Who Would You Invite?

There is that list that you see from time to time that asks if you were having a dinner party what people would you invite to come. The list usually is suppose to be just celebrities. Sometimes it also includes choosing from certain categories of notoriety like history, sport or the arts. It may also let you pick both living and dead people. The real problem is that it only lets you invite like six. I would like to have a dinner party every week with different mixes of these on my list to hear the conversations. That would be epic.

The truth is that I would only like my friends to come, some of my relatives, but especially my kids. I have a wide and diverse bunch of friends and would always like them to come over, but not all at the same time because it is often a problem with parties that they get too big and you can’t really talk in depth with anyone. I always thought too that if you have a party it would be nice for everyone to get along, chat it up and then be friends themselves, but of course that never happens.

A person can dream though. After my friends, some relatives both alive and dead and my kids, here is my list. I would like to talk to them if it was a possibility or at least listen to them talk with people that I match them up with. I just want to be in the room. My only per-requisites are that they have to be respectful, be in a way that I think of them (hmmm since I don’t actually know any of these people that is a big ask…except Jesus…I know Jesus) and speak English so I can understand them. It’s not reality so anything is possible. Jesus is going to be very tired as I want him to be in on all the convos.

Jesus, Fred Rogers, Bill Nye, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Martin Luther King, James Cordon, Johnny Cash, Alexander Hamilton, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Michael Perry, Stephen King, Jerry Seinfeld, Garth Brooks, Elizabeth Warren, Bill Gates, Jane Austen, Leonardo daVinci, Beyonce Knowles, King David, Julia Child, Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Campbell, Mary the mother of Jesus and her hubs Joseph, Tyra Banks, John D, Rockefeller, Abigail Adams, Mohandas Gandhi, any of the disciples, John Muir, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther, Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis, Tom Hanks, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, Annie Oakley, Lin Manuel, Dalai Lama, Mohamed, Martha Washington, Adele, John Stewart, Sacajawea, Dave Chappelle, Loretta Lynn, Lewis and Clarke, Van Gogh and his brother Theo, Robert Mueller, Barack and Michelle Obama, Paul McCartney, Vince Gill, Alexander Hamilton, Lady Gaga, Elizabeth I, Steven Spielberg, Mike Rowe, Corrie Ten Boom, Ira Glass, Brene Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Edward Snowden, Jimi Hendrix, John Gurda, Conan O’Brien, Oprah, Freda Kahlo, Condelesa Rice, Nelson Mandela,  Jamie Foxx, John McGivern, Walt Disney, the whole Wythe family, Charles Dickens, Jenny Lawson, Elizabeth Blackwell, Laura Bush, Hugh Jackman, Ellen DeGeneres, Chief Oshkosh, Pink, Dollie Parton, James Lovell, Irena Sendler just to name around 100…subject to change.

Could you even stand it? Just think, Jesus, Brene Brown, Mohamed, Elizabeth Warren, James Cordon and Bill Nye sit down for a talkie poo? Amazing!!!!


What Am I For?

There are so many posts about what people are against. I myself am against several things already today. I am against a little rule in a mandated decision at Job 1 that I find petty and intrusive, I find that I was against how cold it is, I find that I am pretty much against anything that I am not for.

I know.

So, here is the thing. Being for and against…..are they the opposite sides to the same coin or are they two different coins, or are they coins that you just choose not to flip over…lalalalalala… if I don’t flip it over does that mean that it doesn’t exist? If you are for something does that mean you have to be against something else? No, not all the time. If I am against cancer, that means I am against cancer, because who is pro cancer? Then again, if I don’t want to be dead, doesn’t that mean that I want to be alive?

Here is what I am thinking. I get to choose. I get to choose what I am for, because it is super easy to be against. Here is the interesting and hard part that begins with the sorting. What am I for? Do you think that there could be better starts for talking with those that we are not normally in alignment with if we started with that? Do we both like drinking clean water? Do we both like to be safe? Do we both want to be loved? Right there you have the start to talk about the environment and security. It could roll away really fast if you don’t always go back to the main theme of, “What are you for?”

Baby steps. It takes me back to yesterday’s post about what my job is. My job is to love and learn. Easier said than done, but I can’t run around and be against so much stuff!

Five Crock Pots/Slow Cookers Walk Into a Bar and the Bartender Tells Them They Can’t Smoke in the Bar….

The hubs and I had a little convo about the crock pot situation at our house. I mean I had a monologue about our crock pot situation at our house and he nodded. He is good to listen to me and gave a concerned look.

Here is the deal. After watching the best television show going these days, maybe of all time, I had to take stock of our crock pot situation and decide if any of them looked like they could start a fire.

My mom had instilled a deep remembrance of the  house and barn fire in us kids as they lost their barn and animals as well as the house catching on fire. It was 4 years before I was born, but I can tell you the whole story from Mom’s memory. It must have been horrific for them.

