Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Proofreading with a Purpose

Just when I thought my life was going to be nothing but hardtags and hangars from now on, I had the opportunity to proofread a thesis paper for one of my former Czech students. She's studying linguistics and wrote a very interesting paper covering variations in the English language in England. It was pretty fascinating, and brought back memories of my History of English class in college. It was really so nice to be able to reach out and help someone. She was also pretty much in awe of how fast I was able to do it. Guess my English degree still counts for something ;)
I'm now almost to my Friday of the week. I've only got four short shifts total for the week, so I've made it through three. At the beginning of today I thought it was going to be a real drag. There were a few things from yesterday that I'd done wrong and therefore had to fix today. Let's just say making errors has never been something I enjoy. That's part of why I could never understand bad kids in classrooms, or misbehavior in general. I hate hate HATE being in trouble. Therefore, I always try to do things right in order to avoid any awkwardness. I can accept that it's all a part of the learning process, something everyone has to go through that will make life easier in the future, but it's still a bummer.
Fortunately, by the end of the day we'd done everything so well in the stock room (we were also blessed with FAR fewer boxes of clothes to rehang and tag) that we were awarded "star cards." Wahoo! Seriously, I feel like one of those elementary school kids with a green card. I did good Mommy. I got a Star card. That means I'm special and can maybe win some money in a drawing. Honestly, it totally boosted my esteem and made me feel like the whole day was a bit more worthwhile. Yeah for positive motivation. It works WAAAAAAAY better on me than the negative variety. Yes, make me learn from my mistakes, but making me miserable by telling me how much I suck is never helpful. That would be the reason I quit working at the Maids after one month. That and the fact that I kept getting stuck with this lady who didn't speak any English so I had to do extra customer service work for her while she still got paid for it. (sigh) Probably better not to go there. It'd be pretty lame to still be bitter after like 8 years.
Anyhow, I'm slowly getting into the swing of things. I still don't think getting up at 6 is exciting, but it could be worse. Much worse.
So this day is rounding out well. Kudos at work. A proofreading project I can feel really good about, and a dinner that doesn't really require any effort on my part because we just have to throw it in the oven. It'd be great if all days were so balanced in the end.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cardboard Boxes and Razor Blades

That's sort of what my new job is all about. Today was day one. Day one which started at 5:45 this morning. I can do this. Yes I can. But perfect...not so much. Combine the typical nervousness about starting a new job and not being certain if my new clothes will fit the "dress code" (note: this is not a uniform so they don't have to provide us with the clothes, but they still reserve the right to say, "That isn't really a blue shirt.") or if I'll be ready to get up in time for everything and you'll understand why I spent a considerable amount of time awake in the night. (sigh)
(Side Note: the way I write blogs is definitely NOT the way I would write a book! All the adds and asides, the wishy washy ways the paragraphs get tossed together definitely don't make for a great writing experience. They're a voice, true, but not one that you use in a professional setting. This is said because I'm currently reading a self-published book that does all the things a person trying to sell a book shouldn't do. I bought it because the author was doing a signing and was friendly and helpful and I thought I should support the local art scene. Hmmm... Let's just say I'm just being reminded of what I shouldn't do if I want people to actually read, enjoy and purchase anything that I write.)
I did manage to pull off a semi-professional attitude at least. In some ways it reminds me a bit of my time at the mill. The people are a bit different than that crew, but it's a similar sort of repetitive busy work kind of job. Today I spent the morning breaking down boxes as the others unloaded merchandise off of a truck and sorted it out. Then I got to put things on shelves and learn where everything goes. Like I said before, definitely busy work, but somewhat interesting and slightly less dirty than working in the mill. Plus I get a chance to see all the new stuff going out on the floor, so when I find something I really want to buy I can put my new discount to work.
It's just part time right now, but by noon I was pretty thankful that I got to go home. The time went pretty quickly, but after so many months of not working it was sa big change of place to suddenly have a job again.
What a strange life I've lived. I mean seriously. It's just odd. Such is my life.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It is Finished...

