Monday, June 27, 2011

Cynical Lens

I’m jaded. The lens I look through is clouded by a haze of cynicism. I’m working for a new company starting on Friday. Yesterday we had a day long training, complete with customer service videos. The first video delineated the wonderful aspects of the company with real employees expressing how this company is the best one they have ever worked for. The phrase we are like family kept coming up. My place of employment seems to always be changing and I have sat through many of these videos. At first they inspired me and idealistically I expected the wonders that were expressed, but over time, poor work environments and broken ideals I no longer believe anything in these orientation videos.
I’m jaded. I’m a year and a half into my masters program and I’m fighting apathy. A couple months ago I started the important classes for my profession, the basic classes out of the way, but I find little interest in them. Every time I turn in a paper that I know isn’t very good and lose only a quarter of a point, I lose faith in the quality expected of me. Why should I put in the effort and time to write a great paper if a mediocre paper gets me an A?
This is the way I have lived most of my life. I do what needs doing to get by. When my idealism is stripped away I lose the incentives to put forth my best effort. The sermon my pastor preached today seemed to be made just for me. He talked about how work is important for us, not just to make money and survive, but to thrive. It is part of who we are. He pointed out many proverbs that tell of the foolishness of the sluggard. I would not say I’m a sluggard. I always get to work on time, I always turn in my homework on time, and eventually I get around to washing those dishes. I don’t necessarily do these things well or cheerfully. What would happen if instead of expecting my new company not to live up to what it says it is, I went to work on Friday looking to serve and bless those around me? How would I feel about myself if I took the extra half an hour to proof read my paper and make sure it was great instead of reading a book or watching a movie? How much happier would me and my roommate be if we came home from work and didn’t have to clean the kitchen or vacuum the living room because I did it the day before? How different would my life be if I didn’t allow myself to be a partial sluggard? How would your life change if you chose to live well regardless of your boss, your crappy job, your huge paper, or your complicated relationships?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bees, Goblins, and the Ding-Dang

I went on a camping trip this weekend with some friends to San Rafael Swell in the middle of Utah. Because of some company issues I was unable to use my vacation days. I worked 7 shifts in 6 days in order to have three days off for my camping trip. It was so worth it.
We set up camp in a nice place with a designated direction for bathroom use along with a bright orange horseshoe that you can carry with you so that everyone knows that you are watering the desert. We went on a short hike to hang out in a large cavern like overhang with a fabulous echo. Later that afternoon while some of us were playing bocce ball, we discovered that we set up our kitchen in and around 3 cottonwood trees that housed a bee hive. We courted danger, deciding it wasn't worth moving our kitchen unless the bees really became a problem. The bees buzzed overhead and sometimes came down to visit us, but for the most part left us alone.
On Sunday the wind blew gustily all day. The plan was to hike Little Wild Horse canyon. Potential thunderstorms were in the forecast and we decided that we would rather live than risk facing a flash flood in a slot canyon. Instead we played in Goblin Valley. Goblin Valley is filled with hundreds of sandstone formations that resemble goblins. We frolicked like children, impatiently demanding picture opportunities.
On Monday we hiked the Ding and Dang Canyons. We took the recommended route going up the Ding and down the Dang. The Ding was a pleasant hike with a few difficult scrambles and many picture moments. We resolved to do the Dang faster because we did need to drive back home, hopefully getting back before dark. We soon discovered why you descend the Dang. There are four or five tricky spots requiring shimming down between the walls of the canyon with a helpful friend below saying reach your left foot down just a foot farther while your right foot wobbling on a finger width foothold. You finally take a deep breath when you are through that spot and hip deep in water. It contained all of the fun of a slot canyon without facing near death experiences.

Hearing about my adventures is never complete until you know what we had to eat. The first night we had biscuits and stew made in a dutch oven, truly amazing. The second night we had mashed potatoes, steak, and corn. We also had an apple cobbler and smores. Yummy yummy yummy! For lunch we had chicken salad sandwiches and carrot sticks. One night we got to try homemade apple wine that some of my friends had made. If you have a couple of days go camping and sing some Disney songs around the campfire. It refreshes the soul

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We all want recognition of some kind. When you spend hours working on a project at work, you really want your boss or at least a coworker tell you what a wonderful job you did. If you show up on time for every class with your homework completed well, it sure is nice when someone notices and comments about it. Children often beg for recognition. they may call your name repeatedly until you praise the picture that they have worked so hard on or the ball of play do they carefully rolled. Besides big projects and hard work we like recognition for other things as well.
On Friday a friend of mine who is a cosmetologist put red highlights in my hair. I stipulated that I wanted them to be visible, but fairly natural and I didn't want them to stand out too much. And that is what I got. Indoors it is difficult to see the highlights, however in the sun they look coppery. Most people have not noticed my highlights. But that is not good enough for me. I find myself resisting the desire to tell everyone about my highlights. I want the recognition for the difference in my look. I really dislike being fussed over and I don't like being the center of attention, but I still desire recognition and attention for things I have accomplished or that I have changed. I think we all desire this. It is confirmation that we have value to other people and that we are noticed by others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cherry Orchard

Cherry Orchard

Cherries tremble in the wind
Dry eyes blink
Eighth notes dance with sixteenth notes
On background of white, taking rests as the music dictates
Slender fingers stroke keys of ivory and ebony
Delicate beauty gives birth
A vicious tortured sound
Tears glisten against pale cheeks stark against black gown
Stinging eyes blur
Strong blast of air assaults the orchard
Broken cherries bleed into the parched earth

I wrote this poem while I was in college. I still really like, but my poetry professor didn't have anything to say about it. What do you think?