Friday, August 21, 2009

"Suitable for Work"

I haven't tried this before, so I'm hoping it works. If not, the link for the web site is:

All I can say is, I thought we were tech-savvy people in an old-fashioned setting! Kudos to the shepherds!

[make sure your sound is on]

Don't you just love it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose....or is it?

It's 7:50 am. I have about a half hour before I leave for work. Dave has left for his. The kids are still sleeping in; not much more of that for this year.

The owls -- or an owl, at least -- have returned. Two long calls this morning when I walked the dog. They seemed to disappear for the heat of the summer; evidenced by the many sightings of both bunnies and snakes this year. It seems the rain has brought them back.

I have a short to-do list of last minute items for the girls. A couple things to buy, a couple to apply for, a couple to sign up for. We're waiting on delivery of some new electronics to go with one of them. All last week at home stuff.

I could get maudlin, but mostly I'm quiet. This is one of those becalmed moments in the midst of a hurricane of change.

I don't know for sure why I've always held that the year started in the fall. There's the obvious school connection. Plus I love fall, with the cool temperatures, the wind, and the leaves. It's always enervating. I don't like heat, and summers are not only hot, they're sluggish. Since I was somewhat isolated in my childhood summertimes, I never liked them much. Plus, fall means harvest.

Harvesting to me was always about finding the hidden treasures amongst the leaves. Ever seek out spiney cucumbers on the vine, or alien beanpods dangling down from their bushy hidey-holes? Red orbs of tomatoes deep within cage enclosures? Zucchini, and yellow squash hiding in the ditch or where the vine overruns the grassy yard? Bejewling eggplant, a treasure, even though it doesn't hide so much. And pumpkins, their orange color calling attention to themselves, but maybe not in time for you to pull them at their peak. I love the beauty you can find among the dying stalks, the produce which was the fruit of each plant's grown season.

I think I also like fall because it marks the beginning of the holiday season. We have several family birthdays beginning in October and running through March in rapid succession. Not to mention Halloween -- spooky decorations, costumes and parties; Thanksgiving -- the time of our 'moveable' feast, when we're never sure who will be home or where we'll be eating; and Christmas, which we do up in royal style with a caroling party, decorations throughout the house (and I do mean throughout!), family getting together, and a few presents. On to New Year's with it's party or parties, and then more birthdays. [as for other holidays, Easter has its own time, Memorial Day and the 4th are special in their own ways, and there's one more birthday in July. After that, well, then it's just hot.

I suppose the fact that October is when I was born -- along with my father, my husband, and one of our sons -- has something to do with it. My personal start in life and its anniversary is in the fall; that's my 'renewal' date.

The thing is, fall is coming and everything is ramping up. The girls start college -- exciting for them and us --, youngest son starts his sophomore year of high school, older son is in his senior year of college, with all the complexities and planning that entails, the two older girls are -- in various ways -- working on planning both this next year and the coming few years of their lives. Dave and I are looking at new prospects in several areas of our own lives. It just looks like things are about to get very, very busy.

I'm curious about how many people are surprised by these times in their lives. In our heads, we all know we have phases to our lives; we all know that we shift gears and switch programs and make changes. How many of us, however, are taken aback when it actually happens? When suddenly we are caught up in something new or different? How many of us feel the earth shake a little when we break a pattern, especially one long in use?

Is it unsettling for you when you leave one club to join another with a different activity? Or does it take something really major, like a job change or a cross-country move or a child's wedding to rock your life?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Next ###### Star

I've been watching the 'catch-up' episodes of Next Food Network Star. I don't watch reality TV as a rule. But I have to admit the Food Network and HGTV star searches pull me in. Partly because I like watching to pick up tips -- and to knock the things I know they do wrong.

Each week I marvel at how they stand up there and take the criticism in public. Obviously they are accountable for anything they do -- they have to take ownership of the dish or the design (oh, Lord, I'm starting to sound lke the shows!) -- but still, to stand there beside the fellow contestants, on camera, and hear it spelled out about what was done wrong! Ooh! (shiver)

Now, it's funny. I can take -- no, let me rephrase that, I have taken editorial or professorial critique on my writing. I've changed things, or I've defended my work. But, it isn't the same. Never mind that these critiques represent the thinking of judges who, at that point, hold your next professional life in their hands. Never mind that your mother, your co-workers, your kids and your kids' friends will watch this, ready to turn to you and ask what you were thinking. As much as I love to cook, and as much as I love to create, build, and decorate, I could not take this. Kudos to those who have enough faith to follow their dreams into such a public arena. And kudos to the networks for giving these folks a chance.

Now, what about you? Do you have to take public criticism? Have you developed skin of armor? Do you let yourself look on it as a merely educational experience? Or do you secretly go home and sob into your pillow and hug (or kick) your cat?