Saturday, January 26, 2013

When the Universe Whispers

This is going to be a strange and disjointed post.  I have things to say but haven't yet figured out how I want to do this.

At the end of my ITP (Interpreter Training Program), I had to do a practicum that included a bunch of different settings.  I interpreted in church (that was interesting), psych (horrible) and school (weird).  I wasn't much older than a lot of the students so I would get checked for ID by teachers.  I hated (and still do) being in the educational setting but an interpreter has to do what an interpreter has to do.  One of my mentors, N, remained a friend for many years.  Hanging out with her and her husband was fun.  They were hunters, republicans and as conservative as I was liberal.  But we liked each other.

After I moved to MD, we stayed in touch occasionally.  Nothing regular but Christmas cards and the occasional letter kept us in each others' lives.  But after my dozen moves in as many years, we fell out of touch.  I'd hear about her from mutual friends once in a while.  I knew she retired.  I knew this and that but no specifics.

I had one of my worst interpreting experiences with her.  I was still a new interpreter, uncomfortable with my limitations of language and knowledge yet eager to learn.  She was asked to interpret a college class and asked me to work with her.  The client was tough - or that was my impression at the time.  Looking back, that client wasn't tough at all.  She was advocating for her rights.  One of those rights was to have qualified interpreters.  I wasn't one of them and she knew it.  But N fought for me.  I felt terrible because I knew the client was right.  Yet N coached me through it.  I was so relieved when that class was done.  I'm pretty sure I will remain on the client's shit list for life.  I deserved to be there.

When I would visit N's house, I always steered clear of what I called "The Room of Death".  That was room that held the heads of the poor things her husband killed.  I learned a lot about hunting from them.  What I remember is hunters pee in bottles while sitting in trees.  Her husband is a very manly man (from my memory).  The thought of him sitting in a tree peeing in a bottle always makes me laugh.

So here's when the Universe whispered to me.

A few years ago I tried to find her.  I didn't bust my ass doing so but I did a few online checks to see if she was on facebook or linkedin or somewhere where I could send her a message.  I didn't find her and I let it go.

LAST WEEK the urge to find her hit again.  I googled her.  I did several searches for her.  I came up with a few things but nothing that gave me her address or an email. THIS WAS LAST WEEK.  And I spent maybe an hour or so searching to see what I could find.  It seemed important.  And then, as is usually the case in my life, I became distracted and didn't finish finding her.

LAST NIGHT I was playing Words with Friends with another interpreter from home.  She told me N had died a few days ago.  Sometime between my need to find her and that game, N had died.  She died without knowing that I thought of her regularly.  She died without me telling her I remembered all those days we spent interpreting for crazy high school students.

Is it a coincidence that I looked for her just as she was about to leave this world?  My boyfriend would say yes, that's exactly what it is.  I'm not so sure.  I think next time I should listen a little more closely when the Universe whispers something to me.  I wish I had this time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


It's cold out.  And I'm not happy.  Nope, not happy at all.  I hate being cold.

I don't normally wear a coat.  It makes me feel like Ralphie's little brother from A Christmas Story.  Come on, you remember.....

I broke down and wore a coat.  I don't normally wear gloves because somewhere around the age of 7 I learned that mitten clips weren't cool to have.  So I lose one of my gloves Every. Single. Time.  Just like umbrellas.  I lose those too.  But today I wore gloves.  And earmuffs.  Seriously.

I didn't want to get out of bed but I did.  That's one of the hazards of being an adult, I suppose.  The entire time I was getting ready I was praying that my car would start.  It did (and yes, I thanked the Universe).  I got the girls to school (mostly) on time.  And I got to work early.  If I get to work early I can wear make up as I keep my make up in the car just for those days when I arrive with enough time to put it on.  Today was one of those days so I started to put my make up on.  Only it was frozen.  My mascara was frozen.  So was my lip gloss.  I tried to warm up the mascara a bit but I can tell you it's really not worth it to try to put clumps of frozen black shit on your eye lashes.  The effect is not attractive.  The lip gloss was interesting.  It wasn't fully frozen.  Just glumpy.

It was so cold today that Kelly from Momma Needs a Beer ( posted today on facebook that when her husband went to open their car in Grand Rapids, MI, the handle broke right off.  That's cold.

