goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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And A Child Will Lead Us

Think about that image: Usually an innocent child is depicted voicing something profound that provides a new perspective on an issue. Something that has been troubling us adults. Makes things clearer and the pathway we need to take obvious.

Well, it’s pretty rare.

kidtv1Today children spend, on the average, 6 hours a day in front of the television. One in five children are overweight. One-third of all children live in single-parent households. Few understand where food grows and how to prepare it.

There are many reasons why children in school today face challenges we adults never experienced. And therefore, teachers and school administrators have to deal with issues that continually strain the system.

In McMinnville four positions for the School Board will be filled following the May 19 election. Voters have received the information packet from the County Clerk and ballots have dropped. Several of the candidates have been serving on the School Board and hope to be re-elected.

McMinnville is proud to be recognized as one of the excellent school systems in the state of Oregon and yet only 84% of students graduate high school. There is something missing here that is not obvious.

Wednesday evening the Yamhill County Democratic Party will host a School Board Candidate Forum at the Carnegie Room of the Public Library. Starting at 7:00p.m., the candidates will present their responses to questions posed by the attendees. Please come and listen to the candidates to better understand them and then make an informed decision when you vote.

excellence

It is our responsibility as adults to provide the kind of schools that will teach the children skills they need to strive for excellence. Otherwise, the leadership they will provide in time will be mediocre. Time now to act.


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Talk to Me

Can you talk so I will listen? Can you describe how you feel, simply and with facts? Can you do it without getting emotionally loud?

Most people can’t do that.

Most people never learned how to present what my 8th grade English teacher called a “persuasive argument.” In other words, how could we, as 14-year-olds, convince our parents that we really SHOULD be allowed to go on a date/wear make-up/take a plane trip by ourselves to visit Grandma?  In 8th grade that was the kinds of things we thought about.

Now that we are adults, we have other issues that press our buttons. Politics is one. As the candidates are beginning to throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Presidential primary and then election, we are already sharpening our swords and putting on armor.3arguing

STOP!!!

Let’s try to do something different this time. Since the powers that be (the people pulling the strings behind the scenes) have all the right to talk that their money can buy, all we can do is IGNORE them.

What a concept! And only good up to a point.

They will still be carrying on, even if we try not to notice. And we really do need to participate in the attempt to TRY to have a say.  So what is reasonable? What can we do?

First and foremost, we start by listening. Reading. Learning facts. For every candidate…not just the one or several you like. All of them. That is how you really know.

Read and listen without a chip on your shoulder. Be careful. You won’t like what you read but stay open enough to analyze carefully.

Remember to throw out anything about ANY issue or candidate if it is an editorial. Read only news. How can you know the difference?

News is neutral. It presents who, what, where, why and how. Nothing more. Nothing about how you should feel. No shoulds, woulds, coulds. Just the facts.journalism

Editorials are full of emotional leading. They are a pretty bad example of persuasive arguments. There is a place for that but not when you are trying to gather facts. Editorials will pull you to a position. They will appeal to your sense of outrage and maybe also greed.  But most of all, outrage. If you read something and it makes you angry, it was most likely an editorial.

Second, get into discussion with people who don’t feel the same way you do. Ask an open ended question. Then LISTEN to their explanation. Do not interrupt.  Do not get emotional. Ask more questions. Discuss. Do not get emotional. Yes, I repeated myself. It bears repeating. Do not get emotional. Stay calm in the interest to learn something.

Then you get a chance to talk. This is when you use persuasive arguments to present your viewpoint. No emotions. After all, back in that middle school example, mom and dad are not going to let you go to the dance with that guy/girl if you act like a baby, right? Show your maturity. Now is the time, to show your maturity as an adult who wants to communicate.  To understand, to help others understand.persuasive-writing-grammar-poster-structure-tools

Step by step, build your case for your candidate or position. Using sales techniques, get small agreements along the way. They still may not follow you to the final agreement, but the next time you talk you will understand each other better and it will make more sense.

If you don’t do this…read and listen, then engage in communication with people who feel other than you without emotion, then you are impotent……terribly communicationally impotent. What a shame. When it is something that can be cured and life would be so much more enjoyable.quote-intolerance-is-evidence-of-impotence-aleister-crowley-44879


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The Appearance of “NICE”

crown moldingBack in the 1980s in the heyday of the booming real estate market, I was a residential appraiser.  As market values started to creep higher and higher I was entering homes that had what appeared to be high end finishes that appealed to people and were selling well. One day, entering a property still under construction for the mortgage appraisal, I saw a finish carpenter placing the crown molding in the living room. He was spacing the nails about 4 inches apart. I commented on that, expecting to hear that in a million dollar house extra attention was used. No, instead the worker told me the piece of wood was so warped it needed the extra nails.  But, he assured me, once it was painted, no one would ever know.

And so it goes. We look for the flash, not the substance.

Move forward to today where in a small city in Oregon a house has a contract for sale. Currently occupied by a friend who is moving out this weekend, she knows all too well the aches and pains of the structure, as anyone living in a house knows things that a visitor may not notice. But a home inspector should. The buyer for this house was pro-active and actually paid for a home inspection before he made his offer. The inspection did not indicate the inadequate electrical system, the poor insulation, the settling problems. Upon accepting the offer, the seller is replacing some items, like the back door that would no longer close because of the house settling.  But the new door is already off-center, two weeks after installation.

Surface fix, not a real one.

How much is a real repair? How much is cosmetics?

How much is a real repair? How much is cosmetics?