A few years ago, rather a long time ago I suppose when I really think about it, my dad asked me to speak at our Good Friday Service. It was quite an honor really. I can't say that I enjoyed the Good Friday services of my early youth. Back in those bygone Horse Creek days the speakers were all men, and most of them seemed overly excited by the opportunity to hear themselves speak. Probably they were nervous. After all, they were mostly working type men, not at all speakers, but it seemed to me that they would go on and on for hours and my child brain had trouble retaining any of what they said.
Maybe before I drone and on and on and get totally off subject I should explain a bit about these services. I realize that first paragraph really can't be called a well constructed paragraph anyway. If I was turning that in for a class or anything real I would be laughed at for putting so many different ideas together and pretending they were somehow cohesive. Anyhow, that's all beside the point.
So these services are a time to reflect on the 7 sayings of Jesus when he hung on the cross. It's a very profound time to really imagine the suffering he went through and to reflect on what that should mean to us in our lives today. I love taking the time to really meditate on these words of pain, suffering and victory, all poured out in the midst of the most intensely horrifying experience imaginable. It's not the sort of thing I love in a warm fuzzy sort of way, but in the way it impacts my soul every time I force myself to deal with these important truths.
At the service, Dad would always choose different people to speak about each saying. As I stated before, when I was a kid these were always men. Perhaps it was suited to the era and location. Whatever the reason, they didn't impact me quite the way they do now. Except I always looked forward to hearing Nancy Hood, the amazing woman who devoted months of her life to living basically in solitary confinement in a forest service lookout tower, singing "Were You There," in her mellow tenor voice. It was a haunting experience that has stayed with me from early childhood, and was later carried on by my sister Julie singing the song at the Blodgett services. It was also in Blodgett that Dad broadened the scope of the speakers he used. Soon it was a glorious mix of men and women of a variety of ages.
The year I was chosen to speak I was just back from my first year in Hong Kong, all raw with emotion, and uncertain about the future. (Yes, that's a pretty common theme for me.) True to his discerning character, Dad chose just the right passage for me to speak about. The misplaced English Major rejoiced in having the shortest verse, only three words, in which to pour all her thoughts and reflections. I knew I would have to present the topic in at least three different ways in order to really do it justice, and no doubt now I'd add even more layers.
I made one large mistake, however. When it came time to speak, perhaps it was out of foolish pride, I chose just to speak my thoughts, rather than to read the words I'd carefully thought out and typed up. I've always been better at writing things right than at speaking them. I'm not a story teller but a story writer.
So now I thought it would be nice to share the written version with anyone curious enough to read it.

John 19:30 "It is finished."

When Jesus proclaims, "It is finished," just prior to his death on the cross, the words take on a multitude of meanings. The word "finished" brings about a closure to all that has come before. Jesus' ministry is finished. His time on Earth as the Son of Man, is finished. The prophecies that have been spoken throughout time concerning the Messiah have come to an end, all of them having been satisfied in the life and death of Christ. Along with these finales, Jesus is closing the door on the sins of the world. His task on earth is complete. In his deepest moment of despair, these words are a sign of relief. The end is at hand as he "[gives] up his spirit," and leaves this mortal life.
In the book of John, much emphasis is placed upon Jesus' "in the role of the Jewish rabbi" (Thomas/Gundry 296). This can be seen in the entire passage on the crucifixion in his gospel. Throughout these verses he details all the ways in which Jesus is fulfilling prophecy. In verse 28, Jesus has gone through all that has come to pass and realizes "all was now completed." He then goes on to die so that scripture will continue coming to pass, by preventing his legs from being broken to speed up his death. This also led to him being pierced which also complied with prophecy. Jesus knew all that had been written about him before his birth. He knew what he must do in order to accomplish what he had come to earth to do. His comment that "it is finished," signifies his awareness of the moment that has, at long last, arrived.
