Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

We're in for a year, at least. The Recession. WE're all in this together; nobody will remain untouched.

Just the other day, our favorite breakfast place, Grant's in Gold Beach, twenty-four miles south of us, was no longer serving breakfast. We were crushed. Wait a minute, we made the drive to eat here, and the place no longer serves breakfast? What a shame!

In our school district, we are closing one school and housing all elementary students together, to save bussing, maintenance, heat and water, and personnel costs. But, this will mean that seven people at least will not have a job, and their families might move out of town, impacting our businesses, real estate, and the very schools we are trying to maintain with cost cutting.

Some people don't get it. They look at the problem with a singular vision, how it affects them directly, failing to see that everything in a community connects to everything else. Our taxes support our government services, which in turn affect our quality of life.

We all need an attitude adjustment. No more, what can the government do for me, or how can the government take less of what I make, to a new point of view: HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE, TO ENSURE OUR COMMON FUTURE?

The new mantra should not be how can we pay the fewest taxes, but how can we insure that our taxes support our ideals, our vision of the future. And YES, RICH PEOPLE, you made your money in this place, with our resources, with our support and laws, you need to support government services at the rate proportional to your wealth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Award Display!

It pays to have good teachers:

Thanks to M. and Cheryl and Angela, all accomplished bloggers and good importers of widgets, I received the instructions about posting this award which came to this post via French Fancy.

Here it is. I did it. Don't ask me to do this again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And to the Academy, from where I stand...

Yesterday, the gods of the BLOGOSPHERE, saw fit to nominate me for an award:

The Best Blog Thinker Award was handed to this blog by French Fancy.

(The actual image is missing because of my ineptitude. If you wish to see it, or if you scroll to the end and see your name as the new recipient, go to French Fancy and copy the award for yourself. This happens to be one of many technological challenges I'm trying to conquer in this lifetime. Sorry, for this long, tedious, but so very true technical interruption.)

This is what she writes:

"This award acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write. Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It’s a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

I am speechless.
Thank you, French Fancy, for your generosity and thoughtfulness.
I in turn, will nominate the following blogs to receive this award:


-Absolute Vanilla and (Attila)





There are also, hundreds of you who have touched my life and expanded my horizon. For a few hours each day, or night, we reach across this Universe and share our experiences with each other, crying, laughing, opening new windows of opportunity, seeing the world with a new set of eyes. What a small world we have created.

Thank you FrancyFancy for your generous expression of friendship.

To everyone who reads this post, your perspective is priceless.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Roads out of Here

I love photografs that can't be placed. This one could be Italy, or France or...Memories are like that. They are like agates we pick up on a beach and take home, filling a big jar on the window sill. Each agate was a small time in life we wanted to treasure, polish, keep for eternity.

When we write our story down, describe a day here, a road there, we leave the present and reconstruct the past. It will be a touched-up past, photoshopped, cropped, embellished with ribbons and perfume.
It will become our creation of that past.

But it will still be who we were, and who we thought we were. This last part, the part about how we view our lives, gets lost and hidden. The best part of us is how we see who we are. We become the people we admire, the peopble we want to be. We decide to take the road our of town.

We are also from somewhere, from somebody else's dream, those who encouraged or discouraged to dream, those who believed in us and helped us fly, or those whose fears and despair we clutched to and adopted as our own cloak of defense. We can thank God, our parents, our teacher, our ministers and mentors, our spouses and our children, but we took those steps toward our very own tomorrows.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stories we want to tell: Is this Paris or what?

I've written a few short stories, mostly memoir pieces that I hope to send to a publisher one day. But, I'm not the only one writing. Everyone who blogs is basically telling his/her story and hoping to get an audience that will read these.

I've looked at the idea of self-publishing, or setting up a web-site just for my stories. But, when I read crafted stories via internet, the experience doesn't feel right. There is something about the medium, the computer screen, that seems to work best with small pieces of prose and lots of pictures. It's a medium for advertising, for connectivity, for marketing.

Most bloggers write for their intimate family and friends, people who are following each other already, wanting to stay close. Some make friends across the web with people who have similar backgrounds. That's great. But those same people may not be interested in reading your creative output, and even less interested in rewarding you by subscribing, the way Dickens' fans bought his serial novels.

What are others doing out there?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The day after

OH, what a relief to have escaped another holiday of Great Expectations. Today, we took a long walk on the beach,my hubby and I, following the Sixes down to Cape Blanco, a couple of miles of stunning views, watching fishermen sitting patiently to catch steelhead on the shores of the river. Many more fishermen were in boats, up the river for miles, hoping that the opened dunes would help the fish navigate up the river. I wrote about the Sixes on my birthday, a few posts ago.

