Friday, October 19, 2018

Completing a 10-year-old drainer

Drainers are those tasks we put off doing, even though every time we think of them our energy goes down. For over 10 years, I've wanted my living room ceiling painted. It got painted last in 2002. I remember it well as it was painted the Sunday that my dad died. A friend of a friend with painting experience had agreed to come that day and paint the kitchen and the living room for a price I could afford. So I gave him the keys, went on to the hospital and did the last vigil. Then I went to a friend's house to crash, as I had been up most of the night for several days.

Six years later, I had the walls repainted because the stark white he'd used didn't please me and it had grown dirty with the inevitable city air. But I didn't have anyone willing to paint the ceiling again for something I could afford. So for 10 years, I've wanted to have it done in the same color as the walls, a soft gold white. But the quotes I got for ceiling painting were way beyond me. This fall I determined to get it done, even if I had to do it myself. Turned out I didn't.

My nephew, who is 6'5" was able to do the ceiling with ease and no ladder. He was delighted to have the money for it and I was thrilled to have the ceiling match the walls and be off my list after a decade. Hurray!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

An interesting look at my past and maybe yours

I recently watched a good BBC mini-series called White Heat (available on Brit Box, a Prime network). It stars Clare Foy, who is playing Elizabeth II in the Crown series. It's a bit like the Big Chill. Old friends come together after the death of one of the gang. But the series is really about the past, not the present. It starts in 1965 when the seven young people come together as flat mates in London. Lots of it reminded me of my own past: abortion issues, Vietnam, the miserable politics of the late 70s and 80s that planted all the seeds of destruction we see today.

The first episode was particularly interesting to me because I am in a big inquiry about vocation and calling and one of the premises of the course I'm taking is that we are often following someone else's map for our lives, not our own. In three different scenes in that first episode, the parents of these kids, suriviors of the Depression and WWII, all try to impress their map of life onto their children, regardless of the children's own intuitive needs and desires.

It has helped me in my thinking about my own life and how it reflects the experiences of my parents both before I was born and as I was growing up.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Is real leadership possible in an infantilized culture?

It's no secret that we live in a youth-oriented culture. We don't value or respect the real goals of education: intellectual development, critical thinking, lifelong learning. We don't ask kids to do much that's hard anymore, we see college as job training, and most institutions of higher learning tolerate huge amounts of sexual misconduct and substance abuse. We condone bad behavior in our leaders that should have stopped when these guys were 15. Sadly, the same kind of kids who broke into Watergate are now running the big companies and the Congress. The back row of white male glee at the Kavanaugh hearings struck me as both sickening and tragic.

I don't have any answers for this conundrum. We have turned our pursuit of happiness into an obesity of greed and an obesity of power, things that traditionally have been seen as negative qualities, as sins. Now they run the show and enough people recognize their own immature selves in the power-holders to keep electing them.

Not every older male I know is a boy. I know some wonderful men. But I know more boys who are 50 and 60 and 70. All you have to do is go on dating sites and read what they like to do. Boys' things: cars, sports, TV, video games, killing animals.

Now a boy has joined the Supreme Court. I don't know of the other males on the SC are boys too, but Kavanaugh certainly is. You only have to watch the hearings to see that this isn't a man. I feel a lot of sadness about this.