Life Isn’t Fair

it_20may_20have_20escaped_20your_20notice_20but_20life_20isnt_20fair_originalI have tried in the six years I have blogged to avoid religion and politics, mostly because I believe you have a right to yours and I have have right to mine.  Odds are I am not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine.   Today I was pushed around the bend when the news coverage this morning was all about a candidate who felt he was being treated unfairly.

When a small child replies “That’s not fair,” most of us ignore the child until they get over it. Children need to learn things don’t always go the way they want.   I have on many occasions felt that life was not fair.   Yet I got up and went to work. My employer and co-workers depended on me.   I had bills to pay.   Just because I felt something wasn’t fair, opting out was not an option.   I have had times when I made a commitment assuming something and later discovered that wasn’t what I had though.   It did not seem fair that I may have possibly been misled, yet I showed up.   Just because I think something isn’t fair doesn’t make me right or what I think true.

So to the press who thinks giving lots of air time to someone because they think they were not treated fairly, I would prefer you stop it.   Treat this circumstance the same ways as if it was said by  a five-year-old and ignore him and this too will pass. To the man who refuses to participate because he perceives he was not treated fairly here is the reality:  Life isn’t fair.  Suck it up and get over it.  You will not get to do this if you get the job you are asking for.  I am sure that each of the 44 US presidents had many a times they thought things were not fair to them or our country.   Lastly to those who are evaluating this man as a possible candidate for our highest office,  really do you want someone who does not understand you can’t check out because life isn’t fair?

My hat is off to all of you who have had those moments of life feeling very unfair and persevering and moving past it. It stinks and sometimes it is hard,  but the reality is life isn’t always fair.   We all move on in spite of that.

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Read the Old-Fashioned Way

I am a die hard reader.   I read daily at least an hour, sometimes more if I can fit it in.     In the days before the e-reader I had piles of books beside my bed, beside my chair and they filled a whole bookcase  in the family room.    Since I made the conversion to the e-reader my pile though invisible to RangerSir is larger than ever.   I still keep one shelf of books in the case of a power failure.    It is full of those lifetime keepers, but also a few books that are  pulp fiction, because if was an apocalyptic event we would need some levity.   My paper collection of books  is more discriminating than the collection on my e-reader because I am limited to one shelf since I seldom read hard copy any more.   This week for the first time in a long time I am utilizing my safety net of real books.

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I am rediscovering the paper book right now because I am without an e-reader for the first time in many years.   My current reader after years of daily use for at least an hour was starting to need to be charged more than once a week.  It wasn’t at the end of its lifespan, but for the first time I was becoming aware that there will be an end in the future. As a result I was toying with upgrading, but nothing had gotten me off the dime to do so.    E-readers are not like computers or phones, they are simple one use devices.  There are few changes and most of they don’t make a big difference so we tend not to upgrade as often as manufactures would like us to do so.   This week Amazon gave me the push I need they were offering to buy my device and give me an additional $20 e-reader credit.   For me that was $55, more than half of the price of a new one.   The sucky part was that they did not give you all this wonderful credit until they first had the old one in there hands.   This was major stupid.   I sent my old one back last week and now I wait for it to arrive at Amazon, credit to appear on my account and then I can get my new one.   I suspect I will be without an e-reader for a little over a week.   I realized the inconvenience already when I was in a waiting room and realized  my reader wasn’t in my purse and I had not brought my book along because it would not fit in my purse.  Last night I put a paperback in the Goodwill box because the font was just too small. The book had potential but event with cheaters reading was a struggle.  I did not realize until I was holding a book again that the Kindle really was much easier to manage than an 800 plus page book.

I am hoping today my UPS tracking tag tells me that Amazon has received my old e-reader and I soon get a new one.   I knew how much I liked my e-reader, but never as much as now.

Friends Who Are Family

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I have spent all of my adult life living more than eight hours from where I grew up.   This means that my family has never been able to bop over to chat.    It means I have never made a Sunday family dinner, or the monthly family birthday party. It means that my friends have stepped in when when tradition would say it would be your family.    I have been blessed with friends who are family for me.

As we approach Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to and for my friends.

To my lifetime friend, who no matter how long it is between phone calls, and even longer times between when we get together you are there. It is like we just connected last week, time seems to not matter for us.   You get me.   You make me laugh  when I don’t know I need it. You provide insight about myself sometimes I don’t recognize.   You challenge me and make me a better person.    I hope I have been as good of friend to you as you have been to me.

