Tag Archives: communication

Repetition: Disdain or Delight

Two weeks ago I made a trip to our local library to pick up some books to read to my grandson. We exhausted the books at home I was looking forward to some new reading material. I brought home ten books that were all new to me.

In the mix of books was Cock-A-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most. It has become my grandson’s favorite. When I come home from work he greets me at the door with the book and walks over to the recliner and starts patting it for me to sit. He backs himself up to the chair for me to pick him up to read the book to him.

In the morning he searches for my library book bag for the book. When I ask him if I should read him the book he squeals with delight and follows the same routine as the evening. When I finish reading it to him he says “More”. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the book to him but there are parts in the book when I tell him to help read the book he says “Moo” where he should for the story.

As an adult I am often bored by predictable behavior. When did that change? As a teenager I would listen to songs on my record player over and over again until I knew all the words. In high school I worked hard at memorizing my parts for Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Arsenic and Old Lace. It required lots of repetition but it was okay because it was for a reason.

Everyday my mind craves new information. I want to learn and am easily frustrated with hearing the same old thing. Oh that I could find delight in hearing and seeing the same old thing as my grandson does when I read him the same book day after day even when there are many other choices.


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Bridge or Barrier Builder?

This past week as I was driving in my car I listened to one of my favorite cds by Phillips, Craig and Dean.  It’s the live version and I got it from a friend a few years ago for a birthday gift. 

One of my favorite songs on the cd  is Build a Bridge of Love.  On the live version of the cd one of the artists tells the story of his grandfather being a bridge builder.  He said that his grandfather told him that the same materials to build bridges can be used to build barriers, it’s a choice of how you use the materials.

Yesterday morning on one of our coldest days of the year I was in town and took this picture of an old train bridge in Little Falls, Minnesota.  It has always been a favorite bridge of mine because of the architectural detail and its age.

Build a Bridge of Love by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Isn’t it crazy, we haven’t spoken in years
We were the closest friends
Where did we part, when did the love disappear
We thought it’d never end
Just a causeless separation
A turn in the road of life
But now we’re nothing more than strangers
Don’t you think that it’s time to

Let’s build a bridge of love together
One stone of hope at a time
Let’s span the sea that comes between us
So join your hand and heart with mine

The timing is right for our differences to cease
O Father make us one
Let’s join in the fight to love all humanity
Our time has just begaun
We can use these precious moments
To tear apart dividing walls
And with those stones of separation
Build a bridge for all
Every race and every nation
United and unique
We’re all just links in a chain of love
I need you, you need me

The past week I’ve had a lot of time to think about relationships.  I’ve been home sick with the flu.  Relationships are hard work.  It is much easier to build a barrier one piece at a time with each hurt or misunderstanding until the barrier is so large you cannot see over it or too long and can not walk around it. 

Each day I have to make an effort to make the choices that will create healthy relationships.  I’m not talking about becoming a doormat but keeping the lines of communication open even when I don’t agree with someone’s choices. My usual way to deal with conflict is to run the other way.  I just don’t like it and I don’t seek it out.   But that in itself can be a barrier between me and another. 

I don’t want to start building a barrier so that if in the future someone feels like talking about something they can still find me accessible instead of locked up in my castle with the drawbridge drawn up and the moat full of crocks.  Not a pretty picture but it can happen one piece at a time until we have secluded ourselves from the very people on this earth who were put here to enrich it.


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Let It Simmer

I love to put words to paper.  Even more I love to know that there are people out there would find my writing worthy of reading.  Is that vain?  Maybe.  I suppose so at some level. 

Blogging has provided an outlet for my thoughts this past year.  I’ve shared a lot of my thoughts.  Some thoughts shared through my writing were better than others because I took more time on the content and structure of what I wrote.  Other thoughts not so much.

One thing that has been difficult for me has been to let my ideas and words simmer.  I’m excited to write-up my posts, edit and push that publish button, instant gratification, my words in print for others to read.  I want my words to be worthy of those taking the time to read them. 

