- - - - -
- - -
Current topic:
We'd love to include your perspective! Send submissions on any topic to fourperspectivesblog at gmail.com.

Next topic:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ideas Over Substance

Pin It

Indecision may or may not be my problem.
Jimmy Buffett

I had one of those seriously bad headaches today. You know it’s going to be a bad one when you actually wake up with an aching head.

My head probably hurts because I just haven’t been getting enough sleep this week (or water – see last week’s post) . I’ve been up late every night because I’m getting ready for decorating the local high school gymnasium again. It’s a fun challenge, but it does…you know…take some time.

Anyway back to my headache. It’s Thursday, my day to post and I’ve attempted several topics several times only to be thwarted by headache apathy and decorating overdose. The following are several topics that I almost wrote about today and may, in fact write about in the future – a preview of coming attractions if you will.

Ebay and the Big Balloon
Ebay’s adventure trying to get a giant 3 foot balloon home from the party store after having filled it with helium so we could “practice” for our event decorations. Long story short – big balloon – small car – freezing cold night - funny picture.

Where’s my Flying Car?
A book I’ve been reading called The Next Hundred Years about author’s predictions about the coming century – political, economic, social etc. It’s interesting to realize where the world was at the beginning of the last century, what the prevailing opinions and political powers were and then see how events actually unfolded. I don’t think we can really conceive of where the 21st century will take us.

The Fringerator
And while I’m doing the time warp, there’s a show called Fringe that I’ve been totally getting into. It’s about a parallel universe, almost the same as this one but not quite. My inner geek just totally comes out when it comes to time travel or any kind of parallel quantum universe.

The Redwood Forest
It seems that I spend an awful lot of time at my job working on projects and proposals that don’t really get very far. There’s a lot of Chiefs where I work and the decision making tree is akin to a giant redwood. It takes a lot of time to go up and down the tree before any kind of decision can be made. Needless to say, I find this trend frustrating because I often spend hours on a project only to have it get stuck on a lofty and unused branch of the tree never to be seen again. But I ran across a quote by John Quincy Adams when he was asked if he was ever frustrated by his constant effort to abolish slavery with little or no success. He said “Duty is ours; results are God’s.” Not that I’m fighting slavery in my job (although I can claim a certain moral outrage sometimes when working with those who work with Juvenile Delinquents). But I am constantly striving for a better attitude (because the alternatives are either violence or medication) and this quote has stuck with me lately.

So there you go. My blog post about all the things I could have written about today, didn’t write about today, but may yet write about in the future.
But for now…it’s late again, my head still hurts and I need to sleep – perchance to dream about next week’s perfect blog-post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

Pin It
There is something about having a new baby in the house that I can only describe as magical.

I'm not sure if the love that everyone has for this newest tiny human being in our family just spills over onto everything else, causing a general feeling of happy contentment. Maybe it's just a peaceful feeling that comes about from seeing a smallish someone who is just starting out in this life, perfect and new. Whatever it is, these feelings seem to have permeated our home over the past few weeks and it has been bliss.

I love this poem which we found in the life history of Allen's maternal grandmother. I think she captures perfectly what I'm trying to say.

You're Welcome

You're welcome little stranger babe,
As welcome as the spring
That drives the winter gloom away
And brings the birds to sing.
The boon of love you brought to me
Was like a gift divine
To build and hold us heart to heart
Forever, baby mine.

I love being a mother. Again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flashback - Being Versus Doing

Pin It I wrote this post on my other blog two summers ago, during one of the most difficult trials of my life. I am choosing to post it today simply because I have been thinking a lot about Mom lately. I have also been thinking about the trials we all face in life and wish we could hide away from.

Sometimes, there's really nothing one can do; they can only be...

The June wind stirred the chimes out on the front porch, its six notes sounding randomly in that sorrowful soundtrack life seems to have been writing this past week. For some of us, this is not the fairy-tale story or that one with the happy ending.

I stumbled into the bathroom this morning and saw the image of a young old man staring back at me from the mirror hanging above the sink. The few grey hairs I’d been noticing lately seem to have multiplied tenfold, and the lines which previously had been weakly etched across my face now seemed to line it like that of a well-used roadmap.

Life was a highway—I was a municiality.

My mother lie in bed, her breaths coming in labored gasps. She took hold of my hand and gazed at me through her one good eye. Every breath she took I was sure was to be her last.

