Saturday, April 22, 2006

Midnight Thoughts

While driving home tonight from Pony and Chopper's, I saw an American Flag waving high upon a flag pole illuminated by a white light. The wind blew the flag which caused it to wave gently and perfectly. It looked a peaceful sight and I felt proud. I feel that way every time I see a flag waving like that.

I cry every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner...especially at a sporting event. I still hold my hand over my heart when I hear it.

I love that my closest friends trust me with their most private secrets. I love being the person they trust. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love that my relationship with Pony has evolved to the level it has. Toddy pointed out a few days ago that when they were dating, he never saw "this" (my relationship with Pony) coming. I agreed. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Pony holds my heart in his hand the way only a close friend can. I trust him implicitly.

I love that I am as spiritual as I am. I know there is more beyond this and that gives me peace.

I love that I live my life by a moral code and regardless of what that means to other people, I still live it because it's all I know. It's what makes me happy, content.

I miss my Mom and Dad.

I wish my brothers were still alive. I miss the way they laughed and the way they called me Merle.

When the people at my new job asked if I had considered moving near Company South, I immediately knew my answer. I wouldn't do that. I've lost members of my biological family and though my remaining family is not far away, my chosen family are equally as important and I don't want to forfeit being close to them.

I love feeling a breeze on my neck.

I had lunch with Oak Point Man today and he thought he had said or done something wrong, igniting a reader's comment calling me a hypocrite. I had to laugh when I thought about what he said. He could say anything to me and it wouldn't matter what anyone said because he and I will always be cool. I got to spend time with my good friend. It was calming.

I love the way Oak Point Man recalled Gurustu's comment back to the confused reader. Two of my friends were now connected and they didn't even know they were.

I was proud to be able to tell Oak Point Man about Gurustu and how he's helped me and that Gurustu is my friend...even though we've never met face-to-face.

I love that Hot Toddy turned me on to Pua's blog and that now she's my "Sister." I love that I worry about Pua and her family as though they were my own.

I miss my sister, Skinny Girl.

I wish I could lay beneath the stars with my daughter when it's warm and just talk.

When I look across a room at Hot Toddy and we smile at each other, I love how we know what the other one is thinking.

I wish I could express in words what my spirituality feels like to me. I wish everyone could feel it.

Being a Pagan feels so absolutely right for me sometimes it makes me cry. I've found my place in that regard. No one can ever take it away.

I love they way Aries says, "Good Morning, Momma" with her sleepy voice.

I spent time with My Boys tonight laughing. I watched each of them and their robust energy filled my heart. I studied their features and listened to them laughing. It made me want to curl up and sleep right there because I felt so safe.

I saw Pony and Chopper sitting side-by-side holding hands and I realized I wanted that as well. That comfortable, loving familiarity that comes with love.

I miss someone reaching out to hold my hand.

The thought of finding someone I can trust with my heart and with my daughter feels tiring, my standards are so high.

I'd like to find someone who can love and be honest without fear. That is so beautiful to me.

I know that person won't cross my path until I'm ready.

Until then, it's all good.

Tonight I am blessed with a peaceful heart.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Glimpse at Oak Point Man

Within the pages of my blog, I have mentioned various people over the past year and a half. They are people with whom I am close and like to give you a glimpse into who they are as well. They are truly people worth knowing (in most cases anyway!).

Sometimes the stories I tell take you on a walk. They create a vision in your head. In the absence of personal knowledge about those I speak of, your vision may have faces you've merely imagined we have.

My entries may be funny or sad, poignant or ridiculous but either way they are a look into my space in time at that moment.

It's true that in many cases a person's blog isn't who they truly are. I doubt there are many of us who'd truly want the details of our personal life splashed on the pages of the 'Net. Who'd read it? I've often been told I should write a book about my life. I've often thought of it. It would not, however, be for the copies I may or may not sell but more so for the ability to keep some kind of memoir.

Other times I think that my life may not be much different than anyone else's. Okay, that's not true. I've done some pretty freaky things in this lifetime that make for great story telling but those things may best be left untold - or told only to those who love me unconditionally.

My point to all of this is I was talking to a wonderful man last night. He's someone with whom I've spent a good deal of time. He told me last night that he enjoys reading my blog because (to paraphrase) he knows the real me and he finds it interesting to read what piece of my life I've chosen to share that day.

We continued the conversation for a short while and then he spoke of a book he was reading and a specific passage that reminded him of me. He searched for it while we were on the phone and read it to me. I was so moved by what I heard him read and subsequently by what he said with regard to how he feels it describes me that I want to share it with you.

This email was from my friend Oak Point Man. The book is People of the Raven.

He wrote:
Here is that passage I told you about on the phone... It is a conversation between a 'Holy Man' and an apprentice Holy Man.

...."True compassion does not make a man feel pride. Its core is humility and sacrifice. If you feel pride after an act of compassion, you've clearly only sacrificed enough to make yourself feel good".
"I like feeling good after I help someone."
"Feeling good is not the goal. The heart of compassion is sacrifice." He halts long enough to inhale a deep breath, then adds, "When a human being sacrifices so much for another's sake that he feels empty and bereft, he has, for one shining moment, been truly compassionate. All other acts of 'compassion' are simple selfishness.
I tell him, "If what you say is true, it's a miracle anyone is ever compassionate twice."
The Soul Keeper scoffs, "It's not supposed to be easy."

