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Watching “how it’s Made’ with Veronica

She tells me “I have a machine at my friend’s house”

She has been talking lately about friends. I don’t know if they are exactly imaginary, but they are not factual.

“It’s broken,” she continues.

But after further hounding of the dog (funny saying that) she says “But my friend fixed it.”

I answer, “What a nice friend.”

Hold that pose

My husband mocks me, but I love the 90s sci-fi series Babylon 5. To me, it had this amazing thread of a story through all the episodes and adventures.

There were these two warring alien races. They had a phrase…a verbal motif. One said:

Who are you?

The other said:

What do you want?

Oooohhh….evocative.

The show was winding up just as my first marriage was crashing and burning.  I was reeling to find myself in an existence that I had never imagined. I was 26 years old, staring in the mirror to say:

“Who are you? What do you want?”

I hear a lot of talk about how we need to protect the earth. Look at this horrifying list of endangered species! And those are just the ones we know about. There are probably dozens or hundreds of creatures that are undiscovered that we are already killing!

That’s terrible.

I remember learning in grade school about a climax ecosystem. That the earth had the possibility of making plants and supporting animal life to a certain level. All these nutrient resources—water, sunlight, soil, etc.—would combine to create the area’s ecosystem. And the most intense or climactic ecosystem would be a forest, but an area with few resources would be a desert.

We got the idea that the desert could be restored to being a rich jungle ecosystem if we could get the right resources to it. We lived near forest; deserts were not part of my Alaskan landscape.

But it was a concept that there is one end, the super-awesomest, or the existence that there is a best, an ultimate to strive for and achieve.

THAT!

Like the center stone of the labyrinth.

I feel like the tone of ecology has that same goal. The ‘THAT’ we need to achieve. Save the condors! Save the bugs and weeds and donate and

PRESERVE

Keep it the way it was, and spend lots of lots of effort and money and time to keep it or restore it.

Because we know it and love it and respect it. THAT IS WHO THE EARTH IS.

But what does the ecosystem want?

Like the chaos theorist in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”

Life is so destructive, and so diverse.  The life that I know best—my own—I know so little of. I am a mess, and I am different every day, even different from morning to night.

Just like everybody else.

As I discovered when I was 26, I better have a lighter grasp of what I am trying to preserve. As much as I wanted to stay in the same story of me being married to the same man my whole life, I realized to preserve that marriage was to destroy me.

My computer has this cool back-up system called Time Machine. It’s great, because if my computer crashes, I can go back to yesterday and grab EVERYTHING that I had saved on my computer that day.

I can pluck a moment of all the work I do on my computer, and call that forward. Maybe my book will have a chapter that I edit and hack at in a horrible way, and when I realize how wrong I was, I can GO BACK IN TIME to the moment before I made my horrible mistake.

It’s a nice safety net.

But my art is not written in stone. You know what? The best is yet to come.

I still don’t know who I am, but there is a lot of stuff I like about me. There is also a lot of stuff I wish I could stop doing. I am becoming and I want to keep on becoming long after I die. If my art and my relationship with the people I love stays on the hearts and minds, I will change and grow forever.

That’s what I want.

Tuesday

Hello Blog.

What are we up to this week?

 

*I* am busy doing busy work. NOT the important work I think I should be doing.

what I SHOULD be doing is doing the organizing of what I should be doing.

that’s the irony. It’s not the what, it’s the platform of the what. And that’s long before we get to the how.

I’m in a parenting patch. SHe’s robbing my sleep and nobody is happy about it.

of course, my sleep has always been community property.

so, I shouldn’t resent that I don’t get it for myself.

but it’s hard to be reasonable when you aren’t getting sleep.

it’s tough

reader appreciation week

It’s that thing everyone is saying:

KIDS these days!

They want a trophy for everything. Their helicopter parents hand out ribbons and awards, so they expect it. They are bursting with self-esteem.

…except they aren’t. A lot of them know that those trophies are meaningless. What are they really good at amongst all the accolades? Who are the real friends among all the likes and followers.

My Dad likes to tell the story about his college professor telling him, in the 1950s, that he and his classmates were part of a very very few who were going to college.

At the time he said it, it had ceased to be true.

The 15 minutes of fame isn’t true anymore either.

We are all nobodies in broad view.

Step out the front door like a ghost into a fog
Where no one notices the contrast of white on white

What matters? And how can I make sure that I do?

In this highly and lightly connected world, we are like dandelion fluff, beautiful all together until the weak wind separates.

No! please don’t go!! We had something here…

Publishing a book, or a weekly column, used to be very rare. But not anymore. ISBN numbers are proliferating like weeds.

That nasty inner voice seems to be right. This thing that I am doing, that I am compelled to do because I am who I am, doesn’t matter.

I have almost 100 subscribers to the Weekly Wonder. 100! When Paris Hilton has 11 MILLION people following her tweets. I have shy of a hundred.

And most of the people subscribed do not read it.

That bums me out.

Until I see that some 30-odd people do read what I have to say. And they think it’s important, they listen and tell me that it makes them think.

Some of them read my week’s writing more than once.

That matters. That’s a connection, not a fluff passing on the wind.

Small town, tiny stage. Like It’s a wonderful life, that movie that says how one man made his mark on the world, ordinary and untraveled. He was nobody important to anybody but the people to whom his life’s actions had changed everything.

They say that kids these days want to be famous. And we forget that we all already are, to the people who love our faces and have since forever.

That’s enough. In fact, it’s quite a lot.

