Monday, February 28, 2011

Farewell February

Oh, February, I am glad to bid you farewell. You started off with such promise this year. Now on the last day, I am glad to see you go.

Over the course of the last three days you have dropped a foot of snow, which has made the roads as slick as they have been all winter. People normally able to navigate Maine byways covered with snow have slipped and slid. I stayed out of trouble because I stayed home.

While I am at home I enjoy watching television. Last night your cloud cover obstructed the digital signal from the local ABC affiliate, and I was unable to watch the Academy Awards. This is a simple pleasure I look forward to all year. All. Year. It costs nothing but brings me such happiness.

To top off the havoc you have wreaked, somewhere in a snowbank or pothole lies a lug nut that belongs on the right rear tire of my car. The loud thumping and vibration of the vehicle was a sign that something was wrong, and the wobbly tire confirmed it. Just because I haven't been out doesn't mean that my car hasn't been driven. Oh, it's been driven alright, long enough to have important parts fall right off.

I am marking the calendar, February. Next year I shall skip right over you....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

While I Was Sleeping

It is amazing what a difference a good night's sleep makes. Last night I went to bed exhausted and grateful. This morning I woke up glad that I had been asleep and ready to start the day. I love when that happens! Tonight I went looking for words to describe what I am feeling, not sure they existed, and I came upon a poem that suggests so much more ~

Last Night As I Was Sleeping
by Antonio Machado

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvelous error! -
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvelous error! -
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvelous error! -
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt - marvelous error! -
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

(From ten poems to change your life, 2001, Harmony Books, p. 21)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Negative Nellies

They started pummeling me first thing this morning. I had no sooner opened my eyes than the Negative Nellies started in and sent me diving back under the covers. You can't do this! What makes you think you can pull this off? Who do you think you are?!

I know what set them off. Last night I put the finishing touches on a letter of application and resume to send by email today. [Done, by the way.l

The job in question has a history for me. One night last week the idea of this job set me to dreaming so intensely that the morning I woke up from the dream I jumped out of bed thinking I was already doing the work. I have had that dream for months, before the job existed: sitting around tables with people, talking about education, discussing how to make schools better for students. Traveling. Brainstorming. Thinking outside the box. Making a difference.

It was last Monday that the listing showed up on the non-profit job board I follow. It's a job at a private, alternative school for students who want to earn their high school diplomas. I worked there as a teacher six years ago. The school was in the midst of transition, which was accelerated by strategic planning and an impending change in leadership. The school is a model for alternative education, known throughout the state, with nationally known educators and policy makers on the board of directors. Major changes were needed if the school was to continue to exist.

It was my ten months at the school that led me to decide to return to graduate school for a Master of Social Work degree. I left on good terms with all who worked there. I didn't anticipate that there would ever be an opportunity for me to return.

The position is newly created for a program that needs to be developed.

Exciting? You bet.

Intimidating? Absolutely.

I decided I was going for it. I will never know if I don't put myself out there.

So the Negative Nellies had a lot to work with this morning. Fortunately, I have learned how to bring my attention back to the present moment, slow my breathing, and calm my mind. I was alive and well, the flannel sheets were as soft as ever, sunlight was filling the room, and I had plans for the day. I answered the negative thoughts with positive action, which is still a new strategy for me and every time it works I am pleased with the results.

I wasn't going to write about this tonight. What if the job is already filled? What if I'm not called for an interview? What if my history at the school takes me out of the running? What if I'm not "who" they are looking for?

Here's why I am sharing this experience: What if there is a job and the work is what I have been dreaming of doing for months and I am the person for the job?

And what if I missed the chance to document this part of my journey?

Now that would be an opportunity missed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day

"History repeats itself"is a familiar phrase. In looking for a silver lining for the tumultuous time in which we live, I have had my eyes open for any ray of light. This weekend I was looking through a picture book* I bought before Christmas ~ I have been parceling out a few pages at a time to prolong the enjoyment of reading the book. And there it was...a sign that this time, too, shall pass. It is an excerpt of a piece written by a well-known poet. I will share who wrote it and when at the bottom of the page. If you're game, read through and take a guess. I wouldn't have known before, but I am glad I know now.

