Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy birthday, Lisa

Today is my older sister, Lisa's birthday.

From the very beginning Lisa took on the role of big sister seriously. I did not have to learn to talk until much later because I could grunt and she would tell mom what I wanted. When she started school, my parents were called in after the results of her first IQ test were off the charts! Whatever she did in elementary, I did. She joined Brownies, so when the time came, I joined Brownies. When they offered classes on band instruments, she chose the flute, so I chose the flute. In junior high she joined the band, so when it was my turn I joined the band. In high school she was on the school newspaper, so I joined the school newspaper. Bless her heart, she even had to share a bed with me until she was about 15! Her clothes always ended up in my closet, somehow. I'm sure she was glad to finally get away to college, but I followed her there too.

You would think she would have grown tired of me but when we were both away at college, she always made sure that I had everything I needed. One year, at the end of the semester, I had hurt my back, and could not even bend over to tie my shoe. She came over, packed up my dorm room, hauled it down the 3 flights of steps, packed her red VW Beetle to the ceiling, then packed my green VW Beetle to the ceiling. I'm sure we were quite a sight rolling through the hills of west Texas.

Jobs were another thing that I followed her on, from my first at Myer's Department Store, to Red Arrow Freight Lines, to Tex Pack Expresss, and then all the way to Abilene, to Lusky's Western Store. After college, she went to work for Southwestern Bell, becoming their first female lineman in all of west Texas! I eventually followed her to Southwestern Bell after I decided teaching wasn't going to pay the bills.

Somewhere in there, she got away from me long enough to fall in love, get married, and have 2 darling children. I will never forget seeing her jump off that giant SWBT truck with the big boom on the back when she was about 8 months pregnant, hard hat, overalls, and work boots!

She decided the life of a lineman for the phone company didn't work as well in her new role as mom, so she went back to school to get her degree in education, while balancing the other roles of mom and wife. She has found her niche in education, which I attribute to the fact that she still knows how to enjoy life and have fun.

Through all of my ups and downs, Lisa has been there for me, big and small, whether it is in a hospital waiting room or arriving from China with my daughters, to the every day smaller things. She has always been generous to a fault, and never ceases to surprise me with her love, support, and kindness.

She reached an historical milestone this year and accepted a new title, Grandmother. It is quite obvious that Killian is as smitten with her as she is with him.

She set the bar high on what an older sister does and I have been the grateful recipient.

She loves to laugh and remember crazy things, so for you Lisa, I no kiss you, happy lulu, my barling goldfish! xxoo

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy holidays!

Maybe I am just paying attention to what cynics say, but I've read/heard more lately about how we should not celebrate Thanksgiving, that it is a holiday based on horrible acts against others, and Christmas is all about the presents, rather than the true reason to celebrate. And I admit, I actually have spent time pondering these issues and even toyed with the idea that they were right.

But tonight, I went to Home Depot. The place was bustling with activity. People were buying decorations to make their homes pretty for the season, others were buying gifts, while some of us were just buying some things that we needed, like 5 gallon bottles of water.

Anyway, Christmas music was playing and I realized as I left that I felt bouncier (?) than when I went in and that I had burst into song in the parking lot, the tail end of the last song I heard as I pushed my bottle of water to the car.

That's when it hit me. These are not holidays that are bad, these are holidays that are good. When else during the year can we truly expect that the majority of our country is sitting down to an almost identical meal? Even if you don't particularly care for turkey, it is the one day out of the year that you will eat enough to make your host/hostess feel appreciated. And what is wrong with that?

We all stop and give thanks, we take time to be with family, we take time to enjoy a meal together, to remember those who could not be with us, those who have gone on before us. Is there another time during the year that this happens?

If we were a Middle Eastern country, we would have lots of similar holidays or religious observances. For us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about family. New Year's is not family holiday event for most. The 4th of July isn't. Memorial Day? Not hardly. Valentine's? No.

I think we need these holidays. While we are not having rough times like my parents did growing up, it still is not an easy time in history. Unemployment remains high, prices are high, threats are high, what part of our life is easy right now?

I think we need a month of time focusing and planning on what we can do for others, planning and preparing for times with friends and family, decorating our homes to look bright and cheery. It is the time of year when night comes way too early. Why not make our homes and the time in them fun and festive. I don't think there are very many adults that look at Christmas as a time to get something, instead, I think we enjoy giving.

My sister invited us to her house for Thanksgiving. This is just the second time in my life that I have not had to help prepare a meal. It is a huge treat. But when we all sat down at the table together, I realized we could have been almost any family throughout our country. How wonderful is that, something that unites us, since there is so little that does! We argue about every detail of our government, our families, our healthcare, but this one day we all stopped long enough to say thanks.

