Saturday, June 16, 2012

Talks with Mom (part 1)

As my brother is on a travelling baseball team, my parents are often gone during the summer, sometimes both at the same time, sometimes one at a time.  Such was the situation this weekend. Derek (lovingly referred to as "Deek") was playing in Topeka, KS and Mom decided to stay home.  Because I love my family and I love being able to talk with them (when they're in talkative moods), I ventured over to the homeland to talk with Mom for the late morning-early afternoon hours.

This conversation had some usual parts:
"Hey, how was work....." "How are you doing....." "How is Deek's baseball going....."

but, after all of the small talk and idle chatter, we can generally glean a good hour of solid conversation, which I always find myself learning from.

Two Points Made By Mom (this trip):
1) The key is balance.
2) Some people like to have shallow and basic relationships with a lot of people and not spend the time to develop deep, lasting relationships with a few people. Other people prefer just the opposite and would rather have a few very close friends and not know many people.

Point 1

This point almost came out of the blue, but it was a good one and a concept that I've taken to heart.  No matter what aspect of life, it must be kept in a balance.  Working time must be balance out with sleeping time, and anyone who makes you feel lazy for needing your time to recoup via sleeping needs to bugger off.  I'm guilty of giving folks a hard time for "sleeping too much".  I, personally, can run just fine off of 6-7 hours of sleep.  Others need more like 8-9.  So, folks that I have teased so mercilessly, I apologize.

Time spent relaxing (physically and mentally) should be paired evenly with time spent creating and doing.

But, perhaps the most important fact of this balance (between all of life's aspects) is that the balance is different for everyone.  For me to feel balanced, I need about 60% of my time alone and 40% of my time with people (not counting as sleeping hours and no, Koda doesn't count as "people").  I also need about  1/3 of my car riding time to be spent in silence (I really don't care to listen to the music on the radio much, it's either NPR or MPR or nothing).  The silence allows me to collaborate my quiet time and alone time into my driving time...multi-tasking?

(The topic of multitasking is also and interesting one that I'll touch on later).

But there are some things that I think we spend the majority of our lives trying to figure out how to balance.  How much food do we actually need to feel satiated and happy but not overly full? How much money do we need in our savings to feel secure, but not pompously wealthy?  How much affection do we expect out of a relationship to feel loved and cared for, but not smothered?

And how often do these balances change as we grow and mature (or, perhaps, im-mature?)

Point 2

I'll confess.  This topic came up while discussing Nathan and my Dad. You might call them the "men in our lives", although mine has taken a noticeable absence as of late.  Either way, both of these individuals sincerely love to talk to anybody and everybody.  When going somewhere with my Dad, it was always guaranteed that  you should budget an extra half hour of time, because you would inevitably run into someone that he knew and wanted to chit-chat with.

My Dad loves to chat. Nathan loves to chat.

My Mom and I are quite different.  I can go for a long while without seeing a bunch of people or talking to a bunch of people and feel quite alright with it.  However, if the opportunity presents itself and I am with a few close friends (or even just good friends that can make me laugh!), I will spend hours talking with them.  I love getting to know people deeply and personally, and, in my opinion, the people that are almost always worth knowing deeply/personally are not going to share all their secrets within just a few days of knowing you.  They might give you their blanket story, but truly learning what makes them tick will take much longer and will require effort on both parts.

Is one mode of communication and befriending better than the other? I wouldn't care to say yes or no to that.  I think these ways are just different, and to be honest, it's another act of balancing.  After all, what is the point of having 1,000,000,000 friends, if no one knows you well enough to (as my Mom said) "wipe your butt if you need it?".  Similarly, it can get awfully lonely just having 5 friends to talk with.

Balance. It's all about balance.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've recently finished a book entitled "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green.  While there were many quotes that I took from it (yes, I'm a quotes person), there was one that I wanted to meditate upon longer than the others:

"You are so busy being that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."

What a life motto to have (even if Mr. Green didn't mean it in this manner).

To formulate your existence around the idea of enjoying existence and creating yourself solely from your experiences and not focusing on what others think of you for your persona or your experiences.

I don't think I'm alone in saying that I've spent more time than I care to admit being concerned with what others thing, specifically about me or my actions.  While some of it is mostly to ensure that I'm living up to the high standards I imagine others hold for myself (ie: parents), I feel like I miss out on a large amount of life because of this introspectivity. (Not a word then, is a word now: introspectivity)

If we each focused on our own humanity and our own desire to live our individual lives as we desired, would we be even more unique than we are now?  Is that even a possible thing....if we are truly unique? Simultaneously, that one in a million comment doesn't necessarily work out....there are 6,840,507,003 people on this Earth.  I'm no mathematician, so I let you figure out how many "yous" there are in existence currently.  Not to mention the past and present.  All concepts of uniqueness beg one to believe that their individuality is truly honed by their experiences.

