My 2002 in Review: “Turning”
January 1, 2004 (only a year late)
Two years ago I used the metaphor of “crossing rivers” as a theme for relating the events of my life during 2001. That year was all about change. I mentioned the story about the frustrated little girl, her pennies, and a turned piggy bank. I included the quote from Wendell Johnson, author of People In Quandaries: “If we are ever to become what we might have been, we must cease being what we’ve become.”
I think that’s important enough to repeat: “If we are ever to become what we might have been, we must cease being what we’ve become.”
By the end of 2001, I felt I had made significant strides toward ceasing what I had become (pre-2001). In these past two years, I feel I’ve progressed beyond just ceasing. If you will allow me some immodesty, I’ll go so far as to say that I now find myself confidently jogging down the road to what I might become (2004 and beyond).
For me, 2002 was a year of “turning” …
- Received a speeding ticket on January 1st to inauspiciously start the year; I felt I was improperly cited and didn’t care for the officer’s attitude, so I decided to challenge it.
- Signed a 6-month lease to rent half of a duplex that was built by a friend of a friend of my stepmother who decided she wasn’t quite ready to retire and move in to the home she had just built. It had sat empty for a year; she wanted somebody to occupy it but she didn’t want to rent it to just anybody; since I wasn’t “just anybody” but a “somebody of limited means,” we made a deal that I would rent her ‘new’ 2000 sq ft, 3 bed/2 bath duplex for $500 a month plus utilities.
- Began working for the Institute of General Semantics on a part-time basis as “Director for Programs.”
- Formed the Dallas-Fort Worth Center for General Semantics; gave my www.ThisIsNotThat.com website a makeover to become www.stevestockdale.com with the intent to develop a general semantics “practice” to consult and teach in order to supplement my part-time pay from the Institute.
- Proposed to the Institute’s Board of Trustees to move the Institute’s library and archives from New Jersey to Fort Worth and establish a public office under the auspices of the DFW Center for GS; proposal approved.
- Assisted my ex-wife Cheryl sell her house in a rather short period — 3 weeks from the day the ad appeared in the paper to closing.
- Began search for appropriate and affordable office space.
- Signed a lease on office space at 1412 Texas Street near downtown Fort Worth.
- Moved 2,000 books, 35 file cabinets, and a 20-foot moving van full of other items from New Jersey to Fort Worth, assisted by my daughter Stacy and her friends Emily and Leah who had just completed their freshman year at college.
- Through the adult education center Fun/Ed, offered 4 classes:
— Untangle the Tangled Webs You (verbally) Weave
— Writing for Self-Awareness and Expression
— How to Ask a Question
— The Semantics of Dating
- All Fun/Ed classes canceled for lack of enrollment.
- Joined the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
- Stacy, my “Hey 19”-year old daughter, served as Maid of Honor in her friend Candice’s wedding.
- Worked as administrator for the Institute’s week-long Seminar-Workshop at Alverno College in Milwaukee.
- Benefited from a nice article about me and the DFW Center printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which resulted from a chance encounter on the street with well-known local journalist Bob Ray Sanders.
- Resurrected (temporarily) my Chanticleer Calls vanity journal.
- Attended my decade-noteworthy High School Reunion with about a third of my 54-member graduating class from Olton High School. (Olton is in the Texas Panhandle and locates halfway between Hart and Hart Camp, and halfway between Earth and Halfway.)
- Fun/Ed went out of business; my classes were again canceled (but not for lack of enrollment this time).
- Successfully defended myself in court (238 days after the event) on the January 1 speeding ticket allegation. (Actually, the citing officer didn’t attend the hearing so the case was dismissed; that technicality in no way diminishes the righteous justice of my defense.)
- Accepted speaking invitation from the Chamber of Commerce to talk to their group of Action Ambassadors. (40 attendees)
- Exploiting the publicity from the Star-Telegram article, offered a free Orientation Session in general semantics to the public. (6 attendees)
- Gave a presentation on some basics of general semantics to a group of clients of my career coach, Helen Harkness. (20 attendees)
- Spoke to a local Writer’s Group on the topic “Does Your Writing Make Sense?” (7 attendees)
- Submitted proposals for Continuing Education classes to four local schools: University of Texas-Arlington (UTA), Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, and Tarrant County College (TCC) in Fort Worth. Received no reply from TCU, positive replies from UTA, SMU and TCC.
- Drove to New York City for quarterly Institute Board meeting and the end-of-living celebration for Charlotte Schuchardt Read, who died in July. Returned with carload of archives items.
- Gave a presentation at the downtown library’s annual “LibraryFest” activities. (5 attendees)
- My maternal grandmother (“Mom”) died at age 89, eight years after suffering a stroke from which her doctor had said she would never recover and wouldn’t survive off life support equipment. He was right, and he was wrong.
- Because I got sick at the last minute, postponed trip to Las Vegas to do some coordinating work for planning the Institute’s October 2003 International Conference in Las Vegas.
- Because I got sick at the last minute, canceled trip to Concord, California, to discuss the worsening financial situation with the International Society for General Semantics.
- Drove to New York City for the Institute’s annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and for our quarterly Board meeting; presented financial analysis that highlighted the dire prospects for the International Society and suggested that one organization would serve the interests of general semantics better than two.
- Joined the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), drove to Atlanta to attend their annual convention to assess the prospects of the Institute and general semantics making inroads within their organization/membership.
- Flew to Las Vegas and completed the planning work that had been postponed from October. Established academic and administrative contacts at UNLV; decided to change hotels from the Stardust to the Orleans.
We discriminate against people to the degree we fail to distinguish between them.—Irving J. Lee
We think that is which appears to be.—Henry David Thoreau
To a mouse, cheese is cheese. That is why mouse traps are effective.—Wendell Johnson