Linguistic slumber

I’ve never felt disappointed that English is my first language, but after I listened to this NPR story on the way home in the car, I did.

The article featured a European song festival where all the artists sing in minority language. The first clip, sung by a woman in Irish (yes, the language, apparently a derivative of Gaelic), enchanted me.

Most days, I feel lucky I speak English — it makes life easier for me than it is for people who have to learn English as their second (or third or fourth) language and juggle between it and their native language in the workplace. Some days, I feel somewhat ignorant that other people can manage learning several languages while I only dabbled in Spanish and French.

Today, I felt sad, like I’m missing something. I am a “communications specialist”, but I recognized the difference between me and my friend who is studying linguistics: I use language, she appreciates it. Words are functional to me, but they are beautiful to her. To truly create with words I need to learn an appreciation for them. Maybe I’m being awakened from my own, culturally-induced “linguistic slumber.”

Listen to the story, it will only take a few minutes. How does it make you feel? (If you could share your thoughts here in a non-English language, I would be tickled!)



Not about cats

Thanks to your feedback, I’ve decided to give this a go again.

Truth be told, I oversold my ability to blog about cats. I told my only cat story — the one about Charles — in that photo caption. I can, however, tell plenty of stories about remaining creative in an office job/inserting myself into an environment that is, by nature, focused on a defined, group identity.

For most of my life, I’ve used words to be creative. As a child, I wrote stories, plays, poems. As I grew older — especially in my high school and college years — I wrote to understand myself, others and the world as I observed it. Now, I get paid to write. I am expected to be creative, but only if that results in “value” (which means only if it eventually turns into money). In the past year, I’ve developed new writing habits and come to feel differently about writing, which is part of the reason I stopped blogging.

Fortunately, writing isn’t my only means of creativity, just the most natural. Since I rarely create with my pen (or keyboard) anymore, I’ve turned to other activities — cooking, sewing, even fashion (that one’s really hard for me). I’m trying to become a more creative person, which I hope will eventually bring me full circle to a place where creating with words is my livelihood.

For now, what about you? How do you express your creativity?

Photography also is difficult for me. These photos are from the annual balloon glow held in Cedar Rapids each July.

While watching hot air balloon blow up isn't all that exciting, the event attracts people from all across the city to sit on the grass and enjoy a summer evening.

Hello again!

It’s been a while!

After weeding through my posts throughout the past two years, I’ve kept up some of my favorites and am considering posting again with a bit more regularity… what do you think? What do you want to hear about?

Iowa? Optimism? How to remain creative in an office job? Any and all manner of arbitrarily-labeled  “good things”?

Let me know, because if you’re interested, I’ll write. And as always, thanks for reading!

I also could tell you all about the cats in my neighborhood. I named this one Charles, only to learn her name is Minnie and she belongs to my neighbors.


Happy New Year!

Thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my parents, 2011 will be filled with many more photos – starting with windows.

Although a two-day warm spell left Cedar Rapids muddy and wet for New Year’s, we enjoyed a white and powdery Christmas. I took this photo out the front window of my parents’ house, where we’ve lived since 2000.

This afternoon, I am enjoying a few hours of quiet and sunshine in my brand new apartment, establishing myself as a good neighbor by hammering nails to hang pictures and “borrowing” a WiFi signal. One of my favorite aspects of the space is the huge windows. For the first time in my life, I don’t have a bedroom in my parents’ house, but sunshine and good view of the neighborhood help this apartment feel like home.

I’ve intentionally neglected my blog these past few months, which means I missed sharing this article about the man who received Rockwell Collins Volunteer of the Year award.

Early in the summer, I contacted Matt Barton in the U.K. to learn about his work with severely disabled scouts. My conversation with this incredibly humble man brought me new perspective toward people with disabilities and the value of life’s “thrilling” experiences.

I consider myself privileged to tell this story — and I hope you enjoy it:

Extraordinary adventures

I sat on my deck to shuck a dozen ears of sweet corn I bought from a local farmer this morning at a gas station, and I felt like I was 8 years old again — sent to the backyard on a summer afternoon with my brothers, charged with the task of cleaning the corn for dinner. In all my years as a corn-loving Iowan, though, I have never seen this:

Baby Corn nustles up next to Mama Corn -- how sweet!

Here’s what happens when you have a film camera and don’t know how to use it: You end up with accidental photos of the carpet, and people’s feet.

I like this photo, because I can identify the owners of those feet — and remember the fun we had dancing together at Prom 2010. Also, it reminds me of a Regina Spektor song about addictions to hands and feet, another called “Eet” and a third that contains a favorite lyric:

“People are just people, they shouldn’t make you nervous.”

So there you have it — an accidental photo of feet and an incoherent blog post to match. Go find a meat market down the street.