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Archive for March, 2009

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Cricket made me cry.

No, not “a” cricket.  Just Cricket.  Not an insect (are they insects?  Hang on a second I need to Google this.  Ah….they are indeed insects.  Closely related to katydids.  Who knew??)  Not the sport.  Just Cricket.

Cricket is a moniker used by someone who posts on an internet bulletin board on which I frequently lurk.  (RMSJr if you’re reading you’ll know the board and moniker I’m talking about.)  Cricket’s not her real name (No!  Really Spudsie??  LOL!) .  Her frequent posts help balance out my infrequent ones.  Over the years I’ve come to really respect what she has to say and look forward to reading her views on political and social topics.  Her views frequently mirror my own (sorry RMSJr….I know that probably pains you….you love me anyway right?  ;-))  and she’s able to articulate things better than I could.

The main thing that has impressed me about Cricket is her willingness to state her point of view and not care what anyone else thinks.  (Or at least that’s how it seems from my perspective.)  She’ll let everyone know where she stands and engage in dialogue regarding just about any topic regardless of the online insults hurled by “anons” or even known posters.  Her beliefs are her beliefs and she’s not afraid to let anyone know.

That’s sooooo far from where I am.  I suspect my beliefs and views are just as strong and deeply held as Cricket’s.  I tend to keep them to myself.  I recently told a friend of mine that I’m a democrat and she was really surprised.  The circles I tend to “run” in are largely republican—make that vocally republican.  And I’ve learned over the years just to keep quiet on most political topics.  It’s a habit I’m slowly trying to un-learn. 

(Yes, I know.  I’m not really “un-learning” a habit.  I’m changing the way I interact with people.  I’m choosing to speak up.  I’m choosing to be authentically “me”—whoever that is.  It’s just easier—and shorter—to write that I’m un-learning.  Grin!)

So I really admire Cricket for being herself and for being willing to freely state what she believes.

There was a thread started recently about Jim Wallis and the subject of social justice.  It hit a nerve with me when someone called Jim Wallis a Socialist.  While I cannot claim to have read everything written by Jim Wallis, I have read a fair bit of it.  And it seems crystal clear to me that he is NOT a Socialist.  Period.  So I jumped into the thread and gave my opinion.  And somehow Cricket and I ended up posting a few things back and forth to each other. 

Now I’ve “known” of Cricket and actively followed her postings for a while.  But given the infrequent nature of my own posts I’m positive she had never noticed me before.  Since we seemed to share similar views on the topic and had similar experiences from other Christians when discussing the topic I made a bold move.  Well…..bold for me anyway.  LOL!  I posted an e-mail address and invited her to drop me a line to continue the conversation off the board if she’d like.  And she did!!  Cool beans!  J

She sent me an e-mail with some more of her thoughts on social justice, a little of her back ground, a little bit about her views on different stuff, and an invitation to share my own thoughts.  So I did.  I replied with an overly long e-mail (some of you who have received similar e-mails from me can commiserate with Cricket….LOL!) about a little bit of my history and my thoughts on social justice.

Describing what “social justice” means to me is challenging.  I feel very inarticulate.  I feel as though I stumble and fumble my way through it.  It’s something I FEEL rather than THINK.  And goodness knows I have problems identifying emotions and feelings, much less using them to explain a bigger concept.  When I hit “send” and watched my e-mail disappear into cyberspace I wondered if my words made any sense.  Was there anything of worth in them?  How many typos did I have?  LOL!

Evidently it made a lot of sense to Cricket.  She replied with an e-mail today that made me cry.

Good tears.

She shared a few stories from her life, some of her early exposure to the concept of social justice—before she knew what it was called or knew that not everyone viewed it the same way.  She shared some of her frustration with “church people” (my words—not hers) and their frequent opposition to social justice. 

It was really cool learning that about her.

That wasn’t what made me cry. 

What made me cry was what she said about me. 