It is the fashion among dillettants and fops (perhaps
I myself am not guiltless,) to decry the whole formulation
of the active politics of America, as beyond redemption,
and to be carefully kept away from. See you that you
do not fall into this error. America, it may be, is doing
very well upon the whole, notwithstanding these antics
of the parties and their leaders, these half-brain'd nominees,
the many ignorant ballots, and many elected failures and
blatherers. It is the dillettants, and all who shirk their duty,
who are not doing well. As for you, I advise you to enter
more strongly yet into politics. I advise every young man
to do so. Always inform yourself; always do the best you can;
always vote. Disengage yourself from parties. They have
been useful, and to some extent remain so; but the floating,
uncommitted electors, farmers, clerks, mechanics, the
masters of parties - watching aloof, inclining victory this
side or that side - such are the ones most needed, present
and future. For America, if eligible at all to downfall and
ruin, is eligible within herself, not without; for I see clearly
that the combined foreign world could not beat her down.
But these savage, wolfish parties alarm me. Owning no
law but their own will, more and more combative, less
and less tolerant of the idea of ensemble and of equal
brotherhood, the perfect equality of the States, the ever-
over-arching American ideas, it behooves you to convey
yourself implicitly to no party, nor submit blindly to their
dictators, but steadily hold yourself judge and master
over all of them.

From Democratic Vistas

* * * * * * * * *

written by Walt Whitman in 1871

(*Voices in Poetry: Walt Whitman, 1994, Creative Education, p. 19)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Wind And Ice

Lots of wind last night, to the extent that our internet connection was sporadic and television reception via antenna was interrupted. It was frustrating on the one hand and, on the other hand, an excuse to watch an episode of "Burn Notice" on DVD and go to bed to read.

Today Ken and I attempted to take a walk on a local rail trail along the Kennebec River. It started off icy, followed by a clear patch of pavement, and then solid ice again. We decided to turn around and found a path through an individual's driveway, who said it would be okay if we cut through. It wasn't a wasted outing because we stopped for coffee and a pecan roll at a local bakery before we headed home.

Today the sky was blue, the air temperature was thirty degrees, and the river was covered with snow. We watched the sky, breathed in the air, and appreciated the beauty of the river. Ken and I agreed that it's always good to get outside on a day like this in February.

Maine winter continues.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Give Me A Boost

Four out of five days this week I climbed on the treadmill not once but twice. That's four miles times four plus two miles today. I am determined to boost my metabolism. I can't tell if it's working yet but I sure do feel accomplished and energized.

When we lived in the city Ken and I joined a gym at a local hotel. It wasn't fancy but we could both be on a treadmill at the same time and sometimes we also took a dip in the pool. The place was minutes from our house and near shopping, so it was convenient.

When we moved to the woods I knew I was going to have to make an effort to get exercise in the winter. This is the first year I have been so consistent in using the treadmill, which has a lot to do with turning 55 and what my body has decided to do without my permission: spread. I am determined to stay ahead of adding inches and pounds. Since I enjoy eating it means that I need to increase physical activity.

Today a friend asked me if I do yoga. It reminded me that I need to check into a storefront just two miles away that always looks empty. I have heard that there are yoga classes offered there, or there used to be classes available. I need to check again because the more I walk the more flexible I feel.

For me exercise is one of those things that the more I do the more I feel like doing. My goal is to continue with the same number of miles and increase my speed. It helps that I'm currently watching "Mad About You" on DVD while I walk ~ laughing is good for a boost, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing It Down

It's not a big deal really. It's just a desk diary.

