Monday, April 29, 2013

It Won't Happen To Me

Well, it could.

I have lots of thoughts and opinions on random acts of violence.

I believe anything could happen to anyone at any time.
It's not worth being overly scared about because RANDOM acts are hard to predict and prevent.
I think everything happens for a reason and death is part of life we cannot understand.

My first experience with a random act of violence on a large scale was the Oklahoma City bombing. I was four years old at the time so my memory is vague, however, I do know that I lived in Buffalo, Oklahoma at the time. My home was a mere 2 hour drive from the chaos. I have a computer key from the destruction's aftermath. It was close enough to make you think and even possibly know people directly affect.

As I've said before, I was in the World Trade Center July of 2001. I think that is beyond ridiculously crazy. When I am 60, 70, 80 years old, not many other people will be able to recall the memories I had about the event in whole.

Then of course, there has been local events such as the salon murder just minutes down the street from my work, and the multiple people ending up in the river after drinking likely within hundreds of feet of me, and church massacres, etc.

It is always shocking, but it's not like you could expect the same event to happen at the same place every time. Even natural disasters are somewhat predictable, at least I can say for certain a pacific hurricane won't be coming ashore from Lake Michigan any time soon.

I can't begin to understand the emotions from the people driving these events. After the fact, our government pieces together "signs" that give some insight to the behavior, but even so are often a stretch of the imagination. People are being watched every day for clues of erroneous behavior but even so, some slip through. What if it was possible to catch every criminal before they committed a crime? You can guarantee there would be a large breakout of protests against convicting potentially innocent people! I believe it has a lot to do with how you are taught to behave by people you trust or believe. I guess it's like a big chain in my mind. Then there is the obvious that people can lie or say things they don't completely mean, so do you punish based on verbal conversation? Well that interferes with freedom of speech. It is all very complicated. There is a very fine line with prevention and I think the US does a fairly good job with it, however, there is ALWAYS room for continuous improvement, or else I'd be out of a job if I didn't believe that.

I think there is help to be had. I wish "talking" to someone wasn't as frowned upon as it seems to be. I get that going to a therapist is hard and sometimes not enjoyable, but I think it is really positive. At least talking to someone with a non-bias perspective.

My opinions likely won't change the world, I just hope that I can go about living my life without upsetting someone so bad they feel like need to hurt me or those I love. That is certainly not my intention.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thanksgiving in April

I find holidays kind of funny because they are one day a year allocated to a certain occasion. In my opinion, every day should be a celebration and remembrance of all important things. Today you get to hear about mine. 

Consider this Berea Janzen's 2013 Q1 (first quarter) report or my April Christmas letter?

I started off my year spending very little of my free time in the city I live, making trips to; Door County, Appleton, and Madison for various reasons. My ex-boyfriend and I ended our relationship towards the end of 2012 so I did what I could to keep my mind and body busy. You could have probably guessed my life was not normal from the ZERO posts I had in February. Work became more hectic after the first of the year doing a lot to "start fresh" and stay on our feet after a huge change that came with buying another company. I bought a new car in February after my old cars' drive shaft broke in the middle of an intersection. I now get to ooo and awww at my 2011 Metallic Slate Nissan Altima S Coupe that I drive way too proudly. March was the first month I made payments to all my bills; from my newly acquired car, student loans, insurance, 401K, phone, apartment rent, utilities, and a few others I am surely missing. I also traveled to Iowa to visit my brother, a small town "up north" to a cabin getaway with some friends, and Easter with my family in Sheboygan and the Dells. By early March I was very much ready for summer (who am I kidding, I'm always ready for summer) however, we have yet to even see a resemblance of warm weather. April started off interesting as I attended a Prom-themed 30th birthday for a friend in Appleton. The cold weather here in Wisconsin had me itching for the sun to see my skin, so I planned a trip to Arizona with my friend to visit a colleague. I thoroughly enjoyed the 80 degree weather and was not fond of returning to a state full of snow and gloomy weather. Fortunately, I love my job so leaving Wisconsin for good is not an option right now. Here it is, the last weekend of April and my life is starting to resemble normalcy. So far I've only spent about 40% of my weekends this year in Milwaukee which is somewhat unfortunate since I do enjoy the city. I find that okay and justifiable since this August will mark 5 years of me living in Milwaukee. I do not have any big plans for this summer yet, which I had better start working on. I am currently reading "The Know-It All" in an attempt to keep my New Years Resolution to read more. I read more in January than since middle school, so I think I already accomplished that goal. I have two paintings that I want to finish so hopefully staring at the unfinished canvas' every night will eventually give me motivation to work on them. In other news, I am editing my brothers new book he wrote. It is far from publishable yet, however, I am working to make it a much easier read and I can already say it is going to be FANTASTIC when finished. I will also mention I have a new beau I may tell you more about at some point. :)

