Monday, February 23, 2009


I read an entire book yesterday. It was a glorious way to spend a cold Sunday. I only wish the darn thing wasn't so intense. Now I can't stop thinking about it. Why was it intense? It hit a little too close to home.

I found myself truly understanding what the main character was going through and feeling. Not in the kind of way that books usually do, I mean, who would continue reading a book they couldn't relate to or at least understand what was going on? But in ways that I would never reveal. Emotions and thoughts that I had never, and surely couldn't ever share with anyone. Even Ell. The kind of things that if I were to meet the author face-to-face, we wouldn't be able to talk about. I wouldn't be able to thank him because that would expose too much of myself and by accepting my thanks would force him to admit the book was about him and not made up. Even though it was fiction, it was the kind of book that could only be written through experience. It was an eye-opener.

Aside from that, in the book I found a word that I was sure I should have known the meaning but couldn't form the definition in my head. So Ell looked it up for me. The word was pragmatic.

1. of or pertaining to a practical point of view or practical considerations.
2. Philosophy.
of or pertaining to pragmatism (def. 2).
of or pertaining to pragmatics (defs. 1, 2).
4. treating historical phenomena with special reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results.
5. of or pertaining to the affairs of state or community.
6. Archaic.
a. busy; active.
b. officious; meddlesome; interfering.
c. dogmatic; opinionated.–noun
pragmatic sanction.
8. Archaic. an officious or meddlesome person.

The main character called his father that. Upon reading the definition I wonder if I'm that. I know I already said I was relating to the main character, but this seemed familiar as well.

So I ask you who know me well, am I pragmatic?
I guess I also want to ask those who don't me well, do you think or do I seem from the window I've opened for you here, that I'm pragmatic?

I'm rather curious to see.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

meme I

Last week I decided to join in a little meme involving letters of the alphabet. While I'm not exactly sure about the rules, the gist I got was that I was randomly appointed an individual letter and I had to come up with things I like that started with that letter. Unfortunately I got stuck with a vowel, the letter I. Definitely going to be harder than things starting with a consonant. I'm not alone in my issue though, turns out my friend Amy got the same letter. (So I don't copy or be influenced by what she writes, I haven't read her post yet.) Here goes...

1) The letter "I"
As a word, the letter itself is a favorite thing of mine, and most humans for that matter. We use it so much that somebody figured it out that the use of "I" as a word was one of the top five spoken words in the English language. Crazy, huh? It figures, since we are such a selfish culture and are so often driven by our me, me, I, I, attitudes. (Yes, even the popular meme's we participate in.) So I just had to make the word "I" my number one. By the way, I've used I or a form of it not including its definition, twelve times already in this post.

2) Ice cream
I'm convinced this should be fed to every soldier and general and king and president currently engaged in a war across the planet. At least once a day. Their lives would be much happier and perhaps they'd forget the need to fight. Probably not, but they would be happier.

3) Ivy
This variety of plant is one of Ell's favorites. Through her bringing home, and cultivating, many different varieties, it's quickly become one of mine too.

4) Ireland
What a country, what a history, what a people. One of only two places in the world I have any desire to go to outside of this country. A friend of mine studied there last year and he posted a lot of pictures; what a beautiful place. If you care to, click on Colton in my blogroll and read/see his story.

5) Ink
I love writing. Without this and a little of number six, I wouldn't have an outlet. (I rarely use pencils.) To the world as a whole, the use of ink and then the printing press, were huge catalysts in world history. Good stuff, that ink.

6) Internet
Gotta love the 'ol WWW, I know I do. Research, networking, email, pleasure, games, whatever, the Internet is amazing. I still don't have it at my house, but I do love it.

7) Intercourse
Enough said.

8) Independence
No matter your political or religious or cultural beliefs, living in an independent country is a grand thing. Sure, you and everybody could find a few things wrong with our country, but just the fact that we're allowed to express those things is support of this ideal. I'm so very thankful to those that have and are now fighting to preserve my independence; you are not forgotten.

9) Invisible
While I don't currently posses this super power, how awesome would it be if I did?! The conversations I'd eavesdrop on, the secret political meetings I'd sneak into, the things I'd try. And all of that pales in comparison of what I could have done as a horny junior-high boy!!!

10) Having a hard time coming up with ten, so I'll share something I don't necessarily like... the Ipod. While most of my friends own one, and they often sing its praises, I have no desire to get one. I don't have a particular distaste for the technology, I just don't own one. So that said, I can't love something I don't have. But it was an "I" word, and that counts for something. Right?

meme complete.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The 2Brews

A while back I borrowed a book written about the, "Great, Good places" of the world. The type of places many refer to as Third-Place. A third-place is that zone between the two worlds we spend most of our time in, work and home. It's a place without pressure or anxiety; a place where little is expected but much can be given. A third-place is that thing that has the potential to relieve and energize, both at the same time. And some have said, the place that can be the most important place of all.

