Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On Adulthood

In our culture we have no real rite of passage that moves you from childhood to adulthood. No ceremony. No ritual piercing or trek into the wilderness. I suppose the closest we get is when we move from the Kids' Table to the Big Table with the other adults at family holiday dinners.

Some people say they felt like an adult when they got their first real job, got married or had their first child. Others have said they didn't feel like an adult until their parents died. For me, some days I feel more like an adult than others. Most days I just marvel at the fact that I, in fact, am the grown up. My parents are both still alive, although they live many hours away. While I know they are always there if I need them, they aren't immediately available. Maybe a day away available.... So I don't think that is the "moment" I'm waiting for, so to speak.

But then there are days that I wonder how it is that one can NOT be the adult. My oldest child was born an adult. She was pretty much ready to move out and get job at about age 3. Those of you who know her are sitting there saying "well.....yea...she was..." My youngest child is perfectly content playing the role of the baby of the family. She will freely admit to this as well. On occasion, she will play that as her trump card.

Even as the perfectly content baby of the family, that child shows a maturity and wisdom that makes my heart leap. She faces disappointment with a trembly lip and tears flowing, but without tantrum or rage. Such is life....sometimes one is disappointed. Sometimes one does not get what one wants when one wants it.

I see those over the age of majority time and time again acting very much NOT like the adults their birthdate says they are. Decisions are made and the consequences bite and they are shocked. Disappointments are met with rage and tantrums. Small difficulties are nearly insurmountable obstacles.

Perspective is offered and rebuffed as being unwanted and unasked for. Rant in private. Ask not for advice if none is wished.

Hallmarks of adulthood:
* The ability to communicate. This doesn't mean the ability to decide on which movie to see, but to speak of the difficult. To be able to speak and hear truth, most especially when the truth is difficult.

* The ability to face responsibility. Pay your bills. If you can't, do what it takes to do so. And when you can't, don't whine about it, fix it. Care for your children. (see: pay your bills) Equip your children to live as adults. Saddle them with chores and liberties. Make them wash the dishes and let them walk to a friend's house. It is your responsibility AS and adult to create NEW ones. Is it your fault? Suck it up and admit it. Did you make a poor decision? Deal with it and move on. Blame no one else but yourself.

* Mind your own business. You may think it's your business, but an adult knows when it is not. An adult can also discern when all that is heard is one loud point of view that there is probably, no... there is CERTAINLY another point of view. An adult also knows the difference between minding your own business and stepping in to right an injustice.

* When given a choice, take the high road. Sometimes the hardest thing to do as an adult is to take the high road. It is what I struggle to do. I struggle when the opposite of the high road is to right an injustice. But if I am to be the adult, I must let the injustice stand. I must let the slander, misconceptions and half (or less) truths stand.

* You are the only one who can make you happy. No other person can make you happy. Not your spouse. Not your friends. No other place can make you happy. If you are unhappy, you will be unhappy in a different place, with different friends, with a different spouse. These people and places didn't make you unhappy to begin with. Did you have a bad thing happen to you? Deal with it and move on. Children sulk. Adults deal.

I'm sure there are more, but those are mine for now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


There have been a couple of incidents that have caused me to contemplate education lately. Not intelligence, but education. I know lots of intelligent people. I also know some well educated people. Some of them wear their education like a Miss America sash.

They say stuff like "I don't watch "American Idol". I've been too busy with planning events for my local Mensa meeting." Now I don't watch "American Idol" either. But that's because I'm watching "Criminal Minds" or "CSI New York". It's a matter of preferring a good crime drama over Simon Crowell.

Scholarship is a noble goal. Certainly there are those academics for whom the pursuit of greater knowledge is their entire life work. Generally speaking they are one hit wonders. They can speak for hours on the cultural significance and impact of 17th century Russian poets using only iambic pentameter, but for all they know Limp Bizkit is a culinary mistake at high tea.

I find the angst and consternation over "American Idol" and "Survivor" dull. But I would rather spend an evening with people who are well informed on both of those than an academic who is proud of his/her ignorance on those two topics.

Vapid thought and conversation is not the dominion of the uneducated. Ignorance comes in many forms. I may not know anything about 17th century Russian poets, iambic pentameter not withstanding. But I know who the "American Idol" finalists are tonight. That doesn't mean I care who they are and who wins, but I can name them.

Basic education should be broad and varied. Higher education should delve deeper into that broad and varied education. It makes you more interesting. When one holds only a certain area of knowledge in higher esteem to the dismissal of the rest, it doesn't elevate one in the eyes of others. It just makes one tiresome.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

For Stacy

After being told that she is bored with the blogs she reads regularly and that they need to be updated, some of us have dug deep to give Stacy something new to read. (Who should be getting her scrapbook jobs done instead of frittering time away on the computer...)

I have been struggling with WHAT to write. I had no diseases to chronicle. My week is blissfully dull.

And then.... then I have this. A blog that *I* read regularly but I don't know if Stacy does. But today's entry was written just for me so I could post it here so Stacy could read it too.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


We have a blue bird. He's a bird. He's blue. I don't know any more about this bird than that.

He is...about three years old. He is not a caged bird. He's a wild bird. But every year at about this time, he comes back.

You are probably wondering how I know it is the same blue colored bird.....

Because every year at about this time, around mid-day, he starts banging at our dining room window. Or maybe that's just "banging our dining room window".

We aren't sure if he sees a mate or a rival in the the reflection of the window. But whatever it is, it results in a constant banging at the window.

