Author: LindaLee

Midday Matinee – February and Friends

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. February is a tough time of year for those of us in the northern climes. It seems as if winter will last forever and the sun is but a distant memory. February requires toughness to survive. By the time it is March, we know we can make it. I had a very good friend living with my family. She came to spend the weekend while contemplating a divorce. She stayed for a year. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like her. She sat me down about this time in January for a heart-to-heart. She asked if I had a plan for surviving February that did not involve somehow changing my hair. “What do you mean?” I said. (I have fairly curly hair, which was then naturally dark brown.) “Well,” she said, “I’ve noticed a pattern in your life. Every February you make a really bad hair decision.” She itemized them for me: There was the time I used the henna that didn’t wash out as advertised and that was not even close to auburn. Think orange. There was the time I had bangs cut by someone who didn’t realize that curly hair shrank as it dried giving me a Mamie Eisenhower look. And the time I...

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Midday Matinee – The Trust Walk

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. The trust walk is one of those non-verbal exercises basic to experiential learning. For a time in my working life I spent a week a month as a facilitator at an executive conference center in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of Sante Fe. The trust walk was part of the first two days of breaking out of corporate-think and reflecting on leadership through various outdoor exercises. A group of 60 or 70 participants is divided into two sub-groups and told to form two circles, an inner one and an outer one. No talking is allowed. The participants are told that one of them will be blind folded and the job of the other is to take them for a walk in the rocky wilderness. The sighted are totally responsible for the safety of the sightless. This is a challenge for managers, many of whom are high control individuals. It is also a challenge for people used to using words to get their points across. One beautiful sunny day as we launched this activity and pairs of people began to tentatively venture out into the mountains, the other facilitators and I noticed one pair that was barely moving at all. A quick check revealed that both of the pair...

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Midday Matinee – How to Peel A Banana

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. We are all creatures of habit. I have apparently been peeling my bananas wrong for years.  I was watching Wheel of Fortune when Vanna signed off with advice on how to peel a banana like a monkey.  Ever the life long learner, I googled the topic and found a great video on how to peel a banana. Although I had always managed to get the peel off I did have to admit that the monkey’s way was much easier. Fast forward to my cousin’s swearing in as a Missouri State Representative. A small group of us are gathered in her very small office. Caterers have delivered a plate of sandwiches, a tray of veggies, cookies and a bowl of fruit. Her campaign treasurer selects a banana and starts to peel it the way I used to.  I, eager to share my new found knowledge, tell Judy that the monkeys peel their bananas from the other end and that I have just switched my peeling style to the ‘monkey peel.’  Some of the people are staring at me like this is the strangest bit of wisdom ever offered at a gathering of politicos. I am saved from the stares by a man who picks up a banana and peels it...

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Midday Matinee – Musings on Death

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I was thinking about growing old and dying even before the tragedy in Tucson. I am the caretaker for my 92 year old aunt. On the one hand, I would like to grow older with her philosophy of life. On the other hand, my dad who dropped dead of a heart attack at 63 seemed to leave life on his own terms – alive and vibrant one moment and dead on the backyard grass the next. My aunt has survived breast cancer twice, once in her 40s and once in her 60s. She volunteered for Reach for Recovery for years and still counsels breast cancer patients on the phone. She has congestive heart failure, an artificial heart valve and a pacemaker. She is on oxygen. She goes into her den on the good afternoons and writes little notes to people offering sympathy, congratulations, advice and hope and copies of any clippings if they happened to be in the paper. Her biggest expense after food is probably stamps. She works the phone to keep up with her friends. A member of our bridge club asked her what the secret to growing old with such style was and she replied, “Make younger friends. Most of the friends who were my age have...

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Midday Matinee – Fear and Strangers

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I went cross-country skiing with a friend recently. We headed out in the late afternoon and hoped to finish before it got completely dark. Since my friend was very familiar with the trails in the county park, I wasn’t particularly worried. After an hour and a half, we arrived back at the parking lot, tired but with a sort of skiers’ high. (I made that up but if runners can have a high from exercise, I think skiers can have one also.) I sat in the passenger’s seat to take off my ski boots and put my regular winter boots back on. My friend was standing up on her side of the car, also changing her footwear. Her golden retriever was already asleep in the back, snoring. The sun was an orange ball, setting over the frozen lake and the trails we had just left. My friend is in much better shape than I and I was settling into my heated seat and wondering if I could make it until bedtime. I was physically pooped. The snoring dog didn’t help. On the way home I started nodding off. My friend suddenly starts cursing. Loudly. Okay I am once again awake and ask what’s going on. As she starts to...

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