Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Everything is Changing

Autumn

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There have been and continue to be many changes in my world this month. Some are good, some are not, and some are really inconsequential in the long run.

Good:

  1. I am moving. In less than a week I will pick up my keys and move into my new apartment in North Seattle. This will cut my commute by two-thirds in the morning and at least three-quarters in the afternoon. In addition, I will actually be able to fit in all my belongings again. I miss my stuff.
  2. New school year. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s really a different year. I celebrated me one year anniversary with Seattle Public Schools this week and it’s amazing what a better place I am in. In addition to being elected to our Building Leadership Team, I have a student teacher and my colleagues often come to me for advice, which is a new position for me.
  3. Fall! Like Amanda, I love fall and everything that goes with it. Well, except those pesky allergies to decaying leaves. At least that’s not so bad in the Evergreen State!

Bad:

  1. Stress. My job is a bit more stressful this year because I have more classes to teach. Last year I taught three different subjects. This year I have five and the additional prep time is both causing a lot more work and cutting into the time and can work on the piles of paperwork that goes along with being a special education teacher. Hopefully, this will get better once I get through October and my first three IEPs.
  2.  Weight. I’ve stopped losing weight. I’m not gaining it either, so that’s a plus. However, with my schedule right now, I’m barely getting exercise time in and my diet is a bit wonky. I’m hoping that’ll even out once the move is done.

Inconsequential:

  1. Facebook’s new layout. Yes it’s annoying. Yes it’s confusing. If you don’t like it, go to Google+ Not on Google+? Click here for your very own invite. I’m tired of my feed having nothing but complaints in it for the first week of a new layout.
  2. Netflix/Quickster. I’ve been a devout Netflix fan since 2005. I do admit that their recent change to two services – one for DVDs and one for streaming – has me questioning if I really need both. But, in the long run, not an issue of earth-shattering proportions.
  3. My birthday. I’m entering my mid-30s this weekend and it’s a little odd. But, not really a big deal.

Change, overall, is good. I get bored easily, so I know I’m glad that things change constantly. It’s just important, sometimes, to put it all in perspective.

It’s time for another Our View From Here book club. This time, we’ll be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Check it out next week when we discuss what we thought of the book and feel free to comment on our posts about what you thought about it!

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like….autumn.

Over the last week in the lovely Garden State, a cooler breeze started pushing through, and I couldn’t help but get a bit excited. Fall is in the air, and with it, the haze and smog and humidity of summer seem to be blowing away. We’re not quite out of the warm weather yet, but the first hints of the fall crispness are here.

I love the fall. I love being able to put on jeans and a sweater for the first time of the season. I like digging out my light jackets and hitting the trail to enjoy the fall foliage. I enjoy turning on the TV and watching a Penn State football and drinking a beer. I’m not usually one to light a lot of candles, but during the fall, I love filling my house with autumn scents, like apples and cinnamon. And though it might be a bit juvenile, I still like to tromp through the fallen leaves on my walk to and from the train station.

I am also obsessed with “fall flavors.” Nearly every year a group of friends and I go apple picking. The orchard also maintains a country store with excellent produce and fresh-baked goods. One of my favorite things to get there are apple cider donuts. While these are available year round, in the fall, they make them in front of you and serve them hot. They are to die for. They also sell apple cider by the glass, either warm or cold, which is a lovely way to wash down a donut. I always buy at least a gallon of cider to take home with me, and I spent many a night during grad school writing a term paper with a glass of hot apple cider by my side. I was excited to see that Dunkin Donuts is selling apple cider now. I’m definitely going to have to wander over there and check it out. I’ll also have to make a trip to Starbucks to get a pumpkin spice latte.

