Thursday, November 27, 2008

TalkThursday: Gratitude

Talk Thursday: Gratitude

I promised this yesterday, but in the great words of Roseanne Rosanna Danna…”It’s always something.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Thank you for reading my words, offering me your insights, kind regards, and input. I write because, well I can, I blog because it feeds the soul. I thank you because you are awesome.

If you read me…at all, you know Monday and Tuesday were bleak days. I was down, depressed, and feeling like the world’s worst salesman. Your support is amazing. That night, I ended up working late, came home to a cold house and a warm dog. I was pissed that Lance Bass was booted before Warren Sapp, and instead turned on Soapnet to watch the day’s episode of General Hospital. Only to find that – again, the episode was stuck in automated – digital hell. Being in radio I understand automated – digital hell all too well. Instead I turned the remote over to the Hallmark Channel looking for a good Christmas movie. I love Christmas movies and luckily it was an hour into The Note starring Genie Francis, I’d been wanting to see this movie since it came out last year.

At 11:05 I climbed into the hot tub for a late night soak. The stars were brilliant, the night quiet, in one word, “awesome” in the full intent of the word. There is nothing more awe inspiring than the universe. I could lay in my hot tub for a full night under a clear sky and still not have enough time to think, relax, and rejoice.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not much more than a mote in the eye of God (or a camel for that matter.) Barely a spark of fleeting life in the span of time. But yet, still I am. I stared to the southeast sky, through the pines, into the belt of Orion. How many gazillion people in the Northern Hemisphere, over the millennia past, have stared into Betelgeuse and contemplated the red star’s age? Its purpose? Or watched Polaris sit gleaming at the handle of Ursa Minor, then watched Cassiopeia spin on her head? In the greater scheme of things my worries and problems are not.

On this Thanksgiving I have so much for which to give thanks. I was blessed with wonderful parents who loved me, gave me the best of themselves, didn’t hold a grudge against the teen I was, and became my friend. I am thankful that while my father passed this last holiday season he still visits me in my dreams and I know he is good. I am thankful my mom is healthy, creative, and shares her time and experiences with me.

I am thankful for my first daughter who took the journey with me. She survived me and came out better. She is a better mother, a better daughter, and better person. I am blessed that she didn’t give up on me. In fact she went so far as to embrace the man who loves both her, and me, and accepts him as her dad. Then she blessed me with a grandson who is the laughter and joy of Ducky’s life and mine.

Speaking of Ducky… Wow, what a blessing to find a man among toads to share the remainder of my life. With him he brought Miseray, a wonderful girl, who grew into a delightful woman. While I doubt she will ever give me grandchild she does give me her love.

Where so many in this world are without, my life is full: full of love, joy, laughter, and give and take. I have a job that I love, that helps pay the bills, that allows me to be creative. I have a job I love in a time when others are worried about even keeping a job, that is little more than just a job. I have a boss who is my friend, appreciates and values my contributions to his business. I am lucky to work with a group of people who are talented, committed (in more ways than one), who are religiously and politically diverse and yet can hold a debate without rancor or bitterness.

My health is well, despite my five decades of decadences. And that despite those five decades of decadences I am only addicted to oxygen, chocolate, blogging, cheesecake, herbal teas, and an over the counter sleep aid.

Thankfully my parents chose to flee Los Angeles in at a time that benefited me, my personal growth, and my ability for adaptation. I am thankful my community still holds its small town charm, that I am able to live within a mile of the ocean and hear its roar from both my bed and my hot tub. I am thankful that Ducky commutes 80 miles into the valley so we can live in heaven. I love Florence, the sand dunes, the ocean, and the storms.

I am blessed with a great sister…who is still computer challenged…but she’s trying. Pinecone always seems to know when to call, what of herself to give. I am blessed with a great brother, Buddy, grew into his manhood on his own terms and knows the meaning of family. Despite where ever in the world his job has taken him, he comes home as often as he can.

My friendships are long lived and varied. I am thankful for my computer where most of my friends live. I am thankful for the friends who have come back into my life despite the distance and years past. I am thankful for my first boyfriend, Ronnie, who will always be my first love.

