Saturday, December 18, 2010

generation x

I have been obsessed with generations lately. This is due to a new traveling exhibit at the Park City Museum called Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation. This is an interactive exhibit, with 1950s kitchen and tv dinners (with a tv that plays commercials) and a 1930s soda fountain with a radio announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. Along with all the fun little gadgets, the exhibit uses oral histories to tell the stories of the Greatest Generation. You won't find all the facts and world leaders of WWII, for example, but you read and hear people's experiences regarding this period of time. It has made for a great time for people to remember and learn about this time and important generation.

Here's our Museum's link about the exhibit:

Alright, so in my planning for school programs, tours, (and maybe some programming!) for the exhibit, I have been interested in all the "other" (not greatest, I guess) generations. You have the "Silent Generation" after the "Greatest Generation" (basically those born during the war, fought in Korea, etc.), then the "Baby Boom" which we all hear SO much about. Then, smashed between the Baby Boom and the oh-so-delightful "Millennials," we have my generation, "Generation X." I barely squeeze in by most accounts, it's true. But I am glad I do. Although the Millennial generation seems (or maybe likes to think it and promote as such) to be taking over, I am glad to be the kind of quirky generation between two monsters (population wise...of course).

I am glad I remember all that "grunge" music and Kurt Cobain. I am glad that we have this stereotype of being resistant against the norms and establishment. I am glad we have all those great movies from the 80s (though, to be fair, I discovered them after the 80s....I didn't have a tv when I was a kids, after all). I am glad I grew up without relying on all this technology (though I am glad people were always worried about our TV watching, etc.). I am glad I really loved Titanic when it came out, then retroactively hated it. I am glad I am one of those "latch key kids" ( parents were always there for me--but they are divorced). I am glad I watched Beverley Hill 90210 for a bit. I am really glad I had really bad hair and clothes. My thinking about right and goodness in the world was shaken by 9/11, but that only added to my growth and development into an adult (which I'm still not, I am convinced).

I am glad for all of these things, because despite the stereotypes, Generation X has adapted quite well to the world--I think. See, there is this station here in Salt Lake that only plays Gen X music. I listened to it for a few days straight because of this generation obsession of mine. There were some great flashback moments to music I haven't heard for awhile. But so much of the music is not good. So that's the beauty of life--we evolve. Stations worth listening to take the good from that Gen X and mix it up with the good stuff of today. Hopefully my life can take the lessons I learned and the good from my growing up and mix it up with what I'm learning today to create something really wonderful. The trick for anyone, I think, is to not get too caught up in any one stage of our lives. When that happens, life becomes less wonderful because we aren't discovering all of the great things in the here and now.

Okay, that's my ramble.

Oh, one more thing--remember Crash Test Dummies? Ha, ha... The lead singer Brad Robers was in (Or will be? I can't remember now) Park City. It's just funny to remember that funny song they had. I hadn't given it a thought for years, then I saw that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

tourism on a whole new level

So, I have been finding new ways to think about tourists since I now work in a Museum driven by resort tourism. It has been enlightening, and has caused me to readjust my thinking about my work in Museums. Tourists in DC are a bit different than tourists in Park City. And the local population that would visit the Museum in Park City has very different expectations than the population in DC. It is going to be a fun journey in planning educational opportunities for these diverse populations.

But mostly I am glad I am not in charge of one of the world's (soon to be) newest tourist attractions--Chernobyl. Yep. The Ukraine wants to turn this delightful spot into a tourist spot. Apparently radiation in some spots is returning to normal. So there you your next flight asap.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

what we need

What we want isn't what we always get. That's what we tell kids when they can't have the toy, the candy, more playtime (rather than going to bed or eating). We're the adults, so we can tell kids that. But do we listen to our own lessons? We aren't that much different. Recently I have been whining because I have something amazing, but it isn't what I wanted. But the truth of the matter is, rather than getting what we want, we often get what we need instead. That is annoying to kids. And quite frankly, it is annoying to me too. In the moment, I get frustrated by the disconnect between wanting and needing.

But tonight I remembered back one year ago, to my birthday. I needed a break from the city, from people. So, I drove myself out to the Shenandoahs. I really wanted to see the fall colors. The beautiful leaves. Some peace from the noise, from school, from boys ruining my life. It was a gorgeous drive. The mountains were great. The small towns were amazingly charming. It was beautiful and it was fall in all its beauty. Rolling landscape and comforting trees.

