Friday, November 14, 2014

Getting Re-Energized, Revitalized and Maybe a Little Happy

I was going to title this a Good News Friday post.  But it's more than that.

I've been getting burned out lately.  I don't really feel like interpreting and it's visible in my product.  Actually, it's more than that.  It's not that I don't feel like it at all.  It's that I'm distracted.  I'm inundated with deadlines and paperwork for various activities and school related requirements.  I'm overwhelmed with overdue dental, orthodontist, and just about every other kind of doctor my kids need appointments for.  I'm sinking in paperwork related to the care of my mother.  I'm in a relationship that I love but one that requires time and effort (not a complaint).  It used to be that work was a relief from all of that.  When I was working I developed tunnel vision (or tunnel feeling?).  The outside distractions turned off and all was good with the world.

As my "distractions" become more severe and require more emotion and brain activity, the ability to shut them out diminishes.  I chalked that up to interpreting burnout.  It's not the first time I've felt it but it's been a while.

I might have been wrong.

It's not really professional burnout.  It's a life burnout.  I know I need a break but that's not happening any time soon.  No one would get my kids after school or make sure my mom had the right meds on the right day.  There is no one else to pick up the slack, a fact that I hate.

Then something good happened.

I worked my ass off this week.  I worked two back-to-back conferences that were educational and interesting.  It wasn't a ton of hands-in-the-air work but it was all interesting.  I worked with interpreters who have my back all the time and understand how to team.  I worked with a client who made me laugh and made going to work fun. I have never valet parked so much in one week.  I felt like a grown up.

So here it is, Friday, and I really want to take a nap.  But my brain won't stop racing around.  I have some ideas about what I want to do next in my life.  I have some examples of what I can do with my company.  I have all sorts of ideas!  Now I need to win the lottery so I can do it all.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I kept walking.....Oct.31

I didn't hit all my goals this week.  I'm not happy about that but it is what it is.  I did go walking every day and did see lots of things.  I wasn't on metro this week so there were no people to meet, no stories to hear.  I did work in some places I haven't worked at in recent years so that was fun.  But it wasn't particularly eventful.

So, what did I see?

I asked my daughter, A, to clean the sand out of the utility sink in the basement.  One day when I needed a few more steps to hit my goal, I walked all around my house, including in the basement.  I went down to find she left her mark in the sand.  I guess that's her way of "cleaning" it.

Last weekend, my girls and I went to Eastern Market, one of our favorite places.  We found a great vendor who had hats and all sorts of things that called to us.  The only weird thing about this vendor stand was the super creepy mannequins.  This one wasn't the only one.  There were more.  More just as heebie-jeebie inducing as this.  Like this one:

I have to include some pretty flowers.  They're a must because soon there won't be any more.  Yes, it's the #seasonofdeath.

I know I saw other things.  Lucky (or not, depending on your perspective), I didn't have my camera for most of those things.  I'll do better next week.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I went walking.....Oct. 24

There's a book I used to love to teach children's sign language classes.  It's called "I Went Walking".  It's basically:

I went walking
What did I see?
I saw a green duck
Looking at me

I like it because you substitute anything for a green duck.  As I'm walking all over the place to get my good vibration (see earlier post), I pass things that make me smile and meet unusual folks.  While on metro this week, a woman sat next to me and wished me a "wonderful day."  Normally people don't talk to me.  So that made me happy.  Yesterday a man confided that he had found someone's credit card and ID.  He wanted me to send a prayer so he'd do the right thing "because the devil is on my shoulder."  I wonder if he ended up doing the right thing.

I think I'll start a weekly post series for a while.  Maybe it'll encourage me to walk.  Maybe....

The owl isn't real but it took me by surprise when I looked out the window of my job and saw that.

I put my nose in all the flowers as I pass them.  One of the things I enjoy about walking in DC is going to the various gardens at the Smithsonian.  I wonder if people see me smelling everything.  Sometimes I'm rewarded pleasantly - like this flower.  Sometimes I regret putting my nose in a flower.  I think if a flower looks pretty, it should smell pretty good, too.  But that's just me.