For most of you, this notion of a third-place is probably very foreign. That's understandable because the booming years after WWII almost caused their extinction. Suburbs and housing developments and malls did their part as well. The so-called advancement of our culture and the over-working of our people, the very things that made third-places so needed, were ironically making them disappear.

For those of you who want me to define third-places, I will refrain because I'm not certain a single picture can be painted of what they look like. They've existed for centuries and have had as many faces as the people who frequented them. To some they were coffee shops, to others a pub, to yet others it was the confluence of fence rows. They've been churches, porches, libraries, gas stations, parlors, fields, grocery stores, and parks. They were the places that fell between work and home; whatever that happened to be. The place where cares and stresses were placed on hold, and the relationships of friends and acquaintances were most important.

Some dear friends of ours are planning a third-place. They have opened their lives and thoughts to whatever people are willing to share. They have welcomed me, and in turn are welcoming you. If a third-place sounds like something you want or need, check them out. Their link is to the right, The 2Brews, which is their brainstorming blog. Click on it, read their thoughts, add your own; any and all are welcome and encouraged. You can help shape something brand new; don't let that opportunity pass. This is the beginnings of our own great, good place.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Funny

My Dad has decided to join the, "contribute to funny" club and emailed a joke to me yesterday. I can't tell whether he did it to poke fun at my new profession or because he likes another one better. Either way... enjoy.

Three engineers and three accountants were traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three accountants each bought tickets and watched in disbelief as the three engineers bought only a single ticket.

"How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asked one of the accountants. "Watch and you'll see," answered an engineer and then turned to board the train with his co-workers.

The accountants took their respective seats but all three engineers crammed into a restroom and closed the door behind them. Shortly after the train had departed, the conductor came around collecting tickets. He knocked on the restroom door and said, "Ticket, please." The door opened just a crack and a single arm emerged with a ticket in hand. The conductor took the ticket and moved on.

The accountants watched the deceit and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference had ended, the accountants decided to copy the engineers on their return trip and save some money (being clever with a buck, after all). When they get to the station, they bought a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers didn't buy a ticket at all. "How are you going to travel without a ticket?" asked one of the perplexed accountants. "Watch and you'll see," answered an engineer.

When they boarded the train the three accountants crammed into a restroom and the three engineers crammed into another restroom nearby. The train departed the station and shortly afterward, one of the engineers left his restroom and walked over to the restroom where the accountants were hiding. He knocked on the door and said, "Ticket, please."

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The first steps

This is my first week on the job running solo. For the last month I followed my predecessor (Betsy) around and tried to suck as much information out of her as I could. Admittedly, for both Betsy and I, that didn't work as well as we would have liked. Constant meetings, other's who depended on her, pending issues to be resolved, and a lingering seven-month-old audit kept dragging her away from me and our teaching/learning sessions. But despite all of that and a few bad days on my part, I'm walking in more aware and eyes-open to this job than any other I've started before. As ready as I wanted to be? No. But ready, nonetheless.

The weirdest part in the transition was learning when to assert my position. Working alongside the person you'll replace meant that everyone who answered to and worked with that person, only saw you as some random person in the room, if they saw you at all. Every email was addressed to Betsy even if I signed it, and every call that came over the line was directed to her as well. Please don't misunderstand me, recognizing her as the "go-to" was how it should have been, but during that time it was very hard to decipher my ownership of anything. Two days into the first week without Betsy in the office the change in tone and direction is obvious; a definite change from the awkwardness of last month.

Part of my duties today have been training a new Accounts Receivable person. As I stated already, I'm barely trained (at least in the area I'm being asked to guide), so I'm finding the old saying that goes, "You learn more by teaching than my being a student" is very true. I've made three or four decisions just this morning in areas I didn't even know existed yesterday. It also helps that the person I'm training is my friend, Megan. She's patient with my ignorance and just as nervous as I am. Don't tell anyone, but she seems to be cathcing on quicker than I did.

So that's life in The Way Station finance department. Each day is a new adventure and I already miss Betsy. Even though I wish her well in her next stage of life, a slight part of me wants her to continue to be my coworker, as selfish as that is. But her next page is better than this and a better fit for her skills, so (swallowing my tears) good luck and prayers for her. I mean that.

Well........ back to work.