I bought one last year and only used it a couple months before it was buried on the bookshelf and forgotten. I originally found it on clearance at Barnes & Noble, late in January, the last one. The cover is leather. Each date has lines to fill with a day's activities. Each week has a paragraph that highlights an aspect of an author's life. There is an "at a glance" spread for each month with large squares to plot an overview.

This was more than a calendar or datebook, both of which I have and rely on daily.

This desk diary was going to be where I kept track of my life taking shape.

The problem was that life took on a shape of its own, and it wasn't what I had planned. It turned out that I didn't want a written record of all that went the other way from what I wanted.

When I let go of what I had planned, there was room for what was. Days came and went, things got done, life went on. I was more of an observer than an orchestrator, more of a participant than a planner.

In some ways I wish I had a written record of what I was thinking during that time. In other ways I am glad I can remember that it was a time that passed and I came through it a wiser woman.

A week ago I was in Barnes & Noble. I have been tracking the calendar clearance table and waiting for prices to hit rock bottom. They finally did, and there was one leather-bound Barnes & Noble 2011 desk diary left. I bought it.

I will just have to see what happens next.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Need A Little Spring

Last winter I bought a variety of flowered fabrics to make a quilt for my own bed. This is a special case ~ I have never bought fabric specifically to make myself a quilt. Never. Ever. The quilts Ken and I have that I made are sewn from scraps of fabric left over from other projects. So this is a big deal. I folded up the pieces of material and put them away, and since then I have moved them from a wicker hamper to a woven basket, and several times I've gotten them out to refold and look at them again. Well today they came out into the sunlight. I lined them all up on the back of the futon chair, where I can see them while I'm on the treadmill and touch them when I'm sitting in the chair. I needed a little touch of spring and all these flowers made me smile ~

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart On A String

On Friday I had an appointment with my massage therapist. It works well when I see her soon after I see my doctor because she is able to follow up and together we dig deeper into what's going on with my body. I first talked about what has changed in the past month, and then about how the doctor felt something deep in my breastbone. We talked about how our bodies can hold emotions and experiences for years and years.

Then she asked me where I wanted her to start. I thought about how my body was feeling and had her start on my back, where it turned out every muscle was tight and not moving. She spent almost the entire session working the muscles all up and down my back.

At one point she asked me if I could "see" anything in the area around my heart. Almost immediately an image came to mind, and I waited to see if it would diminish or disappear. It didn't and has been on my mind ever since.

I saw a heart on a string that runs between my spine and breastbone. The heart is able to move back and forth while it stays on the string.

We stayed with that image while she continued to massage my back. She asked if I knew why my heart was on a string. I said that it was so it wouldn't get lost, that I would be able to find it when I needed it. She asked how I was feeling, and I said I was feeling happy. My heart was happy.

We talked about how we often expect that if something has been stashed away or buried for a long time we think it means it will be scary or hard to face. She said that sometimes what we find brings us joy.

Maybe what I have found is my joy in me. It has been put away for safe keeping for a very long time because there was no place for it until now.

There is more to know. For now this is enough.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

The following poem has been around for years. On the television show "Frasier" the character Daphne had the poem on a poster in her room. Sue Patton Thoele was one of the guest mentors during Buddha Chick Basic Training. Her positive take on life is refreshing. I couldn't think of a better time to share this poem than Valentine's Day. May we take these words to heart and love ourselves as we are ~