I am grateful to have been born American. To have been raised to believe I can be anything I want to be through hard work and perseverance. To be Quaker without persecution, and be friends with people who are Jehovah Witnesses, former Mormons, Catholics, and even Baptist. To live in an era where I can watch a nation change. To be able to speak out against what I perceive as wrongs and argue for the things I see as rights. To live in a land where I can change my mind. I am grateful I do not have an ability to hold a grudge.

I am filled with gratitude for the stars and that my stinky dog loves me.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Warning…Copious Whining Ahead

I have never been one to get depressed during the holidays. No I get depressed when I can’t find something to wear, have gone through my entire wardrobe (which then lays in disarrayed on both floor and said bed,) resultantly I spend the next hour totally engrossed in self pity, crying on the bedroom floor in front of my empty closet. Weeping. Sadly. Weeping. But that is another story. I will say, before I go on to my real topic, this: If you are physically young (pre-menopause and wear a nice tidy size of say 10 or 8) and you smoke, stop now, because if you do it at menopause you are going to gain 70 pounds and are destined to find yourself weeping. Sadly. On the bedroom floor. Far too often for comfort.

Radio is a great industry, I love my job, it is creative, current, and strangely I get paid to play music while sitting in a little room all by myself. But if you are thinking of finding a career to make a living and want to enter radio, especially small town radio…Reality check! You need to be really good, a really, really wacky A – type personality (some sort of mental illness would probably help) and live in a mega city … LA… Chicago… New York. Not Florence, Oregon. And, oh by the way, I am not an A – Type personality, although my sanity has been questioned several times. Ergo, I don’t have a lot to offer my job (as in no dazzling, witty personality) and know that means I have to try to make myself indispensable – all the while knowing that no one is indispensable.

After years of hints from my boss, and I mean very gentle hints, I said last year that I’d take on some clients and work sales. It’s a way for me to make extra money. Most of my clients are area entertainment venues and troupes and not-for-profits, but my new cliental come from all walks of local business. With the down turn (isn’t that an understatement?) no one wants to advertise. Especially from me, it appears. I understand not wanting to strain your bottom line, but in a community where only one tenth (according to a recent poll) of the community shops in the historic old town area, wouldn’t that make your advertising all that more important? I mean really, attract your potential clients to your store, work to get your share of those buying dollars this holiday season.

Or say you’re selling Christmas Trees wouldn’t you consider radio, too if last year only advertise in the paper and ended up throwing over a hundred trees away? It’s Christmas, if people know you have trees at great prices their going to buy…but only if they know about it.

As you’re whining (hey, I know whining when I hear it) to your sales rep that the economy sucks and people aren’t shopping, shouldn’t you consider advertising your wares, services, and sales? Just wondering?

This morning I told our office manager that I couldn’t sell a parched man in the desert on drinking a glass of water for free. I need to be positive to sell, but in all truth my face is an open book, so when you have been telling me for months that you were advertising your Christmas Trees beginning Thanksgiving week and then say, “No we’re going with the paper, unless you’ve got a special” my face is going to drop, because I’m not good at poker. How I kept from responding, “No, you turned the Chamber Hometown Shopping special down last month”, how?

Now I am discouraged and apparently bitter. I feel like a fool trapped on a ship of nincompoops. A bad economy responds negatively to a lack of funding by becoming worse. Ergo, if you spend no money, the economy becomes more repressed, suppressed, and depressed. This holiday season please spend wisely, but none the less, spend. You can’t help me, but we can all help the economy.

Oh, and we’ll eat chocolate and douse our woes in Kahlua.


OH, PS I will try to blog gratitude tomorrow for Talk Thursday, last week. It is such a good topic, thanks to Lynnblossom.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talk Thursday: Why We Do What We Do

If I knew what it is I do, maybe I’d be able to tell you why. But after 52 plus years on this earth (this time around) I am still in the dark as to why I am here, what I am doing here, why I am doing it, who I am doing it with, and how much longer it will take for me to complete the whats, whys, and wherefores. Actually I had a somewhat similar conversation this evening with my mother and my grandmother at dinner. Every other Thursday night we go out to dinner, just the three of us girls.

