Friday, November 28, 2008

Rude Awakening

Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season has officially begun. I love this holiday, but I have a grey cloud hanging over me this year. There is tension in our extended family, and I initiated it. This is not typical for me, usually I am the peacemaker - always trying to smooth ruffled feathers and make sure everyone gets along. This could be because I am a Libra – we are commonly known for a sense of fairness and equality. I guess you could say that I come by it “astrologically,” :) but when I see something that’s just not fair I sometimes can’t help but speak up. Last Christmas, I had finally had enough.

My parents taught me that respect for your elders is not suggested, it is expected. My husband and I are teaching our daughters the same values – “what you’re told, when you’re told.” When I see children - especially adult children - being rude to their parents I am appalled. Last Christmas season, my daughters and I witnessed a total lack of parental respect – by a guest in our own home. It provoked questions from our perceptive children, so I used it as a teaching moment with the insolent behavior as an example of what not to do. I later described the situation to my husband. We decided that even though this rudeness had for years previously gone unchecked, if either of us saw a repeat performance and our daughters were again spectators, we would be obligated to speak up.

Unfortunately, the next time was the very next day. My husband, daughters and several others were present. This time we could not overlook it. I had to voice our feelings about the rude display. I never want our children to think that that kind of behavior is acceptable. I told this “kidult” that they would not be welcome in our home again until some attempt was made to correct the offensive behavior.

Sadly, our disapproval and ban were met only with excuses. I have now gone from an “in-law” to an “outlaw.” No changes have been made, no reconciliations have been offered. This causes an internal struggle for me – I want balance and fairness, I want everyone to just get along – but we will not sacrifice our choice to abide by our strong morals and our desire to instill them in our daughters.

So here we are once again in the holiday season and this year for the first time we will not be gathering with that extended family. Disappointingly, our ex-communication has continued. We will miss seeing those loved ones. We will celebrate the season under this grey cloud – and I’m okay with it. I know we are being true to ourselves and confident in our convictions. We’ll spend the holidays with other family and friends, and everyone will respect one another – even us outlaws.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Virtually Speaking

You’re reading this blog so you are witness to - and an essential part of - my personal efforts to stay current. You may have come here because you follow me on Twitter, or maybe you’re one of my friends on Facebook. All three are new ventures for me just this year. Also new for me in 2008 - a cellphone. I don’t get very many calls - almost exclusively from my husband and daughters - many days I don’t get even a single call or text. My kids make fun of me because I text so slowly – but I do text. I even use the lingo and abbreviations.

Before I began this technological exploration of sorts, I thought each of these things was simply a novelty – unnecessary and just a way to kill time. But the usefulness and importance has become obvious. The connections I have made and social networking that has resulted would never have been possible without this new Web 2.0 community.

I have always been a shy person, and I’m very introverted. (Are those two different things? Can you be shy and an extrovert? Hmm – now I’m curious. How about a poll? Answer to the right!) I was so shy and insecure growing up that I couldn’t see why anyone would want to be my friend - I even suspected that my mom may have paid my friends to like me and hang out with me. (Whoa, did I actually just admit that? I really must be feeling more secure these days!)

Small talk is uncomfortable for me – and frankly, I think I suck at it. It’s so much easier for me to communicate in a written format. Now through my social networks I have reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and gotten to know casual acquaintances much better. Hopefully they’ve all gotten to know me better too. I feel like I’m included and I’m part of something.

This isn’t any kind of personal epiphany or great revelation. It’s just me finding a place where I can be myself. In the words of Kool Moe Dee (didn’t know I was a closet rap fan didja?): “How ya like me now?”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

10 Random Things About Me

I am trying to "learn & play" along with my old and new friends at the library. They were given an "assignment" to come up with ten random things - I thought this would make a good topic on my blog as well. So here they are - things you may or may not have known about me.

1. Fly-fishing is one of my favorite pastimes - any kind of freshwater fishing really. I love being around a pond with the cattails, frogs and dragonflies.