The Courage to Be Myself
by Sue Patton Thoele

I have the courage to . . .
Embrace my strengths—
Get excited about life—
Enjoy giving and receiving love —
Face and transform my fears—
Ask for help and support when I need it—
Spring free of the Superwoman Trap—
Trust myself—
Make my own decisions and choices—
Befriend myself—
Complete unfinished business—
Realize that I have emotional and practical rights—
Talk as nicely to myself as I do to my plants—
Communicate lovingly with understanding as my goal—
Honor my own needs—
Give myself credit for my accomplishments—
Love the little girl within me—
Overcome my addiction to approval—
Grant myself permission to play—
Quit being a responsibility sponge—
Feel all of my feelings and act on them appropriately—
Nurture others because I want to, not because I have to—
Choose what is right for me—
Insist on being paid fairly for what I do—
Set limits and boundaries and stick by them—
Say "yes" only when I really mean it—
Have realistic expectations—
Take risks and accept change—
Grow through challenges—
Be totally honest with myself—
Correct erroneous beliefs and assumptions—
Respect my vulnerabilities—
Heal old and current wounds—
Favor the mystery of Spirit—
Wave goodbye to guilt—
Plant "flower" not "weed" thoughts in my mind—
Treat myself with respect and teach others to do the same—
Fill my own cup first, then nourish others from the overflow—
Own my own excellence—
Plan for the future but live in the present—
Value my intuition and wisdom—
Know that I am lovable—
Celebrate the differences between men and women—
Develop healthy, supportive relationships—
Make forgiveness a priority—
Accept myself as I am now--

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Week Without Snow

We did not have a snowstorm last week. There was one threatened mid-week but it went out to sea. The main roads are completely clear. The secondary roads that have accumulated snow and ice also have enough ruts in them to make them safe to drive. The most dangerous places are walkways and driveways where snow has melted and refrozen to create a nice slick surface that makes walking difficult.

There was no storm last week, although we did get a bit of mixed precipitation one night.

I forget about all of this in the summertime. When the black flies are thick, and then the mosquitoes are buzzing, I long for the cold, crisp, bug-free air of winter. I fondly remember when dark comes early and the shorter days mean more relaxed evenings inside. I look forward to clear blue skies and a bright white landscape.

Then we get storm after storm. And I remember that this is part of winter, too.

So it has been a relief to have a week without a major storm. The past four days I have not been home much, and it felt good to be out and about. Often I don't feel that way, regardless of the weather, and will use any excuse to stay home for days at a time. The time away was time well spent.

Now I feel like I can settle down and get caught up with myself.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Day Out

Ken and I had a day in Portland. We ate good food, drank good coffee, bought nutritious groceries, and saw a movie.

Thank you for the recommendations. I have wanted to see The Fighter, but it wasn't showing at the intown theater. We decided on True Grit, but the first showing was too late in the afternoon.

So we saw The Illusionist. It's not our usual type of movie, an animated feature film for adults. There was little dialogue, and most of what there was was in other languages. But there was something endearing about the story ~ an elderly magician takes a young woman under his wing. There were funny characters and sad moments. In the end the irony is that what he thinks is true is disproved by what he has been able to do for the young woman.

The movie was a nice change from our usual fare. And now I can still look forward to seeing The Fighter and True Grit.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Looking For A Good Movie

Ken and I would like to go to the movies tomorrow.

I've seen The King's Speech and thought it was excellent.

I saw The Social Network and got totally immersed in it in the theater. We watched it at home last night, and it did not translate well to DVD. There were parts where the sound was not good, and the people seemed harsh when I watched from my futon chair in the soft light of the family room.

Do you have any recommendations for movies currently in theaters? The Academy Awards are in two weeks and I haven't seen much of what has been nominated in any category.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

If This Is What 55 Looks Like

My day started with a birthday card from Leo. Smile.

I took my friend to lunch in Freeport to celebrate her 78th birthday.

While I was trying on sweaters in LLBean, a woman said to me, "You're so thin!" Believe me, that comment will be with me every time I climb on the treadmill. Personally, I think it was the slimming turtleneck and below-the-waist corduroy jeans. Wink.

Ken took me to dinner at our favorite local restaurant.

Dessert: angel food cake with strawberries, my absolute favorite and first choice since I was a little girl.

Cards, phone calls, and messages have reminded me how much I have to celebrate.

This has the makings of a very good year. I wish that for all of us.

May we be well, happy, safe, peaceful and at ease ~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feel My Heart Beat

I saw my doctor today to check the progress with my right shoulder. My last appointment was December 29, when she spent the entire time "working" on my head. Everything is connected so I never know ahead of time what part of my body will get her attention.

