Parler-vous anglais?

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Yes, that is French for “Do you speak English?”

I was awesome at French when it came to learning new groups of words. Vocabulary was easy because it was rote memory. You just repeat it enough times and eventually it sticks.

Where I got stuck was forming sentences, specifically going through different verb tenses. I had the same kind of trouble when we addressed this in English class. Distinguishing from past, present and future is easy, but when you throw in various “perfect” tenses, things get tricky. I stumbled with properly identifying these tenses in English.

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Kindness during the storm

Everyone goes through a hard time. It can be a metaphoric storm, a very real tailspin of nothing seems to go right, or a literal storm like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

I’m part of the Southeast United States bracing for the horrors of Irma. The projections are still projections, with any number of possible outcomes. We just know something bad is heading our way.

It’s hard to know how to react in these circumstances. You can get stuck just thinking about yourself and your family. You do have a responsibility to care for those who depend on you: immediate family members, in-laws, fur babies.

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Makeup, teaching, and leaving my mark

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Between my junior and senior year in high school is when I officially tried makeup. Mom took me to a Mary Kay demonstration, so I had some exposure to proper application. I had been given many makeup kits as gifts over the years. That seemed to be the go-to gift for a teenage girl.

To a degree I could see how, applied well, the makeup enhanced rather than overwhelmed a look. But I also was aware of people who refused to leave their house without makeup, and I didn’t want to become that dependent.

The poking and prodding of eye liner was lost on me, though. It seemed impossible to get used to. Getting that close to my eye. I could barely tolerate someone applying it for me, so I just didn’t mess with it. And yet I felt that was a pretty important element for definition, especially when combined with eye shadow.

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Poem: Dispute

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I absolutely love this poem!

This was written during my senior year of high school, after an argument with my parents.

It offers a nice visual of what it’s like having a disagreement and not being able to say anything. Of wanting to share that internal dialogue, defend myself, but the words get lost in the process.

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Conversation hijackers and other communication problems

So, previously on the blog I’ve described some of the internal struggle with communication, the spinning Rolodex in search of information, in search of something worthwhile to share.

But there are other external factors that impact communication.

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing a particular encounter I had in high school. Perhaps I’m remembering it wrong. It’s entirely possible. I honestly don’t think those details are the thing to focus on, though, because the feeling I had afterward are what have stayed with me for so long.

I was in the school cafeteria, waiting for the morning bell to ring so that I could go to my locker and get ready for class. And I was talking to another girl. She was describing a concert she had been to over the weekend.

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Spinning Rolodex: The chaos of communication

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Yes, I know what a Rolodex is. I never had to use one, but I have seen them around. For those of you who have grown up with cellphones and computerized address books, I’ll let you in on a fun device. It was a place to alphabetize contacts in what was expected to be within easy reach. You just flip to the appropriate letter and then through the cards available until you get the right one. These were mostly used in offices, so that you could cradle the phone against your shoulder and continue to talk while you searched for a phone number.

Alright, now that we’re clear, I’m moving on.

So, I’m great at listening. I will do my darndest to follow your train of thought until the very end. That’s not to say that’s it’s easy. Sometimes it requires extreme amounts of focus to keep up as people mumble through their sharing or speed through one thought after another like a verbal Nascar race.

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