This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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Midsummer pause

There’s no real break in the action, and technically, it’s nowhere close to “mid” summer. Actually, we don’t even hit REAL summer for another week or so. But it feels like school has been out forever and this is the first moment there has been to sit down and reflect.

I still can’t give you much about my job. With 10 days to go, I’ve been invited to apply for the job I already hold (though on a part time basis now), with a description I practically wrote, and that literally NOBODY else given the posting will be interested in. I’m rather hopeful about my chances.

Besides the insanely long and drawn out process of figuring out what will happen with Hamma Library and my job, other things are going on in the world. So many other things. My little corner of chaos is so insignificant. I am so saddened by the continued deep divisions in our world. Our country continues to dig deeper into our polarized habits. We constantly discount the experiences and opinions of anyone we disagree with, often without even thinking about what the person is actually saying. You voted for Trump? You must be a racist, rich, conservative with no empathy for your fellow man. What? You’re upset by what Trump’s tweets? You have GOT to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal snowflake. End of conversation.

Like, really, END OF CONVERSATION. Anything said afterwards is just platitudes if we’re lucky, and more likely vitriol. We are so ruled by social media. I heard someone describe how we get information today as “through a fire hose.” So very true. It’s so much faster and with way more force than we could ever actually absorb. Then, because we cannot accept the input in that form, we pick and choose what to accept according to the dreaded “confirmation bias.” It’s a real thing. A real, really powerful thing. Anyone who tells you they have NO bias should terrify you.

I don’t know what the answer is. I keep researching more about how our brains work, how we are unable to avoid bias etc. I’m unable to find a way to gather news myself that doesn’t leave me even more terrified about our future. Yeah, there’s no doubt that I land on the liberal side of the spectrum, but I’m nowhere near the most liberal person you know. I know some folks who are about as far from center on the conservative side and they seem so very rational. So ready to get things done. Why is it then, that the only thing we hear from politicians is the extreme? Nothing is ever going to get done this way. EVER. If you listen to the Republicans, then the Democrats are just blocking progress. If you listen to the Democrats, than the Republicans are turning back the clock. In the meanwhile the “forgotten folks” is becoming a larger and larger class. I’m feeling pretty damn forgotten today. I hope we can rally the troops like those “forgotten folks” of 2016.

Nothing I’ve said can’t be found on the Internet in a million other places. There are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who feel this way. Why are we only whispering on the Internet? Probably because we’re the folks who don’t want to argue with our neighbors on Facebook. We aren’t willing to be labeled in anyway for our social media usage. (Okay, if you actually follow me, you probably would label me, and I can live with that.) We’re going to have to speak up, or the polarization is going to get worse, not better.

My children know. They know that there are these incredibly split sides. They obviously parrot a lot of what they hear their dad and I say, but they do think on their own. They ask questions that make me proud. I pray every single night that they never lose that! When did the rest of us lose that? When did we pick a side and just go with it? These aren’t sports teams, folks. Undying loyalty is extremely dangerous.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Not exactly earth shattering, as I’m sure there are thousands of us thinking the same things these days. We are all dealing with it in different ways. Some have become unexpected activists, making phone calls and rallying their friends. Some have completely tuned out, just ignoring the news and avoiding any Facebook post with a political bent. But there are some of us who are listening, but doing very little. I feel a bit like a watched pot. I’ll still boil, and the boil IS coming, but it’s just gonna seem like forever before the bubbles roll.

PhotoGrid_1497659563228Meanwhile, summer rolls on. I take a child to work most days, the other two stay home and do chores and watch many hours of TV. I sit outside until dusk, then hurry everyone to bed before it’s obscenely late. I worry about school supply lists and summer bridge homework. We grill. Man, I love to grill. I’m a privileged member of a privileged society. So, there’s that, too. It’s a good life full of blessings, but I want to find more, not less, ways to spread those blessings around.

And any free time I find, I read about Lutheran theologians. You know, because who isn’t fascinated by these old, dead, white guys?¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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And lastly, I don’t want to close without acknowledging my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. I stand with you, friends. It’s Pride Week and I hope you feel celebrated! I’m still sad that such a celebration is even necessary and I look forward when being LGBTQ+ is just shrugged off like being a redhead, or a left hander. Different, but not so much. Just a different spot on the spectrum of human, of Child of God! My siblings in Christ, I love you, I see you, and I’m proud to be your ally.

 

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Baseball, cookouts, and parades!

I could keep writing about my job, but you don’t really want to hear any of that, do you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Nothing new. Nothing to report. I’ll update when there’s something to share.

Instead, let me tell you how awesome our weekend was. Someday when I’m old and my children don’t bring my grandchildren around often enough, when I complain about the poor quality of music on the radio, when I’m just crotchety, THIS will be the weekend I’ll look back on and smile. Memorial Day Weekend 2017 was definitely a high point for this whole family adventure.

Friday was an unexpected day off for me, and a planned vacation day for my husband, so we ran some errands and generally tried to prepare for the weekend. We ended the day with the most delicious steaks on the grill, and gin and tonics on the patio.

Saturday morning I used the leftover ribeyes to make steak and eggs for everyone. Nothing like a massive dose of protein to fuel the troops for the day, right? The middle kid headed off to work on the parade float with his scout troop. We leisurely prepared for the afternoon and evening festivities. The littlest kid had a baseball game to kick off the season, complete with team pictures. Then we spent the evening at a neighbor’s cookout and then sipping beers around their fire pit while the kids from the neighborhood ran around and acted like a pack of kids loose on a summer night.

Sunday we took the dog for her first boarding adventure, then headed up to Cleveland to see the Indians play. We could not have had a better time. The kids were all well behaved, thoroughly enjoyed the game, and even the weather cooperated. At the end, Daddy took the littlest kid for a run around the bases! It’s hard to know which of them was most excited about that. The Indians won, 10-1! GO TRIBE!

Monday the weather was, again, PERFECT, and it’s time for the big Worthington Memorial Day Parade! This is truly one of my very favorite events of the year. Besides just being a wonderful way to remember the fallen heroes who make our cookouts and ballgames possible, I get to enjoy it on my own. Silly? Maybe, but I love it. All three kids and their dad march with scouts, so I get to wander the parade route looking for friends, taking pictures, and enjoying the scene. I love my town, and I love seeing so many different friends come out for the community event. I’m not scared to talk to strangers, either, so I did strike a few of those conversations, too. When it’s over, we meet at the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Can’t beat it!

After the parade, we headed to another favorite neighborhood family’s backyard for yet another cookout.

PhotoGrid_1496176226265Today, I’m back at work. Back to wondering how we’ll figure out the details of the summer. Back to wondering if I’ll have a job past June 30th. Today I’m harassing kids to do chores, thinking about dinner, looking for moments to throw in another load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. This weekend was glorious and I hope I can keep it’s feeling of family connectedness, community belonging, and pride in remembering why our nation is a wonderful place to live. I wish I could just wrap the whole thing up in a box to take out and hold when life gets too crazy. Maybe that’s a little of what I’m doing here.