Today the doctor started with my shoulders, moved to my lower back, then to my head, chest, and arms. While she worked we talked...about how I've been feeling, what has been going on in my life, and what the different parts of my body have to "say."

She said the tendinitis in my shoulder is better. She has been drawn to my chest before, where she found arthritis in my sternum, the breastbone. Today she worked the area in the center of my chest for several minutes, saying there is something deep in the bone, something that has been there for a long time. She asked if I had regrets, and we talked about that. I told her that emotions have been surfacing, and she said that's a good thing. I felt much better after the appointment.

Afterward I thought about what we talked about while I ran errands and made the drive home. My sternum protects my heart. It has been protecting my heart for more than fifty years. I don't remember a time as a child when I could safely expose my heart. Love was conditional. Anxiety was a constant companion. My heart has been closed for a very long time, and I didn't know because I didn't know anything different.

Then over the years I have done the work I needed to do, peeling back one thin layer at a time. My body often leads the way, showing my mind there is work to be done and giving my spirit a chance to catch up. Bit by bit, through my neck and hips and knees and back and shoulders, I have come to know myself better, slowly growing in acceptance of who I am.

Internal resistance has been strong, at times so forceful that progress needed to stop so my body and mind could rest. I learned to accept even that. I learned to wait until it was safe to go on.

Now I am at the most difficult, deepest layer of all, my heart, the part of me I have been protecting since before I knew what I was doing. My spirit knows it is time and has led me to people who can support and help me. My body knows it is time and is providing the pathways for healing.

Yes, there is something deeply buried in my chest. My doctor felt it today; my massage therapist felt it months ago; my spirit has been preparing me for this discovery for years.

I feel surprisingly calm about all of this, as if this is naturally the next step and everything will unfold in due time.

Today when I got home, with seemingly little effort, I ran the vacuum, moved the new bookcase to the nearest wall, finished the ironing, put the laundry away, had biscuits with a glass of chardonnay for dinner, and prepared packages and cards to mail tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement. Every day is a new day. Each day is a fresh start.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It has been a strange few days. I can't seem to get anything finished.

The vacuum cleaner has been in the middle of the floor since last week because I was sure that would guarantee that I would get to it. I have laundry in various states of washed/folded/ready to iron in two bedrooms and the family room. The desk is cluttered and the refrigerator is empty.

We bought a bookcase because it was a great deal from a candle store that is closing. We got it home to discover that it still smells like candles, and I have tried every substance I can think of to wipe it down. So it may just need to smell like candles until it smells like something else. Right now it's leaning against a futon in the sitting room.

Every day for the past week I have wished I had a secretary, a housekeeper, a cook, and a bookkeeper. Today I decided what I need is a trainer, someone to come in and retrain me in how to organize my life. I used to have a routine that involved just the duties of running a home. I am now trying to transition into doing things other than housework and paperwork, and I am doing a lousy job of making time to do other things.

I think that since I am in control of my own time I should be able to get everything done that I want to do. I purposefully block out time when I will not make phone calls or leave the house to run errands because I know that eats up time. I stay home and think that if I put in enough hours I will get a handle on what I want to get done.

It's not working out that way.

I am puzzled but I am not defeated because it feels like something is brewing. I can't tell if it's in me or somewhere "out there," but it feels like change is coming. I have no idea what it will be, not even if it will be positive or negative. I just know I can't get rolling on any one thing, and when that has happened in the past it has meant that something was about to shift.

I hope I'm right about this. If not and this "scatteredness" continues, I will need to call in an efficiency expert to help me get back on track!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bold And True

For the past four Mondays I have written a post about something bold and true in my life, something I might not ordinarily write about because it seemed too personal or like bragging or might appear controversial. It turns out that those posts were none of those things.

They were the bold truth about something in my life.

