Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today I woke up with that familiar ache that has found a home in my heart recently. I miss Utah so much and find my mind wandering to that place that questions why we made this move - a dangerous, but familiar place. I am the queen of second-guessing and I can drag out the process for quite awhile. This move has brought such a variety of emotions and sometimes I feel like I just want my brain to stop, to stop pining away for what was and to stop worrying about what might be.

Since today is a day about being thankful I do realize how blessed I am. I have an amazing husband who would have stayed in Logan if I had asked him to, but who has so much to give and share and I am grateful that I get to be on this journey with him. I have a daughter who has taught me more about the important aspects in life than anyone or anything. Just yesterday I read a story she is working on and I was in complete awe of her abilities - my god, this child came from me?! This child did not want to leave Logan either and yet smiles about something each and every day!

I have a home which has heat, lights, and is surrounded by beauty outdoors. I am healthy and able to run, skip, throw a ball, wrap my arms around loved ones. I have a job that allows me to laugh with children, share their joy and share knowing smiles with the parents who love them, but might feel just a bit overwhelmed at times. I get to leave my job each day with my favorite 10-year old who peppers our drive home with her stories and I know the characters of whom she is speaking!

I have the ability to constantly learn and strive for improving my life and the lives of those around me. I can be kind, I can find something wonderful in every life I encounter and I can say I love you to people in my life who will say the same to me. I have so much and of those things I am sorely missing, I have wonderful memories that wrap around me like a blanket and in their making I have lost nothing. I am thankful for the awareness I have that life is constantly changing, and in those changes come moments that need to be savored.

One of my favorite pieces in literature, from Our Town by Thornton Wilder: But, just for a moment now we're all together. Mama, just for a moment we're happy. Let's really look at one another!...I can't. I can't go on.It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back -- up the hill -- to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute?

Happy Thanksgiving. Life is good!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts From a Facebook Post

I made a comment on my Facebook page about Sarah Palin after watching her show on TLC:

I did it - I watched Sarah Palin's Alaska show and she seems like a nice person - I didn't find her annoying and I did envy her rock climbing ability - she is a strong person.

The comments I received afterward didn't shock me and knowing how much I like a good controversy, I know I did bring them on myself. What I gathered from the comments was that my poorly-formed opinion of Sarah Palin was due to the media ability to portray Palin in a light that is not accurate - that Sarah Palin is in fact evil. I felt for a moment that maybe I better jump back on the Sarah Palin-bashing wagon, for fear of seeming idiotic, but I just didn't think that anymore. I have said things about Sarah Palin before that resonated with the "Sarah Palin is evil" tone, but seeing her on tv, trying to be a good mom (which is so hard!) and climbing a mountain, well, I just saw her differently and wanted to express that.

The incident reminded me of my interactions with the Mormons in Utah. There were times when people would tell me: of course the Mormons are being nice, they just want to suck you in (I'm paraphrasing, but I think that was the gist). I was definitely skeptical of the niceness at first, but as time went by and my Mormon friends attended church services with me and engaged in very open and candid dialogues, I realized that I had to love these people for what I knew of them, which was a kindness that extended beyond religious differences.

Here's the thing, I think that before I really knew any Mormons I could say they were conniving, just being nice to bring people into their fold, not willing to attend any church service other than their own, but once I got to know, really know, some Mormons, I couldn't honestly say those things. That was my experience. I knew my Mormon friends as more than just Mormons, they were mothers, fathers, community members, students, teachers...people. I wanted them to see me as more than just being not Mormon and that meant I had to do the same. I wanted them to see me as a nice person and when I did the same, well, they were really nice!

