2014 marked as well, the year the school system in which I worked started their move to use Office 365 to "do business". I would be the one to navigate that environment and organize the structure of the documents for the office in which I worked. When my investigation of this virtual office environment confused me a bit I called the programmer overseeing the migration. When I expressed my concern about how this program was not as "intuitive" as all of the other Microsoft products, Joel said, " Yes it is Lisa, It's just based on the intuitiveness of social networking." Bingo! My doggedness to figure out how things are done triggered a real world application that I could use as a testing ground for achieving the goals set forth by my boss; hence Facebook.
I set out to honor my family in a very public way on a very public forum. Even though Facebook had a bad reputation in the office where I worked, my plan was to use it in a positive way. Our office worked to resolve the harassment issues brought into the school system by way of cyber bullying. My goal was to play nice in the sandbox and never throw sand in the face of others.
Learning the privacy settings in Facebook helped me work through the understanding of the hierarchy of privilege settings in O365. What most people don't know about my Facebook page is that along with the multitude of public, and friend posts, I probably have just as many posts that only I can see on my wall. How many people know that there is a choice to post things that only they can see? I'll never know that answer unless Facebook decides to provide those stats publicly.
2014 also denotes the year I broke a promise. Remember Joel, the programmer? He would occasionally ask me how long I would be around to assist my office in the migration of O365. At the time I honestly answered seven years. His response was a positive one that made me feel as though I was an important part of his plan. My plan was to retire at the age of 62, giving the public school system 40 years of my service, but that would not be what transpired. Mid year of 2014 I decided to retire after only 34 1/2 years of service. It was time for me to move on, not to retire and live the life of leisure, but to pursue a different kind of career. So far I put way more hours into it than I ever put into it before...my art. I guess I didn't really break a promise...it was more of a change in plans. Sorry Joel.
So getting back to those 2014 Facebook posts to honor my family I lead in with this...there were nine of us that moved to this beautiful peninsula in 1964. Five of which are now laid to rest in a small hilltop cemetery on a short bypass road in Prince Frederick. I drove past it every morning on my way to work for the last 13 years. I always greeted them good morning as I drove along that little back road. As for the rest of us; two of us still live here, one lives in North Carolina with her family and one lives in Illinois with her family. We are "the girls" often referred to in this way growing up.
The following are some of the posts from Facebook 2014.
February 5, 2014
I am so excited! Just decided yesterday to make a long overdue trip back "home" to Yellville, Arkansas in the beautiful Ozark Mountains with my sister. Majestic beauty on the Bull Shoals Lake nearby. I haven't been there since I was 16. Lots of fond memories starting to bubble up. My roots. I cannot wait! It should be beautiful in the early spring.
I was only 5 when we came to Calvert County so I guess you could say I was at least raised here and I am a product of the school system my father came to serve. As I grew older and understood the position my father held in the community I became very proud of his contributions. From my point of view, the youngest of six children, who watched every move he made and listened to every word he spoke, he was my hero. He had a creative intellect that gave him a vision of forward thinking that some never understood. He was a man of idioms that, to this day, serve me well in my understanding of human nature. I hear his voice in my head often, reciting some of those sayings. The audio memory of his voice and laughter is as comforting to me as a warm blanket.
In my eyes he held everyone to the same standard whether he wanted to or not. It wasn’t until I went to high school in the 1970’s that I realized there were many people in the community that didn’t like my father because of his position. He was either liked or hated and rarely held with indifference. He was charged with taking privileges away from the privileged as well as his own children and their friends. He doled out corporal punishment when absolutely necessary. He managed a new breed of teacher that came to work in bellbottoms and mini skirts. Dress codes were abolished and courses in technology and the creative arts were being expanded.
It was an era of social unrest and anti-establishment. Once he became surrogate disciplinarian to my direct peers I also learned the lesson he and my mother often recited to me, “Not everyone is going to like you”, in a very profound way. It was a school newspaper cartoon that changed my naïve notion that everyone liked my wonderful dad. The student that drew the caricatures of the school administrators for an edition of the school newspaper placed my father’s head atop a worm. It was to symbolize the spineless character that some of the student body and staff felt my dad possessed. I was devastated, mortified and embarrassed to say the least. Even though I knew he, himself found it funny and that he endorsed freedom of speech, I had to muster every social grace that a young teenage girl might possess to go to school the next day with my head held high. His seemingly spineless nature was actually his way of giving a person the room to either succeed or fail on one’s own. I believe he was an excellent judge of character.
