Share Your World – 1/20/18

I’ve fallen behind in my Share Your World posts thanks to a new job. Mixed blessings. 🙂 Here are my latest answers:

How do you like your eggs?

My favorite way to eat eggs is folded into an omelette around sauteed asparagus, cremini mushrooms, and pepper jack cheese with some sliced avocado on top.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

I once met a soap opera star. He came in the bakery where I worked. That’s when I realized I wasn’t one to get star-struck. To me he was just another person.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

I bought my own bike with one of my first paychecks. I then used it to get to work to earn more money to buy more stuff.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I appreciate my mom, who turned 75 years young last Monday.

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Mom and Dad at the top of Iron Mountain in the middle of a 5+ mile hike.

As always, thanks to Cee for giving us the chance to share our worlds! Have a great week, everyone.

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Share Your World – 1/29/2018

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

I’d have to choose REI. I’m always itching to go on an adventure, and the things that really hold me back (other than logistics) are not having the right equipment AND knowing how much it will cost to come up with it. For starters, I’d get the bike I’m always telling myself I’m going to start riding and a high end lock. (Bike theft is rampant around here.) I’d upgrade my kayak, get another one so I can take a friend, and make sure I have everything necessary to lash them onto my vehicle. (Not the friend, just the kayaks.) I would fill my cart with plenty of clothes to endure any type of weather. I’d buy hiking boots and running shoes. I’d buy a new set of skis and everything else needed for hitting the slopes. (It’s been years since I’ve been out there.) I’d buy snowshoes and cross country skis for the winter and a backpack and trekking poles for the summer. If I had these things stored at my house, I’d have no reason not to go. Where’s my shopping spree? Adventure awaits!

What is the worst thing you ate recently?

Nothing comes to mind. I generally try to stay away from things I know I won’t like. It’s a small list that includes goat cheese.

Name five things you like watching…

Ocean waves
Bees at work
Snow falling
Thunderstorms
Whales

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I appreciate feeling better. It’s been a long week of feeling ill. Now if only I could get over the lingering fatigue.


As always, thanks to Cee for the opportunity to share our worlds.

Share Your World – 1/15/18

Time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

Complete this sentence: I’m looking forward to….

Traveling somewhere, anywhere. I’m getting itchy feet, and I’ve been perusing Google flights lately. There must be a deal out there somewhere.

What is your favorite comfort snack food? 

Popcorn has always been one of my favorite snack foods. I guess it would be a comfort food, too. I have fond memories of fighting my mom for the last popcorn in the  shared bowl whilr watching a movie on the couch. (Thank goodness my sister and dad weren’t huge popcorn fans. Could have been a huge family brawl!)

My new snack food of choice is any whole grain cracker, quince paste and cheese.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

My first real job was at KFC. I was thrilled to finally be making some real money. Now I could afford a bike to get me to work AND those San Francisco Riding Gear jeans I’d been eyeballing. Such freedom! 😉

Honestly, though, I’m glad my parents encouraged me to get a job. I like the independence of working and making money.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I’ve spent 3 1/2 weeks subbing in a rambunctious kindergarten class. Through it all staff would pop in to see if there was anything I needed and to offer words of encouragement. It made the job easier.

I appreciated being appreciated. Who doesn’t?


Thanks again to Cee for the chance to share our worlds. Have a great week!

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Desensitizing the USA – Trumplandia

Photo credit: Geoff Livingston on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I have a confession. I used to respect the office of the president, no matter who held it. I no longer do. Respect must be earned. Even worse, I used to believe our checks and balances would get us through anything. I am questioning this now. Our Constitution is only as good as the voters who choose people to uphold it, and they seem too easily swayed by fame and “fortune,” too easily conned by an adulterous cheat who claims to uphold Christian values.

We have undergone a year-long desensitization in the U.S. toward all things ugly and mean. There is no longer any shock value to what our president says about anyone or anything, regardless of what those in the media would have us believe. For me, the shock came during the race for the presidency, where he mocked a disabled man and, in true middle-school bully manner, gave ugly nicknames to his opponents. He apparently, through his wealth and power, quashed stories of his philandering and sexual predation, but we knew. I thought right would prevail and people would choose decency. I was wrong.