There is more to be seen in these words than merely a completion of prophecy, however. These words can be seen as a sigh of relief. The past few days had been heavy on this man. He had been tortured and mocked. Though knowing he was innocent of any wrong doing, he was sentenced to a horrifying death that included being deserted by all those who had once been his friends and devoted followers. The hardest of all, however, was the burden of the sins on his shoulders, leading to separation from God. During the time he hung there, Jesus experienced Hell. As God cannot even look upon sin, Jesus was left utterly alone. It is impossible to imagine what this must have felt like. To go from total harmony with his Father, to no contact whatsoever is an impossible agony to fathom. It is not surprising then, as he hung there adding everything up in his head, that when he realized that all had been fulfilled he couldn't help sighing with relief that it was finished. All the work had been worth it and he was soon to be reunited with the Delight of his heart. This thought would have given him unspeakable joy. He is at a point where he has seen the bleak consequences of sin. Not only has he experienced the life of man, but he has seen where sin will lead. So he gives up his spirit with the knowledge that these people he loves so very dearly will now be able to experience eternal life with God. He has effectively paid the price for the entire world so that all might be free.
In my current position in life, I see another important element in this verse as well. While perhaps not as crucial as fulfilling prophecies, or as relieving as knowing that the separation from God will soon be over, and life has been attained for all who believe, I still think it is interesting to ponder the idea of Jesus leaving this life he has lived behind. Over the past year, I have experienced an incredible life. I have been able to reach out to the world in ways I have never before experienced. By taking care of the babies at Mother's Choice, I have come to look at Jesus life here on earth a little differently than I would have before. Jesus came to rescue us. He lived among us and looked after all our needs, just as I did with the babies in Hong Kong. In so many ways, we are just like those neglected infants. On our own, we are utterly helpless. While on Earth Jesus was able to give aid first hand to his wayfaring children. He was able to heal the sick, and inspire the downtrodden. He could see the needs of those around him, and reach out and touch them, watching the wonder on their faces as he handed them life. He loved them so deeply that when his friend Lazuras died he wept (John 11:35). When I had to leave my precious babies it was so incredibly hard. After caring for them for so long, it was hard to imagine leaving them. No longer would I be able to see to their daily needs. No longer would I know what was going on in their lives. While Jesus is still able to help us in our daily needs and reach out to our wounded hearts, I can't help but wonder if there was some pain in the thought of leaving them on their own. He already knew that there would be trials for them in the days to come. He already knew that Peter had denied him. Here he has given every thing for these people, and now he has to leave them to struggle along in this life without his visible presence. When he said "it is finished" he knew that all of this was over. There would be no more boat rides on the Sea of Galilee, no more walking on the dusty streets of Jerusalem, no more talking firsthand to the people he loves. I doubt that he was sad to leave. He was well aware that he would still be able to keep track of them all, still be there to whisper to their hearts through the Holy Spirit, yet a change was indeed taking place. One that will not be reversed until he comes again.
As I think over all these three simple words can mean, I am again in awe of all that Jesus has done. The exhaustion that he felt at the end of his life on earth is beyond any I can even fathom. He bowed his head with the knowledge that he had done a job well done. Along with that, all he could do was trust that people would see and believe. There was nothing more that could be done for those there watching. The time had come to leave them to ponder all he had done, even as he bore away all the evil of the world. What an amazing gift. What a heavy ending. It is finished.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day one complete

Well, after four hours of watching orientation videos I feel, um, overwhelmed maybe? Or more just over exposed. When you spend that long staring at TV screens you really don't get a whole lot out of it. Fortunately they have a first day that is also training or I'd be struggling for sure. My eyes glazed over after about the first five minutes. I had a few starbursts to sugar rush me through, but otherwise it was just a drag. Fortunately, I wasn't alone in training, and the manager was there joking about it all the whole time, so we were able to do more than just go fully brain dead.
In my last post I sorta got off the track of what I'd originally intended to write. I was actually thinking to do a piece on culture shock. There is always an element of that feeling going into a new job. It might be done in your native language, but there are all these specialized terms and acronyms to take in and process. Each job has it's own list of skills, and each store it's own way of dealing with things. I really am feeling rather numb after it all.