Recently I’ve been praying that God would show me what he wants from me in a very clear way.  In a way that I CANNOT miss or misinterpret.  I’ve been praying that in the context of trying to find a life direction.  (See previous blog entries for more about that.  J)  “Hey God, I’m gonna need some major help.  Could you show me what you want from me, where you want me to go in such an obvious way that I cannot miss it.  In a way that I will feel in my soul that it’s where I can start.  Even if the direction changes along the way, even if you have something different in mind for further down the road, could you simply show me where to start.  Make it resonate in the core of my being.  Make it energize me in a way I’ve forgotten I can be energized.  Please open my eyes, my heart, my mind.”

I trust God will help me as I continue my search.  There hasn’t been handwriting on the wall (yet!) or anything like that—and there may never be exactly what I am praying for.  And that’s okay because I know he’s got my back!  And when the creator of the universe has your back, it’s probably best to just let him do his thing.  He’ll come up with a way of guiding me that will be more impactful, more effective than anything I could imagine.  (You rock God!!)

I think in my prayers he’s heard something else.  Something I didn’t really articulate.  (He’s really good at reading between the lines.)  He’s heard my desire to try to see myself differently.  He’s heard my frustrations at not understanding why people say the good things about me that they occasionally say.  He’s heard me say, “What do they see that I don’t see?  Why can’t I see that in myself?”  And he’s sending people to me to help me see ME more clearly.

And this is where Cricket’s e-mail made me cry.

She started her reply to me by calling me a beautiful soul.  I kid you not.  It caught me completely off guard.  I wasn’t expecting anything remotely like that!  I mean, really, the only thing she knows about me is what she read in one e-mail (albeit a lengthy one…).  That’s it.  One e-mail in which I felt I didn’t express myself very well.  Wow.

And she didn’t stop there.  She went on for three paragraphs to say the most heart-felt things about me.  In one e-mail she was able to see things that I haven’t been able to see in thirty-cough-some years.  Not only did she see them, she told me about them.  She told me about me.  And since I wasn’t expecting it ALL of my defenses were down.  I felt the full impact of it deeply.  It actually resonated with me.  Wow.

As Yoda would say, “Unexpected this is.”

I love it when God answers a prayer I didn’t even realize I prayed!

So today has been a good day.  Cricket made me cry.

And see myself a little differently.

Thanks God!

Thanks Cricket!

Cricket

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What environment best nurtures potatoes?  Specifically this potato.  What does Spudsie need to grow, develop, stretch and be the best potato she can be?

(There’s probably some deep psychological reason I frequently talk about myself in a potato-sense rather than as {insert my real name here}.  Whatever.  It suits my needs at the moment.  It sets me apart from the vast majority of the blog-o-sphere—seriously, who else refers to themselves as a potato???  And it’s a lot of fun!!  It helps me stay light-hearted.  So I’m sticking with it.  J) 

As I’ve been thinking about a general direction for me life, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time thinking about what I want.

All too often (or is that an over-used, trite phrase according to James Kilpatrick?), I find myself thinking about what I don’t want.  I don’t want conflict.  I don’t want to have to wear a suit.  (Ever seen a potato in a suit??  Yeah…go ahead and try to Google that.  I’ll wait……)  I don’t want to take time away from Mr. Spuds.  Etc.

Whenever I’ve found myself thinking those things I’ve tried to stop and turn them around.  Yeah….enough about what I don’t want.  What is it that I do want?  Rephrase it as a positive thing.  I want a peaceful working environment.  I want a casual dress atmosphere.  I want to be able to leave work at the office. 

I’ve talked/written about this a little before in previous posts.  As I’ve continued to think about it I’ve come up with more.  Here are some random thoughts in no particular order.  Over the past couple of weeks they’ve come into a pretty clear focus.

·         I want to be surrounded with people who value integrity.  Who have integrity as a core value.  People I can trust.

·         I want to work with people who truly value diversity.  Cultural, religious, political, social-economic, gender, race, creed, and all the others I’ve momentarily forgotten.  People who want to hear viewpoints other than their own.  An atmosphere where people learn from each other.  Where you are allowed to hold views different from others.  Where you aren’t berated, ridiculed and mocked for your beliefs…..whoops!  There I go again with the negative.  Ahem.  A place where diversity of all types is valued.

