Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Photo Catch Up

Here are some photos from the last couple of weeks:

Joy at the office.

My collage from 2007? with my Cali friends. (note: It was 2008 - I just figured it out).

Deep thoughts with glue sticks.

Close up of tree outside condo at Dave Walley's.

View from the deck at our condo in Genoa, NV.

Neighboring condos at Dave Walley's Hot Springs.

View from the deck looking north at Dave Walley's.

Pumpkin Patch produce - too pretty not to take pics.

More peppers at the Pumpkin Patch.


Habaneros. I'm gonna try to make some salsa.

Advocados just because they were interesting. I don't eat them.

I love lemons.

I think eggplants are beautiful. Smooth and purple and lovely.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Failure

So, one of the people from work wanted to go to the Pumpkin Patch again this year.  We had gone last year and everyone had a good time.  Things have been so crazy lately that I didn't think of it until the second week of October.  When the person asked me, I told them to plan it and make a flier and I would get approval. Only I never got approval.

After this week of challenges, one person asked me about the Pumpkin Patch and I decided I was going to go ahead with it and if I didn't have "after-the-fact" approval, I would just pay for it as people needed to have something fun to end the week. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get the word out enough and also, the flu is sweeping through my office, so I knew the group would be small. I couldn't NOT go - what if someone showed up with their family and no one was there?  So I drove down to the Pumpkin Patch and I quickly realized that no one was coming.  I shopped in the Pumpkin Patch market and took pictures of some of their lovely fruit and veggies (practicing photography and also loving the colors).  The mud was an inch deep and I was afraid I was going to take a header, face down in the mud. I made it out unscathed, but my fear of standing in the middle of the field alone was almost realized - I wasn't in a field, exactly, but I was probably the oldest person there without a small child in tow. I stayed an hour, took my goodies and tromped through the mud back to my car and drove home.

I am exhausted. Going to bed. Boo. Happy Mischief day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Days that Kick Your A**

Today was one of those days. Up at 5 a.m. to finish some grading, off to a meeting, found out I had to drive to Salem. Drove down, did my thing, drove back. Work til 7:30pm or so...then home.

October seems to be a hard month in my industry, in my work place.  This is year 5 of October-Kicks-Jean's-Ass.  I knew it was coming. Just didn't know when. I thought maybe I had escaped its clutches, but I didn't. I got home from vacation just in time. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm back!

Well, I'm back. I have missed my little land of self-expression but I am not savvy enough to figure out wifi, so I had to so some by-hand posts that I will be putting up tonight when I get home.

Shall I say (if I have not said so before) that returning from vacation is disincentive to taking vacations?  I'm drowning and I fear it is going to continue for awhile.  I decided upon waking this morning at 5:00am that this blog is still one of the few things I give myself, so I will continue to be here, continue this journey, because I have to.  All this stuff can't stay in your head - it has to come out. I'm not sure what I would do at this point without this outlet - I'm sure I would find some way, but it wouldn't be the same. :)

I had a telecourse call yesterday which was great, but I had a strong fear reaction that the journey of it is almost over and that scared me a little.  I hope our little group will continue to share via email. I will share more about that later, but for now, I'm off to be in the world. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to work a day early

I'm going back to work a day early.  My right-hand woman is SICK.  So, I am going back.  It's fine - since I'm home a day early.

I have a feeling it is going to be a long week.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hard day

One of my friends I was on vacation with got very sick, so we left DW Hot Springs in separate cars. I was supposed to stay an additional day, but due to illness, I just came home today.  Got a chance to visit with my other friend who arrived on Saturday at the hot springs.  We drove back to Sacramento together - beautiful fall drive.  

Stopped by work in Sac and saw some folks I hadn't seen in awhile.  I was amazed at how much simple kindness makes an impact.  I met an admin and a lady from payroll and they were so sweet to me - I hadn't even realized that what I do is different that other people. It seems basic - if you need something, ask.  If there is a problem, let people know. Thank them for helping. Thank them for fixing. Ask nicely.  Apparently, these common sense approaches are not so common.  Their wonderful greetings made my day.  I saw one of my FAVORITE people from work and she gave me the biggest hug and I was just so warmed by her sincere greeting - it is so nice when your warm regard is returned.

