Saturday, March 21, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox.
My plan is to celebrate it by cleaning the house and yard. I might even build a small fire to burn some of the smaller branches.
In some parts of the world, it marks the beginning of the New Year.
Along with cleaning my house and yard, I'm going to try to clean out all the old resentments and negative thoughts that keep me from moving forward. Of course, there will always be things that happen that hurt your feelings or cause you to feel like you should just give up. There are a few of those bouncing around in my head right this moment. My thought is that if you don't meet them head on, analyze and address them, they just keep blocking new ideas and new opportunities.
1.) I submitted my 'writer's profile" to Monadnock Writer's Group several months ago, but they never published it. I'm a member. I sometimes go to meetings. I wanted people to read my blog and give me feedback. Is my writing so bad that they decided not to include me? Should I just forget about writing?
2.) I have a degree in engineering and patents for computer inventions. I'm still working on an MS in computer science; which I think demonstrates my willingness and ability to continue learning. But, at work, I am most valued and rewarded for assisting the sales admin with clerical tasks.
I'm the IT person, but our UK office thought it was okay to move our public website without letting me know when they did it. (I knew it was being moved, but I was told they would let me know when it happened.) I only got told after people came to me to complain that the website wasn't working.
There was also a phone conference on a Lotus application launch...I was invited to the first one and brought my Domino expert consultant. Another meeting was scheduled, but I wasn't invited...he was! He is a contractor who charges 6X per hour what I'm paid. Wouldn't it make sense to involve me so that I could do the legwork and some of the implementation under his direction?
What is going on here? I keep the systems running, I solve people's technical problems. I answer technical questions with documentation and references.
I didn't get a pay increase this year either. I asked what the reason was; were they unhappy with my work? No, I was told, the decision was made by senior management and no reasons were given; just the amounts to be given out. I have it in writing.
I've been there two years without a performance review.
Am I so unpleasant, uncooperative, incompetent, or what? It makes no sense to me unless I'm totally deluded about my own performance...
3.) I love to dance, but there are elements of taking dance class that are not entirely comfortable for me. I'm in a modern class with other adults. When we started working on a performance piece, I lined myself up in the front row with a much younger and MUCH better dancer. I'm almost 60; she's barely 20...and her dancing is more than 3Xs as good as mine. I just didn't think about it.
Last week the teacher started talking about moving us around so that the same people weren't always in the front. I feel a little embarrassed, like my dancing isn't good enough to be out in front...or that maybe the other people in the class think I believe I'm a good dancer ( I actually do think I have my moments, but know I have limitations too)...or, who knows? I've been dancing the longest of anyone in the class.
I've been struggling with this for several years now. It seems that if I dance with MoCo, I always wind up in the background as part of the toddler or "creative dance" classes. I'm not the only one, but it feels a bit like a put-down to me.
In Irish Dance it is almost impossible for me to learn and keep up with some of the faster dances. It's embarrassing how awful I look in the traditional Irish Dance costume and wig. I hate looking at pictures of myself on the ID website. Am I holding the adult group back from looking very professional? I know I'm expected to practice and that's at least part of the reason that the other adults are so much better. It's just that I've been dancing longer than almost anyone else in the school, but I don't seem to be improving.
Is it, finally, time to hang up my dancing shoes?
If I could only let go of the pride issue; I could recognize the fact that I dance for EXERCISE. I don't practice because I have other things in my life that are more important to me, so I don't have time.
Maybe the solution is to stop performing?
4.) I'll never finish my master's degree. That's my fear. I am actually making progress on it, but I have a lot of anxiety about it.
There are probably several more negative ideas that hold me back from enjoying my life as much as I could. I bet everyone has a few of these? I'm not sure that I've resolved any of them completely, but I plan to write them on a piece of paper and burn them as I work in the yard today!
Happy Equinox!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I missed an important anniversary

December 10, 2008 was the 60th anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" by the General Assembly of the United Nations. You can read the declaration at
I bring this up because, as I look around the world and within our own country, I see that we truly need to embrace that declaration.
It's difficult.
In our own country, we have people who want to impose their religious views on others. And, quite honestly, whether you look at the Taliban or the Christian Right, you see forces who wish to govern our lives, not based upon the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," but upon their scriptures and religious teachings.
The declaration actually talks about "social safety nets" and the right to a living wage. It talks about the right to open and free expression of religious views, but it also warns against imposing those views on others. It is basically a reiteration of "Do unto others..." and "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
I find it SO interesting that the people most likely to be aggressively christian are also the ones to be uber-patriotic and very vocal about "supporting our troops."
"What's interesting about that," you may ask?
Did you know that the US Military recognizes almost 40 different religious markers for graves? See for a list. That list includes the symbols for Islam, Buddhism, agnostics, and Wicca.
How do the flag-waving, bible-thumping zealots reconcile their support of the military with denial for our soldiers to worship (or not) as they see fit?
Personally, I don't think they can. If you support this country, you support the separation of church and state and the freedom of religious expression and choice.
As a veteran of the US Air Force, I know that being a patriot is more about service to one's country...whether formal military service or community volunteerism, than waving flags, spouting slogans, or pasting decals on one's vehicle. Whatever money is spent on those decals would be better spent in a donation to a veteran's shelter or the USO. The money for those decals usually winds up in China.
And we all, every US citizen, have a responsibility to defend the freedoms outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the US Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution. Whether it is our personal freedoms that are under attack or those of another creed, race, sex, or ethnic group, as citizens we have both the right and the responsibility to speak up and defend those rights with our whole being.
So, today, though I am late, I celebrate the 60th anniversary of the declaration of human rights and hope that reason and brotherly and sisterly love will prevail.