It's not Philly but it's love and a city.  I'm not complaining.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Good Vibration

I found something that has, at least temporarily, changed my life.  It's purple and plastic and ugly.  But it motivates me.

I had been thinking of getting a Fitbit for a while but just never got around to it.  I'd see my friends post their stats on facebook and thought no, I can't do that.  I don't want the world to see my progress (or lack thereof).  Then the ex got one and started bugging me about it.  Come on!  Get one! I was still seeing the facebook posts and was kind of intrigued.  So I did it.

Picking a color from ugly choices wasn't easy but I picked the one that made the most sense for me (purple).  Boyfriend got one (not a bracelet), too.  I have plenty of motivation around me now.

So, how has this changed me?  I walk my 10,000 steps more often than not.  I park down the hill and around the block instead of in the closer parking garage.  I walk around the buildings between jobs.  When I drop the girls at school (if there's time) I walk around the track.  There's really nothing more humbling than being passed (multiple times) by people older than me.  I think about how I'm going to get my steps in.  I pay attention to what I'm doing.  I plan exercise in my day - I've never really done that before.

The result?  My body is (again) changing from all the walking.  My attitude is changing.  I feel like one thing that is just for me on a (nearly) daily basis.  When I hit my 10,000 steps my bracelet vibrates on my wrist, letting me know I hit my goal.

And really, who doesn't like a good vibration?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thirty years is a long time

I went to Lansdale this weekend for my (drum roll) thirty year high school reunion.  Yes, I am actually that old.  Horrifying, isn't it?  I don't feel old enough to have been out of high school for thirty years.  I can't believe I've been away from Lansdale for over 20 years.  It doesn't seem that long ago I moved here.

It was weird being home.  It's been a couple of years since I've been there. Normally going to a reunion stresses me out - seriously stresses me.  Not this year.  Part of that probably has to do with facebook.  I figured everyone knows what I look like because I post a gazillion pictures.  Everyone knows I'm no longer married.  And everyone knows I have kooky kids.

It was nice to see my best friends from back then.  Some have known me since I was five, others I met in junior high or high school.  Any way you look at it, it's a long time.  I was thrilled that people came and told me that seeing me was one of the reasons they showed up at the reunion.  My heart was happy.  When I lived there, I felt like an alien.  I was proud NOT to be from PA (born in MA).  I always knew I'd leave. Being there and listening to some of the conversations reminded me of that alien feeling and that leaving was the right thing to do.  Still, it was nice to see happy people and hear people with accents that are more pronounced than mine!

Walking around Lansdale on Sunday morning made me realize that I don't belong there.  Stores were closed (except the pretzel factory!).  Everything was quiet.  I passed probably 5 people the whole time.  I need to live in a place with people and outdoor markets and restaurants with outdoor seating - life.  I need diversity and lots of languages around me.  Maybe, after 21 years of living here, this is finally home.

Yeah, that must be it.

But my heart will always be happy when I walk into a bar and hear a certain someone (and only that one certain someone) yell BITCH just like we were in 9th grade again.  And I do love being around people who say water correctly.  And Wawa.....sigh.......

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going on a rant

So.....I haven't posted for a while.  I didn't want to write about the endless doctor appointments, hospital visits, feelings of banging my head against an uncaring ER's wall (for my mom) - none of that.  I also didn't want to write about the never-ending drama of raising two moody teens.  I didn't want to write about the craziness of running a business or the freaking out at the loss of a major contract.  Nope, those weren't topics I cared to address here.

I wanted to write something happy.  Maybe even perky.  But every freaking day I keep thinking the same thing:  why are you (whomever you might be) entitled to be such an ass?  Mostly this happens when I take my kids to school.  Why are you, a fully able-bodied parent with fully able-bodied kids, parking in the handicap access parking spot?  I know you know there are disabled kids in this school.  But you don't give a shit.  Why?