To my little sister friend, who is all grown up now.  Who’d have imagined when as a college student and you decided to rent a room from me that this would result in a friendship that was more like sisterhood. You never cease to amaze me with your drive.   Knowing you has helped me to realize it is never too late, or you are never too old to explore new things and dream a new dream.

To all my Thanksgiving family friends.   RangerSir and I have never been alone on my favorite holiday of the year.    Thanks to all my friends in Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, and Montana who have be part of the the many dinners we have shared with you.

Thanks to all my creative friends who have been with me for all my creative endeavors.   Your support and encouragement have meant the world to me when I was full of doubt.

Thanks to my family who are not only friends but also family.   I am lucky that I have brothers who rock and never let me forget who I am or where I came from.

Thanks to RangerSir, who is not only my husband, but my best friend.

This holiday season I just want everyone to know I am thankful for having you in my life.

 

 

 

What To Do With Hotel Shampoo-Soap-Conditioner-Lotion

What do you do with hotel toiletries?

What do you do with hotel toiletries?

What do you do with those little mini one use size bottles and bars of soap you get in hotel rooms? Most folks who travel regularly already have a bag with their personal toiletries.   We bring from home our preferred personal care products for an assortment of reasons.   You like to use the same face cleanser you use at home.   You are trying to get the most mileage from your last salon visit and use a special shampoo and conditioner.   You may have sensitivities to ingredients or scents.   No matter what the reason those little bottles either go unused or worse yet brought home and still never used.   There is an alternative.   Bring them home and turn them in to a local shelter.   You can collect all those little odds and ends in a box in your home and turn them in a couple times a year to a shelter.   That is what I used to do when I lived in Minneapolis years ago and traveled lots.

This job has put me back on the road tons and once again. I found myself collecting hotel toiletries. I got to thinking about the local woman’s shelter, and how I imagined many of them left with little and what extra they did take was likely for someone else, their kids. I know that organizations that help folks in these circumstances are prepared to help and work with people who leave with just the clothes on their back.   They have donations and supplies that they give out to the folks they help, and the folks they are helping are probably keeping things in garbage and zip lock bags. It inspired me to take a different approach to my travel goodies this year.   Rather than just turn them in,   I wanted to put together not only a travel kit, but a bag that might be used to keep things together for them.   I know how much I appreciated my travel bag that keeps all my personal care products together.

First I had to make or buy the bags for this use.   I had some odds and ends of fabric from quilts I had made, zippers from projects planned never finished and some quality vinyl that I had no idea how it ended in my stash.   I worked up a design and made personal toiletry bags.   Each was unique, some bright and some with more subdued natural colors.   All of them were designed to zip tight for storage.   One side had the vinyl so that you could see all that was in the bags.   It was a little bit of a trial, but I loved making them and seeing all the wonderful fabrics that were sitting around collecting dust take on a new life.

Once I had finished the bags, RangerSir and I loaded them up with the hotel goodies I had brought home this summer. It was then we then we realized that we had several collections of dental visit “prizes.”   There were not enough dental kits to do all the bags, but we added them to as many bags as possible.   This was the moment we realized it was in our power to make these more than a bag with hotel freebies in them. We headed to the local K-Mart to shop.   We got darn lucky in that they had some full-sized toothpaste for $1 each.   It was more than the travel size and less expensive. We had gotten nice things for less than we had planned to spend.   We were now inspired and on a roll.   We stocked up on single package toothbrushes. We found a dental floss on sale.   We found multi-pack combs and bought a couple sets so we could tuck combs in each of the bags.  RangerSir found travel pack Kleenex that I had not thought to include.   Finally we added razors to each one.

My decked out travel bags for the women's shelter

My decked out travel bags for the women’s shelter

These bags will be going to a woman’s shelter here in the local county.   I was thinking of lots of other things that could be added to my bags, but we know not if the recipient will be young or old, alone or in the company of family members.   So I stopped and hope that this is enough to get a person started and know somewhere out there someone is thinking of them and wishing them the best in what is likely a very bad situation.

Summer Relevation #2 – Model your behavior

My second summer revelation came to me that I should model the behavior I wish others would demonstrate rather than bemoan, get angry, or start judging them because I feel they are judging me, my lifestyle or my “neighbors.”

Recently I was in  a motel that was full of people who had come to fish in the the local world class rivers for fly fishing.   Each morning I was listening in the breakfast room about how the hotel did not have all the premium channels  they had a home, lack of cell phone coverage, that the only Starbucks in the county was a kiosk in the grocery and other perceived lack of amenities in their vacation destination.    I listened as they describe the community of the folks who were their hosts while they were on vacation.  I found myself thinking lots of unkind thoughts about them.    It was then that I realized that I was just like all the people who were frustrating me.  I was judging them.

