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Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts on life’

Today I found them. The Rose Coloured Glasses. When I wrote my post about my grandma, the day she died, I commented:

She was the type of woman who told it like it is, but everything was always seen through rose coloured glasses — with a pragmatic edge that made us all love her even more.

Today, I went with my parents, cousin and aunt and uncle and we worked on cleaning out my grandma’s place.  While we were there I found a pair of my grandma’s sun glasses. With rose coloured lenses.  That meant a lot.  I collected a few things, and my mom has a few other things for me at their place.   My grandma was a woman of sentiment and caring: She kept an ornament I made when I was a child.

I’m glad I was able to do it, help out, it was tough on my mom, and I didn’t help that much. I was cleaning out a closet of Christmas ornaments. I found something rather important that my family had been looking for. But it wasn’t something that was easy to find. It had me shocked. It shocked my mom. It was a tough tough day.  But I’m glad I could support them. It had to be found.  So this evening I’m relaxing.

I’m also looking at my things, and I’ve been in a purging phase anyhow, and now I want to purge more. Spending time cleaning my grandma’s place makes me realize that I don’t want people do have to do that for me.  It may be a morbid or a dramatic thing to consider, but, really, if I can live my life in such a way not to be cluttered with stuff, that is perhaps a better way to live.  I don’t want people who are grieving for me, my children perhaps their children having to go through things sorting out what is what and what to keep what to toss.  I would like people to simply be able to find what they want to keep — what’s important to them, and the rest sent to charity.

So I purge. I’ve been going through things, have been for the last several weeks. Now I’m more motivated to purge. Get rid of those things I don’t love, don’t cherish, those things I wouldn’t want someone to have to sort through.  It’s a step I need to do as I continue on this journey towards living life well, towards wholeness and health. Because I want to be happy, strong, and well enough to live my life looking through rose coloured glasses but with my grandma’s pragmatic edge.

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My head has felt like it’s had cotton stuffed into it for the last 2 days. I never, EVER want to have a migraine like that. In the past I’ve said the words ‘I have a migraine’, but no, those were just really bad headaches. Not to negate how bad those were, but this was 1000x worse. Nausea, dizziness, lights bugged me, the works. I can still feel it to some degree, but my head is clearing.  I don’t ever want to go through that again. Ever.

I know that part of it was stress, and the feelings of betrayal that I felt.  I know I felt raw and tender from the intensity I’ve felt this past weekend. I’m feeling less raw and tender now as I spend more time processing the situations in my life, but I’m realizing that I also need to learn how to be more assertive and set boundaries. Boundaries not to keep people out of my life but so that I can learn to have the confidence to say when those boundaries have been crossed.  It also means I need to realize and remember who is capable of what and that these differences mean different boundaries.

As much as I have been choosing to speak up more, and this has cause some backfiring, I realize that I need to keep speaking up, rather than shutting down.  So does this mean that I’ll be taking a break from the local dance scene. Sort of, yes. It means I need to surround myself closely with those people who can be part of my support system and enjoy casually dancing with those people who aren’t in a place to be able to support me. Some of those support system people are dancers, some not. But I need to be aware of different people’s limitations, and act accordingly. And perhaps out of this something new will be built, perhaps with new friends, perhaps with old but new none the less.

This weekend there will be no local dancing for me, I will spend the weekend recovering. Next weekend, I’ll decide that when the time comes, there is a blues party in Seattle, and I need to look at numbers first before I make that call. The weekend after that is already the San Francisco trip.

So, from what I can tell, it’s going to be 3-4 weeks before I dance locally anyhow so that should hopefully give me time to think and process some of this.

My head is clearing, and while relationships are constantly being redefined by this process, relationships wont stop.  I need to keep remembering last Thursday, remembering just how cherished I felt knowing that my friends came to check on me — unasked — to make sure I was okay.

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How do you begin to describe a weekend like I’ve had? I’ve had several intense days and I don’t even know where to begin.

I went down to Seattle for SEALX and had some amazing dances, listened to fantastic bands, and pretty much spent the entire weekend having fun.

I could go into detail about the dances I had or I could talk about how while I enjoyed the bands, listening to “The Loose Marbles” that much was a bit too much. In this case, the band was fantastic, but more variety would have been nice.

But, all in all I had a great time. I love events like this, and in spite of the challenges to get there, carpooling insanity that usually has me ready to smack someone(s) and general frustration, I always have a great time and have not yet regretted going to events like this.

A few tips for those newbies to the SEALX experience:

1. Practice fast lindy hop. Seattle likes it FAST. Much faster than we ever dance in Vancouver, except in Jam Circles. It reminds me that I should take some solo Charleston, and some fast Lindy since we don’t really dance it that fast here very often.

2. The venues are always hot and steamy. Bring lots and lots of shirts. Many guys change their shirts a few times in a night, at these venues, women need to also in many cases.

This particular weekend was like that.  The evening started at the Rainier Chapter house and the venue certainly has atmosphere.  After the main dance we went for food at Whym. The general manager there was a riot, and quite obnoxious. He was great though his antics continued on too long and kept us there longer than we wished. The food was pretty good, though my soup was too salty.

