Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday is for the Dentist

My Monday was devoted to the dentist. I have two temporary crowns and went in today to get the permanent ones. Well, to speed through a dull story, hours later with my mouth numb and one temporary having been chipped off, I got a new temporary.

I was not happy with the color of the crown. So, I'm paying more and getting an all porcelain one. My dentist is splitting the lab costs of them with me so it's only costing an extra $50 per tooth, but these will show if I smile wide and I don't want them to look like crowns.

So, poof, there goes my money. Unfortunately, this took a long time to figure out and I had not taken a book with me - expecting it would be a quick procedure. Oh well, so it goes. It was very kind of the dentist to split the costs with me because caps are expensive enough to begin with. Yikes!

I called Teresa late and asked if she wanted to have dinner. We have gotten out of the habit of spur of the moment suppers and it was good to see her and hear about her Thanksgiving break.

I shared with her the new track I'm on - to look at my skills and talents and figure out what I should be doing with my life. We'll see where that goes. When I look at what I'm good at, I see many possibilities of what one could do with those things.

However, when I look at what I'm not good at, one that I keep coming back to is a central problem. As I summed it up in my journal the other day, "the norm is a mystery to me." And it is. I don't know how I can ever address that. So, I just have to figure out how to make it a positive.

Kansas State Board of Education Prevention

You may recall that a week or two ago I mentioned I was looking for information on the Kansas State Board of Education members. I had emailed to inquire about additional information. As of yet, my email has not been answered.

However, today a friend sent this email to me about an organization that seems to want to address these issues. I'm putting it here for any of you who might also be interested in joining forces. The pertinent information is

Here's the information:

Dear Friends:

Over the last several months many Kansans have become alarmed by the actions of the six member social conservative majority on the Kansas State Board of Education. These six have been preoccupied with inappropriate science standards and unnecessary opt-in sex education guidelines. Recently they have hired a Kansas Commissioner of Education whose qualifications for the job are woefully inadequate. It is becoming increasingly apparent that they are more concerned with promoting their own narrow agenda than they are with preparing the children of Kansas to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

I want to introduce you to the Kansas Alliance for Education (KAE), a newly formed group of individuals who have come forward to say enough is enough. The KAE does not consist of professional activists or political operatives but rather citizens willing to take a leadership role to ensure high quality education for all students. The KAE is non-partisan and will be involved in all five Kansas State Board of Education races in 2006. Members of KAE come from all over the state, are from both parties, and have diverse backgrounds. Their common interest is making a change in the Kansas State BOE, and the sole focus of KAE will be working for the re-election of the one moderate and replacement of the four social conservative incumbents who are up for re-election in 2006.

The Kansas Alliance for Education has adopted the following principles:

Moderate and informed educational policy best prepares children for the 21st century

Public education must be available for all children residing in the state

Quality public education is the key to social and economic vitality

The group is organized as a Political Action Committee and will be raising money to inform the public about issues pertinent to the State Board of Education. The KAE will also stress the importance of voting in the 2006 Primary and General Elections and provide information about their endorsed candidates. This is going to be true grass roots politics.

Our common interest is to return quality as the focal point of the Kansas State Board of Education decision-making. Our goal is to retain Janet Waugh, the moderate past president of the board, and to return a common sense voice to the board by replacing the other four members up for election in 2006: John Bacon, Iris Van Meter, Ken Willard, and Connie Morris.

The KAE web site is now operational. The web site will contain information about not only the issues you are concerned about but about candidates in the five races and how to contact them. There will also be a link to Pay Pal for those who would prefer to contribute electronically. The information on the web site will change frequently so please visit often so you have the latest �scoop�.

If you share our concerns and have wondered what you can do, I have a few suggestions. The first thing you can do is to make a contribution. You can contribute through the KAE website, Second, you can share this message by adding your personal comments and forwarding it on to family and friends. If you do so, please cut and paste or use the attached documents. In this way the message stays clean and free of an ever expanding list of email addresses. Third, as the movement picks up steam you can volunteer to man booths and/or hand out literature at county fairs and other community functions. And finally, if you can do nothing else, cast an informed vote for candidates who will put quality first, not ideology, when it comes to our children�s education.

