Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some Questions Answered

I am so weary right now, but the good kind of weary. Half-way through a second weekend 20 hour intensive (yes, that is 10 hours of study today and 10 again tomorrow, did the same last weekend). It is excellent material regarding the spiritual development of junior youth (12-14 yrs old, approx). Unique in that we are learning to be "animators". Not teachers, not facilitators, "animators".

Animator: One that provides or imparts life, interest, spirit, or vitality.

Yeah, that is what we were learning how to do! Essential to the course is acknowledging the innate qualities of junior youth.

Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves -- a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being. Ye would find yourselves independent of all else but Me, and would perceive, with your inner and outer eye, and as manifest as the revelation of My effulgent Name, the seas of My loving-kindness and bounty moving within you. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 326)

I must repeat this. Essential to the course is acknowledgment of the innate qualities of pre-youth. Can you imagine what our educational system would be like if teachers acknowledged who it was they were teaching? What they were teaching?

We learned, studied and talked. About these precious souls who are our tomorrow and how they are being lost to apathy and materialism due to the influence of the adults they are surrounded by. We blame "society" but who makes up "society"? We blame advertising and the movies, yet who provides the profits for both of these to go forward. We talked about how many want "laws" to cover so many things individual freedom is completely stifled, yet the overall human condition still does not improve. Life gets "better" for a few at the oppression of many.

Another important concept we focused on was that we were helping to create junior youth groups but they owned them. It was a "group" and not a "class". We weren't there to lecture or moralize. We were there to guide allowing them to own their behaviors which mean they owned their accomplishments as well as their failures. Modeling behavior that showed them mistakes were an accepted part of growth. Looking for opportunities to serve the community in meaningful ways (do not be the 20th canned food drive through the neighborhood, unless it is directly helping their neighborhood and they thought of and are implementing it).

Service is another core area of the junior youth group. Showing them that they are capable of being the catalyst for change in their environment is one of the most empowering things we will be able to impart to them. Through a recognition of their innate abilities, learning to cultivate those abilities for the betterment of humanity, they can learn that there is more to life than just survival, more to life than just self gratification, more to life than having what or more than the neighbor has.

As I said, very exciting, but so much to cram into 10 hours. And the past week has been so very hectic. It seems like all the news happens in one week, people to interview, phone calls to make, meetings to go to. All top of that I have diligently been dodging doctors for the last two years so this last week was crammed with appointments of the sorts that people my age are supposed to have done yearly, and people with my "condition" (Fibro) are supposed to have attended to every three months, and people having "survived" what I did (cancer) are supposed to really take serious at the 20 year mark (which was 2 years ago). Who has time for that? I had to make time for it under threats from hubby and family. Hours at the doctors, hours at the hospital waiting for this test and that mri. Could they try to make that drink more disgusting, please?

This next week is crammed, again! More testing on Monday, off to Beaverton on Tuesday to sign final estate paperwork. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are three different seminars that I am reporting on and right now I am so tired I can't remember what on. I know one of them is FERC related, another is climate but for the life of me I can't remember the third. Man, I hope I remembered to put it on my cell phone calendar.

And now to top it off I come home so late and find NCO is "littered" with so much off topic garbage I want to weep. With it now being picked up by Capitol Clips (legislator news service in Salem) we really can't afford to have the junk that one in particular seems to collect remaining on the site. Then I get to bare the brunt of his wrath when it is erased. Ah well, that's what I get the big bucks for, eh?

I should run a column like Ann does and call it Some Questions Answered.

"The big bucks you accuse me of being paid? I am paid less than a county commissioner."

"No, I do not participate in partisan politics, I do try to present a point of view that appears is not being presented anywhere else."

"No big corporation, or small corporation, or anyone else monetarily supports We get by on side jobs that the editor (Tryan Hartill) and myself take on. Such as building websites, or working 16 hours a day at a smokehouse. At this time we feel that by not accepting advertising dollars we can provide a point of view that is beholden to no one. We lose nothing, nor do we gain anything, dependent upon the news we choose to run or how we choose to run it."

Because we are freer to run articles unfettered by financial ties we feel honor bound to present those views that are less seen, are being marginalized, silenced or refused in other media.

What I find revealing is that some people appear to complain more about something they receive for free more then something they have paid for.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We Wii all the day at home

For the last year our support group has been discussing the benefits of Wii and the various games, especially Wii fit, in helping with balance issues as well as overall workouts, especially in bad weather.

I finally broke down and bought one, for my father of course. And, given the expense, for the rest of the family, too. Honestly, I didn't think we would use it all that much. However, the last time the "family" had a game system my son was my grandson's age. My father does use it, and it has been a lot of fun watching him ski down the slopes. The first few times he attempted the ski jump he did a perfect snowball. We all laughed so hard at the look on his face!

My mom and grandson race one another on Mario racecar. Round and round and round? Umm, not so much. Mom's eyesight is slightly askew since the tumor on her optical nerve a while back and Grandson is three. At the beginninng, half of the time they are both going in the opposite direction. Now, they both are pretty good. Mom's eyesight, of course, hasn't gotten any better but she adapts well. Grandson does better each time he plays but he isn't real big on sharing, the big baby.

