Friday, April 24, 2015

Retreat

What a month. After starting to get my feet back under myself in March, April pretty much knocked the wind back out of me. There were highs (a nice visit with my parents), lows (taxes and recent bad news for a friend), and everything in between. The days have spun, whirled, blurred themselves together in a mix of heavenly sunny weather, and the typical cold damp gray of an Oregon spring. I find myself now, at the end of this month, wondering again how childhood time ever seemed to move at a snails pace, because I swear it was just a few days ago that I was taking down the store Christmas tree, and here we are all stocked for Mother's Day and Summer.
This afternoon I am heading off to a retreat with the ladies from the church I currently attend. This will be my first night away from home since Christmas, and my first night away from our silly little dog ever. I find myself a bit of a worried mess about him, even as I'm super excited for this opportunity to get out and do something different. I am under no illusions that having a pet is the same as having a child, but I can't deny the mothering instinct that this separation has given birth to within me. Will he remember to eat and drink while I am away? Will he whine at night when he realizes that I am not coming home. Will he curl up in my spot on the bed beside my husband, or pitifully wait on the couch for my return? I'm sure he'll be just fine, and that I'll be rewarded with lots of dog claw scratches and warm tongued licks when I do return, but I can't help but feel a little guilty for leaving him behind...
Well, I had no idea all of that would come out. I think one of the most fascinating things about writing is when I just let go and allow whatever is really inside me to reveal itself. All this to say, I'm really looking forward to my little night Way, and hoping that I will come back refreshed and ready to better be the person I'm meant to be. Okay, that last line was sorta lame, but you know what I mean ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spontaneity and Change are NOT the Same

I've always been a fan of mixing things up.  I like to try new things (well except new food, which I have only recently been brave enough to branch out in) to bring more variety to life.  By very nature, I love being transient, moving from place to place and country to country.  It would seem to follow that I would also embrace change gladly, but I don't.

The truth is, that while I get the itch to change scenery every few years, I'm mostly a creature of habit.  I like my morning routines and knowing what I need to do to make things run smoothly at work. Every time I establish myself in a new venue, I quickly come up with a pattern to organize my days, and I generally stick with it, varying things only after considerable contemplation.

The thing that throws me off the most, however, is when the people I work with change.  New teachers always challenged me until I knew what they were looking for and how to achieve the best results.  New students at Winfield alway took a while to understand, especially when I had not anticipated a change.  When babies or staff at Mother's Choice would move on, I was always left with a tumult of emotions, which was ultimately the reason I moved on as well.

These days I have to DSL with postal customers closing their boxes, or office staff moving on to new jobs and being replaced by new mail droppers.  It always messes me up, and leaves me feeling like I've lost something, despite the fact that I typically only see them for a few minutes every week.

When I have been prepared for a change, I can generally manage to accept it with a certain level of understanding, but when a major switch up takes place without previous knowledge it is far more difficult to manage.  About a week ago the woman who has been the manager at our local Plaid Pantry since we arrived in the US a little over four years ago, has been replaced.  I don't know the circumstances, but I have been hugely distressed by this disruption to my regular life. She was there the first morning I walked my husband down to see the store where I used to buy candy as a child visiting my grandparents.  She was there every weekday morning for whatever little thing I needed to pick up, and frequently at other times when new people needed to be trained, or needed an unexpected break.  She was always friendly, and practiced the sort of customer service I seek to offer as well.  In short, she cared.  She remembered purchases, as well as the little bits of life that we shared back and forth.  

We are out of town a lot, and it has been difficult to get to know people in the neighborhood, let alone in the town in general.  I always appreciated the fact that, if I needed to see a smiling face I could walk down to the Plaid and share a moment of my day with Rachel.  I even brought her cookies at Christmas time, which in my busy holiday season really says something.

I haven't been brave enough to push and ask why she no longer works there.  I am hoping she has a new, better job, closer to where she lives.  I know that change is a part of life, and that he cranky grandma who now manages the place is not responsible for what feels like an injustice, but, suffice it to say, change is really not always my thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Musical Time Capsule

This week I filled my cars CD player with an assortment of mixes and discs from my Hong Kong era.  One, in particular, struck me profoundly as I listened through it.  All the songs were ones I still think are amazing, but the themes were definitely lacking in lightness.  As my mother has often pointed out, a least majority of them were downright depressing.  They are songs I have turned to on dark days, in times of stress, frustration, heartbreak, and general gloom.  

As I listened to them this week, with the sun streaming through the windows and my life in a very different location, I wondered what I would say to myself on the days when I was putting this assortment together.  I actually sent a message to the friend I made the mix for and asked if I was really such a drag to be around as my collection seemed to portray.  Was I so afraid, so alone, so desperately in need of escaping from myself, as these songs implied.

It fascinates me to see how much the music I listen to can sum up an era.  I haven't bought any new music in several years, not because I don't love it anymore, but because it is not in my budget, and so easily accessible online that it hasn't made sense to invest.  If I made a mix today, it would definitely be lacking in anything up to date, but I'd like to hope I would chose a few more hopeful songs with people, rather than those ones I turn to when I'm in need of serious music therapy :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Well, I never...

Thought it would take me this long to write another blog post. Can we say, pathetic? Over the past (gasp) almost three years, my life has been so shop absorbed that so many bits of me have fallen to the wayside. Journaling has nearly gone out the window, blogging has taken a back bus seat, and keeping in contact with friends and family has become a slipshod wishy-washy affair.

A few weeks ago, during my new year cleansing/purging/revisitation, I went through my little Muji bits and pieces journal and found a list of blog theme ideas that I wrote out last August, then proceeded never to use. Some of them were actually pretty good and inspiring. But here it is, end of February, and I have not even written a blah post in months, let alone anything of interest. I have, however, taken to putting more things on paper. There have been birthday cards, thank you notes, and even a few just because I need to reconnect with the people I love letters over the past couple of months. There have also been a considerable number of additions to my Gadanke journal. (I would add a link, but I'm writing this on my iPad and live in constant fear that anything I try even slightly out of the ordinary will vanish and destroy everything I've finally managed to write.)

All this to say, it's the super slow post holiday season at the shop, and in order not to bemoan the steady trudge of nothingness going on around me, I'm trying to get back to me here too. Hopefully, more to come, but I'm not holding my breath...