Thursday, March 26, 2009


Gloria Steinem & Betty Frieden

Feminism defined: the belief that women matter as much as men do.

"I hate discussions of feminism that end up with who does the dishes," she said. So do I. But at the end, there are always the damned dishes.
Marilyn French, again

I've never really considered myself a feminist, but I am well aware that my life is better because of the vocal feminists of the last few decades. Feminism is not a subject that we discuss at my house. My husband does laundry, dishes, cooks, cleans, and was always an involved father. As a teacher he was home summers and holidays when I was working. He didn't start out this good, he's just a smart guy who looked around, saw things that needed doing and did them.

I knew before I married him that he loved kids. He also loves sports and teaching. He is an authority figure in the classroom, but he likes to have fun. His brand of humor borders on lame, but still he persists. He has been a very popular math teacher and coach--successful and happy in his career and life.

I have almost always worked outside the home. I'm just wired that way. I was a late bloomer--not finishing my degree until mid-life. Wish I had gotten it together way earlier. And, I should have been a teacher. The benefits are terrific--June, July, and August. Every year. Sigh... Now he has the pension and I have a very anemic 401(k).
Anyway, these comments on feminism are leading up to a celebration of today. 42 years ago today I had my first date with CA. Yep! The story continues...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them.

Oh, God, why don't I remember that a little chaos is good for the soul?

Both by Marilyn French

Lay-offs, terminations, down-sizing... The news is full of thousands. My dear friend just lost her job. Her first reaction is relief and acceptance--the full force of the loss will hit soon. We, the good workers, take such ownership in our jobs and careers that being made redundant is a tsunami. We see the wave coming, even assume it will make a direct hit, but still think there will be no devastation. After all, isn't hard work and loyalty rewarded?

The first rule for grief is to grieve, and the second is don't set a time limit. The third is that we will repeat the grief cycle more times than one can guess. And, months and years later we may be tempted to ruminate through the circumstances leading up to and following the loss.

We have work friends--friends because of proximity and shared experience. These friends don't usually make it into a world outside of the workplace. We will miss them. And, the stories... every day in the workplace generates stories. Some are ironic, some bitter. Some are just downright laughably ridiculous. We will miss these stories.

There is comfort in the routine, the familiar and predictable. Even if the workplace is dysfunctional--it is dysfunction we have learned to live with. And, the environment must have worked for me or why would I have stayed?

Ah-h-h... The truth is that we stay even when we are in pain and are frustrated beyond belief, because we fear change. We fear the tunnel of chaos that surrounds change. Even if we can be guaranteed that life will be better, simpler, less emotionally draining, many times we continue to hold on to the known rather than to take that step into thin air required by faith.

I remember a John Ortberg message--I think in his original series on Flow. He addresses just this topic saying that we stay in situations long past the time they work for us just to avoid taking the risk to step out in faith and trust that God will lead me through and teach me along the way. He will help us uncover lots--our character, priorities, and dreams. He will sustain us by his unending and unconditional love. And, we will find him sufficient. Every single time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This quote has been attributed to Dorothy Parker, and I love it. When I was working on my degree in communication [always singular according to the tradition of the English/Literature/Communication department of my alma mater] I really identified with Ms. Parker's comment.

Obviously, a degree in communication requires a LOT of writing. And, because I was working full time as an executive assistant in a busy corporation, I dedicated weekends to accomplishing the assignments. During that time I was a committed speed walker with a great wetlands walking path just a couple of blocks from my home. On writing Saturdays and Sundays I would head out early for my 3-1/2 miles walk--decompressing from the work week and clearing brain cells for the rigors of the keyboard.

It always worked! No surprises, some of my best ideas came during or just after a brisk walk. As soon as I arrived back at my house, I would head up to the computer--no procrastination, no delays. I was focused. It would sometimes be 3 or 4 hours before I would surface.

No matter what the assignment, by evening I was exhilarated with accomplishment and ready to set aside the project for editing after a refreshing night of sleep. I loved having written.

I also applied Dorothy's words to my commitment to walking or yoga. I didn't always love getting out of bed early to walk or head to the health club for yoga class, but I always LOVED having walked or yogied.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Flowers for Lorraine

My friend's mom died rather suddenly. She's the same grandma I wrote about back in September. The one I want to emulate as a grandma. She had a good long life and died a peaceful death--having attended mass with her family Sunday morning and then just running out of energy toward evening, winding down until she exhaled her last breath a day or so later. The funeral was a celebration of her life--with fond and joyful remembrances--just as she would have demanded.

My friend is an only child of an only child and she will miss her mom. For years she has stopped on her way to school to check in with Lorraine and again at the end of the school day she would drop her off at Andy's--a local diner--for a couple of hours so she could gossip and chat with the workers and other locals.

The priest knew Lorraine well and it makes such a difference. He spoke of belonging and how it can really be looked at as two words--be and longing. Many of us have trouble just being; requiring more action than the verb forms of to be. But, there is beauty and peace and contentment in learning to be. And, then there is longing. The longing that each of us experiences, sometimes called a God-shaped hole in one's heart, throughout our time on earth. He said that Lorraine definitely knew how to be and now she is with God and she belongs to him--all longings fully satisfied. Beautiful.