Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's Noun - Purpose

pur·pose /ˈpɜrpəs/
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

[Origin: 1250–1300; (n.) ME purpos < OF, deriv. of purposer, var. of proposer to propose; (v.) ME purposen < AF, OF purposer]

—Synonyms 1. object, point, rationale. See intention. 7. mean, contemplate, plan.


We all have purpose in life. Purpose varies from person to person. And, we all have more than one purpose, I dare say.

Today, I'm going to concentrate on just one of mine. The most obvious.

There are many times in my daily life that I have the unshakeable feeling and understanding that the purpose for which I was put on this earth was to call attention to all the lumps under the carpet that people trip over and do nothing about.

Since I was a very young child I've always been the one pointing at the 500 pound gorilla in the room, saying, . . . "Don't you think we ought to get him outta here? He's making us miserable, and no one seems to notice." . . . while everyone else was shhhhh-ushing me, or ignoring me too, and then pulling the proverbial carpet over the gorilla, turning, and saying in response - "What gorilla? There's no gorilla!"

My entire childhood just about the only time I was in trouble was when I spoke openly about things. My poor mother had a real job on her hands trying to teach me about being socially appropriate. Some of it got through my stubborn head. But it's still like I'm *required* to say the things other people won't say. I just have to say, "Ummm. . . that gorilla is just hiding under the carpet. . . hello?"

It amazes me that most of the time, people do choose the lumpy zoo over facing the gorilla head on.

With those who are not in my immediate circle it's pretty easy to let them choose to live there. It's really no skin off my nose, and if they can live with it I can live beside it. With those IN my immedate circle, it's much much harder. When they choose to live with lumps to trip over, and gorilla poop left to smell - or for me to clean up - it's much much harder to deal with. Apparently those who ignore the smell don't understand (or don't care) that I can still smell it, and they are not at all happy about my complaining and holding my nose. I'm not exactly clear on what that does to them in full, but I have a pretty good idea because whether they realize it or not, I *have* heard them.

This "requirement" of purpose causes others to "see" me as arrogant, think I think I know it all, think I think I'm better, smarter, or wiser than them. I don't, but that's how they see it, regardless. Eventually they put me out of their lives. I can understand why. This aspect of my purpose makes me very hard to live with. I can fully understand that. It's GOT to be tough, really tough, to be around someone who is pointing out things they'd rather avoid. I can only imagine what it must have been like for my older children, and now my seven year old, with me as a parent. And, it's one of the main reasons I'm getting divorced - my soon-to-be-ex spouse can not deal any longer with my need to NOT have any lumps to trip over or poop to clean up. I can't blame him. I want him to go and be happy in the way that he is comfortable, and that's obviously better for him.

The people who can handle me and my given purpose are few and far between. The few I've found are those who are sick of walking on lumps and cleaning up gorilla poop themselves. They do support me in my purpose as much as they can. I'm grateful.

It's also painfully obvious to me that they are people who don't have to deal with me on a day to day basis. Is the inevitable saying that I am destined to be alone? That I SHOULD be alone? That if I am to fulfill the purpose I feel G-d has given me, I have to do it without support from someone with skin beside me every day?

I have to analyze everything down to the atomic level(Gawd, I know that must be so annoying to others) as that is an element of this "purpose" I have been given. But how does one fulfill their purpose in life, do what they feel is their G-d given purpose in life, and not rub other people the wrong way? My only conclusion is, I can't. I've tried every way possible time and time again.

So, the choice before me is, fulfill my purpose or not be alone. This is black and white. The grey has already been explored, and there are no answers there. It's one way, or the other, apparently. The nuances of that choice boil down to the rhetorical . . . do I please G-d, or do I please people. . . Do I continue to accept my purpose and continue to fulfill it, or do I listen to others and give in to what they say I should do, which would make them very happy.

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Noun - Lesson

les·son /ˈlɛsən/
1. a section into which a course of study is divided, esp. a single, continuous session of formal instruction in a subject:
2. a part of a book, an exercise, etc., that is assigned to a student for study:
3. something to be learned or studied: the lessons of the past.
4. a useful piece of practical wisdom acquired by experience or study:
5. something from which a person learns or should learn; an instructive example:
6. a reproof or punishment intended to teach one better ways.
7. a portion of Scripture or other sacred writing read or appointed to be read at a divine service; lection; pericope.

