Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In the head of a shooter

What goes on in the head of a shooter?  Just recently we watched a program on the Columbine massacre and now, within days, a shooter kills five people in a local mall.  A mall I did some of my Christmas shopping in. A mall I take visitors to shop at. A mall where many innocent people were spending a nice evening and suddenly and forever lost their sense of safety and security.  Don't I live in one of the safest places in America?  
As often seems the case, the shooter was a young man, only 18 years old. What pain caused him to do this?  What possible satisfaction could he receive in taking innocent lives?  There is no indication of any connection with the mall that I have heard of. Why did he want to hurt people he didn't know and had no connection to? 
In some weird sense I can understand terrorism related to religion. A little part of me can step inside the head of the postal worker who's been fired, or the man who shoots his x-wife, judge and lawyer in court.  But I just cannot stretch the limits of my brain towards any kind of understanding of a shooter that kills for the sake of the thrill.
I am in pain for the five dead and their friends and family. The injured and the survivors.  The people at the mall last night are all victims, they all lost something. Perhaps all of us in this city have. 
My heart goes out to the family of the shooter. I know they are not responsible, but how do you deal with this being at the hands of your son? 
What could he possibly have been thinking???
(from my former MySpace blog)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Very Big Grin

Many many years ago, in a far off land called the Land of Rain (Seattle) we were a host family for Japanese students. 
One of the local Universities had an IEL (Intensive English Language) program which had many Japanese students in it.  The Japanese students, more than those of any other country, preferred homestay housing over other choices. Another college offered the middle year of a three year Japanese program in Hospitality (Hotel and Restaurant Services). They did the first and third year of school in Japan but the middle year was out of country to better learn other languages and cultures.  Both of these programs placed Japanese college students in local homes for approximately 9 months.
In the course of our experience as a homestay family we had 4 boys and one girl. Every student who stayed with us was very different from the others, such a good lesson in stereotypes and overcoming expectation.  Of course they were similar in their cultural uniformity, but personalities went from one extreme to the other.
My favorite was our first student, Shigeki.  Unfortunately, he was with us the shortest time, too. 
Naoyuki (Nao for short - sounds like "Now") was the most energetic, enthusiastic and outgoing of all of them.  He traveled around the states and into Mexico on a rail pass on his holidays. He played softball on our co-ed softball team with us and was generally very gregarious.
Hironori (Hiro - "Hero") was perhaps the most involved with his Japanese friends in his classes and not around as much.
Toru was the oddest of them all.  He was seriously mentally disturbed and we actually were a bit relieved when he asked to be re-assigned to a new homestay family.
The last student we had was a girl named Akiko.  She had the most difficult time of all adjusting to our culture and particularly our family. My daughters were small and the time and I was working full time and not very patient. Unfortunately, I raised my voice to my kids too often and they cried as kids do. 
Today, I received a customer referral from my Close to my Heart business.  Somehow Akiko had contacted them via email and requested a referral to me.  When I saw the referral I was amazed at the name I saw on it.  I emailed her immediately. 
We have been emailing back and forth for the past hour. It's so exciting!  She is 30 years old now (OMHeck, how did that happen????).  
I love the things we can do via the internet now days!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I love surprises, don't you? Well, maybe not the STD, unplanned pregnancy, in-laws dropping in or flat tire in the pouring rain type of surprises, but the good ones. The ones you plan and execute for the sole purpose of pleasing someone. This is what I am working on right now. A birthday present for my husband… and of course presents are always surprises, right? This one involves us both taking five days off and… um, I guess that's all I am going to say. He knows about the time he has to take off, but so far that is all he knows about. I can't let it slip before his birthday!! Lets just say I can hardly wait and I am very excited about it!!
I had a great day at work today. I heard a story from a customer about her nickname "honderwoman." It came from a goof she made years ago in high school. Making an announcement over the PA system, she tried to say, "Hearts grow fonder," which came out "Farts grow honder." Imagine all your teachers and classmates hearing that and bursting out into spontaneous laughter .
I countered with a story of a minister introducing the Christmas play and asking the congregation to be sure to turn off their cell phones and vibrators. True story. 
The final story, the one I feared would permanently lose me a set of customers (but could I refrain from telling it? NO!) was about sharing our joys and concerns in church one spring Sunday many years ago. An elderly gentleman decided to share his joy of spring's arrival and stood to make his comment that the trees lining the parking lot had the biggest furriest pussies on them he'd ever seen. Again, true story.
(from my former MySpace blog)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Life List re-visited

Some one asked me about my "life list" recently and I was embarrassed to realize I had totally forgotten about it. Today it's time to bring it forward and add to it.  It's a worthless tool if I let it rot in the archives of my blog and don't revisit it and keep it active. 
This is my life list as I started it some time ago:
My Life List:
1. Be healthy and live healthfully
2. Be a good daughter and show more patience to my mother
3. Keep in touch with those I love and who love me
4. Be more 'available' to my family
5. Walk every single day
I am pleading the fifth on how I am applying it daily to my life.  Here are some things I am adding today:
6. Be proactively involved in the evolution of my kids.
7. Actively seek out wisdom of others and apply it to my personal growth.
8. Tune up bike and begin to ride it.
9. Create a "do it now" attitude.
Perhaps this time I should print out my list! 
Did you start one?  Want to share?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Another Day

The flat light of 7:00 am fills the valley that is my home in Utah. The sky is blue with light but the sun is not "up" yet. The mountains surrounding me appear painted flat on the sky in shades of white and gray. The community nestled below and to the south of me appears as a splatter of golden lights as though flicked there off the end of a paintbrush. 
By the time I leave my daughter at the door of her school the tips of the western mountains begin to glow with the arrival of direct sunlight. As the glow slides slowly down the slopes the mountains assume their majesty as the flatness melts away. Another day is born into beauty.
Don't ever forget to stop and smell the roses.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ignorance once more raises it's ugly head...

The subject of GSA clubs in Utah schools is now before the Utah Legislature.... 
The extreme ignorance or homo-phobia of people like Sen. Chris Buttars would be humorous if it weren't so frightening. Our entire family was in on the discussion when this was in the news recently.  Allow me to present just one of the ridiculous quotes from the article....
"Committee chairman Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, hopes the bill will allow schools to request a change in the name of the gay-straight alliances, which he feels is inherently sexual in nature.  
    "I don't know how you can have a term that describes someone's sexuality and say it is not in that realm," he said.
    Hughes would rather see tolerance clubs or anti-discrimination clubs, removing the gay specific terminology."
... a rose by any other name.....
My daughter Krissy had an awesome response to this.  Rather than call the club a GSA, she suggested calling it a "Homo Club."  After all, she explained, we are all homosapiens.....  
I love my kids!!!!
Check out Krissy's blog on the subject. This is a kid with passion!!