“Bummer,” she croaked from somewhere deep in her throat, attempting a smile in one of her lucid moments—which were rapidly becoming more and more infrequent.

“That’s an understatement,” I replied.

Really, it was.

The grip of her hand tightened around mine. How many hours had I sat here? I’d lost count. The only way I’ve been able to even track the days was by reminding her every time she woke what day it was, what time it is, where she was. She doesn’t ask, but I tell her all the same. If it were me, I’d want to know.

The worst part is that emotion—that dreadful little feeling of helplessness, that deep understanding that there is nothing I can do—I can only be. Doing is the easy part; it’s the being that is the hard thing.

It’s so much easier to run someplace, to buy something, to go on an errand; but to simply be there…that is the hard part. To be there when her eyes open, to see her when she smiles or grimaces, murmurs disembodied thought, and falls back asleep; and through it all, to not have the ability to stay the inevitable.

She asked today, “Am I going to die?”

“We all are,” I responded a few moments later, choking on my sullen reply. “All of us will one day die.”

There have been days now, days when the bitter fount of tears has been emptied and dried. Tears become no longer an option; they become something more of a luxury, like a well run dry in summer’s oppressive heat.

In the quiet of the back room I held her hand, the hot tears stinging my cheeks yet again from sources unknown. She continually faded in and then out of consciousness, her requests slogged and pieced together in a mismatch of jumbled words.

I simply held on to her hand; I could only be…there was no to do.

I found myself becoming angry at God in watching this suffering go on without recourse; I found myself questioning that which I knew—that which I’d always believed. If God really were merciful, he should either heal her, or let her die.

God—I unpremeditatedly decided—was cataclysmically cruel.

I felt a nettling anger surge within me, bitterness directed at heaven itself, at the God who allowed such suffering.

“What is your faith made from?”

I was taken aback at the thought which pervaded my mind—a whispered rivulet.

What? I thought in return.

“This is but a moment of time; if you remember, My son suffered for a moment, too.”

But that’s different, I countered. You’re God.

“Not while he was on the cross…she has you, but My son was left alone—if you remember. Now you have the smallest idea of what it was like for Me when he was helpless, and I could only watch when he was crying out in anguish.”

Then let it be finished. I thought. Let it be finished.

“When it’s time.”

The oxygen machine continued to drone in its rhythmic pattern as I held onto Mom’s hand.

For now, I can only be.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toxic Waste

Pin It

Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway. ~Author Unknown

So I’ll bet you’ve all be wondering how my diet is going. Well, some days it’s going great! Absolutely A+-who-needs-willpower-you-can’t-tempt-me-with-your-pitiful-Cherry-Garcia great. And then there’s the other six days of the week.

Seriously though, I am about 6 weeks out and I’ve lost 10lbs. OK, 9.4lbs as of this morning…but my hair was wet. I am glad the scale is moving slooowwwly in the right direction, but 9.4lbs really isn’t all that much to brag about. I know that I could be doing better (mmmm….butter).

I know, I know… it’s a matter of building and cultivating good habits and integrating little healthy changes into my lifestyle. Like picking the frozen yogurt instead of the ColdStone Ice cream (I’ll do it, but I won’t pretend it’s just as good). Or parking at the far end of the parking lot and sprinting the the extra distance as though heading to Black Friday sale at Walmart. And then being consistent with it all. Consistency is the hard part don’t you think? Consistency is a BEAR (mmmm…bearclaw)!

But I realized today that I’ve managed to kind of kill two birds with one stone (mmmm...Cold Stone). You see, I’ve really been concentrating this week on drinking enough water. I’m supposed to drink about 2quarts a day to stave off the dreaded dehydration and to help flush out the toxins (Ewww). But speaking of flushing, the other dead bird in this scenario is that drinking all this water has had the unintended benefit of adding to my daily exercise. At work, the distance between my office and the restroom is roughly the equivalent of a city block. A mile here in Provo is about 12 blocks. Just today, after all that water, I added almost a whole mile to my walking regimen and flushed an awful lot of toxins while I was at it.

All potty-humor aside though, with life and work so busy, the hardest thing is to not to slip back into what is easier. Being healthy takes so much more effort and planning - it’s no wonder fast-food is so popular.

