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August 12, 2010

winds of change

It's hot here in Minnesota, and humid beyond belief. It's probably not as humid as I hear it can get in the Carolinas, but my poor little window a/c units are taxed to the max,and it's still hot in my house. Heat and humidity gives way to thunderstorms at night--and a couple during the day too--and the kiddos don't sleep so well with all the excitement in the sky. But, I love this time of year! Summer giving way to fall is filled with renewal and opportunity for me, and I can't help but savor every day.

If you've been following my blog of late, most of my posts are about raising kids and finishing my PhD, and there might be a craft project or two thrown in. But, if you go back further in my archives, there's a few other topics that surface now and then, and I have written in the past about the Fighting Sioux logo/mascot issue that has been a major challenge for the University of North Dakota, my alma mater. With school starting in Grand Forks in a few weeks, I'm not surprised that my entries have resurfaced, and a few folks have asked for an update. Earlier this year, it was determined that the university will need to have a new mascot. The Englestad hockey arena, which has many built-in elements with the old logo, will likely remain the same.

The issue of this mascot has been a passionate one for people on both sides. Some have wanted to keep the mascot/logo for reasons of tradition and pride. Others, myself included, have wanted to change the mascot/logo for reasons of pride and respect for those native Americans who want the mascot/logo changed. Having not played sports at UND, I don't feel a strong connection to the mascot/logo, but I certainly understand how someone could feel that way, and I know that there are plenty of angry and disappointed alumni, students, and other supporters who will have a hard time making this change.

Other schools have made the change. UND has many exemplars out there to learn from, and I believe that the process of developing a new mascot/logo can be a healing process. I'm looking forward to following the process, and will post another update when there is something new to report.

. . .

This summer has been a lazy one for J, and it's taken me back to my own childhood, with unstructured hours of watching cartoons, reading books, and playing outside. Late this spring, I joined a health club with the primary purpose of taking J swimming, and we have done a lot of swimming, and now his only structured activity is swimming lessons. All of this has had the fore-hoped benefit of getting him relaxed and in a good place to start school this fall. He has even mentioned spontaneously things that he thinks will be true of his new school, like they will have good lunches. Not sure if that is true, but we'll find out soon enough. There's less than a month left before our new routine begins.

I have begun working out on a regular basis, and even after only a few weeks of this new routine, I am feeling addicted. I think my PE teachers in high school must not have been very good because I don't remember working up a sweat and feeling that great endorphin release that comes from a good workout. I've been going to the gym so much that C has decided to join me, and now it's truly a favorite part of our day together. We bring the kids to the gym's childcare center and spend an hour together. Well, half hour really because one half is spent on the bike (me) and the treadmill (C). But then we do strength training together, and that is fun!!

I've also been working on responding to C's anger and frustration with love and compassion. This takes practice. As you've read from other postings here, C has been suffering from an arthritic condition, and it has certainly taken its toll on him in many ways. The pain has made him angry, and most of the time his anger is not too far below the surgace, ready to pop up whenever it can. I have grown tired of resonding to anger with anger, and so I have decided to practice something different. I got a lot of guidance from Thich Naht Hanh's book, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. I'm still practicing--it's not easy.

And it's been a reminder that relationships, especially those with a spouse or a partner, take ongoing work. It's so easy to get into a habit of taking the other person for granted, and expecting that we don't have to exercise care and compassion with that person because they live with us, and they know us and love us anyway. But, in fact, I think knowing C and loving him is exactly why I want to not take him for granted and show him a little more love and compassion.

The winds of change are blowing my direction, and I am choosing to embrace this breeze.

Posted by chri1010 at 12:26 AM | Comments (1570)