Archive for May, 2004
Saturday morning, at some ungodly hour, we will begin the annual trek to New Mexico to pick up three little girls for their summer visit. Those of you familiar with attention deficit disorder will understand why Memorial Day weekend is difficult for me. Driving there and back with one overnight stay – fourteen hours of driving each way – through some of the most barren land you could imagine… in a minivan. Torture.
I was born and raised in Pasadena, California, and live there to this day. My first real venture into another expanse was five years ago when we made that first trip to New Mexico. Now, this is going to sound ignorant to those of you from a proper state, but I had no idea that there was so much NOTHING out there. Thousands of square miles of …nothing… was a shock to me.
LOAD SOUND-EFFECT OF CRICKETS CHIRPING
To someone who has only lived in the hustle and bustle of Southern California – city next to city, next to city, next to city, and no clear lines between them – the idea of so much open space, towns surrounded by nothing but wilderness and farmland, was an eye opener. I had no idea my metropolis was so unique. I figured Phoenix or El Paso would be something like home, but I was wrong. There’s nothing like Los Angeles.
No wonder real estate is booming in California. Who wouldn’t want to be here? Earthquakes, schmirthquakes… They’re fun! It’s like a free roller-coaster ride. Yes, I’m kidding. But seriously, there’s outrageous opportunity – for a quality education, for good jobs, for a bright future. Not only that, but it’s BEAUTIFUL! Our beaches are gorgeous, our mountains too, even the desert. We’ve got it all, and just an hour from the city.
We’ve even got small towns. There’s a place near the Arizona border called Blythe. I’ve decided you can’t just call it Blythe, you have to tack on “that God-forsaken town” because it’s not descriptive enough otherwise. It’s your last chance for gasoline, so you have to stop there. I’ll never forget the first time I passed through. One hundred and ten degrees at ten o’clock at night. It’s like a rest stop on the highway to hell.
Why on earth would anyone choose to live there? Who goes there and decides, “This is where I belong.” Were they thinking hell is just too far away and they need a taste right now? It’s quite un-American to knock small town life, but some of the places I’ve seen make me wish I owned a distillery. There’s not a whole lot to do but hang out and get trashed.
But you know what? I have a hunch these small town folk are happier than we are. There’s something to be said for a simpler life. I want to learn to appreciate leisure. I’d like to slow the fuck down. Maybe I’m only built for high gear, but I’d like to find out for sure. I guess we’ll see where The Journey takes me.
May 27th, 2004
Sometimes I wonder how I make it through these days at the office. Today I nearly slapped myself. I was almost certain that I’d been transported into a scene from the movie Office Space. Yes, I believe that’s my stapler.
I still remember going home after my first day on the job and commenting, “Where did they find these people… under rocks?” The cooler ones made side bets on whether or not I’d return from lunch, then voiced surprise when I did. No exaggeration, I don’t belong here.
Yet I’ve been plugging away at it almost two years. Other than the predictable (yet no less frustrating) friction caused by self-important menopausal women, it’s not too bad. But some days it just grinds. If I have to be the staff psychologist I wish I’d at least get paid for it. Sadly, I’m not even paid appropriately for what I was hired to do.
That’s the beauty of a “not for profit” company. Guess I’m supposed to be “not for profit” too. And from the look of things, I’m not supposed to be “for keeping up with the cost of living” either. This place is a hole. Luckily some sunlight makes its way in.
What keeps me going is my belief in our company’s untapped potential. I see what appears to be low-hanging fruit. Unfortunately, I’m turning into the protagonist from one of Aesop’s fables. There are so many bureaucratic barriers that this fox is starting to experience sour grapes.
A co-worker said my job is best described as analagous to Cinderella. I take scraps and leftovers, transform it into something beautiful, and then watch others tear it to shreds before it ever makes it out in public. I’m sure I’ll elaborate some other time, but right now I’m exhausted… and it’s only Monday.
May 24th, 2004
Something about Frank just sets me right. You can try your hardest to have a bad day but when you hear this man croon… game over. There’s an inherent optimism in his songs. Dad says there’s nobody like him because he didn’t just sing, he sang the words. I say it’s also the simple honesty of the lyrics and the way they reveal similarities in the human experience.
Current favorites, in no particular order:
The Best Is Yet To Come
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Let’s Fall In Love
The Way You Look Tonight
All Or Nothing At All
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Come Rain Or Come Shine
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
Let’s Face The Music And Dance
Come Fly With Me
All The Way
Happy Birthday, Dad. XOXOX!
May 22nd, 2004
Recently I’ve been getting flak about my attitude toward happiness. You see, I freely admit that I don’t believe in the pursuit of happiness, because it’s always seemed to me like a catch twenty-two. Seeking happiness doesn’t make you happy. It’s selfish, self absorbed. In the end, a life of selfishness doesn’t engender happiness, only emptiness.
Maybe I’m just arguing over semantics. So instead I spent some time thinking about what really makes me feel fulfilled. By thinking about personal fulfillment instead of happiness, I get down to the meat of what really achieves meaningful positive results.
In reminiscing about moments where I’ve felt most fulfilled, these are my best times:
Watching someone’s face light up while savoring the first bite of a dish I’ve labored over in the kitchen, and when they go for seconds or can’t wait to tackle leftovers.
Laying in bed caressing my partner and getting so in tune with their body that I am able to touch them in a way that pushes a sound of deep relief straight from their soul.
Talking to someone one-on-one. Learning who they are and what they believe. Finding out what’s lovely about each person, and then sharing it with them so they feel loved.
Praying about things I don’t understand or struggle with, and then later getting an answer or a solution, usually in a way I never would have guessed.
Learning about the amazing universe that we live in. It always points back to the extreme love and care of our Creator.
In summary, I’d say it comes down to serving people and building a relationship with God. What’s great is that those two endeavors are mutualistic. One feeds the other. What’s hard is consistently centering my life around these things. My selfish instincts run counter to what really provides true happiness.
May 21st, 2004
How is it that a Christian Dior double saddle handbag in white leather with gunmetal accents can make a girl so happy? Just got it in the mail today, shipped directly from Paris in perfect time for its debut on May 31. Who knows where the rule about only wearing white accessories between Memorial Day and Labor Day originated, but I do my best not to fight it.
What is it about accessories? Shoes, purses, belts, scarves, jewelry, hats, gloves, stockings. I love them all, and the more unique the better. In recent years I’ve come to value quality far above quantity. I’d rather have four exquisite handbags than ten fun ones. A few pairs of heels that make my legs look magnificent, rather than a closet full of functional shoes.
Accessories reveal our own unique flair. When I put on a suit to head to work in the morning I don’t feel so special. But when I tie my pink Hermes Twilly scarf in a bow on the strap of my favorite black shoulder bag, it’s the perfect touch that makes it just so… ME. It’s that little extra that makes me grin all day.
I love being a girl. I’ll take the menstrual cramps and the wage gap, just for the secret joy of wearing Wolford Stay-Hip stockings. I’m good at being a girl, and a girly-girl at that. I stand behind my preference. For it is the girly-girls that make men more manly. And manly men are simply delicious… the most fabulous accessory of all.
May 20th, 2004