Flew home, taxi to work, grabbed my car and came home. I'm pooped.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another post about Desire (The Joy Diet)

When I first started reading the chapter about Desire, I immediately thought about my childhood...

When I was a little girl, I was very free - free to be emotional, to be creative, to want things, to say things, to draw, to dance, to sing.  As most children do, I experienced lots of little things that I interpreted as disapproval or disdain. Sometimes, the reactions I got WERE disapproval and disdain.  My father HATED it when we would sing in the car, so over time, singing became a solitary activity.

Related to desire - when I was a kid, my parents would ask us for a Christmas list.  It was usually pretty early on as my parents did all their shopping on Columbus Day (my dad was off from work, kids still in school). As soon as the Sears Wishbook came out, I would pour over it, writing down nearly everything I saw. I asked for cars and Barbies and pogo sticks and hula hoops and those giant size dolls.  It wasn't so much that I wanted all of it, but that it all seemed so magical to me, I loved to write things down, and I was always happy with what I got.  

I'm pretty sure that my sister (and maybe others) thought I was just a greedy little kid, writing down the entire kids section of the catalog. But a curious thing happened - every year, I was thrilled with the gifts I received, the toys I had, but my sister would never get "THE THING" that she wanted. One time I asked her if she had written a list and she scoffed at me, "I'm not going to write a list of things that I want someone to give me." My young self wondered, "Well, if they don't know what you want, how can they get it for you?"  This question was not met with a happy face.

One year, my sister opened the edge of all of her presents and so she KNEW that she hadn't gotten the thing that she wanted and she couldn't say anything about it because then, not only would she be upset that she didn't get what she wanted, but she would be in trouble for snooping.  I never snooped. I'm not sure I knew that the gifts were there to snoop for until that year. Ironically, that year, my sister got an art project with a bullring and you colored it with these colored rocks (I can't really explain it here) and I was JEALOUS. I thought that was the coolest gift ever. She was just upset because she didn't get THE THING.

I spent a lot of years feeling guilty/greedy for writing those lists - feeling like maybe there was something wrong with me. Then, I just let it go. I was just a little kid and someone ASKED me what I wanted, and I told them. I certainly didn't expect to get the entire Sears catalog, but I was happy with the gifts I did get. I can't remember a year when I didn't get something special. (This was before the retailers and media created the "ONE TOY YOU MUST HAVE" phenomenon, so maybe things would have been different if I had fallen prey to the "Cabbage Patch Doll" craze or something.)

I'm not even sure what my point is in this post...maybe just reflecting on the fact that we are a certain way as children and that uniqueness, that freedom is slowly squashed or restrained by experiences and other people's perceptions and behavior and we spend the rest of our lives reading books like "The Joy Diet" trying to figure out what our REAL desires are, what really brings us joy.  Kids just are - they have desires and express them, they feel joy and they enjoy it.  We have a lot to learn from the kiddos.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thanks to BlissChick!!

I'm not sure if I have written about my "burned forever in my memory horrific art experience" story here or not, but it is relevant for a couple of reasons - it is the reason that I am writing this THANK YOU post to BlissChick (Christine) and because you may notice a change in the blog here because of all of this.

When I was a young child, I was in LOVE with fluorescent crayons and bright colors. For me, the brighter, the better. I wonder about that sometimes. I think the colors soothe me, but for other people, colors have an opposite affect. Anyway, I colored EVERYTHING with those crayons. I wanted everything to be as bright and colorful as what I had in my imagination.  Even my nightmares were "multicolored" which is what my parents called my penchant for colorful items, pictures, clothes, etc.

