A Stranger is someone Known to others

Today I was rescued by people who don’t already know me well.  Naturally, I am glad.  The trouble was not life threatening, which is also a relief.  I was out biking in the local beautific German countryside when I blew the rear tire of my bike.

Some people were going to a wedding reception and offered help and used a handy to bring in some guy I’ve never met before who in fact ‘saved the day’ with a knife and a 5 minute car ride.  I don’t know his name even now.  I’m sure other people do.  In fact, there are people who do know me: and of course to them I am no stranger, and then there are all the people who know all those people who I just met.

The first time in my life anything like that happened to me I think my parents had dropped me off to a very good, reliable care giver who wasn’t my Mom or Dad and I needed something.  This time was way more extreme because my Mom doesn’t know those people either, but since I’m 44 now, and we’ve all had some practice ‘mingling’ that helps.  Aside from having received the needed assistance I am mostly grateful that being shy or stupidly overly obstinate about being ‘independent’ didn’t make that impossible.

Today is called the same thing yesterday was called back then

Germany is so warm today that I cracked a one line joke about it at Facebook.  Some of you know about that, others may not.

I’d like to welcome you all today and thank you.  This is a new media for me, and learning how much it really does connect us and also how it still doesn’t is probably as challenging for me as it is for you.  A couple of months ago when I saw Ashley in person and she told she read my blog I was glad; I took it as a compliment but I also felt shocked because it meant that she all kinds of information she would not have had otherwise.  I also felt a little surprised that I felt shocked.  I then felt that I did not know ‘how I was supposed to feel’ in this type of situation as it had not come up and I had not been taught ‘etiquette for meeting readers of your blog’.  Also, it was a big shift because the only person I had been aware of as reading the blog was my Dad who is nearly 80 years old and living outside of Rochester NY with his wife being a talented and creative old man.  Scary, poor Dad, is being forced to live the role of an Old Man now, but – if it makes him feel any better – everyone who lives beyond middle age and is male ends up being an Old Man.  Also, every famous wizard we have ever heard of has also spent time as an Old Man.  Finally, both the current Catholic Pope and the Dalai Lama are currently Old Men.  So, honor the Old People, they are supposed to be enjoying being Wise Old People with big smiles and relaxed that they are forced to work frantically most of the time anymore.  LOL – no rest for wicked, but the Dalai Lama works ALL THE TIME even though he’s Old.  OK, maybe that was harsh, people love him, but it was kind of a joke about religious intolerance and how much trouble he is in if the Christians, Jews and Muslims are right…except that I’m sure 700 Million Christians at least would forgive him for not believing in ‘that one God’…If you know what I’m saying.

I even told my son yesterday, to expect that religious leader to be ‘in flight’ nowadays.  It took me months of 2011 and 2012 to figure it out but that is frighteningly true: If you watch his speaking tours you will notice that he is usually riding in an airplane.  Then he gets let out and chats and presses flesh and smiles and goes back to riding in an airplane.  Luckily, that translator guy and a few other people who he’s known for a long time are with him.  I don’t know what it is like to meditate at 30,000 feet but he probably does and if he doesn’t should find out.  After all, it could go into the Guiness Book of World Records for meditating even higher than Himalayan peaks.

I hope you all found that to be funny without being too harsh or unrealistic.  “Here’s your in flight magazine, Your Holiness.”

That was not what I expected to write today, but that’s what happened.  I’m packing to move over to where the goats are and anxious about having enough help.

An American in Germany – what is it really like?

Obviously, everyone’s experience of life is unique.  Last week I found two different short YouTube videos by other American women living in Germany.  One was an Army wife who was in Germany for 3 years and the other was a civilian over in Berlin.

FYI – the city of Berlin, Germany is the farthest East I have ever been – at least so far in this lifetime.  The farthest West I have ever been has occurred down South in California to the Pacific Coast – I swam in the Pacific a couple of times when I visited my grandparents and cousins in childhood.  As an adult, I have gone as far West or slightly farther: the port of Seattle, Washington and Vashon Island are the farthest West I have ever been.  Most of the time I was between those extremes.

So far, life in Germany has been ‘poor but sheltered from poverty’ in a nice neighborhood but wow, it explains part of why I have not “shopped the world” or been to every play and movie that has come through the town.

In reality I have spent a lot of time on the computer in ways that I really never was before 2010.  I have done business online since 2003, but my business was never intended to be limited/restricted to being done online.  However, in 2010 – suddenly I was doing tons more online.  Back in 2009 I started a part time MBA online, but it went terribly badly.  It was even worse because of how much it did not help with social contact and dragged me into student loan debt I could not afford and had managed to avoid when I was a younger woman.

