Monthly Archives: August 2017

Detour

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Some of my best thinking is done while driving on a road with little traffic, that I have driven on probably thousands of times.  Today was Day 1 of the school year.  And so it begins.  Fall is literally in the air with some hints of changing leaves and early morning cool temperatures.  Summer is winding down.  Going back is a mix of emotions.  Can’t wait to see the students, and that will happen Thursday. Today was a day of cheerleading by administration and a day when I had to begin to adjust to a move into a new space.

This is my fifteenth year at the high school.  This is my second office.  I was not the creator of this change.  This change was thrust upon me and pretty much beyond my control.  The morning was spent getting collectively energized, followed by my washing the walls of the office,  and painting a bookshelf I snagged.  I figured if I had to move, I would give myself a “new” piece of furniture that seemed to be abandoned and the social worker in me felt that I could adopt it, and make it feel better and belong to my office.  Of course,  time and limited paint being an issue, I painted it in a rather “shabby cheap” style which means I painted the top, the standards, the bottom of the shelves and the side of the shelf that faced the door.  I didn’t paint the backs or sides of the shelves since I figured that when it is filled, no one would know.  Sneaky, huh?  Always thinking, I am.

I am not with my colleagues that I have worked with for all these years. We have all been relocated to different spaces in the building  and that’s tough.  Back to the drive….I was feeling very bad for myself. I was angry.   I whined a bit.  I drove a little too fast which I justified because I was already late for the dentist.  Then I slowed down because the highway I take is a beautiful road, tree lined and lush at this time of the year. The sky was brilliant blue and the clouds were strikingly white.  I felt the anger leave my  body.  My brain began to reboot.  I looked up at the sky again and it struck me that I could not, in any way, keep owning my disappointment, anger and feelings of loss.  I have a job I love and I still have an office, though different.  I do not have to worry about a change in  anything significant.

Before Hurricane Harvey happened, I thought of Harvey as a giant invisible rabbit  in a wonderful movie with James Stewart.  Now, I see Harvey as a menacing, life altering devastation that has created a situation beyond immediate repair.  I cannot begin to  imagine the loss, pain and uprooting of so many people who have no home to return to, without power and resources and a lack of everything that I take for granted.  My morning feeling of helplessness has no place in a world where there are others who are suffering.  My change was hardly a natural disaster.  It is an inconvenience and adjustment.  Big deal.  I’m a big girl and I will figure it out.  It is not complicated.

Perspective is humbling.  It allows me to reconsider my options and perhaps come up with solutions to other peoples’ heartache.  I’m a professional problem solver and although I don’t provide the answers, I can help redirect someone’s emotional detour and allow them to rediscover a different route.  If I can do it for others, I will start with myself.  Prayers and supplies to our fellow humans and four legged creatures  in Texas.

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Lucky Duck

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Do you remember the expression ” you’re a lucky duck!”?  So, I don’t buy lottery tickets or scratch tickets.  The closest I have come to a winning ticket was living in the same state as the woman who won on Wednesday, and standing close to another man when he hit 10K on a  scratch ticket, and knowing a lovely man who owns a great luncheonette in our city, who won a couple of million dollars.  I am delighted for all of them.  Luck is a curious thing….both good and bad luck.  I once won a necklace in a raffle and promptly lost it.  It all makes me nervous.  The lottery ticket above was bought by my FHB without my knowledge and his mindset was that anything is possible.  For him to say this….is a really spectacular statement.  I am the cautious optimist.  I am also the pragmatist and he is the transient pessimist.  The balance is good.

I do believe that some people are lucky by nature.  I have a friend who, when we drive together imagines that we always find a parking space very close, if not in front of, where we are going.  The second part, if there is a meter, it always has time left! Very often, more often than not, it works.  The power of positive thinking.  I somewhat think of it as reasonable possibilities.

Today, for example, I got it in my head that I should find a pair of neutral colored summer-y shoes to wear on Sunday to some shindig at a yacht club or something like that.  For those who are shoppers,  you would know that it would take some extreme luck as August is wrapping up, to find anything in the “right” color and the correct size at this time of year.  If you want stillettos or four inch navy flowered wedges, those are still available in women’s size 11.  So, my chances of finding something appropriate that fit was quite unlikely.  However, my dogged self went to four different stores in pursuit of what I wanted.  I am not really a shopper.  I frustrate quite easily and I get bored.  I do a lot of online shopping but going to a mall is my idea of something  far more painful than going to my dentist.  At least my dentist has a really comfortable chair and if I can convince him not to engage me in conversation which I cannot equally participate in, I can shut my eyes and take a short nap.

Well, as the saying goes, “even a blind squirrel can find an acorn”.  I found an acorn!  My last venture into a store at 8:30 p.m.  tonight netted me a pair of reasonably price, a.k.a. on deep discount because they are a bit meh, pair of shoes, that will fit the bill.  They are not my forever shoes as I am not Cinderella, but they will do.  They were actually so cheap (and my FHB will vouch for the cheapness, as he has an irritation with my buying “junque”) that if they just last for the afternoon, I’m okay with that.  So, was it luck that led me to the right store or was it a bit of work and determination?  Beats me.