When I went to kindergarten or first grade(1970-71), I colored everything in strips. It was important to ensure that all the colors were included in an orderly fashion. Around Christmas time one of those years (I think first grade), we were given Santas to colore. They were those FANCY ones where the arms and legs were attached with brads so that the arms and legs moved. I colored my Santa meticulously, including all the colors (you see where this is going, don't you?) up the legs of Santa to the top. Obviously, his hair was still white and his skin tone was similar to my own (pretty typical).  I proudly submitted my fine piece of art to my teacher who responded, "Santa wears a red and white suit, not one with all these colors. I'm afraid we won't be able to display your Santa for Parent's night.  Your Santa isn't colored correctly" or words to that affect. I was devastated. Not that I didn't do it right but that my Santa, whom I had worked so HARD on, would not be displayed. I was proud of the work I had done on him.  I brought my Santa home and told my mother what had happened.  Luckily, my mother is a smart woman. She loved my multi-colored Santa and told me so. Throughout all of our moves, she always made sure to keep that Santa.

There you have it - my first soul-crushing art experience. I still have that Santa somewhere. I should find him and scan him in.  This experience affected my interest and ability to produce art of any kind. I focused on writing instead.

So, how does BlissChick come into this? Well, one day, I was looking at blogs and found the "Free Wild Woman" poster I have posted here. When I followed the link to it, I landed on BlissChick's site. The poster attracted me because of the visual elements - many different images, many different colors and it was free WILD WOMEN. I love that. When I got to Christine's site, I noticed that her blog was very colorful. At first, I thought that all those colors were links to something out. More recently, I decided to explore and I realized that she uses color for all kinds of reasons AND that I could do the SAME THING on my blog. 

I have been looking for SOMETHING that would add the final visual touch to the blog. The custom photo header made me happy for a while, but what I had been looking for had something to do with COLOR.  So, in my post on Creativity Continued last week, I started the was a small step, but I knew it was what I had been looking for. A way to emphasize, a way to change it up, add interest. Make my points without all caps or underlines...something different, that I don't see all blogs doing. 

So, officially, thanks to Christine at BlissChick for using color and for inspiring me to do the same.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Letter to my 17-Year-Old Self (Write-Your-Own Friday from 37Days)

37Days has a new series called "Write-Your-Own Friday" and I just loved the prompt for the one last Friday and decided to post it here. This is in keeping with my goal/desire to write every day.

Letter to my seventeen year old self:

Dear Jean-

Hi.  This is your 42 year old self writing to you from a freaky as-yet-uninvented-in-your-time technology called "The Internet".  You will not discover it until 1996 and it will CHANGE EVERYTHING. Remember when people used to actually write their diaries/journals and lock them and hide them?  Now people (including me) write and publish our thoughts, feelings, reactions, photos on the INTERNET for EVERYONE (and I do mean EVERYONE) to see.  Anyone in the world can stumble upon our humble writings and read about our lives. Don't even get me started on Google Earth. (By the way, the more freaky the company name, the more successful it will probably be - Yahoo!! Google!! are just two examples).

Anyway, I really wanted to write to you and tell you that many of things you are doing, that you believe, that you know, are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.  Your friends and family are going to stick with you as long as you stick with them. Cherish the time you have. Don't waste time on silly arguments and trying to make people into something they aren't. You are all beautiful in your uniqueness. 

Keep writing every day. Don't stop. Keep all your notebooks. Write down all the things that happen and the conversations that you have.  Explore your art - you do it in your notes to Jeffa every day - little drawings, little sayings, adding images. Don't forget you have a strong visual memory. Use it to record all your experiences. And take more pictures. Find someone to help you learn about photography and go crazy.

Don't be afraid to risk and don't be afraid to fail. Failure has not been an option in your life so far and unless you decide you want to change it, you won't. There are so many things in life that require PRACTICE and practice means that sometimes you will fail. The problem is that if you don't want to fail, you will stop trying. I know this because there are a few things I didn't try because I was afraid to fail. Don't DO IT!  Try! Try! Go! Do it! Risk! Create!  Just remember that the process is just as important as the outcome - like math - you get points for showing your work.

