Memermemermemer


Coping mechanisms are healthy.  My coping mechanism is humor.. sometimes funny.. sometimes silly.. sometimes super dark.  In a very scary world.. right now, my friends who pass me anything that will make me laugh.. are my favorite friends.  I had a friend in junior high who sent me a card once that read, “The one who laughs- lasts.”  I concur.

Please skip by if you are not amused.  Definitely not for everyone.. but covid19 .. eat it.

90438860_10157248331333282_9029694687119671296_n

Smile –

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia

Don’t be a dick about it…doctrines


I’m going to start out talking a little bit about who I am and how I am before I go into how I decided on the title of this particular blog.

“When there are too many assholes around,
I feel like its my duty to be a dick.”
― Hazar Emiral

It’s been a frustrating and exciting 8 years in this job and I can hardly believe how much time has passed and how quickly it has passed.  I am currently preparing to leave my current location and move on to the next.  At the same time, I have to study Spanish, write evaluations and a variety of other reports, think about what training I need, pack out my current house, meet and greet new people, think about the new requirements I will be facing in my new position … AND… continue staying up to pace on my current work. This adds additional pressure on maintaining my positive attitude and not breaking down or getting angry about things that are out of my control.

This is my third country and I love it and will miss it when I leave.  I pretty much say that about every place I have ever been.  This country though is super special to me (I probably say that about every country as well).  The people in particular are super special to me (yes, I say that as well).

I think the country and its people like me as well.  One of the things I really like about it is the people who live and work here very easily express their anger, their joy, their frustrations and their absolute happiness and faith.  I love that because that is really how I am as well.  Not everyone loves that about me and not everyone “gets” that about me.  I do not hide much of what I am feeling and people pretty much know exactly how I feel as I am feeling it.

I am admittedly not a clear speaker.  I talk in circles and “use too many words”.  I can easily be led off topic (but do not believe for a second I have forgotten the original theme of the conversation).  I’m often wrongly accused of being mad, frustrated, unhappy and way too abrupt…. but really I’m just trying to talk.  The irony is, the people who do not feel that I am all of those negative things really see me as super happy, flakey, funny, light-hearted, and spontaneous person.  I have been working on trying to meld the two versions of me into one package but seriously, when I lose it it is usually only after trying to be all of the positive forms of myself to obtain a positive result from a variety of people and no one is hearing me and the ones that do hear me do not understand how much effort it is taking to be so nice for so long.

Dalton: All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice. – Roadhouse

Yes, I am sarcastic and some take that as being snide.  Yes, I am abrupt and some take that as being rude.  Yes, I am often too honest and some take that as being offensive.  I swear I am really trying to tone that down as this personality type does not play out well in my current job.  I’d like to think I’m not a dick.. but even I feel bad after I chastise myself and I have been doing that to me for over 50 years. I can only imagine how it might make someone else… who has not spent as much time with me as I have… feel bad when I try to make my instructions or advice heard and understood.

So as the pressure has been building and I have become increasingly frustrated about all that is currently on my plate, I have had to remind myself nearly every day to just chill.. (did I mention I am also doing a construction project on my house in the U.S. while being overseas.. so..yeah.. )

So there I was.  Just minding my own business.  Trying to get through the one thing that would lead to the next thing.  Story of my life.  Story of every person’s life I suppose.  Sometimes trying to slow down and other times trying to just step it up a notch.  But just trying to chill.. just chill.. and I look on the floor of my bedroom and see a worn out, folded over, dirty, typed document.IMG_0919

To be clear, this is not mine.  I live alone.  Where did it come from?  Timely yes… but who knew that i was needing this message right now.. in my home.. seriously the universe must be keying into my breakdown.  So basically because I probably have been being a bit of a dick lately and I am guessing this is a world wide phenom these days.. I thought I would share with the world what the universe shared with me.  It’s good stuff.. it really is… so here goes.

IMG_0926

Pretty good right?  Still not sure where it came from.  But obviously great advice.   I am who I am (Sam I am) and have grown to be how I am from my many emotional stances.  I am not always the nicest in my expressions but I want to always be nice in my intent.