When I got there, I drove a little higher in elevation. And then it started to snow on all the beautiful fall colors. The snow was ruining what I had wanted so much! At first I was a bit sad, but that sadness turned into pure joy. I couldn't help but feel my soul giving a huge sigh of relief. The snow was what I really needed that day. I had wanted the fall colors, and they were amazing, but I got something much greater in the journey--snow. I hadn't realized that is what I needed, but it was just thing for my soul. (Of course, little did I know that a few months later I would have had enough of snow! Ha, ha...)

And so goes my life. I wanted a job so badly. But I didn't realize I didn't want one in Utah until I got it. So I mope. And I continue to whine, just a bit. And I just wait for the snow (metaphorically...though I know it is literally right around the corner). The snow that will let me know that this is indeed what I need more than anything I could have thought I wanted.

So, I just breathe in the cold mountain air and I let my life just be. It's a great journey, to be sure. Patience is not my strongest virtue. But patience is what I will have to exercise. The patience to allow time to pass so that I finally will accept that what I have and got is exactly what I needed all along. That's the trick for me. Because when I feel that joy in my soul, that sigh of relief, I will know that what I needed all along is also what I wanted, but I just didn't realize it. And I will be okay that I am back.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

i think it will be okay

On Tuesday, I stubbed my toe. I was in so much pain, I just cried like a little kid on the floor for a few minutes. I then washed off the toe and put a band-aid on it, because isn't that what makes pain go away? And I didn't look at it. I was afraid the toenail would come off if I touched it. I didn't want to deal with it, so I didn't. And that about sums up how I handle life. Painful, hard things happen. I cry for a minute. Then I ignore it. That's just how I deal. To me, it's the only way.

Then, slowly, I start to make sense of what has happened. I inspected my toe a bit more yesterday, putting neosporin on it. Working around the thing that happened. And then tonight I finally soaked the toe, properly. Cut down the toenail as much as I dared (which seems to have helped). Basically, I did what I probably should have done on Tuesday. But sometimes, these things are just too much and it's easier to deal with it in increments. In a nutshell, I think the toe will be okay. Even if I lose the toenail, I think it won't be as bad as I first imagined.

The funny thing about this whole toe episode is that it was basically the straw that broke the camel's back. The event in and of itself wasn't terribly bad. But after a culmination of 4 very, very, very long and hard months, I kind of felt like not a whole lot more could go wrong. Kind of a Job moment for me, truthfully. I hadn't lost everything...obviously...I still had my family and some friends. But in truth I had lost a lot. Didn't have a whole lot going for me that anyone would care to hear about.

Then on Wednesday, I finally got a job! Very strange how the universe works... I will be working in Park City, same place I was doing my internship. I will be the Curator of Education (which is kind of a funny title to me...but I won't complain) and will be in charge of the educational programming at the museum and volunteers. I am excited. A little nervous. But really grateful that I think things will be okay. My toe...and my career. It may even be a bit of a new start for a new life, really. Because who I was when I lived in Utah before is not the person I am today. Lots has changed. A lot will continue to change. And I think I am finally ready to accept that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

why will i always remember it was tuesday?

Nine years ago. Just another Tuesday. I purposely had scheduled classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I could substitute teach on Tuesday and Thursday. It was still too early in the season to ski. This Tuesday they hadn't called. I slept in. I woke up and my mostly unreliable roommate told me things that surely couldn't be true (and some weren't). But most of it was true. I did get called in to teach. But school was unreal. The pictures were unreal. The terror couldn't be true. And the heartache broke my heart. I was sure the world couldn't get any worse. We would surely learn after this. How silly of a history major to think. But I was very idealistic that year. And in nine years, the idealistic Jenette vanished just a little bit. When I walked into that school, I just knew there was a reason I would teach history. Somewhere down the line it just became about getting a job, sadly. Everyone I shared some time with on that day will forever be linked to my life. Watching the devastation on tv with Steph. And just crying that evening in my Maple View Apt. Some moments of my life are still crystal clear in my mind. Nine years ago was one of those days.