Now my reaction is only sadness.

How low have we sunk as a country that we are willing to push all this man’s indecencies to the side and accept him as our leader? He’s not even a good leader. He doesn’t inspire or pull people together. His vitriolic speech and tweets divide and anger the many who disagree with his gated-community vision of the world, and guess what – they are not all people of color. He pulls on a trucker cap and speaks in an uneducated slurry of superlatives, the con man who tells us to trust him. Is this a good sell for people?

I don’t understand.

Sometimes I see Donald Trump with the eyes of a parent or a teacher. I am both. I have seen these behaviors before. Kids who are starved for attention will try with any means possible to get it, and if they are not noticed for good behavior, they will pour on the bad. I don’t think our president ever got the tough love response of ignoring the temper tantrums that would have helped him develop a deeper character. He’s a paper cutout, a simplistic, greedy man who, like a child, is all about himself. His willingness to “help” our country is only insofar as it helps or boosts him. He is not one of us, no matter how many red hats he puts on.

I long for the day when I can respect the office of the presidency once again. May that day come soon.


For my evangelical friends who believe this wolf in sheep’s clothing, let me leave this here for you. Wake up.

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost.
~Billy Graham

Carve Out a Little Time

Photo via Foter.com

 

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”    ~Dolly Parton

I love my job. While I may not get excited to get up and leave before 7:30 in the morning, I enjoy the time I’m there and the people I’m with. I make a difference in the world, and that’s a good thing. That being said, I’m always happy to be home, to see my family, to feather my nest, create good things to eat, and share smiles and stories with the people I love.

So I don’t really understand this whole workaholic thing.

I don’t understand how making money beats making memories, or how giving your all to outsiders for 10… 12… 14 hours leaves you nothing to share with the people who love you. I understand the need to feel important and needed, just not how that need can be better filled by people who are benefiting financially from your attentions.

Living with someone who prioritizes work over family relationships takes a toll.

If you’re wondering if this is you, you can take this survey developed by Norwegian researchers called the Bergen Work Addiction Scale. Give yourself a score to each question with 1 being never and 5 being always. If you rank high, do your loved ones a favor and get some help.

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritise hobbies, leisure activities and exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has influenced your health negatively.

And If you ever come back from a trip and go straight to work without unpacking your bags, it’s pretty likely you’re a workaholic.


In response to The Daily Post’s prompt: carve

Share Your World 1/8/18

Here are my answers to Cee’s latest Share Your World:

Do you prefer a bath or shower?

I’m a shower person unless I’m sick or really stressed out. Showers wake me up and get me moving.

What do you do to make a living or during the day? If you are retired what mostly occupies your day? Or if you are a student what are you studying?

I am a substitute teacher (by choice). Recently I’ve been doing a long-term sub job in a rambunctious kindergarten class. Today is my last day in there.

Tonight I might take a bath.

Is there a stuffed animal in your bedroom?

Not anymore. I had a wolf that my kids bought me when I graduated and an owl that my son bought me when I started teaching. Though I treasure them, I don’t currently have a place for them in my room.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Yesterday the reading specialist at the school texted me that she was bringing me coffee. That made my day. I felt appreciated. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make someone’s day a little brighter.


As always, thanks to Cee for this chance to share our worlds. Have a great week, everyone!

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Distraction

If I could funnel my energies into one thing
That lightens my life and makes my heart sing,
Would I set up my tripod and click-click away,
Storing photos to freshen my memories someday,
Or plunk away, tapping my keyboard all night,
Trying to come up with a story just right,
Or study psychology hoping to find
The missing connections that weigh down my mind?
Would I read all the classics or find something new?
Would I try an inventive new recipe or two?
Would I play with my dog tossing Frisbees and balls,
Or paint pictures to hang on my many empty walls?
Would I tinkle the ivories or strum on some strings?
Oh I wish I had time to do all of these things!
But it seems every chance I get when I’m alone
I’m a virtual prisoner to my smartphone.