Why are you in the left turn lane at the corner of Wayne and Sligo Creek Parkway when you're going to zip around and go straight?  Was beating that one car so important to you?  Do you realize there are children walking nearby (you are in a school zone, asshat).  So when someone has to swerve out of your way, who is it that will be hit?  You must be a very important person.

I spend a lot of time frustrated at the idea of people feeling ENTITLED.  They have some sort of right to be dicks.  Why is that?  Did their parents raise them that way?  Most of them are of a similar age to me so I suspect that's not it (my mother would have beaten my silly, as would most of my friends' parents).  But it does make me think about how I raise my girls.  I don't worry about them parking in a handicap access spot (they have seen me freak out about that enough to know better).  But I see sparks of "I deserve that" behavior.  This better go away.

I think I'm at the end of my rant.  To all you who don't stop for pedestrians in the walkways, run red lights, park where you have no business parking, I say fuck you.  You are not that special.  And just wait until I become Queen of the World.  You will be cleaning port-o-potties in that world.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life Is Full Of Choices

Today at lunch, I was talking with a co-worker.  We were talking about our kids and their attitudes.  She was relaying a story about one of her children who was complaining that her life was tough.  My friend reminded her that her life wasn't tough but rather it was busy - a choice she made.

I've been thinking a lot about that statement:  "You choose to be {busy/bored/whatever it is you're feeling}.  It's true.  Life is a bunch of choices.

I was feeling sorry (sort of) for myself recently.  I still feel like my life is in limbo - that it's spent getting my kids to and from camp and activities while trying to make sure my mom is okay and has all she needs and fitting in enough work hours to feed everyone.  My brother, ex and boyfriend have all talked to me about taking time for myself - making sure I'm okay, too.  There are not enough hours in the day.

Then I realized, in the middle of my conversation at lunch, that this is indeed a choice.  I am making the choice to make my mom's life happy while she's here - it won't last forever.  I am making the choice to make sure my kids are involved in activities so they have opportunities I didn't have.  I am making all sorts of choices that don't always feel good but have a positive outcome.  But they are my choices.

So now I shall choose to go to bed.  Or play more tetris.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An unlikely fan

I've been quiet here for the last month or so.  I've started to write a lot of posts but none of them make me happy.  I started to write about the ineptitude of medical personnel and the rudeness they exude.  I started to write about what it feels like to have a life stuck in limbo.  I started to write about what it feels like when the only parent you have left is in peril.  None of those were fun.

So I decided to take a break and go to my happy place for a day.  I made the ride to Ocean City, New Jersey last week alone to go meet a friend and see the Indigo Girls play at the Music Pier.  One of my favorite bands was playing in one of my favorite places.  How could I be anything but happy?

Then I got to thinking about it.  Why do I like the Indigo Girls (IG)?  I'm not like the rest of their fan base.  I'm not gay.  I don't like folk music (at all).  I do like female vocals (a lot).  I had a lot of time to think about it on the ride up.

They were the first show I ever interpreted. I was assigned to Pink Floyd but because I had never ever seen an interpreted show before, I was placed on IG as an understudy.  I learned what to and not to do as an interpreter at that show.  Still, it felt foreign to me.

And I liked the music.  This was a shock to me.  I listened to rock/alternative music my whole life.  I like lots of bass and drums and just plain loud.  So this doesn't make sense.

More thinking.

They are sentimental to me.  I've interpreted for them about a dozen times over the last 20 years.  I know most of their music inside and out.  I've associated their music with specific times in my life - during medical crisis, my divorce and my recovery back into single life.

My conclusion?  It's their use of idioms.  I hate idioms.  When I'm interpreting, that stops and stumps me every freaking time.  Every time.  But I like it when they sing with all their weird and picturesque expressions.  It challenges me.  And I can make it work in ASL.  And it makes me feel comfortable.  I know it.  My brain is happy when I hear it.

