Monday, June 13, 2005

one year later

This blog started as a way to share my experience studying and living in Spain. When that ended I, somewhat unconsciously, stopped blogging.

But I feel this tug to get back to it. So here are my random thoughts.

Work. I've been un(der)employed for over 3 months. The previously fabulous agency I worked for (for 7 1/2 years) has lost something. Namely the ability to keep me employed. I battle with my budgetary panic demons while finding this period remarkably rich. Creatively, intellectually and emotionally.
Let me go back a bit. I left a contract job at the end of February after 5 months of, and I choose this word carefully, abuse. Managerial overlords. Expecting unreasonable accomplishment using browbeating as motivation. The other serfs were, on the whole, great. Funny, intelligent and hard working. The idea that I grew close to my co-workers because we were under the same whip disturbs me. I would like to think we would have become just as close without the external negativity...but I don't know. All I know is that I stayed until I could stay no longer. It was a painful and liberating decision not unlike divorce in its subsequent relief and poverty.

Menopause. Or the silliness of it. (I still insist that this is occurring way too early in my dotage.) I have come to the conclusion that the best evidence of the "change" in me--other than having only 2 periods in the past 12 months--is my increasingly narrow thermostat. I can only abide like a 3°F change in temperature. Under 70°F and I'm freezing, above 73°F and I'm uncomfortably warm. Like I've transitioned from warm to cold-blooded. And you all can just resist the personality comparisons there.

Hermitage. Is that a word? Well, the point is, I am aware of the tendency I have to stay at home. To LOVE being at home. And how that feeds on itself. The longer I'm not working out of the house, the harder it is to make myself leave. It's not exactly "The Net" syndrome. I don't have everything delivered. But making myself run errands is not much different than making myself pay bills. I do it by force of will not desire.

Money. The urge to panic about finances is more subdued in me than I'd have predicted. However, since I was absolutely nuts about money before, being only 3/4 nuts may still seem a bit extreme for some. The point is that I find myself worrying that the porch will actually slide off the house and I'll be standing there in the scalding Houston heat with some old warped 2x4's and rusty nails crying because I can't fix it right. Or I drift into daydreams/daymares of being 70 years old and still using a goddamn extension cord to make coffee because that bank of outlets never got fixed. The only thing that soothes me is that the odds are I'll get a job soon. The odds are. And I hate gambling.

Spanish. I still talk to my father by phone every weekend and we almost always speak in Spanish. However, my Spanish is so NOT where I'd hoped it would be. It's frustrating and upsetting...but my conversations with my father have been delightful. Unexpectedly fun and encouraging. I still want to go to a country in Latin America to further my language skills. But must shelve this right now until the issues of the previous paragraph are addressed.

Skeptism. For the many years since I lost my belief in religion and God, I have resisted finding a group that shared some of my philosophies. The idea of joining so chills me. But lately I've been reading about the Skeptics Society, Center for Inquiry, etc. Instead of Atheism, which is a group defined so much by what they don't believe--an anathema to me, skeptics and the like simply challenge notions, myths, beliefs with rational, scientific questions. Intellectual inquiry and dispassionate examinations into paranormal, theistic or folkloric theories seem so much more about truth than simply not-believing in God. Anyway, I'm still not interested in joining but the resources are fascinating and the individuals who have written on the subject have been thoughtful and thought-provoking. I've read speeches by Natalie Angier, Julia Sweeney and Tom Flynn that were excellent.

Daughter. My daughter graduated from Washington University with a B.A. in architecture. Graduated magna cum laude and received the Faculty Award...not to mention (but I'm going to anyway) being nominated for two other prestigious awards. I can't resist sharing this. We're all so happy to elaborate on the shitty parts of parenting or work or relationships...because, well, they're actually more entertaining or interesting than descriptions of bliss. And less threatening to the non-blissful. However, it's all out of balance. And since I'm well-armed against pollyannaism with my cynical eye...I am happy, happy, happy to say that Marisa's graduation was a huge reward for 23 years of parenting. And Barbara and I (and the whole damn family) were awash with the joy and relief of it all.

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