My FHB and I met by chance and that was my good fortune (and his) and we are both pretty lucky.  I’ll always hope he does buy a winning ticket and I guess he will hope I don’t spend the winnings on cheap stuff.

The Prince and The Princess

So, we have been back from our Norway/Denmark vacation for four days.  The cat missed us as evidenced by her constant need to be attached to one of us at all times and if we leave the loft, just to put the trash down the incinerator, when we return she cries the most pathetic cry.  The laundry had to be done, suitcases put away, one personal carry-on item for each of us had to be gone through and items thrown away.  Work looms over us like the anticipation of that pesky eclipse.   Today “don’t look at the sun” was followed by “good luck going back to work tomorrow”.  I resisted the first part and spent much of the day looking at my feet while walking because my oppositional defiant behavior whispers in my ear “look up, look up at the sun” but I resisted.  Tomorrow the first day back to school will be filled with “did you look at the eclipse” and I will say “no, I was ill prepared and feared for my eyesight” and my colleagues will know that I rarely stay up for the last game of the World Series, I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey and I don’t actually know what “Game of Thrones” is about.  I’m that person that doesn’t follow the crowd.

My FHB and I talk about our trip in glowing terms.  We bask in our memories and process the days and revisit the highlights.  And then there are the comments….real story:

Me: “Good night my Prince of Denmark”

FHB:  Goodnight my Norwegian Princess”

Me: “I think you called me a giant cruise ship”….I’m not feeling the love…

FHB: You are ridiculous

Vacation is over.   Familiarity bred contempt.  A momentary acknowledgement that life goes on, as it should.  We return to our respective corners of our world and responsibilities of our daily lives.  We work so the cat can have her food.  We take in the newspaper, we watch the news we missed while we were away,  instead having focused on glaciers, herring and people watching.  We met people from all over the world.  We dined with a family from Singapore, another family from California, a couple from Australia and a woman with the best fiery attitude from Delhi, India.  We met folks who were there to walk in the footsteps of their ancestral roots.  One elderly gentleman and dairy farmer from Wisconsin, who walked with a cane, and whose every step was clearly painful, travelled with two of his adult children to see the land his parents came from.  He said ” I have wished to see this land for such a long time and now I am here and complete”.  Each traveller had a reason to choose this trip, whether it was to find out more about themselves, or couples like us, who want to see the beauty of the land which will exist long after we are gone.  We could remain present and engaged in making memories.  For as many times as I lifted the camera to capture a picture, there were more times when the camera became a barrier between what I was seeing and what I was taking in. The best pictures were those I took to keep in my mind.  This was not a leisurely paced vacation. We were up at 6 a.m. and our luggage was put outside our door to be retrieved by 6:45.  We were on the bus within the hour and off to see the land and to listen to the stories of the history of Norway and the social culture and conscience of this country.  Much of how they live is based on all people truly having access to what they need (free health care and education) to live a good life.  The rules that the citizens follow make sense and everyone understands the rationale.  It seemed less emotional and more logical.  It seemed as the first cab driver we met when we arrived said to us “It’s going to be an overcast and rainy week ahead.  You will still see all the beauty of Norway and your enjoyment is only dampered by what you control. The weather is certainly not in any of our control. So we choose here to let the 99%  we have no control over not bother us.  ” We took those words to heart and saw past the rain and focused on the slivers of sunshine that teased us on some days.

We came home to the reality of disbelief and upended chaos.  I turn to literature and find the following line from Hamlet  ““Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

And with those words…I wish you a good night. May the moon stay in orbit of the earth and the sun.

10,000 Words

The physical world has so much beauty. Travel away from our home, our culture and our comfort zone, allows us the opportunity to experience not only the breathtaking parts of our earth, but engages us in a dialogue with strangers who become acquaintances in a short time.  To share the experience of travel with others with a common goal of connecting through beautiful sights, makes a trip filled with depth and breadth on many levels.

Jet lag has been setting in.  We are home safe in the loft.  While we were gone, we were sheltered from the barrage of news from home.  There are a lot of thoughts swirling through my brain about the dichotomy of vacation versus real life.  Re-entry is a bit like getting caught in a storm with little to hang on to but your wits.

My FHB and I had the most spectacular adventures in Norway and Denmark.  So many things to share but for now, we are going to be quiet with our recent memories, to allow them to settle in and unpack them into  our mental files.  A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words.  I thought I would share ten of them to cover the best of what we saw.  Don’t worry, no home  movies will be found on the blog at any time in the near future.

Enjoy your weekend. See you back here on Monday with some details and funny moments.

 

Hei There!