I was greeted with warm hugs and sweet words when I got home. It's nice to have someone to support me through all these things. He asked me what sort of feeling I got from the job, if I think I'll be happy and like it there. At the moment I was so filled up with information that all I could do was point out my sadness at having lost another mini bottle of hand sanitizer off my purse. I'm literally starting everything over again, at the very bottom of the heap, with nothing in my background to suggest my ability to do this job. I'm sure I can get it done, can be competitive and efficient and friendly in whatever order they're expected, but it does take a total mind readjustment.
I'm not going to be teaching. I'm not going to get any respect. I'm going to be talked down to out of necessity, as the training videos made it painfully clear. I'm not going to make a lot of money or work decent hours. In truth, I'll be starting Monday morning at 7AM, a thought that sends little pin pricks of fear down my spine. At least I won't be expected to deal with the general public at that hour, but not being a morning person it'll be the usual stretch that such things are. While Julie got all excited about working hours like that, I just hope I can manage to be friendly and active as expected.
I think the biggest challenge will be knowing that I'm not really helping anyone. I've always struggled in situations that aren't somehow service oriented. I need that feeling of working for the greater good to maintain balance. Somehow I have to convince my brain that organizing things on shelves and providing an enjoyable shopping experience is worth my time and effort. I have to really value the fact that I'll be working at a store that provides lower cost fashion to people who want to look nice but can't afford to shop at high end stores. That's a service, right? And somehow valuable... I know it'll be a struggle, but the people seem really friendly so far, and I have always enjoyed shopping there, so I'm hoping to be able to step up to the challenge and make a good go of this new job choice.
I just wish someone would be there bright and early Monday morning to remind me exactly why I opted for a job with this type of schedule!

It Starts Today...

Today I will return to the world of the employed. I always get such a strange feeling in my stomach when I get to this point. Once again, I'm entering into something completely new. Uncharted territory so to speak. I've had such a strange collection of jobs to file away on my resume, and today I enter the world of retail.
It's really not surprising that I've found it hard to get a job over the past couple of months. Besides the fact that all my work experience comes from different states of countries, it also all covers different fields. I have service jobs in both janitorial and housecleaning fields. I have manual labor experience from the mill as well as farther back when I worked in Italy in High School. I have child care experience at Mother's Choice, food service experience from Great Harvest, and a bit of a professional turn with my teaching jobs. It's a pretty mismatched collection, and with the exception of my ESL job, most of it has nothing to do with my college English degree.
As I think back over my career history I really am in awe of all I've been able to do. I've worked with so many different kinds of people. Let me tell you that the people in the mill and those cleaning toilets are a far cry from the fresh young university grads that seek to teach English on foreign soil, or the European gap year girls who want to hold babies in Hong Kong. I've been so blessed to learn from all of these people, to get a glimpse into their hearts and their worlds.
Of course, I file all these experiences away with the hope that they will serve to bolster my writing career as well. I've collected instances, stories, characters, scenery, etc from around the world that I hope will one day allow me to speak to more than my little blog or e-mail following. While I won't allow myself to be deluded, to believe that the world is going to be so interested in what I have to say that I'll suddenly find myself the next big literary star, but I have a voice, I have some vision, and a unique selection of life experiences to draw from.
I'm curious to see what this new job will add to what I've learned already. I'm curious to see how it will shape and form me, how it will educate me in yet another facet of life. The future is still a misty veiled question, but at least I have a little security for the moment, a chance to throw myself back into the world of productive citizens and to support my little family. Strange that I'm no longer dependent solely on and for myself. My time is no longer just my own, nor are my interests.
It's funny to look briefly ahead, to know there will be those learning curve days soon to come, those days when I can still count how long I've been there, and then slowly watch them turn into a line of predictability and routine. I'm starting off part-time, so I should still be able to focus on things at home as well as the writing I've been trying to do. But at least it's a start, a move in the right direction.