I was devastated the year he left the high school to return to the central office. I would be the only child of six that didn’t have our father’s signature on my diploma. I was more than annoyed that he was not there on stage to hand me my diploma as he was for all of my siblings before me. In hindsight I realize it was time for him to move forward.
My father was very proud of the students that passed through his halls. Many of those students have gone on to become important members of the community themselves. It has been in recent years that community members that graduated during his years as principal at CSHS have shared very fond memories of him with me.
One of my Friday projects. My first summer Friday I've really had off since summer hours started. Damn 10 hour days (-1) are a pain. Anyway...this piece brought me a little closer to my dad today. Because I made it from odds and ends sterling pieces on my worktable, I thought of him and the cricket I watched him make from scraps of metal and wood from the back yard when I was a child. How'd I do dad? Thank you for the skills you gave me.
So I took my sweet little Maggie out for her end of the day walk and found the symphony of insects and amphibians especially nostalgic this evening. The cacophony in the stillness of the warm summer evening stirred up the sadness that I feel for the passing of time. As I stood in the darkness it was so easy to relive some of the moments in my life that I so loved. But my sadness is only felt in the sense that I can only hold those fond memories of the past just as that... fond memories.
In stark contrast, I just recently shared with a friend my feelings about my fifth decade of life. It is by far my most favorite decade. I like who I've become... what a gift this human experience is.
Good night Port Republic.
September 18, 2014
So many wonderful memories and thoughts come to mind when I sit and sand or polish the metal of a piece of jewelry I'm working on at my bench. I listen to my favorite musical artists from the present as well as from the past. When I hear particular songs from the past I tend to think of the social settings I placed myself in as a young adult. Sitting around the turn table with like-minded friends, listening to the melodies and lyrics of my generation. Sipping wine or beer, breaking bread and good conversation...those are the days I do not miss, rather I revel in having lived those moments. Moments that make me who I have become today. To all my present and past friends, thank you and happy #tbt. May you listen to one of those very special songs in your life.
Just saw a falling star in this crisp autumnal night. Make a wish.
— feeling positive.
#tbt The Girls aka the Dardin Girls...I love being one of the girls, even though it seemed to segregate us from the other siblings, as if we were a subset of the family. Being part of a family, made of the same fabric yet very unique with individual personalities. Several years ago I made some bracelets for the other three girls with that line of thinking. They were all made of the same types of stones and metal but each was unique in shape, design and form. These two pictures, both at our childhood home on Dares Beach, one showing us in our Easter best (circa mid/late 60's) and the other when we were clearing the contents to sell it. Fifty years really does go by fast.
I have a confession. Yesterday at work I was looking out the window at the dry brown leaves clinging to the oak tree in the front parking lot. I remembered a science lesson from elementary or middle school about how the old dying leaves of the oak tree don’t fall from the limbs as do other trees’ leaves in the fall of the year. Instead they hold tight to the branches until the new growth in the spring pushes them off to the ground. Semi-deciduous is the term I recalled.
This led to my recall of a short story I once read a very long time ago but couldn’t remember the title. At first I thought the author to be Truman Capote and Googled his works for several minutes before finding that the author was actually O. Henry. The Last Leaf was the title of the story (why didn’t I remember that?) and here is the synopsis of the story I found on line:
Johnsy and Sue are artists who move into Greenwich Village in New York City. As winter approaches and the weather gets colder, Johnsy becomes ill with pneumonia. She gets so sick that she believes that when the last leaf falls from the vine outside her window, she will die.
An old artist, named Behrman, who lives in the same building as the girls, braves a storm one night to paint a leaf on the wall — a leaf that will never fall. Cold and wet from painting in the icy rain, he catches pneumonia and dies. This gives Johnsy the hope to survive her illness, and it also creates the masterpiece Behrman had always dreamed of painting.
Sometimes my #tbt comes out in mental images instead of the printed type…the image I have in my mind of a leaf painted on a wall. So much was gained by the belief that a leaf held tight to that wall and survived even the darkest of storms…a masterpiece Behrman created by way of selflessness.
So my confession is, I don’t always think about work when I’m at work. I guess that’s ok. (Sometimes I just love stating the obvious.)