The temperature was in the mid fifties, no wind, no rain, just sunshine here and there. We spent the morning walking the trails at Cape Blanco, following the Sixes to its end, all the way to the Pacific.

We had made a bucket list before we retired. At the top of my list was a place close to the water. On the husband's list was a place with lots of trees and mountains.

We have both, plus miles and miles of wild rivers and Pacific coastline to explore. Some things worked out. For those of you in your working years,it was not easy and automatic at all. We had to keep on refining and prioritizing. We had to accept defeat and disappointments. We had to forgive each other for just being human.

Looking back, life was manageable. Looking ahead, we know that as long as we can depend on each other's strength and support, life will be manageable. We have many days after to learn from, to guide our steps.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Days of wine and roses and disappointments

Valentine Day is second only to Christmas Day for disappointing people.

When I supervised junior highs and high schools dances,there were always young people in tears by the end of the evening. Something between the expectations and the reality did not align. All the fuss and the dressing up and the decorations and the hopes and dreams would invariably come crushing down at the end of the evening. Even if just one person was crushed, everyone else would go to her rescue, (yes, usually girls) and spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom. Some people had their hearts broken just by watching one of their friend's heart being broken. Valentine Dances were the worst.

What our hearts wish is always bigger and grander than what our lives can provide. We dream big dreams, wish upon stars, buy lottery tickets because we want to believe that our dreams will come true.

By the time I got home after these events, usually the last person to leave the ship as the administrator in charge, I would ponder these things and wonder why. I would train myself to avoid expectations, and be happy with whatever. By the time I arrived at home, things had changed.

When my wonderful man produced the usual chocolates and flowers, feeling proud and happy to have remembered to stop at the various shops on his way home, he got a tepid thank you from a tired, overworked wife.

Honey, did you have a hard day?

I just supervised sixhundred teens during a Valentine Dance. Nobody got what they wanted in that place. You know why? Valentine is overrated. Why? Because you guys follow the same script, every detail. How about giving us tickets to Paris or Venice?

Well, why didn't you tell me?.

Well, if I have to tell you, it won't be a gift from you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

State of the Planet

from :Island Press website.

State of the Planet
Dear rosaria,

This is an exciting time for environmental activists, professionals, and scientists. Much has been made of our new president's apparent commitment to re-incorporating science into the American political dialogue. In his inaugural address, Obama expressed his intention to "restore science to its rightful place." John Holdren's appointment to science advisor comes on the heels of the Island Press release of Science Magazine's State of the Planet 2008-2009, a comprehensive and authoritative look at one of the toughest environmental problems we face: the need to change the way we produce and consume energy.

The book is edited by Don Kennedy, former editor-in-chief of Science magazine, and is out just in time for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, taking place in Chicago this week. Holdren provides the framework for the book with the first chapter, The Energy-Economy-Environment Dilemma. "Arguments about which of the three. . . is 'most important' are pointless," he writes, "in part because each of the three is indispensable: just as a three-legged stool falls down if any leg fails, so is human well-being dependent on the integrity of all three pillars."

The energy crisis is not an isolated, independent problem. Real solutions will require economic deference, technological breakthroughs, and government and public support. This concept is gaining ground, especially as discussions heat up over stimulus package stipulations. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Vice President Al Gore connected three of the most detrimental and urgent challenges currently facing the United States and the entire international community: climate change, the economic recession, and national security, he said, "are linked by a common thread -- our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels."

Environmental issues don't affect some people, in some areas, but all people, everywhere, and in every way. State of the Planet 2008-2009 inspires this whole-world perspective, and puts us on the right path to discover the solutions we know are possible.


Charles Savitt
President, Island Press

25% Discount!
Enter 2AEB at the Island Press checkout to receive a 25% discount on the books listed below (under Environmental Hot Topics).

'Green' Energy a Tiny Share of Stimulus Plan (The Christian Science Monitor): For all the hope and hoopla surrounding the largest public works program since the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, the share spent on long-term "green" investments is surprisingly small.

From Island Press: Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy by Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks

Saturday, February 7, 2009

We all have stories to tell

Our school district met in work session this week to discuss the repercussions of the recession on the state, and the availability of funds for education. Sadly, we learned that as much as $250 thousand dollars are being withheld from this current year budget.

