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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wasting Time which takes a weird turn to talking about my Mom...

I should be working right now but...well...I have very little job motivation right now. So, I'll blog. What about? Most likely nothing. I'm too awake to do nothing and too sleepy to be witty and too unmotivated to do the pile of work on my desk so I suppose I'll just write a few lines, waste a little time, then start to feel guilty about not working and go back to work. I really should have been Catholic or Jewish with all the guilt I carry. I guess the only thing keeping me from it is the lack of an overbearing mother - I hear that before you can convert to either you have to prove that your mother is meddling and overbearing by playing a minimum of 3 voicemails, recorded back to back, where your mother couldn't stop giving your voicemail advice and talked so much she ran out of time...twice.

I guess I'll have to remain in my current religion (which is still being defined) because my Mother leaves short messages that are something to the effect of, "call me and let me know you are alive" or "I haven't talked to you in two weeks - just letting you know we're alive - no need to call, nothing has changed so we don't have anything to say." I read a book once made up entirely of a woman who wrote down the things her mother would leave on her answering machine. It was hilarious. I don't know if it would be hilarious if it were my mother...I can't picture her telling me that my womb was drying up like a desert, staying hydrated only by the tears it cried over being lonely...but it makes for a great book if your Mom does stay stuff like that. I need to write a book and have nothing to write Mom and I need to have a chat...she needs to step it up a notch or I'll have to have a casting call for a Catholic or Jewish mother.

OK, the guilt that my non-denominational-evangelical-type mother instilled in me is kicking in so I can spend no more time on this blog during work hours. That was my little mind break...back to work!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Living things welcome here

I came home from Malaysia wanting to be a better citizen of planet Earth. Susan...who didn't know this until I got home but must be able to hear my thoughts, bought me an AeroGarden for my birthday. I love plants but I don't have much luck with them. I have one hearty plant that lives out of its own sheer will to survive in this house.

So Lilly, the one lone plant has now been replanted in water to increase her chances for survival. It's been a week and she's doing well in her new hydro-home.

Now Lilly has friends. We planted the herb kit that came with the AeroGarden and have 6 out of 7 herbs sprouting. One of them takes longer than 7 days to sprout so I'm still waiting on it to come out of its seed. I'm a very impatient gardener so I've been trying to talk nice to the plant but today I had to tell it that it's other plant buddies were making it look bad and they needed to step it up. Maybe I should talk nicer to my plants but hey, it's tough out there and they need to know what it's like - tough love time!

We went to the nursery to buy seeds to this sea sponge plant grower thing my Mom got me for my birthday (she too must have felt my cosmic-green shift!). I planted some seeds in it but didn't follow the directions so nothing to show there...i have seeds sprouting in a dish and will transplant them when they are ready...the point was that at the nursery two more plants came to live with us. Pictured here are Mr. Miagi (the bonsai) and Bart (can't remember what plant Bart is but he is named so for his spikey hair).

So word must be out that we are a plant-friendly family and plants are finding us now. We were admiring a friend's big ficus tree Saturday night. Sunday night Susan takes out the trash and sitting right by our trash can is a ficus tree in need of serious love. Ficus drop their leaves when stressed and this poor thing must be really really stressd. So now we welcome Oliver, the Ficus tree. He is Oliver since he is an orphan and we took him in. Aw. Now doesn't that warm your heart with natural energy? I hope to have pictures of a less-stressed and fully leaved Oliver soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I took my camera with me all weekend. I didn't take many pictures but having it with me made me feel better...more myself. We spent Saturday running around. While Susan got a massage I went shopping in the local boutiques for a host gift for our dinner friends Dan and Jim. After buying a fabulous candle called "Butch," a gourmet EVOO (yes, I've adopted Rachel Ray speak) and a bottle of wine we went and hung out at a local pub. They had these gorgeous lanterns that case patterns of light on the ceiling which I photographed, much to the amusement of other bar-goers. These things make me feel better when I struggle. I do better when I have my camera in my bag and can look at the world in a series of framed-out shots. It's not so overwhelming that way. Life seems more manageable when I see it through a frozen image. It's not so much about hiding behind the lens...although sometimes that helps it is narrowing my scope of vision and looking for beauty in the ordinary. The bar was nothing spectacular but here was this one thing that I found so beautiful. That's how life should be outside my camera but I'm learning more about how to live while I'm behind it.
So, here's a few shots from the bar. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dark Blanket