[Origin: 1175–1225; ME lesso(u)n < OF leçon < L léctiōn- (s. of léctiō)


When I was about seven years old my father came home from work around 6:00 PM on a Friday night and announced that we were moving to Wyoming, and we needed to be there by Monday morning. This was nothing new. Dad was in the mining and tunnel construction business, so we moved about every 6-18 months. My mother was the queen of picking up our entire household, moving it across country, and putting it all back together in a weekend.

All of us kids knew the drill. None of us even spoke. We all just stood up, went to our rooms, pulled the boxes and suitcases out from underneath our beds, and began packing our personal things. Mother began packing the kitchen, and after my sister and I were finished with our items we went to our parent's room and began packing their things. My three brothers were in charge of gathering and packing things like tools and the garden hose, then were commissioned to start packing the trunk of our huge car as my sister and I carried boxes to them. Everyone was well aware of their jobs, and it worked like a well oiled machine every time. This particular time, our house was totally packed up by midnight. We all slept in sleeping bags, which, in the morning were put on top of the car (on the bed frames and mattresses) and all seven of us piled into the car once again - this time for a two day drive from Alabama to Wyoming.

This particular trip was memorable to me because I was in charge of reading speed limit signs. This was the first time I'd been given a job DURING the actual road trip - just like my four older siblings. I felt as if I was, at last, important to the family. In my mind, I was very grown up. In addition to that important duty, I was also told that it was my job to watch for billboards that advertised gas stations. This part of my "job" was excruciating! I remember asking time after time . . . "Do we need gas yet, Dad?" Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity to me, we did need gasoline and I was to find us a place to purchase it.

I diligently started reading every billboard. For miles I was disappointed. I began to fear I had missed one. I worried we would run out of gas. I was a perfectionist even then, and was so worried I began to get nauseated. But I did not want to appear unworthy to my family, and sweated it out silently. Finally, I spyed a sign for Stuckey's!! (Remember Stuckey's? =) As was our custom, my family literally applauded when I loudly announced we had two miles to go before reaching the gas station. (My father was not one to stop often, and the seven of us had been packed in the car for a solid four hours.)

We all piled out of the car and everyone but me and Dad headed for the restrooms. I was quiet as Dad instructed the gas station attendant to "Fill 'er up with Ethel!" The attendant set the nozzle in the tank, turned on the pump with a crank, and began to clean the windshield while making small talk with my Dad. I watched as Dad pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket that was about four inches in diameter to pay the attendant. I was mezmerized!! How much money could that be? Dad broke my gaze as I stared at it by telling me to go inside and "Do what you need to do."

I obeyed immediately. On my way to the back of Stuckey's where the restrooms were, a beautiful horse figurine caught my eye. It called to me! I looked around cautiously for any of my family members, realized that they were using the restrooms and I would have to wait anyway, then decided it wouldn't hurt to go have a closer look at the beautiful figurine. I dared not pick it up, for fear of dropping it, but I gently ran my fingers over the mane and tail, and the muscular features of it - marveling at the detail of it.

Instead of going on back to the restrooms, I went back outside and approached my dad. "Dad? Do you think I did a good job with my road duties?"

"Yes, you did. But you have to keep doing it. I need your help." He said flatly.

"I will." I promised. I took a deep breath and asked, "Daddy? Can I please have some money to buy a horse I saw inside? It would be great for my collection."

"I don't know. CAN you?"

"MAY I?"

"No, you may not. I don't have the money right now."

I was crushed. I felt betrayed. I just knew had been LIED to!! I had *just* seen that wad of bills my Dad had in his pocket. I knew he had money!!! But I never said a word, went inside and used the restroom, then piled back into the car when everyone else did.

For years I continued to think my father betrayed and lied to me. That is, until I was a teenager. I got my first job, and my first car - complete with car payments, insurance, and gasoline to pay for - when I was sixteen. One day, after cashing my paycheck, I realized I would not have enough money to pay my car payment, pay the insurance, buy gasoline, buy my lunch all week, AND go to the football game on Friday night.

My niece, Sharon, was with me at the time. After we had gone to the bank she asked, "Aunt Beth? Can we go to McDonalds for lunch?"

"No, Sharon, we can't go this time. I don't have the money."

"But . . ." whined my six year old niece ". . . You just went to the bank!! They gave you money!!"