"Today I will remember that peace has not been achieved. I will tell my students there is a great need for them to do good and make a difference in the world. History is continually in the making-for the good and the bad. We need to be a part of that. Learning from the past and applying it to our future. May we all someday be united in peace, is my only prayer."

I wrote that nine years ago. Sadly, peace is hard to come by in this world today. But I remember the sadness. The heartache for those families. And, selfishly, I remember me. Someone who had lost a lot of hope, but still somehow saw the teaching moment, and even the potential for good. Despite the horrific day that it was.

It is good to remember that girl from nine years ago.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

everything happens for a reason

I graduated from George Washington University on May 16th, with the Capitol in front of me, the Washington Monument in back of me, and the museums of the Smithsonian Institution surrounding me. It was amazing... And here I am. Interning for hardly anything. Waiting on many job applications. Looking at (official) unemployment in just a short 1 1/2 months. It has been very easy to get discouraged at my life. Recently, I have had reason to reassess this whole discouraged thing, however.

Pretty much the moment I quit my job at the American West Heritage Center in 2008 to go to graduate school, I began questioning that move. Why give up a perfectly okay job? Move across the country, away from my family? To a place where the cost of living, is well, let's just say it's higher than the cost of living in Logan. It never made a lot of sense, logically. I can't deny that it felt right to take that step...but the logical person in me kept saying, "I could have stayed at the Heritage Center and went to USU." But today, I am thinking that, truly, everything happens for a reason. And despite my current employment status, I am so very happy for that fact.

I have a couple of former co-workers at the Heritage Center that just lost their jobs recently. When I think about it, I realize that I really did do something great, in the time it needed to happen. At the moment, I think it would have been easier to stay in Logan (I LOVE Cache Valley, after all). But, I would still be out of a job two years later, but no graduate school. So, I am glad I didn't stay. Because my reasons for staying would have been for the wrong reason--fear. I read this book where it talked about the fact that the future will come. The author wrote, "“The three years is not optional. It is going to come and pass. You will be here…That day three years from now will be here. It is not an option. The question is what do you want your life to look like on that day?” I like that. Obviously, I didn't want to be unemployed two years from when I quit my job at the Heritage Center. But...the world is still open. I am exploring the possibilities of areas where I can contribute. I am really sad for my friends and former co-workers. It's kind of awful to be looking for work right now.

But, I am going to hold out for the motto from LOST, "Everything happens for a reason." I don't have any clue what two years from now will look like, so I'm just going to keep going with the opportunities that feel right, at this moment. (Okay, so maybe a similar phrase is in some religious writings too...not just a (great) TV show.)

Oh, and the book is called 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed In Love and Life by Dr. Henry Cloud. Clearly, I need to re-read it. Because I have neither been successful in love or life recently. ha, ha... But, my dad recommended it, and I surprisingly enjoyed it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

it only takes one moment

It only takes one moment for me to fall in love. Falling in love with a place. (And people, but it gets more complicated talking about people, because, well, they're people...). I can be liking a place. Enjoying what it has to offer. But it only takes that one moment for me to fall in love. It happens when I am not really expecting it to. When I think, "well, this isn't so bad...", the place takes my breath away and then I think, "what did I ever do without this place in my heart." And then it is that moment that ties me to my love. The liking has turned to love--and after love there is no turning back. The place has become a part of me. People sometimes break your heart. But places, it seemed, could never hurt your heart like that. And that has remained pretty much true. Returning to that place I love always heals my heart. I only hope that these places remain as they are...and don't get paved over for the next Wal-Mart. So sadly, I think places could break my heart too. After all, with love, there will always be some broken heart.

[In the absence of a camera, I had to dig out some photos of moments that I fell in love with a place. Most of the moments of falling in love are only in my heart...but these, well, there is a corresponding photo!]

Monday, August 16, 2010

what to do with an empty house

On Saturday, it was moving day for my grandma. She is moving to an assisted living complex, and I was there to help. And by help, I mean watching my nephew so that those in charge (i.e. my aunt, grandma, etc.) and those who could actually move furniture (i.e. my awesome brothers), could do what they needed to. I was a really hard job. But it left me contemplating the empty house.