The news showed a big ass fire in Chicago and the building got covered in ICE while firefighters were trying to extinguish the fire.  Beautiful, yes.  Freaky weird, definitely.    This makes me happy that A) I don't live north of here and B) my job takes place indoors.

I am not meant to live in cold weather.  I moved south of the Mason Dixon line so I would be in the south! I realized pretty quickly that Silver Spring, MD is NOT in the south.  It's just like Pennsylvania, only different.  They get more snow there (Lansdale) than we get here but still....

I am now done bitching.  Well, no I'm not.  Who am I trying to kid?  I won't stop bitching until about April.  I just (probably) won't make you listen to it again.  You're welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Life Well far

Huh.  Alissa over at Clever Compass and the other bloggers came up with another stumper for me:  what have I do with my life that makes me feel proud.  Funny, one of my girls asked me about that the other day.  Finding an answer to that question is kinda hard.

So let me see what I can come up with.

Hmmmm.....what am I proud of?  Oh!  I have a few!

I started my first business, Discovery Records, at the age of 19 with a $250 investment from my brother.

I scared myself silly by flying to Poland to meet a guy I dated for about a month 6 years earlier when I did a short student exchange program in Germany.  We met in Poland (yes, we recognized each other) and went to the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz and Austria (and a bunch of other places) so I could see where my family lived and possibly died.

I've interpreted for Paul McCartney (a few times!), at one of President Clinton's Inaugural Balls, for Mrs. Clinton, for the births of 8 babies, THE CURE!!, and a whole bunch of other really cool people.

I am a trained hospice volunteer and used to teach interpreters how to work in that setting.

I went to the Million Mom March with my mom.

I presented at an RID (interpreting) convention.

I walked 26.2 miles and raised a boatload of money for the Avon Walk for Cancer.

I've been to Paris.  Twice.  And I had banana nutella crepes both times.  Yum.

I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle.

I've been in the Eye of London.

I've been to two concentration camps.  That was life changing.

I started two more businesses - Signing Family and Capital Sign Language.

I've been to two inaugural balls.

I got married, which was nothing short of a shocker to everyone who knew me.

I survived the end of that marriage, also a shocker.

I went on a series of The. Worst. Dates. Ever. following the end of the marriage.  And I wrote down all the details.

I started a blog,  I actually have a few readers.

I make the best banana bread ever.  Seriously.  Not sharing the recipe was a condition of my divorce.  Really.

I gave birth to two beautiful girls!  A minute apart.  And I've had a big part in raising them to be awesome.

It took me all week to come up with those.  There will likely be a part 2 to this later.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Sounds of Silence

Yesterday I walked around Lake Artemesia in College Park.  I used to train there for the Avon Walk for Cancer but stopped after I no longer needed to walk every day and after a car accident made it painful to do so.

I had a little time between my job in College Park and the next assignment in Silver Spring so I headed over. I even had sneakers and socks in the car.  I did not, however, have my ipod.  During all my training, I had either Amanda, Andrew, another friend or my music to get me through it.  I can't ever remember walking without something or someone to entertain me - and I rarely walked during the work day when it's quiet out. I thought it would be a boring, quiet walk.  I was wrong.

It was noisy.

I heard ducks and sea gulls.  I could hear kids playing at a school or playground not far away and it made me laugh because the sounds of the kids and the squeals of the sea gulls were remarkably similar.  I never noticed that before.  The ducks were playing.  Their quacks sounded like laughter.  The metro goes by one side of the park.  It's loud but the sound is comforting to me.  I'm not sure why.  There's one area where the baby ducks hide in the spring.  Now it whispers when I walk by - the breeze makes the tall grass talk to me.

There were a few people there but not many.  One or two spoke.  The others were walking or running.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  I could hear the runners come up behind me.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  They passed me.

The sound of crunching  leaves revealed a family of squirrels playing hide and seek.  There were little birds doing that, too.  They don't really play with each other, though.  I thought it would be more fun if they did.

On any other day I'd say it was quiet there.  Peaceful might be a better word.  And it was.  I was calm, getting re-energized and paying attention to my surroundings in a way I don't often do.  I thought to myself that in different circumstance where I was walking alone with no one nearby, I'd be nervous.  There was no anxiety at all.  All I could think of was how lucky I was to have a job that allows me to take a break occasionally and how much I love warm days in winter.

