Sunday, August 14, 2011

Applying what was learned

Oh boy, the kids are coming back from two months at camp.  Now I get to test what I learned.  And, observe how I change with this new dynamic, and how my relationship with my husband changes with this new dynamic.  I believe we call this "walking the walk."

It is easier to live alone because the only person you have to negotiate with is yourself; and sometimes that is enough.

Two people make it interesting, like a dance.  Lots of room for closeness, then popping away, trying new moves apart and together and even facing in opposite directions sometimes.

Three or more, and anything can happen.  Sometimes it looks choreographed so well that it takes one's breath away.  But then, one enterprising person might decide to try a new step which upsets the choreography, but in the long run elevates the entire group to an entirely new approach.  Or, there might just be general mayhem with everyone spinning in their own orbits.

In my case, these additional three are wonderful young people who are in the midst of learning to be adults while still very much being my children.  Messy, brilliant, frustrating, amazing, argumentative, loving and generally more than I ever will have expected.  They will never disappoint me, although it seems like that on a really bad day.  I hope I don't disappoint them.

I am going to jump ahead a couple of years, and make a future observation.  When I began my next "career" and work with people who I am not related to, helping them to solve problems in their organizations or companies, and to improve how they communicate, I think I might be bringing some valuable experience.

Here's to the end of camp, and the beginning of the next legs of our journeys!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Getting back to square one

Wow!  It's back-to-school time.  I feel like this is such a multi-layered statement this morning.

The world's financial markets, and everything connected, sound like they would all like to get back to some earlier point of stability.  Was it really a stable point?  Or was it just a strange innocence?  That one is way beyond what I would like to tackle this morning.

My personal world, at the moment, is all about tying up the loose ends and reviewing what I have planned for the fall.  I had dinner with some really interesting and lovely people last night; all parents.  We were considering a couple of big questions about education:  what do we need to teach our children and what sort of careers will they be moving toward?  Age-old questions, right?

I'm feeling that it is not about the specific areas of content, although it is good to know about history, to read classics, to be able to develop a solid paragraph.  It's about having a suitcase filled with tools, and knowing how to use them no matter what the situation.  And, figuring out what really feels important and interesting -- aka, identifying a passion.

I'm hoping that during this school year I can stay focused on this with my kids.  I'm also hoping that they can learn to use those tools and passions effectively when they move into the swirling waters of the bigger world!

Recently, I have decided to re-read Getting to Yes, to help me to not get caught in the details of the daily negotiations of life.  I'm feeling like sending a couple hundred copies to Congress.  In my fantasy world I go do a workshop about effective communication with those people!

Ok, it's time to take the dogs out and get into the day.  I'm headed in the direction of "square one."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

I was watching the first dvd from the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts the other night, and heard Paul Simon sing "Here Comes the Sun".  He commented that this was written by a dear friend of his.  So, I did some investigation, and I think George Harrison wrote it.

Even if George didn't write it, I have now purchased his version of it on ITunes, along with several other songs I found while investigating.  Those guys at ITunes are very sneaky.  I'm looking for something specific and then I find myself bathed in wonderful music.  But, because most of the music that is purchased from ITunes in my house is on my computer, I also listen to Rihanna, Eminem and K'naan.  And, I have been to a Lady Gaga concert with my husband, not our kids.

So, what does this have to do with my blog?

I love connecting; with people, people with other people, ideas with people, solutions with problems.  I have been doing some written exercises about what I like, what I'm good at and why this is important.  A break away from everyday life, in a place I've wanted to spend time in, with no dogs or kids, and a daily hike is a GREAT time to do written work.  So now I have some written lists that in which I have highlighted words, analyzed and grouped similarities, and can maybe explain in less than my usual 20 minutes what direction I am taking.  I think this might be good.

I read Ellen Airgood's (author of South of Superior) blog and loved how she shares about her life.  I read Jonathan Fields' blog and felt some kindred observations.  I am hoping that I can write so it will be easy to read or you will leave the page feeling I have helped you to reframe a situation.

When I was young, and watching a lot of tv, I remember seeing an advertisement for BASF.  Their line was "we don't make things, we make them BETTER."  That struck me then, and it still strikes me.  I am a recycler and a reuser.  I want to help people do what they do MORE EFFICIENTLY or MORE EFFECTIVELY.  Or, I want them to realize the answers are right there among their people, if they could just tilt the focus a little.

So, I haven't learned anything new about myself by because I have experience my observations have more depth.  And, I am deeply grateful to be staying in a place built by people who appreciate the awesome natural beauty that surrounds it.  George's voice is fragile compared to Eminem's, but it is perfect to usher the sun into my day.  It makes me very happy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm refueling, not raising my debt ceiling!

I took a hiatus and now after the end of the school year and some busy work I am back.  I have had a very productive hiatus, and am feeling restored.

Right at this very moment I am sitting in a cabin in Colorado, which has been a goal of mine for the past several years.  It is peaceful and exciting all in the same space.  I really needed a break from the heat and congestion of New York City.  In order to successfully live in a challenging place like New York City I have to leave, regularly.  I haven't done that over the past year and it exacted a toll.  Now, I feel like my fuel tank is getting refilled.

June and July were action-packed.  One daughter was in Comedy of Errors in a theater on the lower Eastside of NYC.  In the middle of that our 1998 Dodge minivan was stolen right from in front of our block in a very safe neighborhood.  One daughter was working on an IMovie about Lemurs.  Our son was tying up loose ends in order to spring free for his long-awaited summer.  Then the kids needed to get to camps in the "north countries" of New York and Vermont.  Thank God for my wonderful father-in-law and all of his support!

In that short expanse of time I learned about being an owner of a stolen vehicle and an owner of a new "used" vehicle purchased from a dealership located in the outlying Bronx.  Even though I have a detective named Angel he has not miraculously found my stolen minivan.  Apparently, someone needed it more than us.

Our home is clean, neat and somewhat decluttered with the help of wonderful Teresa and amazing Dawn Falcone.  I've been to Yankees' games we lost and games we won.  I played my first 9 holes of golf.  We visited our happy children in their camps. 

Finally, we took a ferry to Block Island for a week with the dogs and real restoration began.  I have a tan, the dogs had a field all to themselves, and I reconnected with a friend from several years ago.  Sometimes it seems that nothing big changes on Block Island, and that is comforting because it is perfect just as it is.  I even walked around the Ancient Labyrinth asking myself what I am really seeking.  That must be how I ended up here in a cabin in Colorado.  Among the Aspen trees which sing in the wind, with the sound of a stream and train whistles in the background.  Alone, with my soul mate for a few more weeks.

I like refueling.