For me, fall always brings a sense of excitement and possibility. Perhaps it because I’ve still spent a majority of my life where the year starts in September, or maybe it’s just that the temperatures cool and I finally have a bit of energy after languishing in the hot summer sun. Whatever it is, I always find myself making plans and experiencing a sense of rejuvenation once fall comes around. I know that spring is considered a time of rebirth, but I experience the same feeling in the fall. Two seasons are down and there are two more to go for the year. Halloween and Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and Christmas isn’t too far away either. Fall gets me excited for all of these events. I’m ready to gear up for the end of the year, just as long as I have a delicious hot fall beverage in hand.

It’s time for another Our View From Here book club. This time, we’ll be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Check it out next week when we discuss what we thought of the book and feel free to comment on our posts about what you thought about it!
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Love and Marriage

Lorraine Patricia

Darren and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary this weekend. Ca-Razy. I still think it strange sometimes that I’m married, and I inwardly giggle every now and then when I refer to Darren as my husband. Marriage just seems like such a grown-up thing and I have a hard time realizing that I’m a grown-up. I have noted that since I got married, and even from the time I got engaged I suppose, my feelings toward marriage have changed, which I guess isn’t terribly surprising. While I’ve always thought that divorce (in most cases) was unfortunate, I never thought too much about it. Now though, the high divorce rate and people not taking their vows seriously really bothers me.

Though I hope it would be obvious, I feel the need to clarify, for the record, that I would never advocate someone staying in an abusive relationship solely to maintain their vows. Nor do I think that all marriages can be saved. What bothers me is how quickly people seem ready to throw in the towel and call it quits. A friend of the family was telling me how a member of her family got married a few months after Darren and I….and they’re already divorced. Yep – to have and to hold, in sickness and health, till death do us part…or a year or so – whichever comes first.

Now of course, I don’t know the circumstances so I shouldn’t judge, but I use this as an example of how quickly some people seem to give up on what I thought were very important, sacred vows. My thought is that if you weren’t ready to commit to that level, why did you even bother getting married in the first place? It’s not middle school, where you breakup and get back together every week. Marriage is real – it can be wonderful but it also can be sticky and messy. If you’re not prepared for the sticky and the messy and for seeing it through to the best of your ability, you have no business getting married.

I fear that this apparent disregard for wedding vows is one manifestation of a larger problem. So many people seem unable to commit to anything anymore, or put forth an effort to make something last. It’s been said we live in a disposable culture, and I think that might be a fair statement. It’s not just goods that we’re willing to toss aside; it’s relationships and morals and ethics. When things get tricky, as a society we just seem to shrug our collective shoulders and move to something that’s easier. Not to get too political, but you can see this demonstrated in the recent debt ceiling discussions. We all knew this was coming, yet Congress waited and waited until nearly the last possible moment to make a deal, and even then, they still kicked the can down the road a bit. No one seems willing to make tough decisions or sacrifices. I find this realization quite distressing and I’m scared to think where we will be in the not-so-distant future if this attitude doesn’t change.

I’m sorry. I’ve done it again. I started with a happiness and then went on to a sobering diatribe, complete with sweeping generalizations. Ah well, you get what you pay for, and this blog is free.  🙂

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Being Bicoastal

New York City Skyline Sunset

Image by mikeleeorg via Flickr

Greetings from New Jersey! Last Thursday, I flew from Seattle to Newark in order to enjoy a nearly three week vacation in the beautiful Edison, NJ area. While I realize that this is not usually considered a highly desirable vacation destination, it serves as a fantastic home base while I hit five states in my 19 days out here.

I love Seattle, but I truly miss the East Coast. I lived in PA for 9 years, NJ for two, and NYC for two.  Seattle will always be my hometown, but there are a lot of things that I miss about the mid-Atlantic region:

Seasons:

Seattle has two seasons – cold rain (November to April) and warmer rain (May to October). While growing up, I was used to this, but when I moved to PA, I became accustomed to have four distinct seasons. I loved the warmth of the summer, the cool crispness and changing leaves of the fall, the snow in the winter, and the actual spring.  Seattle doesn’t get much snow and has a very mild climate due to its proximity to the ocean. We also have a lot of evergreen trees (thus the name the Evergreen State), so we don’t have the amazing color changing leaves. I truly miss the seasonal differences that I grew to love out East.