·         I want to be respected for who I am and what I can do.  I want to feel that respect daily.  I want to hear it in the way I’m talked to and with.  I want to sense it in the way I’m talked about to others.  I want to know it because my opinion is sought out on matters I may have knowledge about or that may impact me. 

·         I want to feel my value to a company, to people in more than simply monetary ways.  Don’t get me wrong—money is nice!!  I like money!  J  (As do all of the shoe stores I frequent.  And amazon.com.)  If there’s a discrepancy between my value in the form of a paycheck and my value in the form of feedback, praise, and general interactions with TPTB I want my paycheck to be on the short end.  (Less money, more non-monetary currency.)  I want the Todd Fitz exclamation-point currency.   (Mr. Spuds will understand what that means!)

·         I want to spend my time someplace where I can be myself.  (See diversity above.) 

·         I want to work where my integrity is not questioned.  Where I am trusted.  Where it is assumed my intentions are good and honest.  “Hey Spudsie I noticed you did X.  That seems really out of character for you.  Can you tell me what happened?”

·         I want to work someplace that challenges me.  That keeps me on my toes.  That keeps me learning and wanting to learn more.

Casual dress. Work hours.  Commute time.  Power.  Corporate vs. small business.  For profit vs. not-for-profit.  Public vs. private.  None of those things matter nearly as much as the things I just listed.  At the right place, with the right work, in the right atmosphere—the rest of it is negotiable.  Casual dress is cool.  And so are business suits with an awesome pair of pumps!  Work hours?  If I’m totally engrossed in and energized by what I’m doing or who I’m doing it for, I might not even notice the hours.  It’s not the typical “check-list” type items I’m craving.  It’s the more intangible stuff.

They are the things I want.  The things I crave.  The things I deserve.  The things I think will help me grow.

 Growing Potato

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Forgiveness

This post will probably end up being part rant, part vent, part self-administered therapy, and part question.  Confusing enough for ya?  LOL!

I had something happen today that is causing me to think about forgiveness.  What it means.  What it looks like in practice.  Is it ever complete?  If you change the way you act towards/think about/or feel about a person have you really forgiven them?

Without getting into too much detail (odd for me, I know!), someone I know broke their commitment to me today.  It’s going to cost me.  Literally.  Cost me $$$$.  $1,000 I wasn’t expecting to spend.  And an ongoing expense I hadn’t anticipated incurring until later.

And I’m angry.  I’m frustrated with and disappointed at the person who chose not to honor their word.

I’m not naïve.  I know these are incredibly difficult financial times for everyone.  I really do.  And knowing we are in difficult times I asked this person (let’s call them Q) back in January if we needed to make any changes. 

“Nope,” said Q.  “No changes are needed.  No problems.”

“Cool,” said the Spudster.

Flash forward to today.  “Spuds I need you to pick up that expense beginning back in January,” said the Q.

?!?!?!?!?!?

Since I’m electing to leave most of the detail out on this post I don’t know how much sense this will make.  From my perspective I had asked if we needed to make any changes to the arrangement and they said we didn’t.  It would be one thing to say “Hey, going forward we need to re-work this.”  But to flat out say, “Pay me back for everything back to January 1” when I had already asked about it makes me want to ask them what the hell they are thinking.

Like I said.  I’m angry.  And frustrated.  And disappointed.

And at the same time I’m not altogether surprised.

This person has a history of not keeping their word.  Of lying when it would be just as easy to tell the truth—or to say nothing at all.  (You know….the type of person who will, without you even asking, show you their new designer handbag and tell you how they only paid $85.  And then the receipt falls on the floor and you see they actually paid $1,000.  That type of thing) 

They’ve lied to me in the past.  They’ve broken promises.  Broken commitments.  “Forgotten” commitments.  You name it, they’ve done it.  Not all of the time.  Not every time.  Just often enough that it could probably be classified mathematically as a pattern.

So Mr. Spuds and I had actually put money aside for this expense.  Assuming we’d eventually end up forking over the cash, but hoping against hope we wouldn’t have to.