The rules are simple.
1) We meet for dinner out every other Thursday night
2) The location changes each time
3) We rotate who selects the restaurant from the pile of names
4) No restaurant redos until all have been visited
a) this does not apply to birthdays
5) We all go dutch
a) this does not apply to birthdays
b) when it’s a birthday the person not paying is responsible for the tip

It takes about 8 months to go through the list of restaurants. My grandmother is not allowed to order Seafood Pasta of any ilk (she always is unhappy when she does.) Just about any topic is open for discussion….er except politics…for the most part. Hey, I try hard to keep my mouth shut.

Anyway, the discussion tonight came down to why we do what we do [which cracked me up because…1) I didn’t start the discussion and 2) it’s the Talk Thursday topic and I was stumped.] As I stated earlier I have no idea why I do the things I do or what they even are. But one bad habit I have had my entire life is over doing. It makes no difference what it is, I over do.

Example: why get married once when you can get divorced twice and married three times? Why? There are men out there who need to marry me and I aim to please. Well at least I did, I’m in remission at the moment.

Example: Why move one yard of gravel in one day, when there are three that need to be moved? I have a back it needs to be felt.

Example: Why burn a candle only at both ends. When the middle isn’t doing jack shit? Why? You can only sleep and watch so much TV.

So I do it all, wear myself out; get a fever; a migraine; or faint. That has always been me. When my mom and grandma arrived at the restaurant (tonight was Mexican) I had the beginnings of a headache and was taking some ibuprophen, immediately my mom asked me what I’d over done? Nothing, honest, nothing. She then proceeds to tell my grandma about the night when I was in high school that I decided to do a face plant in my soup. Why did I do a face plant in the soup? I had been over doing it, running myself down, and it was taking its toll on my body. It is a fact of me.

A fact that I come by quite naturally, my father (suffering from depression and emphysema) was notorious for over working himself because he felt good. One day of over working himself equated to a four or five day (later in life even longer) stay in bed, sleeping 23 hours a day. I kid you not. My mother herself over does it and will end up in bed with a migraine for a few day. See I come by it quite naturally. Now I give my mom credit because she has recognized this fact about herself and places limits on her activity. So why, when I said I come by over doing it naturally, was she appalled? I said I was learning by her example and backing off.

I guess the reason I do what I do, is because to do anything less wouldn’t be me. So why do you do what you do?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Talk Thursday: Second Class Citizen

I’ll begin with a warning/apology this topic could possibly make me rant, which you my dear friends will expect, but I might ramble a bit too.

Tuesday night was a momentous night, one of enlightenment, of progress, and maybe even a moment of healing and binding; a night centuries in the making. I had feared the worse, hoped for the best and was overwhelmed with the reality of Barack Obama being elected, overwhelmingly, president of the United States of America.

Growing up I was taught all Americans are equal. I believed this blindly, with all my heart, for all people. Slowly I saw the reality, yes in a perfect world all Americans are created equal, unless you were brown, black, poor, rich, smart, dumb, or any combination in between. As I learned in high school about the Indian Caste System the truth before my eyes saw showed that the American Caste System, was silently worse. We heard equality out of one side of the mouth, and bigotry out of the other.

Tuesday night, was another step in erasing part of those lines of distinction. Only to find another thrown up in the faces of those who believe and those who know the reality of being a second class citizen in an American class world. As we watched the hatred and fear of California’s measure eight pass, narrowly, but pass all the same I was chatting on the phone with my mother. I’ve always known she’s Republican, but I had always believed her to be a smart woman, a woman of her own mind. She taught me to believe in and practice fairness and equality. To believe that in a man’s world I was equal and could be what ever I wanted to be with hard work. The woman who taught me that I, and I alone, am responsible for my body, for the choices I make, and for the path that I choose to walk.

I believed her to be the wisest woman who walked through what life gave her with honor and wisdom. And then Tuesday night I couldn’t ignore the signs anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my mom, she’s my friend, and damn if it wasn’t for all the things she instilled in me, well I’d be someone else and I tend to like the person I am. But in her seventh decade she is choosing to show and practice ignorance. She in spirit and belief backs the inequality and hatred of Measure eight. And worse she is backing it in ignorance.

