Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Family of Friends

You’ll find there’s a family of friends living here,
A small group of minds, and of hearts;
With some of us clever and some of us not,
At times you can’t tell us apart.

There’s one who is cranky, and one who is shy,
And one who is really uncouth;
And just when you think you’ve discovered who’s who,
You’ll really uncover the truth.

The truth that we’re all just a little of each,
A group of imperfects are we
And sometimes I might criticize them to you,
But don’t ever knock them to me.

‘Cause the one thing that ties us together for life-
no matter how far we’re apart,
Is love for each other, a family of friends
A small group of minds, and of hearts.

Judy Blume

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One Year Ago Today

At about this time last year, I was having breakfast with the love of my life, keeper of my heart and most wonderful man in the whole wide world. I know that’s not traditionally how a bride and groom spend the morning of their wedding, but we’ve always been fairly unconventional and figured, why start now?

Two hours later, at approximately 11:30 a.m. on March 20, 2008, we stood in the judge’s chambers at a courthouse in Texas and promised to love, honor, respect and cherish each other until we are parted by death. Tears welled up in my eyes then, just as they have now.

We had hoped to spend our first anniversary together, finally ending our international relationship and living together, once and for all, on the same continent. Circumstances have made that impossible this time around, but that doesn’t diminish how special this day is to me and to us.

Mike and I have been through a lot these past eight years. We’ve overcome many obstacles, supporting and comforting each other along the way. We’ve held hands and climbed mountains. When I grow tired, Mike carries me. When he can climb no longer, I sit by his side while he recovers the strength to carry on.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s felt good and right every step of the way. Besides sharing a powerful love for each other, we are the best of friends; we like each other — a lot! I believe that has kept us going more than just about anything.

We’ve almost reached our mountaintop, my Love. I’m pressing on, with all that I am and all that I have. I know that you are too.

Truly Madly Deeply
by Savage Garden


Job Search, School and Frozen Bits

Things are still going well here in Minnesota. I’ve had time to settle in and really start noticing how different things are. Besides the weather, which I’ll come to shortly, life here is less chaotic and stressful.

We are surrounded by warm friendship, love and support which is the main source of the peaceful feeling here. The general atmosphere of our area feels quite easy-going as well. People seem more friendly, and a lot less rushed.

The job search is underway. That’s about all I can say at this point. I have résumés and applications in at several places, all of which would be nice places to work. I haven’t been called for any interviews yet, but it’s still early in the game, so I’m not worried.

It requires a little digging, but there are opportunities to be found. I feel confident and optimistic. Of all the places I’ve applied, I can’t say that I’m more interested in one than another. The one that might interest my readers the most, though, is the Science Museum of Minnesota.

My little buddy is back in public school and enjoying it very much. He likes all his classes and teachers, and already has a nice circle of friends. He’s in two different after-school clubs: one is the chess club, the other an anime club. He’s also in the school choir.

Yes, my little guy is enjoying school again. I’m very pleased and excited for him. It’s been a long time coming!

Last Tuesday, I experienced negative temperatures for the first time in my life. I was walking with John to the bus stop and my nose hairs froze. No, seriously! It was weird because I didn’t realize right away what was happening. By the time I figured it out, my vision started to blur. I quickly realized that frost was accumulating on my eyelashes. I kept pinching them between my thumb and forefinger to keep them thawed.

Don’t worry, though. I’m not the least bit put off by it. I told Mike that it was actually exhilarating in a way. I’ve never felt air so cold; it was a completely new sensation that I’d never experienced and I’m glad I did. That said, we’ve been having warm temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s these past couple of days, and I’m enjoying that very much.

Overall, things are going well.


Friendship and Fate

I should probably begin by saying that I do not believe in fate, destiny or that anything is “meant to be”. These imply purpose, which implies the presence and interference of external, supernatural forces in our lives. Anyone who reads here regularly will know that I file that sort of thing under the heading of bollocks, and more specifically, woo.

My disclaimer out of the way, it’s not really the point of this post. It’s not about criticizing people’s general belief in destiny, the stars or the Fates all of which henceforth I will refer to as “fate”, for the sake of simplicity.

There is one aspect of these beliefs, though, that’s been bugging me for quite a while, and I think it’s time I share my thoughts on the subject.

When recounting failed, broken or forgotten relationships, people who believe in fate often say things like, “It wasn’t meant to be”, or “It was only meant to be for a season” and other words to that effect.

It’s true that not all friendships last for ever, and that there’s not always a guilty party or someone to blame. People change and grow throughout life, not always at the same pace or in the same direction. This often leads to a parting of ways. Sometimes the parting is painful; sometimes it’s done with cherished memories and no hard feelings. Occasionally, the parting occurs without either party taking much notice at all. It depends upon the individual relationships and their dynamics.

Some fate-believing people, however, have a (very calloused) knack for categorizing every broken relationship as “not meant to be”. Even when the people with whom they have parted ways express pain or hurt feelings, certain fatalists refuse to take responsibility for their own behavior and how it can affect and even destroy friendship after friendship, relationship after relationship. Fate is at work, after all, and it was only meant to be for a season.

What a total crock!

This is often nothing more than the refusal to look honestly at oneself and own up to being insensitive, uncaring and selfish; a direct desire to avoid having been part of the reason for a life-long series of broken relationships.

The slightly amusing part is that, more often than not in my experience, we see this kind of behavior in people who claim to be deeply introspective and highly enlightened. I wonder how many of them would recognize themselves from someone else’s perspective; assuming, of course, that they actually have the ability to see things from someone else’s viewpoint.

Friendship needs to be nurtured and cared for: it requires mutual respect and consideration. It’s give and take, and that doesn’t mean one person does all the talking while the other does all the listening.

