Archive for the 'life lessons' Category
I’m anxious by nature. When I read that part of the licensing requirements for my business is having an emergency evacuation plan in order, and emergency supplies for all at the ready, I couldn’t prepare them fast enough. The day after the earthquake in Japan, I went through every single item just to make sure that nothing was missing. And now I have a suitcase under my bed packed with a three day supply of clothing, first aid kit, flashlight, important phone numbers and copies of documents, as well as dried, packaged food. As the seasons change, the clothing changes of course, and the expiration dates on perishables are checked to ascertain that they last another six months.
And then there are the drills. But that’s a whole other post.
So, how about you? How prepared are you for an emergency?
(You all know how much I LOVE making lists. If there is any interest in what to pack and/or how to plan an evacuation, shoot me an email.)
This is what I want to be. A confection. Even if I feel like a slice of whole wheat most days, nutritious, necessary, boring, I want to be dessert. And not just any dessert, I want to be a Parisian macaron.
I don’t know when it was that my profession became my identity. Perhaps a long time ago, and I just hadn’t noticed, or perhaps more recent, but all the frivolity and elegance is gone. I am serious and dependable, which can also translate as anxious and exhausted. And for what? My kids are growing. And the passing years act as though they’re in a race. Before I know it my kids will be in college and I’ll be contemplating a face lift. I don’t want to be staring at myself in the mirror wondering where my life went, not recognizing the lined face staring back.
Can anyone tell me, how do I go about becoming a Parisian macaron? Or at least, how can I find some balance?
(And if you’re in Portland and haven’t stopped by Nuvrei on NW 10th and NW Flanders, what are you waiting for?)
I still remember that early cool morning, the first day of the rest of my life. There I was, dressed in one of my two blue and white checkered school uniforms, ready to go before either of my parents were even awake, my white collar stiff, my royal blue apron not a wrinkle. Tante Marie, my mom’s aunt, and accomplice in all things exciting for a child, got me ready, giggling with as much anticipation as I had. When my mom awoke, the first thing she noticed was that I hadn’t washed the sleep from my eyes, nor brushed my teeth. Breakfast was a hurried matter, a necessity to ensure I wouldn’t starve before school let out at noon.
With my Tante running to keep up with me, I picked up my brown imitation-leather satchel and slung it across my shoulders, skipping across the cobblestones. I was thrilled at the prospect of opening it and showing off - to my yet unknown classmates - my carved pencil box with its lid etched with red poppies, that slid across the top. I loved my pencil box, and I loved the smell of the pencils I filled it with, pencils received from my uncles and grandmother in the States. I longed to sharpen them all and to scribble away in my composition book.
As the days of summer ebbed away and autumn came with its wind and rain, and soon after winter with its deep, cold snow, I learned my math and practiced my reading and writing far into the evening hours. More than anything, I feared to be called to the front of the class and not know my lesson. Humiliation came in the form of a ruler rapped across an open palm, or across the fingertips. A reminder for the rest of the classmates of what awaited each and every one.
Maybe I was really smart, but most probably my mother kept the teacher well supplied with cigarettes and bubble gum, because I was rarely called to recite any lesson or perform any math equation. And because I didn’t have to prove my knowledge, neither was I disciplined. Still, the knots in my stomach were ever present, even when it became apparent that I was the teacher’s pet.
I think of all this, on the eve of another school year, the first for my daughter. She can’t wait for it to start. She has been counting down the days, morning and night. And I am so happy that she can go on growing in her self-confidence, in her love of learning. For a child there is nothing worse that the expectation of failure. Be it through a parent, a teacher, oneself.
And so in closing, I want to wish a happy and successful school year to all the children. Oh, and for the parents and the teachers, patience and wisdom, cause God knows, we’ll need it.
I know! I never write about celebrities. That’s mostly because I never think about them. Or see them in real life. But lately I seem to run into them on a regular basis. A couple of weeks ago on a family picnic we sat just feet away from Timothy Hutton. But since he was with his family and we were with ours, we didn’t disturb, not even by staring, which I so badly wanted to, because how else will I not miss details?
And now, David Beckham! There we are walking down the street, and there I am telling my husband about this restaurant atop one of the most chic hotels in the city, insisting that we must go, when my husband rudely interrupts to tell me that the people exiting the hotel are none others than the LA Galaxy players. Before I go on, I must say that my husband plays soccer about 6 times per week, every week, in every kind of weather.
Anyway, my husband’s in heaven! Well, you can just imagine. And he tells me that he wants a picture with David Beckham, and I tell him that David must want his privacy, as I’m sure everywhere he goes everyone wants to take a photo with him. But there’s no dissuading my husband. And all the Galaxy players come out and they are all staring at us because we are rudely staring at them while pretending we are not. And then David Beckham comes out, and my husband calls, “David? A picture?” And David Beckham stops and smiles and says, “Sure.” He was very nice. Posed for one photo with my husband, and then another one because I couldn’t get the light right, and then shook my husband’s hand and disappeared into the van.
Being a celebrity must be a whole lot of work. Always smiling, shaking hands, posing for the camera, giving autographs. Even when one feels all sorts of crappy and not in the mood. And dangerous too. I don’t even want to imagine the weirdos out there. Because I did see a guy with his hand in his back pocket, clutching something, or maybe just scratching, but for one crazy moment I feared he would pull out a gun.
Following is a picture of me. I am only a celebrity to myself, but darn it, it is my blog!
I made salmon for dinner last night. Boring. I know. I served it with rice and steamed vegetables and an extra side dish of my bad mood. I thought about the things I could give up - I have been thinking about this more and more lately, probably because I have been working too hard and too many hours. But finding dependable employees is so very difficult. I have yet to find one with the work ethic and the initiative to take charge, to match mine. Instead I find myself repeating over and over what needs to be done. Besides other things.
My husband says to stop stressing and just take it as it is. The perfect employee does not exist. But I had an almost perfect employee once. So, I truly hope he’s wrong. We shall see. Meanwhile, it’s another day of interviewing and going down my checklist. Because no matter how much I want to give it all up, I have kids. And I must provide for their future. And I must raise them in such a way that they aren’t coddled and don’t feel entitled, and learn just how important responsibility and hard work are.
My son came home from school this week wanting to know why we don’t pay him for completing his chores around the house. Other parents do that, we were told. Why didn’t we? I snapped something to the effect of: I wash the dishes, I cook, I do the laundry, and nobody stands there handing me money. Then I took a big breath and calmed myself down. I explained that in a family everyone has a role. His role is to clean his room, take out the trash, and vacuum the house once a week. It is his responsibility to us, his family.
His job, for which I pay him based on his performance, is school. That is his responsibility to himself. To his future. School teaches him about life, and its day to day requirements of providing an income and maintaining a lifestyle. By getting up on time, completing his homework, doing his best, attending daily, not giving excuses, he develops the work ethic he needs to prosper on this planet. Because we don’t live on Mars, and daydreams are only reality when we make them happen.
Adieu. For now.