Friday, September 26, 2008

CNN/politics, debate, and musing

Bear with me – I am muddling over a thought …

What a world we now enjoy. I am watching the debates live at, sharing my responses via the live feedback application, IMing with Leon (who is texting from Camp Wartburg where he is at a junior high confirmation retreat), updating my Twitter, and now posting to my blog. And I can't help but wonder, with all this communication, all this message sending, is there listening amidst the noise?

No more is communication linear, certainly. And really, it never has been. But there’s something going on in terms of the weight of the messages that can be sent in proportion to the messages that can be received, encoded, and responded to.

If, as James Carey suggests, “Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed,” what a reality we are simultaneously inventing and transforming every moment?

Complex. Mutli-layered. Communication free of the constraints of geography was invented with the telegraph. And communication free of the constraints of time, free of forced focus, and free of interruption is now the reality of online, digital, webby sending and receiving.

But I do wonder – how are we transforming the receiving? I can send messages simultaneously via multiple media. But I can still only receive with one mind. I wonder how much is lost as so much content is sent – but only so much can be truly received, considered, and answered.

Oops. I am tuning out the debate. Better go. Can’t listen with just one ear ;-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Midwest

Autumn has officially arrived.

And although the temperature is still a steamy 85 degrees, some of the leaves have started to fall, and an auburn hue is blushing the edges of smaller trees. We love the fall in Missouri. The Midwest is unpretentious in its natural beauty, and that suits us.

Currently, I am reading (and I would go so far as to say savoring) the new novel by Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife, and I encountered a passage that spoke to these reflections – and beautifully, the narrator is talking about Wisconsin, and in fact – an area near Milwaukee, where Leon and I started our life together, and this lends even more meaning to the words:

“Admittedly, the area possesses a dowdiness I personally have always found comforting, but to think of Wisconsin specifically or the Midwest as a whole as anything other than beautiful is to ignore the extraordinary power of the land. The lushness of the grass and trees in August, the roll of the hills, that rich smell of soil, the evening sunlight over a wheat field, or the crickets chirping at dusk on a residential street: All of it, it has always made me feel at peace. There is room to breathe, there is a realness of place. The seasons are extreme, but they pass and return, pass and return, and the world seems far steadier than it does from the vantage point of a coastal city. … the Midwest: It is quietly lovely, not preening with the need to have its attributes remarked on. It is the place I am calmest and most myself.”

To dear readers on the coasts, this passage and the emotion connected to it probably seems perfectly provincial. But sitting in my backroom office, with the window open and the late summer sounds surrounding me – it feels just right.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Stroll.

Tonight, walking along the quaint quiet of historic Main Street in my hometown, with Sydney cooing, gurgling, and laughing and the late summer nighttime sounds serenading us – I was so incredibly, totally, and unabashedly happy that I could feel that amazing buoyancy that comes from deep within. It’s the kind of emotion that absolutely cannot be planned, recreated, or fully expressed; and always seems to overtake me when I am least expecting it – which makes me treasure the momentary surge all the more.

Said simply, it is a feeling of complete.

Picasso’s coffee in hand. The smells of delicious concoctions from the sweet shop tempting us; we strolled along unhurried and unburdened. Being greeted by name as we wandered past our long-time salon created that comfortable, casual sense of being among your own. Joining Papa and Grandma for a glass of wine at their familiar, favorite family-owned Italian restaurant was effortless and meaningful all at the same time. And hearing Gershwin’s Concerto in F on the radio coming through an open apartment window; well, that just added a certain sense of class to the entire stroll along the street.

All of it combined to blend a perfect chord.

And I just can’t express how solid, eloquent, and necessary it all felt to this rookie, uncertain Mom, new employee, slightly overtired spouse, and almost-middle-aged woman.

We all need moments of melodic margin in our lives, and tonight was that necessary, normal, unsolicited space I needed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


There's just something about generations ... I've been waiting to share this beautiful little clip for some time - we shot this footage while in Colorado this past July to visit Leon's family.

I finally have a wonderful new home computer, where I can play with all of my videos!

Here, Leon's grandmother, "Nanny" Jameson, meets her great-granddaughter for the first time. We think it's just a beautiful moment. Nanny is in her "mature" 80s. We love her tons and enjoy her so much!