Boy. It hit me like a lead balloon.

I dropped my niece off at her house, went home, and promptly apologized to my Dad.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's Noun - Direction

di·rec·tion /dɪˈrɛkʃən, ˈdaɪ-/ [di-rek-shuhn, dahy-]
1. the act or an instance of directing.
2. the line along which anything lies, faces, moves, etc., with reference to the point or region toward which it is directed: The storm moved in a northerly direction.
3. the point or region itself: The direction is north.
4. a position on a line extending from a specific point toward a point of the compass or toward the nadir or the zenith.
5. a line of thought or action or a tendency or inclination: the direction of contemporary thought.
6. Usually, directions. instruction or guidance for making, using, etc.: directions for baking a cake.
7. order; command.
8. management; control; guidance; supervision: a company under good direction.

[Origin: 1375–1425; late ME direccioun (< MF) < L dīréctiōn- (s. of dīréctiō) arranging in line, straightening.


I remember being lost in Washington DC. My father pulled to the curb and asked a stranger for directions. The man gave elaborate guidance . . . "Go to the light, make a left, go three more lights, take another left, ... " ETC. My mother took short-hand like notes, feverishly trying to keep up. The man spoke for almost two minutes, which is a pretty long time. Finally he took a breath and said quite matter of factly . . . "When you get to that point, you just have to FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD!". . . and literally ran away laughing as hard as he could and holding his stomach.

Sometimes, like today, I feel like God has done the same thing to me. Sent me on a wild goose chase, and convinced me He was sincere, but in the end it's like some big cosmic joke.

The directions I'm receiving right now are not making sense. (Not that they ever really did, mind you, but I have faith.) I'm at the point now where God is more like the brainless scarecrow - telling me that all directions are "nice." I am confused by it all. For years I have been doing exactly what I felt God would have me do. Following the directions to the utmost detail. And yet, here I am, between Munchkin Land and Oz.

It's not like I've never questioned the directions - I uaually do ask . . . "Are you SURE that's the way I should go? It sounds like you're taking me the long way around." I was always assured that's the direction I was supposed to take. So, that's the way I went. More often than not, I found that I was supposed to go that way because of others, but sometimes it was so I could learn something for myself. But I'll tell you, sometimes it's just not worth the trip.

If I ever get to the Emerald City, and God is nothing more than a manipulative control freak, I'm going to be spending eternity in the wicked witch's dungeon with the flying monkeys, because I'm going to be PISSED - and the whole of the cosmos will know it!!

It's not like I want to go back to Kansas. Things weren't all that great in Kansas. I mean - there was that tornado, and the bitchy spinster, let's not forget the pig pen, and everything there is so . . . colorless. No. Kansas is not where I want to be. I've been to Kansas and it's no promised land. I'll take my chances with the flying monkeys, thanks.

So, what choice do I have but to keep following the yellow brick road in my ruby slippers that certainly don't match my blue gingham dress? I *HAVE* to take the Cowardly Lion with me? He's driving me to the brink of insanity.

I tried the three clicks thing already - it doesn't work.

I just want to go home.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Today's Noun - Confusion

con·fu·sion /kənˈfyuʒən/ [kuhn-fyoo-zhuhn]
1. the act of confusing.
2. the state of being confused.
3. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos:
4. lack of clearness or distinctness:
5. perplexity; bewilderment:
6. embarrassment or abashment: He blushed in confusion.
7. Psychiatry. a disturbed mental state; disorientation.
8. Archaic. defeat, overthrow, or ruin.

[Origin: 1300–50; ME (< AF) < L confūsiōn- (s. of confūsiō).


Today, it's #2, #3, #4, and #5.

'Nuff said??

Yeah. I think so. I don't want to say anything stupid.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today's Noun - Post-It

Post-it [pohst-it]
1. a small notepad with an adhesive strip on the back of each sheet that allows it to stick to smooth surfaces and be repositioned with ease.
2. a sheet from such a pad.


Why is it I have my best ideas when I'm behind the wheel of a car or in the shower - when I can't jot down the ideas?

When I was driving to work around noon today, I had a whole half hour to think without any interruptions. (Well, except driving, of course.) I came up with at least four things to blog about - complete with some clever ideas as to how to present them. I even told myself . . ."I am going to remember these."

Famous last words.

