourself.

I think that Ginsberg was a user and a bad human, I don't care for him at all. I think he took advantage of the opportunities and the companionship of those around him. While I don't fault him for that, I don't care for his attitude, perspective or depravity or the way he tried to mock those who did not share his views. While I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone read "Howl" as it's words are profane, foul and abrasive, if you do or if you have, you will see it. You cannot cover up coarseness and filth with words made from roses the like of "angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection" when all you are talking about, rolling around in and relishing, is in immoral, subversive and destructive behaviors and actions.

The Beats, talented (or not) and impactful on American literature as they were--as a general group, tended towards moral bankruptcy, were alcoholics and drug addicts, with severe social issues. While they have churned out some very interesting things, as a group, they had massive issues of every possible kind.

As a person in my 20's, I found their ideas and thoughts and writings interesting and exciting. As a person who is a little older now, and more seasoned by my own experiences, buffetings and exposure to the world, I find the repetitive debauchery tiresome and uninteresting.
Yeah--this book is not delighting me. I'm finding it predictable and depressing. Lost youth and pending doom.Nothing is surprising or interesting, though the read keeps me engaged...surprisingly...I think because it is not a complicated read.

Perhaps it's just that I know how it will all end. Perhaps it's that this was written in the 40's by someone in their 20's who thought they were being shocking by using the "F" word and talking about shooting up and smoking pot, drinking alcohol until you passed out in the park, or the subway or the landing of an apartment and illicit sex and subversive social behaviors, not realizing that by the time we read it in 2010 that none of it would be surprising, shocking or anything like what we see in our current day-to-day, carnie-indulging, over-sexualized, anything goes, all for one and ... only for one ... Girls Gone Wild ... MTV environment.

Am I jaded? No...not quite...just tired of the continual attack of the "Let's shock 'em!" writer. How about you entertain me or give me some interesting insight or something to think about that hasn't been played out ad nauseum?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sing it with me now...Y M C A!

What happens when you combine The Monkees and The Village People?

Joke from:

I've been looking for a project aka a job. The financial situation in the world and in our household is just a little too tough for me to sit back on my heel's just yet. So, since I was not happy about having to head back to corporate, I decided to see if I could advance a long-standing goal I've had to work non-profit. With some searching and a whole new view of what Craig's List is all about, I was successful in my quest. I am now employed by the YMCA as a project manager.

The title is that of Project Manager, but I've come to find that I don't really think this is accurate. Yes, I manage projects, but that's not all. I am actually the Site Manager for a local junior high school, wherein I am responsible for running the Afterschool Program. My job entails tutoring anyone who needs it, but with primary focus on kids (particularly 9th graders) with failing grades, often with disciplinary issues (as I'm sure you can imagine go along with it.) I deal with school administration, which so far has gone pretty well, and with a plethora of kids.

For the sake of privacy I'm not going to indulge any of you with the exact location and details, however, suffice it to say that it is an inner-city school, with a very diverse demographic...which is code for lots of kids from lower-income households with a spectrum of colors and cultures.
It's no cakewalk, but it is interesting, hard work, that has it's fun moments...but mostly a lot of "Hey! Watch your mouth!" going on and a lot of "Why an F? What's going on? What happened?" to the tune of "I dunno." and "I don't like to do homework."

I've been there for a couple of weeks now, and while I definitely don't have the total hang of things (there is a TON of paperwork that has to be done for the sake of record keeping and audits because everything is grant based...sooooo not my favorite thing to do...) I am getting a good grip on how things need to be run. Discipline, consistancy, fairness, and regularity are definitely at the top of the list. Education, tutoring and communication are all up there in the basket as well.

In the Afterschool Program we have a snack, followed by homework and tutoring time, followed by "Clubs" meaning coordinated activities that last about an hour, followed by a few minutes of free time then off to the bus to go home. The homework and tutoring time has been a bit of a tussle, but we're getting it squared away and back in alignment with where it needs to be. No video games, no wandering the halls, actual bonified reading, writing and rithmetic...and science...and health...and history and etc.

Just like most kids, these need some focus, and some regularity. A lot of them come from bilingual households where the parents do not have an extensive education and no doubt are not only dealing with a new country and new language but a whole new way of education and learning.

Some of the kids have shall I say it...less enthusiasm than others when it comes time for studies, but too bad soooo sad. I'm in charge and this is part of the program. I'm not here to be their buddy, but rather to be a mentor and a leader, and someone that they can trust to get things done and to keep them on track. This doesn't mean we don't have fun, it just means we all have our place on the food chain.

I've had several inquiries of "So...are you in charge?" and "Are you in charge now?"...oh yes. I am in charge now. LOL
I've also had "Well, how come you're changing everything?" and "Well, so-and-so let's us do it this way..." or "We're suppose to have Free Time!" and etc. A: Not changing everything, just getting it back on schedule. B: So-and-so was just trying to get things done with a short staff ans as a fill-in. We're back to the regular routine. C: No Free Time until homework time is over.

I'm not mean about it, because I don't think mean-ness is effective. These are kids with plenty of mean in their lives already, I don't need to add to it. But, I am firm and fair--at least I'm trying my best to be and I'm not going to let you get away with stuff you shouldn't be, just because you think you should be.

Anyway--my point is that there is a learning curve for all of us. For me, for them, for the staff, but that it seems to be going pretty well. There have been some bumps, and no doubt there will be more, but for now I feel like I'm contributing to something of value and like I can actually help them get somewhere.

I know I won't be able to save them all, because that is never how it works out, but maybe a few of them can take some good things away with them that will help them to thrive in the big, bad world out there. I hope so. I hope so.