Now if I can just keep my "teacher voice," in check and learn to take instruction, criticism and direction all should be well :)

Monday, April 18, 2011


Well, I probably shouldn't jump the gun too much, after all I still have to pass the background check, but I think it's pretty safe to say that I finally (sigh) got a job. I'm curious to see what it will be like to work in retail. I've had such an odd assortment of jobs in the past and it only seems right to squeeze in a little retail as well. Makes me look more well rounded. I could tell they were a bit nervous looking at my jumpy background, but seemed to think I had the stuff stock shelves and keep the place in shape. My job history doesn't even go back far enough to cover things like my time working as a maid or in the mill, but I guess I looked competent enough to help unload boxes off of trucks. My open availability was a bit positive aspect as well. In a college town it's difficult to find people who have such open schedules.
Mark and I had a great trip to Seeley Lake, Montana this weekend. The place my parents are currently staying is really beautiful. There are beautiful lakes and breath taking mountains to be seen when the sky clears up. It didn't clear up much the two days we were around, but we were able to see a wee bit here and there. We also had a chance to observe some of the many white tail deer that seem to nearly blanket the countryside. They're quite different from the black tail variety I'm used to on the West Coast. These deer have foxy like tails that are nearly long enough to look like they're wagging when they run a bit. Dad told me that when they get nervous and break into a serious run they stick straight up so you can see the fluffy white underside. I didn't ever see them in that much action. In fact, when we were driving out we had one stroll ever so leisurely right across the road in front of us that if I hadn't slowed down super early I likely would have bumped it. She was just taking her sweet time.
The deer also wander about through their open yard. There's some code in the part of Seeley Lake where they live that prohibits building fences so the space around the house is open to all the other very fancy log cabin style masterpieces. They're definitely built for the aesthetic appeal while having plush insides quite contrary to the original settler cabins in the area. Anyhow, the deer just mosey right on by. One mother and her baby were clearly looking for handouts. They came right up close and the mama ate some strawberries right by the stairs to the patio. Pretty cute. I did take some pictures, but I haven't managed to figure out how to get them from my phone to my computer just yet. I need to get some help from my Love for that. I did manage to download a ton of pictures from my camera that span back to our flight from Czech. Hmmm....guess that means it's been a while since I posted any photos. I need to go through them a bit more and maybe I'll do a picture post in the near future to backlog the past 5 months. Hard to believe we've been here so long already, but at the same time it really does feel like it's been ages.
Hopefully we'll have a chance to get back up to Montana before Mom and Dad leave so we can visit Glacier Nat'l Park and take more pictures. This trip was so quick that we didn't really have much chance anyway.
I think that about wraps things up for now. I'm definitely feeling relieved that the job search seems to be at an end for the present. I'll be sure to fill more in once I know all the details of what my career at Ross Dress For Less will entail. As long as there are some fashion perks I'm sure it won't be all that bad :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nerves and Question Marks...

Heading out for my interview in about an hour. Not much time to pull my thoughts all together and to remind myself that I'm a competent, confident professional who enjoys discount fashion and cheap journals as well as interacting with the public and fellow employees on a daily basis. All of these things are true after all.
Today Adelia had a big report to give in her class at school. She had the project in plenty of time to get it all done, but playing, or burying her nose in a book about cats, is far more appealing to her than getting things done for school. Procrastination. I taught her that word just yesterday as she was sobbing about how she had no time to get it all done, it was just to much, and heaven forbid she had to stand up and talk in front of 22 people. Not that I can't understand that there is some pressure in such a situation, but the dramatics were pushing the envelope to be sure. Hard to reason with someone in such a state, so I let her be to continue putting it all off to the last minute when her dad could deal with it. Definitely best to let him work through that mess.
Anyhow, there is a point to this story. On our walk back from dropping the kids off for school Julie was saying how Adelia did manage to get it all taken care of in the end, and if she could just channel her inner confidence she would have no trouble giving her presentation (even with 22 sets of eyes all focused on her). It made me think of how I need to find some way to harness all my potential from years of teaching professional adults, and use that to help things move in the right direction with this interview. Not that I'm going to let myself slip into my teacher voice and persona, but just that relaxed sort of professionalism that exudes confidence, even when I don't fully know what to say or do. Maybe she'll ask me to explain some illusive grammar point and I can prove my usefulness to the fashion world...or maybe not. Either way, I'm down to about half an hour before I should head out so it's probably time to move along and get ready for the next step.