Food:

I think the reason that I have had success with my weight loss in the past several months is because there is nothing to eat out west. Maybe if you have a lot of money and can afford fancy or cutting edge restaurants, food in Seattle is great. However, especially living in New York, I loved being able to walk in some little hole in the wall and having a fantastic meal.  The pizza is fantastic (all we have in Seattle is chains), the best Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to is a little family owned place just north of Times Square, and even at your little corner deli, you knew you could get a great sandwich (Seattle loves its Subway!). If I still lived here, I don’t know that I would have lost the weight I did, but I think I would be much more gastronomically satisfied.

Getting Around:

I know I’ve discussed this before, but Seattle has horrid transportation. It’s only been in the last year or so that I have been able to get to the airport without utilizing the services of a airport shuttle company of a taxi. We finally have one light rail line that goes between downtown and the airport. Of course, this still means that I need to get downtown, which I do via commuter bus. Once I arrived in Newark, however, I got on the monorail at the airport which took me to the NJ Transit station. Four stops down the line I was at my sister’s place. Easy Peasy. Why can’t Seattle figure this out??

I do love Seattle – on a sunny day in July or August, there is no place like it. It’s great when I want to go running in the summer – none of this 90+ degree temps with 60%+ humidity. The access to the water and the mountains make it ideal for the outdoorsperson. I just wish there was a way we could take a few of the really great things about the East Coast and add them to what we’ve got in the West. Maybe I’ll just continue to be bicoastal – spend the school year in the west and the summers in the east.

Now to end the week with a little Muppet goodness…

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Next week, the Our View From Here bloggers will be taking a well-deserved break. We’ll be back Monday, July 25th with our usual posting schedule. We thank you for your continued readership!

 

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Jury Duty Exposed!

Snohomish County Government Campus, Everett, WA.

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I had an interesting experience this week.  My number was chosen and I had to report for Jury Duty.  I’ve received the summons before, but either I’d moved (Hudson County, NJ called me two months after I’d moved to Manhattan) or they ended up not needing that many people.  Well, this week I was living where I was supposed to and they needed A LOT of people.  I found out Friday night that I had to report and was able to get my request sub and had the weekend to write sub plans.

So, I reported early Tuesday morning (would have been Monday had it not been for Memorial Day) along with at least 150 of my fellow Snohomish Countians, Never having actually done this, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  We all filed into a room after going through metal detectors, scanned our summons, validated our parking, and then waited. I brought my Kindle on which I had just started a new book and I began to read.  A little while later, after everyone was in and accounted for, they explained what we would expect throughout the day, and showed us a video explaining our responsibility.

Before long, the law clerks came in and started pulling their jury pools. The first group was 60 people alone. I had figured there was at least one big trial, simply based on the number of people pulled.  Now, Snohomish County is fairly big geographically, but really has only one big-ish city and several smaller towns.  To have this many large jury trials in one week is kind of unusual.  The second group had 40 people in it. I was not in either of these.  Then the Everett Municipal Court called 13.  The fourth group called had 35 people and I was number 10, which meant I was seated in the jury box from the beginning.  We took a short break to use the restroom and grab something to eat or drink, and then came back to the room to wait.

The law clerk brought us up to the court room.  The first 12 of us sat in the jury box and the next 23 sat in the first few rows of the room.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous at this point as I knew that the lawyers were going to start questioning us. I had no problem telling the truth, it was just not knowing what the questions would be that was unsettling. the judge gave us a little information about the case, defining what burglary and harassment were in the eyes of the law.  The voir doie, what this questioning section is called, lasted a little over an hour as first the prosecutor asked questions then the defense attorney.  The whole time, the defendant was sitting there, assisted by a translator through an earpiece.  The questions were somewhat personal, but respectful. A lot of them were about how we would react to a situation or at what point we feel a crime was committed.  We then had a lunch break and were told to report back to the jury room by 1:10.