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“To travel is to live”…Hans Christian Anderson

“Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been” …Dalai Lama

August is our travelling month.  This is the time of the year that we don’t necessarily go see anyone we know but rather get to know one another again through an adventure of our choosing, although some adventures choose us!  This year, after some medical ups and downs,  seemed like a great time to set sail, or airplane (not personal but rather commercial) and see what we can see.  About a month ago, or less than that, when I realized that time was approaching school daze, I asked my FHB where he would like to go. The question barely left my lovely lips (his words) and he said “Norway”.  Without missing a beat, I said “absolutely!”.  We had a limited window of opportunity to plan this trip but with a bit of finagling and faith in people who know travel, the plans were made and the itinerary set.  I learned quite a bit about the dynamic of setting a wishlist at the  last minute.  It is somewhat like watching the home renovation/buy a new mansion shows where the host asks the prospective client what they “must have” and then you watch as it unfolds into the what you can afford and what is realistic.  I actually think we were much more reasonable within our time constraints and the plan unfolded.  My only request, was that since Norway was really close to Denmark (about an inch away from Oslo to Copenhagen in my wonderful world atlas), that we could  go and see the Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens.  And so among other places with names I have only seen as I pored over the maps and guidebooks, we will spend a few days in Copenhagen, after we visit the land of Thor Hyerdahl, Sonja Henie, and Roald Amundsen.  We will eat herring ad nauseum.  We will see the sunset later than we have ever experienced and I am told it never truly gets dark, but rather dusky.

I am trying to learn a few words in Norwegian and pack efficiently.  I have a feeling I will be better at one and not so good at the other.  The reality that we have our minds mostly intact, our spirits still strong, and our senses of humor which can carry us through customs and misadventures, makes me aware that there is a lot of world I want to see and now seems like the best time to start.  You can follow me on Instagram @bblueiris13.  I will possibly blog while we are travelling, but if not, please know that I will be back in touch with tales of Scandinavia @thoughtswhilewaitingfortheelevator/wordpress.

Have a great week.  God kveld!

 

 

 

Waiting Room

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Shut your eyes (metaphorically) and imagine hearing several voices…and you are hearing “Joey, I told you to sit down”,  “Brad, you don’t belong there…come over here!”,”Tanya, will you stop…how many times do I have to tell you!”  and other conversations…”So how old is she? She is adorable!”, “How do you get her to sit still..mine is always moving, moving!”.  Any guesses where I am….no I am not at the pediatrician’s office.  I am at the vet, with Paka for her annual exam.  I felt a little strange when the technician said to me “What kind of name is ‘Paka’?  I thought, she probably thinks that I am strange, since my cat’s name (which means cat in Swahili) is not a people name. She asked me if Paka was actually Parker.  Paahka…  that is how it would sound in Massachusetts with the Boston accent.  Go figure.

I love to people watch.  I love to people watch people with their pets.  The veterinarian waiting room is like a incubator for observations of dialogue and behaviors, and many one-sided conversations between the pet parents and their “offspring”.  It’s actually a much friendlier place than my primary care doctor’s waiting room. There’s a lot more eye contact.  I was absolutely fascinated by Brad (who was a pitbull….yeah…Brad the Pit) who couldn’t have cared less about what his mother was asking.  Lily the little white puff barked incessantly and every time her mother told her to quiet down, just barked in response.  It was beyond comical.  When we were finally taken into the exam room, Paka, who I believe was keeping her eyes shut so as to say “I hope this is all a bad dream”, seemed reluctant to come out of her carrying case.  The doctor, who I adore, always asks me the same litany of questions about Paka and her health (any vomiting?), her state of mind (so did she seem angry with you when she rode in the car, and was she particularly vocal?) and inquired whether she seemed bored.  I stated that she vomited when she ate kohlrabi leaves that morning, and that she was rather “indignant” when taken out of her home, and that in fact, she tempers her boredom with periods of long naps and bird watching out the loft windows.  He smiled at me with his amazing smile and seemed happy with my answers.  It’s always the same “dance” but I never mind.

Veterinarians are really special humans who have to develop relationships with both the pet parents and the pets.  They take care of your special friends from cradle to grave. When our twenty year old cat, Lucy, became more and more frail, and it seemed like it was her time to leave us, our vet was compassionate and patient and helped us let her go.  Our family will be forever grateful for his guidance and support.  I baked him cookies.

I am someone who has always loved animals, despite being bitten in the face by a nasty schnauzer named Sonny (Corleone) and scratched by a large gray cat named Molly.  Animals seem to have moved up the ranks from working animals, mousers and beasts of burden, to pampered creatures with people names.  The days of Fluffy and Duke seem behind us, along with people names like Bertha and Ike.  Mittens and King seem so yesterday.  Both my childhood cats were named Charlie (actually Charlie #1 was Charlene but we didn’t know that until the vet confirmed it).  My dog (who came with his name from the rescue, was also Charley (note the ‘Y’).  Personification makes these loving, doting creatures, rise in stature.  There’s a whole industry that is supporting pets. I just saw a television program in which a man was pitching wine for cats.  We have lost our minds for sure.  But when Paka comes and sits next to my FHB and watches television with him (especially the news) we feel comforted that it may be a dog -eat-dog world out there, but it’s a peaceable kingdom in the loft.