As I think of writing I can easily relate it to cooking,  something I have done a lot of in the almost 51 years of my life.  When I want to cook or bake something new, I do some research.  I check out different recipes and find one that with ingredients I like or one that looks good in a picture that entices me to read the ingredient list.  The same is true with writing.  Research into the topic you write about and life experiences can make your writing more interesting to the reader.

When writing I gather the important ingredients I want to include, usually three or four ideas.  After I have decided what I want to include I begin blending them together just as in a recipe.  Sometimes just like Mom used to do in the kitchen, ask for a second opinion.  Give someone the opportunity to taste your writing and help season it.

When I am cooking, especially soups, the best thing to do is to put the pot of soup on simmer and walk away.  It gives the ingredients in the soup and opportunity to blend their individual flavors.  Some things that I make actually taste better the second day or at least several hours later. 

The same can be true for writing.  After the words are put to paper I think it is better to let them simmer.  It provides the opportunity for the words to blend and the thoughts to be mulled over,  rearranged in my mind and sometimes on paper. 

This process goes beyond just editing for spelling and grammatical errors.  It looks at the finished product, the presentation.  This is by far the hardest part for me. 

I want to publish my words now and not wait until later.  If I do, I run the risk of a soup without much flavor when I could have a soup that greets you from the very first spoonful until the last spoonful is gone with flavors blended to perfection, wanting for more. 


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So We’re Officially Old, 50 is the New 80

Tonight my husband and I had an appointment at church for our picture for the new church directory.  I went kicking and screaming.  Not really but I really dislike having my picture taken.  This was the first picture we’ve had taken without our children.  The church directory always showed the old retired folks alone with no kids.  They always look like 50th wedding anniversary pictures.  Were we part of that club now?  We’re not that old or are we?

The photographer asked when the last time the two of us had our picture taken together.  I said when we got married.  “When was that?”  He asked.  I replied 1983.  We told him that we had a couple of family pictures taken with our kids but never just the two of us.  He proceeded to set us up for the pictures having us move into various poses and then finally taking an individual picture of each of us.  I said that we really didn’t need separate pictures but he took them anyway.

After the pictures we went to the sales table to decide which picture we would like for our church directory.  We sat down and went through the process of choosing our photo much like choosing a lens for your eyeglasses.  “Do you like the photo on the left or the right better?”  Then they would eliminate the one we didn’t like and add another to choose between.  Once again “Do you like the photo on the left or the right better?”  Once we had narrowed the photos down to the one we wanted for the church directory and our free 8 x 10 then it was on to the individual photos. 

I said “We really don’t need to choose an individual photo because we don’t need any individual pictures for any reason.”

Then my husband said “I think we should look at them because you never know when you need one and we don’t have any.”  

I looked at him and said “What in the world would we need individual pictures for? 

He said “If I die then you will have a picture for the obituary and you won’t have to look for one.” 

“Are you kidding me?” 

He said “You never know when you might need a photo”. 

“What else would you need an individual photo for?”  I asked.

“Maybe if you decided to run for Congress”


I had decided before we ever arrived that we would just get the complimentary photo and that would be it.  Suddenly I was sitting next to a sentimental fool who not only wanted pictures of the two of us but individual ones as well.  This is so unlike him. 

“Maybe our kids and parents would like a nice picture of the two of us.”  He said.

“Okay” I relented and said that we could get six 5×7’s: one picture for his parents, my parents and one for each of our four kids.

“What about the individual photos?” 

I said “I don’t think we need any.”

“We really should consider getting some wallet size pictures of each of us” 

I could tell that this was not a battle I was going to win so we ordered the smallest number of wallets we could, nine.

What am I going to do with nine wallet size pictures of myself or him for that matter?  I guess I will file them away with our wills for our future obituary pictures.  Perhaps it’s time for our funeral planning and picking out our burial plots. 