This is not the first time that I have lived in the countryside or as a foreigner in this life, but over in England they at least still speak English.  As most of you know, it has been way harder for me than I had intended or realized.  If I had not thought citizenship was such a big deal I would not have come to this country or brought my son here.  Still, the original plan had been to teach philosophy in English at a uni – which is not that uncommon here in Germany, and to have a live in lover [probably husband, but we can mince terms] and way more money.  I had also thought I would get to have a German driving license and a car but so far: No.  The Pity Party starts at 5pm but only runs for 5 minutes.

Mostly, it has been a woman hanging out muttering to herself in English and now and then feeling brave when making even little excursions.  Example:  during the first year of living here, I made it to the next village and even went out after dark a few times.  I went out after dark during the time of year when you pretty much have to if you are going to be able to do anything here in Germany because the darkness last 18 hours every friggin’ day.  I learned some German.  The second year is not over yet, but there are just 2 months left in Year 2, of living in Germany.  I have continued to care for my son and to spend time with him daily for which I am grateful even though all it is is fulfilling a familial duty of love.  I have ventured forth all the way to Bremen and even down to Oberwesel one time for a retreat.  I have ventured in the local terrain on bicycle and foot a bit more than last year.  I feel a much better sense of the local crops than I had last year and know where more of the cows and sheep and goats are living.  Even the horses.  People also still have the typical pet cat and pet dog.

Thank God for the train and the friendly farm animals.  Some people have really been kind and friendly and luckily I have learned enough German that I can often understand them but it is a little weird to confront the reality that my personality is telling me how much I don’t even care that I can’t understand them half the time.  I mean, I care so much that I want to go back to living where people speak English but I care so little that I have learned less than half as much German as my son has even though I could have learned tons more of the local language.

Today

Here’s a quick look at today.  Here, both Sun and Moon are up in the Western quarter of the sky.  The local birds are chirping.

I have accepted the reality that pigeons, like humans can live as urban and as rural creatures.

Objects that vibrate still will when there is some water in them, but it takes more to get them to, and some of the other side effects are a bit different.

My son is now so mature he that is sporting a junior mustache – that’s not just dirt above his lip. He is not full grown yet, but wow is he getting closer to it!

I found a bunch of short stories that need to help me earn money.  I either have to sell them off individually or make them a magazine and sell that way or else find other writers and get an anthology together.

Right now, my social cycle has slumped after a 2 to 3 month period of heightened activity which then ‘spiked’ or surged for a week and then came tumbling down, so to speak.  That’s just really what it’s like.

 

Writing for Love / Writing for Pay – the Ethics of Work

Well, here we are in another ‘Now’ another ‘Today’.  Earning money is helpful for many people.  People like it more whenever the work is found meaningful and enjoyable.  There are people who live ‘the ideal’ of being well paid for meaningful work in an area of natural talent, enjoyment and expertise with dedication and joy.

Others are forced or choose some form of compromise.  Still others feel like ‘they lost’ and try to appreciate it if they get to survive despite losing the battle.

There are people who experience work for pay at various points along the spectrum of ideal and in line with their personal values to greed/need money motivated and driven and the misery associated with the work is actually largely a side effect of really doing it despite disliking it because of needing or wanting the pay.

The way that I really feel about the stories and books etc. that I write or ghostwrite.  The truth is that I feel more than one way about it depending on the project.  I would strongly prefer to have been paid really well for the pieces that I have written from love of story and love of the craft and hoping that both I and readers would be very pleased with it.  That hasn’t happened.   I have been published a little bit, and been paid about the amount of many a teen’s allowance for a couple of weeks or a month so far for works that I have written purely out of love of story and wish to make readers and myself happy.  More than one was developed as a story to tell to my kid.

Some people have paid me to write.  I am very grateful to them for helping me actually get paid to write and to get some more professional experience.  Some of the projects are closer to all that I truly love than others – including the Be Diversity Competent! and Thinking Your Way to Riches – Family Style [which began as 12 Universal Laws], the book summaries on philosophical works and some of the others.  The thing with the book summaries is that I would not have done nearly as many if I had not been trying to earn a living doing them.  It got a little ‘crazy’ because I was trying to earn a living: I actually managed to for about a year by writing the book summaries – maybe even 1.5 years, but in the end the editors thought I was a nut case – probably because I had had too little social contact, 7 cups of coffee and had written 80,000 words in a month – which is way too much.  3,000 words per day, as a professional is all I can do.  So, I spent a year angry with my low productivity until the day I thought it through and realized that my little from home book summary work was more reading and writing than my full time undergraduate study schedule, which really helped me to get perspective.  I learned a ton and love that I was able to earn a very humble living but almost an actual living and got to ghostwrite about philosophy – because I studied it so much I had intended to make a career with/in philosophy.  That was going to be my day job with a bit of novel writing on the side and a little book writing because as a professor one is supposed to write some books.  OK, so at this point I am still only able to do part of what is required…but the latest efforts to actually market and get publishers for a general book of philosophy for readers and another book which is more academic and for the tradition…are part of that same endeavor.