So it’s not the money that has me angry.  That part only annoys me a little.  I find myself pretty happy that we thought far enough ahead to set it aside.  (Sometimes being a capital J pays off—literally!  ;-))

I’m not angry about the money.  I’m angry that once again this person has put their own self interests in front of mine and gone back on their word.  Has broken a commitment.  With no remorse and no regret.  And no visible consequences.

(And before you ask, no—this isn’t a friend.  It isn’t an acquaintance that I can avoid in the future.  It’s someone who, for the moment, cannot be avoided.  Long story.)

Integrity is important to me.  It’s one of my core values.  It’s one of my top core values.  (Hey Jim- is there such a thing as a low-ranking core value???  LOL!)  And I try to surround myself with people of integrity.  Even if you are an obnoxious boorish oaf, if you have integrity I’m a lot more likely to spend time with you than if you are a surface-level gentlemen with no integrity.  (Please note the deliberate use of “surface level” there.  True gentlemen have integrity IMHO.)  Integrity is important to me.  And that’s a big part of the reason I’m angry with Q. 

They broke their commitment to me.  They deliberately chose to do so.  I’m in a position to see other choices they make with their money.  (Again, I don’t want to give details.  And because of that it will be easy for you reading this to say, “Spudsie you can’t possibly know where the money is coming from.”  Please take me at my word on this.  I see very clearly other choices they make with their money.)  It is very easy to see they simply decided they would not keep their word.  And knew I was in no position to “fight” them on it. 

I’d probably be a lot less angry if they said, “Hey Spudsie, I know I said I would do this.  But I can’t.  I need you to pay for it.”  Or even, “Hey Spuds you are in no position to argue.  So I’m sticking you with this expense.”  At least that would be honest!  J

Okay.  Working through the anger.  Feel it.  Let it flow through me.  Out my fingertips.  Moving on.

Frustration and disappointment.  There they are.  Ah yes.  Less intense than the anger.  Still pretty durned negative.  Flowing through.  Out the fingertips.  Wait!  Come back!  I want to hang on to y’all and nurse you some more.  Kidding!!  Just kidding!!  Frustration and disappointment moving along.  Out of my system. 

I feel a calm front moving in.  J 

So what does all of this have to do with forgiveness?  I’m so glad you asked.

Q has done this type of thing to me before.  I’ve lived it a number of times in the past decade or so.  Q says things and I’ve learned that I cannot depend on them to follow through—or even remember they have said them.  (Or if they remember, they don’t act like they remember them.)  They turn things back on me.  I must be remembering wrong.  (HA! Said in my best Chris Matthews voice.  Fat chance of that!  Mr. Spuds says I have the memory of an elephant.  LOL!)  It must be my fault somehow.

And for a while I believed that.  I probably did remember wrong.  I’m sure it was my fault somehow.  Over the years I’ve learned that’s just not true.  Q is lying.  Plain and simple.  Lying.  There’s really no way to sugar coat it or call it something nicer.  (Unless you consider “prevaricating” nicer.  Grin!) 

So I’ve learned my lesson with Q.  I cannot depend on Q to keep their word.  I have to trust that I’ll be able to come up with a good Plan B when they decide to change their mind and blame me for it.  So if it involves money I’ve learned to either not count on it, or to set extra aside. 

I’ve also learned over the years that forgiveness means letting go of what you think someone owes you.  (An oversimplification, but it works for the purpose of this rambling.)  Letting go of your right to seek retribution.  Or vengeance.  Or money.  Or whatever.  Just letting it go.  It doesn’t mean what the other person did was okay, or right, or acceptable.  It simply means you let go of needing to get something from them so you can devote that time, energy and emotion to more positive helpful things.

So I’ve forgiven Q.  Q does not owe me anything.  I’m not seeking anything from Q.

And at the same time I treat them differently.  I act differently around them.  I’m still me.  I just don’t believe them.  I have no confidence in what they tell me.  I file it away as something that might happen, but just as easily might not.  Based on past experiences I’ve learned to question most things they tell me.  I take them all with a grain or eight of salt.