People who can leave others wounded in the wake of their self-centeredness, time and again, who can write off every failed relationship as “only meant to be for a season”, have no idea what true friendship is about. In a way, I pity them, for they may never experience the joy of true friendship, as I have.

There is a comfort in being loved and accepted in spite of, or perhaps even because of, your quirks and idiosyncrasies. There is a contentment in giving, if only by making a friend laugh, or reminding her how much she is cherished.

So, believe in fate all you please, but don’t use it as an escape hatch from the sinking ship of your own inability in relationships. Some friendships can last for ever, but they require far more than ‘the stars’ to make them shine.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Job-Hunting in a Recession

Since my layoff and relocation to Minnesota, the current recession and my need to find work are constantly at the front of my mind.

Bonnie sent me an article this morning. We were discussing last week how I shouldn’t be discouraged by hiring freezes. Just for example, the department where Bonnie works is currently running so lean that if a single position is vacated for whatever reason, it absolutely must be filled.

This, and other varying circumstances, allow companies to hire new employees even during a recession. The following linked article seems to support this. It was very encouraging to me, and I hope it will be useful to others.

Six myths of job-hunting in a recession are listed below. Please refer to the article at Yahoo! hotjobs for details and explanations of each.

  • Myth 1: No one is hiring.
  • Myth 2: The internet is the best place to find jobs.
  • Myth 3: Searching companies in hiring freezes is a waste of time.
  • Myth 4: Expect a salary cut.
  • Myth 5: Companies are not interested in hiring people over age 55.
  • Myth 6: Experience and advanced degrees guarantee a job.

The theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Showinextricably linked to Minneapolis— just came to mind. I seem to have a song for everything, don’t I?

Love Is All Around
by Paul Williams

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


If I Believed In Angels

So, it was, in fact, my last night in Texas. We left last Tuesday morning and arrived in the Twin Cities around supper time on Wednesday. We were a day earlier than expected, catching Bonnie off guard, but she was gracious and welcoming, and we’re both very happy to be here.

In Heart of Gold, Bonnie wrote about how the idea for this relocation transpired. She had asked her husband, Dale, how he felt about having us stay here for an extended period, and he was fine with it. Then, without any prompting from Bonnie, he came up with a plan to fly to Texas, rent a moving truck, load us up and drive back to Minnesota. Dale took off an entire week from work, and sandwiched all this between two business trips.

I think it’s very much worth mentioning that, not only did Dale do all this out of the kindness of his heart, he never once gave any indication that it was the slightest bit of trouble. There is no doubt in my mind that he was tired, jet-lagged and missing his lovely wife with whom he had shared a few brief moments before heading off to Texas, but despite all that, he was pleasant, patient and kind to my son and me throughout the entire two-day journey.

These past few days have been very nice. I have enjoyed spending time with my best friend and chosen sister, and getting to know her dear husband. These two people are the kindest, most generous and compassionate people I have ever known.

It’s important to keep in mind that my son and I are not the only ones in transition here. This is a big adjustment for Bonnie and Dale as well. Not only are they sharing their home with two other people, one of those people is (very nearly) a twelve-year old boy with quite a lot of energy. He is also going through the (quite normal for his age) process of testing the boundaries of his new surroundings, which can be somewhat trying, even for his dear ol’ mom who loves him more than anything. Still, these two wonderful people have been comendably patient and understanding. They have treated us both with love and compassion, and continue to make us feel as though this is exactly where we belong.

I don’t know that I will ever be able to thank them properly. I only hope that they both know how very much they are appreciated, not only by my son and me, but by Mike as well. It’s difficult for him, knowing that all this is happening and being too far away to get right in there and help with the nuts and bolts of it all. Knowing that we are now surrounded by people who truly have our best interests at heart gives him a peace of mind that he wouldn’t otherwise have. It is a priceless gift to Mike, knowing that his wife and son are safe and happy in his absence.

If I believed in angels, I would wonder where Bonnie and Dale were hiding their wings.

The house is lovely! We each have our own rooms and bathroom — we’ve been made more than comfortable. I am surrounded by books in my room (that’s what heaven would be like, I’m sure) and my eyes were immediately drawn to The God Delusion which I am now reading for the first time, and loving every minute.

The backyard is a wooded area where deer and other critters frequently walk right up to the back of the house. I’ve already seen up to six deer at once. It’s amazing to behold, and brings a feeling of tranquility.

Yesterday, we were given a tour of the Twin Cities. It’s very nice, and there are only about six miles between downtown Saint Paul and downtown Minneappolis. Since the city buses run between them, working in either city is a viable option.

John will not start school until next Monday. The first order of business is to get him settled in there, and possibly find an after-school program of some kind for when I start working again. In the mean time, I will be applying to jobs online (Bonnie has emailed me a list of places) and see about registering with the Minnesota Workforce so I can start receiving my unemployment compensation. The Workforce also has a variety of good resources and programs for people in my situation.

Before signing off, I mustn’t neglect to mention that I am also reading How To Talk Minnesotan. It’s a guide for visitors (and new-comers) to learn the language and mannerisms of Minnesota, so as to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb.

From Lesson 2: The Power of the Negative:

— “Oh great, just wonderful, terrific. I love it!”

Get that excited about something in Minnesota and you might as well paste a bumper sticker to your forehead that says I’M NOT FROM AROUND HERE. […]

Minnesotans perfer to express their positive feelings throught the use of negatives, because it naturally levels things out. […]

If you just got married or bought a late-model pickup under book price with low mileage and hardly any rust, or it’s dawn on opening day of the duck season, a Minnesotan would say

— “I would’t want you to think I’m not happy.”

That’s a strong statement here.

So, in closing, and in keeping with this lesson: it’s not too bad here, it could be worse, I can’t complain and I wouldn’t want you to think I’m not happy.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On