Which goes back into being "being".  Being experiences.

Nobody else on this planet has spent 10 days crammed in a car with Nathan, Brittany and Sean trying to make it to the west coast and back.  Plenty of other people have spent 10 days crammed in a car with 3 other individuals.  When my being coincided with other peoples' beings, that is where uniqueness came from.....not from the broader experience, but from encountering other beings at a very specific time.   

Margaret, as I know you're going to probably be reading this...I'm dying to hear your thoughts (I value them highly).  Your's too Lauren!

I think I'm going to leave it at this for the time being, mostly because I'm not quite sure where I want to go with this yet.  I just felt as though I should do a blog post, even if it is incomplete, inconsistent and incoherent.....


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Needs vs. Wants

I have the good fortune of working at a locally owned coffee shop in my hometown.  I've been employed by them for the past 3 years and have enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it immensely.

I know that I've noticed the following situation before, but never really had an outlet (outside of my private journal) to talk about it.  Here we go:

A customer walks into the coffee shop (I know, sounds like a bad joke already, doesn't it) and sidles up to the register.

Me or another staff member: "Hey, how's it going?"
Customer: "Good"
(occasionally the conversation will go on a little bit longer where we may mention what has happened in our day)
Me or another staff member: "Awesome.  What can I get for you?"
Customer: "Well....I NEED a(n) (insert drink name here)."

This is where I lie in discontent.  Does any customer really need a 16 oz-extra shot-sugar free-skim-vanilla latte?  Are they in such a state as that they will cease to exist without said latte?  From my observations, they do not need this substance, but they in fact want it.  The difference between needs and wants.

Now don't get me wrong, I've done it too.  After a long day at work or school or whatever I'm prone to saying "Ugh, I need a good beer."  I am fully aware of the fact that I do not need a good beer, merely that I desire it.

I'm calling myself out, too.

However, it's easy enough for me to say to myself:

"No, miss lady, you do not need a beer, but merely want it because you find the process of drinking a beer, which is often accompanied by great conversation, exceptionally relaxing.  People who actually need things are the starving children of the world, which sounds completely cliche, but it happens to be an unfortunate truth.  There are starving children, and they do need food."

I don't know how many of you frequent coffee shops, but at the one I work at, we tend to have a clientele that would not take kindly to being corrected.  And, I just so happen to enjoy my job enough that I don't want to lose it because I was trying to redirect the misguided use of the English Language.  After all, if the word need comes to symbolize merely a "want".  What word are we going to use to fulfill the meaning of the word "need"?

But perhaps it is upon my shoulders (and now yours, for reading this and realizing it) to correct these individuals.

Anyway, rather than ranting and being redundant, I will leave the conversation at that.


Things I've read that you should read: "The Fault In Our Stars" - John Green
Things that I've heard that you should hear: Hundred Waters (it's a group)
Things I've eaten that you should eat: Spinach and Cheese Quinoa
Things I've drank that you should drink: Delirium Nocturnum

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut on the Arts

I love this video of Kurt Vonnegut. Scoot yourself ahead to about 6 minutes.

Anyone who participates in any sort of art...should completely watch this.  It's only about 2 minutes long (well, the discussion of art from minutes 6-8)...the entire video is about one hour.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What A Night

Last evening I had the distinct pleasure of going down to my trombone professor's house and surprising him with a gift and a visit from two other section members.

I thought it would only be a one hour thing and that Vance would have a lesson at 7pm after my supposed lesson.  But it wasn't and he didn't.

I think Jason and I left around 11pm?

So what do you do, in small town Midwest, until 11pm?  You sit and hear awesome stories.  You get a tour of Vance's farm and hear about its history.  You eat pizza with friends.  You, in essence, have a really good time.

Throughout college, I had an "okay" time.  I didn't hate it, but it wasn't like "oh-my-gosh-these-are-the-best-years-of-my-life-let's-do-college-foreverrrrrrrrrrrr".  And, to be honest, I'm completely okay with that.    There were a few things that I particularly enjoyed.

These girls:

These folks:

Which were part of this ensemble:

And yes, of course there were other things that I really liked about college (I really enjoyed being in all of the ensembles), but there were a lot of things that I thought were problems that should be fixed.  A lot of politics.  And, mannnnnn, politics just aren't cool.  Especially when they influence your education and the quality of your education.

I mean, hey, it's my thousands of dollars and my time spent doing homework. I want the best damn education I can get..especially since I'm paying for it.

But I digress.
Last night was a lot of fun. I hope to do something similar to it again sometime this summer.