2. I didn’t go take my test and get my driver’s license until I was 25. I never needed to drive anywhere, I always had someone to take me where I needed to go. I could get to most of the places I needed to go by city bus - I lived right off of High Street, went to Ohio State, worked at Whetstone Library – all right on the bus line.

3. I made my own wedding dress. Lace inserts, pearl beading and all. I’ve made 2 other wedding dresses since then (and probably close to a hundred bridesmaid dresses).

4. I can’t swallow pills – when there is no liquid version available, I have to crush or dissolve them. I remember choking on a cherry Lifesaver in the backseat of a car when I was very young - maybe the reason.

5. Never had even a single puff on a cigarette, ever – honest!

6. I love Ohio Stadium: I was an usher for the home football games when I was in Girl Scouts; My mom bought a piece of the old turf when they tore it up years ago; I sat in Block O when I was in college; I used it as the subject of my photography class at OSU; I made sure I graduated in the Spring so the ceremony was in the stadium; We made a donation and have a commemorative brick at the south end still today.

7. My stupid human trick – I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in less than 30 seconds.

8. When I was 12, I was the horseshoe champion in my age bracket for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. (Unfortunately, I haven’t retained any of my horseshoe throwing ‘skilz’ though…)

9. I have become a germ-a-phobe. Hand sanitizer is never far away. (Especially right after punching the numbers on an ATM machine or handling the canister in the bank drive-thru. Gives me the heebie-jeebies!)

10. Someday I’d like to have an old house to refurbish. Home improvement projects, knocking out walls, laying tile, installing faucets, decorating, painting, design and layout – bring it on!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Thousand Words

I try to post with some regularity, but sometimes other projects take up most of my spare time and I don’t take the time to write a new post. Currently, I am working on a photo project.

I love photographs and especially the convenience and immediacy of digital photography. My husband’s generous cousin sent me a digital camera a couple of years ago - she was trying to inspire me to sell my handmade doll clothes on ebay (a future blogpost topic?). I keep the camera in my purse, so I have it with me most anytime a photo op presents itself. Downloading the pictures to the computer is so quick and easy with my digital memory card reader, I usually get the pics off the camera after each use. The photo editing software that is available today means every picture you take has great potential. I crop, remove red eye, adjust the contrast – whatever it takes to enhance the image to best capture that moment.

My photos are my screensavers at home and at work. They provide a slideshow every time I stop working for a moment. (Sometimes I’ll intentionally stop working just to watch a slideshow of some of my favorite people and times!)

But I was thinking about all of the pictures I have from before I went digital, sitting in albums in a trunk in our living room. There are some great pictures there, and some very important moments. I wanted to have them on my computer too. Knowing it was a huge undertaking, I started scanning photos. I started with the oldest pictures – photos of my ancestors.

Then I worked on my one album I have with pictures from my childhood. I didn’t sca n every photo, just my favorites and the ones that represent an important event or memory.

The old snapshots scan really well. Some that were too dark or fuzzy since the day they were taken on film and developed can actually be adjusted and fixed. The old prints that have faded can have the saturation adjusted and the color comes back to life. Shots that were so far away can be cropped - the subjects come to the forefront, bigger and clearer than ever. A couple have had marks and scratches and seemed worthless, but even those can be retouched and look better than ever.

Of the more "recent history" albums, I’ve only made it through from the time my husband and I met up to our wedding rehearsal. Obviously I have a long way to go – 18 years and 3 kids worth of pictures – probably about 30+ albums in all.

But when I’m through, it will all be worth it. I’ll be able to burn photo discs and make multiple copies to store in a fire safe and share them with my family. I envision the ease of creating graduation and wedding slideshows for the girls when the time comes. I’m certain I’ll be using more of them when posting to this blog – it may even provide new topics to post about.

I am really enjoying my trip down memory lane as I go through the old albums. As I add to my computerized pictures, the “old” photos start appearing in my screen saver slideshow – it really makes me happy to see them intermingled with the more recent ones.