Now we jump right into planning for Christmas. There were plenty who proclaimed that we should not be shopping for such a materialistic holiday as Christmas.

Well I shopped and I enjoyed it. You know why? I got to shop with my daughters, my nieces, my sister, and even my little great nephew. It was wonderful spending time with them, seeing things they liked, hoping I could remember and surprise them later with items they had selected. It was fun. I love having a reason to do nice things, a motivator in fact to do them.

I'm tuning my radio to the Christmas channel and I plan to sing with every song. This month passes way too quickly and I want to enjoy every minute of it. I hope others will too.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My soapbox

When did we become a nation of people who feel entitled? What happened to common sense? Much less common courtesy? When did we decide that others would benefit, actually deserve to hear our critique of them? When did we stop saying, "Thank you"?

This became noticeable to me with the advent of Facebook. People became bolder in sharing their opinions of anything and everything anyone posted.

"I love Italian food!" someone posted.

Their "friend" posted, "What? Are you crazy? Don't you know how unhealthy Italian food can be? You are stupid to eat that!!!"

OK, so that specific example did not happen, but many more did.

Then with the election, if you posted that you were for a candidate, then you immediately received multiple postings telling you that you were wrong. Period. There was no explanation of why, just  posts that told you that if you did not believe the same way they did, you were wrong!

I tolerated it.

Many of my friends bowed out of checking Facebook until after the election.

In the meantime, in public affairs, it seemed that this attitude was being exhibited regularly. People were going out of their way to address any and ALL transgressions that anyone did against them, to ensure that they set someone straight.

Why?

As an adult, it takes a WHOLE lot for me to change my behavior, much less my opinion. Your input will rarely be the catalyst for this change.

Now if it comes from my children, or my parents, I will take the time to think about what they said, but otherwise, I look at your opinion as something that is not wanted and instead my opinion of you is changed.

Now don't get me wrong. There are appropriate times, places, but most of all ways to provide guidance to someone.

If your child misbehaves, do you just tell them "Stop? Don't do that?" Well, then you will never get the behavior you want from that child. But if you take the time to provide a brief explanation of why and then redirect or lead them to an appropriate activity, you will all win. What compels us to believe that other adults will benefit from pointing out the errors that you perceive?

I hope soon we can return to a nation that is indivisible, that instead of man against man, we return to man helping man, looking for nice things to say to others, helping someone who could use a mental/physical boost every now and then.

Kindness is not overrated. It is always appreciated.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What is going on?

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight and wondered if I tried to work through some of the things on my mind if that would help.

By the time I got home tonight from work, I have to admit I felt quite beat up. Lately no matter how hard I have tried I seem to have very vocal critics who feel it is their duty to set me straight. Normally I try to outguess even the smallest detail about everything and anything that can possibly go wrong in any scenario when planning events for work. I can go months without complaints that are not too difficult to remedy, like, "We ran out of coffee." Sure, I can get more coffee. See, that is the type of complaint that is easy and that I expected.

The complaints I have received lately are from very angry people about things that seem very trivial, like I let one person go ahead of the next in a line that all made it to their destination simultaneously. this person was so mad she came back to tell me again I did her wrong. Then called to tell me and was surprised that the person in charge was the one who caused her fury. I tried to listen carefully to see if there was something else going on, maybe some terrible situation that was being exhibited in this complaint, but could find nothing.

My goal is to please the most people I can by providing something they need and I guess I take it personally when I fail or it is perceived as a failure to them.

And this is just one of the many!

I never thought I would be one of those who could not leave the job at the door and focus on my family but it has proven very difficult.

Within the last couple of days, I have also heard of two people diagnosed with cancer, two families that are in turmoil dealing with post adoption issues, and at least one person who just lost their job. Of course on the TV and internet are thousands of images of the toll that Hurricane Sandy made on so many lives. A friend in New York posted tonight that she finally had power. I heard an interview and the ONLY thing this man wanted was hot water. He would do without electricity if he just had some hot water. Others told about carrying up gallons of water for six floors.

I realize my problems are small when compared to everyone else's. I keep trying to put it in perspective and maybe writing this has helped me realize why I can't turn loose of mine. I really worry about these people who have been so angry at me. Is there a bigger picture? Are they this angry over every injustice lately? Or am I just really messing up? Do I need to re-think and re-visit what I think "works"?

I'm hoping with some extra rest it will all become clearer, but to get that, I have to go back to sleep for now.