November 29, 2009

Sunday Shuffle

Tonight's selection from my iPod.

1. Son Of A Preacher Man / Dusty Springfield
2. The Fisher Who Died In His Bed / Figgy Duff
3. Teach Your Children / Crosby Stills Nash Young
4. Tears In Heaven / Eric Clapton
5. Love’s Great Ocean / k.d. lang
6. Til Kingdom Come / Coldplay
7. Time In A Bottle / Jim Croce

November 28, 2009

Overheard: Invitation

Abe invited Ben to bring his girlfriend to a football game.

Ben: "Dad, she would not want to go."

Abe: "How do you know? Maybe she finds me so awesome she’d want to come."

Ben: "Or awkward."

Abe: "One of those A words."

November 22, 2009

Sunday Shuffle

Tunes from my iPod. This time there's something for everyone.

1. Right Where It Belongs / Nine Inch Nails
2. Conjunction Junction / Grammar Rock
3. Scream And Run Away / The Gothic Archies
4. Sase [Sassy] / George Winston
5. White Room / Cream
6. South’s Gonna Do It Again / Charlie Daniels Band
7. Carmina Burana - O Fortuna / Carl Orff

Overheard: Shopping

I'm at the store, and I decide to do something foolish: buy something for my son when he's not with me. I call him.

Me: "I'm at the store, and I found a winter jacket you might li-"

Ben: "Mom Mom Mom. I have a new jacket."

Me: "It's a sweatshirt."

Ben: "Oh. Yeah."

Me: "Anyway, this one is very dark gray with medium gray accents. Very dreary. It's perfect for you."

Ben: "You can return it, right?"

Me: *Sigh* "Yes."

Ben: "Okay. I guess."

Posted on my BlackBerry from the parking lot.

Update: He kept the jacket.

November 20, 2009


We all have that list in our heads and hearts, that list of things we want to do "someday.” When does someday come? The idea was brought to a head for me by a friend a couple of years ago. We were chatting about this and that and the conversation led to piloting an airplane. I exclaimed that I’d always wanted to learn how to fly. Then I began to blame circumstances for why I couldn’t do it.

My friend stopped my litany. He owns a plane (actually, two). He offered free use of his small passenger plane whenever I wanted to use it for lessons. Just like that.

Well. I was stunned. Then the reality of his offer began to take my mind where it hadn’t gone until then. I pictured myself in the cockpit. (Cool.) I pictured the hours and dedication it would take to get my license. (Okay.) I pictured the day I got my license. What next? (Uh oh.) I have no plane. It would be cheaper to take an airline than to rent one’s own plane. Reality check.

Okay, so that’s a dream and not a goal. (Still, it would be cool to fly a plane.) But what on my list is realistic?

For years since high school, I’ve wanted to get back to scuba diving. I did it only for a year in high school and only because I had a friend who owned equipment that I could borrow. Once I started going to college, all my pennies went to books and tuition. Then on a teacher’s salary, diving became a pipe dream. The years flew by.

I loved scuba diving. It is the closest I’ll get to flying without wings (because I do not have a death wish for cliff diving in a squirrel suit). It is so beautiful, drifting by the seascape, hovering here and there, exploring the ocean floor or river bottom.

It was another friend who brought this dream back to life for me. She and “the girls” go to Cozumel every year for a dive trip. On the cusp of her departure last summer, she invited me to get recertified and join them next year. That sparked the pictures in my head again.

This time, I pictured myself taking the lessons (no problem), buying basic gear (okay), renting the pricey gear (yep), and going on dive trips. Cozumel may be out of my price range, but Florida isn’t. Score.

I started my lessons last Wednesday. Due to holidays, we won’t meet every Wednesday; but I will finish up the first week in January. I could take my final open water test—two dives—in a cold and murky quarry. In January. In Indiana. OR I could do what a lot of people do and go someplace warm (with boat drinks!) to finish the course. I’ll be heading to Florida in February for my annual trip home, so I’ll be going to the Keys once again.

“Someday” is here for this item on my list. What’s next? And what’s on your list?

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

November 18, 2009

Today on Bilerico: "Simon LeVay and the Biology of Sexual Orientation"

I had the privilege of attending a seminar last Friday in which a neuroscientist and several mental health counselors addressed the challenges in understanding and working with clients who are lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Read my account of the day here.

November 17, 2009

Pure American Sockhound

When Sophie was young, she used to carry small socks around with her toys. The vet tells us it relieves stress for her. Okey-doke. It was fine until someone she didn't trust walked into the room. Then—gulp! She'd swallow the sock to keep from losing it. We had twenty minutes to get that thing out of her before it might call for surgery, so off we went to the vet. This happened five times over a couple of years, at $100 per sock for the emergency vet. (No, they don't offer frequent visit discounts. I asked.)

She always trusted me, so I started praising her for bringing me the socks. Then I'd hide them out of reach. This has turned into a daily ritual that requires Sophie to find and bring me a sock or three with a toy every single morning.

Yesterday she couldn't find a sock. She raced around downstairs. She came upstairs and rooted through Ben's jeans on the floor, pawing them aside in her search. No socks could be found. That afternoon, I had four socks on the table before dinner. I think she found them in laundry baskets in the basement. (And those baskets are on a table.)

Last night I asked Ben to please leave his socks on the floor for her to find in the morning. Yep, two dirty socks were dropped in my lap this morning along with a chew toy. Good dog!

Order is restored.

November 15, 2009

Sunday Shuffle

Tunes from my iPod.

