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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Connections.....

When I was little my mom watched soap operas. The dramatic tones of the music seemed to be a soundtrack to my childhood. She was not alone in watching soaps. All of my friends had the same music going on when I entered their homes as well. It gave me continuity. In the suburbs where I was raised I could walk into any of my friend's homes and know where the silverware drawer was....the bathroom...the TVs set in its living room niche. I liked the music of my childhood....a lot.

Sometimes I would sit alongside of her and have a clue as to who was speaking and their context in the multiple storylines playing out in the fake worlds on the screen.

My youngest has also had a tapestry woven through his childhood of a program playing out its storylines complete with dramatic musical scores. My soap opera is West Wing. I love Martin Sheen and could really handle him as a president, though I did find it a statement of American politics that at one point more Americans would have voted for his character on the show as president then the people actually running.

The voices my son hears speak with lots of dialogue and every episode features myriad conversations in spoken in grave tones.

I remember a sense of wishing I could understand all the meanings of the soap operas of my youth but to be honest I barely could correlate names and faces.

Yet West Wing hits so many different levels of my being that I cannot identify them all.

I love the political aspects...the international intrigue and the complex reasoning that resembles a chess game.

A few weeks ago....after at least 5 years of a hiatus...I came back to the West Wing fold. I found myself alone in the house. No one was here...and when browsing through Netflix on my own I had a hankering for political drama.

Perhaps I was connecting my grad school studies with the complex layers of thinking that West Wing had to offer. After all it is a program diagramming out the confident complexities that go on behind each nuance of life in the fishbowl of high level political maneuvering.

Yeah, that was it. I am sure. Yet I voraciously dived into the program watching season 1 episode 1, then the end of the first season...coincidently, (or perhaps it was more then that- some deep-seated subconscious memory) the president gets diagnosed with exactly the same kind of MS that Joel has...

I thought it was strange that I skipped right to the episode where we find out this medical fact about our character.

It strikes me as odd the way one thing leads to another and often unconnected things find they are deeply connected....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Where are my Priorities?

I can't help it...sometimes life unravels best when I am not laying out my tightly laid plans but instead riding along for the trip to see where I wind up.

Sometimes I feel like I am a character in my favorite book series, The Lord of the Rings. Sure I am a simple person who is not going to destroy evil but instead my quest is to figure out how to make money. It is still fraught with great meaning either way. To live in this modern world that centers around an income rather then meaning sounds trite, but I am positive as I wind my way towards grad school it will cause me to once again "Be The Change I Want To See In The World".

I feel my insides working forwards as I pull up an inner dignity and worth. I can do this. At least that is what I tell myself and anyone who is listening.

My son is visiting out of town too. So I am alone and thoughtful in a silent house.

To verify my interest I believe in fishing around for whatever hits my fancy. So I randomly googled, "documentary" "women" and "economic"...and up popped a book I promptly purchased. I am now reading "Half the Sky"....a book written by two excellent journalists, Nicholas D Kristoff and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn.

I am back at my boyfriend's home as I wait in a holding pattern, gathering funds and paperwork to pull together a new life in my coastal town for school. I oscillate between feeling hurried and forced to being annoyed at the slow pace that is getting me back to a life of having my own Mickey Mouse measuring spoons that signify I am cooking with my own gear again.

That poverty stricken factor is standing in my way again.

So time to distract myself by plunging into a new round of working through paperwork while balancing my school responsibilities and normal life stuff. I go crazy on studying things I don't have to in order to make sure I won't walk into my grad school classes being a goof who has to prove my lack of having any real clue about what is going I listened to the Speech the president gave twice today, analyzing content and making sure I understand what this means to foreign policy here in the US. I also sprinted in to my book on Half the Sky, making sure I even limped through the really sad stuff I shy away from. I hate reading about women being oppressed anywhere...but the stories of forced prostitution and the little girls kidnapped and forced to work there plagued the back on my mind.

But still I am a restless creature and no matter how hard I buckle down and focus...I am also great at letting off steam. I shopped with my daughter and youngest for a bit today. I wandered along side of her as she bought necessities and goodies all on a thoughtful budget.

I grew overly excited about buying spaghetti and microwave popcorn, for my own reasons.

I knew my son and I would luxuriate in the foods we hardly get to see these days when he was done visiting...but I had a happier thought on my mind as well.

I am thinking of Joel. Sure he can be hard for me to understand sometimes. Sure I leave him fairly regularly in spite of promising his daughter that we, collectively, would not let that happen.

But I keep finding myself missing him terribly when we are apart.

He is funny and smart...two things I value rather highly but he also has another banner quality that has somehow slipped to the top of my list.

I think I need the guy.

I need to see his cheerful eyes and his red beard and his fair skin. His face has grown on me in ways I find make it hard to live without it.

