Today, I am reminded of all the reasons I have the job I have and not the job of the people I work with. Their job is HARD. While my job is difficult in completely different ways, their job makes my blood pressure go up in under 4 minutes.
I am an Air Force brat and I'm proud of my father's service to the country. I have really mixed feelings about all these days - not because I don't want to honor servicemen and women and their families. I guess it is how we honor them, sometimes. I don't have much to say about it other than that my father served this country well and I miss him. I am grateful for the freedoms I have and grateful that I live in this country where we are free to express ourselves.
I was flipping the channels today and I happened across the "National Geographic Geography Bee". I watched for a while but then I felt lame because I didn't know the answers to most of the questions. They weren't easy questions like name the states in alphabetical order (I said that because I can actually do that) or name all the countries in the world and identify them on a map (I'm not there yet). It would have been really easy to just move on, but I felt really strongly that I wanted to learn more.
I love geography and I think I have a geography coloring book around here somewhere. I figured I would start with learning all the countries and their placements (and also which countries have changed their names since I studied that particular continent). I looked them up online and found a game where I can learn the countries shapes and then another place where you just try to name all the countries in 12 minutes or less. I started out with around 125 and have made it up to 160. I have been moving between memorizing the maps and getting familiar with the regions. I keep looking for countries that no longer exist - that's confusing.
Anyway, I will conquer basic geography and then I will (may) start working on capitals and landscapes, etc. Feels good to be learning something - even if I should already know it. I'm sure everyone has gaps in their knowledge - I'm not sure I ever had a geography class - we studied different countries, but it was a long time ago.
I used to have a set of encyclopedia type books on each continent. They were different colors and I LOVED them. I would copy information out of them just to learn it. I don't think I made it through all the books based on my gappy knowledge.
For the past few years, I have been travelling on Memorial Day weekend, but this year, I will be home. I'm planning on working on some art and some movies. Hopefully, I will have some photos to post over the weekend.
I'm glad it is Friday and I'm glad that I have some time off.
I watched a documentary called "We Were Here" tonight - I have been wanting to see it since it was out in the theaters, but somehow, I couldn't bring myself to watch it in a public place. It is a film with interviews and footage of the "AIDS years" in San Francisco.
It was a difficult movie to watch, but at the same time, it was such a relief to watch a movie about the things that really formed me as an adult. I was not in San Francisco at that time, but I was in Portland and watching my friends get infected and die. AIDS was the shaper of my entry into adulthood.
One of the men described this sense of never planning for the future - just paying attention to the now because you didn't know what the future would hold. I could so relate to that idea. It was so sad and at the same time, so important to watch that film and to know that some of those folks made it through. I can't even imagine it being worse but I know that it was worse for so many people. I am reminded how lucky I am.
If you don't already know who won American Idol last night and you don't want to know, you shouldn't continue reading as I will reveal the winner in this post.
I love "American Idol". I have been watching since the finale of Season 1. I love watching the performers grow and learn and incorporate feedback to become better performers and singers. I love Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson and several other former Idols.
I wish the finale was more about the Idols. I don't think it is appropriate for the judges to perform on the Finale as they did tonight. That just seemed self-indulgent. Additionally, the Bee Gees tribute was AWFUL. I know it was live and they had little time to prepare the harmonies but it was AWFUL. It would have been better to just show a clip of Robin Gibb from a couple of years ago when he was on the show instead of a poorly mic'd, poorly rehearsed off-key version of Bee Gees classic songs.
And why WHY WHY!!!??? would they waste a Jennifer Holliday performance by splitting it up with a 16 year old? Sure, she can sing, but she is a mimic. Someday, she might be an artist - right now, she isn't at the level of performance to be able to interpret songs in her own way. The song she chose for her single, should she win, was proof - she hadn't been practicing that song since she was 5 years old, watching the original performers on YouTube, so she had nothing to help her. If she had the right song or a song that people had heard before and she could have studied for a couple of years, she probably would have won.
I'm not sure that Phillip will be all that happy as an American Idol - I have heard the contracts are very restrictive. Who knows? I was happy for him and moved by his performance at the end.
Rant over - except to say that next year, I doubt I will subject myself to the entire finale. I really only want to hear the Idols perform - I haven't really enjoyed the jam-session atmosphere they have had for the past few years. I might be alone in that, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to remind myself to just fast forward to the end and have done with it.
