It’s Always Meant To Be

January 24th

I just walked back from the store today with 14 lbs. of cat litter in my backpack. Plus rice cakes and cat food and super glue. It all fit. It may have been a bit ambitious but I did it. It’s only a 10 minute walk to my Nirvana shopping center so I got extra exercise carrying my backpack on my back. And it felt good to get exercise. I’ve had an interesting week. It started on Thursday when I went to the City to be on a mock jury… how cool was that! I was paid by a focus group which then allowed me to get my bike storage built! Finally! The 3rd handyman is the charm. I had 2 men actually make appointments to come and build it and never show up. I had the Universe in my corner on this one. So I arrived home after my BART ride to find the white pitcher filled with peach Tiger Lilies on the floor with water spilled all around my TV. SEQUEL! (think Newman! when you read that) Sequel has a propensity to tip over vases and I thought I had outwitted him by putting it on the TV and for about 5 days it worked. But alas, that night it was not meant to be. I was advised to let it dry out for a couple of days, unplug it, use a hairdryer, and tried all of these things, but to no avail. Saturday the repairman I called to look at it gave me the final verdict. 95.00 for the diagnosis, 300.00 to fix. Alas, for a student looking to pay tuition, that was not meant to be. Sequel killed my 32”. So I got online, called Goodwill and replaced my 32” Panasonic TV that I’ve had for 8 wonderful years, with a Sony Trinitron 20” for 69.99! Goodwill is now my savior. It’s a TV I can actually pick up myself, (which makes it much easier to move) even though it’s not a flat screen, which is a dream of mine one day, it has great color and serves the purpose. I just want to watch TV and that’s exactly what I can do now. THAT was meant to be. And I can record Oprah with my DVR and all is right with the world.

So the day in between the TV problem and TV solution, I had just gotten into my car after work and a screw came out of the buckle on my 300.00 Loehman’s purse that I got for 99.00 (my IRS refund gift to myself that only another woman can appreciate. 🙂 ) so I stopped by Ace Hardware on the way home to see if I could immediately replace it. I have a makeshift repair on it until I can get to the shoe shop which I think they can fix and as I approached my car, I noticed that my license plate on my car was missing. I took a double take. No that can’t be. Who steals a license plates? It appears they unscrewed it and took the screws (don’t know what the symbolism of screws that day meant in my life, but it sure appeared frequently). Of course my cell phone was dead, because I’d forgotten to charge it the night before, so when I arrived home, I called the El Cerrito Police and they came and made a report. What I am grateful for is the fact that if the screw had not come out of my purse, I may never had seen the missing plate! So there you have viable proof that things happen for a reason. And I hope the person who stole my plates really loved it and are keeping it and that’s why they had to steal from me. I LOVED my plate! It was so cool. It read IMN AWE and I’ve had it for 20 years. So that evening my heart was broken over the loss of a familiar object I had managed to keep in my life for 20 years. Now… I did get over it… it IS a license plate…. But there still was a bit of sadness attached to it. But the cop was cute. And now I have to wrestle with DMV and probably get another plate… got any ideas ???? I can’t think of anything … this was my one true saying that just said so much about me.

So I ended the last few days with Steve the Handyman coming today and building my bike storage shed underneath the cabinets in front of my car. Oh how wonderful to have more storage! And Steve is an angel handyman. He did amazing work, we had a lovely chat, Sequel got out twice (but I’m getting so good at catching cats) and right before he left he offered to take my dead 32” TV to the electronic recycle place. How amazing is that! It’s as if it was meant to be.

So each day I stay here I get more familiar with my surroundings and my new life. Even with whatever set back I may have, I can’t begin to be sad. I am grateful for having so much. So far I’m breaking even between my part time job and some unemployment I’m still getting. So many people are not working, are struggling, are starving. I am not doing any of that, and for that I am profoundly grateful. What I hope is that some day, I can help those who suffer the above and somehow bring solace and comfort. I don’t know how to do that yet. I hope I learn really well as a seminarian. Right now I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. It’s as if it was meant to be.

From my little piece of Mayberry (with a brand new storage shed),

Jo

Happy New Year!

January 4th, 2011

I started to write this almost a week ago and stopped. And I have realized that I need to make a New Year’s resolution on this issue. I keep starting things and not finishing them. Lately I’ve been beginning a blog and then after I’m about ½ way through writing it, I stop. Then pick it up about 2 weeks later. So I’m left with this unfinished thing in my life. One unfinished thing piles on another unfinished thing and pretty soon I’m wallowing under a mound of unfinished things. So no more! I must learn to focus and finish what I start. I had a handle on this for awhile, but it seems it was fleeting and I’m back to doing it again. I could blame it on school, on work, on being tired…. any number of things. But there’s nothing to blame it on. In this multi-tasking world, I’ve discovered I’m actually more efficient doing one thing at a time. And I like it that way. It’s actually easier and I get more done. I’ve read studies recently that prove that the human brain cannot open multiple windows, like Microsoft Office can. We can only focus on one thing at a time. I think there’s a reason for that – a self survival reason. And I actually miss just doing one thing at a time. It reminds me of a simpler time, like Mayberry. 🙂