Don't be afraid to love. I know that you have often felt silly or judged by the intensity of your emotions. There is nothing to be ashamed of. This is who you are and it doesn't go away. Ever. But you can be kinder to yourself about this. Own it. Let it define your relationships the way it does now. Don't let jaded people influence you. People love to get little cards and gifties and you are so good at doing that. Later in your life, some folks got to you and you became unsure of yourself - you started thinking that it was the THING that mattered more than the thought "I was thinking of you so I decided to get you this card/gift to let you know". The thought is more important. 

Keep telling stories. Stories are the way we remember and honor ourselves, our lives and our relationships. You are going to experience a lot of death. Don't be afraid. It is hard, but keep your heart open to the lessons you will learn. Keep your heart open to the people who will teach you those lessons. You are stronger than anyone ever thought. 

One last thing - you can't make everyone happy. Stop trying now. Just try to be kind, have integrity, have fun and keep your sense of humor.  Please yourself more. Listen to great music. Read great books. Make great friends. But know that you are enough. You have it in you to be amazing - you just have to step out of your own way.

Have a good time and take care of yourself. Make sure you keep your body and mind strong. Take your vitamins. Drink more water. 

I wish this were more sophisticated, more practical. I may have to write you another letter tomorrow. I'm still evolving, so sometimes things don't quite come out the way I mean them to...



P.S. Don't let Roby date Grant.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It...

I saw this picture on Hope Revolution's blog and followed the links to get information about it. I just love it!  Hope Revolution got it from here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Travel Day

So, I thought I would be able to get home before I flew off into the world, but I had to work - waiting for something important that never arrived while I was at work.

I went straight to the airport.  And I tried to use wifi on the loaner netbook I had from work. Foiled. :(

Good flight to Sacramento.  Good dinner with friends.  Saw "Fame" with my friends.  Got back to their house only to find that they had hung up my collage from 2 years ago in the guest room, right along side theirs. I was so happy to see it.  I took pictures. I will post them, although you don't necessarily get the whole of it from a tiny picture. 

Now, it is time for bed. I am anxious to get away, but nervous because there is so much happening at my work place.  More later, when we get to GENOA!!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Would it be rude of me to mention AGAIN that I am going to Dave Walley's Hot Springs Resort and Span in Genoa, NV tomorrow?  Seven mineral pools of varying temperatures. Cooling pools. Facials. Massages. Quiet. Movies. Friends. Games. SLEEP. Pajamas. Laughter.

I can't wait.  

I will be doing either remote posting or I will write in my journal and post when I get back.  I am bringing a computer but I have to figure out all the wifi stuff before I can actually post anything. I'm not very techie about this stuff, so it may take me a couple of days.

I must pack. I'm so ready to go. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Imagination Lives in Her Still

As I still ponder "Where the Wild Things Are", I have been thinking about my own adventures in imagination, in my own tantrums (manifesting more in a pouty bottom lip which caused my father to say, "You can take that lip all the way to Pennsylvania"), in my own inner-world from my childhood.

As I have been doing all these introspective activities, all these "let your inner artist out" activities, I have been realizing that one of my finer qualities as a human being (in my humble opinion) is that I never forgot how to play.  There have been times in my life when I have been less likely to play or less interested in play, but I have never lost the ability to enjoy a rainstorm or coloring or feeling the ocean on my feet.  Sometimes, people have looked at me during a fit of laughter as if to say, "Stop being so silly."

So, I am here to tell you that imagination still lives in me, goofy first grade smile and all.

P.S. While I was at Powell's yesterday, I saw one of my other ALL TIME FAVORITE children's books, "Ferdinand the Bull". I will tell you about that book some other day. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Where the Wild Things Are" Thoughts **SPOILER ALERT

Kevin invited me to go with him to see "Where the Wild Things Are" yesterday. I thought it was fitting to see the movie with him as he was the first person to find my blog a little over a year ago. I said YES and we went to an afternoon showing, complete with children.

