Thursday, December 25, 2008

The True Meaning of Christmas

Justin and I are celebrating the most non-commercialized Christmas of our lives.

A scene from this morning:

"Merry Christmas! I'm ready to get up now."

"Let's sleep in!"

"I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning!"

"But there's nothing out there!"

That's right... nothing. Justin and I decided not to buy Christmas presents this year. My family is getting art related stuff (TBA, in case they read this early) and we're getting nuttin' for Christmas.

'Tis the Christmas of paupers.

Actually, later we are going to go shopping during the sales for some necessities. I need pj's and socks and maybe some shirts. He needs T-shirts and maybe some jeans. We're going to buy a toaster oven, but suddenly that does not count among our presents. We just need a replacement because ours only toasts one side of the bread now. The top.

While Justin and I thought this was a brilliant plan during all that time we were not shopping, we now think it sucks. We both love giving presents and are sad not to get to see each other excited over our finds. So next year there will be Some Thing. And next year there will be more money, what with me having a regular job now and all.

Last week at the restaurant one of the girls told me she was crying because she had no money to buy her daughter a present. And her daughter wanted a bicycle. Two of the regulars gathered up enough money for her to buy one. I think she probably could have bought one and paid rent if she just didn't spend the money on alcohol and other vices, but who am I to know?

This Christmas of paupers isn't that bad. It is nice to feel like we didn't participate in the commercialization of Christmas. Plus we went to church last night and had Eucharist and sang carols, so I feel like we realized the true reason for Christmas, you know, Christ's birth and all that. Even if he was probably born in the spring.

Merry Christmas, everyone! May you live in the blessed light of the birth, life and death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ho, ho, ho...

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Dec. 25 will mark the half-way point for this residency year. It is also the half-way marker for Justin's stint in the neuro department--which unlike most of the residents he actually likes. They all complain that the department is too slow, that they have to stay there even when their work is done. Justin, though, enjoys the pace because it is so much slower than the ortho department. There he never had enough time and was constantly running around. I think it helps that here he does not have to work with that woman who always came in late and shunned doing work--when everyone on the team is playing life is far more pleasant than when someone is complaining and not getting anything done.

Meanwhile, on Monday I will start working. Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries! I am determined to set healthy boundaries. This goal means that I will do only what is asked of me. I will not try to transform anyone or anything; I will just go to work every day and do my best job on what is asked of me. I know it seems limiting to set these boundaries "what is asked of me," but I have a history of going above and beyond the call of duty in a way that gets me into trouble. I become too emotionally invested in a project and then become too emotional when it doesn't go my way. I am determined not to allow that to happen this time.

This time, I will approach my work with a healthy attitude. I will not try to become the best friend of anyone that I work with. I will not be jealous of the relationships that others have with each other--by virtue of time they will be close to each other, by virtue of my own boundaries, my own healthy boundaries, I will be just another co-worker.

I know there are going to be very boring tasks--counting papers (literally), filling out forms by hand (literally--handwriting), calling people repetitively to share the same information--but I am going to approach them as new to each person that sees the form, that joins the organization, that hears the information. I do not think that means I will do everything with Pollyanna joy, just that I will do them knowing that they are my tasks, that the situation is what I make of it, that all of it is day to day and not permanent. By that I mean that whether I stay with the organization for years or leave after a shorter term, I will not always be an administrative assistant. For whatever the title is worth (not much, in such a small company), I will not always have it. I am trying to be careful not to call myself an administrative assistant or a secretary because I get stymied in the title. With a team of five, we all do some of the mundane tasks, and as the first line on phone calls I am more of a public relations assistant than a receptionist. I will be trained to talk to the callers, not to transfer the call to someone else. No matter what my title, and without my trying to get beyond the job as it is defined, I am part of the team.

That said, boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries!

I will enjoy my drive each morning and evening. I will exercise before or after work. I will work with a good attitude. I will get to know my co-workers during our joint lunches, and I will be friendly but not overwhelming or overwhelmed.

Everything is going to be fine. It's just a new chapter in the life of ours; another mark to be noticed and surpassed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Chapter... Working Girl

After a nearly two hour interview I decided to take the job working at a non-profit organization that runs after school enrichment programs in the performing arts. I'll be answering phones and doing administrative work, but I might also have the opportunity to work with writing and public relations.

It means I'll be giving up napping all day, working late at night, getting errands like laundry and store runs done during the day, not knowing how much I'll make each shift...

Like everything, the change brings blessings and some worries.

I am so used to napping when I get tired! I can't imagine going through a whole eight hour day in an office. Fortunately, the office is in a home and houses three dogs and a cat, so it's not an extraordinary move to a drab cubicle.

On the other hand, it is rather small and run out of the living room--so the five of us are a little bit on top of each other.

Still, it is a situation I am determined to make the best of, working for the first time in three years in a corporate professional atmosphere.

I am so nervous about the lifestyle change, and whether we'll all get along--getting along is very important in a five person office--and how it's going to be.

I have a commute! It's at least 30-45 minutes to get there, but that would be true of anything outside Redondo Beach; we are not conveniently located. Not near anything but ourselves.