Congrats to Phillip Phillips. I hope he can take care of his health and enjoy his win.
I definitely have the Monday blues today. No particular reason - just mourning the end of the weekend. I'm excited for summer this year - I'm hoping that the sunshine will buoy my spirits. I haven't been super down or anything, just feeling the doldrums a bit.
Looking forward to a three day weekend for Memorial Day. I have some work to do, but still, it is something I can do from home. Maybe a movie if there is anything out I want to see.
I don't know why this year has been so difficult to get going on things. I have so many things happening, so many things I want to do and then I get overwhelmed by my own plans for myself and...nothing.
I guess I need the space of not doing to lead to the doing. Or maybe I'm just scared of it all. Scared to fail. Could be a strange mix of both.
I don't want to be frozen. I have to warm up and move my feet - there is a big world waiting for me and lots of good things to do.
I know I have seen "Where the Hell is Matt?" and his dancing antics. For some reason, when a friend posted this video today on Facebook, I clicked on it and it made me cry. Watching the "Gratitude Dance" just reminds me of all the beautiful possibilities in our lives and in the world and how I sometimes forget about that.
Even if you have watched Matt's dancing antics before, it moved me enough to cry this viewing. Totally unexpected. Give it a try. The feel-good part is worth 4 minutes of your life. And the beautiful music is just a big plus.
Much as I want to make the world an easier, better, happier place to be - even just my own little corner of it, I can't. That is just the reality of the world. But I guess the beauty is that as much as I know that I can't make it all work, I keep trying my best and I keep re-learning the same lesson. There is a kind of beauty in that. A little bit sad, too, but there is something beautiful about ignoring current wisdom to keep doing what you feel in your heart.
Last night, the "Glee" episode just reminded me of how much I admire the show. I love that it has made it 3 years in a time when television shows are all knock-offs of each other. All the cop shows are going to blow up their buildings, the doctor shows are having crashes or bombs or some dramatic death. At this point, a dramatic cliffhanger is really only whether or not the show will come back in the fall.
I love that "Glee" has brought older music to young people, younger music to older people, genres introduced to folks who might never have listened. I love most of the guest stars they have had, I love the performers. I love that they guy who plays Finn has grown so much and that they ALWAYS choose the perfect song. Last night, I wondered if he ever had imagined himself singing on television. I love Lea Michele and her voice. I love Chris Colfer and Kurt. I think his relationship with his dad is amazing and I wish that Roby was alive to see it - to know that a straight dad COULD be a good father to his gay son.
I haven't done any art journaling in a long time. At first, I was just busy, but then, after a while, I started the "what if they aren't perfect?" talk and I haven't let myself just play. I'm working on figuring out some time off from work and I think I will bring my art journal with me wherever I decide to go (beach, I think). I am missing the tangible making of something.
Hopefully, I will get back into the swing of it. I think I need to watch Teesha Moore's tutorial videos for some inspiration. And then there are the classes I was in the middle of...they will have some inspiration, too.
I wish "they", the product-makers in the sky, would make things without scent. These days, even things that are supposed to be scent-free have a scent. It is more and more chemically based. I keep looking for more and more natural products, but even they often have a smell. I don't like being so sensitive - it makes it really hard sometimes. I can't bear the smell of most detergents, soaps, many shampoos, fabric softener, toilet freshener, tissue...
I have a headache from the laundry detergent I have been using for months. I just changed clothes. It is the same detergent. But now it smells. I have to go check and compare labels. What did they add and WHY??
I went to a workshop on vicarious trauma tonight. I watched an important movie called "Audism Unveiled" which I have seen before. It is something I plan to take in annually as it has powerful implications for the sign language interpreting field and some important reminders about the generational trauma experienced by Deaf and hard of hearing folks, as well as anyone who belongs to a group that has been persecuted or has experienced oppression. It is often easy to forget all the things privilege brings us.
Today, some told me I use too many words. While I suspect (know) it is true, it still stung. The truth hurts, right?
Ironically, I have cut down on my word usage in the last few months. I guess I needed a more drastic cutting.
I will not use too many words. I will not use too many words. Too. Many. Words.