When I read this, I thought about the most compassionate person I know... you! I really enjoyed the message... I hope you do also.

Thank you, Oak Point Man, for thinking such a beautiful thing about me. I am just me and it pleases me that I have in some way touched your life the way I have.

Oak Point Man owns a nursery that specializes in plants native to the Northwest. It's an endeavor he would like to see self-sustaining giving him the ability to stop 'workin' for the man.' I know some of you don't live anywhere near here, but take a minute to look at his website. He is an amazing person that I think the world of and I'm blessed to have him in my life.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aub Finds Job!!!!!

Sounds like a headline, doesn't it?! It is just that in this household - worthy of headline news.

I started looking for work in mid to late-January. I had a couple of really great leads here in Portland and held off on putting my resume into the Abyss on the Internet with the hope that I would see those leads into gainful employment.

A couple of weeks ago while sipping a Margarita and reading the baseball stats one evening, I heard a commercial for one of the leading job search websites that claimed you'd land a job twice as fast if you posted on their site. In absolute exasperation from holding out on what I thought would be "the job," I posted it...there and several other places.

Within two hours I was receiving calls and emails like crazy. Within 24 hours, I had been contacted by a recruiter who had a contract job until July 2007 making six figures. The only drawback to the position was it's 50 miles south of Portland.

In less than a week, I had an interview at "Company South" and within one full week I had an offer.

I struggled initially with the offer. This would mean a minimum of two additional hours a day away from Aries and on the road. When I first heard about the position, I walked into the living room and talked to Aries.

AP: Oh my gosh, Aries, I just heard about this great job. The whole system would be my baby. A ground up position making really great money.

AA: Why don't you take it?

AP: There's only one problem, it's 50 miles south of here.

AA: [looks toward the ceiling and ponders her thoughts for a moment] Well, we could move. I would be willing to move and change schools if it meant you would be happy.

AP: [HUGANTIC, GINORMIC LUMP IN THROAT] Baby, you are the most wonderful daughter on the planet. I can't believe you'd do that.

AA: I just want you to be happy when you go to work every day. You were never happy at Company X and if this means you would be, I can always make new friends.

I thanked her, told her I loved her and reminded her that I own this house and can't just walk away from it but assured her I'd think about the position. Even now when I think about what must have gone through her mind and the sacrifices she was willing to make for me, it makes me tear up. I love her so much that I've exceeded the depths in which I thought I could love another human being.

After a looooong discussion with Pony and a subsequent conversation with Hot, I accepted the position. Though I didn't buy my Mustang for a commuter car, at least I'll be going in style. And if everything works out okay, I can lease something if it comes to that. My trainer at the gym laughed at me this morning and said at the end of my contract I should just buy another Mustang and quit worrying about it.

Not a bad idea except the level-headed part of me (which for a double-Pisces rarely exists) thinks about filling my 16 gallon tank twice a week (or more) at $3 a gallon (if it gets to that) cringes at the thought of the expense of going in style.

Who just said that? It sounded like me but seems really weird coming from my lips.

My greatest fear is leaving this life too early and leaving that beautiful daughter of mine alone to figure it all out on her own. The thought of her heart breaking if she lost me is more than I can bear. I just upped the odds by commuting.

So I had to quiet my brain down long enough to realize there is a reason this particular job opened up and the others didn't. I have to trust in that. I won't lie and say I'm not worried about something happening to me on the freeway but I have to have faith that everything will be okay.
If feels so great to have something lined up. I'm starting this Wednesday - I had hoped to be able to take a day and just read - guilt free, but that's not going to happen. Aries was sick with the flu Tuesday through Friday of last week and then I awoke Saturday morning with it and was sick all weekend. I haven't been sick like that in forever. Can't say I missed it.

So I have today and tomorrow to get my things in order. Once I'm out of Portland working, it limits what I can do until I find ways to adjust. I went from too much time on my hands to not having nearly enough.

Careful what'cha wish for, you just might get it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Earthquake Awareness

The new furnace was installed yesterday. In as much as I hated paying for it because my money tree is stripped bare, it was wonderful to feel heat in my house again.

I promptly called Hot Toddy at work and left a message...

"Go 'head, ask me. Ask me. Ask me how it feels to be warm again. It's so nice to have heat in the house and be warm again. I'm not cold. No sir-ry. Not cold at all. Not me. Okay, that's all I have to say." [click]

Once the furnace guys were out of the house, I was able to get my day back on track which required one more call to The Toaster Oven.


AP: [laughing] Hello? Since when do you answer the phone at work like that?!

HT: Since I'm under my desk. We're having a mock earthquake drill and Juju and I both dropped underneath our desks like we were supposed to. My phone rang so I answered it. You just happened to catch me in the middle of an earthquake, that's all.

AP: What good employees you two are.