At the end of the break, we, along with those from other trials, were back in the jury room, waiting to hear what happens next. Two groups were taken back to their courtrooms, but we remained. Some people returned as they were excused.  Our law clerk came back to apologize for the delay and gave us another break until 2:30. We returned and waited again. During this time, I read about 300 pages of my book. A little after three, the clerk returned, apologized again, and left. We continued to wait. Around 3:30, the judge came down and explained to us what had happened. Between the time we had entered the courtroom and when we were scheduled to return, the defendant agreed to a plea deal. They were busy hammering this out while we waited. I appreciated that the judge came down to explain the delay and thank us for our service.

All in all, it was an interesting day. Yes, it was a pain getting a sub and writing my sub plans, but it was interesting to see how the legal system works up close. If it had been summer, I actually think I would have wanted to be on a trial and to see it through to the end. As it is, I’m glad it ended the way it did.

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Walking Uphill Both Ways…in the SNOW!

For my first official post in my thirties, I will be playing the part of a crotchety old lady. Today I want to talk about young whipper-snappers, and how they don’t have any work ethic. To preview the end of this post, I think I’ll probably conclude that the non-existence of a work ethic, for the most part, has little to nothing to do with age, but rather seems to be an endemic part of our society. Sounds like fun, no? Let’s get to the diatribe!

My company recently hired two new people for entry level positions. After my boss left early on Friday, they decided they were entitled to leave as well, despite one just finishing her first week of work. I was dumbfounded. Never in a million years would I, as a newbie, have assumed I could take off early just because it was a holiday weekend. Had my supervisor come up to me and said, “We’re really dead right now. You can go ahead and take off,” certainly I would have gone. But for them to assume, despite being on the lowest rung of the ladder, that they were free to go shocked me. I mentioned this episode to a few friends and they had similar stories about those recently out of college assuming far too much and not seeming to appreciate the fact that they are employed to do a job and that they aren’t really entitled to much of anything.

I’ve also been shocked by how poorly prepared some of these people are for work. They seem to think that because they’ve graduated from college that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Many have seemed to think that they are above such mundane tasks as answering phones and opening the mail. Sure, that wasn’t my dream job either, but we all have to start somewhere and work our way up. Most don’t get the amazing job straight out of school. I also cringe when I hear how they address clients, talking to them like they would their friends, rather than recognizing that most of our clients are at least the same age as their parents, if not their grandparents. Maybe it’s just how I was raised, but in a client-service provider relationship, I would never address someone obviously older than myself by their first name, until I was asked to do so.

Yup. These young whipper-snappers are lazy and rude. Nothing like my generation….of a few years prior. I understand I’m making sweeping generalizations here. I know there are plenty of recent grads who understand the value of working hard and climbing up the corporate ladder. And I’m sure there were plenty of examples of people from my graduating class behaving the same way but it just seems to be getting worse. Or maybe I’m getting older. Or maybe it has nothing to do with age. Maybe as a society we’re just becoming ruder, some more quickly than others. Or maybe we’re all become more selfish, with everyone developing a sense of entitlement without having earned it. Maybe with all the avenues for instant gratification we have available to us, we just can’t muster up the effort to work hard anymore. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s a worrying trend and I don’t know what can be done to reverse it. Heck I don’t even know if most people would agree that there’s even a problem, let alone have any suggestions on how to fix it. What are you gonna do?

So endeth the crotchety old lady’s diatribe. I’ll try to post something more uplifting next week.

