Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Oh My Crappy -

I HATE THIS WEATHER!!! The inversion is horrible. Scott and I have been hacking up our lungs for nearly two weeks. We have snot noses, gray bags around our eyes, and sore chests from coughing like crazy. We can't even sleep in the same room - between my coughing and Scott's snoring we've run each other away. This gross gray grimey air has got to break.

And you? How are you today?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

3 Good Things -

I'm not a Pollyanna or a Doubting Thomas, but gosh darn, there have been days when fear seems to be the word of the day. And after a few times online, in social media, it seems that this may be the word of the month. Thank heaven's January, the longest month of the year, is almost over. Yet, there has been happiness this month.

In fact, last night, before sitting down to write, I decided to wash the windows, just to get a little frustration out, and now they are sparkling clean, at least inside. And as I was washing the last window, there was a knock at my door. I opened, recognized the person as our plumber. He said, "I have extra farm-fresh eggs tonight, would you like some? I told him I had no cash. He replied, "I'm giving them away tonight to people I think will enjoy them. Would you and your mother like some? Do you have a container I can put some in?" I did, and he does, and he walked away with a thank you from me. That's it. Yet his generosity speaks tons, not just of him, but of good people every where, who reach out, instead of in, when they have something to say, something to share. Thank you Mr. Plumber, whose name I don't know.

So three good things that have happened this month, to kiss January on its way.

School started, and while I began January wondering if I would even be teaching, I prayed, and sent good thoughts, to UVU, and I waited, sometimes patiently, other times with a little angst. And keeping my mouth shut and negativity away, I have three classes - at the exact times I want, with return students in each, and with classes that aren't full, which is a blessing, because I was pretty burnt out at the end of last semester.

I love my jobs. Hospital, UVU, my career/s is where I want to be. I have amazing colleagues, and I've learned how to deal with those who aren't so amazing. I spent December remembering names and reaching out, and I am grateful I did this. Recognizing folks, by names, removes my own anonymity and creates buy-in for me. And I am grateful to a team of professionals who are darn good people. Who care, who are funny, who love.

Snow!!! With the uproar this month, and so much unknown and speculation, as Jenna reminded me, it's good to have something that is known. We have snow upon snow upon snow. And I'm not a lover of cold and snow; I stay indoors, but it is beautiful. And as anyone who complains about the snow adds to their complaint, "But we need it." So even whines end with blessings. It is beautiful, and we do need it, and it will melt, eventually.

And I end another January, and for me, another year, thanking 57, with 58 pending on the morrow. Life is good. I am good. G'bye January - grateful you could end with a nod to gratitude.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Of Marches and Circles -

As I "age," I realize more and more that life is cyclical - not just my life or that of seasons or families, but of knowledge, beliefs, wonder, discovery.

Knowledge - we build on existing knowledge, and we need to continually examine those beliefs for them to remain alive. And the younger generation will always have "aha" moments to info some of us older folks will think is old news. I think of how university sophomores often perform "Vagina Monologue" as if it was a cutting new play, rather than written in 1996, but what is old to me is new to someone else. And I respect that. 

Beliefs - line upon line, precept on precept. And constantly needing to be reinforced, because doubt is part of human nature. When I am questioned, I have to return to my roots and examine them. Do I believe? Why? How? And its value to me now is . . . 

Wonder - The other day Tommy looked at his shadow and said, "Look, there are four of me!" It was beautiful, and when I see someone seeing something for the first time, regardless of how many times I've seen or known this, that sense of wonder is lit in me. 

Discovery - Neon colors, paisleys, vegetarianism, Sunday naps, saying "no," marching for a cause - what was once old is now new, regardless of its origin. It may have been hip in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and it is again - aha's don't pause. 

And so marching for a cause - I respect, I appreciate, I acknowledge, but for me, as it was 30+ years ago, I'm taking care of my own. I didn't burn my bra in the 80s, and I won't wear a pussy hat in 2017. However, just as then, I will take care of my marriage, my children, my beliefs, continue to reach out to gain knowledge, and pray that every day I will discover something new, and live in the wonder that is life, that is a circle game. 

March on - 

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Joni Mitchell

Tom Rush

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Listening to Myself - Make A Wish -

I'm a listener. I spend my days listening to patients and students. I talk, for sure, but I talk based on what my students and patients want to know. And I adjust my message based on their needs. So I listen - to what they're saying, what their loved ones are saying, their body language, the language of those around them, and then I share - sometimes a nod, smile, hug, a lean in closer, a few words, an experience, or a lesson. But in the end, I listen, and I adjust my sails based on what is being presented. And I do what I can to help them find direction.

For the past year I've spent time listening to a close friend. "Nancy" has been dreaming and scheming for as long as I've known her. Most of this is because Nancy needs someone to be that listening ear, which is what I do, so I did. I am her confidante. I've been with Nancy through some poor relationships, several moves, some faith transitions, some depression, and some reworking of life goals. I listen, listen, offer insight - typically rewording what has been presented, and go back to work. Nancy counts on me to listen - she contends she has no one else who listens as well as I do.

