Category Archives: reflection

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Finding an Oasis

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So, this morning I’m sitting on some amazingly to DIE for chairs.  I want one for home.  I want several for home.  I don’t know where to get them but I want them.  They are huge round wicker “chairs”… my … Continue reading

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Practice What I Preach

It’s Saturday morning.  The sound of the city not quite ready to wake up yet is interesting.  There are birds.  At least there are birds. I’m trying so hard to think positive.  Attitude determines altitude.  Whether you think you can … Continue reading

Evolution

IMG_0068Now now now, calm down.  It got your attention didn’t it?

This is the evolution of me.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week.

I had a wonderful week off (exhausting, but good) with my son visiting in from Texas.  He’s been quiet this week and I miss him.  A mom worries even when her babies aren’t babies and it was so nice to talk to him just a week ago today.

Earlier this week, when I pulled into the parking lot for work, there was one of the massive ore freighters coming in the Cuyahoga river.  The only sound she made as she eased through the water was a very low hum.  She was graceful and huge and it made me smile.  I remember the freighters in Duluth.  I remember the pellet trains (and blowing up dirt) in Minnesota.  I remember the parting words that someone gave me as I left the plant (and the company) in Minnesota.

He told me that some day I would look back and think what if.  And during my walks to work, up the hill from parking… this week (15 years later) I really started to think about the what ifs.

I know what he meant.  He meant with regret.  And I have regrets in my life.  However, I don’t look back on the last 15 years and the adventures I’ve had or that I’m having, necessarily, with regret.

I’m sitting at a desk I adore in a house I finally feel at home in listening to the sounds of everything and nothing stream through the open windows.  I’ve tried to drink from my empty coffee cup about four times now.  I sat on the porch a while and watched the sun creep up through the trees.  I have a job I enjoy with people who I’m finally a team with.

If I hadn’t left US Steel, I would never have had the opportunity to learn so many of the things I’ve learned.  I would not have made my way to Texas and met the people who I met (and some of whom I miss) there.  I would not have seen what I’ve seen and I would never ever have been where I am right now.

Am I wear I pictured myself 15 years ago?  Nope.  Not even close.  My goals have changed.  My drive has changed.  My outlook has changed.  I’ve grown (in many ways) and I’ve stretched my wings far further than even I ever dreamed possible.   My Brazilian business visa is in process and I’m starting to find my voice and my strengths and weaknesses and learn my way navigating my new(ish) job.

I have evolved.

Do I miss my kid?  Yeah, an awful lot some days.  Do I completely understand why he is in Texas and I’m in Ohio?  Yep, completely.  I wish Ohio and Texas were closer.  I wish I could make life easier for both of my babies and that neither of them would have to be going through some of the stuff they go through.  And I sit and drink my coffee and think about where I am and what I do and the lives that have touched mine and I smile (and try again to drink from my empty coffee cup… there has to be a metaphor there somewhere).

This weekend I’m tired.  I’m tired, breathing sucks this morning, and I ache and I feel every bit of the two weeks late on my orencia infusion… and I’m SO looking forward to Wednesday when I can get my next obscenely expensive fix.

Has it been a week of thinking about what ifs?  Yep.  It sure has.  But my Blue Jay is back and I’ve scared the piggy little squirrel out of my feeder again this morning.  And I hear the hickory nuts thudding to the ground where the stupid squirrels are either harvesting them or knocking them down.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be today.

And just for shits and giggles, I googled the guy who told me I would look back and think what if.  The meteoric rise to power that he foresaw in his own future I guess has come to pass.  He’s in slovokia now.  I wonder if his ex-wife and his cute kids and dog are happy back in their home town without him.  He seems (if the company press releases are anything to go by) to have become a smashing success.  And I guess I do wonder where I would be had I not left my first grown up job 15 years ago.  And I’m PRETTY sure I don’t think I would have liked where I would have been.

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The Value in Nothing

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It’s late again (for me).  Later than it should be.  Later than it could be.  And this morning I just don’t care.  I am sitting on the front porch.  My deer friend Eloise (I’ve named her Eloise… the one that … Continue reading

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O-Dark Thirty

So here I am, it’s o-dark thirty and I’m sitting with the dog on the porch.  A plane just took off, in the very still of early morning you can year them very clearly.  I miss the trains.  But planes … Continue reading

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Taking Stock

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So, here I sit, on the eve of my June infusion, thinking, reflecting, looking back and forward… What have I realized (or remembered)? I am a feminist (big shock there, I know. I work in IT… go figure) and an … Continue reading

I Wanted Hostas

I wanted hostas.  What is it for you?  What is it that calls to your soul in a way that nothing else can?  In a way that you completely don’t understand?