So there you go.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Confessions of a fireworks junkie

I love fireworks.

No, I mean it.  I LOVE fireworks.  They blow up in the sky like a big electric flower.  There is no such thing as a bad firework, though some are better than others.  This weekend I got oh so lucky.  Three - count 'em - THREE - nights of fireworks.  Thank you, Mother Nature, for making Thursday's weather bad enough so some fireworks displays were postponed.  Woo hoo!

The first night we went to Greenbelt Park.  I've never seen fireworks there.  They did a nice job!  There were lots of families and even more fireflies.  It was beautiful.  A picnic dinner made for a special evening.

The second night was in Laurel.  The Very Good Boyfriend braved the traffic to find a spot for us to watch the fireworks.  There were lots of cars and lots of phone/electric lines but it was still a good time.  They had fireworks in the shape of hearts and smiley faces.  Odd, but as I've said before, there is no such thing as a bad firework.

Last night, the third night of fireworks in a row (!!), we ended up at a church in Lanham.  We sat through the (not so bad) gospel music and a few Hallelujahsand several Amens!  It was all good because they have nice fireworks.  And, one of the best parts, it's located about a block from a 7-11, which means slurpees.  Score!

What an excellent weekend to be a fireworks junkie.  Perfect!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Time Travel

My kids are Dr. Who fans so the topic of time travel is a fairly regular occurrence.  Sort of out of the blue, I ended up having one of my favorite conversations ever with them.

M: I wish I could travel through time.  I would go back to your middle (junior high) school.  I would be your best friend.

My heart melted.

A: Oh!  I would want to go back, too.  I want to ice skate with you.  We would have so much fun.

Yes, we would.

M: We'd get in trouble together.  That would be awesome.

We get in trouble now.  That's not enough?

No, sometimes you're like a regular parent.  It would be different if we were the same age.

I wonder if my 13 year old girls would like the 13 year old me.  I wasn't as smart as they are.  Or rather, I was smart in a different way.  I have good common sense/street smarts.  They are book smart.  I hope I would teach them about music.  I also hope I wouldn't teach them to smoke, which I did with a few other kids in the bike shed where I grew up.  I'd probably have done better in school - the three of us would be competitive.  I do know we'd have a tremendous amount of fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tick tock and it all changes

It amazes me how quickly things change.  Growing up, my kids didn't know who was older.  There was one minute between them - it's not like one is significantly older than the other.  We had a system - A and M days.  On A days, A would sit in the seat behind the driver (the one where they could still see things in the rear view mirror), push the grocery cart, whatever the thing was they tended to fight over - and it was the day she was oldest.  The next day it was M's turn.  It worked out nicely.

Until we met the bitchy cashier in Target.  I still don't like her.

She asked all the usual questions:  Are you twins?  Are you fraternal?  Do you think the same thoughts?  And then there was the kicker:  Who's oldest?  We don't tell them that.  Well, that's stupid.  It's obvious who's older.  It's HER! (pointing to A).  Bitch!

This started us down the bad road.  They wanted to know the truth.  I called their dad and conferred and we decided enough was enough.  So I told them.  And it all changed.

A suddenly got a huge head.  And M turned into the "little sister".  A bossed her around and M took it (until it got to be too much and then she clocked A back into common sense).  The damage was done.  They took the older/younger sister roles to heart.  I was so annoyed.

Now, fast forward about 8 years.  The countdown was on.  They were ending their 12th year and about to be teenagers.  They weren't excited about this.  They discussed remaining 12 (with a year of experience!).  Being a teenager wasn't positive - this baffled me.  When I was 13, I counting the days until my 16th birthday when I could drive.  I was thinking about moving out.  I was thinking of all sorts of stuff.  Not my kids.  Nope.
Then it happened.  They turned 13.  And the very next day they became cranky teenagers.  They were moody and rolled their eyes at me and each other.  What happened?  They were nice a few days ago!  How did this happen!

