My Blog List

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Want Flower?

I realize that getting a pedicure is designed to be a relaxing experience. The big leather chair, the gossip magazines (OCTOMOM IS BROKE?!?), the warm, soapy water, the tiny Asian woman methodically rubbing your feet. You want flower? No, I don't want flower. I'd like to draw as little attention to my feet as possible. A giant white flower dripping with glitter and rhinestones seems counter intuitive. Even as I'm walking through the door I'm thinking to myself god this is going to be great, this is going to be so relaxing, this is just what I need. But almost immediately I feel stressed out. What color should I choose, is peach so last season? Where do I put my purse, why is this lady yelling at me, do I want a flower? And the stress continues to mount upon sitting down in those awkward chairs. The tiny lady asks me something in what sounds like English and Vietnamese covered in marbles and sent through a bull horn. Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Insert awkward laugh. Smile once more.

The thing is, despite all this added stress and pressure, I LOVE getting my nails done. This is my favorite pampering activity. Hell this is just my favorite activity in general. I'd take this over kissing. I'd take this over Starbucks and a pint of Ben and Jerry's. That's saying a lot. And I take it like a man. I don't giggle or laugh or fear that I'll accidentally kick the nail technician in the face while she's rubbing her delicate Asian hands over my feet. I take it like a woman in love.

"One of These Things First"...

It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where nothing seems to be going your way, where you throw your hands up at the air and think "what did I do to deserve this?" Did I hit a squirrel on my way home, did I cut somebody in line,.. What kind of bad karma did I put into the universe to create such a negative vaccum around my week?

It's been one of those nothing got done on Monday, spilled coffee on my lap twice in the car on Tuesday, got stuck behind a train making me late, drama at work, burned my toast and woke up sick on Wednesday kind of weeks.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I'm finally using my massage gift certificate from Christmas. Sweet victory.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Converse or Heels, It Doesn't Matter Much:

Since I have been interning for Light Rail Advisors, LLC--a real estate development company that has a website and a published, bi-monthly magazine I have really begun to expand my knowledge of business and the inner workings of a professional company. I have become so accustomed to chatting with snotty 15- year-olds about their weekends plans while they say "pound it Miss" that it is so entirely refreshing to speak like an adult, with adults. It was a bit intimidating at first, I felt like I had to change into my "adultette" costume before I walked in the door. I felt like I had to alter my demeanor, my attitude, my speech in order to present myself as a functioning, capable woman. As an undergrad I went straight from sitting in tiny classrooms with professors who smoked and drank massive amounts of coffee and let us indulge in our thoughts about literature and culture all while speaking, or stumbling rather, over dodgy Italian, to sitting in more tiny classrooms where I work with Spanish speaking students who laugh and joke with me in my Converse. I am not what you would call well versed in conference calls and email deadlines. I am a Humanities major. I was not prepared for this world.

But so far, it's a world I really enjoy. I find that deadlines and accuracy and professionalism mesh well with my Type-A personality, my drive for perfection. It is an interesting twist that I did not expect my life to take. Maybe had I been a business major it would have been a very smooth transition, to move from wearing suits during lecture to writing resumes and networking my butt off. However, I'm glad that for me, it's a learning process. I have had to learn how to write press releases and send company newsletters and meet for after hours meetings, and I have learned it all on my own. I didn't have a professor to teach me the appropriate way to compose a business letter, I had a professor who taught me the value of a language very different from my own, I had a professor who critiqued my knowledge of Dante's Inferno.

It is sink or swim and I'm growing a pretty good pair of sea-legs. . . I think I'll swim.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Feel Small But I want to Feel Tall:

Yesterday I got "RIF"ed. This stands for a reduction in force. I've been reduced. Essentially, my contract did not get renewed for the following school year due to the massive budget cuts that the state and school districts are facing. We are 25 million dollars in debt, equating to job loss and as a result the quality of education in Arizona continues to fall. Last year the Italian department was almost completely cut from my university. This year I lost a job. When will these cuts to education stop or slow down? I am feeling the full impact of our depressing economy and convoluted government. I am confused, I am sad and stranger still I am a little bit relieved, but only on a personal level.

Personally I am a little bit glad that my position will no longer be available to me next year. I hope that this this compels me to delve even further into my job pursuit. While it is worrisome to be without benefits, insurance and an income it is also motivating and stimulating.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Trying My Best to Re-capture "A New Earth"

I suppose this whole "Spring Break" thing is allowing me to blog on the regular. Waking up at any old time I want and sitting outside in my pajamas with a coffee and a book really are conducive to penning * typing * your thoughts. This book I'm reading, "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle is supposed to awaken me to my life's purpose as the tag line suggests.

For the first 125 pages I really enjoyed what Tolle had to say. He suggests that we all have an inner ego that drives all of our decisions, all of our anger and depression. We are all egoic beings that thrive on ourselves and not much else. This I can agree with. He writes, "the quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you ." This is something I've been working on pretty hard lately, trying to allow my life to just "be" as it were. After going through a really painful, nasty break-up that had labels and boxes and so much anger attached to it I'm trying my hardest to experience new, beautiful things in life that don't require a name or a label to make it genuine and real. I feel good about what I'm experiencing and the people I'm connecting to, I feel genuinely happy to be free of those old ties, I feel free and light!