Photo via Foter.com

 

New Year, New Hope

I vow now that the end of 2018 will not see me sitting on my couch watching a movie, just waiting for the sands on the year clock to run out. May 2018 be a year of renewal. May it bring with it a dedication to truth and authenticity, honest, heartfelt conversations, and clarity of thinking in the path forward. May the ghosts of all the years past not throw chains around this new year, and may patience turn to decisiveness.

To 2018!

Photo credit: maxxtraffic on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 

Almost There

It’s been a year unlike any other I’ve experienced in my lifetime, a year of uncertainty mixed with sadness at people of faith trampling the values I’ve held so dear for most of that lifetime – humility, kindness toward others, community-mindedness, selflessness. It’s been a year of selfishness and greed, a year where stewards of the land circle the wagons against an imposing army of extraction industries. It’s been a year of vindictiveness and anger toward people who are content with letting others live as they see fit (pursuit of happiness, anyone?) and dredging the rivers of cash to more fully fund the well-funded. It’s been a year of statues over people, of incompetency at the highest levels, of America’s dirty laundry flying for the world to see.

And I’ve been hiding.

A good friend of mine, a sensitive, caring woman who would raid her pantry to feed anyone, was beset with a auto-immune malady after the election of Donald Trump. Her system couldn’t take the stress. She has finally found balance and peace through nature, and after about six months her rash went away, allowing her to re-enter her social circles. I didn’t have an auto-immune response, but I do feel like a turtle who has pulled into her shell of self-preservation. No writing to speak of; no words were there. Just stress and more stress. Instead I turned to my photography – visualizing the world I want to surround myself with, a world carefully created and preserved by dedicated conservationists.

The year is almost over, and this funk I’ve been in, this fog, is lifting. I still wake every day with the stress of not knowing how my world might be upended. I fear war for the first time in ages. I have a constant finger on the pulse of our institutions, whose failure might affect my mixed Hispanic-American family. I wonder daily if 1930s Germany could happen here.

But a shell is a confining place to be, and my creative muse is pushing at the boundaries. It’s lean, starving, hungry – and the muse must be fed.

The Extravagance of Being

This is the season of giving, of depleting the savings accounts and trying to balance the scale between giving and receiving, of cordoning off time for family in the midst of a giant collective shove to propel the economy into the black for another year. It’s a season of rising joy, a half bell curve, where the post-holiday reality check smacks you like a fall to the pavement. Gifts received graciously, excitedly, are quickly used, worn, and eaten. Time passes, and those non-consumables are ultimately relegated to the back of the closet or the top shelf to gather dust before being hauled to the local donation center, making space for the cycle to begin again.

But what of the intangible.

My niece received the ultimate Christmas gift, or maybe she gave it, depending on your perspective. Her holiday plans were interrupted by a trip to the hospital to deliver her first child. It’s a gift we’ve all experienced on the receiving end. It’s a gift that holds such promise and expectation of growth and renewal, of successes, of love and bonding. It’s a gift often taken for granted until it’s gone.

And gone it will be all too soon. This Christmas season also saw the loss of a dear sister-in-law to cancer, the end of a life well lived.

Life and death.

Our existence on this ball of rock suspended in space is a tremendous gift. The place we occupy in space and time is unique to us, and to us alone. We may collect friends and family to walk the path with us, but their vista is different, and they may tread easily where we have cause to stumble. We grow up seeing thing with fresh eyes that cloud over with time. We begin with the excitement of the new, learning instructions for how the world works, until for many it becomes mundane, old, used, and we merely exist until we don’t any more.

But if we look closely, there is extravagance all around us. The heady scent of flowers in the spring that bring the buzzing, industrious bees in their quest for nectar. The small molecules of water that are so constructed as to hold onto each other as they ride the wave of gravity toward the ocean, bringing us fresh mountain streams and scenic waterfalls. Basalt, sandstone, and granite tower over us, ever so slowly shifting and moving, only to then crumble and fall, reminding us of our impermanence in this ancient place. The transfer of gasses within our lungs, the beating of our hearts, the plasticity of our brains, all miraculous gifts that we take for granted until they are gone. The capacity for love and forgiveness that strengthens ties and creates a web of safety and security, tendrils of which creep outward in random acts of kindness toward strangers. Extravagance. Just look to the closest planet and compare – then immerse yourself in it.