h1

THE MIDDLE EAST…One More Time

August 11, 2014

I tried hard this morning to listen with an open mind to the Meet the Press discussion…but as usual, my stomach is churning as I move closer and closer to a very different assessment of the situation than that being projected by the Press.

It seems so simple to me but I’ve yet to hear another single person or faction agree with me. I think that is a good signal I must be wrong, and yet these nagging “truths” of mine will not regress- so I am capitulating to my own theory rather than buying in to the know-it-all Press Corps.

I think we all agree; the status of US domestic and foreign affairs are a mess-and it is a mess because of politics – not misinformation nor bad strategies- nor more important, any thought to what is best for the country.

Historically, this is not the first time politics have emerged this divisive and this poisonous, but some things have indeed changed.

The first is the PRESS itself.

The Press of our youth has disappeared. “Just the facts” has morphed into “The Press knows best”-opinion based reporting-wrapped up in the glitter and glamour of the fortune –tellers of old. We no longer get news; we get opinion, emotion, and judgment as our national news figures try to sway opinion their way to capture good ratings.

In addition, most of our news comes from Boomer-generation reporters and newscasters; and worse-some that are still far too influenced by the self-righteous Traditionalists. From my perspective, we are a bit too engrossed in the “Greatest Generation” mythology. Not to say they were NOT the Greatest Generation; but only to position they were the greatest up to that point.

Combine that with our own “Boomer” attitude, and we have a messy Press. We may have started out as rebels in our youth, but the century evolved and the world of “Senior Citizens” who still think we know “best” is hard to take as we try to stop the world from moving past us. Many still believe we walk on water; although I’m not clear about what is admirable about fighting the longest wars in the history of the United States!

Yes, think about that. Two Bushes, a Clinton and an Obama….and the Mid-eastern wars continue. Is it time yet to take a deep breath and RETHINK?

And with a documented track record like that, why does all the blame go to Obama? Personally, I think it’s the old folks blaming the new generation…just like always. Together the Greatest Generation and the Boomers have continued a policy with roots in post WWI decisions as without much thought, we continued to support the British decisions to partition the Ottoman Empire into separate nations-a partitioning process based on Western priorities – not necessarily driven by natural ethnic/religions/language divisions of the people of the area. Add crude oil to that bubbling cultural pot, and we’ve constantly battled the dangers of those resulting “pots” boiling over.

Near as I can tell, from 1902 to the present, the longest period of time of peace in the Middle East lasted 3-4 years. Surely this signals perhaps the western world got it wrong in establishing the new countries as part of the WWI peace process!

Were wealth distribution, women’s issues, standards of living and war/peace made better or worse by all this? If after about 100 years of trying, we see no improvement, could it be time to re-evaluate?

Of course, the Press, the Traditionalist/Boomer attitudes and the Middle East are only three contributions to our current political mess here at home. Add the “white man superiority” still prevalent throughout the US today; the emerging digital impacts, a whole new emerging philosophy of cooperation and collaboration strongly influencing Gen X and the Millennials, and it’s no wonder we are at a tumultuous intersection in our progression.

We can only hope we find that new path through the conflicts and dangers because 100 years of 20th century thinking did not create the utopia we were looking for.

This all says to me – either Obama is indeed a powerful man to have personally caused all this damage in just six years or perhaps our trials and tribulations are not his fault as he tries to find the way across the abyss to our “promised land.”

And my final thought? Instead of playing the blame game, perhaps we should look at the Middle East and see if reorganization where possible of like peoples and religions might help as a first new step in a new century!

h1

P.S. AND….a little complaint!

August 5, 2014

For the most part, life is good, and I’m trying my best not be so critical, but I just have to vent on one thing about this new “Little City”:

KTTC is a NBC station; that means in this part of Minnesota, Channel 11 does not exist. We lead into the nightly news with Judge Judy – yikes! But that only starts the comedy. We move on to amateur hour reporting on the big news in every surrounding town and village in SE Minnesota…and yes, every DWI and arrest as well – or at least it feels like it as one tries to watch!

But the worst part of the experience is one of the features of the Nightly TV news is some dude from the Post Bulletin (the local evening paper) gives us a preview of all the important news we will find in the Post Bulletin the following evening!

I’ve tried to “go with the flow” but this irritates me no end – although it helps explain why the EVENING paper shows up any time after 10AM in the morning – they apparently put it together the day before we get it. In other words, it is useless!

Thank goodness for 30 minutes of Brian Williams sandwiched between the two local news segments – at least I get a quick peak at what’s really happening in the world!

Not sure what I will eventually do….right now, I subscribe to the Sunday STRIB and get the daily STRIB digitally because I presumed that would keep me in touch with MSP and the PB would get me involved in the community here.

