Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Loyalty - GBE2 Word Prompt for Week #18

What is loyalty? Does it mean that you are so devoted to your employer, your spouse or your country that you would never think of uttering a single word that might imply you disagree with something they have done or are doing? Or does it mean that you will stick by family through thick or thin, loving them no matter what, refusing to believe they are capable of wrong-doing?

There is a tendency to take this word and put extremes to its meaning. By having an “all or nothing” approach to defining to the word, I believe it actually diminishes the meaning. I believe one can be loyal without ignoring reality. I believe you can be a patriot without denying the wrongs done by your country. I believe you can be a loyal spouse and still see their imperfections. I believe you can love your job and the work you do without agreeing with everything your employer does.

Unfortunately, far too many don’t see it that way. They believe being loyal means never disagreeing with those to whom you are loyal. I disagree with this perspective. One doesn’t abandon a child simply because they’ve done wrong (at least, a reasonably decent parent doesn’t). Why should disagreeing with actions taken by my employer or my country make me their enemy? In today’s political climate, there is that “all or nothing” perception that is quite discomfiting. It borders on blind loyalty wherein to ask questions amounts to a type of apostasy akin to the thinking of many cults. Do not look beyond your leaders because only your leaders have the answers.

We are a country that was formed by those who asked questions, who challenged authority when authority abused its position. That there are those who believe that any kind of dissension borders on treason is frightening, especially given that some of them believe they are channeling the original intentions of our founders, who want laws that reflect their stern positions.

To me, loyalty is not blind allegiance, but the ability to stand by something or someone regardless of disagreement. I believe you can be loyal to a child who has committed a crime without denying that they have done wrong. It means you don’t turn your back on them or stop loving them. I believe many whistleblowers are loyal employees who don’t want their employers to cause harm. If they weren’t loyal, they’d simply leave. A loyal spouse doesn’t ignore wrongs, but is willing to look beyond them (within reason, of course). And, a loyal patriot wants what’s best for their country and is willing to stand up to wrong-doing and be a corrective component much as a parent is to a child.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Year Ago - GBE2 Topic for Week #17

First of all, hi everyone! I hope y'all at least noticed I was missing over the past month. (I'm teasing.) I was working hard on genealogical research, so didn't have enough spare brain space to tackle anything creative. But, here I am and am looking forward to getting back on track.

This week's topic is "One Year Ago". I remember it well. One year ago, my son, his fiancee and my granddaughter were here with plans to stay put for a while. It was an interesting mix of cheer that they were here, anxiety because the local schools refused to allow my granddaughter to attend for even one day without their required FIVE proofs of residence (none of which they could get since they were living with us) despite state law saying otherwise, stress (when you go from two people with loads of living space between them to five people who were seemingly everywhere, it's difficult), opportunity (I hadn't seen my granddaughter since she was a month old, so it was time to get to know her) and financial worries (theirs and ours since our housing costs went up with the extra people in the house).

My son longed to be back on the job in Wyoming doing what he loved - being a rigger in the natural gas fields. My granddaughter wished she were in school and was missing more and more as each day passed. Her mother had her own issues, some of which spilled over on to the rest of us. My daughter was feeling that her privacy had been invaded despite that she'd never turn down her brother in a time of need. And, I was also feeling a bit cramped since I had developed a routine online and was making a little money doing this and that. Once five of us began to use the same computer, it became more and more difficult to get anything done or have any alone time to think creatively. It's not that we begrudged their needs (they had lost their home because my son's unemployment had run out and needed a place to live), but it was more that everyone's routines had been turned upside down. We just couldn't live as we had lived before their arrival. 

Despite that, it was so good to see my son again and to see how smart his little girl was. I enjoyed sharing different ethnic cuisines with his fiancee, who enjoyed trying new things. Eventually, though, my granddaughter HAD to go to school, so money was pooled and she and her mother went back to Utah in October just in time for Halloween. Paul stayed here because he had found work, albeit not as lucrative as the fuel industry, but it was a paycheck he didn't have before and he stuck with it until his sons' desire to see Dad (and his to see them) drew him back to Utah where he is today. He eventually was able to go back to his old job in Wyoming and is now able to provide for his young family and to get a house where they can all live without being cramped; one with a big fenced-in yard. He's very happy. He wasn't so happy here because he felt like he had failed his kids. 

So, that's how things were one year ago. Family came and went. My daughter sold her old car and bought another one. I sold my car to the junker because I couldn't afford to fix it so it would pass inspection. We gained a new kitten whose family had been killed by a dog but who had the wits to stay out of harm's way and survive. She is now a year old. My daughter broke up with her boyfriend of five years and is happier and calmer than she's been in a very long time. And, I still plug along, trying to earn money doing this and that online, looking for work in the community that doesn't require that I stand for eight hours or lift or do a lot of bending and finally getting back on track with my doctor's visits to better manage my diabetes. Because I'm not working, I have no insurance. But, I was finally approved for charity care through a local hospital, which means my doctor visits and lab work are free for a year. Even if I need hospitalization, it's covered. I feel a bit more secure knowing that's one less worry to deal with.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I backed off my three writing challenges for a while because I was focusing on some heavy genealogical research for the last month. I had gained temporary access to and all those wonderful digitized original documents that can make or break your research. I was in heaven!! (Of course, so are they, so it worked out!)

I was able to get back to the 1600s on my ex-husband's line (back to when Spain had control of the Southwest), several generations on my landlord's line (his didn't take long - he's a second generation American), found a couple new generations on my childhood friend's father's line and found some new information on my own tree. I may have even found the missing link in my own "brick wall", although it remains to be proved.

I have been using the laptop my kids gave me for Christmas to do all this, faithfully saving all pertinent document images as I found them. But, I have had to do this on the dining room table - the very same dining room table I used to do all my homework when I was in high school. My daughter has a desk upstairs for her desktop computer, but I don't really have a specific place for my laptop. And, the dining room chairs do get pretty hard after several hours of sitting. 

That is why I began looking for some ideas to solve the problem, something that would look nice, but allow me to clear the table of my computer and other items (I'm also taking an Excel class this semester) that add to the clutter. Maybe something like a laptop couch table. I actually found several things that I think would work on There are even a couple like the adjustable tables my mother had when she was hospitalized. I never even gave those a thought as being really ideal. They have wheels, they adjust up and down depending on where you're sitting and they're constructed in a way that the base can slip under the chair or couch you're sitting on so you can actually sit more comfortably. There are loads of  great ideas there that I think would work.

They have far more than just tables, too. Let's say you are wanting to find pink and green comforter sets because that girly girl you're raising just loves those colors. You can have it search just for that and voilá - there are your selections!

Just for fun, I went looking for lounge couches and chairs. WOW! Prices from $30 to $18,000!!! Seriously. But, heck - you can't say they aren't touching base with all income levels. I really like the inflatable one - doesn't look at all inflatable, does it? I also like the chaise lounge - I've liked them since I was little, actually. I've never had opportunity to own one, though. And, the Dulset convertible leather textile sofa - I really like the way it looks (no arms for the cats to hang on - works for me!) 

Maybe down the road I'll be able to place an order for just what I want. They've got some really cool things that fit all tastes and budgets. 

Anyway, it's time to hit the books. I just wanted to let everyone know where I was and that I'll be trying to return something in the next week with the challenges (Grandma's Goulash, TGIBBF and GBE2). So, I hope you haven't all forgotten me too quickly!

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