I am unsure what I think at this was enjoyable and the animatronics were pretty cool.  The actors were good, especially Max Records who plays Max. There were moments full of heart and tenderness...but there was something about it that didn't resonate.

I couldn't love Max and I really wanted to...I did love Carol and the other Wild Things, but then they did some really awful things.  I know that the point is that Max is learning from them, but I just couldn't really abide some of it.  The culmination of this was the arm-ripping incident. I won't go into details, but I just couldn't go there. Then when Max came home, I wanted Mom to at least say, "Don't ever do that again!" or "I was worried!"

I'm not certain this is a children's movie - some of the lessons were too subtle. Some of the behavior too dangerous. The two kids behind us were not able to keep their attention on the movie and ended up playing with the leftover popcorn in the bag they had bought as their mother whispered harshly to them, "Shh!  Stop talking! Stop that! Sit down!"

In the aftermath of the so-called "Balloon Boy", this movie just made me realize how much we don't teach our kids. How much our society needs to love and hold and teach kids and how to treat them.  I admire the parents I know who are parents to their kids.  It isn't easy to lead little people to good and right decisions, but it is our job. All of our jobs. And little Max, in the movie version, needed to be sent to his room without supper, like little Max in the book.  He could have had some supper later. The book got it right. I'm not sure the movie did.

I hope I can read Maurice Sendak's perspective on the movie...maybe that will help me digest it more easily.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Joy Diet: Creativity Continued

I joined a book group with a bunch of FANTASTIC bloggers and we are all reading Martha Beck's "The Joy Diet". This is a continuation of a post from earlier this week. I am behind and trying to catch up but also trying to digest the book. This week, we focused on Creativity.

One of the activities I did was to take the Desires I listed here and turn them in to questions and come up with some possible ways to bring my intention into alignment with my desires and actions. I really liked this activity - it helped a lot. I always read in books "Write it down. It will clarify your thoughts and commit you to these intentions." Normally, I don't do it, but I'm really glad I did this.

How can I achieve more balance in my life?

  1. Set an alarm and leave work when it goes off. (Thanks to Patti Digh for this suggestion)
  2. Plan events/activities that will enhance balance and encourage me to keep it up.  This includes things like go to the movies, get together with friends or be in contact more, read more books, do something creative regularly (collage, cards, vision boards) and keep up my blog
  3. Say NO when that is what I really want to say
  4. Focus on the goal, the achievement, not how tired I feel
  5. JUST DO IT. Stop waiting for permission.

How can I spend more time being creative/artistic?

  1. Set up weekly Artist Dates and follow through (Thank you, Artist's Way)
  2. Make something every day - focus on Quality, not Quantity (Thank you, Patti Digh)
  3. Plan 30 minutes a day for self (creative endeavors, reading, music) to nuture self
  4. Take class in something I want to learn (collage, art journals, digital photography, mosaic making)
  5. In the morning, think about a creative thing I can do at work that will meet this need and break me out of regular work patterns - creativity can be used at work.

How can I have a positive impact on the people I am in contact with regularly?

  1. HopeRevo - use this as one of my "creative" endeavors, that also translates to positive thoughts/experiences for others
  2. Thank you cards. 1 each day. Hand written.
  3. Keep a gratitude journal. Helps to recognize blessings.
  4. After my 15 minutes of "landing" time at work, take the time to go out and say hello to each person who is at work.
  5. Take time for self to be creative, to be connected, to find more balance - these things allow me to be more kind and thoughtful, as well as connecting us.

How can I live a more connected life?

  1. Thank you cards. One each day. Hand written.
  2. Be more present. Send the email. Make the call. Don't wait.
  3. Instigate. Don't wait for others to ask.
  4. If invited and you want to go, make it happen.
  5. Reach out - take the risk to connect to those you want to connect with.

How can I honor my wish to write?