Well, a month later and….NOT SO MUCH! Tonite is the turning point – the big feature was the Mower Country Fair (no, nothing in Rochester – it’s in Austin) where they have an owl on display. Yup, you got it. An owl. So at both the 5PM and at the 6PM news, we got to see/hear the handler having a conversation with his owl.

I think that just pushed me over the edge. By tomorrow I think I will have morphed into a “CCO fan…I can get enough local stuff in the noon Post Bulletin! I’m sorry, but I just do not care about Austin, Eyota, Lewiston, Viola or Mason City!

h1

LIFE IN THE LITTLE CITY…SO FAR

August 4, 2014

Today I have lived in Rochester one month. One would think that I would be unpacked, settled in, and moving forward-and for the most part, I guess I am. However, I am awaiting the GEEK SQUAD to rescue me before I throw both my printer and my phone out the window! Fortunately, they just called to confirm they will be here in about two hours!

The space works…for the most part. Two front doors are still a bit unsettling, but since 306B is the closest to the stairs, elevator and trash chute, it has become my entrance. Since 306A when opened reveals a hallway that ends with a view of the footboard of my bed, it will remain locked! Fortunately, I have two large storage areas near either door so that 306A storage became a pantry to supplement the minimal cupboards in the kitchen. As for the living/dining room – best can be described as “intimate”…and the only solution will be to replace the dining room table at some point – it’s far too big for the space and I certainly do not need a table that seats six WITHOUT the leaf hogging all the floor space! But that’s a doable at some point….so I am good and with books now all in the bookcases where they belong, I feel like it is “home”.

A few little things left to do – but overall, it works and I am so happy to have a REAL office again even if it is a bit on the small size! That old PIC Travel oak conference table that was my desk once upon a time at Carlson is back in service after a three year rest in the off-site storage area while I was at the Churchill. Nice.

Most days I take a walk- the trail system here is just great. Yesterday I ventured out to Oakwood – as I used to love to wander thru there – so peaceful….but instead as I headed across the river at Center Street – immediately, I found myself back in grade school and Jr High…..along a street that is still just beautiful with all the big houses, trees and shade. Before I knew it, I was at 11th Avenue and my GRADE SCHOOL in 5th and 6th Grade…..so of course, I turned north and headed “home” to 3rd street! Classmates and neighborhood gang from the 1950s: I was thinking of many of you as I walked and wondering where you all were today.

Eventually, there I was in front of my Mom’s house –looking at the adjoining lot that is now grass and not a garden – and spied the swing set and slide next to the garage. That is a good thing. The house may be small; but it needs kids. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a few “great- greats “ were always in that house from Day 1 until the day my mom left it. So it felt “ALIVE” again to see the swings.

Had full intentions of heading back to Center Street along 14th – but I was thirsty and no water bottle with me so continued on to the end of Third, the creek, and my brother’s house. Fortunately they were home, so had a nice visit before I set off on my return trip….Virginia thought Gordie should give me a ride; but I said no – I was “exploring” and off I went.

Back up the street a couple blocks, I turned on 15th and soon discovered one of the bike trails right along the railroad tracks. So, off I went exploring along the trail – all the way back into downtown, along the side of Oakwood, behind the ball park where the Honkers were playing a game, and over the river back to Civic Square. A familiar route – but in days passed, we walked ON the tracks – not in the wooded areas alongside it! Much nicer (and safer) now.

I attended the DMC planning meetings in July, but August is an open month, so I expect it will be a while before I increase my involvement in plans for DMC, but I’ve been to the library, the government center, city hall, and a couple Thursdays on First and the Athensfest and am waiting for my updated driver’s license and voter’s registration with a Rochester address, so I guess I am here to stay! A visit to Apache Mall and the “big” Barnes and Noble may be on the agenda soon, however.

As I mentioned to Kathleen Boe this morning, Rochester did a great flood control project along the river back in the 70s with the walking paths, and gathering areas….and then they turned their backs on it or so it seems…except for the concert areas around MCC of course (which of course I can hear on Fridays, and Saturdays and Sundays! ) I think I may have found a niche; they need to tell the river story and bring it back to life! I know how to do that!

A Little City; A Little River; A Little Project to think about. I’m likin’ it so far.

h1

THE COFFEE REVOLUTION

June 23, 2014

I know, I promised no more blogs until I was in Rochester but….

To my surprise, I learned this morning that there is a coffee revolution going on!

Once upon a time, coffee from a can made in a percolator was A-OK….then along came Starbucks and our world changed.

