Thundersnow

02This is what I get for doubting the forecasts.

There is so much anticipation of big storms in Kansas City. Local meteorologists generate the energy of elementary students in their excitement for the possibility of snow. The warning of, “it’s coming, it’s going to be a lot, every county in Kansas has issued a state of emergency” all before a flake had even hit the ground seemed humorous to me. On more than one occasion there has been various other doomsday-like-conditions forecasted resulting in no precipitation at all. Needless to say, late last night after all the hype and not a flurry in sight I imagined this might just be another big weather disappointment.

01Peering out the window this morning I was alarmed to see how wrong I had been to doubt. Soft fluffy white covered the ground across the yard making it indistinguishable from the street and the yard across the street. Snow continued to come down hard with extra falling from the trees and rooftops when the wind blew. And to make this mini blizzard extra unique, the snow was accompanied by a little thunder and lightning.
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Unsure of the snowfall totals from this morning, it has stopped currently and it is forecasted to begin again around 6PM – we shall see…..

My Technology Funk

Technologically speaking, I have found my place in thickening cement while others around me seem to be fluttering about like hummingbirds.  How is it that I have accrued a heaping junk yard of wires, cables and damaged electronics?  While my single friends voice complaints about being a magnet for eligible losers, I somehow have gotten the honor of attracting worthless technology.  Computers, cell phones, internet service, cable, DVD player – they all hate me.  And the irony of the moment they decide to quit never seems so funny at the time. 

I believe my technology funk started several years ago.  My husband, Regg, and I purchased a laptop to replace our old computers in preparation for graduate school.  I was so proud of the crisp clean white at the beginning, she even received the name White Lightening for how quick she was.  This computer was frequently shared with friends when they visited our home, each got a chuckle out of the password used to gain access to the computer.  The password was OBRO – meaning Operation Block Regg Out, a lesson my husband learned the hard way about keeping an individual password on his account for a shared computer where I acted as the administrator.  My husband and I both used the computer throughout each of our grad school programs, we stored music, played games, Facebooked, edited movies and photos.  This seemed to be very average usage for 2 years until the screen went blank.  We took this laptop to a computer geek shop and with our explanation and one glance at the computer the geek behind the counter promptly handed us instructions to a class action lawsuit.  “We’ve seen quite a few of these, there is nothing you can do to fix it,” he said.

It’s my understanding this well-known and well liked computer company created these well purchased laptops and quickly found out each one would well…  eventually fail.  I guess since kids will not eat it and get sick or stick their heads between them and choke computer companies are not held to the same recall standards?  Instead, those who unknowingly invested hard-earned income on a computer with a short expiration date are just out of luck.  Since the death of White Lightening we have tried to patch our computer needs cheaply with refurbished computers.  And while I’m sure some technologically savvy individuals could get them to adequate working condition – I only seem to be able to get computers to move slowly and to freeze.

My technology funk doesn’t stop with computers though.  I have a home that acts as a bomb shelter for cell phone reception, a “smart” cell phone that screens my calls by deciding when I will get to answer and exactly how quickly the call will be dropped, cable where the picture is more often than not jumping or freezing, an extra Playstation since the first was turned over accidentally by an excited terrier, and internet disconnected by squirrels to name a few. 

Technology can be so inspiring and yet so infuriating at the same time.  It seems that everything is connected to electronics and when flowing smoothly you can be quick, creative and have a world of information at your fingertips.  And then there are some days, and in my case a long period of time, where you are aware of the possibilities and nothing seems to be computing right.   

JoJo LOVES Theater.

JoJo, Sheila and me

My friend JoJo just celebrated her 30th birthday. She is outgoing, and I remember this vividly because it was the first impression that I had of her my freshman year of college. We met as floor mates in the dorms at K-State the moving in weekend. JoJo introduced herself to me, and most everyone on the floor, and invited us to a house party. Looking back it’s hard to differentiate whether that was JoJo being outgoing and friendly or if part of it was pressure from her brother and his friends to bring some college freshman girls to their house party. Whichever the truth was, we have been friends ever since.

Several years after leaving the dorms we became roommates and shared a house with another friend Sheila. While I know that I invested more time in my education in college than I ever came close to in high school, I also realized that JoJo dedicated way more time to her degree than I did mine. She was so passionate about the theater program, theater activities, people from the theater program and theater classes that sometimes it even consumed Sheila and I’s time participating with her. It felt like I was living and breathing lighting design for those years living with JoJo. She went on to get her master’s in the field and teaches it at a major university currently.

Just tonight I talked with JoJo and she brought up a moment when she felt challenged by her investment in this passion. Her sophomore year of college she had her first opportunity to be the lighting designer for a KSU production. The same day that she needed to be in the theater setting up the lights and writing cues happened to be the same day that Mason died in a car accident. Mason was a friend of hers and if I remember correctly, he lived in the house where we went the first weekend as freshman to party.

The timing of these two events happening on the same day for JoJo strike me as significant. There is never an okay time for a tragic loss like Mason’s. However, in that moment she was shown that some sacrifices may have to be made in pursuit of her passion. “The show must go on,” so JoJo finished her job with the lighting while friends of Mason gathered to share stories and mourn the loss together. Today it still sounds like JoJo regrets missing that time with friends while in the theater. Despite the learning that she had to have processed that day about what she may have to give up for involvement in theater she continued to pursue the job she loves.

I wonder what it would be like if everyone had a job they could be passionate about? She inspires me to think about what am I dedicating myself to and is it worth the effort if it is something I don’t really love?

Okay so theater did involve a lot of long hours, late nights and some monotonous tasks. It did also have its perks – a long list of larger than life cast members who love to cut loose and have a great time too. We had a fantastic college experience together full of important traditions, funny memories and support for each other when it was needed. I put a photo album together for JoJo to recognize her birthday and our friendship.

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