Monthly Archives: June 2014

not my circus, not my monkeys

A Polish Proverb. So what if I read it on Facebook, it still works for me.

To read when one feels a victim

Anne Lamott (again!) about her tendency toward “victimized self-righteousness” which she calls “my default response to most problems is still to try and figure out who to blame; whose fault it is, and how to correct his or her behavior, so I can be more comfortable.”

You and me both, Anne.

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This is what 65 looks like

Hardly a fair yard stick, is it? Comparing the incomparable Miss Streep to the average mere-mortal, 65-year-old. But happy birthday anyway, even if you don’t play fair, with all those cards (beauty, talent, brains) stacked in your favor.

Meryl at 65, thanking her lucky stars.

Meryl at 65, thanking her lucky stars.

articles of faith

I collect them, even if they’re not my “faith.” I try to feel the pull they must have on others. Sometimes I do feel it, but remotely, as if from a very distant star. Or merely the remembered warmth of a summer evening, felt in the chill of January.

Mary, Mary, St. Francis. Found in the church yard at St. Ann's, Bridgeport, CT.

Mary, Mary, St. Francis. Found in the church yard at St. Ann’s, Bridgeport, CT.

midsummer’s night eve

This day before the solstice is lovely, bright and cool and I feel restless in my office, its windows blocked by scaffolding. Summer days at work make me restless. I want a last day of school, a leaving behind of dusty and dim corridors, a sense of summer stretching on and on, not a day yet wasted. I recall that first afternoon of freedom — for my children on their last days of school and for myself, so long ago.

I feel as if I should be doing something like this. 

I feel as if I should be doing something like this.

Zugzwang

The point in a game or struggle when any move puts you in a worse position. Used in chess and cancer treatment. Also characterizes attempts to leap over the swampy ponds of rainwater onto curbs — sideswiped by traffic or ruined shoes, those are the two possible outcomes.

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a star for another sky

One time — make that every time — in yoga class, Rebecca asked us to empty our minds of thought. Goes without saying (but there I said it anyway) that this served as an open invitation to all thoughts, no matter how random.

I tried to ask my thoughts to take a seat, wait a spell, I’d be back in a little while. This was a way of honoring them even while I honored my effort to put them off. And then I started naming them. One was a star for another sky. Another, a dawn for another day. And a song for another bird, a leaf for another tree, a wind for another storm.

Probably makes no sense to anyone but me. But if does serve as a shortcut — one of those keyboard “command shift” tricks — to remind me of a way to approach the task: On my mat I say “a star for another sky” and my mind instantly clears*.

*Not really**

**Not at all.

 

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crazy busy

This has become an acceptable and even admired way of answering the question: how are you?

Busy. Crazy busy.

As if it were a good thing to be either, crazy or busy.

I used this as a caption for a photo about office workers, mostly in jest. But it occurs to me that American employees are getting a little cuckoo, what with all this busyness. Pleasantries fall away. Email turns people into despots — if not cruel then at the very least unreasonable. The act of stopping by one’s office without warning is a kind of hostility. All offices are crazy in different ways but this much is true: the lunatics are running the asylum.

used to be a joke, now it's true

used to be a joke, now it’s true

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much obliged

I was going to write about “why you hate work,” a much shared NY Times article about how post-recessionary downsizing and “always on” technology conspire to make American employees feel anxious on a Sunday morning about the workweek to come, even while they’re still in their jammies reading about why they’re anxious about the workweek to come.

I like my job. A lot. But I still feel a vague unease about returning to Monday’s onslaught of Replicon approvals (don’t ask), meeting invitations (never has the word “invitation” been so euphemistically used) and “touch bases,” “check ins,” and other super casual ways others have of assessing your progress. The deadline is EOD, no COB, no can we have a peek at 3 or 2 or 1? Are we aligned? Can we find another editor/designer/warm body to work on it? All of which means: why aren’t you done yet?

So now I’m complaining (victim much?) but the real problem is a self-imposed sense of obligation. I can’t stand to have a library book overdue, let alone a deadline blown or a payment missed. I also feel obliged to do something about the arugula rotting in the fridge (“I should eat that”) and the clothes left in the dryer overnight, settling into unsmoothable wrinkles while I sleep.

Or don’t sleep, worrying about salad greens and rumpled sheets and my career and the house we just bought.

I am “much obliged,” a nicety that I think means “thank you.” But the curse or cross it imposes — I allow it to impose — results in my rising from my bed at 4 to blog, but not before pulling all that laundry out of the dryer. Next up:  I’ll prepare a breakfast salad, if only to use up that arugula.

Crazy busy

Crazy busy

 

 

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