Over the years, home coffee makers got more sophisticated and expensive and coffee shops sprouted on every corner…although we somehow lost the concept that a coffee shop was a gathering spot; a community bulletin board; the heart of a neighborhood…and coffee should not cost more than $1 a cup – including refills from a friendly waitress!

Eventually, we even invented a way to be more detrimental to the environment, and we invented little paper cups that contained enough un-brewed (and well-doctored up) grounds to make a single cup of coffee so that we could vary our coffee taste daily to match our mood, and meet the needs of each guest who had developed very particular tastes. But mostly, we simply allowed for the price of coffee to ESCALATE – now costing more than a glass of beer or wine!

This morning I learned about the NEW Coffee Buzz emerging and it’s all about the bean AND DARK ROAST is on the way out.

Well, I had already given up the espresso maker at home and returned to the percolator. I drink that coffee “straight” – no crème, no milk, no, skim, no sugar. And at the coffee shop, I order a large dark roast – no fancy anything. So I wonder….am I REALLY ready and willing to sip and taste and discuss the hint of chocolate, raspberry or floral in the cup of java I just purchased?

This may be the fork in the road as I am concerned about my adjustment time. How long would it take to readjust and not think “This looks like dirty dishwater and tastes like I imagine dirty dishwater to taste?”

And if I take the “old people’s ” fork in the road, will I be left alone and not have to pretend I taste a rose in my cup? Or will I continue to travel further back in time, and yearn for that big speckled tin coffee pot in the church kitchen when making coffee was easy…fill with water, add a bunch of grounds and an egg or two – percolate, drink, and congratulate the Church ladies in the kitchen on how GOOD the coffee was today?

h1

The LAST TWO WEEKS

June 14, 2014
h1

MY NEW WORLD

May 29, 2014

I’ve had a bit of a sabbatical here as I was immersed in plans to relocate and indeed, I am off in search of my third career,  and also to return to my roots….not only in terms of where (Civic Square in Rochester, MN) but in terms of medical support (my clinic number starts with 1 and some of us born in my era were Dr. Spock’s “subjects” before he wrote “the Book”-that means a long time ago).

As with everything in life, the REASONS are complicated, but it all began in desperation as a result of the disasterous  “fall” off that darn platform in 2002. Since 2012, I’ve been fighting the residual effects that have now all appeared with a vengeance as I age and finally, in desperation, I turned back to Mayo for help….and the rest is history!

They actually helped me!  No, I did not have to travel all over the metro seeing “specialists” that participated in the referral payments plan of MSP nor was I subjected to endless MRIs.  No need to revisit all this; basically, I saw three specialists in a DAY; have had a couple return visits and 30 months later, my personal out-of-pocket costs totaled $65 with much better care and advice than I was getting here.

I tried to switch back to Mayo for primary care, but I am too far way for today’s cutoff-which is out in Lakeville, I think.

And then Mayo announced their expansion plans and the rest is history.

Although I have never earned a living with my old college degree in city planning, the interest did not go away.  When I sold my house and moved out of the dreary suburbs and into the city, I was already committed to involvement in the “Mississippi Mile” and last year, I gave almost 1000 hours of volunteer time to “Creative City Making.”

From East Bank to West Bank to Above the Falls on the Mississippi; to Plan It Hennepin, Nicollet “Mile” redesign, the initial redo of five blocks of Washington Avenue and revisits to the Gateway; plus lots of meetings and plans for the Downtown East redevelopment….it has become my life as I gradually recognized what my physical impairments could mean to the success/failure of Creative Events by Kranz.

And then the DMC was launched.  WOW!  Long before we all heard about it, Mayo had done its homework and yes, the resulting plan is an ambitious one.  Double the size of the Mayo footprint in Rochester means double the support services in downtown RST and yes, I want to be a part of that!

Maybe its a little payback to the Rochester/Mayo Foundation for scholarships that- along with loans from an older brother-made it possible for me to graduate from the U; maybe it is simply the wonderful opportunity to work with the pros on a great placemaking project….it does not matter; I am off! 

Will I be as involved there as I am here?  We will see what happens.  Maybe a small part time job will keep my brain occupied…maybe an usher at MCC…maybe an on call helper for one of the several event companies that have emerged in RST…or maybe I can help expand the ISES MSP presence with some new blood from RST.  Who knows?

All I know, is that it is the right thing for me now…and I am very excited.

As I set out on this journey, I am so grateful to friends and family who’ve helped me think it through; who have questioned and suggested and supported me through all the twists and turns I’ve taken as I contemplated taking this journey.  As I look back on the last six months, I realize how rich I am in friendships!

Each of you were supportive and encouraging as I slowly moved to make this big change.  You know who you are and I thank you for your presence and encouragement every step of the way!