It has been a little bizarre watching my grandma pack up a life of 89 years to go live in a tiny little room. Years of stuff scattered to the winds (between the DI, my room, my aunts, dad, uncle, brother, etc). If I remember right, she moved in to that house on 12th street in Ogden in 1954. That's a long time. For someone like me who falls apart when saying goodbye to a life of 2 years, pretty much I can't even comprehend it. It makes me realize that we really can't take our stuff with us. And I don't even mean that in a figurative, when you die kind of way. She literally cannot take much with her to this new place. But we humans sure love our stuff. And for those of us who are museum professionals, it reaches a new level. I really believe in preserving the past. That means I have a lot of stuff from my own past. I love to read...thus the hundreds of books I have at my moms. Sorry mom! And those things are important. But how much is too much?

As Saturday wore on, the house was empty. No furniture. Nothing on the walls. And I was getting pretty sad. For my grandma, and for myself. But there was my nephew...happy as could be with the few toys he had. Granted, he's four, so he has no concept of what was really going on. But he was pretty content to just throw toys down the mail slot, play Frankenstein/Dracula/the Mummy/Igor with his aunt, and play bowling with his kid sized bowling set. I learned a lot from him in that moment.

I realized that emptiness scares me. My grandma's empty house made me terribly sad and nervous. I equate emptiness with loneliness. And loneliness is scary. But I am trying to empty my own life. It is full, to be sure. I have amazing family. Some great friends. But it is time to create my own empty life. There is too much noise. Too much clutter. Too much baggage that I need to finally be done with. All of that stuff is hard to hold on to it sometimes, but it provides some level of comfort and so I keep holding on. My grandma had an empty house, but the important things remained. Family. Memories. Thought. It might be pretty sad sometimes, but the space will give me room to begin new chapters of my own life.

As I continue to create empty space in my own life, I hope that I can remember that amidst an empty house, there is room to play. And play in a way that couldn't be done with all that furniture and stuff cluttering up the room. The furniture served its purpose at one time...but the purpose is done and it is time for something new.

Monday, August 2, 2010

tired? hungry? lazy?

What's a person to do when this happens? McDonalds. That was my sad answer tonight. Sometimes I don't cook. Or go shopping. And then it happens. It's time to eat dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast. And there's nothing in my fridge. So, I eat out. Or sometimes I eat cereal for dinner and nothing for breakfast but diet coke. But normally it isn't fast food like McDonalds. I have eaten McDonalds twice this year. Once driving across the country (and really, I count those three days as free days...anything goes). And the other with a couple of my fellow interns at SITES. But there I was tonight. Closing the museum. Driving home. Tired. Hungry. And a bit at a loss. Didn't want to get out of my car. So I just saw the golden arches and just drove on through and got dinner. Easy. Maybe too easy... So, if I leave it at this one night, it's okay. But I have a sneaking suspicion that this is how horribly bad, addictive habits start. You're tired, lazy, unwilling to think of the best thing to do and you just do whatever is right there in front of you. Hopefully I won't add the fast food habit to a list of things that I probably should have stopped long ago. Once won't kill you. It never does. It's the time after that, and after that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"how's your summer going?"

What people really want to know is: what are you doing with your life? So, here it is. I graduated from George Washington in Museum Studies in May (on the National Mall, no less!) and landed a sweet internship in Park City. And by sweet, I mean it pays enough for me to live. That's it. It gives me experience, a new museum outlook, and the chance to do lots of random stuff I haven't done before! It's what was there... so I went for it. I am at the Park City Museum. It has been a great experience and I will just continue to go with it.

Fellow interns at the museum!