  1. Keep up with the blog.
  2. Use some of the prompts I have now.
  3. Read blogs, books. More. Read more.
  4. Keep a journal - art or other. Gratitude and "live your wild and precious life" and "The Artist's Way". This will help.
  5. Write every day. Something. Blog post, journal, poem, start a story or article.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Where the Wild Things Are" - Homage

**I know I have used all these photos before, but I wanted to honor the book that inspired my Blog and Blog title as the movie opens today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Joy Diet: Creativity

AARGH! Creativity (of this kind) rarely works! I know this is true and I HATE THAT!

I have said here before that I am NOT an adventurer. I don't like change and risk and at my heart, deep in the deepest parts of my soul, I understand that to really succeed at ANYTHING, you have to practice. You have to change and fail and learn and practice and fall down and get up again. And again. I have always been, by nature, a person who falls down and gets up but then proceeds to figure out how I can avoid falling down the same way again.

Now Martha Beck's book, "The Joy Diet" is reinforcing what I know - I just have to keep falling down. If I don't, I will never understand and experience the joy of NOT falling down. I KNOW. I don't have to like it, but I KNOW. You have to fall down many times, imperfectly, to get yourself to where you are going.

I also find it very interesting and telling that all my little ventures into self are leading to the same places - PRACTICE. RISK. CREATIVITY. INTENTION. Must mean there is something to it. I think I am ready to start practicing. To start falling and getting up. Ready to think about what I want and align my world to practice the behaviors that will lead me to those desires and intentions.

Anyway...more tomorrow...I have not completed the chapter, I just had to SCREAM. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Joy Diet: Desire

So, I'm a little late. This chapter, Desire, really made me think for a while.

I thought about what it is that I REALLY desire - not things, but out of life. I have been nervous about this chapter because, truthfully, I was not sure I was going to like what I saw when I started looking at my life.

I think I have several desires right now that are not being well served.

1. I want more balance in my life. I have to practice saying no, to choosing quiet, to peace. I work too much and while I love it, it burns me out quickly, so I have to find ways to create and choose balance in my world.

2. I want to spend more time being creative. I have this deep desire to CREATE, to make, to color, to have something beautiful and tangible when I am done with a project. Spreadsheets just aren't doing it for me, as lovely as they can be. Another creative outlet I am interested in is Storytelling, although I haven't figured that one out at this point. I should just start. Just START.

3. I want to have a positive impact on people. Managing is having an impact, but it doesn't really count for what I mean. I think interpreting counts, but I know there is some work or endeavor out there that will allow me to make a difference in a meaningful way. I need to explore this more...the thought is not well-developed, but it is there.

4. I desire a more connected life. I have so enjoyed getting to know folks via my blog and some of the activities that I do, but I long for more. I am going on vacation next week to Dave Walley's Hot Springs Spa and Resort with my good friends. I only get to see them once or twice a year right now, so it is pretty lonely sometimes. I am so busy working, I don't really make enough time to connect with my people here and I miss that. I miss FUN.

So the part in the book that I seem to always struggle with is "Let Your Desire Become Your Intention". In the telecourse, we have discussed intention and not splitting our intention, not splitting our focus. I think, for me, I need to figure out HOW to implement...I find that often, when I start paying attention to something I want or a way of being I want to change (to add or subtract a behavior), all the demons come out and I can't get through the noise of it. Sometimes, I will have been really intentionally making something happen, making it work and as soon as I label it, I stumble.

So, my final desire is to understand my intentions and start throwing off the split intentions, exorcising the demons so that I can continue to work towards those desires.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Practice Being Who You Are" - David Robinson

"Practice being who you are." ~ David Robinson

Now think about this. We practice tying our shoes. We practice writing in cursive. We practice the piano or the violin or soccer or football or rehearse a play. But I'm pretty sure that not my life until today has someone said so simply, "Practice being who you are."

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be, who I thought I should be, knowing what I didn't want to be, being ashamed that I wasn't "all that I could be". I never realized, understood, synthesized that to be the person I wanted to be, the person I imagine I am, the KIND of person I want to be, all I have to do is PRACTICE. Every day. Even when I am bored with it. Even when I am tired. Even when I think it doesn't matter. Every day, I need to be ME.