I've battled depression most of my life. I don't mean the blues or teenage angst - I mean in need of medication sometimes debilitating depression. I've been pill-free for the last two years and I've done pretty well. I keep too tight a reign on my emotions but it keeps me level so while it has some negative repercussions on my life it does more good then harm.

I've really struggled lately to keep it all in check. It's an exhausting battle to stay above it. It feels like treading mud instead of water. I often want to just stop treading and give in but once you let it seep in a little it takes over. It spreads like a cancer until all your thoughts and feelings are dark and all light in you is completely turned out.

When you are teetering in that in between place - between being well and being sick - it is much harder to stay well. Staying well requires a lot of thought, self-awareness and energy where being sick only requires giving in. When you hover just above it, depression looks like a soft, comfortable, warm blanket. You just want to crawl under it and stop fighting; give in to it and let it take over...but you know you can't. You know you will may never get up again if you lay down.

My Grandfather died of no particular medical reason. He was depressed for the last ten years of his life. He fought depression off and on his entire life. My greatest fear is that I'll end up just like him. Susan says I'm too self-aware to allow myself to get to that dark a place. My Mom says that my Grandfather couldn't get past his depression because he was unable to forgive and I am not like him in that regard. That's all comforting but I'm not sure I can afford to be convinced. I'm not sure I can get too comfortable in their faith in me. I don't want to live on emotional lock-down but for me emotions are so scary - they feel like they could lead to the end of me - that I could give in one day and ten years later I'm still there, under the blanket that instead of being a comfort has become a prison. My Grandfather was a prisoner in his own mind. When well he was kind, strong, hard-working, active, funny and loved all of us with a passion. When he was sick he was paranoid, sad, dark, sometimes mean, selfish and petty.

I love soft, warm, fuzzy blankets but I've got to stay away from this one. I've also got to find a balance between emotional lock-down and emotional takeover.

Well that was a good session of over-sharing. Time for some sleep.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Photo unrelated to blog - at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur and this struck me as funny for some reason.
A few weeks ago I was letting my VP know that I needed a new job. He asked me what I wanted to do - to which I had no answers. I had a list of "nots" and "don'ts" but not a list of "do" - which today in the tour bus it dawned on me why I am attracting the wrong things in life right now - I'm using too many "nots."

I read somewhere (I think it was "A New Earth" but I'm not sure) that the brain doesn't understand the negative in the sentence. So if I say that "I hope my flight is not late" my brain hears "I hope my flight is late" thus attracting the wrong thing. Positive thinking writers an speakers will tell you to project what you DO want in order to attract it. Which leaves me with a problem - I have no idea what I want.

If I imagine my perfect life I wouldn't have a normal job - but I wouldn't be worrying about cash flow and retirement funds either. I'm not sure that is realistic. I imagine spending a few months out of the year in a third world country helping sick people heal, building homes for homeless and feeding the hungry. The next few months of the year I'd spend writing about...well whatever inspired me at the moment. I see me, my MacBook (projecting a Mac in to my future), a cup of tea I've never tried before and a cool little cafe - fingers flying on the keyboard - words flowing from brain to fingers without pause for evaluation or analysis. Next I would travel for a few months, on a publishers dime, to do a travelers guide. I'd be my own photographer. Then, in the summer, I'd spend my time at arts fairs selling the jewelry I made, photos I'd taken and signing copies of my books.