How can I have forgiven them if I feel this way?  Based on past experiences I’d be foolish to blindly trust them.  I feel like it’s not quite “real” forgiveness if I act differently.  If I expect them to lie to me.  If I don’t believe them.  Q doesn’t owe me anything.  I’m not after anything.  I simply don’t trust them.

And part of me feels like that’s a reasonable response.  That I’m protecting myself.  And the other part of me feels selfish and judgmental—and not in a healthy way.  I keep checking my motives in hesitating to believe Q.  Is the problem with me?  Have I not truly forgiven Q?

No answers here.  Just questions. 

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Back to the beginning for the potato.

In the two weeks after my last blog entry I found myself still locked in flight mode when trying to think about possibilities for the future.

I thought I had made a pretty good start with answering “How do I want to feel?”  Yet it didn’t really go anywhere after that.  I kept looking at my questions, thinking about them when they weren’t physically in front of me, and hitting a wall.

Coach Jim has helped me form the habit of trying to think of things as hitting a speed bump instead of hitting a wall.  It’s a really helpful visual!  Much more positive and manageable than a wall.  At least with speed bumps you know if you back up far enough and get enough momentum behind you you’ll be able to move forward over them.  With walls?  Not so much.

I kept trying to think of the screeching halt of forward movement as a speed bump.  I really did!  I gotta confess…..if it was a speed bump it was the world’s largest one.  Grin!  I couldn’t get over it.  I couldn’t find a way around it.  I couldn’t even see over it.  Very frustrating.

And I was NOT looking forward to the next conversation with Jim.  The ONE thing I want to be working on, the ONE thing I’m trying to focus on, the ONE thing I keep coming back to…..it keeps shoving me back.  I end up shutting down.  Getting stuck.  Not being able to pull back and see the picture from a different perspective.

So while I wasn’t looking forward to the conversation because I really, REALLY don’t enjoy admitting I haven’t been able to do something that on the surface seems to be really, REALLY simple…..at the same time I found myself really, REALLY looking forward to the conversation because I knew Jim would be able to help guide me through it.

I’d sent him an agenda prior to our conversation with three different items on it.  One of them was “general life direction.”  Jim asked, “So Spudsie, what topic do you want to start with today?”

“Well Jim, the one I don’t want to talk about is the one I think we should start with.  General life direction.  I keep hitting a wall.”

Am I the only one who does this?  I would rather have talked about ANYTHING other than my struggles (and self assessed failures) at thinking about my future.  Weather.  Sports.  Gardening.  Reading.  (Okay….that’s not a fair one.  I’d rather talk about books and reading with anyone anytime! LOL!) Even recipes for green bean casserole would have been preferable!  Yet “general life direction” is the topic I chose to talk about.  I figured if I was fighting it so much it was probably the one thing I needed to talk about.  (And really….who wants to exchange green bean casserole recipes anyway?!)

I told Jim I was stuck.  And he asked me a few questions to try and figure out exactly what I meant by “stuck.”  And he tried a different approach for getting me to talk about my thoughts for the future. 

WHAM!

No, not the 1980’s music group.  (Wake me up before you go-go…..opps….sorry…I distracted myself!)

That was the sound of a potato hitting a wall.  So maybe it was more of a SQUISH than a WHAM?

Okay.  Jim’s done this before.  He tried another approach.  Okay.  This one seems to be working better.

SQUISH!

Hmmmmm.  Okay.  We got a little further with that one.  How about…..

SQUISH!  SQUISH!

Wow!  Who knew potatoes could bounce when they hit a wall????  That was impressive Spudsie!

(GRIN!)

Yeah.  Several different approaches.  Same results.  Shut down of any flow.  Of any momentum.

So Jim took a step back.  And asked more questions.  Hmmmm…..Spudsie doesn’t typically have problems talking about the past, so let’s ask her a history question about this topic.

“What’s the first time you remember having this reaction to thinking about the future?”

A-ha!  (Hey!  Another 1980’s music group!  It must be a theme tonight…)  This question I have an answer to .  My paperweight story!  I turned into a puddle of crying, starchy goop whenever I looked at my “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” paperweight.  That’s when I knew I needed help.