That is doubly disturbing since we are bound to live apart as soon as I get myself down to school. Right after I iron out when I have to be down there and how I am going to swing the expenses.

So while I appreciated him a lot today, and said goodbye again to him as he went out of town...I found myself changing my ringtone on my phone to a song that matches the constant goodbyes. The lyrics describe a night together knowing that as the daylight comes he will have to go.

It fits for now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Couch-surfing Reflections....

I sit this morning outside my daughter's home. She lives here with her long term firefighter boyfriend who has impressed us all with his sudden success and hard work at becoming certified in his vocation.

I woke up early in spit of promising myself that I could sleep in. I have already contacted the head of my new program at my grad school, updated my files and gone over any information for grad school admissions work. I have a bit of college work to go over while I can this morning but I find that I am very reflective.

I went over my Facebook Profile photos since 2008. On Facebook, these are sort of your main picture to let your friends and family know they have the right person. I was pretty good at actually updating mine regularly.

As I clicked through the shots, I watched myself transform from the scared housewife to the up and coming grad student I seem to be now.

There are photos of me with mom and I, (probably for a past Mother's Day), Manny and I and Joel and I. There are hardly ever photos of my son and I. I did that on purpose even though we are usually together. I might be Ok with my own image and info on the internet but my son deserves his privacy, so even among my Facebook friends I try to avoid slapping his image on all of my posts. I do love our pictures though most of all since we both seem to shine with such glee in the same way.

We are happy in our coastal cities that we lived in after my foreclosure while I tentatively threw myself into a scholar. We were happy in Oregon during our brief 9 months there.

He and I enjoyed Manny in our lives, I can tell by the pictures, even though I have no desire to speak with this past boyfriend or even check on how he is doing.

My son and I loved being in Europe and returning home even though it was a bumpy ride. That boy never complained even though we were hungry during the last 3 weeks quite a bit. He had that spirit of adventure that one gets from watching Indiana Jones movies too much as a child.

All of it is reflected in our pictures.

I lost a few computers since then and that means that I have no way to get back hundreds of European photos we took or several year's worth of pictures that were stored on the computer, but not anywhere on a SkyDrive in the Ethernet....

But the Facebook photos have become a treasure trove of pictures gone by. I am not one for living in the past. Most of my adult life after my break up with my Ex-husband I have been very focused on the future, to be quite honest. But this morning I wanted to take a look back and look ahead as well.

I have loved everything I have had on my plate. Perhaps our small town Italian life was more interesting since we were hungry during the last part of it. Perhaps having the grouch of a boyfriend for 5 years, who steadily worked his way into a Blue Funk that would not abate, helped me to spring forward.

I do know what it is like to be happy. I was happy with Joel, but knew I wasn't staying around here much longer. I was happy with my Ex. I tried to go back to school when our lives were blissfully oriented towards our children and our community, but I could not climb past a cranky counselor who was disgusted that I brought toddlers along for my appointment to consider Columbia Community College nearby. She had no desire to make school possible for a woman who was interested in womanly things like homemaking. She never even gave me a chance to say I wanted to study languages.

I think being happy might not make me ambitious. I think it might even make me feel so joyful and complacent that I lack motivation to change a thing.

Under my normal circumstances those photos I just clicked through on my computer would not have included much outside of Disneyland treks and happy stay-at-home weekends, with home improvement projects and gardening shots.

I never stayed home out of fear of trying anything more. I have heard this sort of thought bantied about by those who are threatened by anyone who chooses to be a stay at home housewife and homeschooling mother. I think it is far richer and more satisfying than endless rounds of new school experiences and I know I chose wisely when I spent decades raising my children and others I hold dear. I never wasted a moment in that life.

I know how to can jelly and jam. I can pickle garlic, mushrooms and tons of vegetables. I can spin wool with my own spinning wheel and sew almost anything by sight alone. I can make foreign foods in the kitchen and cook over a fire.

But now I never have time.

Now I can also survey a culture, situation or experience with an analysis that includes all that I have been before, in my words. I could never write a report for a dignitary in the future about a new culture to be encountered without bringing into my words the rich knowledge that I gained from raising my own children and being a stay at home mom. I happen to like this new life a lot. I feel successful and joyful even as I limp along with my head being droopy from excessive effort.

I am grateful for my education but I think it has only enhanced the gifts of being who I was before.

I feel incredibly grateful for my foreclosure and divorce. I think this version of me will be useful to more then my immediate family. Maybe I can help be the change I want to see in the world since I know what it is like to be a wife and mother, poverty stricken and well to do. I think I can help change the political equation.

Yes, I am a couch-surfing homeless person. But I think that is proving to be just as important in shaping my future as student, wife or mother did.