All day today I have considered what I could write about on this Monday, not because I couldn't come up with an idea but because I couldn't decide to focus on just one.

It was last Monday that I made the decision to post every day in February. I wasn't sure how that would work out.

It turns out that I have a lot to say and haven't once lacked for a topic.

So I'm not going to continue to designate one day a week to be bold and true, although I thank Anne at One Little Window for the idea in the first place. I am going to incorporate the bold and true things in my life into my regular posts, whenever the urge hits me.

Less and less I am walking on eggshells in my everyday life. I still get sweaty palms at the prospect of someone being less than thrilled with what I say or do, but I am going through with it anyway. So far it's all worked out okay.

I expect to make some mistakes and take some missteps, which I think is part and parcel of being bold and true. The thing I've realized is that being myself gets easier with practice, and the longer I do it the harder it is to not be who I really am.

And isn't that what this life is all about?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I have read the poems of Danna Faulds in a variety of places and finally ordered a copy of Go In and In (2002, Morris Publishing). Each poem is a meditation.

Here is the pearl of wisdom that was my introduction to her work:

by Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in -
the wild with the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Position: Filled

Well, that was quick.

The day after I sent in my application, and just ten days after the job listing was posted, I got an email that the position for which I applied was filled. It was still posted on the job board! I emailed back with a thank you.

This tells me that they already had someone in mind for the job, which often happens in organizations that have a policy that all jobs must be advertised before they can be filled. There is just no way that a job can be advertised, applications received and reviewed, interviews scheduled and held, and a job offered and accepted within a ten-day period...minus the week-end and three days worth of snow storms.

The good news is that the email came from the executive director. My cover letter and resume passed through her hands at least once.


That's that. And that's okay because I'm back in the hunt.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Guy I Know

Today I took my 2001 Outback in for an oil change. The problems we've had with the other car have made me vigilant when it comes to sounds, smells, and warning lights. I asked my mechanic to check for oil leaks and problems with the muffler.

My mechanic is the guy who manages the garage. He has a soft spot for Subaru vehicles and more than once has worked on my car on his own time. He doesn't do all the work on my car when I take it in, but he always takes a trip out to the garage to see if there's anything that needs special attention.

Today the shop was fairly quiet and we had a chance to chat. He recently shoveled out his '98 Legacy from a snow bank, jumped the battery, and got it back on the road for the first time since October. He talked about the snow that is accumulating on the roof of his "camp" and I asked him where his camp was located; it's four hours north of here, about an hour from the ocean. I said how nice that it was close to the ocean, and he replied that he lives right on the ocean. That led to a conversation about where he lives, the great seafood restaurant near his house, and how his road gets plowed out.

Every time I take my car into the shop, we find something new to talk about.

I watched him interact with other customers while I waited. He gives each person his full attention and makes them feel like their car will get the care it needs.

It turns out that my exhaust pipe was bent, and with a bit of heat it was bent back into shape. He said there were no obvious leaks, oil or otherwise, and that the engine was surprisingly tight for a car ten years old with 153,800 miles on it. I thanked him and left with a smile on my face.

People are so interesting. Everyone has a story and most people will share theirs if you give them a chance.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back In The Hunt

It was a year ago that I decided to take a break from job hunting. In the previous two years I had applied for two dozen jobs and, despite some positive feedback, I was not offered a position anywhere. It was hard to be rejected over and over again.

So I took myself off the market. Except for an opening a friend let me know about, I did not apply for a job last year. And, no, I was not invited to interview for that position.

This week I decided to get back in the hunt.

There is a statewide job board for non-profits that I check periodically. Many of the openings are for people who know how to raise money. That's not my area.

This week I spotted a listing for a program director for a hunger prevention program in a town just fifteen miles from me. It's part-time. The best part is that all the job responsibilities are things that I know how to do, and most are tasks that I've actually done in the past.

This evening I emailed a cover letter and my resume to the person indicated in the listing. I'd like to say that I think I have a chance, but I have learned that I have no way of knowing what will happen.

