Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thinking about my new temp job, and why it's good that I'm going to be opening my own practice

Sidewalk Monkey: Sometimes I feel like I just don't like working with other people on a project. I mean I like people, I just don't like working with a group of them towards, like, a goal. Does that mean I'm a snob? Or does it mean I'm elitist? Or does it mean I'm antisocial? I don't think I'm antisocial.

Jam Guy: No. It means most people are idiots.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm a Katharine!

Thanks to May in the Bay for posting this...I took it as a time-waster, and somehow in just a couple of questions it came out pretty spot-on--how is that possible?--except for maybe a couple of things, which I bet you folks who know me well will be able to pick out.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Katharine!

You are a Katharine -- "I am happy and open to new things"

Katharines are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.

  • * Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.

  • * Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.

  • * Don't try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.

  • * Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people.

  • * Don't tell me what to do.

What I Like About Being a Katharine

  • * being optimistic and not letting life's troubles get me down

  • * being spontaneous and free-spirited

  • * being outspoken and outrageous. It's part of the fun.

  • * being generous and trying to make the world a better place

  • * having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures

  • * having such varied interests and abilities

What's Hard About Being a Katharine

  • * not having enough time to do all the things I want

  • * not completing things I start

  • * not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career

  • * having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies

  • * feeling confined when I'm in a one-to-one relationship

Katharines as Children Often

  • * are action oriented and adventuresome

  • * drum up excitement

  • * prefer being with other children to being alone

  • * finesse their way around adults

  • * dream of the freedom they'll have when they grow up

Katharines as Parents

  • * are often enthusiastic and generous

  • * want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life

  • * may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last night I dreamed about my mother.

In the dream, she was visiting Santa Rosa and planning all these fun touristy things with some girlfriends of hers that she hadn't seen in a long time. She was really excited, girlish about it, happy. It was nice to see.

She had let me know she was coming--I think she and I were attending a wedding that we'd both come to independently, and I had had to find her among the wedding guests. When I found her, she seemed pleased but not ecstatic to see me, and she was distracted, talking to this friend and the other about their sightseeing plans. I realized she hadn't planned any time to spend with me on her trip.

I asked where she was staying, and when I found out it was just blocks away from our house, I suggested she come and see the place. I really, really wanted her to see it, and to see how happy my life is now with Jam Guy in our sweet little home.

And she dithered about it, looking uncomfortable, explained she just couldn't make the time, and when I didn't buy that, she made it more or less clear that she didn't think it would be that much fun, that in fact it sounded boring, and she was not on this trip to endure boredom. She didn't want to see the place or spend time with me; she wanted to have fun with her friends and enjoy wine country. She didn't want to spend her vacation being a mother. She wanted to take a break and just be, uncomplicatedly, a woman.

In the dream my feelings were deeply hurt. When I woke up, though, I thought, doesn't everyone deserve a break from their responsibilities once in a while? A breather? I am not really sure what the answer to this is. Maybe we don't. Maybe some responsibilities are ours to carry 24/7 and lifelong, whether we chose them or not.

Maybe we only escape them when we leave our lives for good. Maybe that's what my dream was about--my mother is no longer someone that I can ask for a stamp of approval on things like my house, my fiance, my life. Now the responsibility for that, for deciding I'm allowed this luxury of joy, lies on me. And that even if it took me a lifetime and hard loss to learn this, maybe it is time to see that the responsibility for claiming my happiness was always mine and mine alone, never truly hers, never anyone else's.

Or maybe the dream was just about wishing so hard my mother could come and see how happy I am, finally, and share it with me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Year of abundance

Since about December 30th, I've been relentlessly insisting that 2009 will be "the year of abundance." So far, so very, very good: my genius sister placed first in a national playwriting competition, Jam Guy has with abundant energy replaced the roof on our greenhouse and built us a bed, Surfrunner welcomed a new baby nephew, I passed my boards and can start planning to start my practice. We are making new friends and enriching old friendships. Oh! And this afternoon, after like six months of applying to practically every single job I qualify for within a half-hour's drive because sitting at home not working is messing with my head, I started a part-time temp job at a county land preservation agency that's a ten-minute bike ride away--not a dream job, but exactly what I need in these months while I'm building a practice, and anyways in this economy a proffered job is a bird in the hand that I would be foolish to let go.

Meanwhile all the other manifestations of abundance that came into being in 2008 and in prior years are still novel to me: being engaged to someone so remarkable and kind and fun to hang out with, living in a home that is everything I want in a home, living in an area that is a phenomenal balance of rural and citified, landing in a career that makes me look forward to working.

In traditional Chinese medicine, all emotions taken to an extreme are pathological. It's easy to see how things like anger, grief, and anxiety can harm a person. But even joy is pathological when there is too much of it, when there is constant joy and no moments apart from it for quiet contemplation; joy as opposed to contentment, say, without a break from it, is not much to complain about but does overstimulate, exhaust. It is said to slow down the qi--a good example is the person who's constantly partying or seeking the next party, who however tends not to provide the most focused or logical conversation.

Again, it is not much to complain about, and I am not complaining. But in the last couple of years I've gone from a lot of despair to a lot of bliss , and there is a definite and necessary adjustment period. Adjusting to happiness is a very, very good situation to be in, even if it means I haven't slept well since getting my pass notice and have been all scatterbrained and underfocused. I am almost certain that this state of insomniac spaced-out-ness is a symptom of the deep, hard-to-reconcile contrast between my past and my present--the way that when you manage to stop a vehicle hurtling towards certain destruction, you get whiplash, but your gratitude at being alive at all makes the temporary ache so entirely bearable.