No person was injured or killed. Every April, every time she got her wedding dress out, every time she told about the 4-H kids, every time she told about the men that came to the house, every time we did Spring and Fall housecleaning and the little burn mark in the hardwood floor in the living room was uncovered, every time my dad got the call to come to put our fires with the volunteer fire department, the reason why they had the smallest bedroom facing the driveway…I heard parts of it. Now that I think of it I never remember my dad talking about it. Maybe it is like the war for some veterans when they chose not to discuss it. I will have to ask my brothers.

So here we are with a surprise that we own five slow cookers? Oh, and there is a Nesco in the basement. Who needs this many slow cookers? The last time I used them all it was for a graduation party palooza. That was already a bunch of years ago. Because I remember everything obscure, I know when I got all those cookers. The newest one is my least favorite…figures. I have decided that they all must go away.

If you have stock in the CrockPot Company or any slow cooker appliance manufacturing company, I salute you. Janie’s going to get two new slow cookers this year at some point. After watching this show there will extra loads going to the landfill. I am sure I am not alone in dumping my old units.

This show that we all watch, not only makes me boo hoo every single episode, but it might save our lives. I just checked the batteries in the smoke detectors too and it isn’t even October.



What is that? Can we play with it?

I am often asked questions that I love to answer at both of my jobs and help the folks find their way and things they need. Then there are days that question all sanity. Today was one of them. I always have to ask myself, am I being kind enough? What am I learning?

A frequent adult visitor and her kiddos came to my work area today wanting to know what that device was behind me. I told her that it was my cash register. Then she asked if she could “use” it. Whatever that meant, but I think it meant that she wanted to have her and her kids poke it, look inside of it, see what commands it had, maybe count the money, throw the money around, make it make noise and knowing how things go with her kids….crawl inside of it. After I told her that since it is for business we conduct this wasn’t allowed for them, but there was a play one in the play area. She said, “Oooo, but that one looks so high tech!!!” I said that looks are deceiving and although it is mini and aerodynamic it is just another computer. As far as I am concerned she could just have it, but it is not mine to give.

I’m all about showing people how things work or sharing what I know, it is just that I think that it is my job to do a very few things; love and learn. Just those, and in this way, I worship. I used to think that ‘to educate” was in there, but it really falls under the love category. There are other things I thought were in there too, but they end up falling under the love category as well.

You see this woman lives on another plane of life than many. Her kids are boisterous, rowdy and wild, but not exactly horrible. They are inquisitive, exuberant and totally unaware that there are others around them. It is sort of free form. I like them, but they are super loud and on the cusp of being dangerous. It is like they are an overgrown woods. Lots of growth going on, no apparent direction, but whom am I to say? I guess I just assume that people will be instructed at some point that we don’t play with a business work computer…among other things.

I guess that was my job today. Just do my job by being loving and to learn something. I struggle with what I was to learn. Maybe it was the part that surprises me that I can be kind in the face of people on a different plan than most.

Who Knows Me, What Orbit Are We In and EWWW!

I’ve been hashing the whole idea of my life posted out-loud in the world on social media and now this blog. I sort of live my life out-loud anyway, but still like to control what circle people are in that are in my orbit. People may think that I am an open book, but those people would not be in the know.

I have had talks with some friends about what orbit people are in my life. I see people have circles about them like they are in big hula hoops spinning around me. The inner circle is where the people you totally trust can orbit. Then the circles get larger like a huge orbit that make up a person’t life. Each ring encompasses a different level of knowledge, trust and endurance.

One of my friends years ago told me that there was a site that had come across her desk from her institution that told them they might want to investigate to see if they really wanted their name and info on that. Of course I jumped on that right away. The site was pretty creepy. It gave a location of everyone’s residence, ages of the persons in the house, the money value of the property, the names of the people that lived in their house, education level and how much money they were estimated to have made each year and other little stuff. I looked into it then and happily had the option of deleting all that which was ours as well as the info for my parents. I just checked and that site is still up sans our  info. Of course there are other places to look up info like that as it is public record, but I felt sort of violated that it was up there all together without my permission in one spot without my knowledge.

It came up today again in 3 ways. Facebook had put up a lively little photo montage of a Friends Day. There was news in my feed today regarding an article about a book that I am currently reading that I checked out of my library. Then my friend said that she had ordered some items yesterday online and they suddenly appeared at her door already today.

Now I get that I am the one that posted the pictures of things and comments on Facebook and am delighted to stay connected to these wonderful humans that appeared in that little fun montage. Giving out that info is the price I pay to stay connected to people I don’t see everyday or every 40 years.

Just days before Facebook said they changed their policy about what we are seeing in our news feeds I sent them a message about how I wanted to see all of the posts my friends post. Ironically days later they said they were changing their procedures. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Do I think they really will change anything globally, uh no. They are not in my inner circle although some of my people are that Facebook knows all about. That is a thinker isn’t it?