Eldest and our son, of course, do the best and we use their car licenses since they have opened up more of the race courses. To even try to race either of them is a practice in frustration. They just plain cheat, shooting turtle shells at you if you get ahead of them flipping bananas at you when you are right behind them. Stupid show offing cheaters.

Yeah, Wii teaches a lot about sportsmanship and family unity! One of the fun family games, actually, is the bowling one. As competitive as our family can be we actually play WITH one another when we bowl and not AGAINST one another. High fives, coaching (ya' weirdo's notwithstanding), cheers and an occassional toppling over of the screen since we connect the Wii up to the projector and show it on the "big" screen. Ah, yes, good times!

I, actually, have to monitor myself and I dread getting an actual fantasy game because I would really lose myself in it. With the amount of research I do (and you just wouldn't believe the amount I do on an article) sometimes I have cranial overload. A mindless game on the Wii is perfect to just let me vegetate out while I am sorting through all of the info I recently downloaded. The problem being all of a sudden two hours has gone by instead of twenty minutes! ACK!!! Thank goodness for the shrill voice of the Grandson whining, "Its MY TURN 'Bika! Yer, supposta share!" Or, "I'm telling!"

I look around in bemusement. We are all sitting here staring at the screen, who's he going to run off and tell?

PS> Ask Hubby how well he does on the game! Heeheeeheeee! Kaden can at least someone!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wading in the Shallow End of Humanity

Sometimes, the shallowness of my own self appalls me. I really wanted to be emotional about this inauguration. It is a big deal. It is a historic moment. It does mean things have dramatically changed and whether or not one agrees or disagrees that this was the man to do it, we have finally progressed to the point where a black man in the white house is a reality.

Saying that does bring a sense of awe to my mind. And I think, later, after many years go by, this will have been an historic moment. Yet, watching it unfold on Tuesday I could only feel a glimpse of it here and there. I saw a child of about nine or ten in the crowd along the parade route suddenly overcome with emotion and bury his head in his hands. A sob of pride?

Of course, we were watching it via ESPN, so it was sports announcers giving commentary and one of the sport people they were interviewing said that when he was going to school a white teacher would say, "You live in America, you know how great that is? You can be anything, even the president." And he thought, "not us!" and how that is now changed. Black children can really believe they can be anything.

Hearing that story I felt something, but when the camera would flash back to the live action I felt nothing. A part of me was anxious. I did fear that a shot was going to ring out. The trust Obama has in the men in black is something I don't have. The fanfare was so remote, almost the way Christmas felt this year. As if it was something one just had to do to get on to something else. You wanted it to be good, and people to enjoy it and be happy but you didn't feel connected to it.

Grandson K loves his new president. Calls him "Rocko Bama". He knows Rocko's wife's name but not his daughters. "That's okay, their kinda old" he said. "I probably won't see them at school". Ya' think?

What startled me the most, and here shows me swimming in the shallowest pools of humanity, in all of the hallaballoo over Obama, in keeping NCO updated and doing my own research, the thing that rocked my boat was coming across the evidence that .....

I am older than the President of the United States of America. WHAT? When? How? Why? Someone younger than me is making decisions regarding the fate of, virtually, the entire world??? If he pushes "that" button, that could be it! I look at my hubby, and God love him for all of his virtues, but he is a pup! And he has seen a lot of the world and done a lot of stupid things and learned a lot from his mistakes but you and I both know he's going to be making a whole heck of a lot more. And Obama? Has he made enough MISTAKES to have learned well from them?

I mean, I am kinda old, but not really. When someone is in the drivers seat of the world, don't you want them to be experienced, don't you want the testing "why don't we try this?" "what the hell!" phase to be over? I think I am hyperventillating. What were people thinking about? They want CHANGE? Constant change or consistent change? AAACK!

I am older than the president! Maybe that is a good thing? Maybe, suddenly, youth have gotten smarter? Or is middle age just older? He still has children in grade school, for cripes sake! Okay, several friends of ours still have children in grade schoool. But, can you make rational decisions when the teacher is griping at you that your spending more time with the pentagon than with your daughter on her math homework and therefore she probably is going to hate science when she hits high school and its all your fault? Or will Michelle take the hit for all of that? And, honestly, do I care?

Random thought: I wonder what would have happened had Michelle announced she would prefer to homeschool? Crap, I'm older than the first lady, too.

Is there anyone old around these people? Whew, there's Hilary, and Biden is almost 20 years older. No, not much age but a lot of travel. His team of advisers has travelled the globe, many of them raised outside of the United States. Their view of how the world sees the US definately shaped from the outside in. Will it be enough?

Will how you lived be enough instead of how long you've lived? Will learning from others mistakes be enough, rather than learning from your own? Will taking responsibility for others actions be acceptable and will you have enough room to be able to take the blame for your own actions as well?

And all the while that I watched and think all of these thoughts I am still so shallow and vain. I would never have thought forty-eight hours would mean so much.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Goodbye, Kathy Grammer

Devon Gundry's tribute to Kathy Grammer

Red Grammer singing Kathy's song See Me Beautiful on the Great Wall of China

Thank-you for your songs and, with your husband Red, bringing so much joy to our children, our lives and our car trips. Rest well and then have a blast. May you be called on often.