Damn you, Angry Birds!! I am having a bit of computer elbow right now. I'm pretty sure it is from my quest to get 3 stars on every level of the stupid Angry Birds Facebook edition. I am close. But now, I can't play at all and my arm hurts.
I mean, really. It would be one thing if my arm hurt from using my computer for work or if I was interpreting too much, but for a GAME??? It is the drag and hold motion - kills me every time.
So, for now, a couple of brief posts will probably be all I can manage until I can get back to normal. I think it will be quick since I'm not playing the game at all. Withdrawal is not pretty, folks.
Maurice Sendak died today. I didn't know until I started reading Facebook when I got home. A friend posted a lovely comment about "Where the Wild Things Are" and I liked it a lot. Then, I continued down, down and found that another friend had posted to me directly, "Sad farewell to Rumpusser-Sendak". My heart sank - I hadn't put the pieces together...I had thought that it was maybe his birthday or something.
I loved his art and I loved "Where the Wild Things Are". I didn't understand the brilliance of his book until I was older, but I always loved it. Why, I even named my blog to honor his great work. Thank you, Mr. Sendak, for all you have given to so many people.
These photos really started me off on my photography journey - I just wanted something new. Again, inspired by the great art of Maurice Sendak.
"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start."
Well, the final call for VerbTribe was today and I missed it. Doing classes with conference calls that happen during the work day is difficult. I mean, I could take the whole day off, but that felt a bit extreme to me. Unfortunately, I didn't even get away until the call was about 12 minutes from the end.
I think I will refrain from doing anything with conference calls for a while - it is too hard. I want to commit to the work I'm doing for myself, but at the same time, I have a job to do, as well. I just have to figure out how to juggle it. I'm not a good juggler. I'm okay with that.
So, now I will be continuing on this journey without the pressure/feedback from the group so much. I think I will still gain much from the process. I just need to set myself up for success.
I had a powerful realization during this period of not succeeding with VerbTribe. I realized that it is SCARY to be doing exactly what you want to be doing, knowing that you may or may not be good at it or happy at it or love it like you always thought you would.
I have always wanted to write. Since I was little. I was a voracious reader from an early age and it just made sense that I would write. My family always said that I would be the writer and my sister would be my illustrator. I took it for granted that I would write. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper and I wrote poetry (for the first time in my life) for the literary magazine. I wrote every day. I wrote notes, poems, stories, essays. I wrote and read. Then I stopped. And it has been a long time.
When I started with VerbTribe, I was so uncomfortable. I could feel the dissatisfaction with my life bubbling up and it scared the crap out of me. I wasn't enjoying my work, I wasn't enjoying anything. This was literally within DAYS of starting the class. Then I got scared - what if I can't write anymore? what if I want something and it won't work out? what if? if? And then I stopped. And I felt guilty. And relieved at the same time. I know guilt. I understand it. I can manage it. Doing exactly what I came to this world to do...not so much. And I knew it while it was happening. And I never could catch back up. So, I am going to do VerbTribe of one...accountable to myself. I'm sad about it all, but at the same time, I needed to experience this to understand it. Humans are complex, huh?
Not as short as I thought it would be. Thanks for hanging with me.
Another Nablopomo prompt: Who did you play with as a child?
Surprisingly, I mostly played with my sister when I was little. I worshipped the ground she walked on, but as we are four years apart, I know that she tired of me following her around all the time. Whenever we moved, we returned to each other to play with, to hang out with, to listen to music together. Between those times, we went our separate ways.
In Colorado, I had a friend names Sabrina and one girl named Anne from school. Anne's mother wouldn't let her daughter play with me when she found out I had "headaches". My mother suspects that she thought I had epilepsy, but it was really migraines. Anyway, we played with kids at the City Park and the Rec Center, but we left there when I was six, so I didn't really develop any deep and lasting friendships there.
In Germany, I was friends with Lisa Morse, Jill Foreman, Cathy (I don't remember her last name). We played with the Stefan's across the hall. There were other kids, but mostly we played with them. And I was still following my sister around. On Sundays, we listened raptly to "America's Top Forty" on the Armed Forces radio and taped our favorite songs. There was a playground between three of the base buildings where we would play these mondo kickball games - literally like 50 kids would play. We would come and go in the game and wander off to play on the equipment, eat lunch, etc.