I got inside my workplace and was reaching for the post-it notes to write down the ideas. Just then, the phone rang. I used the post-it's for taking a phone message, and put the written message in the cubby of the proper person. I excitedly reached for the post-it's - at this point I still had all the ideas in my memory.

I sat down, rolled up to the desk, picked up my pen, and positioned the post-its at the correct angle to begin writing down my ideas. A rapp rap rappppp invaded my thoughts. I rolled away from the desk and answered the door with the post-it's in my hand - I was determined not to forget. It was one of my clients coming to greet me and show me the model car he's working on. When we were finished talking I again sat down to write down the ideas.

At this point a co-worker comes into the office (they have keys, so I didn't have to get up this time at least) and starts doing what we call "changeover." This is important information that I need to have to opperate properly, so I used the post-it's to jot down changeover information - one post-it for each individual piece of info.

By then I needed to check my email because it was time to give meds, and I always check to see if there are any med changes or any pertinant information I need regarding a particular client before I start interacting with the clients themselves. I kept the post-it's in my hand to jot down anything of use. As usual, I wrote down about a dozen pieces of important information regarding various clients.

I passed meds, directed all eight clients as to the next thing on their agenda, and made sure they were following through. The other staff on duty were supervising them. This was my chance!! I couldn't remember all four things I had in mind while in the car, but I still had three of them!! I was confident that once I started writing them down the fourth one would return to my brain.

I didn't go to my desk this time - I went into the kitchen! (I was afraid of the phone, and the door, by this point.) I stood behind the kitchen door so only the surveillance cameras could see me. I put the dwindling pad of post-it's up against the refridgerator and JUST as my pen touched the paper, I feel the door knob hit me in the butt and a young voice calling my name. The thought in my head was a very loud . . . "Damnit!!". . . as the pen scrawled ink in a most uncomely manner up and off the post-it pad . . . onto the refridgerator door. (Plus, that door knob HURT!) I dealt with the mini-crisis of my client, redirected them, and then went to the cleaning closet to get some cleaner - I had to get the ink off the refridgerator - but I never put down the post-it's.

I'm nothing if not a stubborn and determined wench. After scrubbing ink off the fridge, I checked the cameras . . . everyone was in place and doing what they were supposed to be doing. This time I went into the staff bathroom and shut the door. Surely I could take just a couple minutes to record my ideas, plus, I was even more afraid of doors by now and thought no one would bother me in there. I leaned over the counter and managed to write . . .

Blog Ideas!

1) wea

. . . when that annoying buzzer that tells us someone is moving around outside the building went off. None of the other staff could leave the clients unsupervised to check out the alarm, so I knew my bathroom hiding time was done. I grabbed my coat and picked up the post-it's simultaneously. I turned off the alarm, scanned the cameras counting heads to make sure none of the clients had gone outside, and then went outside myself to investigate. I opened the door to go outside and saw a squirrel scurry across the lawn, and I knew that was my culprit, but I walked around the building just to be sure. I found nothing to be suspicious of so I go back to the door and find - I had my post-it's, but NOT my keys.

I rang the doorbell and waited. If I'd *also* picked up my pen, I'd have had time to finish that word I started. The clients can not be left unsupervised at any time, so it took a while for one of the staff to get to the door - with four clients in tow - to let me in. My cheeks were crimson from embarassment, not from the cold, but at least I had my post-it's, and still TWO ideas left in my brain.

By now it was snack time. After that, time to lead a group. Then time to do some individual therapy, and of course, dinner. Then, yet another group. All this time there was one client (the one who hit me in the butt with the door knob) who was not particularly on his game today, so he required much individual attention.

Seven hours into my work day, I'm still carrying the post-it's in my hand, but only one of the ideas in my head. I decided to go outside for my first smoke break of the day. Post-it's, pen, AND keys in hand, I go outside, hide around the back of the house, light up, and lean against the building to write down the one lonely idea I had left. That blessed little squirrel ran in front of me and gave me a start.

For the life of me, I could not remember what I was going to write down. Damn squirrel!!

And now, home and in front of my computer, I can't even figure out the word I started writing on that lime green post-it note.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today's Noun - Faliure

fail·ure /ˈfeɪlyər/ [feyl-yer]
1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.
2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: a failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.

I have failed at my previously proposed ventures. I wanted, and attempted, to take the high road. I don't know exactly where things went wrong.

Now I have to make a new plan.