Bold Fortune

fortune favors the bold

Month: June, 2013

The not-so-secret-garden

by mollykl

If you live in Sacramento you probably already know about the not-so-secret-garden at the Tower Theater.

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In a guide book it would probably be called “a gem” or something equally ridiculous. I prefer to use a phrase from Jon Stewart and call it “a moment of Zen”.

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It’s not fancy or intricate. It’s not pretending to be Versailles.

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It’s just a nice cooling spot to sit on a triple digit day, perhaps before or after seeing a movie. Maybe if you sit there long enough the Delta breeze will kick up.

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Let’s face it: when the triple digits hit we all have a moment of “why exactly do I live here?”

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Here’s part of your answer.

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Goodbye and thank you

by mollykl

I don’t actually read my alumni magazine (sorry T). I get it…I flip through the pages…and I make snarky comments. That’s usually it. For some reason, yesterday when it arrived in the mailbox I spent a little more time. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t really READ it, I just skimmed it. Until I came to the memorial  page and saw the name of the man who led my senior project class listed. Then I really read.

Lew Archer supervised my senior project class at Whitworth in the spring of 1990 (even though he’d technically retired in 1989).  At Whitworth the Senior Project was akin to a thesis – that final cumulative work that sends you off in to the world. I remember damn little of the actual class except that the sun streamed in on afternoons and it was remarkably peaceful. I do, however, remember the hours and hours of hard work I put into that paper, “Jane Austen and the Father Daughter Relationship”. I lost about 10 pounds between the time I finished and when I was supposed to present it (10 pounds I could barely afford in 1990). Of all the writing I’ve done in my life, that is what I am most proud of.

It’s one thing to be proud of your work. It’s another to have a professor who is, well, let’s just say legendary, praise you as well. I’ve carried his words with me for over 20 years now.

Lew Archer’s obituary in the alumni magazine listed his career, how he met his wife, his volunteer work and the like. That’s the usual stuff of obits – I guess all it’s meant to be is a quick capsule of  who a person is . What we do is just that: it’s what we do, not who we are.  Who we are is evident in our actions and words to others,  in how we inspire, comfort and sustain. I’ll consider myself lucky if at the end of my life even one person will remember me the way I remember Lew Archer, as someone who gave me faith in my own abilities.

Lessons learned

by mollykl

And we come, finally, to the end of the school year. Can I get an Amen? This year definitely went better than last, but it was so stressful I’m surprised I still have hair and a liver.  Last year I just wanted to put it all behind me.  This year I’m actually thinking about everything I learned, however painful it was in the process.

1. Let son J play his video games BEFORE doing his homework. Yes, you read that right, before. I tried the “chores, homework THEN video games”. Want to know what happened? He rushed through everything and did a crappy job.  I got to thinking, well, do I like to come home and immediately do chores after work, with no downtime? Actually, I do, because that’s how I relax, but I’m weird.  Once I started letting J have some de-frag time, his homework improved. He was patient and did a better job. All because I let him play some video games.

2. “Lying” is an abstract concept. Seriously, son J could teach lessons on how to beat a polygraph. If he truly believes something is the truth it becomes his reality. So when you ask him if he had a good day at school he’ll say yes, because that’s what his warped little mind tells him. Deal in absolutes: did you get sent to the principal’s office? did you get any warnings from the teacher? how many times did she say your name? That’s how you arrive at how the day actually went.

3. Kids aren’t stupid. Want to fight with your spouse in front of your kid, and you think you can do it without them noticing? No, you can’t. Because kids aren’t stupid. We were told yesterday, “Stop fighting!” Well, ok then. Oh, and you can’t say snarky things in a nice voice, because they can see through that crap.

4. Yes, some kid’s parents are going to do their homework and projects for them – that doesn’t mean you should to help level the playing field for your kid. I truly think that in the long run NOT doing J’s work for him will help him more. He made that robot himself, and yes, there are other kids whose robots were much more fancy, but J did his all by himself. What’s more, he’s proud of it.

5. Every teacher is not right for every kid. My parents and god-parents were teachers, so I actually feel a little guilty saying this, but it’s true. And it’s ok.

6. My kid is fucking awesome and I don’t care if you don’t think so. I’ve spent the last few years trying to make sure J behaves and doesn’t cause a bother and now? Yeah, fuck it. You want to be loud? Go to town. You want to talk incessantly? Hey, you’ve got a better vocabulary than a certain former president so show it off. When you break the rules I will ground your ass, but I’m willing to shrug off more things now.

7. My kid will never be who or what I wanted him to be – he will be who and what he is. I had this idea that kids became what you made them, which is hilarious. I’m not going to get the nice quiet, neat, academically minded kid who studies hard and sits nicely in class. Husband J and I were both like that when we were little. Son J is not like that. He is loud and boisterous and opinionated. (Pretty much like I am now). He’s going to be who he’s going to be. But he still might end up being Iron Man ’cause he likes science.

8. Monsters, Inc. had it right. You could power the world on kid’s laughter. It also makes life a hell of a lot better.

Inspire(d)

by mollykl

a : to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration

b : to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on

 c : to spur on : impelmotivate

This year I turned 45. Yep, 4.5. When I was a kid 45 seemed ANCIENT, yet now that I’m 45, it seems…well, not so ancient. Yes, more than occasionally I feel old. When I look in the mirror and see the grey hair, or the lines, or feel the ache in my back at the end of the work day, or realize that most of my co-workers don’t know who Wings are (were).

 

I’m actually really lucky to work with people so much younger than myself. Yes, more than occasionally I roll my eyes at the choices they’re making, but mostly I’m inspired. Inspired by the utter courage to do the things that I always felt were, ahem, inappropriate. Inspired by the new things they throw themselves into (lookin’ at you B and D – and it’s a long way from Sacramento to Paris!). Inspired to get out of a rut and change their lives (Miss V).

 

There’s always a lot of talk about appreciating the older people you’re around, but what about the younger? You can learn just as much from them and be just as inspired.

?

by mollykl

Son J has started to ask some troubling questions. Being as he’s, well, son J, these aren’t your normal troubling questions along the lines of “where do babies come from” or “what happens when you die”. No, because he’s my kid he can’t ask those questions (which I would have immediately passed off to husband J).

The other day I got:

“How does the food get to the store?”

“What happens if the food runs out?”

“No really, what if there’s no more food?”

Since I work in a grocery store I was able to tell him how NorCal Produce gets our fruits and vegetables to us. Then, of course he wanted to know what would happen if the food ran out. I explained that is why we have to take care of the water and the air, but he pressed on with the question. Apparently I wasn’t answering the question sufficiently.

Tonight we watched Iron Man for the one billionth time. About 1/3 way through he asked:

“How did the bad guys get the weapons from his company?”

Not one to pull punches I told him that they were sold to the bad guys.

“By who? Did Tony sell his weapons to bad guys?”

No, but it was someone in his company. It’s pretty easy for the bad guys to get weapons.

“But why would they sell them to bad guys?”

Because someone wanted money and power.

“Well that’s stupid.”

Well, yeah.

A frequent question when we’re watching a movie is:

“Is that a bad guy?”

Son J wants to know who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. He will ask this question incessantly.

I, being myself, will usually answer honestly.

“That’s a good guy who is doing bad things because he thinks it’s right.”

Or

“That’s a bad guy who is doing something good.”

I’m pretty sure that his questions and my answers are going to get him into trouble in grades 1-12, but he’s going to OWN university.