Mark Twain said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd druther not.” Some days it feels like Old Mark couldn’t be more right. But I’ve lost 9.4lbs, I don’t want it to find me again, so I'll do my best to keep changing, planning, walking, drinking…and flushing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ComedySportz and Thank You

Pin It
About two or three times a month I work at ComedySportz - Utah's premier improv comedy troupe.

I’m Mr. Voice.

I’m the guy who does the announcing, keeps score, does sound effects, music, lights, and interjects comments throughout the show. At times I can be funny; and at others I am most definitely not.

When the show comes to an end I call out all of the players, and they run outside to meet the crowd and talk. When I used to be a player I did the same thing.

However, Mr. Voice does not.

I stay up in the sound booth and play music while everyone is leaving. If someone I know has come to the show, they will usually come and chat with me. However, it is rare that anyone comes up after the show and says anything to me. Mr. Voice is more or less like the guy stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart whom we seldom notice…unless he does something wrong; such as blocking the aisle with his pallet load of food or nonfood items.

But at my last show, two people went out of their way to come up and say, “Hey, I just wanted to tell you thanks…you did a great job tonight.”

That simple, little phrase really meant a lot.

What this little phrase also did was to make me realize that I need to compliment people around me far more than I do. I need to acknowledge their large—or small—contributions to the everyday mundane moments and places around me.

Sometimes being thankful can be a hard thing to remember because of all we take for granted, but I do know that it is important.

By the way, I posted over at my other blog tonight as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shiny Happy People

Pin It

Cleanliness becomes more important when Godliness is unlikely. P.J. O'Roark

Over Christmas break I did a some spring cleaning. I suppose I could call it Christmas break cleaning, but I’ll stick with spring cleaning because technically it was cleaning that I really should have done back in the spring. But, the giant Girl’s Camp Monster swallowed me up and then suddenly it was time for school to start again and then Superdude got married and then… Ok ok ok so who am I kidding? I just didn’t want to do it ok? It was a lot of cleaning and re-organizing and going through boxes and boxes of random stuff and I procrastinated as long as I could.

But apparently I have not yet reached the point of being a candidate for the TV show Hoarders because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I could feel the giant jumble of stuff lurking down there, probably spontaneously multiplying while I slept and I had to do something about it.

So I bought a WHOOOOLLLE bunch of plastic totes from Walmart, unfortunately online, so I didn’t actually set foot in the store. My loss apparently as that is where hilarious blog opportunities are born. My Walmart totes were delivered by a handsome UPS dude that I unfortunately don’t have any good stories about either (except that he was still wearing shorts in December…brrrrr).

Anyway, once the totes arrived Ebay and I set about cleaning and reorganizing the much neglected downstairs area industriously packing totes, and collapsing boxes while vacuuming, dusting and mopping every grimy corner, cobweb and dust-bunny. Clean Sweep and Clean House and all those other organization shows would have been proud of us – even though it really sucked. It was totally not fun and I realized several times while standing in the middle of piles of sh…I mean stuff why I had put it off for so long – I hate cleaning.

I come by my hatred honestly though. My family had a cleaning business when I was a teenager where we worked for several large apartment complexes in Arizona. We would clean the vacant apartments to get them ready for the new tenants sometimes 10 or 12 apartments a day – that’s a lot of refridgerators, stoves, ovens, bathrooms etc. So you see, I feel like I filled my cleaning quota at a very early age.

Unfortunately, the flip side of all that cleaning is that I do like things to be clean. I think I must be trying to fool or maybe motivate myself because I’ve noticed that I seem to pick cleaning products with very inspirational and happy names. I noticed I was wiping down the dusty plastic shelving with Fantastik. I used Behold on the old wooden rocking chair. I had a bucket of warm sudsy Joy for cleaning the grout between the tiles. I was backed up by Resolve to get the chocolate syrup stain out of the carpet. And when we were done we threw all the dirty rags into the washing machine with a Cheer!

The product manufacturers must be on to the fact that people may require some inspiration from their cleaning products because there’s lots of other product names apparently designed to send you running gleefully for the sponges and rubber gloves. Besides the ones I found under my own sink, it doesn't take too long for other's to bubble to the surface. Pledge, for example, came to mind - perhaps helping us pledge to take care of grandma’s antiques? Gain: you’ll gain more friends if your clothes are clean? Dawn for those early morning dishwashers complete with sunrise and birdsong? Shout or those who like a little affirmation with their spot removing. All because everyone should be in on the laundry. And I noticed something at the store the other day I’d never heard of before called Fabuloso (really – it is) – which is obviously self-explanatory.

