Saturday, August 29, 2009

“...[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in — and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves.” -Ted Kennedy

In reading the New York Times today, I came across the text of the euology given by President Obama for Mr. Kennedy. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about Ted Kennedy- his brothers were the ones who were seen to be heroically larger than life, since their lives were abruptly ended- something that happens to the ones who left us too soon. But reading about Ted Kennedy's life is inspirational in a realistic way. He was a real person who did what he thought was right and had friends across the board - of all colors, denominations and political parties. Definitely things we could all aspire to.

President Obama said:
"We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God’s plan for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings."

From poet, William Woodsworth's Character of the Happy Warrior
"As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness."

May we all live with more tenderness.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

T six days and counting

Until I get my house back, that is.

And then one week of crazy frenzy will ensue as I prepare the house for sale. My beloved Portland house, which I bought just under four years ago.

I'm looking forward to filling the spirit of the house with me again before I sell it. Making coffee in the butler's pantry. Plunking the keys on the piano, filling the air with notes which acoustically dance in the high-ceiling'd architecture. Covering up the marks of renters who didn't love my house as their own, but treated it as a temporary abode.

While the advice of most is to retain the house: "Wait til the market bumps up again"- "Hire a property manager". The reality is that renters become exponentially more difficult with distance of the home owner.

So I am holding my breathe a little as I wait for the walk-through on the 31st of August. Hoping my little place will return to me as sweetly as I left her.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm tired of the politics in the US

You know, what if we just did the right thing?

What if we acted each day with love? In every encounter? In every decision?

What kind of world would it be? 

What if everything didn't revolve around money and status?

What if we took care of our neighbour as our own?

What if people acted with conscience? Honest conscience. Rather than thinking, "What's in it for me?" What about me? How can I keep it all to myself? 

Who is happy when they hoard their things? Their abilities? Their love? Their money? 

I don't get it. I don't want to read anymore newspapers. I don't even want to know. I think I am happy living in the bubble of my own mind and seeing what I see. Otherwise I am reminded that the world is not as nice of a place as I would see it on my own. And I think that is sad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ecstasy on Wheels.

Now don't be alarmed that I've gone to the dark side. I'm still too much fun without wacking up my system on illegal and unregulated drugs. 

I'm talking about the bicycle. The thing you got when you were five. Well I did anyway. I got it when I was four, but it didn't really count until I was five when I plowed down the dirt hill next to our house in Alexandria without training wheels. From then on, my love affair with the bicycle has been unstoppable. 

Yesterday, I decided to break out the bucks and pay $40 for a new U-lock after finding my old U-lock in my storage but no keys to match. Without the U-lock, it's really tough to get around town on two wheels... especially when you're riding your baby sister's borrowed bike. (Try saying that five times fast.)

The glory was mine as I sped down the streets, on my way to meet a dear friend (Shanta) for coffee. I thought, I love biking! I love biking! I don't think I will ever stop loving biking. Somehow I am usually surprised at this thought when it's been a while since my last ride. One day I will learn who I am am, and not be surprised.

At the coffeeshop today, we saw an older woman (about 80) sitting at the sidewalk table having a coffee by herself and I said, "I hope I'm like that when I'm her age." 

Shanta said, "You'll probably still be riding your bicycle." 

I hadn't even thought of that. I hope I am. I'm not too proud to get one of those tricycle bikes either. I will ride to my last day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Isn't that true?

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be"-Lao Tzu

I found this quote on the webpage of friends of friends who are living in a van in Australia and traveling. I guess I'd have to buy a car first to start living out of it, but it's something to think about.

I've just trudged through a 600 page job application. (Only a slight exaggeration.) Later today, I hope to relocate my diplomas (which are somewhere in a box in my storage unit of my old house) and also my all-in-one printer/scanner/copier so that I can be my own personal secretary. Though the life-wasting fun of Kinkos will be certainly be missed.

I'm in Portland housesitting for a friend who's in North Dakota until the 25th. Carrie and Oatie and I all roadtripped back a couple days ago. Twenty-one hours in one day is not for the faint of asphalt. The last two hours of driving while not feeling the back of my head from exhaustion has cured me of any urges for a crazy-as long road trip.

Also on my plate is that I'm waiting to get possession of my house, which has now upped to August 31, which hopefully means the bugger will sell and then I will be released of the pain of landlordship. Highly unrecommended. But it's an experience I guess.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

North Dakota Cultural Experience

A few days ago, my mom, Carrie, Oatie and I were making our way back to Minot in the car from Grand Forks. We were all talking loudly (everyone yells in ND, even in the car- it's just the way it is) when my mom said, "Listen!" Carrie and kept talking anyway. Finally after a minute or so, she said, "This was Ellen's favorite song when I was in high school." So we started to listen. "My ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling. Won't you to play with my ding-a-ling." Chuck Berry. On the Devil's Lake radio station, 102.5. Those dirty North Dakotans!

This of course, resulted in a sharing of our own personal favorite dirty songs, which I won't divulge here unless you send me an email with your personal favorite dirty song, and then I'll happily sell all my family's secrets!

So now I return to the matter at hand: North Dakota Cultural Experiences.

My favorite: North Dakota Museum of Art on the University of North Dakota Campus.

We'd stopped in Grand Forks on the way back to Minot and at my stuck-record insistence, we finally made it through the doors of the museum to experience rock sculptures which you could actually touch and photos of North Dakota and Northern Minnesota, which were beyond outstanding. The photography by Chuck Kimmerle, who moved to Grand Forks in 1996 to work in photojournalism, was entitled Unapologetic Landscape. Several of the pictures featured hoar frost on the trees or bales. I mention this because my mom seems to love to find a way to work "hoar frost" into her conversations, so of course she was delighted with the photos as much as I. Dirty North Dakotans!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Personal Schedule Update Time

As you all know by now, any scheduling of mine must be taken with a massive grain of salt. (The kind horses lick.) But here goes anyway...

Current city: Bemidji, MN (the place of my birth in 1976)

Aug 7: Traverse to Minot, ND with my mom and Carrie and Oatie.
Aug 11: Drive back to Portland with Carrie and Oatie in Carrie's Prius. (Will be rooming with Nate, a very old friend, in Portland.)
Aug 26-30+: Working holiday in Tacoma. Yes, Tacoma. They formerly had a problem with gangs, so tried to remedy the situation by creating an artist's enclave. I hope it worked. I plan to check out the art galleries.
September: Open.
Sept 30: Regain possession of house in Portland. Will likely try to sell the house by owner for a couple weeks and see if I get any biters.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve about jobs, but will wait until a few things settle down before I make any moves.