Oh, and Julie went to Adelia's presentation and said it went off without a hitch, so all is well and once again the eleventh hour slap job has saved the day. Too bad she got into this habit so young. I didn't settle into that sort of thinking until college when I ceased to see the point in writing a paper earlier than the day before it was due since I kept getting A's on things written in a matter of 2 to 4 hours. Ah well. Win some lose some I guess.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Well, at long last I've made it beyond the digital copy of information and I get to have an actual interview. It's been so long since I've had a normal job interview that I'm a bit uncertain how to prepare for it all, but hopefully I still have what it takes to impress. I've got my clothes all laid out and ready, and I've thought about all the reasons I love shopping at Ross and how even my weaknesses can turn to strengths for the company and all of that good stuff. But at least I have a fighting chance to get closer to having a job.
I have to say I'm not too certain about this new era of job applications. Not that handing in my handwriting is a big seller for my ability to do the job, but at least when you do things in person they can really tell that you're serious and interested and not just sitting around your house all day, which is exactly what I have been doing.
We're also planning to take a little trip to see my parents this weekend. It should be nice to get out and move around a bit and check things out in Seeley, Montana. I've driven through Montana several times, but never actually stayed there at all. We'll only be there for a couple of days, but it should be fun. Maybe I'll even take some pictures as well.
Hard to believe that April is already half way over. Again the time proceeds to unravel before my very eyes. Strange to think that when I was a kid a six hour drive seemed positively endless, and now it looks like a quick drive. Amazing how things change.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I know there are a lot of people out there who have trouble believing that being a housewife, homemaker, stay at home Mom, or what have you can be a real job. I remember once when I was doing a lesson on job values with a class they were supposed to evaluate each job based on a number of different criteria. They were based on things from level of importance, salary, difficulty, etc. One of the jobs included on the list was "housewife." I was curious to see where my Czech students would rate this career choice on their priority lists. In a country where they pride themselves on their work ethic and allow three years of maternity leave followed by instant enrollment into "kindergarten" I had the feeling that most of them wouldn't be able to see the importance of staying at home to raise your own children. The funny thing was that they went a step further than I had even expected, basically assuming that this was a made up job title. They had no concept of what a housewife could possibly be.
I know that in our world of enlightenment and liberation, there are a lot of women who find the belief that they would even want to stay home insulting. They have fought so long and hard for the right to be out there making a living so they can afford to pay for the highest quality childcare. I'm not at all saying that women shouldn't be allowed to work or anything like that. If that's your drive and your dream, go for it. All I know is that, if I ever have kids, I want to be able to stay at home with them. Not just because I want to be the one who raises my children, but because, even without children, this taking care of the house business is excessively time consuming.
I've taken care of myself for a goodly long time now. I'm pretty low maintenance. I like my place to be clean. I like to eat mostly healthy food. These things aren't that hard to manage for a person alone. But you add just one more person into the equation and suddenly it seems to take every waking moment just to manage things. And I still don't even have a "job."
On Sunday I decided I wanted to add one more thing into the mix and make cupcakes. Basically that meant I didn't cook any other meals in the day so I was able to do this project. Honestly, I have no concept of how people end up with multiple meals on the table every day without literally spending all their time in the kitchen. Rachel Ray might claim there's something called a "30-Minute Meal" but I'm quite convinced that belong prepackaged salad or PB and J sandwiches, if you're trying to feed more than yourself it takes an excessive amount of time!
Anyhow, I did find the recipe for these little goodies in the Rachel Ray magazine and they didn't look too terribly difficult so I thought I'd give them a go. There were two parts to this recipe. One was a batter that could be used for multiple dishes and the other was the recipe that the batter was to be added to. It looked simple enough.
The recipe was supposed to make 6 cupcakes which I thought was rather silly because who only makes 6 cupcakes? Besides, I've watched enough Cup Cake Wars to feel like they can't be all that hard. Right? So I was going to double the recipe. The only thing was, I just needed to double part two, not the batter part. But naturally I doubled the batter bit and then realized how stupid I'd been.