There has to be an antidote for this, right?  Someone? Anyone?

I am dreading 16.  Seriously.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What the duck?

A friend of mine posted a picture of a large (as in huge) rubber duck that was visiting the harbor in Hong Kong a while ago.  I knew I wanted to see it.

When it made its appearance in the US, I knew I had to see it.  It went to Pittsburgh but apparently no one felt the need to tell me about it. But when I saw a news report saying it would be in Norfolk, I knew I needed to visit.

Andrew and I made the trek to visit the biggest duck I've ever seen.  Now, anyone who knows me know that ducks are sacred in my world.  I wouldn't eat one and I go out of my way to go see them when I can.  This is the happiest duck I've ever seen.  And I've never seen a duck make others so happy.  It's that odd.

I love the reflection of the duck in the water.  He's just so happy!

The duck knows how to photobomb.

Peek-a-boo duck.

Squish Your Head duck.

It was such a perfect weekend.  All the things I really enjoy were crammed into about 36 hours.  We took a paddle boat water ferry from Portsmouth to Norfolk.  Standing on the top deck, watching the ships in the dry docks - it was perfect.  And then to take the boat back in the evening, under fireworks (another favorite thing in my world) - it doesn't get better than that.

I'd never been to Norfolk before but I can't wait to go again.  There was so much to see!  There are mermaids all around (much like Silver Spring's penguins or College Park's terrapins).  There was a pagoda - with jumping fish!  We had an amazing dinner in an old church.  Such a beautiful place!

The sculptures outside the Chrysler Museum - a seriously cool place!

I can't wait to go back!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Good News Friday 5/2/14

My mother taught me to "act as if".  It used to make me nuts.  Sometimes I'm in a pissy mood or just know I can't do something or whatever.  Those are the times, my mother said, to act as if.  Act as if it's all okay.   Act as if I can do (whatever it is).  Act as if.

So this week has pretty much sucked.  Nothing life changing (mostly) but sucky nonetheless.  So I'm going to act as if it's been a really good week.  I'm going to act as if this was a great day, which it was not.

1.  My girls got their Silver Award through Girl Scouts.  This is a real thing, not an act-as-if thing.  It was great to hear the opportunities that await my girls as they progress through scouts.  And it got me into a church for the first time in a long time.  The pew didn't sizzle.  That's a good thing.

My girls and their awesome troop leader.

2.  I like my saw on a stick.  Oh, that's right, I've been corrected.  It's a pole saw.  After a few mishaps, I got the hang of it and there are now a lot less branches hanging over my back yard.  This is good.  Add to that the azalea I got from freecycle (complete with worms) and maybe my back yard will be useable.  I guess I should do something with the skull I found back there.

3.  Reaching for something here.....reaching......I got a few new clients.  And two conferences that used my company in the past are back for their third time with me. That's a plus.

4.  I had a good date night seeing Eddie Izzard with the bf.  That was fun.  I'm using that to make me feel better about being alone on my 3rd anniversary with said bf.

5.  Oh!  I had someone do something really, really nice for me.  My friends took a short trip to Portland Maine last week.  I asked them to check out a store and look for earrings I saw the last time I was there (which was about 15 years ago).  They found the store, tried to find the earrings but the store doesn't carry them any more.  Then later in the week, one of the friends and I were working together and she surprised me with a small box and a (different) pair of earrings from the jewelry store!  That was so nice.  Now every time I wear the earrings, I smile.  That's a seriously good thing.

6.  One more!  My friend-with-fabulous-lilacs called me.  She knows lilac is my favorite scent.  So the invitation to go smell her lilacs was very welcome on a day when I needed to smile.  It was worth the allergy headache that appeared after quite a lot of pollen made its way up my nose.

Okay, I found 5 6 good things for the week.  Whew!  And they were genuine things.  That's a good reminder.  My life is overall good.  I need to remember that.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Good News Friday! 4/25/14

I'm such a slacker.  I've been forgetting to post my Good News Friday posts.  Sigh....but I'm back!

