samedi, mai 26, 2007


I'm considering starting a private 'blog, and keeping this one for occasional, more public musings. If you are interested, please post a comment to me (I moderate them and I won't make it public) with a private email where I can contact you. I'd like to see how much interest there would be in making such a switch. Naturally, that would require my readers contact me and reveal something about who they are.

I'm not sure how effective that would be, but it's one option under consideration.

Don't we live in interesting times? I suspect the motives, and the emotions are the same-only the means are new.

Gutter language

I went to the Home Depot last night to pick up a few gutters, some elbows, and a couple of garden hoses. Sounds simple, don't it? The problem is...well, the problems are manifold.

I started in the gardening section. That wasn't a tough decision. After all, doesn't everyone? I'm buying plants this season as though I was starting my own little conservatory. I think it has something to do with all of the illness around me-a way of adding color and life, and a method of forcing me to push the chair against the desk and walk outside. My little outside garden gets the full force of the sun most of the day-which is great for sun loving plants. Unfortunately, it appears that some sun loving plants are midnight snacks for deer.

So, back at Home Depot, I'm standing amidst perhaps 20 different kinds of hoses, trying to figure out whether its alright to buy two different brands, and how to connect them should I do so. Who knew there were so many ways of connecting plastic tubes, hoses to faucet, hoses to sprinklers?

Finally, I make my choice (turns out I've bought way more hose than I probably need, but that is alright)...and head to back to the gutters, where I belong...


vendredi, mai 25, 2007

I had dinner with a friend last night by the lake. Over chicken wings (his) and a vegetable whole wheat wrap (mine) we talked idly about our careers, love lives, and families. After a brief walk in the woods, we came back into town and joined the throngs waiting for sundaes and softserve and floats. Our talk drifted back to relationships between men and women, as it usually does.

The challenge, I said to him, is to learn from mistakes you made in prior relationships. A number of guys (and women) still seem to be reliving their old ones, and have not been able to move on to new ones. That's why you see all kinds of dos and don'ts and "noli me tangere" in the online portraits, we agreed-because lots of people haven't been able to see what was good about their prior relationships-and even learning through suffering. My friend quoted Captain Kirk on the subject-something to the effect of claiming one's pain.

What struck me afterwards was how much our generation refers, not to books, but to movies. When I was younger, I had a multitude of quotations from famous and notorious poets and writers, in an untidy, often misfiled pile in the back of my mind somewhere. (Perhaps I should take one of those "organize your memories" classes). Now we are as likely to refer to movies as to books for our wisdom. Once, I suspect, it was the Bible. Now it is Kirk, or Yoda.

I wonder what our children's standard resource will be. Gwen Stefani's newest song? Maroon Five's latest opus? Ah, don't I sound cynical, and old. They will find their wisdom and it will be as useful as is ours.

jeudi, mai 24, 2007

Who are you-really?

I had an unpleasant surprise yesterday. I casually emailed my editor at one of the publications for which I write and found that I had an editorial due-yesterday! After some posturing (emails flying back and forth in which I said I didn't know and he saidoh, he was sure he had told me) we negotiated today as the new deadline. Once again, I realized that I am occasionally organizationally challenged (see yesterday's post on washing the kitchen floor). If that is the case, then I need to institute safeguards, like keeping a calendar on which I pen when articles and other minor neccesities, like bills, are due.

If anyone has any clever ideas on how to manage deadlines in a way that is not too demanding or painful, please post them for the rest of us!

For some reason, I began to think about the gulf in the selves we present to others and the persons we allow ourselves to be at home. Surely you have a work persona and a home persona. But is there a gap between the person you are with your wife/husband and kids and person you are when you log on to your computer at 1:00 in the morning? How far do you let it go? I thought about this when I got one of those pop-ups on the kids computer yesterday, telling me that I needed a drive cleaner to get rid of all the adult sites I'd visited-and how to get rid of them so no one else would know. Before I took a few minutes to think about the reality, which is that I don't visit adult sites (partly because I have no desire to be plagued by endless stupid ads with half naked women), I felt a wave of panic. How did they know? Imagine how you would feel if you really did spend a lot of time surfing Internet porn.

Which is why, over and over again, I try to be the same person in public as I am in private. Sometimes my dear ones want me to be a little less...authentic.

How about you? Is there something you are hiding- a secret someone that only comes out late at night and flees reality for fantasy? Perhaps you might consider prayerfully laying that person down at the foot of the cross. It must be a terrible burden for you to carry.

Perhaps you don't wish to link your early morning alter ego with your regular life... reality can be so much more rich, complicated, and risky.

mardi, mai 22, 2007

I like to think of myself as someone who can be trusted. Recently, however, I've had cause to wonder both about the meaning of the word 'trust' in various contexts, and about how other people parse it. A few months ago a fellow I corresponded with for a while told me he didn't trust what was said in emails. Since I pride myself on telling the truth as far as I see it, I didn't take kindly to what I saw as a personal criticism. But time, and a little emotional distance, has helped me realize that it might not have been personal.

I've been hurt when people don't trust me right off the bat, but I also know that trust has to be earned. It's just too bad when one doesn't get a chance-on the other hand, perhaps the bar is set so high with some people that it would be soul-crushing to try to jump over it.

It is probably wise to be cautious about believing what people you don't know tell you. On the other hand, I suspect that my friend isn't of a trusting disposition to begin with. I tend to think well of people, looking for the good in them.

Eventually, I realize that some of them are not trustworthy-but I'd rather err on the side of acceptance than of suspicion.

Besides, I can imagine circumstances under which others would feel that I'm not totally trustworthy.

Yes, I am a a faithful friend (most of the time). Yes, I'm grounded and have common sense (every other day). But you can't trust me to iron my clothes, or cook cakes from scratch, or to wipe the kitchen floor every week, whether it needs it or not. I guess you can trust me to be honest about my shortcomings. I hope that compensates for not being repentant.

dimanche, mai 20, 2007

This morning we went to the old school to see some Glen Moore artifacts. That's right-Glen Moore, not Glenmoore. Archivist Sandy Brannan says no one living is quite sure how two words became one. As drenched in history as this area is, and as ardently as some of the locals want to preserve it, much of it has been lost.

Our reason for going to the two-story schoohouse was that Colin is supposed to do a project for his third grade on local history. Colin was nowhere as interested in the local lore of one room schoolhouses and wood stoves as was his mom. I've talked before about my bent for seeing stories and people who either aren't there any longer, or never were there, writ invisibly in old houses and ruined stores. As Sandy Brannan talked about the post office and the mill and the last passenger train (1932) I listened with the intensity of a gourmand awaiting the next course.

I have the hope that if I keep exposing my children to more and more living history tableaux, eventually they will find the same passion-or one like it. Both of the kids did wear their "Wallace" buttons proudly to church-although I'm not at all sure what happened to them after they came home to our little tract of land on Ada Fleming's old farm.