Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goodbye to a Good Friend

I have been threatening to post a blog for several days, but kept getting side-tracked. Today is Thanksgiving, and it was one of the sweetest and least dramatic I've had in a long time. I took my sister and daughter out to dinner and all went quite well. Then I came home and logged on to get ready to blog. It's still early in the evening and I knew I wanted to post something about how thankful I am for so much in my life...and then I read the blog by my dear friend, De.

De's golden retriever, Ginger, died last night. It was an unexpected death. Ginger was only 8 years old. How tenuous a hold we have on the critters we call "ours" and how much we grieve when they are gone. It was August 2007 when I visited De and Gary as an extension to an STC trip I had taken to Milwaukee.

During that trip, my dog, Katy, who was back at home in San Diego, died as a result of a series of mishaps I won't go into here. But, that night, as I lay in De's guest room and got the phone call from my daughter, I broke down and sobbed. I was trying to keep quiet because it was about 3 in the morning and I didn't want to wake De & Gary. Nonetheless, a minute or two later, De was at my door, entering with Ginger close at hand. The two of them sat with me and held in her arms and one in her compassionate, sweet, loving dog's heart. De later told me that it wasn't my sobs that woke her, but Ginger. It seems that Ginger had heard me crying and knew that I needed her. I did.

And now, 15 months later, I can feel the strength of that wonderful soft head, hear the "purring" she would do when she was being petted or loved on. Ginger wasn't just De's dog, although she certainly was mostly De's and a lot of Gary's, she was the dog everyone imagines a dog being, the perfect, loving cuddler who had a passion for life, loved all things new, and gave her housemates everything she had right up until the moment God took her away. De and Gary have had three goldens that I've met over the years...and each has been special. But Ginger was the only one that I truly fell in love with; she was the only one who helped me through the night when I needed it most.

Those of us who are loved by a dog and truly embrace that love, are blessed beyond measure. Each dog is different; they are each here for only a short time in comparison to our own lives, yet we continue to bring them into our homes; we continue to fall in love with them; and we continue to grieve when we predictably have to let them go. Ginger was one of the best--but then they all are.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What we think about we bring about

Back in the US for a whole week! And the world has changed. Obama is our president-elect and although some conservatives are still throwing all the mud they can find, much of the world is hoping that this one man can truly make a difference. I don't know what will happen, but I do know that I'm optimistic. I'm open to the possibilities of a new way of thinking and a new attitude about the world.

Obama comes from a family of many races and religions and to me, that's good. Rather than worry about the specific jobs, beliefs, and attitudes of those people, I am hopeful that he will be open-minded and inclusive because of those people. Within the microcosm of his life, he has already experienced what our country is now about. We are not a white, Anglo-Saxon, male country; rather, we are a melting pot of the world. We have good and bad, all colors, multiple languages, multiple weaknesses, and multiple strengths. I don't know if any one of us can truly look at our network of friends and family and see nothing but good. I know I certainly can't. I have a brother who died a drug addict; I have a sister who is on the dole. I had a father who was an abusive bigot and I have had a personal history that certainly would be viewed as tainted by many who choose to live their lives judging the merits of others.

In my life, I have learned to see folks for the gifts they have, even if those gifts are difficult to find amongst the wrappings, styrofoam peanuts, and old newsprint. And, I'm willing to dig a little to get to the good, even if I get a few peanuts on the rug and my hands become covered with black ink.

I believe we all have something worthwhile in us and I believe that we live up to expectations placed upon us. So, my expectations for this country of ours are high. I believe we can be supportive of business and growth while we also take care of our poor and disabled. I believe we can embrace those from around the world who seek solace and success within our borders. I believe that we must choose wisely the reasons we send our youth into war, and I believe that what we think about we bring about.

So, I will think positive things and keep myself open to the changes that are about to happen. I believe that one day the world will be a global place of peace. I doubt that I'll see it in my lifetime, even if I do live to be an old, old woman (as I truly think I will!). I am hopeful that one day, religion and politics will be personal and will be tolerated and accepted. When that day comes, we won't have to thrust our beliefs on others, or be forced by others to accept theirs. We will only need to honor and respect each other--no matter what their beliefs; no matter what the color of their skin; no matter what politics they support. Only then will we be able to move on to other worlds and other planes of existence with intelligence and love.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-jig

Well, here I am. Safe, sound, and sane (sorta) in San Diego. Got home at about 5:30 pm Halloween night. Cher picked me up and Connie graciously came over to answer the door for all the trick or treaters! Thank goodness! After a trip lasting more than 30 hours, I wasn't in the condition to be jumping up every 5 minutes. As it turned out, we didn't have as many visitors as last year, but they did keep coming until about 9.

Connie went home, I took a shower, and then was wide awake. Stayed up til about 12:30, then slept in this morning till 11:30 am. Didn't do much today but talk on the phone to some folks and take care of a Christine issue. Nothing too worrisome, but it did take a little time. Big Connie came over and we went to a local joint for Mexican food. I may never want to eat Chinese food again!

I have so much to share, and yet I'm not up to it right now. It's about 12:30 am again. Guess my body clock isn't exactly working right. Oh! Tonight we set our clocks it's really only 11:30. That makes me feel better.

I haven't unpacked. I haven't even gone through my snail mail. I did, however, catch up on HP and STC mail, called the HP Helpdesk and had my password reset, and figured out how to access phone messages on my work phone. (I could I not have known that! just know that I didn't.)

My HP NT password had expired on 10/30, and since I didn't have my work machine, I couldn't reset it myself. So it was gone when I logged on this morning. The process was easier than I had thought it would be...and the announced 20-minute wait on the Help line was really more like 10. Nice to get small favors.

I'm not very energized, but I also don't feel too exhausted. So, maybe tomorrow I'll get unpacked and sort the mail and do laundry. That would make it a pretty nice day. It was great to be here with Charley and Karma and sleep in my own bed. Life is good. I'm blessed beyond comprehension, and grateful to the tips of my toes.

China is behind me. What do I look back on as sweet memories? the comaraderie of the delegates, their guests, and our guides; the juxtaposition of incredibly old and immediately new; the vast expanse of buildings and myriad ant-like workers woven in and out of scores of cranes piercing the skyline of every city; the breath-taking beauty of Guilin's landscapes and small farms; the friendliness of the people; the realization that in the cities, the people were dressed in Western style and moved and acted just as they do in any large US or European city (with the exception of the plethora of bicycles and scooters and pedal-driven carts mixed in with the Mercedes, Toyotas, and Hondas); the multitudes of people represented by mile upon mile of high-rise apartment buildings; the sweet care-taking of our guide Huang (Shawn); the sheer skill of each of our bus drivers to navigate amongst the millions and bring us all to our destinations unscathed; the healthy new knee that did everything I asked of it; and the satisfaction that our delegation represented techcomm with grace and intelligence in every city and every company no matter how formal or informal the meetings, no matter how little our hosts might have known about what we do. These will be the things that I remember and will treasure forever. It was beyond imaginings; beyond expectations--it was stupendous, yet I'm so glad that it's over and that I'm home.

So, based on that, I think I'll take me and all my little piggies to bed while it's still the first day of November 2008. I'll be back soon and I promise to write more and post some pix from the trip.

So, to hold you over until then, here's the story of the osmanthus tree--from which the Chinese around Guilin make wine and tea. I bought a small bottle of the lovely, sweet wine, but managed to drink it all before I left China! I don't think customs would have let me bring it in, anyway:

Much love always,

Linda O

Linda O
Glamorous Me