Mar 28, 2011

I'm Just Trying to Make Everyone Happy

Someone once told me I should have chosen mediation as a profession.  I took it as a compliment.  I like it when everyone gets along.  I often find myself in the middle trying to get two opposing sides to reach a solution that is workable for both parties.  This came in handy back when I was settling fights between my children.  These days I use this talent most often at work. Although it can come in handy when trying to get my family to all agree on what restaurant we're going to eat at.

I'm not much for psycho-analyzing everything.  I usually have no interest in trying to figure out why I am the way I am.  But this one I do have figured out.  My Dad had a very short temper, (he's mellower these days).   He wasn't cruel or abusive.  He just went from calm to raging in seconds flat if something set him off.  Sometimes small, insignificant things set him off.  I coped with this in two ways.  I always tried to make everyone laugh because if you're laughing you can't yell and be angry.  Stage two if the humor thing wasn't working and things got tense - calm things down by adding perspective, by reasoning - mediate.

The key to successful mediation is to get people to see someone else's perspective.  This is challenging when ego or selfishness gets in the way.  Stupid people offer their own challenges to the process.  Focus being their biggest hurdle.  It's all worth the challenge though.  There's nothing more satisfying than averting disaster and having everybody walk away feeling as if they got at least part of what they were hoping for.  Not necessarily winners but not losers either.  Workable.  

Being a mediator, a peacemaker, has its down side.  The fact that I desire harmony leads people to believe that I won't take a stand.  They think I'm a pushover or that I'm afraid of confrontation.  It's not true.  I won't be backed into a corner or bullied.   I won't stand by and watch other people be mistreated.  I won't nod and agree that something harmful or stupid or immoral is the right thing to do.  Underestimate me at your own peril.  :-)    That sounds more ominous than I meant it to so I added a smiley face.

Mar 26, 2011

You Can't Make Me

This is one of my favorite pictures.   Partly because we are so happy.  Though the reason I really like it is it shows the lengths we'll  go to for this stupid dog we love so much.

It was during a camping trip up north.  I don't remember where, some state park, Cheboygan maybe.  We were walking some trails in the park and came to a bridge.  It was coated with a sort of sand paper type material meant to prevent slips.  Chance clearly didn't like it.  He gingerly walked about 10 yards across the bridge.   Then one of his nails got caught in a gap between the boards.  He yelped.

He absolutely refused to move any further.  No amount of pulling, coaxing, yelling or cajoling was going to get Chance to move either forward or backward.  We had no choice but to carry him.  It was a long bridge.  And yes we carried him back across after our hike was over with too.

From now I am going to "like" every health/sickness/medical testing related facebook status that in my opinion goes too far.  I'm sure to lose some friends over it but I might as well go out making a statement.

It's OK to mention you are fighting a cold, going for a checkup....... simple updates with not too private information.  But some people go too far.  I do not need to know you are scheduling an appointment to get your tubes tied.  I don't want to read word for word the report you got on your CAT scan.  I don't need daily updates on the tests you are having to determine what is causing you to vomit incessantly.

Don't you people have email accounts?  Because truly, only your friends are interested.  And they're probably faking it.  

Mar 18, 2011


If I had to choose between music and books I don't know what I'd do.  Fortunately that's one of those stupid hypothetical questions that I'll never have to answer.

 I love books.  I haven't been without a book since about the age of 8.   I've read so many, good and great.   I quit wasting my time on mediocre books long ago.  The written word can be a beautiful thing.  Good stories transport me to different worlds.  One well crafted sentence can make me not only appreciate it on its own merit, but also make me look deep into my thoughts, beliefs and ideas.  Books have shaped my view of the world.  

But music....... well, music can stir me to the core of my being.  I close my eyes, feel the beat, let myself get lost in every note.   Turn it up.......   my life has a soundtrack.  So many songs take me back to past times in my life and make me remember how happy I was, or how sad.  And they do it over and over again, every time I hear them.

When I hear Roy Orbison & Patsy Cline I can see my parents dancing around the living room in the mid 60's.  Jackson 5 and the Monkees take me back to the bubble gum stuff I listened to in the early 70's.  Teenage years were spent listening to Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd.  The early 80's was a musical awakening when I was exposed to new sounds by my first love.  David Bowie, Sly Stone, Motown, Beatles, too many to list.  I still have my favorites.  Music I listen to over and over again.

I'm not a music fanatic.  My memory is too bad to remember every band's name, let alone the songs and what albums they come from.  But I know what I love.  I know it when I hear it and to this day it can transform me.  

Other than a few favorites that have been read over and over again, there are few books that stir such emotion in me.  Books feed my brain and quench my thirst for new information.  But music feeds my soul.  I don't think I could live without it.

Mar 14, 2011

Virtuoso Wannabe

The day I took up the violin was the day I had to finally admit I was truly a geek.  Oh, I had sort of known before that but the violin pretty much sealed the deal.  The only reason I chose the violin over the flute was because strings started in fifth grade and band in sixth.  Patience is not one of my strong suits.

Carrying a violin case in my neighborhood, in front of my "friends" was like painting a big red target on my back.  Add in all the books I was always reading, the dorky clothes my mother made me wear and I was doomed.  I'll never forget the laughter and the ridicule.  Pure humiliation. Stupid, stupid...... what was I thinking.

It took me two years to ditch that violin.  My parents had spent so much money on it I had to commit to it for at least a little while.  But I wasn't going to carry that damn thing into Jr. High.  At the end of sixth grade I made up some lame excuse and told Mr. Osborne, my violin teacher I wouldn't be continuing.  I'll never forget the sad look on his face.  Oh, to relive that day.

I spent the next nine years trying to be a hard-ass, a tough girl, a burnout.  That's how you fit in where I came from.  I didn't do a very convincing job.  People who knew me really well weren't convinced.  Neither was I.  And you know what?  I wasn't happy either.  It's very stressful to try and be somebody your'e not.

I wish I could go back in time and give the 12 year old me some advice.  Who gives a flying f**k what anybody thinks?  Conformity is easy, different is hard.  Hard always pays more rewards than easy in the end.  Fitting in?  Don't waste your time.  It doesn't get you anywhere.  I tried hard to teach my kids that lesson.  I think I did, didn't I?

Anybody know where I can get some violin lessons?