Let me explain further. She believes a civil marriage is enough for two people who love each other… if they are of the same sex. Yes she knows being gay is biological, but a marriage should be between a man and a woman and the constitution should not be changed to allow a marriage between two people of the same sex. And worse she qualified her arguments against same sex marriage by arguing, if the constitution was changed to allow same sex marriage what Constitutional line would be crossed next? Polygamy?

Now I know people educated on any one of these arguments will see the multitude of flaws in my mom’s 1) arguments 2) knowledge 3) qualifications of her beliefs and arguments. But now I have a quandary do I explain to her that marriage is not a right granted or defined IN the Constitution? Do I explain to her again that it’s Biblical law (Leviticus 20:13 to be exact) as laid out to the rabbis that she is confusing with the American Constitution? Do I explain to her that it was she who taught me all men are equals…and that it says nothing about women – but she read between the lines to instill in me I am an equal.

I really shouldn’t be too surprised, at one time I had a LONG conversation with her about homosexuals. At the time she believed it was a choice, not a biological birthright. And maybe in hindsight that conversation helped her alter her beliefs. The basis of my argument, knowing my mother and the breathe of her love, was to ask her, “What? You could spend eighteen years pouring all your love, belief, and faith in to your child; dote and instill the best that you have to give of yourself, and then turn your back because they were born gay? Could you? Could you throw away the best eighteen years of your life because of a birthright?”

She couldn’t answer me and our conversations on the subject changed after that. Or I thought they had. Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said (232 years ago) that “All men are created equal” and yet 232 years later people are still fighting to enslave some people in a second class caste of difference.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt so wisely said (on a very different topic) “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” he was wrong, we should always fear hatred and chosen ignorance.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Time of Change

There are moments in each of our lives that we remember back and can say, “I remember when I heard JFK. Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon had been killed. I was….” Those were moments of sorrow and loss. Tonight is a moment of joy and hope, but one of those moments that will live in the hearts and memories of many Americans. When I am eleventy eleven I will be able to say, “I remember the exact moment, listening to Barack Obama give his first speech, the night he was elected to the Presidency of America. I was in awe and listened to the voice of change with tears streaming down my face, emotion in my heart, and hope in my soul. I remember.”

Get Out The Vote

It is finally here, thank goodness, I’m tired of the years long, contentious, bickering, slandering, throw the American people under the train, it’s all for the party political season. My leanings and support of Barack Obama (even though I continually slaughter his name) are no secret. For the most part he has run a clean campaign, a fact for which I am grateful.

Being an Oregonian I voted several days ago, I adore mail in elections. I am glad to see that more and more states are moving towards extended voting periods. To all those who think their voice doesn’t count, shut up and think again. Get out and vote.

If you have exercised your right to vote, I thank you. If you haven’t, please do it now. In the future use a paper ballot, it’s your right, request it. While I doubt the all of the conspiracy theories out there about how elections are being stolen, I do believe there is a strong basis of fact to the theories. I just don’t believe all the theories. Today will be a test; tonight will be telling. And I’m curious why there hasn’t been a big out cry in the courts if there is such strong evidence. But I do advocate paper ballots as a way to make sure that your vote isn’t stolen by electronic polling machines. Maybe the entire country should do it like Wilton, New Hampshire where votes are hand counted, visually certified, and butt protected in a four person process to protect from election fraud.

Please get out and vote.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Talk Thursday: All Hallow's Eve

Haunts and Howls

No moon walks the autumn sky
Where scattered leaves
On night winds fly.
Black cats slink and walk the dark
Espying kids
Their hallowed lark.
Pumpkins watch on darkened stoops
A solemn owl
From a pine tree hoots.
Haunts and howls,
And things that scream
Lurk about at Halloween.
Witched decked in dark and black
Go door to door
for their midnight snack.
Pirates swagger,monsters growl,
from house to house
They are on the prowl.
Ghost and goblins fly the night
And little kids
are dressed for fright.
At each door Begging tricks or treats
Little ghosties
Hunt Halloween sweets.

© 29 October 2008 Calista Cates-Stanturf