The second point I'm attempting to work on is erasing the ego of ownership from my mind. Tolle says that "the ego tends to equate having with Being; I have, therefore I am." We live in such a consumer driven society and I am 100% guilty of basking in this, of rushing to Target for 'one more thing,' of reading Glamour and lusting after every item, of feeling somehow more complete with every new purchase I add to my already bulging closet. So while I am trying to curtail my materialistic spending, I'd also like to believe Tolle meant this on an even deeper, more spiritual level, and this is where I'm really focusing my energy. I will never stop 'buying things' but I can stop placing ownership on people and on superficial values. This ownership of people ties into my first point of labeling everything and everyone, so in a way the two go hand in hand. I will stop trying to label my relationships with others and thus I will cease the idea of ownership over them.

While I agree with Tolle on so many broad issues so far (I've yet to complete the book) I take issue with his notion that when you build a solid relationship with "your life," that is to say you take stock in the idea of "your life" you are acting with delusion. Tolle says that "the moment you say or think 'my life' and believe in what you are saying (rather than it just being a linguistic conversation), you have entered the realm of delusion." Maybe I'm not far enough along on my journey of awakening to fully believe what he says here, but I find it hard to separate myself from me. And yes, that is the ego talking, but I'd like to believe that in order to succeed in life I need to value my life and what it does for me. Sometimes we need to conceptualize our future or our reality to make it so, the future we want depends on us and our ideas of what our lives can do for us.

***I don't have all the answers, I am not even pretending to. I do have an interest in making myself better though, an invested interest in myself and my ideals and my future (again, the ego talking, damn me). Maybe for me I have to find a balance between living with my ego and trying to kill it, like a comic book battle of epic proportions in real life!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Musings for the Day:

Perk #1 of working at a high school: Free waffles on AIMS testing day.
Perk #2 of working at a high school: SPRING BREAK!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to be a snot faced 16 year old to enjoy the niceties of public education, you merely have to work with them. I think today I am going to do some 'spring cleaning' and organize and re-evaluate things a bit. This usually means getting rid of junk. However today rather than dump things out I'm adding things in. And by "adding things in" I mean I'm on a bender of downloading music and adding some sweet gems to my collection.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Riding the Rail:

Yesterday I took the light rail to attend a meeting for the writing internship I'm doing this year, I love doing this because it makes me feel like I'm part of a greater, metropolitan city. The meeting went great. My future looks great. That is not the point, the point of this blog is to highlight the craaaaazies that frequent public transportation.

As I'm sitting quietly by myself during the hour long journey out east (thinking angry thoughts at myself for not charging my Ipod before I left-and for forgetting a book, damn it) I realize that all the entertainment I could possibly crave is sitting right in front of me. Exhibit A: Very sun tanned man, crispily so, staggers onto the train wearing rubber Crocs and a severely stained ensemble of sweatshirt/pee stained jeans combo. His wandering eyes graze my face, I look towards the floor, towards anything but him. "God please let him torture some other unsuspecting soul for the next hour, please don't let it be me" I'm begging at the universe in a silent plea of desperation. I'm tired, I've been at work all day, I don't feel like battling a drifter in conversation. Bingo, he sets his sights on the older white couple across from me. These poor old people remind me of myself, too nice to wave him away, too polite to ignore him. Better them than me. This crazy old vagabond with a mysterious plastic bag of trickery begins to chat loudly about his time in the mental institution and food stamps and what qualifies as a "food stamp" purchase, apparently liquor does not? As we pass south Phoenix he jumps out of his seat and points at the window screaming "Look Look, this is where I was locked up, court ordered! The judge ordered me into that mental institution, but I got out!" Obviously. Well this dirty, old man with chapped skin and cracked heels must have been struck by some mental inspiration because shortly after passing the mental hospital he hopped off, never to be seen from again. Although his pungent odor did linger...

My ride home was, while less crowded, more creepy. As the sky became dark and fewer and fewer passengers got on and off I started to feel sleepy and cold and ready to curl into a tiny ball and fall asleep on the scratchy, green seats. Not unlike the other crazies on the train, I was ready to kick off my heels and pass out with the best of them. This was until I heard the tangent filled, bumbling ramblings of a giant, obese man from New Mexico (as he proudly proclaimed) accosting another gentlemen who was on his laptop. "Haaaaaay, say you've got a laaaaptop there don't chya!" Exclaimed the overweight traveler. "Whatchya lookin' at there, you got email? Are you a Democrat or Republican?" O God, this poor, uptight gentlemen in a sweater that looked like a carpet you might find in your great-grandma's closet was not in the mood. But I was in the mood. I live for this stuff. This is grade-A, quality entertainment. As long as it's not happening to you, this is the best fun that money can't buy. I don't remember all of the details of this conversation, it went on for miles and miles...but I do remember specifically what this man in the sweater looked like. I remember the pattern of it, his newsboy cap, his faded khaki trousers...and low and behold, I SAW HIM AGAIN THIS MORNING ON MY WAY TO WORK, WAITING FOR A BUS, MANY MILES AWAY FROM THE LIGHT RAIL!!! As I was listening to NPR or John Jay and Rich and fumbling with my morning coffee I whizzed past this man all the way on the other side of town, same sweater, same pants, same newsboy cap!

It seems insignificant, and it is. Seeing this same man again did not alter my day in the least, but it did give me a tiny surge of happiness as I drove past him. The thought flashed into my brain "we are all connected, the world really is so small."