Let's feels like it's been a busy week.  I know there are some good points in there somewhere.

1.  I was able to work with some of my favorite people this week.  It doesn't happen often but when it does, it makes me happy.  Two of my favorite interpreters and Favorite Client #1.  Good work week!

2.  "I have a good life!"  M announced to me this week.  When asked to elaborate, she said "I have good friends, I read good books, I like good tv shows and I have a good family."  That's a good way to feel and made me feel oh so good as a parent.  I needed that.

3.  I celebrated Russian easter.  This made me surprisingly happy.  I don't have many holiday traditions and never had much of one regarding easter.  This year, I missed having a family.  I saw everyone's pictures of family celebrations on facebook and wanted one myself, which I know will never happen.  Andrew's parents invited us over and taught us their traditions.  True, I'm not Russian but we now have one in our family and I'll silly excited at the idea of having to cook certain things to continue the traditions he's known all his life.

4.  Someone told me that peeing on my plants probably wouldn't really keep the squirrels away but cayenne pepper might.  That is so much easier!  And less, well, weird.  Fingers crossed that it works.

5.  I realized I'm still happy.  This is good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Color of Music

I don't like this music (Marillion).
It's metallic colored.
It sounds like silver or gold.

I have to think about that a bit.

What color is Mika (a favorite of theirs).
He's rainbow!

What color are the Beatles?
Elton John is also yellow.

What color is Ozzy Osbourne?

What music is red?
Punk Rock Girl (dead milkmen) is red and black.
I don't know much red.
Also Taylor Swift, but not because the album is titled red.  Country music is red.  Different shades of red.

What music is green?
Green Day!

What music is white?
Wedding music.
I never thought of white music.
Oh!  Celine Dion!

What is One Direction?
Pink for happy music, gray for sad ones.

What color is Jason Derulo?
Dark orange! (said with a scowl!)

What color is Sleeper Agent?
Purple or electric blue!

What color are the Indigo Girls?

What about the music from Frozen?
Blue, white and silver.

Justin Timberlake?
Rainy gray.

Brown or maroon.

Maroon 5?

Imagine Dragons?
Demons is gray.  On top of the world is orange.

I think they're making this up.  But, oddly, I kind of get it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Pretty Tradition

There aren't too many traditions I partake in, often to my dismay.  There are a few I really enjoy and make an effort to do.  Cherry blossom season is one of them.  I wish the blooms lasted longer and I wish the entire world didn't want to see them at the same time I do.  That aside, I take lots of pictures of them.  Every.  Year.

I thought about waking up early enough to see the sun rise over the cherry blossoms at the tidal basin.  Then reality hit: I'm not really a morning person.  No alarm set.  No real plans to do this.  Then for some odd reason I woke early - as in around 6 am.  I almost turned over to go back to sleep (which I really needed) but then I thought I woke early for a reason.  I sleepily found a sweatshirt and made some coffee and made it out of the house in about a half hour.  The sun was already started to rise.  Grrrh.

Plan B enacted.

Instead of seeing the blossoms over the tidal basin (which I haven't done in years because I am not fond of crowds), I went to Bethesda.  I figured I could make it there quicker.  Good call.

I love the tree lined streets full of cherry blossoms wherever I look.  It's normally a really crowded place but before 7 am, it's quiet and beautiful.

People are friendly at that hour.  The runners, bike riders and dog walkers were out and that was about it.  The sun kept rising, changing the way the light hit the blossoms.  It was a fabulous way to spend a bit of time.

It made me wish I wasn't an art school drop out.  I don't usually think about it but today I wished I had paid attention more and remembered what to do with my camera.  I miss the days of shooting in film but days like today make me grateful for digital.  I would have blown through a lot of film rolls instead of just two cards.

I might wake up early enough to go to the Tidal Basin tomorrow.  Might being the key word.