013 012I tried valiantly to grow hostas in Texas. I bought the roots and amended the soil and watered them and really worked at growing them. Hostas really aren’t supposed to be that much work. They reall014y aren’t.

When I was a kid we had lilly of the valley and hostas growing around the front porch. Hostas seem to breed while you aren’t looking and they spread and take over the spaces they are allowed to take over. Lilly of the valley are pretty much the same. They just quietly grow and the next time you look, poof, they they are.

When we looked at the house we are living in now, the only pictures we found were of late in the year. The day we looked at the house for real it was RIGHT before Christmas and there was snow all around and it was cold and the green of the spring and summer had long since passed. I had NO idea what was in the flower bed (or for that matter that there even was a flower bed, all I knew for sure is that there were tallish bushes around the porch).

As spring approached, I was so excited to see what plants were going to inhabit the spaces around the house. I had my mom theive me some daffodils from around the farm where I grew up (mental note, I have to go soon and swipe myself some lilac suckers to grow) and I planted them so I knew I would at least have some spring color next year (this year too). Thre are azalias growing in my flower bed. There are my daffodils and even the annuals that I planted for color. And springing up in clumps all through the flower bed are the hostas.

There are several different kinds of hostas, in little clumps here and there. SOme are low to the ground and verigated, others are HUGE leaves and verigated in different ways. But they were here, waiting for me. Quietly beneath the ground. Waiting to welcome me home.

And here I sit. In the quiet of the morning, listening to my little gnome/dwarves water fountain spill its quiet music into the breeze, listening to the bees and the birds and the awakening neihborhood and the windchimes dancing to the water song, watching my garden grow. The hostas were waiting for me and they keep me company and make me smile.

I didn’t realize how much I missed the gentle easy green of spring or the coming back to life after a winter that was a real winter. I watch the hickory trees regain their leaves and the birch tree rustle in the breeze that isn’t even there. The robins and jays and the wood peckers join the squirrels that make random tree branches dance even when there IS no breeze to shake the leaves and the deer that visit at o’dark thirty on their way through the neighborhood. The round out the family.

The older I get the more connected I get. The more connected I get, the more I miss my roots. For me, the significance is in the hostas. And the hostas are filling the empty spaces.

A Morning Pearl Makes All The Difference

Dead Tree... gotta have at least one

Traveling less traveled (or maybe more traveled) places… 

I’ve been getting to work a little bit later than I’m used to the last couple mornings. I’ve discovered that I can avoid getting irritated at the drivers on the interstate if I (now get this) avoid the interstate. It isn’t something that I will likely do most days for my evening commute (it adds MORE time going home for some reason) but I think I’m going to start doing this for my morning commute.

It adds about 10 minutes to my commute. That’s because I can max out my speed at 40 MPH (5 over the posted 35) and spend half the commute at 30 and there are dozens and dozens of lights. But the commuters sharing this route with me seem to be of the same mind-set that I am. I am not in a hairy ass hurry to get there as long as I get there by starting time and it is better for my attitude if I mozy instead of getting run off the road by anal retentive idiots.

The commute takes me through communities. One, I think, is an Irish neighborhood, based on the bars that I pass. It passes the zoo. Churches, small neighborhood stores and kids on their way to school dot the way. I’m not sure if it is part of the attraction of my commute. I think it probably is.

I never really connected with Austin. I enjoyed things greatly about it. I will miss being able to go to Eeyore’s birthday. I will miss my first half marathon. I will miss the Labyrinth. People already have added to that list. I had friends (Scotty and Andrew… you are my Tin Man and my Scarecrow) that I miss.

My little boy I miss tremendously. I miss driving him into Austin. I miss the conversations that I’m sure that he never thought I listened to or took anything away from. I look at windows I pass… I lose myself in the windows I pass… I hear his voice echoing in my brain. I connected, most, to Austin through my baby boy.

He stayed behind to follow his heart. I understand that. It doesn’t make me miss him less, but it does fill me with pride and I love the young man that he has fallen in love with. Eventually I hope HE will talk to me, too. He has a job that he thinks he likes. He’s not the first garbage collector on the moon, but he is finding himself and he is realizing that he does have his roots and his wings.

I think about him a lot as I drive this route. There is much to see, much imput to absorb.

As much as I never really felt connected to Austin, I find myself connected here. It feels like home. Adam was not entirely right but not far off the mark. I could live in the middle of nowhere in the forest in a cabin with a creek if I had a good wifi connection. But I feel the heartbeat of this city. I lose myself in the doors (my version of Adam’s windows) and the architecture. I long to walk the streets of “down town” looking at the beautiful buildings that might be less well-kept than the shiny steel and glass of Austin but that have incredible character. You can almost hear the voices that have made this city home.