Next week, the school board will have to decide what to do.

All over the state of Oregon, school districts are announcing plans to meet these economic challenges, from cutting the number of days of instruction, to wage freezes, to eliminating non-essential programs such as athletics, music, art,and vocational education.

Our district is in a better situation than most. We have a healthy surplus to carry us for a while longer. But, we have another problem: our enrollment is declining, and we must consolidate our services, close buildings, and dismiss extra personnel. Only after those adjustments, our revenues will match our anticipated expenditures.

Our current economic situation is having greater repercussions than any of us could ever imagine. The domino effect has just started.

I happen to be the president of the board of directors. Believe me, I had no idea this situation was coming down the pike during the years I have served. None of us saw it coming. I'm afraid, when it is time to run for re-election, I can guess a few directors will not bother to sign up. I wonder how many more families with children will move out of town, complicating our plans to maintain services at the present level.

Now, more than ever, we need to talk to each other often, tell our stories, join hands in solving local problems, and encourage our leaders at the state and federal level to keep working so reliefs can be enacted.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Too many blogs, too little time to think and even less time to write. This is really a conundrum of sorts. We enjoy the feedback, the compliments, and the encouragement of sweet, supportive people. But what are we doing?

When I was young, girls knew that boys worked really hard at seduction. And we consciously ignored them at first, or as long as we could. Eventually, as words and deeds kept on coming,they produced the desired results. Those of us who had brothers,and saw how crass and rowdy they were, should have been better prepared for the machinations.

Through pictures, stories, games, awards, ( now, hang on. I do appreciate all of these things.) we are snared into the circle of blogger tribal behavior,read, respond,write, read, respond. Repeat.

For a year, I wrote quietly, in isolation. In January, just before my birthday, I hungered for companionship. I began to look at "Blogs of Note". And that's how it started. Have I changed my modus operandi? Yes. I made some gains, and I have some losses. I believe what is happening to me is a seduction of sort. I love following a dozen blogs regularly, breaking up my day of leisure with more leisure.

Is all this distracting? Is this just a fad? Like the yogurt bars of the early nineties?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Even Twain didn't know.

Mark Twain put aside Huckleberry Finn for years and years. He had written 80+ pages and didn't think the novel had much going for it. He thought A Connecticut Yankee was his best work. (Thank you, John, for this tidbit!)

So, how can we? How can we judge what is worth writing and what isn't? What we keep and what we toss? A writer in our group is cleaning up her Opus. She brings stuff to our group, reads it outloud takes our suggestions. She trusts others to tell her what is good. Her own compass has been slipping and flopping and bending too much one way or another.

Somebody or something must have gotten Samuel C. to finish his masterpiece, a story of a runaway boy and a runaway slave on a journey to the darkest depth of a nation, reaching for wholeness, self-worth. Samuel C. must have listened to his deeper voice, his sense of what was most troubling to him and to his fellow men at that time.

Huckleberry Finn was not instantly popular with readers. Even today, in some remote town with border sensibilities and tenacious bigotry, the book is a hot rod, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Even today, the book speaks to our deeper selves.

Everyday, we make choices of what to read, what to buy, what to write. We choose what to write in a blog, and what to say to a fellow blogger. We decide what is good, what is worthwhile, what is deep and sensitive, what is the voice of a people, the timbre of a generation. We choose, we subscribe, we encourage.

It is hard to know. It is hard to judge. But artists need our support and encouragement because without those things artists will continue to show us only the things they know we will like right away. They will never show us their deepest pain, their murkiest shame, their cloudiest dreams.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Stimulus for Everyone

Last week the House passed a stimulus package that seems to please everyone except the Republicans. They are worried that the package is too much spending and not enough Stimulus. I do not have an opinion on the entire package because it is way too complex for me to get it at first reading.

It seems to me that there are two ways to solve problems: 1. get a group of experts and follow their recommendations; or 2. try to please everybody by giving everybody something.

I guess if you have a town that is isolated after a storm, the first thing you do is drop food supplies so the people can continue to live while roads are cleared, power is reclaimed, and repairs are made to factories and homes. If you do not feed the people first, there is no use doing anything else.

How to do that without making them dependent on food that falls from the sky and become lazy and incapacitated? Put them to work on clearing the roads and repairing buildings. This will keep them hopeful, will allow them to feel dignity and pride, and will solve their other problems.

I'm sure the experts will figure things out. In the meantime, from some of us who see hunger and pain on the streets and in the schools, the solution is still simple: keep people alive and healthy.