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Rest in Peace, 20s

As you sit here reading this (presuming you’re reading this on Thursday), I am a mere one day from turning 30. The end of my twenties has come. Part of me feels like this should be a momentous occasion, like the passing of my twenties is some great rite of passage or signifies the death of my youth. I can’t honestly say that I’m all that fussed though.  It helps that all but a few friends have already turned 30, most by at least a year. Getting older is easy when you’re still the baby of the group.

Turning 30 is a bit surreal I suppose. For one, it sounds much older than 29.  It also seems like when you turn 30, you’re really an adult (though looking again at my friends, I’m not sure where I got that impression from). For me, and for most of my friends, our twenties were a time to go to college, have fun and figure out what we were doing with our lives. At 30, the assumption seems to be that you should at least have a life plan – know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. I can’t honestly state that I’ve achieved that yet. Work is going fine but I can’t really see myself doing this for the rest of my life. But at the same time, I’m not sure what else I would do. It just seems like for all my education and everything I’ve done, I should have that figured out by now. Looking around though, it seems at least that I’m in good company.

It also doesn’t help to compare myself to the previous generation. By the time my mom was 30, she had been married for several years, had my sister and I was already two. She had a nice, two-story, three bedroom house with a big yard and my sister and I didn’t really want for anything. By comparison, I have a small 2 bedroom condo with no yard space, which my husband technically bought, and I can’t keep a plant alive –I don’t even want to think about kids. On the other hand, I’ve been able to travel and do a lot of things she couldn’t because she had the house and kids. Life’s a trade-off I suppose.

As I watch the remaining hours of my twenties drift away, I’ve grown contemplative. I had an absolute blast during my twenties. Sure, there were bumps and hiccups along the way, but in 10 years, I studied abroad in Australia, finished college, moved to a new state, started my career, bought a house, started and finished a masters degree, got married and had found new loves in camping, skiing and scuba diving. All things considered, not too shabby a way to spend 10 years. Here’s hoping the next 10 are just as good, if not better!

Here's lookin' at you, kid

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La Niña Needs to Leave

Aurora Bridge in the Seattle rain

Image by Gexydaf via Flickr

It’s spring. At least that’s what the calendar says. Mother Nature, however, doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.  We were warned last summer that we would be having a “La Niña” winter, meaning that it would be colder and wetter than usual (which, for Seattle, is really saying something!) What they didn’t tell us was that La Niña wouldn’t really hit until late January and would continue well into April and beyond.  So far this April, we have not hit 60 degrees. Since record keeping began in the 1890s, we’ve hit 60 degrees at least twice by this point in every year.  We’ve also had more rain than usual. I know, Seattle has a reputation of being a rainy city, but it’s usually about the number of rainy days more than the quantity.  Lately, though, we’ve had many heavy rainstorms come through.  We’ve also continued to have snow showers and several instances of hail so bad that it accumulated over an inch. Very weird weather for this time of year.

However, I try to look at the positive side of things. So, here’s my list of good things that we can remember when cursing the weather:

  • Green!!  Everything is definitely green right now – the grass especially! It’s really quite lovely.
  • Longer Spring – with the temps so low, it’s taking a long time for the flowering trees to finish. They seem to be staggering themselves out, so there’s always a pretty tree to look at.
  • Thunderstorms – we don’t get these very often around here and when we do, they don’t often cause much damage. We’ve already had at least three since January, very odd for around here.
  • Cool season crops! I’ve planted some Broccoli and Lettuce and they are growing just fine. I don’t worry about them bolting in this weather, so that means extra long growing season!
  • Clean air – One thing rain does well is clean out the air. We often get stagnant air in the winter, but the spring rains come along and clear it all out.  No worries about the air we are breathing right now.
  • Squirrely Middle Schoolers not so squirrely. Something happens to pre-teens and teens when the sun comes out.  Without much sun, we’ve seemed to avoid the worst of it.

So, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy this rainy-lack-of-spring we seem to be stuck in. But don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for sunshine and warm weather!