However, since this batter had multiple applications I thought, if nothing else, I could make myself pancakes instead of just eating a mini bowl of yogurt at some point during the week. Only problem was, when I went to add my cupcake ingredients I dumped them in the batter. That might not sound like such a big deal, but with the doubled cupcake ingredients I only needed two cups of the batter, and I dumped them right into 5 cups. Not being accomplished in baking rescue missions, I was in a bit of a quandary. I didn't have enough ingredients to quadruple the cupcake bit, so I just threw in some extra flour so it wouldn't be a soupy mess, and decided to throw it in the oven anyway. The result? Big fluffy Muffcakes I think would be the best description. They're pretty eggy, and definitely not cakey enough to fall into the cupcake category. It was an interesting experiment to say the least, and once again shows that just being enough to read isn't enough to save you when you lose the ability to concentrate and reason and all of that good stuff. They still tasted okay, but calling them weird would be a bit of an understatement.
So the battle over capturing life and making it my own continues. I still feel like I haven't a clue how to manage it all. But I'm trying. I honestly am.
Tonight's plan is to make fajitas. Let's just say the ball is mostly in Julie's court but I'll do what I can to assist.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wasting Away

Time. It's one of those things that are just so difficult to gauge. There are times when it seems to fly due to busyness. There aren't enough hours in the day to get all the things done that need to be taken care of. There are other times when you realize it's disappeared but nothing has really been accomplished.
I always find it interesting at the beginning of any experience when days are easily measured. When I start a new job, move some place new, start a new project, each day really feels like an accomplishment. I can tell you the number or days, or even hours, that I've been tackling a certain task. But generally after a week or two the blur factor sets in. It's no longer so easy to separate what happens from one day to the next, and suddenly six months have passed.
I've fallen into one of those slumps where the days seem to evaporate before my eyes, I feel like I'm working hard on "something" but I can't really tell exactly what. Partly I'm filling out pointless job applications seeing as how I never get a call back. I find myself caught in momentary bursts of inspiration, only to notice several days later that nothing seems to have come of it all.
I've also experienced a strange sort of disconnect with life. While I seem to have gotten back into the swing of blogging, my e-mail in-boxes are jam packed with messages I don't even know how to deal with. Not only are there still pages of ads and such that are tied to wedding planning (sign up for one helpful service and suddenly they're all after you) and job applications, but there are also letters from friends that I should find some way to respond to, but somehow don't seem capable of doing it. It's not even that I don't have time, but that I seem incapable of knowing where to even start, so I just don't start.
I think that's a good way to look at my life right now in general. There are so many things I could be doing, but I just get so overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities that I don't do much of anything. I read a little here, write a little there, help out in the kitchen, but have trouble really assessing what I've managed to do when I get to the end of the day.
I've long been aware that structure is important to my life. I work best when I have a plan and just know what is going to happen next, but I'm at a loss to know how to create a schedule when I have no idea what I really need to be doing. I know I need a job, but seem incapable of making that dream a reality. I know people are going to need food, but find myself craving my easy world where I made myself a fruit salad and felt like I'd done something good because I was happy with it. Everything in my world seems to have turned into some sloppy mess that is, as usual, completely out of my control.
So the time is blurring, and I'm ready to feel like I'm doing something for the greater good and not just sitting around and expanding. (sigh)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Whilst casually flipping through the newest edition of Everyday with Rachel Ray I found a full page ad talking about the newest HK trend. Okay, it might not have hit trend level just yet, but I was still rather astounded by the very thought, and how much my husband would find it desirable. Hard to believe, but true. You can actually book a McDonalds wedding where they even provide things like "themed invitations" and a fabulous wedding "feast." The downside, if there could possibly be one, is that the restaurants are still open to the public, so you might be sitting there in your stunning gown and suddenly find a random person sitting right next to you dripping ice cream everywhere.