How powerful is that? How scary?

Think of it - if I'm not practicing who I think I am, who I want to be, I must be practicing something else - someone else. That's no good.

I am moved and inspired to start my practice. To build a habit. Practicing every day, in every way, Jean-ness. Putting on my cape. Not a super-hero. "Just Jean".

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nurturing Self

The most self-nurturing thing I have done for myself in a long time was to take the "Live Your Wild and Precious Life Now" Telecourse from Patti Digh and David Robinson.

I missed the last scheduled call and frankly, I felt a little bereft since I have talked to this group of amazing, compassionate, creative people. I feel a bond with them, a connection, even though I have only just met Patti Digh one time, for a brief 5 minutes after a reading she did in Manzanita, OR.

The last two weeks have been an interesting dilemma for me - I have been in pain, ill and extremely busy. I felt guilty that I wasn't participating fully in the activities I was committing to..."The Joy Diet", "The Artist's Way", maintaining this blog. After doing some of the readings for my call tomorrow, I realized that these two weeks have been the perfect illustration for me of what this is about. Instead of thinking about all the things I wasn't doing, I really just needed some sleep, some time and some healing. There isn't anything wrong with that. I know it in my head, but sometimes it is hard to remember what is really important.

I think many of us, especially those of us who are nurturers at heart, train ourselves to ignore our own needs - not on purpose, but through years and years of reinforcement and practice. So now, I am practicing taking care of myself. In being well rested, healthy, happy and guilt-free, I can be more present for those I want to care for. It is a good cycle and one that I want to be a part of on a more regular basis.

Thanks for bearing with me. Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some videos that highlight my week:

"Ragtime" at Portland Center Stage (if you live in Portland, go see this show)

The Sparrow (posted by a friend on Facebook this week. Watch it - it is worth it.)

The Fun Theory - The Piano Staircase (Why don't we do this anyway? Fun is needed in the world.)

The National Anthem sung by some amazing young ladies

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Winding Down

I went to work today to make up for some lost time and ended up rearranging my office. For some reason, the set up has just been bothering me for a long time. As soon as I did it, I knew this was better. I'm not certain everyone will love it, but it opened up the office and I felt like I could breathe better.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do some necessary work, but then, I'm going to take the day off for real. Not a sick day where I feel like crap, or a sick day where I work all day or a PTO day where I work on my show. This is an honest-to-God day off - a day to read, to watch a movie, to just enjoy life for a few minutes. I spend so much time thinking of all the things I SHOULD do, even when I'm off, that I have a hard time enjoying it.

No more. I am committing to honest time off. To enjoying it. Vacation is coming soon! That will help me get my head on straight. I can't wait.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Rich Week

If you read this blog regularly, you have already seen that this week has been a mighty struggle - in fact, the last couple of weeks have been. If you don't regularly visit (that's ok), now you know that the last couple of weeks have been difficult. Too much to do, back pain, tiredness, flu, too much to do.

So, the culmination of all of this seemed to be last night when I interpreted "Ragtime" for a Deaf audience. After all of that, I was worried about my energy level, about my ability to stay focused, present. About my interpreting, since I don't do it every day. Thinking in two languages simultaneously requires a clear head and an exercised brain, a strong body and lots of stamina. I thought it had gone well, the audience members seemed to follow the show.

Today, on Facebook, one of my friends who is Deaf wrote "Saw "Ragtime". Jean and Z. WERE AWESOME!!!!!" This friend would never hesitate to tell me if I had done poorly or well, but to see it there, for the world to see. Really filled my heart. Then at the ASL Comedy Night, another friend who is Deaf (who I admire greatly) told me I was their favorite theatrical interpreter for musicals. The person is very discriminating and I did not solicit this feedback in any way. I nearly burst into tears, I was so happy. That person's opinion means so much to me. I'm still an interpreter at heart and I am so glad to know that even if I don't do the work full time, I can still do the work. :)

In addition, I received a forwarded email from one of my bosses. A person I work with sent them some very flattering words about the work I do and asked that it be placed in my personnel file.