Announcement: The week of April 25 (that’s this Monday!), Our View From Here will be holding its first virtual book club!  We will all be reading, and commenting on, the book Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen.  Read along with us!
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Music Lessons

I do not collect music.  I do not cultivate an active interest in particular bands, albums or songs.  I do like music.  I like to learn about new bands and genres, but I don’t go out of my way to feed that interest.  So, I’ve been feeling at something of a loss about what to write here.  So, instead of writing about my own history with music, I thought I’d introduce you to a few of the musicians and music aficionados I’ve met in my life and talk about what they’ve taught me. 

1. Music in High School
I’m pretty sure that in high school everyone knew someone who was in a band.  Or was starting a band.  Or wanted to start a band to support the unique sound they had developed by teaching themselves to play the tambourine or the garden hose or some other nonsense.  There were several “bands” in my high school.  It became a very big part of one’s social identity to support one band over the other, especially since they would hold an annual battle of the bands and sides were expected to have been picked ahead of time.  Of course, the ability of any one of these bands to induce ear-bleeding was matched only by the sheer number of inane lyrics they could produce.  Angsty teens are the absolute best at making melodrama both loud and insufferable. 

Lesson: You can either like what you like, and suffer the consequences, or you can like what others like and feel weird about yourself.  It’s completely up to you.  *hint* As a teenager, you’ll feel weird either way, so you might just be better off liking what you like.

2. My Roommate in College
My roommate in college, who for anonymity purposes we’ll call Gertrude, was a pop culture omnivore.  If it was popular, girl consumed it (everything from MTV to WWE).  To wit, her two favorite bands were Korn and N’Sync (not sure about the (in)correct spelling/punctuation of that name, but I’m sure you all know who I’m talking about).  A mutual friend of ours compared this to “worshipping God and the Devil at the same time.”  (He did not say which band was being compared to the Devil in this analogy–but I think he may have meant N’Sync) It was 1998, and both of these bands were at what I imagine was the height of their popularity.  Gertrude (and a few other people who lived in our building) would go to the LA airport and stalk either of these groups if they knew they were arriving that day.  They’d follow them around the airport (which is huge, so they must have somehow found out which airline they were on) and take pictures.  They were total stalkers.  In a harmless and amusing way. 

Lesson: I think what these girls taught me, and what I still think is absolutely true, is that you really, honestly don’t need to determine the one thing that you like and never experiment with anything beyond that.  Music is music, and you hear in some of it things that you like, that make you think, that make you dance, that make you sing, and in some of it, what you hear only makes you want to turn it off.  But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  You don’t have to identify with any particular genre of music, because that’s boring.  (Evidenced by Gertrude’s deep and abiding hatred of another boy band of the time, the Backstreet Boys)  Also, don’t apologize for what you like, and don’t feel like you have to justify your stalkery behavior.  As long as you don’t hurt anybody, it’s probably ok.

3. Musicians in College
Ok, here in print, in a fairly anonymous forum, I’m finally ready to publicly announce that I had a crush on a musician in college. This crush was probably painfully obvious to all of my friends at the time, and if they read this I’ll thank them to continue to do me the courtesy of pretending that I’m much more subtle than I am.  This person is on his way to becoming very successful now, and he’s incredibly talented, but in college I was a blindly adoring fangirl (I totally put lesson 2 into action, in that I may have been somewhat stalkery).  I went to his shows, I bought his albums and I did whatever I could to worm my way into his circle.  I didn’t really care all that much about his music (which, again, for the record was quite good, it just didn’t matter to me that much), I just wanted his attention. 

Lesson: I did have a lot of fun and meet a lot of cool people in this pursuit, but it wasn’t really me.  The role of groupie wasn’t one that fit, but I did it to get attention, and it didn’t even really work that well.  So, I guess the lesson is to do what comes naturally and let the attention of others come to you, rather than putting yourself into a box that can’t contain you and raising people’s expectations needlessly.

