Saturday, September 23, 2006


I wish I would have had my camera earlier today. Here's a re-creation of the get the picture.


Plus This :

Plus this:

Plus this:

Equals a Good Laugh in the parking lot outside Starbucks this morning!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Chemistry of Love

I met with a cute student yesterday. He's an older guy who is completing pre-requisites for a business major. He's in some low-level math courses, working his way up to statistics. In addition to the business courses, he will also need to complete three lab science courses.

We were looking through the various science departments and came to chemistry. The chemistry courses require a college algebra prerequisite, so I said he should probably skip chemistry because he hasn't taken the math yet. He said, "That's OK. I'm not interested in chemistry anyway.....except for the Chemistry of Love."

It was so funny, we both started laughing. I'll probably always remember him when I talk about chemistry in the future.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Games and Goals

It's been a busy week at the ranch Sparky. Those academics sure do like to hear themselves talk. I had to attend two retreats and two staff meetings. This coming week we have two more days of in-service and more meetings. We are always trying to fix things, but somehow, things never seem to get fixed. Strange how that works, isn't it?

At one of the retreats we played some "getting to know you" games. One was "Two Truths and A Lie" where you write down two truths and one lie about yourself. The others have to guess which one is the lie. Seeing as how we didn't know anything about anyone, it was pretty hard to guess which was the truth and which was a lie.

The other game was actually kind of interesting Sparky. It was a communication game called Replication with "lookers", "runners" and "builders". We were divided into teams of about 5 or 6. Each table had these items: a paperback book, a clothespin, a green paper napkin, a blue latex glove, a medium size rock, and a ball point pen.

In another room the items were set up in a particular design. Only the lookers of each team could go see the display. The lookers could communicate information to the runners, who could ask any question. The runners came back to the tables and could only answer yes/no to the builders' questions. Using information from the runners, the builders had to create a display and try to match the original.

The exercise really did make us think about the problems with communication and middlemen and such. Which goes back to why things never seem to get fixed around here....

Anyway, after the truths and lies section, a woman at our table said she had met all of her life's goals and now doesn't know what to work towards. She's 27 years old Sparky! Can you believe this? She's either incredibly lucky and smart or incredibly naive. Again, seeing as I don't know her, I can't determine which it is. I'll need to investigate further.

When I was 27 I was pretty much still an unshaped wad of clay. I had finished college, moved to a new city, and was in graduate school. I had been married two years and we hadn't yet figured out how to "fight fair" or create a "win-win" situation. I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it. I was diagnosed with lupus and my health was a mess. My one and only goal was to get my shit together Sparky, and things didn't look promising.

Now at 51 I can say that I've met most of the goals I had set for myself. I've had a stable career. I make a good salary. My lupus is under control. I have a house. The husband and I get along pretty well. I understand those holes in my life. I'm a late bloomer.

When I first realized I'd made this progress, I felt worried Sparky....I mean, if I've figured everything out, what's left? I had reached the end. I guess the next logical step is to die. It made superstitious sense. But then I realized I CAN MAKE NEW GOALS FOR MYSELF!! What a concept!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where the Holes Are

The other day a colleague and I were talking about the losses in our lives. We both lost mothers when we were young girls and have had lasting "holes" in our lives. As children, we thought that other people didn't have the same kind of psychological holes that we had - and maybe didn't have holes at all! We were conscious of ours, tried to cover them up or fill them, and believed that no one else understood the concept.

As we've grown older, we've both come to realize that everyone seems to have some kind of hole in his or her life. Some big loss. Some major disappoinment. Some huge mistake. Something that they are trying to compensate for. Everyone struggles. Every family has a secret or two.

We thought it would be an interesting exercise to have people draw themselves with their holes. Maybe it's a hole in the heart, or one in the head, or the stomach, or the leg. Maybe there's more than one. It's not the kind of thing that could be shared lightly. But it would be enlightening to learn how people have coped.

Over time we find ways to soften the edges of a loss, fill it with other things or people, learn to live with it, or move beyond it. We usually return to visit it from time to time. It's part of our internal landscape and history.

Yesterday when I was at Starbucks I overheard a group of teenaged boys talking about their "real" dads and their "step" dads - and what the men could or couldn't do. They seemed to easily exchange stories in a matter-of-fact way. One said he wouldn't know his real dad if he saw him. I thought it was great that these kids could speak so openly about their lives and losses. When I was a kid I didn't know anyone with a step parent and felt different. Now it's just daily conversation, which is a really good thing.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Sexist Chatter

Yesterday I was reading Twisty Faster's blog called "I Blame the Patriarchy". She posted this lovely photo of a passed-out fellow.

Her post reminded me of an incident at a TJ Maxx store. I was quietly minding my own business when I heard a man talking really loud on his cellphone a couple of aisles over. He was telling some poor slob on the other end about his shopping observations. At the upscale grocery boutique shops downtown, he always sees beautiful, well-dressed, thin women. They wear nice clicky shoes and have shiny hair. At the local Fred Meyer stores (a local grocery/household/hardware chain) he sees fat, ugly, badly dressed women. He bemoaned the fact that they wear sweatpants and t-shirts. "Why don't pretty women shop at Fred Meyer?", he wanted to know.

Right away I felt offended because I shop at Fred Meyer and am not thin myself. I had to get a look at this guy. I mean, he had invaded my space with his sexist chatter! As I rounded the corner, there he was. Chubby. Bald. Homely. Wearing sweat pants. Bad Shoes. Pushing a cart. I thought, "How dare you judge women's appearance when you look so bad yourself - and you're shopping at a discount store???"

I felt like saying something to him, but I didn't. I figured it would be a waste of time. Sigh....why don't handsome, well-dressed men shop at discount stores? Why do they always go to Nordstroms?