Sunday, August 20, 2006

People say the darndest things

People I know continue to surprise me -- and not in a good way.

I talked with my mother last night about her visit in October. She told me she is giving me a diamond bracelet I gave her for Xmas about 20 years ago. She is parceling out her jewelry and possessions. She planning to have it all done before she dies because she's certain she's not going to be around next year. I teased her asking if she was going to give me the diamond earrings I gave her for her her birthday when I first started working. She said she couldn't because she gave them to Beanie. Even my brother's youngest daughter, Alexandria, keeps asking if she is still going to get the jewelry Mom promised her.

Listening to Mom talk about who gets what disturbs me. It isn't as if I don't understand my parents aren't going to be around forever, but it's still difficult listening to her talking about all this. This isn't just Mom's way of getting another vacation the way she has so many times over the past few years, wheedling Dad with seeing New Orleans or Montana or wherever "one more time".

I remember my grandfather talking about dying all the time, saying he wouldn't be around for long. He did this throughout my childhood and didn't die until I was in my twenties. I still miss him but learned to discount his talk of dying. Mom started doing the same thing about three or four years ago. I'd chalk it up to following in her father's mental footsteps, but Grandpa never gave up his prized possessions. Mom loves her jewelry like I love certain books I own and she's giving them all away in such a matter-of-fact way. She wants to make sure what she intends is carried out. I told her not to worry. After dealing with my ex-husband's family, the vulture clan, and the feeding frenzy when Andre Norton was in the hospital a couple of years before she died, my sisters and brother know that I won't stand for them acting in the same way. I have told them all I would kill them, go to prison for the rest of my life and let the state have everything if they even acted like they wanted to fight over Mom and Dad's possessions like a pack of wild hyenas. I am a very pacific person who flees in the face of violence, but this I will do. I won't allow my parents' wishes to be ignored in the name of selfish greed. Things aren't worth that much.

Mom's not the only person who has surprised me lately.

One of my more pleasant tasks is talking people into allowing me to publish their adventures in radio. One friend, whose pictures I have posted here, has a marvelous project he built in a pair of Batman pencil tins. I emailed him asking if I could publish the pictures and narrative in the next issue of the ham radio club's newsletter. A couple hours later he emailed back to "respectfully decline". I was stunned.

It took me a while to figure out he doesn't believe his project good enough to be published. He's wrong. I won't publish anything that doesn't interest me or doesn't show a high level of expertise, functionality and creativity. His project has all three and so much more. I even offered to use the information on the ATS-3 bulletin board to write the article if he didn't have the time but no deal. I see so few really creative and functional home brewed projects and his are always fascinating. It's such a delight to see him take materials that have no relationship or bearing on ham radio and turn them into multi-use equipment to take when he's backpacking and playing radio.

I can understand being humble and even being shy of the limelight but he posts his projects at online bulletin boards for like-minded ham operators but continues to elude my best efforts to publish him in the newsletter. Ordinarily I would hound him the way I hound others until they get tired and give in, but I prize our friendship too much to subject him to my hard sell, wheedling approach. He seems to have little tolerance these days for levity or coercion, digs in his heels like a bull and refuses to budge. He has enough difficulties to face without me making it worse because I want to showcase his project.

One of my hopes is to inspire young people to get involved in ham radio with creative projects like this, showing them that radio can be fun as well as challenging and the only limits are those imposed on us. Every time I see that excited grin on experienced hams when they talk about their projects or the first time they were exposed to radio I want to spread the news and infect more people. The newsletter is how I spread the creative seeds and projects like this one are perfect for helping the seed take root and grow. Projects like this show that with a little ingenuity and thinking outside the box amateur radio is not an expensive hobby or avocation. It's fairly easy to put together an expensive kit or buy a ready made radio but thinking outside the box and building a radio and antenna with inexpensive materials puts radio within the reach of younger radio enthusiasts. What better way to show them than in a newsletter like this one?

The older I get the less I understand people. I wonder if I will ever understand as long as people keep throwing me curves when I'm not wearing my baseball glove.

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