So we talked about that for a little while.  And then Jim asked, “So have you ever tried writing an answer to that question?”

Silence.

Ummmmmmmm.  Gee.  Now I feel silly!  No I haven’t .  Sheesh…why didn’t I think of that?!  Writing has been the one place I seem to find answers while working with Jim.  (Well…..besides in the actual conversations of course!)  I start to write something and some odd neural connections start connecting in different and new ways.  Things aren’t as overwhelming.  They aren’t as scary.  They aren’t as difficult when I write about them.

And the paperweight question was the start of all of that.  And since it doesn’t scare me anymore, why not try to write out an answer?!  Jim!  You’re a genius!!  (That’s said in all seriousness by the way.)

So here’s an attempt to start to answer that question.

“What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?”

Number one.  Write a story/book.  Fiction.  I even know the general time period and a general theme-ish type thing I’m drawn to.  World War II and just after WWII era Germany.  Somehow tied in to Holocaust survivors. 

I would LOVE to do the research for this.  Research is something that really energizes me.  And there is so much raw emotion surrounding this subject that it helps me realize that emotions are a good thing—not something to be frightened of.  They can be something that strengthens you.  That carry you though the unbelievable horrors of war.   Of life.

A year ago I would NEVER have thought of this.  I scoffed at creativity.  Oh!  Not in other people.  I really admired it (and still do admire it) in others!  It was simply something I thought I didn’t possess.  And while creativity may not be something I feel I possess large quantities of, I definitely see sparks of it in myself.  My brain has had to come up with some really creative ways of dealing with some pretty lousy stuff to get me through to this point.  Now I want to see if I can redirect some of that ability in other directions.

Number two.  I would do something with animals.  Oh heck….who am I kidding?!  If I knew I could not fail I’d do something with birds—specifically penguins.  I’m serious!!  I love those crazy little flightless waterfowl!  When I volunteered as a docent at our local zoo I would watch them for hours at a time.  And at the end of my 3 hour “shift” I’d always have half a dozen stories to share with the zookeepers or with Mr. Spuds.  “Oh!  You wouldn’t believe Watson today!  And Tressel’s still refusing to eat—even when her dad dropped the whole fish right on her feet.  She just ignored it and kept begging for food!”

The more I watch the birds from my bedroom window the more I realize that birds are birds are birds.  The sparrows do so many of the same things the penguins did.  (Well no kidding Spudster!  They are both BIRDS!! J) It’s really cool to watch them and be able to understand why they are doing what they are doing.  Hmmmm…that probably doesn’t make much sense.  You’ll just have to trust me!

I know this one isn’t really specific.  I’m not sure exactly what I would do—I just know I’d find SOMETHING (other than being a zookeeper) penguin related.  Maybe lead tours to take other “penguin freaks” like me to visit them in their natural environments?  That’d be super cool!

Number three.  I would eat, drink and sleep books.  Again, I’m serious.  I love to read.  Love, love, love, LOVE IT!!!  What I’m missing now is someone to share that with.  Mr. Spuds is allergic to books.  Or at least that’s what he claims!  😉  He will read one or two books if he’s having a really good year.  Me?  I’ll read one or two a weekend! 

I’ve found a couple of outlets for my “You will not BELIEVE how amazing this book is!” thoughts.  But it’s not enough.  I haven’t found anyone locally who wants to read some of the same books at the same time and talk about them.  Sigh.  It’s frustrating to have all of these thoughts in my head and no “easy” way to see if anyone else agrees. 

So maybe I could start writing more “formal” reviews.  (As if any writing I do is “formal”!  LOL)  Or start trying to find a book club, or form a book club, or I dunno…..just do something to get more conversations going about books.  Goodreads is awesome!  And The Next Best Book Club within Goodreads is an awesome group for sharing book thoughts!  I still find myself struggling to communicate all of the thoughts I have about a book in a few paragraphs.  I find myself wanting to stop in the middle of a chapter and have a face to face conversation or a phone conversation with someone, ANYONE…….  “Hey in chapter 23 when Tom Builder went into that cathedral for the first time did it make you think of…..”  (Ahem.  Jim… just in case you missed that, it was a reference to “Pillars of the Earth.”  😉 No pressure or anything!)