I get that our taxes are filed electronically, our ownership of property is in the public record, my transcripts are on line so when I wanted a new teaching job at one time I could get it to the new employer..blah, blah, blah. It is the price for living in this world. Sometimes it is convenient and sometimes it is intrusive. How about those medical record in the wrong hands? The upside it is maybe equitable as all our records are out there.  It is a bit like the great leveler, the DMV. Everyone who wants to drive shows up. Everyone.

I know that my library book checkouts and everyone else’s cannot even be accessed by the police…as far as I know based on true events that I occurred when some years ago police asked when they should have known better. But….anyway…. They are in a computer…so…

The thing about the inner circle is that it is not static. There are little swinging doors where people can come and go. Mostly it is the same group in there, but from time to time there are subtle changes that mirror changes in me. Come in. Go out. Come back in. Think of them as little lounge chairs where people rest comfortably and are called on from time to time to plug holes or they ask me to help in their lives…we aren’t just satellites.





This Guy I Don’t Know

This guy I don’t know has this pile of stuff out on his property that is for sale. He does a brisk business for people who like to reinvent the items they find into something new to them or you. I guess the real term is re-purposing. The guy I don’t know must have some sort of picker’s business like Hippie Tom in Waterford, except Hippie Tom has more.

The guy I don’t know is nice if you are nice to him, sort of a character and takes his business both seriously and almost like a joke. I think it probably is still a surprise to him that people would buy what he calls his “crap”, but most likely it is a job that tires him yet is entertaining because of all the interesting people that come by and buy.

I have wanted to go out there for a really long time. I think that is the place that used to be a wanna be artist’s colony set-up, but perhaps that is on the other road in that country neighborhood. I’ll have to ask Brea, because she will most likely know. I thought that this guy that I don’t know was a retired art prof, but when I asked around, I find that is might not be the case…must be the other guy. Anyway….

I follow this business on Facebook because he posts most every day about the stuff he got in. The really nice part is that he also puts up pictures of what people do with his “crap” (his words, not mine). Looks like they send the pics to him and he re-posts them. People sure are full of great ideas. I have ideas myself while I wade through the piles and weave in and out of the wood shaving paths.

The paths wind down to the water so if you look out one way there is serenity and then turn around it is utter chaos back at the piles. He has the curated chaos covered with car tents or canvas and is evolving into small shacks and covered crates. You have to be careful where you step and guard as you turn so you don’t trip or knock something over. That is the adventure part. That is also being respectful of his “crap” and your hip.

There must be some thought into his placement, but it would be hard to never know what you’ll come home with when you are picking so how can he plan the room for it upon his return? There are loose windows right next to the road and some bikes that are undriveable parked next to some crates. The crates are full of wonders.

It is like a museum, a thrift store, an antique store, and a junkyard all in one. When Rick and I went last we concluded that the guy we don’t know must have run into the end of a carnival set up. There were signs with cartoonish midway type icons on them, wheels from games on the midway and what we came to discover were those milk bottles that people throw balls at in hopes of knocking enough of them over to win a pink poodle.

I never realized that they are not really milk bottles and that they are made out of cement. I never realized that I would want them. I never realized that I could resist buying them. They are cool. No. I did not…..yet.

A few months ago I went there to buy some glass bits that I NEEDED to make into something. Of course I haven’t made them into anything yet, although I have washed and sorted them. Those types of ideas roll around in my brain where they morph into better ideas over time. By the end of March I may have something I will definitely give a go to.

I was the only one out there that day. I had seen those glass bits a week before on a trip when I dragged the hubs out there. I had to go and make them mine. The price was fair and right and the guy I don’t know was very nice. Since it was just getting colder I assumed his business would stop or slow for the winter. He said that winter is the busiest of times for him. I suppose it is when people are locked up around here trying to stay warm making his stuff into things they can sell in warmer months.

When my friend and I were shopping last fall in Menasha I asked the proprietor if she had been to see this guy and she said that she loves going there where she just came home last week with two truck loads from his place for reinventiont. I know doing that  is popular right now, but I was raised on reinventing what we had into something that we could use again or in a new way. It is a hopeful place out there. Like the Island of Misfit Toys, they will be saved.

I have gotten my hubs to go with me to this rabbit warren of stuff twice now. That is where I first saw small organ pipes in a bunch. Not everyone knows what organ pipes look like and I got a little giddy. I know! Then I looked around the tent and saw BIG organ pipes! I think they would make a beautiful new dining table. The thing is that I don’t know a thing about building. I could learn, but I don’t want to.

Apparently it is a family trait that I am suppose to poses, as my grandpa was a carpenter and one of my dad’s jobs was a carpenter. One brother makes beautiful wooden decorations and utilitarian items and the other makes fences and hay wagons. I make messes, but I do have ideas. I think that these wooden organ pipes would make a fine table.  We went to visit them two weeks ago to see if they were still there. They were. Now, to talk him into it. Do you think the guy who I don’t know will give me a deal if I take all of them? Like all the things on this property, I am hopeful.