HT: I know. When they walked through our area and said "earthquake drill" everybody else just stood around talking about it but Juju and I knew what to do. Although...just in case I got bored under here, I did grab my World of Warcraft book to read while I'm under my desk.

AP: [laughing]

HT: Hey, Juju.

Juju: Yeah?

HT: Are you still under your desk.

Juju: No. [she said something else I couldn't make out].

HT: No, I think I'll just stay down here. There might be aftershocks!

The childlike innocence, excitement and silliness in his voice were priceless. He sees humor in situations and capitalizes on it so quickly that I often wonder where the ideas come from. It's comedic genius. I could totally see him writing another play about office life and writing that into the script.

I was just calling to let him know I was behind on getting the laundry done and was going to be needing the washer and dryer after he got home. I usually try not to invade his personal space with such chores when he's home since it requires I be downstairs.

What I got was an exchange that totally made me laugh which is something I've not had enough of lately.

I posted my resume into The Abyss on the Internet and within just a few hours I was receiving calls like crazy. A company in Boise called looking for an AIX Engineer and was willing to line up strippers for private dances just to get me to relocate.

Another firm was willing to give me time to blow the dust off my Unix skills, train me on their product and pay me $100k... to travel the country to different offices 85% of the time. "But we'll make sure you're home 'most' weekends." I'm sorry, bite my what?

There have been some really great opportunities that are very real that I am scheduling interviews for. I want so badly for something to cross my path that really gets me charged up. Goddess, how I miss the old me.

I realized today that whereas yesterday I felt depleted and out of options, I realized today that patience is the ultimate option. It's similar to the saying that change is the only constant. For me, if I can incorporate into my thought process that patience is the ultimate option, I think I'll be a lot better off.

I know not every situation is going to be conducive to taking the patient approach. Some situations require an immediate response. But for me, if I can build in a pause and realize that not everything needs an answer right now I will find some of the faith it feels like I've lost.

Sometimes I forget that things happen for a reason. I've had a tough time of it lately and though I don't currently know why these things are going on in my life, I'll find some patience and know that one day it will become clear why I had to endure so many bumps along the way.

If there's one thing I do know, it's that I'm a strong woman and I will be standing tall on the other side of this.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

When it rains...

How is it possible the sun is shining so beautifully today yet when it rains it pours?

I took Aries to opening day of Mariner season. More on that tomorrow. For right now I just need to vent.

When we arrived home last night from the game, Hot Toddy pointed out that the furnace wasn't working. I checked it but there was nothing I could do.

It isn't necessarily cold here at night right now. Not by ordinary standards I guess. I, on the other hand, am usually cold. Though it was 60 degrees when I awoke this morning, I couldn't shake the chill in the air.

I called the furnace guy to come over and take a look at it. It's a guy I trust. He owns the heating and a/c company. He poked around and finally broke the news to me.

It's time for a new furnace.

He said he my current furnace was installed in 1987 (which seems not that long ago), however, when he said it was almost 20 years old I realized avoiding a new furnace may not be possible.

He did say he could find parts for the blower, ignition thingy for the pilot light and the motor but that it would cost quite a bit to fix since the parts are no longer manufactured. He also said he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't still crap out on me.

He looked at the house, compared my 70% efficient furnace to the new 92% efficient (I can't afford the 99% efficient one right now) and we worked up some numbers.

Sweet Hot Toddy called me after I left him a tear soaked message on his voicemail. He pointed out that it's Spring and that he's okay warmth-wise. That maybe we could just leave the furnace off and not worry about it until I get back to work. Bless his heart.

And maybe if I didn't have a daughter, I might contemplate doing that. Maybe. Aries awoke this morning to a cold house and couldn't shake the chill. And who am I kidding, I don't like to be cold.

In as much as I would love to have lived in the 1800's riding horses and carrying pistols strapped to my leather pants..where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to say that I don't know how I'd have stood it with no damn furnace in the house. But it just occurred to me that back then I'd have just built a fire.

There's 5 minutes of your life you're never getting back.

Anyhoo, I'm broke, my job search is never ending - it seems no one ever calls you back, I'm supporting my kid on a wing and a prayer and now I have to pay $2500 for a new furnace.

Needless to say when the furnace guy left, I broke down and cried. Not silent trickling tears down a sad face, but full-on, head hanging low, hand on my forehead, sound coming out of my mouth, crying. I walked directly into my bedroom next to my bed, fell to my knees and begged for help. I don't know what to do anymore.

I've, once again, thrown it all up to the Gods and Goddesses. They can handle it.

I've tried to remain strong through all I've gone through lately. There's a chunk of my stress I don't write about here for legal reasons. But I've tried to not string things together. I've seen them as individual events that happen to be taking place relatively close together.

But after today, I actually asked why me. What is it I've done to piss someone off to "deserve" this. Now granted that's a victim's attitude. But I have to wonder wtf is up with my life lately.

I know things will work out. They always do...But it's amazing what you can get used to, isn't it?

Okay, I need to post this and log off. My frickin' laptop is making a helluva noise and the last thing I need in the middle of a job search is my computer crapping out on me. More tomorrow (hopefully).