Archive for May, 2011



May 26, 2011

Those of you that know me personally recognize the important role the IRIS – the symbol of HOPE –  plays in my world.

I have a guest bathroom filled with irises…my bedroom walls are hung with iris images – from Monet’s “Field of Irises” to a needlework collection of flowers hanging above the bed with the iris front and center; I often sport an iris pin when I am out and about; and from April to mid June, my home is decorated with irises from living room to dining room to kitchen….in preparation for a regular June visit to the IRIS GARDENS north of the metro area.  And through-out the year, every time I pick up my phone, the luscious blues and purples of my iris wallpapered home screen remind me to remain optimistic.

For me, the IRIS is the counter-weight to balance out a tendency to fall off that cliff of hope into the valley of depression – a state of mind so hard to climb back out of.

So with all that emphasis on hope surrounding me, one would think that it would not have taken me until this week to apply the correlation between hope vs. fear – to the political world we live in today

From Clinton’s roots in Hope, Alabama, to Obama’s Campaign of HOPE that led to the White House –as a moderate with left leanings, I generally relate to the Democratic view of the world……but only Tuesday when I read the STRIB – did I recognize hope as the counter-balance not only to depression but to the FEAR tactics of the far and mid-right Republicans. In her column that day, Gail Rosenblum labeled this state legislative year as the Year of Fear, and so much of that fear was unfounded. As I reviewed the list that forms the legacy of the 2011 MN Legislature, I could not agree more. 

Although elected to address the budget shortfall and temporary fiscal fixes that Pawlenty left behind in his wake, our Republican legislators instead, stuck to rhetoric and chose to lead by fear. 

“Rampant home intruders who should be shot.  Fraudulent voters who must be stopped.  Same-sex couples whose simple desire to love and be loved somehow threatens that right for others….a gun bill designed  to expand citizens’ ability to use deadly force in self-defense…” and this addresses our state’s troubled financial issues how?

  These people need a big bouquet of irises – it might help them find their way through this scary and threatening world in which they think we live.

Why, also on Tuesday, the fear I had been wrestling with that perhaps our summer work project would allude us was proven unfounded.  We learned we would move forward as partners with CRV to create the CRV Exposition. 

Watch for more in the Fall, when long after the delicate papery blooms that inspire me have disappeared…CRV employees will return to campus…Spreading Hope. 

I’m sure the world of irises that surround me right now had something to do with making that come to fruition!



May 16, 2011

And just when I needed it most – out of an almost forgotten past came rejuvenation and recommitment. Yesterday, I learned a significant influence in my life passed away. And I quote from the shared obituary:

Mr. “J” was passionately dedicated to the power and possibility of education… His educational innovations were many.  He brought the first musical to Staples and the first dinner theatre production to Rochester.  He advised the original creators of the Mantorville melodramas and sat on an early advisory board for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.  By the late 1960s, he developed what is believed to be the very first high school television studio in the country.  In the 1980s, he left teaching to create the Rochester Instructional Television Studio…His hallmark was pushing his students to achieve…(and) throughout the years, students always found an open door and an even-handed assessment when academic or personal problems found them in need of someone to listen.

The Post Bulletin suggested Mr. “J” gave his students a “taste of success”.  And that taste, for me, was three-theatre filled years of personal accomplishments that taught me much about myself as he pushed me on ever-forward to explore my skills and talents and overall , gave me permission to be ME; then turned me over to Bob Wise at RJC as well as to his friends at the Rochester Community Theatre.

The theatre skills themselves are long-since forgotten; but the passion remains – as does the message I heard over and over from both Mr. “J” and Bob Wise:  In twenty years, no one will care about your grades or academic success.  You will be judged and rewarded on your love of life and how you use your leadership skills.  If only all students in the world has such wise council!

So I am sad for the world but glad for Mr. “J” that his battle with Parkinson’s ended this month.  And thanks to Dave who let me know, I am reminded that this man’s encouraging words captured forevermore in that ’63 Rochord will be there as the push to move me through this stormy time in my life:

As one of the “reliables” of the theatre department, you have been of invaluable help-how can we ever replace you.  Not only has your contribution affected the shows you worked on, but you have established a standard that people will be attempting to attain for years to come.  So you have actually contributed to the shows we will give in the future.  I shall always be grateful to you, but I hope theatre has been its own reward.  Best of luck for bigger and better partys.  – Mr. “J”

If only this kind of support and encouragement were available to every student, our world would be a better place.

And here’s hoping that Mr. “J” is smiling down from heaven – recognizing I may not have delivered all he sought from me, but, yes, I’ve had good luck in delivering “bigger and better partys”!



May 15, 2011

And I am so hopeful it will help take me to a better place- if only for a few hours -away from the sorrow, struggles and tears that have been my constant companions in 2011.  I miss being the other me.

I am sincerely grateful to those that as I move thru my personal struggles, have quietly listened and supported and helped me survive- and have not judged, but understood I had no more to give.

And so for them, I need to push through this mountain of sadness and adversity before me…to deal with the issues, put them aside, and rebuild my life…one more time.

Maybe this time, the lessons will be learned, and I can move past those people and things that drain the “me” from this body.  And then I will be back renewed, with energy to support my family, and my passion for the river; and the rest will fall into place… or not.