Archive | November, 2020

Feeling Stupid Is So…Stupid

21 Nov

Before I retired from the Texas State Health Department, I worked at a job that I loved. It was creative, meaningful, and funded by a federal grant. With the shift toward conservative politics, the funds dried, up as did my job. I was moved to another department that had an empty position. After years of a hiring freeze, I don’t think anyone even remembered what tasks were associated with that position. As a result, I was given no assignments. None, zip, zilch. I begged my boss to use my grant writing and organizational skills. In spite of promises to do so, I sat twiddling my thumbs and planning my escape to Mexico.

Our prompt for the week, NOT KNOWING

One day while perusing the department website, I noticed that the program material was outdated, wordy, and poorly organized. I asked and was given permission to take training to work on our section of the larger Health Department website. Web editing and development were far outside of my wheelhouse.

Adding my own graffiti.

The training was challenging and went a long way to stimulate my mind and teach me that I can pretty much do anything. So when this week had me spilling frustrated tears over failure to figure out an Application that is part of my art class, I needed to be reminded of my ability. Like many people, being called or thought of as “stupid”, especially by oneself, is the lowest of the low.

Ms Bossy Pants, Stela supervising in the studio.

The truth I learned is that I have judgement about people who don’t have basic computer skill. One of those people is my brother. He has an old phone, no texting, no exchange of photos, nada. I finally figured out the application, more or less. And just in case you wondered, I am stupid about a lot of things. Aren’t we all?

DOS TORTAS

Creating Our Own Happiness

15 Nov

When the high point of my day was reporting both dogs’ bowel movements after our morning walk, I knew it was time to take action. The daily routine of COVID isolation was getting to me. When an invitation showed in my inbox for a Zoom “Painting Circle” with my friend and teacher, Connie Solera, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

Gazing at the far horizon.
Night time musings.
Not Knowing.

I have also subscribed to Audible, audiobooks. Laying in the hammock to read, makes me feel lazy and puts me to sleep. Listening to The Secret Room by Corrie Tenboom or some equally interesting book, both inspires and motivates. I can prep dinner, clean out the refrigerator or give the dog a bath, all things I tend to put off, while feeling accomplished and lifting my spirits.

I have also picked up my crochet hook and am working on a colorful afghan during the evening TV time. I have told my mother-in-law Alice that the blanket is a gift for a friend who is expecting a baby. That way she can ooo and aaah without knowing it is a gift for her.

As Covid quarantine stretches on for months and perhaps years, reading about what the Jews who hid out during WWII experienced keeps me humble. I suppose reading The Diary of a Young Girl could also be added to the audio list. Keep occupied, look out for your neighbors and please, wear a mask.

DOS TORTAS

When Communication Is Not Your First Language

8 Nov

Sometimes a comedic line on a TV series can hit a bit close to home. As was the case when Patrick’s said to David on the Emma Award winning series Schitt’s Creek, “I understand David that communication is not your first language.

A must watch tale of love.

While I had a good laugh, I’ve also had to ponder (as my wife would say) communication as a language skill.

A relationship takes a commitment to love and communication.

Since moving to Mexico, I have been daily studying Spanish as a second language. My foray into learning Spanish began in high school. It continued during a junior year abroad in Mexico and with additional college coursework and a job where I spoke Spanish daily.

Regardless of how hard I work, I am clear that I will never pass as a native speaker. Between idioms, accent and constructing new cognitive frameworks, I have a lot to learn.

I think the same can be said of communication. When my kids were little, I used to teach a course called, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. Also for ten years, I have been a student and coach of Real Love by Dr. Greg Baer.

Learning the language of communication takes daily effort and attention. Remembering that most people have never worked to improve the skills that mom and dad taught them, helps me to have patience. It also reminds me to not take things personally and lower my expectations. I don’t think communication will ever be my first language either, but remain a lifetime study for as long as I live.

DOS TORTAS

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