Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out, 2008

As you can tell by my subject I'm a long, long way away from achieving any sort of zen-ness in my life. But my soul is traveling many paths right now and the path towards inner peace is the one I'm hitting the hardest. Not even my treadmill is getting as much attention these days.

This is a great article on New Year's Resolutions and a more wise way to make them. It is from a Buddhist perspective but I think it applies to anyone no matter their affiliation. I'm slightly between spiritual paths myself at the moment but I found a lot in there that I want to apply to my own thought processes.

In particular is this:

The Buddha gave us some clues about the kind of thoughts that help move us forward. He said, “If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never departs.” What is a “pure mind”? It’s the part of us that reveals our essential goodness. We can tell we’re acting with a pure mind when we’re motivated by genuine feelings of kindness and generosity, and a wise understanding of our responsibility toward both ourselves and our world. When we act from that place, we flow more naturally and easily. And happiness flows more easily to us.

My own resolutions this year are mainly to love wiser, treat my soul and body with more respect and spend every day stepping forward. General I know but getting bogged down in specifics is something of a downfall for me.


Cause Our Loves' Become Selling Secrets To The Russians

it's almost Christmas

when I take off my makeup I look old and defeated, I'm not so dangerous
cry in to my Christmas cake
starin' holes into me all night
you should just give up
cause our loves' become selling secrets to the Russians they dont need the cold war is on between you and me

twenty-five years old and a bachelors degree
your parents helped out with graduation fees
the loans were never enough
the credit cards are calling your bluff, fold your hand cut them up, move away
or you'll be payin' them off till your kids grow old
and do the same
theres no more runin' water
wrappin' presents in the dark
move into your car
change where you park
too bad that job carolin' department stores fell, through
but the new year is writhin' friend of you, cry in to your Christmas cake
dont know what else to do
dont know what else to do

I fear I'm goin deaf
I've got some sense left
give up some more to be with you
cause what good is seein', if love's not lookin' back at you
and what good is feelin' if my hands aren't touchin' you

and another angel came down
he was wearin only a cloud
he said "sew up the bad that you done, tomorrow Christmas day comes."

cry in to your Christmas cake
dont know what else to do
cry in to your Christmas cake
dont know what else to do
the new year is right in front of you

- Xmas Cake, Rilo Kiley

Next year will be better.


It's Usually More Like Happy HourS

Here is my take on this article.

The basic summary of it seems to be that women are drinking more because of the types of jobs that women are taking. What I fail to see (or at least see what the big deal is) is why this is a "woman issue" and not a "co-workers drinking more together issue".

At my last two professional jobs my initiation from the new girl in the office to an acknowledged member of the organization happened out of the office and over drinks at a local bar. No orientation session or staff meeting gave me a better idea of what my work environment was actually like then sitting at a bar with my coworkers did. That's where I learned what everyone was really like, who was going to be a good coworker, good friend, someone to avoid, someone to not get too close to because they were handing in their notice the next morning, etc. I'm not saying it isn't possible to make friends with people you work with without getting drunk with them but for me that's how it happened.

As a result of this work/social culture I drink A LOT more then I did four years ago and much more frequently. I also worked in two intensely demanding work environments that left me needing a glass of wine after work in a way I didn't before. What I find a scarier dependence personally is not my dependence on drinking because of work but in making friends where I work.

When gainfully employed I tend to be the type of person that puts work first in all situations. I work more then I play and I'm just not very good at seeking out social situations so even though I enjoy socializing I need it brought to me. All the new friends I've made in the past few years have been somehow connected to my job and one of the things I hate the most about my current venture into the retail world is how little I enjoy anyone I work with outside of them as a coworker. They're all very nice people but I've yet to meet that "job BFF". You know, the person that you might never talk to outside the job but is totally on your page during work hours. Not having one feels weird and strange but my need for one feels weirder and stranger.

My greatest wish when starting my last job was not that I enjoyed the work but that the people were awesome and of course that's exactly what I got. An office full of peers that became good friends in and outside of work but a job that I hated doing.

I feel like I should end this with some grand revelation of having figured out how to have both or why it's not important to have both but I can't provide either. I still need that friendly face as much as I need that paycheck.


Please Pack Your Knives and Go

I'm currently reading Daniel Boulud's Letters to a Young Chef. And by currently I mean I purchased it around 2pm today and a little over 4 hours later I'm almost finished. It's a short book and simply written so this is no great accomplishment. Not to mention that for a large part of the book I was riveted by every word.

Culinary school is something I've been giving very serious thought to for almost two years now. I've started to feel about food and the process of creating it the way I used to feel about the performing arts - passionate, consumed with a need to study and discuss it and ready to trade in my sorry attempts at a social life for a career I can consume every second of my life with. During this torturous dry spell of little to no work I've been increasingly filling more and more time with watching cooking programs (and not just TFN's crop of "chefs" but more educational and sophisticated fare as well) and reading blogs and learning as much as I can without actually entering any sort of formal training. Going back to school is going to a be a huge financial and emotional commitment for me and I want to make sure I'm going back for the right reasons and for the right thing before I make that leap.