Saturday we relaxed and then went to Mighty O’s where we got to try some vegan doughnuts. They were fantastic and I must stay a wonderful treat.  We made our way to Cal Anderson Park, where I flopped out on a blanket and napped. We went back to The Smith’s where we got ready to go to the dance. While waiting for my friends to be ready, I flopped down on the sofa and managed to hit my head quite hard. Don’t ask. I was in a lot of pain and still have a goose egg to remember it by.  I tried to go to the dance at the Ballard Oddfellow’s Hall, but my head was hurting too much. I could hardly dance. So I went back to The Smith’s and napped.  After the nap, I went out with my friends to go for a quick dip in the lake. Greenlake. It was pitch black, and apparently is becoming an annual tradition. Yup, that’s right skinny dipping. It was a blast. And the shock of the cold got rid of the head-hitting-headache.  And I’m definitely glad I went. This was a transformational moment for me that I will have to think about — and perhaps blog about later on. But one thing at a time….

After the swimming expedition, I took off with another Seattle Friend and spent some time hanging out. Eventually I made it into late night, which as always, is held at the Washington Dance Center. I had some amazing dances. The best dance of the weekend was with a particular friend, it was intense, crazy, had me up in the air on several occasions, and is one I will remember.

At the end of that night there was this guy with a big jug of beer that he didn’t want to carry home on his bicycle. So he started pouring it into all our mouths. And a few pop cans. The stuff left a nasty aftertaste in my mouth.

After crashing for a few hours, we got up, went to Pike Place Market for break…er… lunch and then danced at Westlake Park downtown where I got to play — and dance — in a fountain. This dance was partly DJ’d and partly The Loose Marbles. They’re great but really they have two tempos. Stupid fast and really slow. More variety is definitely needed there.

After the dance it was sushi at Sam’s Sushi in Ballard and then I went out with a friend for drinks and we hung out and chatted for a while until it was time for the next dances.

By the end of the weekend I was completely fried, but I was definitely on‘ I enjoyed every moment and I feel like I’ve turned a corner in terms of life and stress. Being free to make choices like I did this weekend, and ones that were particularly good for me was great. I’m happy. It’s good. And whatever comes of the future, and later trips to Seattle, I’m happy now and that’s what’s important.

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“Crisis Management”. That is probably how I’d describe my life from Oct ’06 – April ’08. Wow. 20 months, when you include the weeks on either end of that time frame. 20 months of living day to day, not knowing when I’d have a steady income, wondering if I’d ever have a ‘real’ job again.  20 months of dealing with a career crisis if you will… It was 20 months of crisis management. No wonder in some ways I’m dealing with a bunch of things now that may be repercussions of that “ending”, because that was a lot.

Fortunately I had a good cushion for that long period. I’d been hoping to buy a condo in early ’06 and found that eternally frustrating. 9 offers on 7 condos and getting blown out of the water each time by multiples. Yikes. So I had the down payment saved.  A good cushion.

The first four months were entirely funded by savings, including a very budget friendly trip to Barbados (thanks to having a friend who lives there).  After that I spent two months living on EI and Savings. For the next seven months it was EI, ESL Teaching and Savings. Then it was two months of ESL Teaching and Savings followed by two months of just Savings.  Three months were spent temping at an Engineering Firm before I took a few weeks off before starting my current position in a career-related field.

Whew. 20 months.  20 months of just trying to live month to month, or even day to day. 20 months of constant flux and not knowing how long I could go. 20 months that was probably about 7 months longer than I would have expected, if you’d asked me before it started.  20 months of stopping many of my goals.

Those 20 months were good. I achieved some new goals, grew as a person, developed an increased ability to handle personal unexpected changes (which is saying something given I have historically hated change). They were tough too. Other personal stresses have been amplified by my decreased capacity to handle stress. A complete re-vamping of my support network has occured, and is occurring. A complete questioning of my identity and world view is still up in the air and full of challenges.

So now that those 20 months of unemployment, or ‘underemployment’ are over… What does it all mean? It means I need to deal with some of the stresses that came along with the career crisis. That’s happening. I’m facing those pretty much head on.  It means I need to decide what my personal or career goals and the interconnected financial goals are going to be. Are they the same as before or different? What about the world view and identity challenges. That too, at least after I finish dealing with the stresses that came along with the career crisis.

This weekend I had a time that reminded me of my goals. Saturday was a home, puttering and cleaning day — at least after my long run. I missed my running gang at coffee so I simply bought some groceries at the market and went home. Saturday night was dancing. Sunday I spent it with some friends and had a long talk about personal goals.

Some of those personal goals are hard to really concretely define right now for me. Being that partly by personal I mean ‘family’.  But other ones are easier to define. Like the desire to own a home of my own someday. To have a cushion again. To build something for retirement. To be doing worthwhile work in a place that will be enjoyable, stable and long term, while paying me what I should be paid. To enjoy life, to look back on each day and be able to say ‘I lived life to the fullest today’.

Do I really know how that’s going to look? In some ways I do, in many ways I don’t yet though. It still feels very short term. Like last night.

I was out for a picnic with some friends last night and we chatted about challenges that we all face. I have them, she has them. They’re slightly different given that she’s married and I’m single, but there are challenges none-the-less. It made me realize though that we can make choices and suggestions that will help us all reach our goals. For example, restaurants. Trying to eat out less. It’s a gorgeous summer. So why not do picnics at the beach? I’m going to start doing that more. More biking (once my tires are pumped up)? Less gas money would be needed.  Less drinking coffee out — unless it’s as a cheaper alternative to going out for dinner… but wait, it’s summer… see the picnic idea.

All of those things are fun, yes, and definitely help with goals that I’m starting to remember, and which are still important to me. So those reminders are good. And while I know I don’t have control, really, over a number of goals – those that would perhaps be better defined as ‘hopes and dreams’, at least I’m starting to remember some of my goals from the past, and revisit them.

Now to figure out a clear way to get there… Oh well, that will be for another time. For now I’m going to go and get ready to go to T-Model Ford, who’s performing at The Yale tonight.

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