Jenna and I were talking about this yesterday. Is it because I make eye contact when talking and listening to someone? Is it because I stay engaged, not wandering, when in a conversation? Is it because I genuinely believe that everyone deserves to be heard? As long as I have stayed separated I have been fine with taking student's words and patient's words and emotions and traumas home. I don't really internalize. But I am in the listening professions. 

Lately though, Nancy's dreams have begun to include, "What you should do, for us, is . . . " And because I know Nancy is a dreamer, I listen and try not to internalize Nancy's dreams for me, which are not necessarily my dreams for me. But that's hard, particularly because Nancy's type of processing life has reminded me so much of my past life and relationship. And I wonder why I have allowed myself to be the confidante. And while I've been trying not to internalize, I have, and I've put some credibility in Nancy's dreams for "us," although they are not my dreams, and I have not foundation for believing in Nancy's dreams. 

This past week Nancy told me her dreams had changed, which then, I was informed, changed "our" direction. "Ok," I thought. "Enough, now I can make some plans," but I realized I had been holding on to Nancy's dreams, and they had become mine, and I had begun to believe in Nancy's dreams for me, for us. And I'm disappointed, and I'm let-down, and I'm bummed, irritated, at Nancy. 

But mostly at myself. Because throughout all of this last eighteen months, I hoped, I allowed myself to believe that, "just this once," the dreams may evolve into reality - if I listened enough, worked hard enough, I could make this happen - single-handedly, on my own, for the two of us. Just like so many times before - in this life and mostly, in my past life. I am not a one-person "Make a Wish Foundation," although I've led myself to believe I could be. And I've allowed myself to postpone my own dreams.

When am I going to learn the only dreams I can make come true are my dreams, for me? What are my dreams and wishes anyway? I'm so busy listening to others and manipulating my words to match theirs, that I haven't taken the time to be on my own path - pursuing my own. Listening - 

Time to get back to listening to myself - dreaming for myself, creating my own wishes for today and tomorrow. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Is Folklore?

Well, school began last week; I have 3 classes - 2 writing, 1 folklore. I surprise my folklore students with a lecture based solely on theory, rather than fun, and then I tell them this foundation will support their enjoyment for the rest of the semester.

So here are the pics for my What is Folklore 2 class lecture; with nods to my USU and BYU professors as well as my dear Polly. Thank you for giving me a good foundation.

It is said that a folklorist takes their pay in coffee and banana bread. Give me a call if you'd like to learn more!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year's Resolutions - NourishMe -

Twelve days into the year, and I'm so busy practicing my New Years' Resolutions I haven't had time to write about them.

But in a nutshell, based on a year of on and off angst and on and off pleasure, I have chosen to call this year my "NourishMe" year, and I have based my resolutions on that.

Last year was my Hygge and Glean year, and I was able to simplify my home and my relationships, but not myself as much. I was able to take what I needed and leave the rest when it came to gleaning information, materials, and knowledge, trying to not throw my weight around, but seeing where I was needed and give my best, rather than being perfect in what I did. Bruised apples still have value, even though they're not perfect, and that has been the image I've carried with me. I have value, even when I am not perfect.

This year, I really need to take care of myself. I stress too much about work - money, insurance, retirement, and honestly - I think I have so much to offer the world, but sometimes I think the world doesn't care who I am or what I do. And I'm not all that, but I do have offerings. So I'm going to focus on those offerings - but offer my gifts back to me and my family.

My NourishMe goals include:

Find Joy - At work and at home, and laugh.
Social Life - Reach out to friends more - hibernation is my easy chair, but I do need to socialize.
Relationships - Gotta work on a child, or two.
Home Environment - I love my home, it is my sanctuary. My heart is full here.
Home Cooking - Arrange my schedule so "at home" meals are more regular.
Physical Activity - 10,000 steps a day.
Health - Sleep, eat healthy lunches, exercise, Ommmm.
Education - Take advantage of educational opportunities, formal and informal.
Career - Accept where I am. Enjoy. Don't be so dependent on those above me, stand a little taller.
Finances - Have faith that all will work out, then be a little more frugal.
Creativity - Take more time to sew, stitch, write.
Spirituality - Pray, read.
And back to Joy - and I will be nourished -

Great article by Parker Palmer: My Five New Year's Revolutions. Palmer gave me the best mantra, the strongest truth, "God is Love, Love is God." This has calmed me in my roughest moments.

And Yours?

Monday, January 9, 2017

So Much Depends - William Carlos Williams -

I thoroughly enjoy William Carlos Williams' poetry. I've blogged about him before. The past six weeks have been tumultuous, and while I've worked extremely hard at waiting and allowing, I'm not gonna lie, it's been tough. Patience, while I believe it is my virtue, is also my vice. I do fine at waiting, then I get jumpy and in my head. I clear my head, go to my heart, and I'm fine, and then I slip back into my head, and even though there's no rational way of explaining my "situation," I get frustrated, irritated, and anxious. Then I pray, meditate, pause, and I'm good, until . . . And the cycle is vicious and taxing.

