Dana's Dailies

Dailies for 11.18.2008

Doggy Baggage

Dana @ 3:25 PM | Filed under: General

Jake (our dog) weighs five pounds – five and a half pounds on a good day. In spite of this deficit however, he is fearless when it comes to big dogs. Bull Dogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Boxers – Jake will engage in an aggressive encounter, unprovoked.

On the other hand, what Jake is afraid of is walking on floors without rugs, turning corners (as in passing from one room to the next), going down stairs (he will go up a flight of stairs with no problem), and his dog food (which might begin to explain his weight problem).

Jake is what we refer to at home as –

low fat and high maintenance.

(P.S. If Jake were a person, he’d be Barney Fife)

Dailies for 11.17.2008

Fair Thee Well

Dana @ 7:56 PM | Filed under: General

I walked into the small, unassuming café the other day to get a cup coffee. The café, situated just a couple of blocks north of Wall Street, is sadly caught up in the recent financial meltdown that has been sweeping across the globe.

I remember the woman who owns the café as being someone who was routinely pleasant, and so when she cheerfully asked me how I was doing, I responded without thinking that I was good and that everything was “fine”. She dried her hands as she walked toward me and then she leaned over the counter, seemingly in an effort to finally come clean:

“Why do we even ask that question anyway – ‘How are you’? I mean, does anybody really even care”?

Realizing that I would now need to shift from automatic pilot to being fully conscious, I took a moment to gather my thoughts before I had to agree with her whole-heartedly that people are rarely, if ever, really looking for an honest answer when asking someone in passing, “How are you”. Rather, that question is more of an obligation that we think we need to fulfill so that we can “get on with it” without feeling like we’re being rude.

Satisfied that we had made a rare and real connection, I was happy to add the closing observation that it would be far more genuine and sincere if we all just went around wishing one another a better today:

“May your day today be better than your day was yesterday”.

Perhaps we should launch a campaign.

Later on that evening I watched as a commentator on one of the news channels chastised a couple of program hosts for suggesting that the government should not bail out the ailing auto industry, her sole rationale being that a huge percentage of their network’s advertising revenue comes directly from the auto industry. A few minutes later I listened as a political pundit spoke in defense of driving her SUV. While she made fun of the Italians for driving small automobiles and riding Vespas, her sole rationale for driving a gas guzzler was that she enjoyed being someone who was driving one of the biggest cars on the road – or words to that effect.

I am operating these days inside of a heightened state of social consciousness, accelerated most likely by the current “economic crisis”. I suspect that I am not alone. I keep noticing that people seem to be making decisions based only on what is “good for me right now”, while missing the opportunity to take the long view and consider making a choice that would serve their community, the nation or perhaps even someone living on the other side of the world.

In the middle of processing my considerations while continuing to watch the news, I reflected on my earlier exchange with the woman in the café and I concluded that caring, really caring about how someone else is doing, might go a long way in shaping the kinds of individual choices that we make everyday.

We are facing the kinds of challenges as a nation and around the world that will likely call on each one of us to give a little bit more than we might expect to get, and to sacrifice for the greater good, in exchange for the opportunity to begin again.

“I am good” and “Everything is fine” is how we’ve been conditioned to respond when someone asks us “How ya’ doin”, but soon, and for a lot of people, those default, polite responses might start to feel a little forced. Maybe if we were all more deliberate in wanting to know just how someone else is really doing, maybe if we challenged ourselves to care even just a little bit about whether someone else is really “fine”, we might make the kind of choices that will allow for -

Our tomorrow to be better than today.

Dailies for 11.16.2008

Timeless

Dana @ 4:31 PM | Filed under: General

From American Dreams Lost and Found by Studs Terkel, Copywright 1980:

Tom McCall, the former Governor of Oregon, who failed in his comeback attempt, was a bit pessimistic when he talked with Studs Terkel. “I am just…wondering”, he said, “where is the glow of yesteryear? I’m wondering where the heroes went. Gosh, I don’t know how long ago they left. Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better. Interweave all these communities , and you really have an America that is back on its feet, a comfortable nation to live in again. I really think we’re gonna have to reassess what constitutes a hero.”

Tom McCall was governor of Oregon from January 9, 1967 – January 13, 1975. He died on January 8th, 1983 at the age of 69.

Dailies for 11.09.2008

“Someday” Came Today

Dana @ 1:43 PM | Filed under: General

“And now we have an Irish Catholic as president of the United States. The same kind of progress can be made by U.S. Negroes. There is no question about it that in the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has….We have tried to make progress and we are making progress… We are not going to accept the status quo.” – Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Washington Post, May 27, 1961

Kennedy went on to say that “prejudice exists and probably will continue to exist but, when we look backward to celebrate the important contributions of Robert F. Kennedy, many are filled with a sense of nostalgia and courage. As we glimpse the future and recognized Barack Obama as the President Elect of the United States of America many are filled with a sense of optimism and of pride.

We marvel as the past poetically collides with the future, providing our nations with such a stunning moment in time. I still have not been able to emotionally drink it all in. History and history making events are sharing center stage today in a way that allows for us to entertain the possibility of deferring to our better selves.

When we called my mother-in-law last Tuesday night, we expected that she would be privately celebrating. She was. It was a night that she never thought she would live long enough to see.

I listened, and beyond my usual polite and obligatory tendency, as Auguste’s mom shared with me that she remembered so vividly how, when Auguste was a very little boy, she would have to explain to him that in Florida little Black kids were not allowed to sit at the counter to eat their lunch. She reflected with sadness about how she used to have to tell her two year old “no” when he asked her if he could ride on the department store merry-go-round like other kids. He hadn’t noticed that the only kids riding the merry-go-round were White.

But on November 4th, 2008, at 11:00 o’clock at night my mother-in-law found the resolve to finally set those lingering memories aside for the opportunity to celebrate a new and better day! She told us from the bed where she has been quietly reconciling the end of her life, that she has decided that she is “not going anywhere yet because I intend to see Barack Obama inaugurated as President of the United States of America”!

She never thought that she would ever see this day.

Robert Kennedy said that it would happen in forty years and while it may have taken forty eight, the lives of many have been forever changed.

Head back to the top.