We don’t have a million people yet in Montana, though we are getting close.    When you don’t have critical mass most national companies require, they don’t give a rip about providing services to you. A business in in the business of making money.    If you live an area that is so sparsely populated that you don’t get mail deliver it is, highly unlikely a cell company can justify the cost of a cell tower, or their will be national retailers available. There are many trade offs we make to live in a place like Montana.   Some are obvious and others not so much.   Most Montanans have been to your cities and some of us have even lived there for a period in our lives.   We  appreciated some of what you had to offer in arts, food, and other services.  Some of what you live with as normal we can not imagine living with such as traffic, density, noise and other things. All of this just amounts a different  point of view.  We have prioritized things differently in our lives and are willing to make different sacrifices to have some of those top priorities.    Neither is more right or more wrong than the other.  No amount of put down or arguing is going to change either person’s  point of view.    Change never comes in the midst of confrontation.

When I feel folks are passing judgment, I want to remember to not pass judgment on others because I am not them.   I do not know what road they have traveled in life to be at the spot they are currently stand at.   The best way to do that behavior myself.   Let them remember their encounter with me as some one who did not pass judgment  and maybe, just maybe it will make a difference on their lives as well.

Note:   This was a piece I wrote several weeks ago and had to let perk while and tweak it a lot to hopefully get right.    I hope you found it insightful and gave you some food for thought.

Summer Relevation #1- All Time is Not Equal

This summer job has taught me lots of things about life and some about myself.  I continue to learn things each week.   I plan to share them under the title of Summer Reflection on Thursdays.    I am hoping that what I am learning sometimes the hard way provides fodder for your personal reflections.

All time is not equal.   Have three days non-stop is not the same as having a few hours each day.   You really can’t make up on Saturday, what you woulda/shoulda done one Tuesday.   The flowers are dead, no amount of watering them will bring them back.

New Appreciation of Sacrifice of Time

My new job this summer has given me a new appreciation for the folks in the world who make the sacrifice of being away from home to support their family.    I have traveled before for jobs I have held previously.   In my most traveled position, I traveled only about 20% of the time.   This job puts me away from home three nights a week.    Being on the road this much has made me realize how much time so many people sacrifice to make it in life.

We have a friend who is a salesman for a company and covers everything west of the Mississippi.   He has spent about 30+ weeks on the road for as long as I have know him (nearly 30 years now).   He has two great adult children with families of their own.   He and his wife have the kind of marriage we try to have as well, where each is there for the other and figure out ways to be there when it is critical. (There have been some pretty critical life moments for this family).   I never before realized how amazing they were to make it all work with all his time away from home.  When you think about all the divorce rates and kids who turn out in something less than their potential and then blame their family life.   This family has weathered it all and not just survived, they have prospered.    Their love, support and values have made the time that took the father/husband away so much a contributing factor to what they achieved, not a detriment or excuse for what they did not achieve.

My brother was in the Navy.   He worked hard to be with his family as much as possible, but like the military people of past and present that isn’t always possible.  There are big and small moments missed that can never be gotten back.    I never thought about what it must be like to be a single parent for so long and then suddenly have someone show up and have the whole family dynamic change in a day.    One day you get to make almost all decisions unilaterally and then the next there is someone there who wants to be a part of it all.    One day the kids only deal with you and suddenly there is someone else who can say yes or no.  It is a complete adjustment for the family, and rules are shifted in the space of a few hours.   Yet the military people continue to make those sacrifices for their country and to support their family.

In both of these cases I have highlighted the person being away, but the trailing/at-home spouse and the kids make sacrifices as well.   They quickly learn that this is their normal.  That the parent is away because it is how must be for this family.   There is nothing that can be accomplished by wanting a parental presence that can not be.  They learn to appreciate the times they have and adjust with the changes that come with a moving set of how a family looks and functions.  The “keep the home fires burning” parent often has a job as well.   The only difference is that they get to sleep in their own bed at night.   They often have to juggle their job, children and home with no one their to help.   Kids may have to step up and grow up a little faster to help. It is a balancing act and a collaborative effort.

I had thought of this occasionally before.   This job has given me a new appreciation for what one misses out on when you are gone, how they adjust when you blow in to town and that they will adjust again when you hit the road again.   I know at the end of the summer my job will end, and I will be home every night again, but there are thousands of men and women that this is part of who they are and how they support their family.    My hat is off to you because most of us can never imagine what that job costs you and your family.   You are making under what can be very challenging conditions.