1. Our Town / Iris DeMent
2. People Are Strange / The Doors
3. Please Come To Boston / Harry Chapin
4. Seven Bridges Road / The Eagles
5. Fanfare For The Common Man / Aaron Copland
6. Simple Man / Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay / Otis Redding

November 8, 2009

Sunday Shuffle

Randomly from my iPod.

1. Oh Yeah / Yello
2. You Don’t Own Me / Leslie Gore
3. Turn! Turn! Turn! / The Byrds
4. You Don’t Know What Love Is / Chet Baker
5. Serenade / Doug Smith
6. Shout / Otis Day & The Knights
7. Take A Walk On The Wild Side / Lou Reed

A New Day

I’m having trouble sleeping lately. It’s easy enough falling asleep, as I usually do, quickly and deeply. But I awaken in the wee hours and can’t fall back asleep.

I’m dealing with change. Isn’t that what it always comes down to? In my case, my job description is changing to the point where I am no longer the square peg in a square hole. I have done—and done well—what I was hired to do, and they don’t need those skills any longer. I have some choices to make and none of them are without risk. There is a price to pay no matter which way I go.

If I stay, I must exercise skills that do not come naturally or easily. Being an administrator and recruiter are totally out of my comfort zone. I’ve done it before and well, but it ate me alive. And if I stay, I must give up a substantial portion of my already low pay. If it isn’t already obvious, I’m not particularly eager to stay under these conditions. But it’s a job.

If I leave, I’ll probably have to start over. That’s not a new experience for me; I’ve had three careers* to date, and I’ve been successful in each one, meeting my goals every time. Starting over in this economy is what has me hesitating. There are no guarantees whatsoever that I’ll be able to cover even my current meager income. Small as it is, we depend on it in our household budget.

I’ve learned that there are three things I need to be happy in my work: independence, creativity and making a difference. (Somehow money never made that list. Dangit.) Note that a job title is not part of the list. I can translate my skills just about anywhere. So what can I do? I can take diverse and complex information and make it simple. I find common themes and core ideas and make them accessible. It’s why I can teach. I’m a stickler for grammar, punctuation, accuracy and clarity. I’m a good writer and a great editor with a strong work ethic.

Since I’m going for the gold here, I want to do all this online as much as possible. I want the freedom I used to have, to do the job well and on time in the manner that suits me best: at home, on the road, or on the beach.

I don’t want or need sympathy. I have friends who are reeling from losing long-term full-time jobs with no prospects in sight. My issue is minor by comparison. What I would like are leads. Somebody knows someone who needs a person just like me. So I’m going to throw out the request and see what happens: if you have any sort of lead, any direction in which I might turn, email me at birdoparadise (at) sbcglobal (dot) net. I don’t care if it doesn’t bear fruit directly, but you just never know.

Thank you for your good wishes and any information you send my way.

*Language Arts teacher, corporate sales trainer, and Sunday School director/curriculum writer.

November 5, 2009

Blogger Confirmation: Blobby

I am in Cleveland, staying at a friend's apartment in his absence while I attend a conference. Mike has shown such hospitality, with everything I need for my stay. Only one thing is missing: Mike. We meet when he's on the road for art shows, passing through Indy. I thought finally I was going to be able to spend more than an hour with him. Sigh. Next time.

I was able to meet another friend, face-to-face for the first time: Blobby arranged for us to meet at an upscale bar downtown for a drink and conversation. It was a gorgeous place but completely empty except for us. Apparently downtown Cleveland rolls up the sidewalks at 6:00p. (Indianapolis used to be the same way.) No matter; we talked for two hours about everything and found some common background: his parents have a place on Siesta Key in Sarasota, so he knows the area.

We laughed about our stories and went on and on without pause. It was over too soon. I've teased him in the past for scowling in all his blog photos. (He says he doesn't like how he looks when he smiles.) Well, Blobby was all smiles last night, and I have proof he looks great when he grins.

As ever, our time together was too short, but it was terrific while it lasted. He says I was his first live link from his blog. If y'all are going to be in Cleveland, look him up. Maybe he'll smile for you too.

November 4, 2009

On The Road Again, Again

I'm about to head out the door to hit the road for sunny tropical Cleveland, where I will be attending the annual convention for the Covenant Network of Presbyterian Churches. I'll be networking and learning, all with the fervent hope of someday being a great resource for somebody my church. (Yeah, gettin' a little frustrated at the pace, which is glacial right now.)

If all goes as planned, I'll have a blogger confirmation for y'all too. WiFi will be spotty; updates when possible.

And yes, I'll be careful on the road. I'm taking my new convertible minipontoon. (When hubby got the "In God we trust" license plate years ago, I dubbed it the Jesus Chrysler. Now I'm driving the thing. I added an HRC sticker for balance.)


November 3, 2009

Please Be Careful

For two days in a row I have passed terrible traffic accidents on the way to work. One of them probably had fatalities; perhaps both of them did. It was quite sobering to drive by when traffic was slowed and diverted to make room for emergency vehicles. The cars and vans were completely crushed.

Y'all be careful out there.

November 1, 2009

Sunday Shuffle

Music from my iPod.

1. Celebrity / Mark Weigle
2. Look Through Any Window / The Hollies
3. Ever Falls The Twilight / The Gothic Archies
4. Instant Pleasure / Rufus Wainwright
5. You Like Me Too Much / The Beatles
6. High Desert / Bruce Kaphan
7. Monarch / Matt Alber