OK, luckily, some people have paid me to ghostwrite fiction for them – last year I was paid to ghostwrite most of a novel and at least one short fiction story.  Again, I am grateful for the work and the experience.

None of that was ‘my ideal’ however.  ‘My ideal’ is that as well as having a good and real personal life and now and then writing something based on a publisher or client request – for both love and pay, [instead of for one or the other] that I will start earning good money from the stuff I write ‘as art’.  Of course, I am still open to earning money in some other ways – I even have some paintings I am willing to sell ‘as an artist’.

Like so many of you, I have also earned money by working jobs that I hated and by spending extra time in a bad relationship [or a relationship that was challenging at the time] because I needed the money.  That is pretty much the dark side of it.  Luckily, most of the relationships I was in where money was important – were not only because of the money.

Many of you have also met both kinds of people: those who really do only work for pay because they need the money and others who are not even just lying to themselves about that, but would really do a lot of what they do – as long as they were provided for, even if it did not pay off the same way.

With me, I have honestly figured out that I do want to share many good results of using my skills and talents with the world, and I would really like to be above rather than below the economic level of my parents when they were doing their best financially – and still like my life…or actually like my life more with more money instead of having to do stuff I hate so much that the more money doesn’t even make me happier over all.  At the same time, I will help others either way, but I really do work quite differently if I really don’t need the money than I do when I really do.

That is probably commonplace and normal.

Now you all know that.

Forum Posts & History: a 21st century perspective

Nowadays we have the Internet.  Most of Gen Y is very familiar with it, whereas people like me from Gen X or the Baby Boomers who came before us and then World Wars of the 20th Century generation before that….we don’t know it so naturally.  It still seems new fangled and odd,  like aircraft parked near horses.

My son is part of Gen Y and has grown up with the Internet, in its commercialized, popularized condition.  Thanks to having moved to Germany, I have used the Internet 10 times more than I did ever before, even though I used the Internet to connect me with work for 5+ years prior to moving to Germany.

Part of what happened was that this made me need to learn new ways to ask about what he was doing when ‘using the computer’ had obviously become much too vague of a response, and left me without enough awareness to feel like I knew what was really going on.

To make a long story short, I learned about forum posts.  In fact, I used some forums myself and after doing that for a few weeks I decided that I now have a much better idea of what they are.  Being old enough to think in pre-Internet format, I had a revelation.  Whenever people write books in the same field as someone else, or do research, or write letters to the editor to newspaper this is all equal to submitting a forum post.  Technically, letters to the editor of newspapers could be construed as being more like a blog comment being posted, but at least we’re all in the same game now.

Perhaps that isn’t much, but it made a good way to communicate with Generation Y, and even Gen Z.  The historical tradition of texts are now ‘forum posts’ through time.

Wasting One’s Life

Most of us have heard that life is precious and that we should not waste our lives or our time.  When we buy things, especially food we may worry about letting it go to waste.  Sadly, sometimes things do – fruit is most prone to spoiling and being lost with cheeses, and left overs coming in second.

For those who have matured to the point of having children – which usually happens when people are a bit older but I have heard at least two shocking true stories of children so young one would expect that a pregnancy would not be possible as well as assuming that the person was not engaging in any sexual activity….particularly women, we may hear the snickering of younger adults about how our lives have ended just from that alone.  In a way it is true: if there is one thing I most love about Wicca and Drudiry, it is the simple but profound teaching of the 3 stages of adult life: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone for women: Man, Father, Old Man for men.  OK, when a phase of life ends it can really feel like at least a form of ego death if not even worse.  I know that I freaked out a lot, because even though I embraced motherhood; it had occurred unexpectedly and spontaneously and the death throes of my pre-maternal ‘identity’ were wild and thrashing.  In truth, the few times I have had surgeries I most often thrashed and fought when I first ‘came to’.  Perhaps that’s just how I handle transitions.

Really, it has been nearly 2 years since I moved to Germany.  I keep feeling like it has put my life ‘on hold’ somehow even though it is ‘a new adventure’.  I tend to think that I get that feeling because I have not mastered the local language and have not remarried again yet.  If I marry again, by law, it will be my 4th legal marriage.  You know the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”  Young children and sometimes adults have also learned that if at first you don’t succeed throw a raging temper tantrum out of frustration and then take however long is necessary to calm down and once more relaxed consider whether or not to try again.

 

I don’t want to waste my life but feel that even after nearly 2 years…more than absolutely nothing has happened in my life here, but most of it has been ‘inner world’ ‘mind’ stuff and nothing has replaced much of what was lost in my late 30s.