I could do nice, but it’s just not as much fun. Being nice isn’t my biggest goal in life. I’m trying to be honest about who I am, and that’s not always nice. I’m not always the world’s cheerleader.  Sharon Stone

The only difference between me and others is that they think they can change something with cute little poems, nice cards or embracing trees and being nice to little lapdogs. Henry Rollins

It’s no good being nice and young and naive. There’s no good in that at all. You’ve got to do it all yourself, and you’ve gotta learn quick. And you can’t look for sympathy either. John Lydon

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Philo

It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be. Josh Radnor

Be kind, don’t judge, and have respect for others. If we can all do this, the world would be a better place. The point is to teach this to the next generation. Jasmine Guinness

15+ Nearly 21


It took a few days for me to sit down and focus on this topic.  Every time I tried to envision what I would say, a tidal wave of emotions would surface and halt any progress.  I considered not saying anything but that would not really fair to my own need of saying it… of remembering it.. of dealing with it.  Even if it is only once a year.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-10-30-44-am

I spent almost 21 years preparing for what happened 15 years ago. In spite of the amount of training I received, I never once thought I would need to put it to use. NEVER!  This event affected every single part of my life.

I was a single parent of two young girls putting myself through university.  I had a routine of getting up in the morning, doing yoga, having coffee, relaxing for the very short portion of my day that did not involve chaos and movement.  I would play music while doing yoga, then I would turn on the news and grab my first cup of coffee.

On this morning, I turned on my television and as I turned towards the kitchen to get my first cup, I saw what looked like a burning building in NYC.  I thought it was strange because my tv didn’t have special movie channels (I was too broke to afford that package) and it was ALWAYS on the Today show at this time of day.  I glanced back toward the tv trying to work this out when I saw the second plane hit.  Thus began the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it.

I was in the Navy reserves and had been for close to 15 years by that time.  In the beginning I expected to be called up immediately.  Every day I held my phone with me for 24 hours a day just waiting for it to ring with that call.  I went through each day, with my nerves on edge, my breath held, and eyes on the news at every opportunity with shock a constant emotion that made it difficult to think and act normal. My oldest daughter told me to stop watching the news because it made her sad.  Like an addict, I would sneak peaks of the news while the kids were sleeping our out playing.  This seemed to go on and on and on.  There was no break from it. So much unknowing.

After about a month, I relaxed.  I expected that others had been called up and maybe I would be allowed to continue my very average life, maybe there had been some resolution and things were just winding down.  I slowly started letting my guard down and gaining hope that life might indeed return to as normal it could ever be again, for myself and for the nation.  Despite the horror, we would carry on.

About a month and a half after the towers fell, I was waiting in line to get some take out sushi for my kids.  There was some soft Japanese music playing in the background of the main restaurant, pop music playing in front of me, and the sound of water trickling from a fountain in the entrance.  My phone rang, I answered it thinking it was my kids wanting me to change their order.

The world stopped, but the sounds around me continued on as I was given the notice that I would have three days to pack out my life, put my degree program on hold for an undetermined amount of time, and get my children to the east coast to live with their dad while I moved to an undisclosed location.  The world continued to move around me at lightening quick speed, while at the same time it seemed to be going in slow motion.  Chaos and turmoil intermixed with a numb silence. Back and forth..forth and back.  I have never been able to completely express the madness and calm that encompassed my life during those 3 days.

Over the next 10 months I made friends in a distant location, I had experiences I will never forget, and most importantly we all survived.  We were all changed. Irrevocably changed, but we survived.  About 5 years later, I was mobilized again, and again I was changed.  My life, my plans, my kids, my employment.  Everything changed.

I had nearly 21 years of service by this time and decided it was time to retire from the military.   I do not regret a single moment of the time I served.  I am usually not the type of person to want to go back and change the past.  As if you could.  I am proud of my service and proud of the people who served beside me. I believe that everything from my past has made me into who I am today.  Though I am a new person…for better or for worse…I will never forget the before sam..the before people of our nation…the before world.

I overheard someone recently say, “Oh boy, it’s almost that time again.” The person next to him said, “What time?”  He replied, “You know…9/11 memorials.  We won’t be able to do anything without having to hear about that.  It’s going to mess up a lot of plans I have.  I wish we could just get over that.  It’s not like it’s going to happen again!!”  At first I was angry and a little shocked.  Then I relaxed and realized that, I too sometimes wish we could go back to that mentality.  That innocence. That ridiculous feeling of untouchability. We can’t do that.  We should NOT do that. We do not have to live as victims and in fear, but we should never forget what happened and how easily it happened.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  Santayana “The Life of Reason. 1905”

Nearly 21 – years of service.  All of it is remembered fondly.  Never can forget.

Some of my favorite posts about New York.  One of my favorite cities.  Always will be.  I hope you enjoy.

