Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sweet Harmony

“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
William Shakespeare

Did anyone notice the sliver of moon last night, with Venus right beside it, descending into the horizon together? That scene followed a beautiful sunset of oranges and pinks, jet trails colored by the light as their streaks glided much longer than normal into the sunset. Seems like whenever I see such a sight, I’m certain it is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it. Gave me such a happier heart. Or maybe a lighter one. Most welcome.

Two days by myself have put some life back into my step. Been walking with both feet in front of each of other since yesterday and I can’t quite recall what had made them so heavy the other day. My husband and youngest son arrived last night and it was good to see them. So far today, we have done nothing, which is perhaps exactly what we needed to do.

The cold front blew in yesterday while I was reading in my hammock. Had shorts and a t-shirt on when I suddenly felt chilled. Last night, wrapped in a blanket and sitting on the dock, fish jumping, ducks floating quietly beside us, my husband and I watched the stars. I decided running away from home isn’t always such a bad thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taking a Breath

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.
Anais Nin

Yesterday I ran away from home. I couldn't quite decide whether to do it or not. I participated in my usual stutter step. This time the guilt stutter step. Like is it fair of me to escape out to the lake? Should I leave my husband and that youngest son to fare for themselves? Not like they both haven't had a hellacious past few weeks. But helping prop their spirits while job seeking has put me in a place where I yearned for escape. I'm so glad I took a detour.

I don't begin my new job for another week and it has occurred to me that adopting myself to an employer's pace is definitely going to bring change. Not that raising three kids hasn't put me on someone else's schedule. (I discovered that during three natural childbirths when I so wanted a five minute break just to catch my breath.) I more than understand many/most women already juggle all this. But allow me a moment to whine and I'll share my escape through a few pictures my dear friend the travel writer sent me just this morning.

Three years ago, my husband and I fulfilled a longtime dream and bought a place on a lake in the Hill Country. Close to home, we have filled the cabin on weekends with over 150 people to share this rest area. But last night and today, I escaped by myself. I've spent the time working at my own pace. Doing for myself. Taking a breath.

It is warm in Texas right now. Like 85 degrees warm. Cold front due tomorrow. But for those of you still in the midst of winter, take a few moments to loll with me on the dock. That's where my book and I are headed. Tomorrow I'll go back to being a responsible, contributing member of society.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gas and a Candy Bar

temporary adjective
lasting for only a limited period of time; not permanent : a temporary job.

“So now that you have a job, will you still do your blog?” Only my wise ass friend, Beth, would ask that question. Remind me that I forgot to mention in the last post that my new job is only temporary. Like nine weeks temporary. Like they might have more projects after the one I’m on, or they might not.

So, yes, I do need to continue this trip as I've only been granted a pit stop on my road to employment. Sort of like a quick bathroom break where there is no line and you're not quite ready for a full tank of gas. Maybe a small bag of Doritos or a salted nut roll. That nine weeks of employment isn’t going to be the end of this road trip by a long shot.

Okay, now back to my glass of wine.

Underwear Required

job noun
a paid position of regular employment

I am the recipient of a new job. After two of the most boring hours I have spent in quite some time, I was handed a W4 and given a date to report for work. Remember those pictures of women lined up sitting next to each other at tables with sewing machines? The sweatshop? That will be me. Only instead of a sewing machine and hundreds of pieces of material to form into the same design, I will have a laptop and hundreds of essays of high school students to grade, in the same manner.

Still reeling from the events of last Thursday. I was right not to have been nervous for the interview. And I’m thinking I probably could have shown up naked and still got the job. I don’t mean to sound negative or ungrateful, but really. I think the only requirement was a Bachelor’s degree and a pulse. In other words, there is nothing I have done in the past 30 years that qualified me for this job beyond that. Hard for me to reconcile that.

Bad attitude? Perhaps. Do I need to adjust that? Absolutely. Do I plan to? You betcha! But in the meantime, I rant. And now the dust has settled and I’m ready to move forward. Why do I do that? Why do I always have to go through that little stutter step before I can put that next foot in front of the other?

Along with a paycheck, the other good thing? I don’t have to buy any new clothes. Casual attire is acceptable as long as I wear underwear. I can do underwear.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pajama Queen

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.
Groucho Marx

Tomorrow I have a job interview. I’m not nervous as it has been so long since I’ve had one, I don’t know any reason for worry. But it did occur to me a few moments ago that I should consider what I might wear. No question I should be digging through the files at this moment looking for my college degree (for proof I’m not imagining I graduated.) Also I need to find my passport for proof of citizenship and there was something else on that list of what I’m supposed to bring. Where did I put that list? The one with the directions?

But rather than finding that, I’m looking at my closet. Thinking I should have cleared it out long before now for time to do that will not be on any list I make in the near future. Somewhere in there is a pair of black pants and a black top with designs and a gray jacket. How boring that sounds. If only I could go in my pajamas. Now that would send a message of what I’m all about.

