These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

sittin' next to al

holland's lone hispanic council member isn't running for anaother term in office. i am unsure how long he's been sitting on the council's ward 2 seat, but my guess is that it's been some time.

he announced last month that he wasn't running again because of illness in his family and wanted to spend more time with his family.

now, the growing hispanic population of holland has no one to represent it, at least not for now. i think it's important to have someone on the council how's of latin descent. of course, i'd also like an asian and black up there, maybe another woman or two, as well.

regardless, last week, i received an e-mail from a city employee who told me that there were some community leaders who were compiling a list of names of people who lived in ward 2 who are hispanic. my guess is they want to narrow the list to someone they'd like to run for the ward and keep another hispanic in the council.

anyway, the e-mail went on to say that my name was one of the ones mentioned for this list. i do live in ward 2. i read the e-mail once. then i read it again. i think i might have read it a third time.

i knew what my response was the first time, even before i got to the end of the e-mail, where it said tha perhaps working at a newspaper would be a conflict of interest. i couldn't do it. there are many reasons.

i don't fancy myself a politician. i usually berate politicos, especially having come from duval county, texas. it's a place where politics is a craft that people have sharpened to the point where it's nauseating.

also, i don't have the no how for such a position. i'd make a fool of myself up there sitting on one of those confy chairs. i guess plain and simple, i'm too dumb for it.

plus, we've only been living in town for less than four years and in the ward for less than that. i know many members of the community because of my job and people know me for the same reason. but i'm still a newcomer in town.

i wrote back saying i was flattered and honored but declined because my position at the paper is a major conflict.

it means a lot that people would think enough of me to consider my name or me as a person who could be placed on a ballot for city council.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

someone's always got it worse

i was grumbling this morning about not being able to get ahead of the game financially.

dawn woke me up and said she'd redone some tax info. and it turns out we're getting less from the state than she'd first thought. however, we're still paying the same from the gov. so we can't really use peter to pay paul.

in other words, we have to do some shifting with our finances.

so i get up not really pissed off but a more frustrated than anything else, especially now that dawn has a permanent gig. yet, we have to rearrange things.

so i wash up and jump online to check my e-mail, look at headlines. i see i have a new e-mail from my friend debra in north carolina titled "bad news."

i clicked on it and it was a short e-mail, but it said all it needed to. her parents' house caught fire earlier today and they weren't able to bring her mother out alive.

that stopped me in my tracks and melted away all the frustration i'd been feeling. i couldn't imagine what my friend was going through. here i was complaining about income taxes and finances and my frend's mother died in a house fire. that really puts things in perspective.

to be honest, i'd slipped the past few weeks. i'd lost sight of things and my brain had been wracked with things it wasn't supposed to. i'd been chastizing myself for it because i knew i'd lost sight of the important things in life again.

it's not easy to keep things clear, especially when there are situations and circumstances around you that try to overwhelm and smother you. to quote a franklin covey video, you get caught up in the whirlwind. well, i try to stay out of that sonofabitch as much as i can.

last night my dad was taken to the hospital. he's fine now, but he lookied like he was dying, according to my mom. he looked really bad. his white cell count was at 700 and 1400 is considered low. he had fever and he'd urinated blood. he couldn't even get in and out of the car by himself. today he sounded better when i talked to him, although he can have only few visitors and then they have to wear a mask.

so, yeah, once again perspective is so important. keep sight of the big picture and focus on those things that matter most.

my heart goes out to my friend. it really does.