I'm a working girl again, in a different way than I have been as a waitress. In a way it is similar to when I was the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine--though it lasted only a month--because of the small office environment. I hope this boss is more stable than that one.

There's so much to think about, so much to get ready for, so much to rearrange in my once boring life.

Yet, it is a smooth transition into a working life--a small job in a small office, just a step bigger from my small life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two Job Interviews, One Day

The entirety of me, and nothing of me on the line.


More after the decision is made. One is to be the co-director of a literacy program, the other is to be the administrative assistant of a performing arts after school program. Both are perfect.


Off I go into the world of advanced employment...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Three Years to Ready

It's been three years, nearly, since my world spun backward and then lunged forward. Three years since the miscarriage, three years since walking across the campus deciding which trashcan I would hurl into, three years since I left the classroom.

I still have teaching materials in my home, still think of lesson plans when I come across something that would be interesting for children to learn, still maintain contact with some of my students.

Three years ago I almost lost my life, I did lose the life I knew. Now, three years later I am rebuilding a life that is yet unknown.

There are so many times that I want to push fast forward and see what will be, but there is no button, so I wait to see what is to come.

Three years ago I learned we are not really in control of our destiny, we only move through our lives carefully and watch the colors of the picture brighten or dim.

It is time now, time to live well and be good, do good. And so I move and wait and move and wait, knowing that something will happen. Knowing that I create my own happiness, but not my entire circumstance.

If I were in charge of my circumstances, I would have a two year old child running around this apartment today. No, I am just the lead role in my life, I do not write the script.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Finer with age: wine, cheese, me...

Happy Birthday to me! The all-girls photo from my birthday party. :)
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Cake! But not 34 candles *whew!*.

The man of the hour, who gave me a clean apartment and a fabulous party for my birthday.

I have friends in Los Angeles!

Friday, December 05, 2008

those shows

I like watching Grey's Anatomy and ER because they are the closest I'll ever get to being in the room with Justin. It's the same reason I stayed awake when I had my surgical biopsy (like a lumpectomy except without the breast cancer): I want to see what he sees.

So next time those doctors dis my shows, I'm telling them: I like them because I want to be with you and know what you are doing. As much as I can.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Grass is Greener

If I know that I am gazing at greener grass, then I know that the grass I stand on is green itself.

So, I keep my job and stop complaining.

It's not actually that bad, if I frame it in the light of Gospel (freely given love) and being kind to strangers. If I consider waitressing an opportunity to bring joy to people who come in looking for shelter and food, I can't hate it. I have to do it with love and therefore a certain sense of joy.


A bit, but I have to do something to make carrying other people's dirty dishes and sometimes not being treated very kindly, or even as though I am visible, I have to do something to make that acceptable to me. I have to make my life OK.

I was looking for a job that is more cerebral. Something to keep my brain from rotting.

Waitressing does require that I keep things in my mind. It also gives me the opportunity to spend my days as I like--which could include my own challenges to read books, learn something.

The problem I have been having is that I am alone all the time. I used to like to run because it was an escape and a chance to be alone. Now I do not need to be more lonely than I already am. There is no refuge in silence--no refuge from silence in silence. I used to like to read because it was an escape into another world. Now I do not need to leave this world behind. There is nothing save silence from which to seek refuge.

I do not need revenge, I do not need to vent, I do not need to hide.

It is hard to get motivated to do things alone without anything to make me want to be alone.

I am alone.

Almost all the time.

The only person I frequently interact with is my husband. The servers and the customers at work. Yesterday, I asked Justin to please talk with me about politics. It was so refreshing--what do I think about Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State and so on and so forth.

I know that substitute teaching would not be an intellectual breakthrough--I know that as a teacher I also yearned for the contact of adult conversation. However, substitute teaching would be certain hours, certain pay, certainty. But does certainty offer me anything I really want? At least now I know I could go to the gym if I just got out there, I could go to the library if I just got out there, I could...

The grass is greener on the other side, but it is plenty green right here under my feet. I think I'll stay.

Monday, December 01, 2008

'tis the Christmas of Paupers

The tabletop Christmas tree is borrowed from our neighbors (they got a larger one with lights) and decorated with stars and snowflakes I cutout one evening. The angels and garland were found in the house from holidays past.

This year we are not giving anyone anything we do not already own. Fortunately, I make art, photographs and baked goods.

Justin and I are trying really hard to live within a budget. We are so in debt from me not working that if he weren't going to be a paid doctor in three years we could be on a TV news show about how people use credit badly.

Nevertheless, we are going to have a wine and cheese birthday party for me--no gifts, just wine or cheese if someone wants to bring something.

In other news, I am fat. The worst (or best) part about it is that I am basically OK with it. One day my metabolism slowed down, my interest in food increased, and my waistline grew out. The other day my stomach was the subject of conversation at work again. We have to wear these tight shirts, and somehow despite my being one of the skinniest girls there my stomach is the one that gets admired by my boss. It's the belly "that's going to be a momma" some day. The problem is, it is so big and I like food so much that I might as well be pregnant now. But I am not.

Yesterday I got to go to the Lakers game. It was a very spur of the moment treat from our friends who had an extra ticket. :) Yay! Fun!