I remember when I first moved to HK how strange it was when people you didn't know would join your table at a restaurant. It's the sort of thing that American's with their need for a certain kind of privacy and personal space would never dream of doing. Funny how we think we need this personal body bubble, and yet we'll post things all over facebook... anyhow, I just found the whole thing rather amusing and absurd all at the same time.
My list of jobs applied to, in case your keeping track, now includes FedEx and Safeway. I actually think the Safeway Courtesy Clerk would be a sweet gig. I could bag groceries with a smile, and whisk them out to peoples' cars so I could feel all neighborly and helpful. Anything for a paycheck.
In other news, paperwork is tedious and frustrating because they can't ever just easily tell you exactly what they want on everything. I have become the queen of making coffee (seriously Starbucks, you're missing out!). I need to do laundry and clean out the refrigerator, especially since tomorrow is garbage day. That probably means the dead bird needs to be removed from the front lawn as well. I have achieved more crock pot wonder, but still feel incompetent when it comes to all things kitchen. Walks with the kids are getting me out of bed in the morning, and Rowan's imagination continues to be fabulous.
And finally, while it was a lot of stress and planning and stress, I'm glad I got married in a normal fashion and not in McDonalds...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lost in a Forest...In love with the Greenery

Can't claim the title, it's from a classic song by Poor Old Lu and old favorite of mine. I've always been a sucker for witty lyrics. Okay, maybe not always. I've listened to plenty of drivel to be certain, not to mention all those songs that I even semi-sing along with, but haven't a clue what I'm saying, or what they're saying, or what it would mean even if I did understand what they're saying. It actually gets even funnier when you combine hard to decipher lyrics with non-native English speakers. The Corrs song "Leave me breathless" just might turn into "leave me Bradley"... you just never know.
But that's all quite beside the point. Like I said, I like those lines that make me think more deeply and spin me into thoughts of my own. Back in the day when I was an aspiring artistic e-mail writer, I enjoyed incorporating the lyrics of whatever I was listening to into my letters. I did cite them, no copywrite infringement or anything, but I found it odd how often they were able to express exactly what I was trying to say but somehow coming up short with.
So as I was sitting here in my parent's living room on a Sunday afternoon I had this line flutter into my head and realized it really does suit the mood of my recent days. I won't go into a full break down of all this song could mean, but more just how it hits me at the moment. Right now I sorta feel like I'm stuck in the midst of this sea of possibilities with no idea which way to turn or what to do or how to achieve ANY of it. I love the life I've been blessed to live, the experiences I've been able to have, all the trappings of what has come. But when I have to write out a resume I can see why people might balk a bit at wanting to employ me. My work experience is not only spread across the board of varieties, it's also spread across the globe. My transience is evident as my jobs go from CA to HK to OR to AK to CZ and here I am in ID. Come again? I've been able to experience so much that I'm not suited for anything in there here and now of every day real life.
The truth is, I would love to just be a novelist, to feel content spending hours typing away the ideas in my mind, knowing there was an audience out there chomping at the bit to read what I've come up with. But life is not predictable like that. So instead, I sit here stressing that I can't even get a fresh out of High School job because, in a sense, there's just too much to me.
I've been stateside for a little over four months now, and I've already hit the flee stage. This is where I start trying to figure out what I can do next to get mobile. I watch "House Hunters International" and dream of exotic locations. I have dreams about Hong Kong and the life I lived there, and I can hardly bring myself to even think of my pictures from Czech and the time I spent traipsing about Europe, hanging out in castles and cafes all chalk full of culture.
Then again, there's that part of me that's just begging to...dare I say the irritating word... nest (to be whispered in a hushed voice). I've been in an unsettled state of dwelling since July. And even before that my cozy world was invaded for the school year by a sort of monster that made it impossible to feel at home in my own home. I'm ready for a place where I can put my pictures on the walls, and organize my knickknacks from a life of world traveling and make my statement.
I need focus, balance, purpose, all those good things. I need (ugh) a job. Something to kick me out of the slump and re-energize me. After all, there are all these stories that need to be told, and I'm the one who's meant to tell them.