Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Committing the Crime of Comfort Seeking

The lust for comfort murders the passions of the soul. -Khalil Gibran

Was Gibran right?

*My sister read from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet at our wedding:

On Marriage
Then Almitra spoke again and said...
"And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other's shadow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When I Was a Kid...

Steve and I were discussing the school of choice option so many parents have today. It's a wonderful thing - sometimes.

When we moved to Michigan and found out Jackson offered this option, we looked into a few of the public schools in the city and in the county. We ended up choosing the school our daughter would've gone to if this option weren't given. Although the school fit our criteria in other ways, one thing we really liked is how close it is to our home and that there would be other kids in the neighborhood attending the same school (though given the school of choice option, we were not certain of this).

I grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin and you either went to the public school or the Catholic school and only to the latter if you were actually Catholic. There was not a lot of diversity in my classes, most kids were from working class families with similar religious beliefs, hobbies and educational levels. I think racial diversity did not exist at all except for the one Spanish speaking student I can remember and my own best friend whose mom was from Greece. I never heard my parents talk about test scores, activities, programs, diversity or anything beyond the 2 parent/teacher conferences they attended each year for my first 7 years of formal schooling.

When we moved to Pennsylvania as I entered the 7th grade my parents purposely bought a home in the "best" school district around. Since I was from small town Wisconsin, I did not fit in very well in my new digs and sadly, I never took advantage of the programs offered. (Again, not a lot of diversity...) My parents absolutely did what they thought was right, but back then "best" was defined only by test scores.

Nowadays we still have the neighborhood schools, but we also have charter schools, private schools, religious schools, homeschooling and co-ops. How do we decide which school to send our child to? Do we want to find a school that is the best fit for our child and in doing so, are we setting them up to be less able to adapt to various settings? Does choosing a school become more important as our child gets older and their interests are developed?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Signs are Everywhere

We noticed a sign outside a store in Jackson today that read: If you need it, we may have it. This led us to discussing our other 2 favorite signs:

Also found in Jackson on a church marquee: Prayer is the ultimate internet.

No longer around, but once advertising for a go-kart place in Utah: If you ride them, you will have fun.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Harmless Little Fantasy

Yesterday I was asked about my interest in a job based on the misconception that I speak multiple languages. It pained me to have to tell the person that not only am I not multi-lingual, I am barely proficient in one language and one language only.

I often fantasize about being able to tell people that I speak 8 languages (I think I came to the number 8, because of knowing a person who speaks 7 and I have to one up this person). I imagine the shock and awe on people's faces when they hear of my amazing abilities to converse in so many languages, and of course I so humbly tell them of it, not wanting to brag. The modesty on my part is a pivotal part of the fantasy.

The reality is I have no desire to spend the hours upon hours it would take to master another language, I just want to be able to say that I speak another language. It's like my desire to tell people I have a doctorate in Russian Literature (which of course would go with my ability to speak, read and write Russian) - I have no true interest in this subject, I just want the bragging rights.

Am I the only person that has these fantasies? Are there people out there who HAVE accomplished major feats and fantasize that they accomplished something else? The truth is, if you tell me what it is you fantasize being able to tell others I will inevitably try to one up you. If you tell me your fantasy is to tell people that you climbed Mt. Everest, then mine will become climbing Mt. Everest backwards...while conversing with everyone coming down the their native language.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby Needs a Blackberry

I am a complete hypocrite and admit it. One day I'm complaining that kids today are overscheduled and then we move to another state and I sign Sophie up for 2 classes to be taken after school. I justify my choice by saying it's because she does not get homework at her new school and it's a great way for her to meet new people.

My opinion on this topic vacillates and what I think is always based on my own circumstances. I love when Sophie takes classes because then I get to meet other parents, I get out of the house, I can read or go for a walk while she's in her class and it makes me feel like an involved parent (even though the classes she now takes are usually without the accompaniment of a parent). If Sophie isn't signed up for anything at the moment I then think we're such great parents because we let our child relax after school, we encourage her to be creative in finding her own modes of entertainment and she has time to play with friends.

Are kids today overscheduled? Is Sophie really benefiting from the classes? Do parents sign their kids up for so many activities because our world really is that different from when we were growing up?

And to end, a quote: You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, September 10, 2010

She Said What?

I've been mulling over a personal situation and I hesitate to write about it, I do not want to make the situation worse, and yet, I'm hoping I can put something out there and get a bit of productive feedback.

In the past 18 months I've been accused of spreading rumors - hurtful rumors. Those who know me know I have a big mouth and I love chatting with a lot of people, so it wouldn't seem at all unlikely that I would be chatting about other people. The truth is that yes, I do sometimes say things I shouldn't or I don't speak up when I should. The other truth is that I do not purposely say things that are malicious (ok, Steve is the one person I do not censor myself with at all and that is because I trust him and know he takes everything I say with about a cup of salt).

What I've been mulling over is that in both scenarios I was accused instead of asked. This makes me think of the times I've heard that someone has said or done something and I take it as truth without checking with the person of whom it is being said. I know I've misjudged or too quickly judged others unfairly and the lesson I hope to take from this is to always check with the person who supposedly said or did whatever it was that is in question.

I also realize that there just isn't much I can do about people saying I said something or misinterpreting what I did say. I put myself out there and at first I contemplated just ceasing involvement with others to eliminate such situations, but I do not want to live in fear or not live because of fear. There will be times my sentiments will be misconstrued and times I will say something I shouldn't have - but hopefully those will pale in comparison to the times I can use my words to better a situation.

People talk about others, that's reality. I like to think that most people, even if they say unkind words about others are not really out to hurt anyone. They are expressing their opinion based on the filter they use to view life. It definitely can be hurtful to hear that someone has said something about you, but again, question the source and question the person who supposedly said it - unless the person just isn't someone you choose to have in your life, then let it roll.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's In a Name?

I admit, it is a bit of a pain to have to spell out my last name and to say, "hyphen" while doing so. Why did our family hyphenate? Both Steve and I like the last names we were given by our families and hyphenating was a way to keep our names and make sure our child had the same last name as both of her parents (instead of keeping our own names and then giving our daughter one of our last names).

If you're married...or not, what do you think? Why did you make the choice regarding a last name that you did? Are there stereotypes that you have of people with hyphenated last names?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Card I Needed at This Time

I saw this card while at Whole Foods today. What do you think..true statement?

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Challenge

I read this quote on a United Way Facebook status:

Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.-Dalai Lama

Here's the challenge - to live this quote and tell us how you developed yourself, expanded your heart to others, etc.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Change - The Only Constant

I do not handle change well. Every time we move or any major life event happens, I second guess my decision and walk around in a kind of melancholy cloud for quite a long time. I know this is not completely abnormal, but it does not make life pleasant.

We moved across the country two weeks ago and although I feel really fortunate that Steve has such a great job, we bought a beautiful home and all the people we've met in our new community are super nice, I wonder if we did the right thing. We loved our previous home, the town, our jobs, daughter's school and amazing friends.

What major life change, or even not so major, have you gone through that sparked second guesses? How did you handle it? Have you ever made a major decision and then backed out of it?