So I'm reading Letters to a Young Chef and getting more and more excited and feeling destined for a role somewhere in the culinary world when Chef Boulud has this to say:

One more requirement-you need youth. Notice these are Letters to a Young Chef, not a new chef. In other words, if you were thirty years old I would not be writing this to you, because the demands of the job and the competition out there require that you start young, as you have, as I did.
My heart dropped as soon as I read that and it was several long minutes before I could bring myself to pick the book back up again. I could only do it be convincing myself that he's only one man (who is nothing short of a God in the culinary world) with one opinion (and one that a career of being a God has left me more then entitled to). There seems to be this great marketing campaign going on telling everyone that it's never too late to start over. But what if it is? What if those stupid mistakes you make when your 19 and you don't understand anything except the rules of Beer Pong really do fatally impact the rest of your life.

Until recently I've never been a defeatist. I've lived my life the Scarlet O'Hara way believing that Tomorrow Is Another Day. But after 28 years of tomorrow I'm starting to feel like my window of opportunity to turn everything around is in serious danger of being sealed permanently shut. And that having an actual life plan that makes sense may not mean anything when it's come ten years too late. I hate feeling like I've wasted any part of my life, let alone an entire decade of it, and I think that's why I've had so much anger towards myself lately. I can see so clearly all the wrong decisions I made and all those times I ended up at Frost's damned Diverged Roads and took the wrong one.

I'm not going to let Chef Boulud completely bring me down or cause me to rethink everything again but there'll be a wariness to my actions now and an acute understanding that I'm starting back at the beginning means not being the youngest, fastest prodigy on the block, a position I probably enjoyed for too long anyway.


I Was A Teenage Trend Lover & Hater

Jezebel did an article yesterday on being a teenage trend hater. I'll admit right off the bat that shortly after becoming unemployed in August I devoured the Twilight books. Did I enjoy them? Not really. They started off as so bad it was good and then just became so bad it made my head hurt. Do I get why they're the most popular thing ever right now? Oh yeah. It's epic teenage love involving the sexy supernatural being there is: vampires. Vampires who speak to teenage girls in a way that most teenage girls can barely imagine. Will I be seeing the movie? Two words for you : Robert. Pattinson. And not because I dream about us being together (though he's pretty nice to look at) but because his publicity tour of "This movie is horrible" has been endlessly amusing to me. If you don't know what I'm talking about look up some of his recent interviews on YouTube.

I've never really followed fashion or hair or shoe trends, much preferring to do my own thing because I figured out pretty easily what works for me. But pop culture trends have always been something of a weakness to me. If a song is big on the radio right now I probably know it and often times love it. If a book series is popular I've probably read it. When reality tv became the new face of television I jumped on that bandwagon and thanks to Bravo and VH1 I'm still riding it around in big, tacky circles. When it comes time for the Oscars I've usually seen most of the Best Picture nominees and if I haven't I at least know what they're about.

I think it's important to realize that sometimes popular things have their worth. I learn about things because I read a lot and pay attention and tend to know when something is popular but I wouldn't say I like anything because it's popular. And when a trend starts to fade I'm usually one of the last hanger-ons, often liking something long after it's passed the point of being out-dated.

I discovered an old book full of Baby-Sitter's Club books in my parents' basement last year and spent a dorky but fun afternoon reading through a few of them. At 27 I could still recognize what I liked about them when I was 10. I could also point to NKOTB's newly rediscovered success as proof that we weren't all completely insane in 1990. Trends are the things that smack us across the face and make us pay attention because they speak to some part of us as a collective body of consumers. They're shiny and fun and have often have nothing to do with reality as we have to know it. Sitting at home right now writing cover letter after cover letter that I increasingly feel like no one will ever read I occasionally need to crank up some Britney just to feel sparkly for a few minutes.

Of course if we could all just agree that wedding receptions would be better off without The Electric Slide and The Macarena I'd be okay with that.


Here I Am Again

Journals and me go back a long way. I can remember being in first grade and trying to keep a diary. It was hard at the time and I realize now it's because not many first graders have all that much to journal about in depth. I certainly didn't. Journaling for me has always been about taking the pieces of my soul that I can't figure out and attaching words to them. Not to say that I was particularly uncomplicated six year old because I wasn't. But the scope of my complications and the words I knew to describe them were much smaller.

These days every time I sit down to write I'm struck with a million conflicting thoughts and issues and things to say about them. It becomes easier to just talk because anyone who knows me knows that talking is not an issue for me. Shutting up and getting to a point maybe but not talking. Except talking means having to listen and not so much to what the other person is saying but to myself. That's when everything becomes real. That's when I have to stop pretending that I honestly feel like my life is alright.

So I've become something of a mute these days with the words I do use usually meaning nothing. This is my attempt to get the better of that urge. To stop ignoring and hiding and pretending like what I watched on TV is the most important thing I have to talk about. It's so I'll stop waking up every morning and asking myself "How?" and "Why?" and "Seriously universe?" and start coming up with answers to those questions.

Something about blogging has always felt a bit self indulgent to me but I think I've reached that point where I need to indulge myself. I need to have long conversations with myself where I figure what the last ten years of my life have really been about and what I honestly want to happen now. I can't promise that I'll always make sense and I can only fervently promise that I hope to be entertaining. I tend to cry and laugh in equal measures and sometimes at the same time.

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

- Elizabeth Gilbert