In Florida, I had friends in the neighborhood and friends at school. Bart Sloan, Drew Keriakedes, Thalia Smith, Tina Ritter, Dee Dee Small, Sandy Z. (can't remember her last name - her family had a teacup chihuahua). Nina Haanio lived in the neighborhood, too. There was my friend Cheryl and Missy and Mercedes Delory (all friends at school). We sometimes went skating at the skating rink near our house. We shopped at Winn Dixie and T.G. & Y.
When we moved to Oregon, I was too old to "play". Mostly, I met kids at school. I only ever really connected to one or two kids around my house. For years when we moved here, there were no kids around our house - we had fields on two sides, a busy street out front and neighbors we never saw who lived in the house through the rows of cedar trees. Oregon was the least kid-friendly place I ever lived. One time, I went to the park in the housing area across from where I lived. I was riding my bike. A lady stopped me, "Do you live here?" "I live across the street..." "Only members are allowed to play here," she pointed out in a very snobby tone of voice. I stopped riding my bike after that- it wasn't really safe to ride it on the busy street. I never went back to that park, either.
The May Nablopomo theme is "Play". I usually don't follow the themes there very closely, but I liked some of the prompts, so I thought I would use them for the time being.
Today's prompt: Recall a strong recess memory.
I have little snippets of memories of recesses from when I was a kid. We went to so many different schools, sometimes I can't quite place them...
Chasing the boys around the playground at Crawford Elementary in Aurora, CO. I remember kissing a boy that I caught in one of our games.
I don't know how old I was - I think it was probably kindergarten (Crawford Elementary) when I was going down the slide. There was a hug puddle at the bottom, so we would go down the slide and then once three or four kids were at the bottom, we would turn around and climb back up the slide to avoid the puddle. One time, the girl in front of me had on rubber boots (duh, it was wet outside) and the top of her boot caught my loose front tooth and popped it out...it was a bit early, so it bled...a lot. Being 6 years old, I was quite concerned that the tooth fairy would not come without evidence of a tooth, so I wrote and illustrated a lengthy letter to explain the circumstances. I included drawings of the slide and the puddle for good measure.
At Lindsay II (when I was in fourth grade), we used to bring our dolls to school and dress them up and brush their hair. I never brought Barbies - I had other, larger dolls that we played with. One was Tiffany but I can't remember the name of the other one.
At Lindsay II, I still chased boys...one time, we were running around and I fell down and slid. I had been wearing a white skirt, kind of short - short enough that when I scraped all the skin off my thigh in the slide, the skirt couldn't really cover or disguise all the blood. I didn't want to miss German class, but they made me go to the nurse anyway.
At Crestview, I don't remember recess...I'm not sure if we had them exactly. The K-3 grades were in maids quarters in base housing. There was a playground across the street, but I don't remember too many recesses there. I think each class went outside to play when the teacher was ready to go - it wasn't super organized or anything.
I don't remember recess AT ALL in Florida...I'm sure we had them. I was there for part of fourth grade, all of fifth and sixth grades. I just don't remember recesses...
I did my presentation today. I realized that sometimes, you can't doctor the thing you have always done forever. I keep adding and updating and moving things around, expanding and deleting, but I realized that sometimes you have to demolish what you have and start from scratch.
Overall, I think the presentation was fine - I had fun and I think the students enjoyed it. At the same time, I just felt like I was in a mud hut when I needed to be in a penthouse apartment...I needed a different foundation and structure. What's hard is that I'm not a linear speaker, but I try to have a frame. My frame was wrong yesterday and I felt like I was floundering around.
I have decided that I will be working on it on and off so that the next time I have to present, I will be in the right framework and I can be as unlinear within that structure as I want and I will feel like I did what I needed to do.
I'm not even sure I'm being clear here, but at least I know what I mean. :)
I'm working on a presentation for tomorrow at the ASL/English Interpreting Bachelor's Degree program in our area. I'm a little nervous as I'm doing it for a new instructor and working in tandem with another presenter - we haven't met or been able to discuss, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
These presentations are fun but challenging as there is so much territory to cover, so little time and it is important to make the presentations memorable and accessible. A tall order.