Tonight, I got to see friends I haven't seen in a LONG time and to see the community I love so much come together and celebrate American Sign Language and support a cause - it was such a beautiful end - and THAT was the real culmination of the week. I feel blessed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show Accomplished!

One of my worst fears is that I will get sick or run out of energy and miss a show or totally blow a show.

That did not happen tonight at "Ragtime". The show went very well, my team and I worked well together. There were lots of supportive people in the audience, I think the audience enjoyed the play and I felt like I had gotten through a major milestone.

Now, I just have to shake this flu, get through my event tonight and hopefully, everything will go back to a more normal stasis. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jean Smackdown

I am taking the last couple of weeks as a warning from the Universe that I didn't plan my vacation soon enough...It is in 2 weeks, but apparently, my body was really trying to tell me that it needed it sooner.

All my regular stuff is on hold...Joy Diet, Artist's Way, least until next week.

I have been home from work 2 days, sleeping, taking lots of vitamins, drinking lots of fluids, trying my best to just get better.

Thanks to all my friends out there for your good thoughts. Thursday is my show, so I'm just trying to get through that to the weekend.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Break from Self-Reflection

I went to see "Fame 2009" at the movies today.

It was pretty good - the actors and performers were good but the film maker didn't spend enough time investing the audience in the characters. It was missing a little bit of heart, in my opinion.

It was a pleasant afternoon distraction. Go see it and support the arts.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Joy Diet: Truth

This is Week 3 of The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet. I am reading Martha Beck's book, The Joy Diet and blogging along weekly with a group of amazing women. The chapter we read for this week was about TRUTH. There are certainly some truths that should not be posted on the internet, that's for sure.

For this week, TRUTH is about the conflicting stories I tell myself and how they affect my life. Story 1: I love being involved in so many different projects. They keep me balanced. Working at my regular job, my teaching job, my interpreting jobs and my theatrical jobs is possible and I get great joy out of them. Story 2: I don't think I can continue to maintain this pace and still commit myself fully to the projects I choose to be a part of. This means I need to give some of them up.
Story 3: People will think less of me if I let go of some of the things I do for them. Story 4: Change is too hard. I can just keep everything status quo and it will all be fine.

This may sound insane to you, it may sound perfectly normal. For me,I am just starting to hear Story 2 and it is a loud story. It is the truth. The TRUTH. Story 1 has some truth to it, but as I get more tired and more overwhelmed, the less truth there is in the story.

The truth is hard to look at sometimes, especially when it is so far from where you want to be. These stories didn't start out as untruths - I changed. My perspective changed. My interests changed. My desires changed. Now, I have to find a way to get from here to there. The road is fairly clear, but I know it will not be easy. People are always telling me that I should say, "No" but when I say it to them, they get upset. I have to stop letting that sway me.

On a happier note: I am working on my vision cards for Nothing and Truth and Joy. I loved the idea when Jamie mentioned it, but I'm a little slow on the uptake. I love collaging and I want to make it a regular part of my world. Once I am done with the show, I may have some vision cards to share.

Next week: Desire. Big topic.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Week that Was...

I should be posting about "The Joy Diet" and this week's topic of Truth. But I'm going to wait until tomorrow because I am exhausted and so happy to be home tonight that I could cry.

I will be back to normal soon. I will.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Late Nights

I am still rehearsing for "Ragtime", so my posting is all wonky right now.

I am looking forward to the weekend when I can get to my Joy Diet posts and my Artist's Way info.

My brain is filled with songs from the show, but I will be taking a break from it here over the weekend. Thanks for bearing with me this week.

This brought me a lot of laughter last week (before it became an internet sensation), so here is a little happiness from a baby:

We should all do what we enjoy more often...


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