So how do I get from here to there? Ah! Plane arrived - I'll have to think more about it and catch up later.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Off to see Malaysia

I've been in Malaysia for six days now and am finally going to get to go sight seeing. So far all I've seen is the hotel, the office, a restaurant or two and then back to the hotel. I've seen the view from my window (pictured here), which is quite nice but not completely satisfying. I need to get out there and soak it in!

I'm excited. I've been working from 10AM to 11PM every day so far and my flight doesn't leave until this I am going to do what every busy traveller does - a bus tour around the city. It's not my favorite way to see a new place - especially somewhere so far away that I may not travel to again - but when in a time crunch go for a double decker bus tour. It's cheesy, it's silly but it's effective. So I have time for checkout, lunch and then off to see the city.
I'm usually a thoughtful traveller. I buy a book, do my research, talk to people that have been there and find out what is worthwhile. I prioritize and decide what I want to do and then I choose one thing a day I want to do so that I have plenty of time for soaking in the culture, sitting in a cafe sipping some local drink and taking it all in. No time for that today - it's a work trip - chop chop. That's OK. I have a few hours and I'll thoroughly enjoy them.

I forgot my camera which is heartbreaking. I can hardly imagine seeing a new place through two eyes rather than a lens. The iPhone camera will have to do today - it is certainly easier to carry around.

So I'm off...then catching a plane...then home...then try to stay awake for the Super Bowl (Go Colts!)

Babblings from another country

It has been so long since I've attempted to write. I realized tonight that my life is too full of clutter and noise to be able to hear my thoughts, hear my heart and speak any kind of truth about me and who I am. I used to feel certain I knew myself but lately I feel me, myself and I are estranged. I'd like to get reacquainted.

I tried to think about what I'm doing or feeling when I am most genuine and connected with myself. I'm sad to say that the things I do that make me feel alive are the things I spend very little energy on. I feel I am being truly me when I am cooking, writing, organizing (I can't help it...I am creative but am MUCH too cerebral for my own good), beading or photographing.

So in thinking about photography I realized that I don't photograph people. I looked at an old friend's photo website - she is this cool bohemian chick who designs fingerless arm gloves and photographs people. Her photos capture people's souls. She brings something good out in everyone around her. She rarely photographs a thing - it's always a person. She does this because she is so comfortable in her own skin and is so open to others that the camera is a connector between her and other people. The camera is a buffer for me. I'm uncomfortable with other people because I'm uncomfortable with me. I'm not sure when that happened but it isn't an acceptable way to live life.

I want to be open and warm and friendly and free instead of guarded and wary and cerebral and trapped. I have to leave my corporate job. I know that I do. I don't know what I'll do instead. That's scary. I'm giving myself 2010 to figure myself out and come up with a plan. I like my cushy salary and the sense of worth I get from being good at what I do but at the end of the day I work for some people that sell some stuff. If I were snuffed off the planet tomorrow I didn't leave enough footprints on the Earth for it to know I was here and that I'm gone. That's not the life I want to live.

So how to I go from living life in my head to living life in my heart? I am as real and genuine a person as I know how to be but somewhere in the last few years of my life I have lost myself in all the business, noise and clutter. I am never really alone with me and my thoughts. I am never really connecting with other people on a deeper level - not even my partner. That is a hard thing to admit. Why I am admitting it on the web I am not sure but there is a certain comfort in admitting your shortcomings for public consumption even if there is no public.

I'd like to be a little more bohemian.
I'd like to be a lot more open.
I'd like to be a little more spiritual.
I'd like to be a lot more creative.
I'd like to be a little more giving.
I'd like to be a lot more active.
I'd like to reach out to others and in service to them help myself.

It is 1AM in Malaysia and I fly home tomorrow. I should try and get some sleep. Tomorrow I will explore the city of Kuala Lumpur on my own for a few hours before I get on a plane. I'm looking forward to being my own company.

Oh...I am going to commit to taking a photo every day for the next 3 months. Today's is my profile pic. I was laying there feeling contemplative and wondered what others see when they see that's today's photo. I probably won't be able to post one every day but I'll take it and play catch-up.