Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Friday, June 28, 2013

More subliminal messages...

Go here to play this game...

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Tears :: of a clown. Seriously. I just had a vivid picture of a velvet painting of clowns sitting around a poker table smoking cigars and swigging beer...and the one clown with the upside down smile is losing.
  2. Press :: Freedom of. Unbiased. Just the facts. Human stories. Oh, wait. Do we have this anymore?
  3. Rowboat :: I'm going swimming today because it is 100 degrees and I'm on vacation!
  4. Society :: I'd like to find my own niche in society.
  5. Magazine :: I used to have 2 or 3 subscriptions at any one time. Now I can't remember the last time I even picked one up to read from the grocery store. I'd like to know how some of them get away with the headlines they write on the covers...
  6. Mars :: If there was a spot for me, I'd go tomorrow.
  7. Gone bad :: Starting to turn.
  8. Celebrity :: When all it takes is a sex tape, I don't think this word can be taken seriously anymore.
  9. Umbrella :: I don't use one anymore. In south Texas, if it is raining, it is a downpour.
  10. Core :: Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

God's Country Say What?

It's supposed to be 100 degrees in south Texas today. I melted into my couch just a little bit as I typed that sentence. My $155 electric bill from last month is already laughing at the new power bill that will arrive in my mailbox in a few weeks. I might have to start selling off extra body parts to pay for my air conditioning. Anyone need some fat to make soap? A kidney? In the meantime, it's 74 degrees and raining gently in western Washington. Their biggest worry is some million-dollar mansion sliding down a saturated hillside. But I guess it's all about perspective.

We went to a barbeque last week and sat outside around the fire pit with friends from work and their family. It was in the 90's but - yes - we sat around a fire. Someone said something about this being God's country and I politely nodded in agreement...but on the inside I was not convinced. What, exactly, makes a place God's country?

I love to read the newspapers of places where I've lived. I feel like I'm keeping up on people and events that I cared about...until too much time has passed. I was just reading the newspaper for Port Townsend, Washington. I barely feel a connection to PT anymore. When I read the captions below the pictures, I look for surnames that I recognize and then wonder if these are the children of people I went to high school with decades ago. At one point, I might have called that place God's country, but now it feels like I'm looking into a stranger's home through their kitchen window. I don't know anyone and I don't recognize the faces in the room. If I lived there, what would I be doing for a living? Who would I be married to? Where would I live? At one point in time, I wanted to stay there, but once I left to go to college there never seemed to be a way to go back. Life moved on like a swift river.

My family and I have moved around quite a bit over the last 20 years. The two places we lived the longest are in Washington and Oregon; yet they are places we can't go back to because of the lack of employment. One of the things this recession has done - along with the rise of the $10 an hour job and fall of unionized manufacturing and family wage jobs - is create a class of rootless people. I used to think our roots were in the Pacific Northwest, but no longer. Along with countless others, we have moved for the jobs. Texas is one place where there are a lot of jobs, but not an over-abundance of high paying jobs. It takes a lot of work to find a good job. I have no problem with that, so here we are in Texas - the antithesis of the PNW tree hugging hippies - where good Republicans have hunkered down and are determined to keep fighting the good fight. Is this God's country? Maybe it depends on what you think God is saying...

So, as we were sitting around the fire at the barbeque, eating steak and beans, throwing scraps to the lurking dogs and getting to know each other, I looked at the fields surrounding the house. The live oak trees were magnificent, the grass was tall from all the rain and a breeze kept the flies away. Maybe this is all we need. I used to love the lack of roots for my family, thinking that our life together was an adventure; and it has been an adventure.

But eventually, we all run out of road, slow down and have to settle wherever that road has taken us. Never in a million years would I have guessed south Texas. No ocean beaches (don't get me started on the Gulf), no 120-foot fir trees, no mountains with snow on them all summer, and just two seasons: Hot and cool.

What we do have are paychecks, a place to live, an abundance of schools and an abundance of jobs for our children. Perhaps it's dependability, that what we need is going to be here for as long as we want it, that makes a place God's country. Owning 60 acres, planning out where the cattle will graze, building a fire pit at the edge of the lawn for barbeques, and watching the sun rise, pass over and set on your own land is enough to make someone feel like this is a place unlike any other.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finding the Things I Want

You know that feeling of possibility when you turn in an application for a job that is meant to be yours? Yeah. That's how I feel. But then the rational part of my mind says odds are you won't even get a phone call.

I was talking to someone last night who applied for the same job and my fantasy of more money and a better job evaporated. That person has way more to offer; more degrees, more experience, more answers to the questions that will be asked in an interview.

I hate it when I feel like this.

So, I wrote a couple of story pitches and felt a little bit better. And next week I start my volunteer work with a local animal shelter where I will not only play with dogs and cats but have the opportunity to write copy for animals up for adoption. This makes me feel happier than any other job I've applied for lately. I guess I know where my heart wants to be, while my brain just wants to make more money.

Since the end of April, when I last posted, I've been doing a lot of soul searching. May was a month of insanity at work; too much to do and not enough people to get it all done. But did I really love what I was doing? Not really. I felt like I was just treading water and not really contributing anything of worth. June didn't improve, until now that I'm on vacation. One of the traps I fall into easily is making the mistake of thinking that just because I can do a job well that this is the job I have to keep. I'm lucky I have a job, but there has to be something more waiting for me...somewhere...