Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still here! On a learning curve

I haven't intentionally abandoned my blog; I signed up as a Tupperware consultant in late December and, whaddaya know, suddenly I'm busier than ever!

I'm working hard to master various aspects of the Tupperware direct sales business... I'm figuring out how to make it work well in my life... I'm working hard to improve my time management skills... I THINK I'm getting more done around the house than I had been. Also, I've noticed that my seasonal depression thing is GONE. Very interesting.

I believe the parties, the customer contacts, the Tupperware sales challenges and monthly schedule, and to a certain extent my director's training calendar, are keeping me on track and focused. My Tupperware horizon for what I'm working on is very short -- this week, next week, maybe the week after -- and I find it very interesting that it seems to match my, er, 'project personality.'

So, that's what's up with me. I've had all sorts of thoughts to blog about, so I plan to start making little tiny blog posts, little notes on things, and not fuss over long thoughtful posts. We'll see how it goes; I love to write things out!

Eastern bluebird of happiness

This morning, on my way home from errands, I saw an Eastern bluebird on the pasture fence along the road about a third of a mile from my house. That distinctive bird of bright blue with red made my heart happy!

My ancient, unused, beginner birder's knowledge was gained in Pennsylvania, so I have no idea whether here in Oklahoma I might see a Mountain Bluebird. From what I can remember of that wonderful bright blue and where the red breast color was, though, I'm pretty sure that it was an Eastern bluebird. Love it!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A problem from hell

Ever since I read The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo by Clea Koff (was it last summer? last year? I forget), I've wanted to learn more about the "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, Rwanda, and other places.

In November, at the first meeting of a nonfiction book club that I'm in, we discussed Guns, Germs, and Steel and talked briefly about genocide. At that time I suggested The Bone Woman for a future book. Last week I hosted the meeting at which we discussed it, so over the last month or so I've been reading various books about Bosnia, Kosovo, the Balkans, Rwanda, and genocide in general. Almost all are from the local public library system.

The first one I started was The Balkans: A Short History -- and I'm still reading it. I got to about 1820 by the time of the book club meeting!

Alongside that, I started the one book that I actually bought (thank you,!): A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, by Samantha Power. WOW! After her hard-hitting intro, we are examining the Turks's actions against the Armenians in 1915-1916. This book will take me a while to get through, but I appreciate that the journey will also include the Holocaust, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, and Iraqi attacks on Kurdish populations, as well as Rwanda and Bosnian "ethnic cleansing." Gonna be a good, tough, frustrating read, I think.

Then I read Beyond the Mountains of the Damned: The War Inside Kosovo. A journalist's view of the story of the town of Pec/Peja and some of its inhabitants. Very focused on 1999. At nearly the end of the book, UN forensic anthropologists are in the town, examining those buried who had died during the Serb "cleansing" of the town in that spring of 1999. I sure did wonder whether Clea Koff was one of them!

After the book club met, I read some more of The Balkans and started Madness Visible: A Memoir of War. This book concerns the entire 1990s Balkan war, with a focus on that spring of 1999 in Kosovo, and somewhat on Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. I'm writing this while still barely knowing anything beyond these words I based on the Amazon reviews, sigh. I suspect by the end of this book I'll have a better grasp of what, where, when, and certainly how, and I hope I'll begin to get hints of why, as well.

I quickly got sidetracked when the library told me We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families: Stories from Rwanda was waiting for me. I picked that up and started reading it, too. I was feeling a bit Balkan-centric when that wasn't necessarily my intention. Probably at some point I'll start educating myself about the Sudan and Darfur.

I'm not sure why this topic has caught my interest to such an extent, and that's okay. I think I feel the need to fill in gaps in my education as well as to see if any of these writers has any explanations that I find compelling for (a) genocidal actions and (b) lack of response on the part of the world community. My best bet is Samantha Powers in her A Problem from Hell, I expect, but I really want glimpses of the individual areas' stories, as well.

Lilypie birthday ticker for Son2!

Lilypie Baby Ticker

I love the Lilypie tickers. So fun.