 

 

 

 

 

h1

YES, ANOTHER MOVE!

April 26, 2014

Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent my whole life moving…even owning a house only gave me a 10-year break! And here I am again….sorting for Courage Center; filling dumpsters; rolling my cart full of books to Friends of the Library almost daily; dealing with the usual separation anxiety; cost to move; fear of the unknown; and the emotions of saying goodbye to friends and to a lifestyle I love.

Every day I remind myself: I battled hard and earned myself an additional twelve years “after the fall” but the repercussions of it have returned to haunt me-just as I should have expected.

And today, I am living with the constant pain and finally, the realization that my mind is still willing, but the body is not. Physically, I no longer can do-at least in the same way- what I have spent the last twenty years doing; and Creative Events as an entity must come to an end.

When I returned to work after the fall, my entire retirement account had been depleted –not only by the recessions during the Bush years after 9-11, but the enormous medical bills not covered by my insurance. In fact I still owed another $70,000. It took until this year to be ENTIRELY debt-free.
I wish I could call it a victory but the physical recovery was only temporary and I simply cannot afford the Minneapolis healthcare system- nor the bumbling misdiagnoses I’ve suffered through since Memorial Day weekend in 2002 when I fell.

So it is what it is, but it is not gloom and doom by any means. Last year, in desperation, I re-discovered the Mayo Clinic of my youth and once again was reminded of their excellence at reasonable costs! So far, out-of-pocket expenses for three specialists, eleven diagnostic tests (and NOT ONE unnecessary MRI!) treatments for both the shoulder and hands resulted in out-of-pocket costs of $65. But, I need to live closer to Rochester in order to return to the fold and make them my primary care doctors.

Nevertheless I still have residual pain, and the thyroid issue Allina discovered in January and continues to track is worrisome. I’m due for a six month checkup/test/biopsies in July/August…and with my lease at the Churchill up June 30, it is time to rethink.

Nevertheless, less expensive, more convenient medical care, family, and more reasonable living expenses (by 25-50% right now) probably would not have been enough to catch my attention.

No, the draw is the DMCC, the expansion of Mayo, the resulting expansion of Rochester itself and the advanced creative city-making and community engagement opportunities.

Once upon a time, I studied city-planning at the U; once upon a time I chose to remain in the world of travel, then performance improvement incentives including travel –instead of utilizing my city-planning skills. It was a good life, and when I left the corporate world and Creative Events was born, I slowly but surely have increased my interest and participation with the community around me – a luxury that was not in cards during my corporate life!

From early days of Taste of the NFL, Taste of the Nation, the Mississippi Mile in the 90s and early in this century the rebuilding of the Central Riverfront, I slowly but surely, returned to my professional “roots”.

In the past two years, that “city-planning” gene has blossomed again. I have added MRP, a bit of time with “Above the Falls”, a little planning with Downtown East, and continue to participate in CACS not only for the river, but for Plan It/Talk It Hennepin, the revise of the Nicollet Mall, the redesign of Washington Avenue and a little “doodling” with ideas for gateways to the river at Hennepin and Chicago Avenues.

I’ve come full circle-back to the interests of my youth and with my river and CAC project experience, perhaps I have something to share and give back to the city of my roots as I continue to search for that “third career”
In this latest transition time, I’ve learned I can adjust, adapt, and survive the loss of “old friends” here…some have died; some have moved; some have merely faded away for one reason or another. But Florence Rossman, an old RJC friend is waiting in Rochester; JJ, one of peers dating back to BI days is standing by with offers to help, visit, and the use of her guest bedroom as a Minneapolis home base when I need it– and of course, I hope I stay on the invite list for the “PIC Girls” annual holiday get-together!

Along with all that, my very first corporate client in that second career of Creative Events has remained a presence in my life ever since and assures me she LOVES Rochester and looks forward to coming to visit. And of course, siblings and that ever-growing brood of Mom’s “great-greats” – what more could I ask for?!!

And so, I’m off-hopefully by mid June after a final farewell here as part of “Northern Lights”.

With all the details of ending this life of almost 50 years AWAY from Rochester, I’ve spent little time really thinking about what’s next.

But I remind myself every day that in those bleak days “after the fall” I had the time to read, think and reflect. Out of that came the recognition of a changing event world in Europe – one that was built on engagement, interaction, improved adult learning principles, and the need for collaboration. As a pioneer in those applications, I helped reinvent our industry here, made so many new friends and great thinkers, and along the way, won a few awards and recognition.…so, maybe some time to think and reflect as I make this transition will reveal more new opportunities waiting for me just an hour or so away!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers