PlazaJen: The Blog

Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: change (page 1 of 3)

Pumpkin Muthahfuckin’ SPICE

Yeah, it’s White People Month when this stuff comes back to Starbucks, you know it, there’s 800 variations of memes and pictures and squeals of happy happy happy on Facebook once the Heralded Return Of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, like the swallows of Capistrano, baby. Now, I appreciate my over-priced, delicious beverages as much as the above-average-income JoCo soccer mom, but it’s got to be “right” to fully enjoy it. And daytime highs of upper 70’s/mid-80’s ain’t it. For me, Pumpkin Flavored-Everything Season starts when I feel a chill letting the dogs out in the morning, and I see my first red blaze of autumn leaves. Our weather has been unseasonable since summer began – a milder, cooler version of last year, so much so that I really worked hard not to bitch when we got some hot weather, because days on end of 100’+ weather was torturous. Now we’re warming up and cooling down and warming back up so the tomatoes keep on putting out fruit and it’s almost October.

Sometimes I think about how lovely it would be to live in certain climates, where it never freezes or blisters hot, where it’s sweatshirt-and-shorts weather most of the time, and I think that while I’d enjoy it, I wouldn’t love it the way I love a true Fall. Fall is my favorite season of all, despite it’s symbolism of death and decay and ripe life coming to an end, (boy I can really put a damper on shit, eh?) But I LOVE IT. It fuels me and buoys up my mood. The smell of leaves on the ground, moistened by a fall thunderstorm, turning into compost that will re-energize the ground next year. Puffs of smoke from chimneys, the smell of wood in the air, it alerts the senses. Sounds around us change, the wind sweeps through branches and bring a shuffling of paper, the natural evolution from the velvety sounds of green leaves rustling in a summer’s breeze. As the humidity leaves, sounds become sharper, unmuffled by the damp air and heat that keeps windows shut and doors pushed tightly closed. Fall ushers in a return to cooking; soups and stews and warm dishes that take on the new flavors of squashes and root vegetables, complemented by the harvests of summer, transformed into jarred and frozen bags of produce that bring the brightness of summer’s hot sun to bursting flavor in chili, peppers and tomatoes taking on new forms. And it brings with a renewed desire to knit, to work with wool, to create and draw the calm from the meditative repetition of needles and yarn moving in unison.

So, Pumpkin Season, I realize you’ve “Arrived”, and I still love you, but you’re going to have to wait until it’s truly time.

A New Year’s Wish

As this year creeps towards its end, I am ready to face the new year with renewed faith and hope.

For the people who have fallen by the wayside, I say goodbye, and wish you well, along with the random pebble in your shoe to remind you of me.

For those joining me as we march into 2013? Let us raise a glass and toast a year filled with more laughter than tears, more money than expenses, and more joy than sorrow.

To only wish for good things is foolish; the challenges are where we learn and grow, and our character is built in how we face them.

Peace and Love,
Jennifer

Under Re-struction

1. My blog has been jacked up. For quite a while. I apologize, but the efforts I made with my host to restore it ended up failing. I thought I had at least one database that could back up everything at least through October, but that also proved fruitless. Data data everywhere, but not a point restore.

2. THANK GOD for Google Reader. Kids, this saves the universe. Yes, I’ve had to rebuild everything – but all my lost posts were still cached & sitting there on Google Reader.

3. So all the posts just got back. I still don’t have a home page (WTF) but all the posts are back – sans comments, unfortunately, and it breaks my heart, because there were a couple posts with some heartfelt, treasured comments.

4. Always do regular backups!

Resiliancy.

I had been chatting with a a sales rep friend a while back, muttering about our equally long careers in this business. We’ve been through the ups & downs – employed, unemployed, good employers, less-than-good… In that conversation, I said, “Glen? You know what we are? We’re resilient. No matter how many times we get knocked down, challenged by what life throws our way, we just get back up and keep on walkin’.” And that’s really what it’s all about in the end, isn’t it? How we choose to act in the face of adversity, and the graciousness with which we accept the bounty that is earned and given to us.

I started my new job last week. You always have your first set of challenges – how do I dial the phone? Will I remember anyone’s name tomorrow? And then the real work begins, and yes, I’m in the early glow of New Job! New Challenges!, life is good, I love the work I’ve been given to do, and am going to be working with a great group of people – at my job, my clients, and my vendor partners. On that first day, I also got a curve ball: my uncle -I haven’t seen or spoken with in ten years- called to ask if my mother was with me, because she was missing. Had been missing since the previous Wednesday.

Long story short, her drinking had escalated. Now, mind you, the parents I grew up with? Rarely over-indulged in alcohol. Everything in moderation. I could count on one hand the number of times I’d seen my mom even tipsy. I knew that her drinking had increased as their marriage declined, and there had been a rather dire incident after the divorce, where her consumption of 750ml of vodka left her hospitalized with a 0.48 Blood Alcohol level, and at that time – 10 years ago – I got her enrolled in Hazelden, working with her hospital social worker, but in the end, she wriggled out of it. I threw my hands in the air. We’re stubborn, both of us, but I’m smart enough to know when the effort is wasted. If there’s one thing I learned from my own childhood, it’s that you cannot change another person, no matter how hard you try.

This – this was something new. My uncle was worried, and I quickly became worried as well. She was reported as a missing person. Endangered to herself. Somewhere out there with her car, and a cell phone that had been turned off. No bank account activity. No word from a single friend back home.

The days went by. Conversations with a Chief Deputy, confirming the national APB that was now out. Paperwork was filed to begin accessing her credit cards, hoping for some sort of indication – anything – that would tell us she was at least alive. I’ve never been through something like that before. I hope I never have to go through it again. Staring at pages online of other faces, people who vanished and gone for years, wondering if this was the future for me. Fearing a terrible accident, so devastating her car had left the road and was hidden in a thicket somewhere, somehow invisible, was she hurt, was she dead. Was she dead. Would we ever know.

Thankfully, last Sunday, a sharp-eyed cop in a nearby city spotted the make and model of my mother’s car, in the parking lot of a motel. Ran the plates, got a hit. Found.

Eleven days, ten nights. Sounds like my dream of a vacation, preferably in Tahiti. She spent it in a blackout, ordering food and pouring alcohol into her body. I feel strangely detached, just writing and sharing that. It’s in sharp contrast to the high anxiety from last week, that’s for sure. I don’t know who that person is, the one with a car full of beer cans and wine bottles, driving drunk and risking her life as well as others’. It’s not really detachment, I suppose. It’s the fortress I built long ago, appearing out of the mist. Reminding me that I put up these walls to protect myself from a different dynamic. And even from that distance, I do love her. I wish things could be different, of course, but right now, her journey needs to focus on herself. She was hospitalized, agreed to enter rehab, and yesterday, she entered a facility where I hope she can start her life anew in different direction. I feel old. Older than her. Older than everyone involved in this. Perhaps because I see my utter powerlessness. There are only so many times you can try to do the work for someone else before you see you’re carrying water in a sieve. I quit clocking in next to Sisyphus a long time ago.

That said. If anyone can do it, it’s her. After all, she was the one with the indomitable spirit my whole childhood, digging in her heels, getting back on the horse that threw her, no job nor mountain too big to be tackled. I hope she can find that resiliency and optimism she so carefully cultivated in me.

Me? It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

But I’m good. It’s good.

Many thanks to be given.

Much terrain to survey.

Miles to go before I sleep.

Big Stuffs

Tomorrow, I start my new job! I had started a conversation with a former colleague a year ago, and he had said then he wanted to add media to their agency, but they just weren’t ready. In the meantime, I took a job that let me work from home, and my new co-workers and clients were awesome. So it wasn’t the easiest decision to make when the opportunity from a year ago came to fruition, but in the end, I knew I had to take it because if I didn’t, I’d always wonder and possibly regret not taking the chance. I’m excited, it’s starting from scratch, but I believe it’s going to be a great job. The commute is crazy – all three minutes of it! We joked about me requiring a fuel stipend. And, they picked up a huge account this past Thursday, so I’m going to be a little crazed this first week – heck, the way my home phone and email blew up from certain reps that afternoon, I know I’ll be spending quite a bit of time on the phone!

In other adventures, we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I’m pondering the menu, as well as getting the house clean by then. I keep debating on whether or not to have turkey, or something different. (Any ideas? Don’t say turducken!)

I took this past week off and spent a fair amount of time in my head, pondering current things, pondering the future, not getting as much done as I’d hoped to, but finally making headway with my laundry, at least. (That was the biggest “con” of leaving a work-from-home job: more laundry! Even I knew that wasn’t significant enough to sway my decision!) I think I want to challenge myself to share more, especially through my blog, but trying to be careful not to be passive/aggressive about it. There are a lot of things that still piss me off, or still hurt, whether from people’s actions/inactions or certain former employers/colleagues. I think what has emerged is a clearer understanding that all I can be sure of is where I stand, and what lies ahead. I think the downside of feeling like you’re on the outside looking in is that you feel excluded, or like you’re missing something you thought you wanted or something you once had. Or still want, but only if given. Certain pains are familiar, the reverb goes straight to the core, you wonder why you’re going through this all over again, yet things you don’t want to be cyclical are just that.

Today, I’m turning around, because the rest of the world is actually right there behind me, on “the outside.” New doors will open, undoubtedly. Maybe some old ones, too. I just know that I’m walking through a new one tomorrow, and it gives me hope. 🙂

New Day, New Decade

We spent last week, and much of the weekend, watching many of the programs dedicated to the memory of 9/11.

I spent a lot of time in tears, and despite that sadness, the explanation I have for that choice is simple. I feel, as a citizen of this country, that it is my duty to know as much as possible about what happened that day, and to never forget it.

Because here, in flyover country, that day was as blue as the skies in Manhattan.

And as I drove to work, listening to the DJs in confusion and not having anything visual to go on, I just kept  yelling, “WHAT IS GOING ON?” which probably sums up how most of America felt that day.

When the first tower fell, I was sitting in our conference room. My mind went blank and all I could think was, “All those people.” I started to cry. Nobody else was crying. I still don’t understand that, everyone around me was silent and stoney-faced.  Maybe it was the horror, the shock, just being in the workplace – but none of it was a barrier for me. I went to my office, shut the door, tried to call my friend still living in Manhattan. All the lines were down. (He was fine, I found out later.)

So I called my father. The man who always had an idea, a solution, greater knowledge of the world and what to do. This would be the only time in my life with him that he didn’t have an answer. “Why is this happening? What is going on?” I could see  him shaking his head as he told me he just didn’t know, that it was terrible and awful. Things we both knew, small words that couldn’t capture the enormity of it all.

I left work, listening now to reports that our president was flying all over the country, and I was angry. One of the shows we watched last week was on NatGeo, and it was an hour, interviewing George W. about that day, and despite my feelings about his politics in general, it was an excellent show. It really explained the chronology of events, how information was being gathered, how that day unfolded, how even our government was in shock, reacting, doing everything possible to keep our president out of harm’s way, while trying to prevent more of the same from happening.

Later that afternoon, I called James. We had been dating for two years. He still lived in Clinton. He described walking out onto the playground and looking up at the sky, seeing all the hairpin vapour trails from the planes that had left MCI, and then turned back around, grounded. Hearing the fighter jets take their place, departing out of Whiteman AFB.

For the rest of the night, I watched the news, horrified but unable to turn away. Also, unable to knit, I could only wind yarn. I still haven’t worked on that project, but for the first time, I think I can again.

Ten years later, all I’ve got is this: Love, Solidarity & Wisdom. They all came with a painful price tag.

Good News!

I’ve kept this under wraps, but I’m happy to announce that I’m starting a new job today! It’s pretty awesome – I’m going to be telecommuting for an agency that’s a couple hours away.  The owner is cool, and we had been introduced when I lost my job the first go-’round. He’d wanted to hire me then, but that required moving because it was a management position. I did a freelance project for them, which was awesome to work on, interesting, loads of research, and since then, he’s been gung-ho about hiring me. We found a way to make it work, and I’ve felt like the cat who ate the canary ever since. It’s nice to be appreciated for what you can do – it’s nice to be paid, too – good to have benefits, good to be wanted, and good to work for someone who understands the work involved and has an ethical approach to their business.  (I recently got confirmation a previous employer IS gouging their clients in how they are calculating net/gross – pretty skeevy, and just confirms my own perceptions of the owners and how they view their clients.)