Anyway cleaning still sucks, but Behold it looks Fantastik downstairs (or at least a lot better anyway) and I’ve “Cheer”ed up a lot since we got it done. Ebay was a Joy to work with and inspired me with his Resolve to keep at it till we finished. But even with all of those products trying to fool us into being shiny happy people - I still wouldn't want to do it again for at least another 409 years.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

People of Walmart

Pin It
Teachinfourth's Walmart narrative yesterday brought to mind my own It-Could-Only-Happen-At-Walmart experience from the holidays.

It was just a few days before Christmas as I ventured into our local Walmart for some last-minute gift purchases. Being almost a full 9 months pregnant I thought it sensible to make a detour into the restroom before starting my shopping and was surprised to see a woman at the sink washing a small tub of dishes.

As I approached the sink to wash my hands the woman apologized for taking up a sink for her dish washing. I told her it was no bother to me but definitely wondered why in the world she found it necessary to clean her dishes in the bathroom of a Walmart. She answered my silent question with her next remark, "When we be out travelin' life's lonely highway tryin' to find that place we call home for the holidays, we gots to do what we gots to do to make things work."

A voice from behind me answered her, "Lawd, girl. You said it." I turned and saw that the dishwashing lady had a friend at the corner sink who I hadn't noticed before. Believe it or not, she was using the sink to wash her... unmentionables. Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

At this point I was looking around for a hidden camera somewhere. I was not sure what to think.

"So, honey, when's that baby comin'?" the first lady asked me.

"I've got another few weeks," was my reply.

"This your first?" she inquired.

"No. My tenth, actually."

"You say your tenth?" she asked, incredulous. "Like, you had nine babies and this be your number TEN baby?"

"That's right," I answered, drying my hands.

"How many daddies for all them kids?"

"Just one." I answered, already growing weary of the way this conversation was headed.

"Girl, you got eight up on me. I had my oldest girl and 18 months later I had my second. And that's just 'cuz I forgot."

"You say you forgot?" the second woman remarked in a fit of laughter. "Lawd, you funny."

"So," the dishwasher asked, "you got your own T.V. show yet?"

"You say T.V. show?" the laundress laughed. "Girl, you bustin' my gut!"

"Really, now, your man got a good job to help with all those babies?" the first lady asked me.

At this point I was beyond ready to make my exit. I don't generally enjoy being the topic of an impromptu comedy show put on by two travelers in the WalMart bathroom. But I answered her question.

"Yes, he does." And then, as I started to leave I wished them well in their travels and said, "You have a Merry Christmas."

"Yeah, you too, Miss TEN BABIES. Ten! Lawd almighty. Bless you, honey. That's all I gots to say. BLESS. YOU."

And as I walked out into the store I heard the second woman comment, "When we all see that girl on T.V. we can say we met her at Utah's Walmart!"

Yeah. In the bathroom. As you washed your underwear.

Only at Walmart.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ah, Walmart...

Pin It
Photo from BoxTurtle

I recently frequented our local Walmart supercenter. Upon entry into the store, and realized that I’d probably be better suited to use the restroom before I went about seeking my day’s purchases.

I slipped into the restroom and immediately noticed a set of shoes under one of the stall doors. They were a bit…effeminate (to say the least) but then again, who was I to judge a person by what they chose to wear on their feet?

In the space of about a minute I was washing my hands at the sink when a toilet flushed and the stall door opened. A middle-aged woman stepped into the main area and caught my eye in the bathroom mirror.

The expression on her face was one of pure disgust. I could almost hear her readying to blast me with a fiery sermon on inappropriateness, and to berate me saying that I was a complete pervert. As she opened her mouth to speak, her eyes swung over and she noticed – I imagine for the first time – the urinals.

Her expression instantly went from shocked to appalled, and her entire face went a shade of magenta akin to deepest cherry. She immediately made a hurried exit from the restroom without speaking a word.

I couldn’t help but smile as I imagined her practically running across the store - someplace she was probably hoping she wouldn’t run into me. After all, it was she that’d been the wrong place, not me.

After nearly fifteen minutes of shopping, I noticed this woman down a distant aisle. I walked causally so as not to draw her attention. When I passed by her, I wished her a nice day.

She looked sheepish.

Ah, Walmart…you have once again made my day.

Oh, I should probably mention that I posted today over at Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...