Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A good day

Today is a good day.
I just got back from a long weekend in Erie County, visiting my grandmother, picking blueberries and lounging by my cousin's pool each evening.
The best news is that today I got an offer for the job that I have been hoping for.

For better or worse, I've placed a good deal of expectation on this new position.
It provides me the opportunity to switch from art to science.
It focuses my currently broad set of skills into ones that I am keen to hone.
Its (relatively) secure status means that I should be able to finalize my debts pretty much on schedule (March/April now, instead of January/February).
This opens up a whole new world to me.
And the experience of busting my ass to pay off debt makes me that much more hesitant to take on any more.

I feel a sense of freedom mixed in with a healthy dose of security that I haven't felt in a long time. I feel good about my ability to get on with the next phase of my life and grateful that I was able to find employment that - well - kinda changes everything about my career and the direction of my life.

So, today is a good day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

State of Stilgenblogger

I know that it's been very quiet around here. But it's been a cacophonous madhouse in my head.
2010 is now going to have title, "The Year of Loss" when I'm melancholy, "The Year of Change" when I'm optimistic.

A year ago, I could have sworn I was on a path to follow another person's necessitating moves - and I let my adaptability float to the surface and authentically committed to the notion of being the person who would find work where I needed to, assuming I would be ultimately protected by the inherent safety net of couplehood.

A year ago, my employer had, under the watchful eye of an amazing leader, transformed from an organization with a $300k deficit to one with a $11k surplus - there was no fear of downsizing.

But now...
Now I find myself lacking either security blanket.

I thought I had left this far behind, in the years before my masters degree.

I am better prepared to find work, but my interests have changed greatly.
No longer committed to the arts and culture sector, I feel far more inspired by research and design - emerging technologies and alternative energies, medicine and science and things with precise goals, objectives and outcomes (the playground of the grant proposal writer.)

One of the greatest defining things about me is that I am not a coward.
I have been told more than once that I "Suck marrow" - a statement which modesty rarely allows me to admit, but honesty forces me to acknowledge.

I take chances with my life and career, and my reward is sometimes not so rewarding.
I splash about in waters far deeper than I know how to swim in.
But my reward is knowing I tried.
The worst part about this tack is the righteous indignation.

I am far too keenly aware of how much security I have sacrificed in choosing to follow my whims.
And therefore I am easily frustrated by those I see choosing an "easier" path.
It's not right of me, but it's not wrong either.
It simply is.

Where I stand now is at a cross-roads.
I have sent out a slew of applications, mostly outside the Northeast Ohio region.
I am awaiting word on one position that would be ideal and local, but lacking that, there is a good chance my future lies outside the place I've called home for most of my life.

This is an exciting prospect, but frustrating as well, because I poured all my excess funds to pay off the debts I incurred from the last lay-off 8 years ago. I also closed my credit cards. Scary business, moving to a new city lacking a line of credit.

So maybe 2010 is "The Year of Living Dangerously" or "The Year I Removed my Training Wheels" or "The Year I Moved to _________."

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I am spending time with friends and family. Reading quite a bit and swimming as much as I can - but also focusing my time on splashing in the deeper waters of my imagined new life in support of research.

I am doing pro-bono writing to strengthen my portfolio, and volunteering for a sustainability office in town.

But mostly, trying very hard not to allow one imagined reality to win out over the others, as I know how much it hurts to see those home movies melt in the projector and fade to black.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Up in smoke

How many times must a coincidence occur before it becomes a correlation?
And when does correlation become causation?

I ask this because things seem to catch on fire around me.
Not in a metaphorical sense - but in a real char and burn kind of way.

And now I'm just kind of sure it's me.

Case in point.

About, ummm..., 2 hours ago, I was hanging laundry out back.
I heard the hum of the AC next door (a clinic, closed for the weekend) and then my friends, a POP.
It caught my attention.

And smoke.

Lots of smoke.

So 911 was called - trucks pulled up and tall, burly, uniformed men came tumbling out like so much candy from one of those dispensers at the roller rink...

but I digress.

Me and fire - an uneasy propinquity.
In my 20s, it was the lightning storms in Arizona that seemed to follow me - and others noticed.
We'd get together for a nice evening in the park - blue skies and lovely sunset and... cue LIGHTNING STORM.
Then there were the security lights that turned off when I triggered them.
(this still continues - street lights often turn off when I'm near - but maybe that happens to everyone now and then. Right?... RIGHT?!?)

My fire in 2005 showed me without irony how awful electrical fires can be, and that was swiftly followed by my car mysteriously overheating - to the point that it would visibly smoke - and had to be replaced by a new car.

Earlier this year, I caught that familiar whiff of ozone coming from my laptop plug - as it too fried in my presence.

So kids, what gives?

Am I some rare thing that excites molecules to the point of combustibility?

Can I harness this power and use it for good?
To smite my enemies?
To win friends and influence people?
To start awesome (though environmentally nasty) campfires for s'mores and general campin' fun?