Siracusa by Delia Ephron

I began reading this book while sitting in a parking lot waiting for a wake to begin. I just needed something different from all of the seriousness and sadness going on. I actually wanted to finish reading this book, something that rarely happens.

Two couples decide to go on vacation together and their secrets, their past, and their problems follow them. The ending you don’t see coming and the big reveal is only one line that you may miss if you skip ahead.

Enjoy. Siracusa will have you hanging on for more.

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Answering Seth Godin: Worldview

What is the worldview of the audience who you are seekng to reach?

Seth Godin talks about how every single individual has their own voices in their head. We all have our own point-of-view, worries, dreams, things in our lives.  Each individual has had a unique experience in life, even identical twins have their own experience because we each experience the same situation differently.

How can I combine people from all walks of life, all levels of education, socio-economics, family situations?  I’ve been in million dollar houses and the worst poverty stricken areas. What is _the_ common factor between all of the people I’ve worked with over the years?

Does everyone I work with or have worked with share my worldview? No.  That is totally fine. I don’t want everyone to be my clone or think like me.  I want different points and perspectives. I love learning from people because there is always something to learn from everyone.

The common factor is reaching for their “it”, what they need.  I give them a boost and aim toward their reach. As the idiom says, I lead them to the water.  I am their bow, their green light, their coxswain, or whatever image you want to use.

Question #2: Answering Seth: What’s It For?

This is the harder question to answer.  “Who” is always easier.

First, and to paraphrase a song from the 1990’s, what is “it”?

“It” is what you are looking for.  Success, change, improvement, great grades, passing THAT class, getting THAT job you want, getting THAT license.

You define your “it” and we help you accomplish and achieve your “it”.

What is your “it”?  How can we help you with your “it”?

Answering Seth Godin’s Question: Who’s it for?

It’s for you.

Who are you?

The worried parent.

The worried spouse/ significant other.

The student of any age who needs help with organization and processing.

The student who never learned the language of Math correctly.

The English language learner who is here in the United States creating their dreams.

The employee who wants that promotion but that piece of paper or State certification test is stopping you.

The recent parolee who needs to be self-sufficient once again.

The dreamer who knows better opportunity is out there but they need to express their experience succinctly on paper.

The college student who wants to transfer to the school of their dreams.

The person who cares about their future and wants to start NOW.

A Letter to Anu Partanen

Dear Anu,

I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up your book The Nordic Theory of Everything.  Yet once I got started, I couldn’t put it down.  Then I got to the end and my reaction was: why did you stay?  Love?  Wouldn’t you both be better off if you followed the Nordic System of Love?

Some days I would give up everything to have unquestioned access to healthcare and free college and a system that values education and learning.

Yesterday a friend told me that a 10 year-old family member wants to kill themselves after being bullied for an entire school year by a teacher.  The teacher is not being disciplined.  Would this happen in Norway or are teachers as strongly vetted as they here in the US?  You mention about teachers not being able to teach but not about how they treat their students.

Recently I had to pay $125 in order to get a prescription for a $5 bottle of amoxicillin.  And I had to tell the doctor what I had.  I find this is the experience of most people here in the US.  They have to go in prepared and already done their research when talking to a doctor.  Does this happen in Norway?

In college the choice was pay for college or have health insurance.  I was furious when I received the insurance company packets and they said because I’m a woman, my premiums were four times that as a man the same age as myself.  (Never mind that male teenagers and young adults pay higher car insurance but I don’t think the insurance would have been as high as those premiums I was quoted.  My car insurance was a drop in the bucket compared to the health insurance.)  All of those packets went into the recycling.

I was also working full-time while going to college and my employer paid me out of three separate accounts so that it would look like I was part-time and they didn’t have ot give me benefits. And these were local politicians.

Speaking of politicians, they use the word “reform” for healthcare here in the US.  Does this strike you as strange or weird?  They should turn away the lobbyists and bling and set limits on drug costs and a whole other host of items.  Yes, I know equipment costs money but sometimes….Yet all they do is talk, talk, talk and no action.  Well, usually it consists of bucking and fighting whatever is being presented and then knocking it out when new people are elected.  Price setting in the current way of being and thinking would never work here out of pure greed.

Have a job after many months after having a baby?  What concept is that?  I know people who have gone back to work 4 days after giving birth.  Again, large corporations cry and complain, yet as you point out, it’s a boon for new entrants into the workforce.  Just a huge “WOW” is all I can say.  Even if most women don’t express it directly, I’m sure they would give anything to have this after having  a baby.  And money to boot?  I’d work three jobs to get that money back when I need it.

Your work dredged up a lot of not-so-pleasant memories and reactions, my own personal reactions, mainly being upset about how this system is available and it works yet out of greed people and corporations claw at it and fight it every chance they get.