While both examples are from home construction and maintenance, the problem is pervasive everywhere in society. We tend not to “get involved” in politics but know all the latest gossip about Kim Kardashian’s butt.  We know and muse that Charles Manson is now engaged to be married but are horrified about the many mature adults who are contributing members of society who want to marry but somehow are more offensive to many because they are homosexuals.

jesus hateThink people. What are YOU doing to turn this place around?  When you read something that jerks your string, do you bother to verify it, or are you only too happy to shout it to the world?  Do you post sad photos of dogs out in cold weather but condemn the homeless people who may be in your town for putting themselves in that position?  You criticize other people who profess their religion for not being true believers but the words that roll off your souls are angry and nonloving.

Even that does not appear to be “nice.”  You are what you do.Cultural-iceberg


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What You Said

This election season was the first where I actually volunteered to support a candidate I liked. Ken Moore approached Graham and me while we were enjoying some locally prepared food for lunch at our Farmers’ Market a few months ago. Told us his name and suggested we vote for him. I challenged him to tell me something about his concepts and conversation started that encouraged me we might be able to have a person in the state legislature who had ideas similar to mine.

At that point I was doing the farm work and told them no, I was not walking around, knocking on doors. I wanted a sit-down job, so was assigned to the phone bank. With the sales training I received in past jobs, I can do that without getting perturbed…or so I thought.vote dont complain

The things people said are an indication of how they think….or don’t think in many cases.  We NEVER asked for money. What we asked for was the person’s opinion what the most pressing problem was facing Oregon. What would they want Ken to know so he could be their representative fully.  Simple enough, right? Here are some answers:

“I don’t know. I never thought about that.” What? You don’t have a gut reaction to ANYTHING?

Why are you bothering me!?” CLICK   Hmmm, I was hoping you were an adult who recognized your role in this mess we’re in. You don’t get active, you are part of the problem.

“I don’t get involved in politics.” Excuse me? This is your responsibility as a citizen, to learn and be involved in the running of your city/county/state/nation.  Your abdication of that responsibility means other people make decisions. You may think by ignoring it all you won’t be affected, but guess again.

“All the dead babies”  Yes, abortion is a serious issue, but the MOST important one facing the state? I understand we all have our passions, but there is more to life than any one issue.

“I’m tired of all the political ads on TV.” Well, that’s not exactly an issue a state legislature can address but YOU can turn off your TV.

“All politicians are the same. They promise stuff before election day and then do their own thing.”  It seemed that way to me too before I started making an effort to read and learn. It does take more effort than listening to ads on TV. It means going to meet and greets and actually asking questions and getting answers.  Sitting at home and depending on material in the mail box or ads is not really full information. And then, when they get voted in, sending them emails or letters or phone calls to let them know your position.

“What party is he? I only vote the xxx Party line.”  That is the easy way. It means you can feel you are doing your civic duty but is your brain attached? Do you know anything about each person on that ticket? Do you honestly think each person running has the same exact concepts as you do?

So, as we now know, only about 30% of the registered voters actually bothered to vote. And yet, the bitching and moaning will increase I bet. I will be tempted to ask each complainant if they voted and if so, how they made their decision. And how they are talking to their representative now.

If you can be part of the solution, we can begin to talk to each other and heal this nation. If you hold your beliefs firmly and refuse to discuss and learn anything about any other viewpoints, we will continue to make these same stupid decisions.

What do you say?vote you decidedYou decided. Is this your legacy to our kids and grandkids? A nation that can’t even talk to each other?


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New Americans

About 25 years ago my family was one of two which helped a new immigrant family get settled into their new life in Connecticut. Jane and Igor, along with their daughter and his parents, were Russian Jews who seized the golden ticket to the United States when Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union,  decided to try to encourage its Jewish population to emigrate.  Israel and the US were the major players in receiving these people, who often had had no exposure to the religion.ImmigrationReform

Jewish communities around the country worked to help these newcomers get settled. Apartments were located, furniture and furnishings were donated. We were asked to contribute about $100 and were given a list of toiletries to purchase and place in the apartment. The other family bought some food staples.

Over the next year we worked together to tag team so we would remain in steady contact without overwhelming them. Over the months they started to show us places they had discovered in our own town. That was when we realized the system worked.  “Adopting” an immigrant family was a way to help them get settled without a huge burden on any one of us or society overall.

Igor and Jane both got jobs as computer programmers within 6 months of their arrival, accepting positions below the level they had last worked in Russia but soon were making progress as their English skills improved. The young girl went to elementary school and within a few years had no trace of a Russian accent. The older parents were retired, slow to learn English, but made efforts to participate in activities at the Jewish Community Center and received a small monthly stipend that was part of the government’s immigration program for this group.

I remember an early discussion with Jane. I realized no one had discussed birth control and we knew that in Russia, abortion was used pretty regularly as a way to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Jane’s English was pretty good but she did not have the vocabulary that you can imagine would be used in this kind of discussion. It went somewhat like  this:

Me: Jane, I was thinking that you and Igor might want an American baby.

Jane: (turning red) Oh yes, but not right now.

Me: You know how not to have a baby right now? (handing her a Planned Parenthood pamphlet)

Jane: I will read this with Igor!

A couple years later, when I moved from Connecticut to Tennessee, the family had purchased a home and Jane was expecting their American baby.  In time they received their American citizenship and were active members of their community.

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Today we are amazed and horrified at the number of children who are coming over our southern borders. The United States has always been a magnet for people all over the world who want a better place. While many people here are stuck in economic stress, the tolerance for these illegals is low.

The contrast between the organization that helped the Russian immigrants get settled and the current system is dramatic. Surely we can develop a better system.immigration-economy-new-465