The universe forgot the concert tickets

The universe did not align for me to go to the folk music festival today. Dammit. I had been thinking I wanted to go. I didn’t find out when it was happening or anything, but I was still thinking I wanted to go.

Now it’s happening and I am not there. I am at home finishing a load of dishes. I could be spontaneous and just GO!

“MOMMEEE!!! I CAN’T FIND MY PRINCESS!”

no. no I cannot be spontaneous anymore.

So, what I really want to do is drive around and listen to Dido and Johnny Cash and cry.

I am woman hear me weep

I will roar if someone asks me what’s wrong.

 

Do not break the melancholy enchantment of a fine and pleasant self-pity.

We’re always changing

J. Ruth Gendler’s Book of Qualities addresses ideas and emotions with illustrations and personifications. Here is something she says about despair:

“She is persuasive, eloquent and undeniably well-informed. If you attempt to change her mind you will come away agreeing with her.”

If you look for them, there are a lot of facts. There are facts for anything.

But a little bit of leaven raises the whole batch. And maybe that’s the faith that raises me out of despair. Despair is easy. Somehow it’s easier to believe in bad things. The bad things seem to linger.

I feel the wind.  I hear it. I see what damage it’s done. I see all the disasters that almost happen and feel a flash of terror and pain as if they just did.

But the wind doesn’t blow forever. The vane says the wind is changing. There are no facts for what’s about to happen; good things are always possible.

The sun is always there and it will show its face.

what’s the prize?

It’s Chris’s birthday. We started they day at 4 am…*I* started it by a request for water. I handed child duties back to daddy at 4:30. At 5:15 we had an exhausted contest.

DO NOT challenge me to an exhausted contest as YOU ARE WALKING BACK TO BED and I AM GETTING DRESSED FOR WORK.

Plus…the exhausted contest…even if you win, it’s not a prize you want.

and this is his birthday. I shall probably have to wait to tell him we should not get into exhausted contests in the middle of the night.

Happy freaking birthday.
I need coffee

the value of quality

during my brief stint as a consultant during a merger, I was talking to a director, explaining what needed to happen to keep the department running well.

He said “Maybe we dont want it to run that well.”

I burst into tears.

What had I been working for? What had I been breaking my back for?

Fastforward. In the Project management book of knowledge they define ‘quality’. It’s what is desired by the person/group paying for it.

your opinion doesn’t come into it. Do what your told.

Thats the lot of the modern knowledge worker.

So John Henry went up against the steam engine. That stupid stupid steam engine that plodded along, doing nothing but driving nails into the railroad track.

My project manager mind says, I bet there was a whole new step with this steam engine nail-driving technology. I bet it drove in a lot of crooked nails.

I bet John Henry did not.

but quality was not what was desired.

I wonder. i bet there is the boss-ego in the industrial revolution taht can’t be ignored.

 

Where is that road headed?

Had to make a long haul drive for work today in an old company van. Because he felt sorry for me, my sweet husband burned some music CD.

“Nothing that makes me think,” I said. “I have to drive for four hours starting at 5 AM. “

I started with the Isley Brothers, which was some good funk. On to Van Halen (because I might as well Jump), and through Shirley Brown.

No man should give his lady a Shirley Brown album. I was loving how good she was, and grateful that Chris had introduced me to her, but men do not come out looking good after she’s done singing.

It was a long stretch of highway. Let me tell you.

Now, the next one. “Hello. I’m Johnny Cash.” At Folsom prison in 1968.

I know two things about the next week or so. I will be listening to this music wherever I drive and I will not be wearing mascara.

You could fly around the world on a jet plan in 1968. But Johnny Cash was playing the guitar like a railroad train. A train. And everything about it made sense. It still does as I am driving the interstate.

Who made this interstate? Some high school dropout making Davis Bacon?  As the white lines flick past me making a trip for a boss I don’t like to fix a machine that nobody uses and somebody broke on purpose—the story of John Henry is making me cry.

John Henry killed himself to prove a point nobody believed, but everyone hoped could be made.

Everyone.

Trains take you places. Maybe it was your idea. But once you are on it, it’s not a choice anymore.

Chugga chugga Chugga chugga

The highway, now, that’s freedom! On the Road! Great Gatsby

aaOOOgah

Once you are on it, though, maybe it’s not a choice. Keep up with the flow of traffic, stop and go or break your neck.

This automobile that we don’t even know how to fix anymore without calling in a specialist, that we pay and clean and park and house—we think it’s independence.

At least a train would let you ride for free if you were fast enough to catch it.

I’m not saying that we should go back to trains—as if we could! That train left the station even before Johnny Cash and the other country and blues artists made it a symbol.

In 1968 Johnny Cash was singing to the rhythm of the train tracks. The same radios were playing songs that led to protests and “damn the man!” and “Fight the power!” and teaching people to resist the establishment.

That’s not what’s on the radio now.

We are products of our times. Shall we admire the jail cell with GPS that we spend the teaspoons of our life on–maintaining and paying for? Yes we shall. Yes, I do. I do not always recognize that Automobile and that interstate and that parking space as the non-choice it is.

I don’t know what the answer is. I’m so sorry for all the John Henrys. But I do not want the guitar music of the train tracks, as my car bumps over the potholes and jagged asphalt to be lost on me, even if I don’t know what exactly to do about it. Even if I can’t make as many choices as I’d like right now.

John Stuart Mill, I have to drag you into it again,

“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”

I am not asking for a revolution. I can’t do a revolution right now. But I don’t want to forget the other sides of the question.