And then it was done.  I was back and traffic and back to work.  But I was still smiling.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's not a bucket, it's a can

I think something is wrong with me.  Other people have have goals.  Bucket Lists.  Must-do things.  I don't really have that.

Well, I sort of do.

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, ever since Alissa over at came up with the idea of doing a post about our bucket lists.  I feel like there's something wrong with me.  I have never had a bucket list.

Now, that said, I've had a few things that I've always wanted to do.  I've come up with three I'll make public and one that is a secret.  When I make that one happen, I'll announce it from the rooftops.  Trust me.

My bucket list items are pretty simple.  They all involve travel.  I would like to go to three places: Prague, Puerto Rico and Croatia.  In that order.  I'd actually like to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, too.

I don't want to jump out of a plane, climb a mountain or find the world's biggest roller coaster and not throw up on it.  I just want to see a few things, places in my dreams, before I die.  I'd also like to be conversational in French.  But that might have to wait.

Oh wait, I thought of a few more.  I'd like to finish scrapbooking my life.  I have all the stuff I need but not the time.  I'd like the time and motivation.

I'd like to get a metal detector and find my treasure at the Jersey Shore.

I'd like to write something and get it published or get one of my photos sold.  That would be awesome.

Now I'm on a roll.

I'd like to meet Paul McCartney and confess my undying love for him.

I'd like to have an organized, normal, traditional life.  Just for a little while.

I'd like to walk all 39 miles in the Avon walk for Cancer.  Before I'm 50.

Boy, once I get thinking, it all starts flowing.  I like this.

I would like to reduce my possessions by half.

I'd like to take my kids to Disney World.  And Paris.  Not necessarily in that order.

I'd like to find the mother of all shark teeth.

I'd like to complete my secret wish.

And that, my friends, is all.  Actually, it's not.  But it's enough for now.

What's on your list?  Link your blog or leave a comment (here, not on facebook please).  Or tell me what you've already completed.  I have a few of those.  They'll be in another post this week.  Hopefully.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012, don't let the door kick you in the ass....

Happy 2013.

This is the time of year when I'm supposed to be reminiscent of 2012 and make resolutions for 2013, right?  Well, I don't want to do that.  But I suppose I will.  Just because.

2012 was a mixed bag sort of year.  It started off rough with the death of my mother in law.  I set and met a goal (which is a rarity for me) with the Avon Walk for Cancer.  I walked my ass off (literally).  Just so you know, if you stop walking insane amounts of miles, the ass comes back.  That was depressing.

I took my first vacation without members of my family in 15 years.  That's 15 years, folks!  Really, it's probably longer than that but I refuse to go back further in time to figure it out.  My boyfriend, Andrew, and I went to Geneva and took a quick side trip to Paris.  That was fun and a great adventure for me.  I learned that I can indeed travel without insane amounts of anxiety and that there's a not so hidden part of me that really likes discovering new places.  And I like wine.  Too much fun.

I also cut the cord a bit and went for nearly a month without seeing my kids.  That might not have happened if not for video chats and lots of phone calls.  My kids came back from sailing camp talking like sailors - the good kind.  Their cousin, Dana, worked a few miracles and taught them to eat healthier and gave them the experience of having little brothers.  A few weeks with them up at their cottage on Lake Ontario was just what the girls needed.  We all had a great summer.

We said au revoir to elementary school and a nearly fully French education and hello to a middle school school taught mostly in English.  We went from two or three teachers a day to closer to eight.  And it's all within a school of middle school age kids.  I bow to the folks who can teach those pre-teen moody kids.

I didn't quite make my goal of blogging weekly but I came much closer than I have in previous years.  If I count all the posts that remain in draft, I made my goal.  I'll let you decide if that counts.

I realized again that I have the best friends in the world.  You know that whole "It Takes a Village" thing?  My friends are our village.  How do I know this?  Because when my kids talk about our family, they mention my friends by name.  M & L came to girl scouts to bail my sorry ass out.  A & S reminded my kids that laughter fixes an awful lot of bad stuff.  D and A have become second and third moms (or big sisters) to my girls and keep me sane.  Those are just a few examples.  I'll say it again, my friends are awesome.

It feels like it's been a long and stressful year but as I write this I realize there was far more fun than stress.  The stress has its moments but really the good outweighed the bad.  Okay, 2012, you may leave gracefully and not with the door kicking you in the ass.  2013, the pressure is on.  You better be a good year.