Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Memory lane - Part III

Read from Part I

I have been promising my hair stylist that I would create a "Gallery of Hair" for her, and I want to do it before I move out of state. So here it is:

Ladies, if you're thinking that once you grow up you will finally stop stressing about your hair, forget about it. Even now, at the ripe old age of 47, I'm thinking of growing it long again. Or getting a natural salt-n-peppa buzz cut (my friend Lisa and my other friend Lisa would kill me).

Depends on how I'm feeling tomorrow.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Memory lane - Part II

Read Part I

I have only been hospitalized twice in my life. First was being born, then when I had my tonsils removed at age six. A lot has changed since then.

Prices, for one thing. My mother's hospital stay for my birth cost $26 per day. The total for four days including the operating room, anesthesia and drugs - $151.92.

For my tonsils surgery six years later, the doctor charged $150 and the hospital (with lab, x-rays, drugs and the room) charged $134. Oh, plus $35 for anethesia.

And keeping patient records was a little different than today. My first few months of doctor visits were recorded on one index card by hand. The receipts were hand-written also, but the doctor bills were typed. And that four-day hospital stay when I was born...that is unheard of today as insurance companies want you out as quickly as possible.

It is an interesting experience to hold these things in my hands.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Memory lane - Part I

I used to have this recurring dream, that I'm back in high school (at my present age) because I never really graduated. Well, I have in my hands (not really in my hands because I wouldn't be able to type) my high school diploma. Now they can't make me go back!

As I keep going through my things to get rid of stuff that I refuse to move even one more time, I'm scanning pictures and papers that I want to keep and tossing the originals. Lots of dust, lots of laughs, lots of tears, lots of closure coming my way. And a lot of trivial crap that nobody cares about.

Like this - according to my grade school report cards...

- I was unable to tie my shoes by the end of kindergarten, but I could recognize what color they were.
- I had no special abilities noted from 1966 to 1968 (bummer).
- I was a "back captain" (what??), a "paper" monitor (news, construction, toilet? not sure), and in charge of the Halloween Talent Show in 1970.
- I was an "office girl" in 1974. Wow...I found my career at age 14.
- And last, but not least, my very favorite encouraging comment from a teacher on a report card...

Seems my fate was sealed decades ago. Who knew?

Tune in tomorrow...that's when I go through my medical records!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Photo shoppe

After taking a two-hour nap this afternoon, I woke up with a start and realized I had a really cool project I could work on. I am moving in a couple of months (don't know where...and that's a story for another post), and I am still decades behind in my scrapbooking. I'll never catch up, and I don't want to move this huge box of photos AGAIN.

So I spent the evening organizing, scanning, and tossing. I've backed them up. Now I can share a couple of the gems:

As a bridesmaid in 1980. My favorite hairstyle, but not my favorite dress.

My favorite Halloween costume. I actually travelled on a Chicago city bus wearing this!

My favorite cats-eye glasses. And my least favorite haircut ever.

Only a few thousand more pictures to go.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Is a mistake still a mistake...

...when you take away the consequences?

At a recent public appearance, one of our presidential candidates was in a "town hall" setting when he was asked about abortion after speaking about sex education in schools:

“Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”

The firestorm this caused was because of the "punished with a baby" part of the quote. But to me, the key phrase is "...if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished..."

He seems to be saying that he wants all negative consequences of his children's possible future actions removed. But perhaps we have more unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases today than ever before because we keep trying to remove those consequences. My point is not about sex, it is about personal responsibility.

Let me illustrate by using that part of his quote in a different situation:

I will teach my kids that cheating is wrong, but if they make a mistake and cheat on a test I don't want them punished...

Or how about this:

I will teach my kids that stealing is wrong, but if they make a mistake and rob a bank I don't want them punished...

Or maybe:

I will tell my kids not to drive drunk, but if they make a mistake and kill someone, I don't want them punished...

How do you teach your children that something is wrong if their mistake has no negative consequences? If there are no consequences, why is it a mistake?

Think about how many of the problems in our society would be solved within a single generation if, starting today, we each took full responsibility for our own actions and taught our children to do the same.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Risky business - Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

There are risks that you can do something to avoid, and there are some that you just can't foresee no matter how wild your imagination.

Just ask the man who was enjoying the day on his boat one minute, and the next minute lost his wife to a leaping stingray. Or the two women in the back seat of a car who lost their daughters when a maintenance scaffold fell 43 floors onto them in the front seat of the car. They were just going about their lives, and people they loved were gone in an instant because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It wouldn't be smart to ignore obvious risks, nor would life be much fun if we were always scared of what we can't see around the corner (or in the sky). If the risks of life were all you thought about you would never actually do anything.

As you might have guessed, I'm writing about this because I am trying to convince myself. Even at my age, I still tend to let fear prevent me from doing things I want to or even feel called to do. I have dreams that remain secret for fear of ridicule, relationships that remain unexplored for fear of being hurt, and words that remain unspoken for fear of conflict.

We'll all die someday, somewhere, from something. And in that regard I have three wishes. One, that I don't die doing something really stupid and end up (in)famous for it. Two, that I have made an impact on the world around me that is much more positive than negative. And three, that I have, more often than not, overcome my fear and lived my days to the fullest.

Every day, I need to remind myself that God will work all things out for good, because that is what He has promised. And that is the ultimate risk strategy for this life.