So I am pretty thankful #1 that I can travel. Being able to drive an hour or two or three for a weekend of fun adventures is 200% worth it. I love not being confined to limitations. I realize these weekend trips are hardly exotic but it is like a breath of fresh air. #2 I am beyond thankful for my job. Once you all have the opportunity to read my brothers new book, it will sink in how blessed I am! I am 3rd thankful for my friends who stick with me through every single one of my tens of thousands of emotions. And I credit my parents, as always, for raising me to know that all of these things are blessings from God. I have yet to figure out what makes ME deserving of any of them. 

"Your power is great, and your glory is seen everywhere in heaven and on earth. You rule with strength and power. You make people rich and powerful and famous. We thank and praise you."
1 Chronicles 29: 11-13

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Thousand Words

Since I am at an early stage in my career, I feel this is a good time to discuss something I have swept under the rug. Better now than before I forget.

As a Junior in high school, my future was anything but certain and I seemed to change my mind about a career path daily. After I nixed being an Interior Designer, my next focus was Photography. Family, friends, and teachers lauded my artistic abilities since I was young, so it was always assumed that I would pursue some type of degree in the liberal arts. High school certainly helped structure this as I took many art classes and excelled in them above my other classes. The only advanced class I took in high school was Advance Photography where I spent countless hours in the dark room and time analyzing life to snap good pictures. Fast forward 5 years where most people are using Instagram which has a handful of filters that you can click and within seconds have a picture that looks a few steps under professional. Five years and it is amazing how far we have come (not to mention I turned a completely different corner and God opened a door for me into Engineering?!?!?!?) :-D

Film is nearly non-existent. Getting film developed is almost like finding a computer with a floppy disc drive these days. Can you imagine the "old days" when pictures (yes pictures, not portraits) took hours to create (I mean like pinhole cameras)? I even recently got into a discussion about disposable cameras. When was the last time you tried to buy one of those? Getting filmed developed was almost like Christmas because you never remembered what you had taken photos of. I often remember getting filmed developed with multiple of the same picture in different variations.

So, I've been thinking recently about the value of pictures. I have over 2,000 photos on my iPhone alone and probably another 2,000+ on my computers' hard drive. My first thought is how fun my kids will have with some of that information some day. What use will all those pictures go to? They are good for memories, but seriously, how many 2D memories are worth holding on to? Another thought is how scary it is to think of the possible career I could be living. Good photographers are hard to come by. It truly is an art but I get stopped at the point where anyone can snap a picture. I guess anyone (this is a fallacy-clearly not EVERYONE) can solve a simple math equation too. Anyways, I now see that those classes were almost like history lessons. I likely won't use that knowledge for a real world experience or gain, but I know the historical development of photography and made some unique pieces of art along the way, that I will likely be the only appreciative one of.

So where does this land us? What purpose do pictures serve? I will say it is way easier to text a picture of something to someone than to try and explain it most of the time. Often times in meetings, ideas will be written on a white board and at the end of the meeting one person takes a picture and forwards it to everyone as an add-on to the meeting minutes, rather than copying everything by hand. I, however, have been referring to recreational/artistic pictures for the majority of this post.

I also find it extremely amazing that some cultures, such as the Amish, don't allow pictures, for various reasons. Maybe our photography will be of some use to them some day? Maybe I will compile all my pictures and make a book of it? (Joke--It's called a photo album or scrapbook). There has to be some unique market for digital pictures because they are serving no purpose tucked away on my hard drive which is sitting unplugged from anything at the moment. Maybe I'll work on that. Until then, I will keep collecting 2D memories for hopefully someones benefit.