I have noticed this year he is less vigorous in his banging. It used to be relentless.... constant for about five hours a day. He now takes a swipe or two at that bird in the window and quits. Maybe he's just getting too old to bang into windows all day long. Maybe he figures 'she' isn't gonna give it up or 'he' isn't gonna go away. I don't know.

Our little bird started out by annoying me to no end. First by me not being able to figure out who/what was banging the house. He would fly away when there was movement behind the window. It was by chance I caught him. Second by banging. into. the. window. every. 10. seconds. for. hours.

But as I realize our little friend is slowing down..... I think I shall miss him. I suspect this is our last spring with him.

Reality Check

I don't do "Reality" TV. I have only watched Survivor once. And that was because EVERYONE else wanted to watch it and I was polite. I understand some guy named Chris was recently voted of the American Idol Island and this was a tragedy and the Supreme Court may be looking into voting irregularities. (wait... no.........)

I do not understand the consternation. I do not understand how petitions can be circulated because the voting machines didn't work for a TELEVISION SHOW, but these same people don't give a crap about the voting machines not working in a presidential election because they didn't vote in THAT one. Priorities here people.... let's re-evaluate.

Then there is the 'reality' of make believe shows. The ones not even 'ripped from the headlines'. The pure fiction ones. The ones that exist solely to entertain and get you to tune in next week (or next season as the case is every May).

I am completely amused at the MORAL OUTRAGE at Meridith and McDreamy's ADULTRY. How DARE they! That slut Meridith.... he's MARRIED!!! That cad McDreamy.... he's MARRIED! Or.... "there is NO WAY Izzy wouldn't have gotten kicked out on her ass if she had done that in a real hospital!"

There's a clue. It is NOT a "real hospital". It is a TV show. It is make believe.

How is it that Horatio can just LEAVE his dying new bride (who was shot by not that person but another person and that really just doesn't make sense)?? NO WAY a police department would let her husband and brother investigate her shooting/murder!!! They have OTHER cops!

Again. This isn't a documentary of the Miami/Dade Police Department. In reality the Miami/Dade Police Department doesn't issue Hummers to their CSI's either...

What just cracks me up is some of the people who overlay real life on pretend TV are also some very intense soap opera fans.

What? Adultry, murder, incest (but they don't know it at the time, of course) kidnappings and resurrection after a fiery plane crash.... all in one character.... THAT doesn't seem "off" to you? But Meridith and McDreamy gettin' it on does?

If you need moral outrage, examine the White House's interest in your phone calls. If you need a reason to be pissed off, wonder why Karl Rove hasn't been kicked out on HIS ass. The reality of the real world (not to be confused with the not so much Real World tv show) should get you plenty outraged.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bandos, Part 2

My CD came today. Well, technically it came yesterday but no one got the mail yesterday.

The return address was vaguely familiar. It didn't have the band name on it and it was hand written.... Who was sending me something from Tustin??

A few seconds later it clicked.

My Narwhal CD.

The receipt had a different address. THAT one was very familiar. Go down the street I grew up on, cross the major street and turn the corner. When you turn the corner, it becomes the street on the receipt.

....someone oughta hook these boys up with Matt Lillard.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fifth Grade

Twenty-nine years ago I was in the fifth grade. At this point in the year, the movers were scheduled and I was saying my goodbyes to my friends. We were moving from one end of the state to the other.

Tonight, I spent the evening with two of those friends. Nancy S. had a party for her 40th birthday tonight. We reconnected a couple years ago and found out we only live about 45 minutes from each other. We just haven't been able to connect in person. Email, phone... but not face to face. The whole family was invited and my children put on their happy faces and set aside the sullen attitude of teenagerhood for the evening and came along.

Nancy also invited Liz. Who I think goes by Elizabeth now. Liz brought her family too. Husband and two little girls. I met Nancy's husband, daughter and son.

Her daughter and Emma are in the fifth grade.

The food was fantastic. The drink, plentiful. The time to talk? Scarce. It was a party with a lot of people and Nancy couldn't just sit and talk with one person. Liz and I had a good catching up. Another guest was also in Job's Daughters and we spoke of Job's and Kaitlyn was able to join in the conversation with the grownups for a while. I think that improved her mood alone!

As we were leaving we decided we needed to go out to dinner. Have Kaitlyn babysit the younger kids while the four grownups go out to dinner.

.....and not let another twenty-nine years pass before we do so.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


We are in the middle of a lot of growing here. You should see the weeds out back!

And the weeds we call our children. Kaitlyn looks me dead in the eye these days. Emma is getting closer every day to doing so. I need to measure her again. I think she's actually grown since I last measured her a couple weeks ago.

The weeds out back? Bad growth. But expected when you combine a long wet winter with sudden warm spring.

The children growing? Good growth. Bad for the checking account cause they need all new clothes and shoes when they do that. But good in the long run.

Personal growth? It's good too. But it often leaves a wake of hurt and anger. Growing up and finding yourself and who you are and standing firm in that will offend. It will make people angry. It will most anger those who were happy with who you WERE. The ones that took advantage of your uncertainty. They were happy to let you work hard and then sit silent while they took the glory and credit. They could count on you to say only what they wanted to hear. They knew that no matter how wrong you thought they were... you would keep it to yourself lest their feelings be hurt.

So finding your true self and striving to be faithful to yourself and those most important to you is bound to offend those who were happy when you were unhappy.

These are people you need not concern yourself with. True friends... heart friends... will be cheering you on. They have been all along. They have cried for your hurt. They have fought for you when you could not. They have prayed for your peace. They are also willing to come over and stomp those nasty people who don't like the new you. Cause that's what friends are for!