 Suddenly after one hour of time I felt decades older.   50 is the new 80, Right?  I thought it was the other way around.


Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Family, Life Happens, Uncategorized


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A New Perspective

This past week I took my memory card in to have an archive copy of my photos made.  As I was choosing pictures for the archive CD I came across this photo that I took early this summer.  I loved the little button mushrooms growing in some moss under the trees.

The photo wasn’t anything special just one that I had taken walking around my yard this past summer.  I was trying to capture some pictures of the many mushrooms that had grown in various places, sizes and colors in our yard.   

When I focused in on the mushrooms I failed to notice what else was present in the picture.  Do you see it?  You might have to stand on your head to see it or just take time to notice something from a different perspective.  I loved learning about perspective in my art classes in high school and college.  The same thing can look entirely different depending where you are standing.


As the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas approach sometimes a change in perspective is what we need.   When we focus on one thing as I did on the mushrooms we miss out on other things like the heart-shaped shadow in the picture.  I’d rather focus on the love of others during the holidays and what they have to bring to enrich our lives than the fungi that is present and growing in all of our lives.

It will take a new perspective on my part to keep my priorities in place.  I may have to stand on my head to see things differently this season but it will be well worth it.


Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Family, Nature, Reflections, Uncategorized


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The Art of Communication and New Haircuts

Some people look forward to haircuts.  They even go so far as to schedule their next haircut when they are getting their haircut.  Every six weeks is how often a lot of people get their haircut.  That is way too soon for me.  It seems no matter how close or far apart I schedule my haircuts they just don’t meet my expectations.

I’m convinced that the reason that I don’t end up with the haircut I envision is that I must have poor communication skills when it comes to haircuts.  When I was young growing up in the Twin Cities we didn’t have haircuts often.  With six kids it was just too expensive to get our haircut often.  My Dad used to cut my brother’s hair at home and Mom would trim our bangs to make our haircuts stretch out a little longer for us girls.

I remember the first time I went to get a special haircut on my own with my babysitting money and what a disaster it was back then.  I told the woman what I wanted.  I didn’t want it too short and definitely wanted something other than a “Pixie cut” which was basically a girl’s version of a boys haircut.  It was short.  I had spent a long time growing my hair out just so I could have some options for my hair.  The mistake I made was going to the place where I always got my hair cut.  When I left after the haircut it looked exactly like my last haircut.

Shortly after I got my first job at McDonald’s I wanted a perm for my hair.  It was longer now and I had saved up for the perm and haircut.  I had just enough time to get my perm before I had to be at work.  I told the woman  I wanted a perm so my flat, straight hair would have some body.  When she was finished I took one look at my hair and wished that I could call in sick for work.  I would have to go to work with my hair looking like “Link” from the Mod Squad.  For those of you too young to remember Link from the Mod Squad, think the guy with a long Afro hairdo minus the sideburns.   Not flattering on me.  I ended up with really short curly hair for a while after I got most of the perm cut off the next day.

Credit picture


This past week I decided that I would try another haircut.  I came prepared with picture in hand so there would be no mistake in what I wanted.  She asked me “Do you want to do the same as last time?  My thought,   “How would you know since you didn’t cut my hair last time?”

“No, I’d like to try something a little different”  and I handed her the picture.  “We can do that” she replied.  She attacked my hair with great gusto, cutting, clipping and combing as she went.  I was excited to see the finished product.   Once again my hair turned out the same.  There must be a sign somewhere on my body that says no new ideas for hair allowed.  Every person who cuts my hair cuts it the same way and always way too  short.

I may have to decide that I like the Demi Moore  haircut in for the movie  G.I. Jane movie.  All I would have to do is take out the clippers and start buzzing it off.  No more too short haircuts.  They would all be short.  Best of all no more explaining what kind of haircut I want because there would be no way to mess this one up.  I could cut it myself.

Credit for picture


Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


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