Comfort has long been my mantra. Long ago, in lands far away from Texas, I wore business suits. Panty hose, high heels. Even makeup. But life with three boys didn’t garner me any direction toward the fashion highway and let’s face it, when you’re raising kids, not wearing something they’ve eaten is a mark of a woman who pays attention to herself.

No surprise that on the day my youngest rode his bike to school alone, and I could settle next to my computer with my coffee cup, my style blossomed. Tucked securely away in the warmth of my nightwear and in the writing world, I closed out society, often not noticing the time of day until that youngest son came back in the door from school.

At night, I shopped via catalog for comfortable sleepwear. Warm for the winter, cool for the summer. Only requirement? Thick enough material on the top to hide my nipples from three sons and possibly the mailman if he came to the door with a large delivery. Over time a large collection of pajamas became an established commodity in my dresser drawers. Don’t get me started on how comfortable life became when I purchased a laptop and the bed became my desk. So much room to spread everything out there.

The email/snailmail life made it easy for me to maintain my slug attire. I often found myself sneaking out to the mailbox, hoping no one driving by would notice my working clothes. Although, that couldn't have been any worse than the day I found myself at the office supply store having run out of the house to quickly purchase computer paper. Saw some lady next to me give me the once over and looked down to see myself clad in purple running shorts, winter clogs, and a Green Bay Packer sweatshirt. I stood tall though. I had dressed for the day.

To tomorrow, I sigh. I guess I’ll have to brush my hair, too.

Breaking Through the Muck

"Your best is whatever you can do comfortably without having a breakdown."
From The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Have you ever looked back on the week that just passed and want to forget most of it? Did that last week. Experienced a lack of motivation, an absence of productive output. A week where I just seemed to go through the motions and tried not to feel for fear of keeling over. I looked back at my journal from the week (something I never do, but it seemed necessary to reclaim the time) and saw several redundant words– uncertainty, depression, non-restive night, fear. Yuck! Glad that week is over.

I did accomplish a few things, however. I arranged an interview for a temporary job. Sent out several job applications. Did our taxes. Finished reading three books. Last week was also my social week for the month – my Bunco group (we’ve met the second Tuesday of the month for the past 19 years and haven’t played Bunco in ten years) and my book club. Drank a bunch of wine with some friends after working out at the YMCA. Seems like I should have had fun with all of that. Maybe that’s what it was—I was too busy having fun. Or maybe, that is all I was able to concentrate on last week. Sometimes you just have to float where the river runs and hope faster waters will help shake off the muck you collected while idle.

This morning’s journal entry has a better word glued to the page – Rediscover. Don’t know why today seems brighter, but it does. Perhaps I needed to circle back to get down the right road.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Firing Darts

To win a race, the swiftness of a dart availeth not without a timely start.
Jean de LaFontaine

I just spent the past two hours perusing job sites, tossing the various forms of my resume out to prospective employers. Taking the advice of a friend, I shot darts to see where they land. This isn't the first round of aimless tossing. I've had a few no-thank-you or job-already-filled responses to queries, but a most lovely reply arrived from a part-time accounting job for a non-profit rowing organization. Apparently I was one of 100 to apply for the position. Although they wanted to hire us all, they did offer a brief reprieve from job hunting to come down and go on a two-hour rowing trip, for free. How cool is that! I know how to row.

Meanwhile, I'm sorting the year's paperwork to configure our taxes. Mild distraction, but hopefully a profitable one. With paper all over the room, it looks like I'm doing something.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True? Or Not?

Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.
From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

More to this job hunt business than I thought. Perhaps I shouldn’t be putting so much thought into it. But after years of pursuing my passion and seeking contentment within myself, seems I should be able to employ the skills and smarts I’ve compiled in the past twenty years. How do I bottle that and put it out for sale?

I recently completed a study on individuation. A Carl Jung word created to describe the process of becoming aware of oneself and discovering your true being. I am not a philosopher. Nor am I a big fan of the entanglement of long words. Saying the word “individuation” tripped me up, hindering my understanding of what I was supposed to be learning.

As I searched for a simpler definition it finally dawned on me that this concept wasn’t anything different than a year-long study I completed some eleven, twelve years ago. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach – a book that changed my life. Prior to that journey, several moves, nine years of diaper changes and hours spent pushing boys in a swing brought me to an eclectic mix of uncertainty regarding myself: a lover of Andrew Wyeth as well as the light and color of Renoir. Lover of the tall spires of a larkspur along with a compact bed of waving pansies. Lover of Earl Gray tea or a shot of tequila.

By following the simple processes Breathnach proposed, like listing daily gratitudes (which some days consisted of 'The sun came up' or 'Thank God the dog only goes into heat every six months’) and the illustrated journal (magazine pictures of things I loved or simply caught my eye), I noticed a pattern. A road map of sorts, that even though I was all over the place, a connection of my sundry likes existed. With that new knowledge of inner self, I pursued many of my passions—like writing—and found gratification and comfort in the pursuit.

Where does that success serve me in finding a job? Can I find work with a steady paycheck that holds true to my authentic self? My passion? My progress in the individuation process? Do I sling hamburgers for a paycheck? Or does it simply depend on how hungry we get? What's your answer?


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