Best regards,

Don Hineman, Chairman
Kansas Alliance for Education
116 S. Longhorn Rd.
Dighton, KS 67839

620-397-2504 (home)
620-397-7552 (fax)

Ramblings on Friendship

I wrote this Saturday night...

I am content with my little life at the moment. And that is something. I have always been driven to live life BIG, soaking it up as fast as I can, and desperately searching for more of it. I have appreciated the little bits of life in the briefest of moments, but have not given them their full due.

This realization has been coming for awhile, two or three years at least.

Tonight as I languished in a tub of hot water, the smell of peppermint still on my hands from the garden, reading a book, I realized that I have arrived at this place. I'm at the point where I can enjoy a little life as much as a big life. I can be in this little moment and be content, without planning for the next big moment.

What are the ramifications of this? I'm not sure. And I certainly do not want to become someone who is complacent and going through the motions of living, without doing any real living, but I am seeing that one can lead a "little" life and be content without being routine.

Also tonight I have begun to wash away the bits of relationships - literally and figuratively. There are thoughts and dreams and people I've been holding on to that I need to let go. I periodically do a mental run through of friendships and weed out ones that are no longer valid. I'm overdue for that process.

It is easy to kid yourself into believing that because people matter to you, and you feel a loyalty to them, that they feel the same way about you. It's an intoxicating lie, and one we all indulge in at times. But, I realize I must look at the realities of all the relationships in my life, and get clear about what they are.

When one considers who you really matter to, the list grows very short. Who makes time for you in their lives? Who comes to your aid without you having to ask? Who rejoices with you when you're madly, crazy, in love and doesn't remind you of that foolishness when you're falling out of love and encourages you to do it with the same abandon the next time around? Who calls you on a Saturday and says, "drop what you're doing, lets take a drive today and have lunch at that cafe we love?" Who invites you into their world, instead of only accepting invitations into yours?

I'm wrestling with this concept these days. Who wants me in their world? Very few people is the cold, hard truth. It's not the same thing as people being willing to be in my world. Those are different. One requires keeping an appointment and one requires giving of yourself.

I have had a very concrete measure of where I stand in people's lives in the last few years as I have worked on the house. I have been overwhelmed at times, and made no secret of it, but very few in my world have offered their assistance - to help move something or paint or clean or whatever.

I can count six people who have helped, from moving to today. Meanwhile I have watched people offer themselves to others for various projects from cleaning basements to moving, but not to me. So, I must come to the logical conclusion about what that means.

Of course, I do not want people to help me out of obligation, so I do not ask. Nor will I. At this point the message is clear that I am not worthy of their time and energy. I am not that important to them. It has been almost 4 years. There has been ample opportunity for people to offer themselves and they have chosen not to.

To ignore such things is foolish. One should always know where one stands. I'm not happy with where I stand in many relationships, but nonetheless it is where I stand. I must accept it and make decisions accordingly.

In the last five years I lost my mother and one of my best friends in the span of less than a month, I left a job I'd had for a long time and started a completely new career, I bought a house for the first time and moved out of an apartment I lived in for a very long time, I fell deeply in love and had that relationship end.

My life has provided multiple opportunities for people to offer themselves willingly on many levels, to forge deeper bonds of friendship. But few have taken that path. Most have remained on the sidelines. A very select few have stepped forward and said, "yes, I want to make this friendship more than it was yesterday by engaging with you at this time." Very few.

If friendships do not have the capacity to deepen, there really isn't any point in being in them. If those major life events did not deepen friendships, there probably is not much hope they can deepen. So, they must be accepted on the level they are at or disbanded. I'm not sure there is much point in maintaining a friendship that doesn't have capacity to grow. Does anyone really need more "acquaintances?" I don't think so. I certainly don't. Unless those can grow into real friendships there is no point in investing energy in them.

So, I find myself at a crossroads of sorts. It seems my life and the relationships in it are in need of some rearranging and revamping. I believe in the spring I will engage in the Gullah tradition of "traveling" and see what emerges from that sacred time.