My only worry about telecommuting is that I’ll be insane to be around when I do get out of the house. (HI! HELLO! LET US TALK! WHAT IS GOING ON? I AM CHATTY.)

Hello, Neighbor…

No, I’m not talking about Crazy Cat Lady, though she had her own personal  festival of lights last week, courtesy of the emergency-service vehicles lined up in front of her house. I’m just feeling very…. Mr. Rogers. Won’t you come in? I should put on a cardigan. (Actually, I really should, I’m kinda cold.)

Starting off 2011 very differently than I started 2010. For one thing, I’m unemployed again, as my part-time employer unceremoniously gave me the boot the day after Christmas weekend. Of course, I could have been surprised, but when you advertise for a junior buyer on internal job boards at a local agency, I’m connected enough to find out within fifteen minutes. (That happened on Dec 1, ironically, my one-year anniversary there.) I was given a nice platter of prevarications.  I tried to accept them at face value, but, frankly, there had been enough lies before that point (nothing like having to keep from the client you’re only part-time and they’ve been told you’re full time) to know that it was time for something new, shiny and distracting to take my place. I got in touch with one of my co-workers, and let him know what was going on – and warned him some of the things I’d seen and heard might mean he was next. Sure enough, he came back from vacation and got axed today. I told him when he called to just keep feeling the relief, of not having to sustain the impossible anymore.

So what does that mean for me? Well, I have some opportunities for freelancing, and I’ll certainly be pursuing them as much as I can. I’ll have unemployment for when that’s not active, and I’ll keep my health insurance current. I think what I learned from the last go-round is that when you feel like you’re losing your integrity, just by walking through a door, you may be losing a salary, but you’re starting the process of regaining so much more. I also learned that as much as I worried and fretted and stressed, it didn’t make one bit of difference. I feel a strange sense of calm, and assuredness, that is really rather surprising. I have great friends in the community, former colleagues, vendors and clients. And as my father said in the worst of times, it will all be ok. I’m glad I don’t own a business that is hemorrhaging money and worrying about if I’ll make payroll and what happens if one client leaves, will it all go under. One of these days, I’m going to write down all the sordid stories, and they will astonish you, children, they really will. The advertising biz tends to look a lot more Gordon Gecko and not so much Melrose Place.  (I remember my father asking me, “This business? Does it have any NICE people in it? It doesn’t seem like it does.” Yes, dad, plenty of nice people. Just not the most honorable, as some are merely glorified con artists.)

I may need to take up violin lessons, though, all my appointments for fiddling when Rome burns and whatnot. Heh.

Well, that’s all for today, kids. I’m going to enjoy my zen, while others chug the Maalox. It’s a new year, and I just have a feeling, it’s going to be one of my best.

xo

jen

My December

My december

While Thanksgiving was easier….. December has been harder.

I will get through it,
and it will be different,
Each season will leave a different blueprint image behind,
Like a monoprint
On the same piece of glass
All in shades of blue.
Overlapping.

End of an Era…

Sigh.

Goodbye to As The World Turns. I still remember the first time I saw the show, joining some fellow classmates in college who were eating lunch and in my usual style (Hi! Whatcha doin’? Can I come in? Who’s that lady? She looks mean. (Lucinda Walsh)”) I had to ask a lot of questions at first, and get schooled on the characters.  But it was a connection – with a show and with friends who wanted to talk about it. Twenty-five years later, my little slice of escapism has come to a close.  I missed some chunks over the years, but the characters and storylines continued on. In a strange way, it was surprising, how sad it all wound up feeling. Maybe because it was another long thread cut, a thread that connects the years, despite all the changes, the jobs, the moves. Maybe because my father has been in my dreams lately, days I wake up thinking I need to call him, only to remember I can’t.  Certainly they’re not even in the same league of loss, but the older you get, the more you experience it. I think one of the benefits of getting older is perspective, and one of the drawbacks is the melancholy that can accompany change,  and a wistfulness for how we may have done things differently. Things we wish for now are different for what we wished for then, but the world keeps turning.

All good things got to come to an end
The thrills have to fade
Before they come ’round again
The bills will be paid
And the pleasure will mend
All good things got to come to an end

(Jackson Browne)

Older posts

© 2020 PlazaJen: The Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