Where was I?  Oh yeah…giving my coach grief because he hasn’t read “Pillars” yet.

What?  That’s not what I was talking about?  Are you sure???  J

Anyway, I’d do something talking about amazing books.  And amazing authors.  And discovering new ones.  And the classics.

Number four.  God.  I’d devote my life to God……………… and become a nun.  Although since I’m not Catholic that’s probably going to be a problem.

Okay.  The nun part won’t work obviously.  But whatever I do with my life it has to be something that can help bring glory to God.  To help me share with people how amazing God is and all of the amazing things he’s done in my life.  And is doing in my life.

I suppose this really should be number one…but I’m writing stream-of-conscious-ly and not in order of importance.  God’s definitely got to be an integral part of whatever I do.  And whatever I do needs to help bring me closer to him—to help me learn more about him.

So number four doesn’t really answer the paperweight question.  And that’s okay.  Because whatever answer I give God will be at the center of it.

Number five.  Food and traveling.  I’d do something involving eating food and traveling.

I could be the female version of Anthony Bourdain!  Without the past heroin habit.  Or the cooking skills.  Or the running-your-own-business skills.  Or the publishing connections.

Sigh.  Okay.  So I’m probably not gonna be the next Tony Bourdain am I?  LOL!  J

He does inspire me though.  I love that the voice in his books is the same as his voice in the TV show “No Reservations.”  When I read his books I can hear him talking.  I love that!  I’m not reading a lecture, I’m reading a conversation.  Even Mr. Spuds read a collection of his writings and enjoyed them.  So that’s saying something about his talent as a writer!

If I knew I could not fail (or go broke trying!) I’d develop my palate.  I’d learn to distinguish more flavors.  I’d be the judge on “Iron Chef” who articulates exactly why they love the fresh flavor of the mint in the dish rather than the judge who simply exclaims “This is amazing!!!!”  (BTW, thanks for that example Jim.  It’s really stuck with me!)  With each chef-prepared meal I eat I think I learn a little more about flavors and how they work together.  And it’s really fun!!

And traveling to new place is a blast!  Of course by the time Mr. Spuds and I actually visit them they aren’t really “new” to me…..I’ve researched them to bits and typically have a folder full of possible places to visit, to dine, to explore.  (That’s my capital J-ness coming through loud and clear!)

Number six.  Helping people.  Again, that’s not overly specific is it?  There are sooooo many people in the world hurting, searching, looking, in need and in want of help.  I just want to do something to make their lives easier.  To help them find peace.  To find calm.  To find motivation.  To give them hope. 

As much as I love animals (and trust me on this, I LOVE animals) if given the choice of contributing to a charity that helps animals or a charity that helps people—I chose the charity that helps people every time. 

So maybe I could take my administrative/organizational type skills and use them in an environment that helps people.  A non-profit organization with a mission that inspires me. 

The thought of that energizes me less than the other things I’ve written about—yet it would be better than what I’m doing now.  Hmmmmm…..it’s far more practical and far less energizing.

Number seven.  I’d pick winning lottery numbers.

What?????  Oh come on……it answers the question perfectly!  If I knew I could not fail I’d buy lottery tickets with the winning numbers before they were selected.  Wouldn’t you??

Number eight.  I’d talk for a living.  Yeah….I know ……the potato who communicates with her friends through e-mail rather than the phone or in person wants to talk for a living.

Scoff all you want.  I really enjoy talking to groups of people (or individuals) about topics I’m passionate about.  Back to the docent days…..I loved talking to the zoo visitors about the penguins.  It really energized me to give my 30 second “These are Humboldt penguins and here are a few amazing facts you may not know about them” spiel.  And then to talk one on one with guests who had more question?  It totally fired me up!!

Wow.

A year ago I was in a puddle just looking at the question.  What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

And now I have eight (okay…..technically seven since picking lottery numbers doesn’t really count) different answers!  Wow.  Wow.  Really.  WOW!

So now where do I go?

As always……to be continued.  (That one’s for you Bob!)

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