Telling people you work at a museum always gets some good reactions. People are generally interested, but overall confused at what happens at museums. Thus, they either ask if you are the curator or a docent. Little do most people know there are a whole host of in between jobs! Like education, taking care of the museum collection (like objects and photos), exhibit development, development (as in fundraising kind of fun), or administration. I am hoping for some sort of education/exhibit combo full time, permanent job in the future. But, as for what I have been doing so far this summer...
  • Research for potential brochure text about a temporary exhibit on music in Park City that the museum developed
  • Tasks related to the Historic Home tour (such as making posters, helping with a silent auction, and putting up LOTS of purple, yellow, and gold ribbons on historic houses in Park City)
  • Helping out with school tours! I gain an energy from people in general, and kids in particular.
  • Giving the occasional (generally last minute because a volunteer didn't show up) walking tour of historic Main Street in Park City.
  • Proofread exhibit text.
  • Help install exhibit (and see duct tape put to use in the process of exhibit it!)
  • Put my emerging Photoshop skills to use by cleaning up building maps so people can actually read them and use them for something other than constructing a building.
  • Play with the cutest Latino kids in outreach!
  • Set insect traps throughout the museum.
  • Man the front desk and welcome to the museum duties.
  • Wrote a little column for a weekly thing the museum does in the local paper--"The Way We Were" which highlights some historic photograph and a writeup of what's going on, history, etc. I did mine on railroads. Ha... recycled a bit of info from my research paper from my American Photography class.
  • And... going through, sorting, organizing, and filing lots and lots of dusty mining papers from the New Park Mining Company that were saved when Keetly Utah disappeared under the Jordanelle Reservoir. I am learning that archival organizing isn't the same as organizing at home. For instance, you aren't suppose to stuff as so much stuff into a folder that it begins to burst at the seams. Who knew? Not me...but I know now!
  • Often, I wear flip flops, t-shirts, and jeans to work. Yep... I am not in DC any longer.
The museum recently opened after a long renovation process. It is new and nice, and I have to say, after observing so many people in DC (who are probably museumed out), it is interesting to see people actually reading labels and looking at objects. Kids too!! Wow... They really have done a great job at the museum.

This is the Territorial Jail. Supposedly 11 people died down there and I am seriously waiting to see a ghost. Can't wait for it to happen! (And the skier subway--trying to use mining tunnels to transport skiers. I can't imagine why this didn't catch on!)

All photos taken from Park City Museum's Facebook Page.
I am not high tech enough on how to do this properly, maybe I will learn. Maybe this is the right way, I'm not sure.

Museum website:

[Note: There is a photo of me. I know... my last blog was void of pictures of me. I am going to try and be brave and put my face out there.]

Monday, July 26, 2010

new era, new blog

Let's be honest...time for a new blog. I thought about giving a face lift to the old standby, but I thought a new creation would do me some good. Don't get me started on the blog address. I chide my parents for spelling my name in such a "unique" way, pride myself on being able to find myself when I Google my name, yet everything seemed to not work for a blog address with my oh so unique name. Go figure. The address just is what it is.

And the name of my blog comes out of some things I have had on my mind as of late and a good conversation with a brilliant friend of mine. She seriously needs to write a book...or at least speak up above all the chatter that happens around us everyday.

Choice. We make them daily. Some aren't all that important. Hair straight or curly, jeans or skirt, blah, one ultimately cares about those things. But, then it comes down to the big things. School. Dating. Jobs. Spending time. Or money. My dad always says, "Just do the best you can with the information you have available." And so that's what we do. But sometimes we make awful decisions. We probably would do things differently in hindsight, but we did the best we could. And then the beating up of ourselves sets in. As I was making some decisions recently concerning my internship, my dad said, "You're a smart girl. You'll figure it out. You'll make the right decision." And all I could think was "NO. I could absolutely make the wrong decision." I have made wrong decisions in the past. The decision I make now could end up being a terrible one--time will tell. All we can do is keep deciding. It doesn't come down to making a right or wrong decision, really. It is just making a choice of any kind. Belief in right and wrong decisions can paralyze you. Which brings me to my next part of the blog's title.

Acceptance. I was chatting with my friend about her life and the place she is in. I recognized that the calm and serenity I sense from her comes from acceptance. Of things that are happening. Of mistakes. Of feelings, those both perceived as positive or negative. Acceptance of life. Acceptance of our own version of success. The periphery stuff melts away. Sadly we live in a society, culture, and religion dominated by competition, of milestones, or markers of success. I want to be in the place like my friend and refuse all that. It only makes us crazy. My grandma has always told me she started thinking for herself when she was 35. I always thought that was sad and in my know-it-allness of my 20s, I thought "Well, I have her beat. I already think for myself." And I did to some degree. But hopefully I can begin to accept life and recognize that I don't have to choose what everyone else is choosing. I am beginning to see what she really meant. And I hope I can have the courage to do so just like my dear grandma. Make a choice, be honest with how I feel, and accept whatever comes my way so I can make the best of it.

Here's hoping I don't forget I started a new blog!