I guess I'm wondering how much of how we view others is about those people versus ourselves. I am in no way saying that people who view another as evil are actually evil themselves, but that there is something which keeps us from getting to know the whole person. I am guilty of this every single day. I see someone and instantly stereotype them and then use that stereotype to justify not interacting with them. What a shame. I'm probably missing out on meaningful interactions with a lot of nice people.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bits & Pieces

I really have nothing flowing from my brain that I can put into a coherent and flowing post, but there are things circling and burbling:

  • a conversation with my 90+-year old friend who talked of feeling isolated and the realization that many of us feel isolated, which goes along with...
  • a conversation with my neighbor from Kenya about how people are happier in Kenya than the U.S. because of a stronger sense of community
  • an observation that people with the liberal peace, love and happiness bumper stickers often seem the most aloof
  • a realization that I need to read more classics after seeing the BBC Greatest 100 Books of All Time list again
  • a hope Sophie likes her volunteer gig at the nature center and remembering my first volunteer stint and how I messed up a piano piece I played at a nursing home when I was 10, but was told it was quite beautiful and then realized that doing service is awesome, because it does not have to be perfect
  • a desire to see the movies 127 Hours and Harry Potter
  • an excitement over meeting someone today I've not met in person yet, but with whom I've befriended on Facebook
  • an acknowledgment of my method of procrastination through blogging, since I really should be running right now

Friday, November 12, 2010

Work vs. Home

I was struck yesterday by a friend's comment that she didn't want to work during her daughter's teen years, because her mother did and it was hard on my friend. It led me to wonder why it was hard on my friend and how the choice to work or not work really affects our children.

I honestly believe that happy and fulfilled parents raise children who are more secure. People find fulfillment in different ways. I love working part-time and being home with Soph after school - I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I also see how quickly Sophie's time with us goes by - she is nearly 11 years old, just 7 more years until she is 18. There are times I would like to be working full-time to secure more income, but the truth is, I don't like working full-time and I didn't like it pre-Sophie.

Parents - what paths did you and your partner take and what benefits/downfalls do you see?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He Said, She Didn't Say

In this post I will be making some sweeping generalizations, but they are based on my observations - which are not at all scientific.

Yesterday Steve and I both accompanied Soph to the dentist and while Soph was getting her teeth cleaned, I was telling the hygienist how we try to get the tartar off Soph's teeth, but it still built up despite our very concerned parental efforts. Steve jumped in with, "She's worried you'll think we're bad parents." I was about to snicker and deny that, when the hygienist very kindly said she didn't think we were bad parents. Wow - how easy was that? My fear laid right out there, by my hubby, and then vanquished!

This is not the first time I have been in awe of my husband's blatant honesty and the results it brings. While he was in graduate school he came home very late (common occurrence at that time) and told me of a falling out he had with his colleague/very good friend. I listened in shock as he relayed the language they used in communicating their frustrations and when he was done, I simply responded, "Wow, you guys have been so close. How sad." Without missing a beat, Steve said, "We'll be fine," and they were. They put it all on the table in very colorful language and then moved past it.

My observation is that women tend to lean away from the uncomfortable, even when it is obvious. The result from this seems to be unnecessary anguish and a whole lot of talking behind others' backs.

I've been watching reruns of Sex & The City lately and if you followed that show you may remember the episode in which Berger tells Miranda that a guy who did not call her the next day is just not that into her and how freeing she found his honesty. Her girlfriends were trying to comfort her by giving her a myriad of reasons for the guy's behavior - none being that he might not have liked her.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planning versus Reality

I know it takes time to adjust to a move and I keep telling myself that in 3 years I'll feel like Jackson is home, or will at least feel familiar with it enough to not long for the familiarity of Logan. This line of thinking also made me realize that:

  • 6 months ago I never would've guessed I'd live in a subdivision
  • 1 year ago I did not imagine residing in Michigan again
  • 5 years ago I didn't think we'd actually live in Logan, UT again - and love it!
  • 6 years ago I did not know I would count Texas as a place I resided (what's up with these conservative states?!)
  • 10 years ago I thought by this point I would have another child
  • 15 years ago I didn't know that we would live in Ann Arbor and I would get to parent an amazing daughter
  • 20 years ago I was a senior in high school, determined to enter the Peace Corps and teach high school English with a passing thought to a possible marriage and family
So although I am trying to comfort myself with the idea that in 3 years I'll feel comfortable with our residence, I have to realize that I really have a limited idea of what is in store.