Growth

156217_459392848281_3356089_n

Perspective – New York Adopt Me;      A tale of two cities;      A city;    NEW York;   In the background;    Peace youse;    All aboard;

Imagination – views from my balcony


That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.      -Walt Disney

As much as I love my current job, I will admit the one thing I really, really miss from my past life as a teacher is having the opportunity of working every day with children. It’s not that some of the adults I work with now do not act like children, they do. Seriously, that attitude is absolutely not what I miss.  It’s the loss of using pure imagination to create and understand what is happening around you that seems to disappear when you are surrounded only by “adults”.

Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.  

– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I miss the creativity, the vision and the acceptance of the abnormal you can lose yourself in when working with and teaching children.  Everything is a little amazing and nothing is beyond belief from a child’s perspective. Refrigerator boxes become castles and kingdoms where battles ensue and the destroyed landscape is simply rebuilt with more boxes in a matter of hours. Every day is a scientific experiment.  Water flow is diverted to build lakes, snow is piled to build homes, ants and other tiny creatures are examined to create a life size replica of their world. How amazing it is, their world.  How amazing is their imagination.

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

– YODA, Star Wars Episode II

I had guests visiting my home a few weeks ago and they brought me to my balcony to witness what was apparently a coming of age cultural event for boys in Nepal or at least in my neighborhood.  I am not sure what all was involved in the boy event.  There were tents, cooking, weird tree teepees and lines of things happening.

DSC02103 DSC02110

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.  – J.Robert Oppenheimer

However, what I found more interesting was what the girls were doing. Apparently, not to be left out they had created and built by themselves a variety of courses and activities that required blind folds and hitting things with sticks, tunnels, board walks and old tire courses.  It was quite lovely to watch.  The enthusiasm that these girls exhibited during these relays was contagious.  I really did want to join in. The imagination they used to build this course was kind of awesome.  I don’t even know what the water challenge was about and I think that might have been the only one I didn’t want to participate in..though I would have loved to have gotten a closer look at.  I’m sure this course could have taught me a few things about myself and about the children in my neighborhood.

I love the imagination and creativity that seems to have gone into the building of these challenges.  I loved going to school in an era where imaginatory (made up word) teaching was prized and I am thankful for that.  Here’s to remembering the power and value of imagination.  Here’s to re-learning why bringing imagination back into our lives is so important.  Here’s to parents supporting their child’s imagination.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

The Student Teacher Writing Challenge from the daily post fit right in with my mood.  Needed a little creative writing, teaching, thinking to pick me up.  Check out some other posts I found inspiring.

  1. Lessons Without Walls – Joan T. Warren
  2. Horse Lessons – Icelandica
  3. Do Smart Phones Make us Dumb? – The intrinsickness
  4. It’s a beautiful world.  – Love Happy Notes
  5. My Child, My Teacher – Master of Something
  6. Student, Teacher – Mallory Kessen
  7. I am not broken teacher – spirit grind
  8. A letter in Trees – eternal domination
  9. Ido – Attempted Human Relations
  10. Student Versus Teacher – Morpethroad
  11. Imagination Exercise – Alien Aura’s Blog
  12. Things Movies Have Taught Me – Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
  13. Teacher – I am a writer yes I am
  14. One Step at a Time – The intrinsickness

 

Just People – Still Shots


What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?
Buddha

I was talking a few weeks ago to a friend of mine from the states.  She asked me about the photographs I had taken of bodies being burned in cremation at the Bagmati River.  Her response was, “How sad!” I asked her why it was sad and told her it was just the custom in this country and was actually a custom in many cultures.

Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture.

We are all guilty of it.  Even when we think we are not doing it.  We all judge other people’s actions and attitudes based on our own “schema” or standards. It is all based on how we are raised and the values we are taught.

I am also guilty of it.  As I take the pictures I take, I sometimes laugh to myself and wonder what the people are thinking when I’m snapping their photos. Photo’s of them doing dishes, laundry or even bathing themselves in the street or their front yards.  It’s always interesting to me, but really it is just people being people.  I can’t imagine someone walking by my house and snapping a picture of me at my sink or worse, in my bathroom.

I try to be respectful and ask if I can take the photo or at the very least try to to be discreet when I am shooting.  I love pictures of people doing things in their natural environment.  I’m not fond of posed pictures.  The following pictures are all randomly shot but I like them because they are just people, being people.

I took Ailsa’s Travel theme “Still” this week and sort of changed it to fit my own idea.  It’s people who are already in a still and pondering pose, or people who are in complete action frozen still by my camera.  I hope you enjoy.

Just some people in Nepal