I lose myself in thought. I think about the conversations at Minntac… “you will look back with regret and you will someday ask what if”… Except I don’t regret. I would not be sitting where I am now if I hadn’t followed the path I took and learned what I learned. I wouldn’t be flexing my wings, yet again, and reinventing myself as I go.

My commute to here… to work… through life… is my commute and I am finding peace and quiet and connectedness. It is what it is. Today is what I have and what I have to do I have to do. Tomorrow will be my next today but for now, what I must do is the near..

Be the Best of Whatever You Are
Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

I know that my view may not be the most popular. I know that everyone is supposed to strive to be what society views as a success. But… the older I get and the more I learn… the more I realize that I may not be a bass, but I think I might be the best little scrub I can be… and if I can encourage my babies to be the best bush/bass/bit of the grass that they can be… then I hope that they might be happy in themselves.

Monday Morning Coming Down

20130907-124132.jpg 20130907-124124.jpgIt’s dawn.  I’m listening to “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington (wicked good book and I’m loving our library).  My little Buddha herd and their elephant friend are my morning friends.  I think (even though I know it is going to be a busy day) it is going to be a good day.  Today I rent my new parking place (I’m SO over parking in the “sorry, you can’t park here because there is a game” parking garage), I take on the addition of a third project because we have several people off on vacation.  I’m kind of stressing over that one… but I know that tonight is Yoga and I know I can do that and I’m looking forward to that.

And I got writing done this morning.

I’m kind of aching this morning.  But it was a productive weekend.  Squirrel girl got custody of the desktop computer after I cleaned it of junk and of viruses.  She “borrowed” (I hope she remembers it is borrowed) my second monitor.  She has officially moved into her office.  I think it will do her good.  It’s kind of creepy that she’s disappeared but her office will give her a sanctuary.

I wish I could really get her “into” yoga… maybe meditation.  It worries me that she gets so up tight over everything.  She really needs to find her way to derail her own train, to side track it her brain when it starts to run away with her.  I know she will get there.  I know she will find her own way.  But It really worries me that she is going to melt down and lose herself in trying to get there.

I catch myself dwelling on the past.  I know it is not a place where I should dwell but it’s so hard to not creep back there.  I keep looking at pictures and watching videos.  I am doing good.  I fight to keep myself from creeping to the things that I learned over the years.  I refuse to rely on tears and guilt.  I watch the beauty that grows and smile.  And I rely more and more on that which I have learned will bring me quiet stillness…

 

Two Days of Training

Okay, so technically it isn’t exactly training.  Training, to me, usually is when you go and spend a week (or at least several days) learning one thing kind of with great depth.  This is a conference where you get slides, meet people, hear neat new ideas and get bored to tears (depending on which session you pick…) and it is the next best thing.

I have two days of “down time” (read… I get to think about different things).  Two days to reflect on the fact that…

I’m not capable of being a productive member of that team
or
Training of any kind is simply a waste
or
playing around with things just to play around with them is pointless

I get to reflect on that, realize I’m not dumber than dirt (I almost said a box of rocks… but an awesome young man pointed out that rocks are very often beautiful… and I smiled… and I changed my metaphor) and find some interesting new angles I might be able to take on some issues we might run into.

And I’m networking.  Not to any great degree.  I’m still me.  I’m still a nerd lost in the herd and enjoying sitting back and observing.  But I have talked to people… and I’ve caught myself going …. ooooooo… and Ahhhhhh… because these people ARE people.  They are the people who know things and who write books and who… (oh wait… I’m these people… hmmm).

I listened yesterday and I took notes and I downloaded presentations.  And I talked to people who talked to me.  One might want me to help him revise his book for the newest version of the software. One remarked on how he didn’t recognize me from when he helped me on a book (he was my tech editor on one and he is “THE” man who people go to to ask questions).  HE didn’t recognize ME?  Holy crap!!! Why on earth would he recognize me?

Then I thought about it.  I realized that I’ve been spending entirely too much time thinking about what people have said I can’t do.  I have been thinking about how my RA is sometimes limiting in what it lets me do.  I have been thinking that I let too many things get in my way.

So I’m not going to.

I have to change my thinking.  I have to adapt to what I need to get done and get done some things that I just want to get done in the mean time.  I need to take my own advice and realize that the messages that I’ve been given aren’t MY messages, they are other people’s messages and I really really need to stop listening to the ones that don’t help me.

It’s not my fault, or my problem, that people don’t try to understand.  It’s not my fault that they don’t “get” me.  I can do this and I will show the people that didn’t get it what they are missing.