4. Musicians after college
The people I know now that are musicians are working exceptionally hard.  Most of them have day jobs and then write and produce music in their spare time.  I don’t think that everyone’s goal is to “hit it big” but I do think they would all like to support themselves, however modestly, by writing and/or playing music.  It’s an intense life, and it seems to be a rewarding one.

Lesson: Do what you love, even if you’re not being paid for it. There are other kinds of rewards for doing what you want to do, and if you’re lucky, you’ll reap those.

5. Music Collectors
I have a friend who has an unparalleled cd collection (well, it’s probably only paralleled by her mp3 collection, which I’m pretty sure comprises over 2 YEARS worth of music).  She has floor-to-ceiling cd shelves along an entire wall of her apartment. Not a little wall, either.  A big fucking wall.  She’s incredibly organized and all of her cds are in alphabetical order by artist (we worked at a bookstore together and she really liked shelving).  In all the time I’ve known her, I’ve never ever mentioned an artist she didn’t either know well, or (usually) own their entire collection.  I’m lucky in that she has taken it upon herself to help me broaden my musical sensibilities.  She has bought me cds that she thought I’d like (she was right) and made mixes for me to listen to in the car that are totally awesome and fun.  She has a critical ear, and she likes a lot of different things.  It blows my mind that she has enough room in her brain to hold information about all the albums and records she has (if I think about it though, I probably have similar amounts of space in my brain that hold information about yarn and fiber). 

Lesson: Find at least one friend who collects music and likes to share.  You’ll get a lot of good music out of it.

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Nervous Nellie

Last week when we discussed regrets, I mentioned that I don’t “do” regrets. This is a personality trait I’ve always been pretty pleased with. One personality trait I am less fond of is my nervousness.

I’m naturally a skittish person. I blame my sister (because when you get the opportunity to blame a sibling, why wouldn’t you?!), who liked to stand in a dark hallway or room and wait until I passed to jump out and scare me. While this is perhaps tangentially related to my nervousness, this paragraph largely exists so I can get a dig in on my sister.

In any case, the nervousness I’m talking about is related to doing things incorrectly, being late, or encountering new things. I’m also a borderline perfectionist, which only exacerbates the issue. And I’m not consistent either. I can be perfectly chill about major things, like buying a house, getting married or going back to school, and completely neurotic about other things, like making sure my phone is off before going to a movie or church (seriously, I have to check multiple times, which may speak to a bit of OCD-ness but I don’t want to think about that too hard). Generally, I would say my nerves get wound up about the stupid stuff. I leave to go someplace 40 minutes early when I know it will only take me 20 minutes to get there. I check, recheck and sometimes triple (or quadruple) check the schedule when I’m going to be riding an unfamiliar train. Until I’ve been someplace consistently many times, I’ll always look up directions again. I honestly don’t know where all of this came from. I know my mom has a nervous personality and although she tried to hide it from me, I think I must have subconsciously picked up on a bit of it.

I’d like to think only my closest friends know how neurotic I really am. I try to at least present the picture of peace. My poor husband though. He’s very patient and kindly accedes to my need to be at a scuba dive site a half an hour early just so I don’t have to rush to get myself set up.

Over the past several months I’ve noticed more and more how neurotic I really am about all this stupid stuff and how much energy I waste in the process. I’m really trying to focus on letting go a bit and handle everyday situations a bit more like I handle big events. Sometimes it means forcing myself to leave my cell phone in my purse when I know I’ve already checked twice to make sure it’s off as I sit and wait for a movie to begin. I’ve also tried visualization. It sounds a bit hokey, but the scuba shop I dive with is big on it. They use it in the context of imagining the potential problems you could have on a dive so you can think through solutions and be ready in case something does happen. I find it applies to my everyday situations too. If I can stop and think things through a bit I find myself a bit more prepared than I otherwise would be. This might turn into a new neurosis, but at least it seems a bit more productive than my current one.

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