Thursday, August 27, 2015


When is it time to say when?

For this section of my life's adventure, I've rather arbitrarily picked next weekend to go on home.

My job search up here has petered out.  I had lots of good conversations with recruiters, but never unlocked the key to actually getting to talk to a hiring manager.  I've quit looking - time is not on my side if I want to be home by spring.  The shortest consulting contracts are generally six months - and six months from now puts me into March.  By March, God willin' and the crick don't rise, Kate will be done with school and moving on with life.

It's tough to say done.  I'd hoped to be up here until the year's end, to see this through.  It feels like I'm quitting in the middle, and I hate quitting in the middle.  But economics enter the equation somewhere in here, and I don't have the wherewithal to stop work forever.  And if I can't find short term work, I'd prefer the long term job be on my home turf.

With all this running through my mind last night, I had a hard time getting to sleep.  Sometimes when this happens, it's effective for me to pull out my childhood bedtime prayers.  As a child, I never saw the prayers written.  I memorized the sounds, and so each night would dutifully pray:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my lass dagony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, mevreeforth my soul in peace with you.  Amen.

I had no idea what a dagony was, nor why only lasses had them - and why did the boys say the prayer if they didn't have dagonys to give?  I also wasn't sure what mevreethforth meant, but knew it had to be a good process, since I ended in peace with Jesus, Mary and Joseph if I managed to figure out how to do it.

I quit saying the prayers sometime before Mom died; I was well into my thirties before they came to mind again, and I realized the actual prayer was:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my last agony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.  Amen.

Makes a bit more sense this way.
But that hasn't stopped me from working on mevreeforthing my soul.
I'm all about Peace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Two weddings in two weeks.

At the first, we got there early, and went into the bride's room to talk for just a bit. There Haley sat, beautiful in her dress, radiating joy from every pore. She had dreamed of this day; this day, her dream became reality. The simple ceremony brought tears to my eyes - her love shone as she repeated the words that bound her to Terrell.

We had to travel to the second ceremony. It was more elaborate; lots of attendants, a big family do. The day of the wedding, hair and makeup took up a good portion of the day. (Kate and Alexandra were both part of the ceremony, so were included in all the pre-wedding hoopla - Kate and Shrika have been friends since preschool.) I love to watch Shrika's family. They're loud, joyful, loving, chaotic. The wedding reflected their essence.

As I watched, I spent some time reflecting on love. Between brides and grooms. Between parents and children. Between friends. Sometimes, it's clearly visible, trumpeting its presence. Sometimes, it's quiet, expressed by a tender sideways glance, neatly clasped hands under a table. Always, it's what helps me make it through the dark times.

Someone once called weddings a triumph of hope over experience. I like the part where hope wins in life. It would be easy to be cynical - at my age, I've seen a lot of marriages fail. But I've also seen a lot of marriages work. Some that seemed doomed from the start twenty-plus years ago are still going strong. Sometimes, love wins. I like that part, too.

I like that part especially well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On the Fence

Just before I came up to Minnesota, I went to a ballgame featuring the Royals against the Twins. I didn't know who to root for, my loyalties were pretty evenly divided, my adopted home against my childhood one. Every time either team did anything good, I cheered. Made me popular with the surrounding fans, let me tell you, especially since the Twins won.  (Go, team!)

I feel the same way about the current state of my job search.  I'm quickly coming to a point where I need to either land a job here or go back home and start looking there.

I've had some success here, there are currently three job options that are not yet dead. (I'm finding jobs in the world of consulting move quickly and am learning a lot about looking for work - this is the first time I've actually looked for a job since starting with AT&T, which was quite some time ago.)

Every time someone calls me back, I feel a little thrill. Maybe, this time, this one will come through; I just need one! I start to plan how I'll fit the job into my days here with Kate and Alexandra.

Every time the job falls through, I feel a little thrill. I'll go back home to Kansas City after Labor Day. I can pick up the pieces of my abandoned project, start to look for work there. I'm fairly sure I'll be able to find something once I am willing to broaden my search parameters.

I'm rarely this balanced in my life. The options pull more-or-less equally. I'd love to stay here, extend my time with my family. I'm even willing to face a Minnesota winter for the first time in eons - though I may regret that part come the middle of January. I'd love to go back home, pick up the pieces with my friends and house and family there.

It's not a bad spot to be, if I do say so myself.  Either way, I'm good!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ordinary Days

In the past year and a bit, with some help from that damn shot, my joints have gotten a bit creaky. I can still move as long as I'm careful, but running is definitely out. For good.

I took Alexandra for a walk yesterday to see if I could help her burn some energy. We walked up the hill to a big green space on the St. Paul campus. We climbed on the statues of the bulls, following in the tradition of many before us, as evidenced by the shiny spots on the metal where the good launching off points are.

She still had some energy, so I gave her a challenge, to run across the park to the far side and back. Of course, she did. Of course, my heart hitched a bit as I watched the ease and abandon with which she ran.

These have been quiet days, good days. Kate continues to mend, more slowly than she'd like but faster than many would. (does anyone ever heal fast enough to suit themselves?  no one I know...) I do my part by doing the housework, laundry and any lifting. (her weight limit is still 10 lbs.) I wake each morning to the cheerful sounds of Alexandra starting her day.

Last weekend, we went to my niece's long-anticipated wedding. It was beautiful; I cried my way through it, just because the bride was so happy. Her whole being sparkled with joy. As a bonus, all of my siblings were there - it so rarely happens we took a picture, for proof.

The weekend before was another family reunion; I spent time studying the faces around me, fascinated by the marks time has left on the once-smooth faces.  My cousins and I are now the ages our parents were when we were teens.  How can it be?

Ordinary days, good days.  These are the days I'd hold tight if I could figure out a way to keep them close.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Good Place to Land

Kate was not so sure about moving into graduate student housing. The buildings do not have the character of the apartment we've left.  However, it hasn't taken her long to adjust to the new digs. They're small, but the space is functional.  There are some good-sized closets and while the space isn't notable, it's clean and well maintained.

Things are a bit snug here; the three of us are sharing two bedrooms.  As we were moving boxes in, my brother pointed to one of the closets and said, "if I was Alexandra, I'd want to sleep there!"  The closet in question is a 3/4-closet; the floor is about two feet above the rest of floor level.  It's a perfect cave for a small person.  When given the option to sleep there, Alexandra jumped on it.  One of those win-win situations: She gets the coolest bed ever, and the room feels bigger with just one bed taking up floor space.

One of the best parts about this place is the overall building layout; they're set up to form rings, with a large green space behind each set of buildings. It's green, it's quiet, there are no cars, we can watch it from the dining room windows. For the first time ever, Alexandra can just go outside to play by herself.  (She's not quite sure she likes the option.)

This will be a good place for Kate to stay while she finishes up grad school.  The other place had more character and some gorgeous woodwork, but was it decaying, and surrounded by decay.  The landlords around there are more interested in making money than beautifying the neighborhood. I didn't realize how much looking out dirty windows at rotting roofs and peeling paint bothered me until I was giving the place a final cleaning. I was sad for the fading beauty, I wanted to stop and fix it and make it all better; give it something more than the cheap cover-up fix the landlord will give it. *sigh* It was once a good home; it's for sale - perhaps it will one day be beautiful again.

For us, moving on, I think we have landed well. This will be a good place to study, to heal.  A temporary, but well-suited home.

Sometimes, the Universe knows what it's doing when it starts nudging.