Tonight, at the 13th hour, some things came together. And I'm still a little suspicious, a tad hesitant, a bit skeptical, but . . .

I'm reminded of William Carlos Williams piece, The Red Wheelbarrow.

so much depends 

a red wheel 

glazed with rain 

beside the white 

And it is relevant. So much depends - 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Uncle Newell - Last of the Family -

My uncle, Newell Walker, died yesterday afternoon, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was diagnosed with Leukemia last year, and he did a darn good job of living this past year to the fullest.

At my father's service (he died 6 months ago today), Uncle Newell leaned down over the casket and told my dad, "I'll see you soon."

Uncle Newell was an avid genealogist, loved writing life histories and histories of places, and he was a "gabber." He loved to visit, talk, share, listen. He was a good man.

Uncle Newell (I never called any of my Walker aunts or uncles their first name, alone. They were always prefaced with the title of Aunt or Uncle. My children called him "Uncle Noodle.") was the last of the 6 Walker siblings to die. All that are left are the in-laws, of which there are 4. Kinda tough to be "one of the remaining." They were a close family - my father and Uncle Newell were good friends, always had each other's back, looked quite a bit alike, and had similar loves - people, food, sharing.

I'm hoping there was a grand reunion in heaven with all the family members waiting at the gates to welcome Newell home. I hope there was fried fish and chicken, scones, pie, and lots of slobbery kisses and stories.

My daughter, Jenna, wrote a beautiful tribute to the Walker family and to her memories of them:

I found out last night that my great Uncle Newell passed away. He was the last living child of my great Grandparents, Mike and Maple Walker.
Although they were a generation removed, I knew these people well- they are my kin.
I remember Donna. She lived west of Rigby, Idaho in house with a well manicured lawn and plenty of yard ornaments. She collected toothpick holders, had a slot machine in her spare bedroom, and always made sure there was an extra homemade craft for me. I love my Aunt Donna.
I remember Doyle- it was always Doyle and Lola. The two names were always attached. We stayed at Doyle and Lola's house in Hawaii. There was a huge turtle in their yard one night and a gecko in their bathroom the next morning. He was a goofball. I love my Uncle Doyle.
I remember Joyce. She always had a place for us in her home in the summers in Rigby. She had the softest beds, and I always remember the photo of her daughter who passed away much too young hanging by the stairs. She dyed her hair black. One trip to her home she was surprised when she mistakenly used what she thought was her hairspray, but was actually my spray deodorant and ended up with white hair! I love my Aunt Joyce.
I remember stories of Gail- he was the one I didn't know so well, but Grandpa spoke reverently and kindly of him. I love my Uncle Gail.
I remember Newell. He owned a restaurant in Idaho Falls, The Gangplank. We made it a priority to stop and have lunch or dinner there anytime we were traveling through. Shrimp and scones. More recently, I briefly saw him at my Grandpa's funeral. He was in the midst of a fight with Leukemia, yet there he stood with a sincere smile on his face, called me by name and a good strong Walker hug. I love my Uncle Newell.
My heart yearns for the eternities- where I sure hope it feels a little like Rigby in the summertime, eating scones, throwing around some stories with the Walkers.
January 5, 2017

Thanks, Jenna, for these beautiful words. Thanks for caring enough to know them. 

Photo taken 1979-1980
Gayle, Newell, Clyde, Doyle
Donna, Maple, MW (Mike), Joyce

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gwendolyn Brooks - Bean Eaters -

Whenever Scott and I eat a simple basic meal, I think of this poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. The sparseness, nakedness, vulnerability, and perseverance of this piece had me the first time I read it several years ago. Last night, as we heated up leftover broccoli cheese soup, opened a few bottles of olives and pickles, and placed this all on our simple table, I began quoting the poem. Scott thought it was sad; I thought it was appropriate. Life goes on - 

The Bean Eaters     Gwendolyn Brooks1917 - 2000
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, 
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
          is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
          tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Huffington Post and A Confession -

Confession - I read Huffington Post. Yup - my light-liberal reading; and while quite the gossip-publication, I find good reporting and writing.

Articles such as this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roshi-joan-halifax/compassion-_b_1885877.html inspire me to be better while teaching and chaplaining and just being myself.

And this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lgbt-center-to-open-its-doors-across-from-mormon-temple-in-utah_us_5845ddfee4b02f60b02476e1 tell me more about my community than what I can find in local media.

Today is no different. This: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-travis-bradberry/10-unmistakable-habits-of_b_13772102.html speaks to me - I want to be this, meaning this will probably be one of my drivers for the new year.

Sure - I get anxiety when I read the news, but it's here at Huff Post that I also find something to laugh with, which then calms me down enough to move forward with my day.