People here in the U.S. are split in different directions regarding healthcare.  However, I’m seeing more and more people on social media venting their frustrations and people are wiling to have “socialized” medicine because our system of care sucks and as one woman pointed out, due to the lack of specialists, she already has to wait six months for an appointment anyway.  I’m glad to see that you brought up medical bankruptcy.  One woman I know, and her husband died, is now $1 million in debt for his cancer treatments and she has small children.   I can’t imagine.  This is another “taboo” topic.  Why?  Why can’t we have conversations about this and make changes?  Nobody wants to talk about it.  Is it the stigma that going through bankruptcy means that you have failed?

One item you referred to but didn’t mention is that going on individual State benefits opens the door to the individual State to freeze your assets and/or take the money from your estate before your heirs receive it.  Does this happen in Norway?  I’ve heard stories of families in probate court have a State official show up at the probate hearing and submit the documentation for the State to take the amount in benefits that the person used for food stamps et al. while they were alive.  The State gets the money first and then the family can split the rest.  Some people don’t know this and I know some people just don’t care.

I don’t know how it is in New York.

I’m glad you wrote this book and I hope everything is working out for you here.

Sincerely,

Angela

 

 

 

 

The Tenderness of Wolves

I’m going to answer one of the questions from the reader’s guide.  (Something different).

Parker describes the “sickness if long thinking” as a state where a wild animal cannot be tamed by a human or humans because it always remembers where it is from and desires to go back.  Even though Parker relates it to a wolf cub he told Mrs. Ross he took care of, most of the humans in the book have some sort of sickness of long thinking.

One of them is  Jammet, the murder victim.  Even though there is never any narration or point-of-view from Jammet, what is subsequently revealed about him is that he suffers from this and this may have been the cause of his murder.  Jammet is who he is, he adapts for the person, the people, the circumstance that he is in.  Francis reveals that he and Jammet were lovers while it is also revealed Jammet had a family and children.  Jammet is the prime example of a human that acts like a wild animal; Jammet cannot be tamed and cannot and does not change his character for anyone.  By staying on his own and living in Dove River, a type of outpost, Jammet fulfills his desires to be out in nature and be free of any obligation.

Pot by the Road (A Client Story)

I saw the pot on the side of the road.  Just sitting, all alone.  It looked as if someone had taken it out of a car and forgotten it.  It was March, too early for leaves or flowers if there were to be any on its’ branches.

I was back a few days later.  That pot was still sitting there.  I drove over and swung the car around so my passenger side door was next to it, parked, got out, opened the passenger door and tossed the pot it.  I drove home carefully that day, trying not to knock it around.

When I got home I found a shovel and planted the plant in there.  A few weeks later pretty dark pink blossoms appeared.  In the two years since, it gives me the same blossoms each spring for a few days.

Those blossoms remind me of the client I was seeing when I found that pot.

The client was a third party referral and third party payer, something I appreciate because I know once the contract is signed and then I turn in my hours, I get paid.  Yet by the end this one brought more of a story than I was expecting.

My client lived in a condo complex off of a main artery that had a gated parking lot.  They didn’t drive so they didn’t have the pass code to the gate.  No problem, I waited for someone to come in and park in the unmarked spots.  No one bothered me until one day a man started following me from the building to my car and was threatening to call the police.  I thought it was because of the gate but I quickly realized he thought I was pimping.

I had the municipality’s non-emergency police dispatch number in my phone less than five minutes after I was home that day.

A bit of background: due to the third party arrangements, the client’s guardian squeezed every minute out of me they could get and refused to take less than an hour and a half at one time so I just made the sessions two hours to lessen the amount of times I would have to go.

The next time I just parked on the street and wedged myself through an opening in the gate.

Driving home I would have the windows rolled down.  The condo had a very interesting smell and my significant other would comment when I walked in the door.  Those clothes were immediately stripped off and in the washing machine.

The longer I was with my client the more I found out that helped some things I had observed make sense.

When I talk about my 85% to 90% success rate, this client was one of those I don’t know the outcome or outcomes.  I was summoned after they had failed their licensing test the first time and met the usual resistance.  They had certain expectations and their guardian had others.  The meticulous notes I found in the book and paperwork were not my client’s.  The second time their score went up yet it was still under what the State was requesting.  We used up the hours right before they were scheduled to take the test a third time. I left my client with a detailed, written instruction list of study tips, review tips, piles of organized flashcards, a notebook with notes, and a message of it is up to you to study for this.

I called the third party for a followup but never received any.

To this day I still don’t know what happened with them.  I wonder when I go by the area where they live, if they are still there.

I hope life has treated them well and they passed on their third try.  I think of that when I see the pink blossoms in the spring.