What I say in my cover letter matters. The form and content of my resume matters. However, what matters most is how my letter and resume appeal to the person in charge of the job search. I got my very first interview for a teaching position because the principal's wife graduated from the same college I did. You never know what will strike someone about what you write or how you write it that makes them want to meet you in an interview.

Then if I get an interview, there is no way to know what will work for me or against me. How should I dress? Is my age a factor? Will I have enough experience? Or too much? Will my education be an asset or a disadvantage? Other than what I wear, I have little influence over the first impression I will make.

The interview itself is not straightforward, either. Yes, there are standard questions and answers where information is requested and given. But there is another layer of interaction during an interview that can be as important: how will I fit with the other employees and stakeholders of the organization? Do I match their version of who they hope to hire?

I have been hired for teaching positions because the principal liked me, we literally talked during the interview like we already worked together. That has happened more than once, and while it didn't guarantee that the job would be any easier, it was nice to get along with my boss.

So it's hard to know how my application will strike someone and what to expect if I am asked to interview. I know this intellectually.

It's still hard to put myself back out there and possibly face rejection. It's particularly hard when I apply for a position that fits what I see myself doing.

I still see myself working somewhere. I dream about it. I daydream about it. I want to work with people who care about the same things I do. I still want this after three and a half years of not being able to find it.

So I need to try again. It's time to get back in the hunt.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Flight School

I started Flight School three and a half weeks ago. This is graduate school for Buddha Chick Basic Training graduates.

I haven't mentioned that Flight School started. I went back through end-of-the-year posts and found that I was still on the fence in the last post where I mentioned Buddha Chick classes. [In the process I started a category for Buddha Chick posts.]

It's not a secret that I'm in Flight School. I just haven't been sure where I was or where I am headed in terms of being a Buddha Chick (BC). I am such a feet-on-the-ground type of girl that it's hard for me to pin down my place on the BC continuum.

For the Basic Training class I did the assignments, participated in the conference calls, and felt like I learned the material. It was like what happens when I read some books for the first time: when it's a new concept for me I can read the words but I may not understand all the levels of meaning. I will plow through to get to the end so that I can start again because once I have been exposed to the ideas I can build on that the next time through.

I think I've been this way as long as I have been an adult learner. When I went back to college in 1989 for a degree in teaching, I hadn't taken a class in ten years. I had three children. I had not spoken in complete sentences or finished a thought in a decade. The first semester I took two classes, English Composition [I was exempted from the class right out of high school but now needed the three credits] and Geography. I enjoyed both classes ~ taking notes, participating in class discussions, studying for exams. The creative writing was a natural fit for me. Writing my first research paper about a place in the world? Not so much. I had trouble with every aspect: deciding on a topic, making sense of the books I found, and writing the paper. I literally plowed through and just got it done. I got a B on the paper and was grateful because I didn't have a clue. But I did it. The next time was easier and the rest of my grades were higher.

This is my process when I tackle a topic that's new to me. I go through the motions until something clicks. There is no certain time frame, so I don't panic if it doesn't happen for awhile. I put one foot in front of the other, have patience, and stick with it. Eventually...

Things start to make sense.

Something clicked this week in Flight School. I am still connecting the dots but there is definitely a picture starting to take shape.

The journey continues....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leo's Latest Lair

This morning I had errands to run before the next round of storms arrives. Leo had eaten and curled up in his latest box, a remnant of Christmas that we have padded with a small afghan. He was sound asleep when I left so I let him be. He was in the exact same spot when I got home. It seems his restlessness has eased ~

Two hours later he roused, wandered the house a bit, and then made his way back to his box ~
He is eating well and going about his normal daily business with little more than an occasional hairball. We marvel at how his moods change. We'd love to know what he's thinking, although we're pretty sure he hates all this snow that is keeping him in the house. It looks like we will have snow all day tomorrow.