So I made it through the holidays, but it went by so fast, I barely remember them. I hope that next year during fall semester I can organize myself more so that I can enjoy Christmas. I didn’t get to see any lights in San Francisco this year. I’m sure there were holiday things to do but I didn’t get to them, working on my papers and reading. I didn’t even buy my tree until December 20th! Oh my! And that was an experience in itself. I got a beautiful tree, got it inside my tiny apartment, and then couldn’t get it into the stand…. Trunk too thick with knobs on it, aargh. So shades of Christmases past, I had my old kitchen knife, chopping away the lower branches and the knobs on the trunk, thinking, didn’t I do this before, and why didn’t I just bring the stand with me when I got the tree??? I did reach one of my neighbors and borrowed his little hand saw, which I nearly bent, (oh my) but eventually got the tree in the stand. I had the wonderful men at Delancey’s shave off the bottom branches but I guessed a little bit short. Bringing the stand with me would have been perfect. Why do I think of solutions after the fact? There’s a song in there, isn’t it ironic… tee hee.. So next year by golly…. I’ll have this down.

I spent 3 days of Christmas in Sacramento and it was just lovely. Couldn’t seem to get myself out of the house on Christmas Eve though and didn’t arrive in Sac until 9 pm. But Chris, bless his heart, had a fire going in the fireplace and made me stir fried Szechuan Shrimp over rice that was to die for! What a BFF!!! I even took a picture of it for posterity. I could then relax and we watched Sherlock Holmes and I was in super heaven with Robert Downey Jr. A wonderful way to begin the holiday! I got incredible Estee Lauder perfume and Dennis again cooked a magnificent meal, only this time the main course was a honey-baked ham, and we ate and ate and felt a feeling of fellowship that made me grateful for the family I created out here. Now that my parents are gone and my brother estranged, I’ve had to create a family. But they say that the best family is the one we form, so I have the best. I got to visit lovely Dana and see her FIVE TREES that she decorated in her home, 2 full size and 3 smaller ones, all themed, all adorable; her home is so much like walking into a store. What a collection she has and a talent that does not even resemble hoarding… 🙂   Her house is full, but so well organized and so homey, it all appears as if it’s meant to be. I’ve known her since 1991 and it was so wonderful to catch up over homemade butternut squash soup and yummy bread. I don’t know how she finds the time to do all the things she does, but she does. And she FINISHES them! So that is my goal this 2011, to finish things more on time.

I’m also getting more exercise and that started with a wonderful hike Chris and I took on this little secret path behind Cal Expo. With the leaves all fallen down, it made such a linear panorama of lines, looking through all the branches of the trees at all the ducks swimming underneath. What a wonderful hike, and I’ve got a good start at re-exercising myself. I had been doing so well and then school invaded my schedule and I never exercised again. My hope is that I incorporate daily exercise into my schedule while I’m on break and then it will come naturally even when the semester starts. How did they do this in Mayberry? There seemed to be so much more time than there is now to do the things that seemed more important than we do now. I heard once that I should do the things every moment that I will want to have a memory of and I have realized that playing spider solitaire over and over is not on that list of memories. So this new year I can begin making many more new memories intentionally. I made a wonderful start on New Year’s Eve, by attending an event that was really magical. This gala had different stations to rid yourself of the old and bring in the new. 4 were titled Fire, Earth, Water and Air. I wrote the things from 2010 I wanted to rid myself of and put them in a burning bowl, then ate 12 gin-soaked raisins (boy were these yum!), one for each month to savor one at a time to feed each future month of this new year, then washed my hands while thinking of all the things I wanted to rid myself and Rabbit said a blessing over my hands as she dried them, which was very inspiring. Then lastly we wrote a wish that we wished for 2011 and put it in a bowl and when we left we took another. My wish I chose upon leaving said, ease in manifesting great results. What a wonderful wish I took home with me! I had my tarot cards read by a professional for the first time, how fun was that! And apparently I picked the best card in the deck! Yay! I picked the Emporess and she gives me the world as my oyster for 2011! Double yay! The significator card I chose (whatever that means) indicates balance in my life and I actually feel balanced. (I’m sure some would disagree) 🙂  Then there was 2 stations on either side of the room, where you poured black water into a bowl of earth to ground all the things you wanted to rid yourself of in the past year and then lit a candle and wished for all that you wanted to happen in the coming year. We drank champagne at Midnight and so began my new year here in the Bay area. It was an exciting and hopeful way to begin a new chapter. I have one semester under my belt and 3 ½ years to go. Part of me wants to wish it away and be a graduate. The other part of me doesn’t want to miss a single second of this experience. And therein lies my greatest joy, I know, if I just let it happen. Patience will give me the experiences I will cherish. Each day I learn more and more about my faith and what it will take to be a minister. Part of it scares me, intimidates me, invigorates me. The other part is acquiring patience. I savor my break and look forward to next semester and see what that will bring. So happy new year and wishes of excitement and expectation! No wonder they portray a new year as a tiny baby. There is so much potential in what is to come.

From my little piece of Mayberry, begin a wonderful new year,

Jo

End of Term!

Catching up…..

December 20th

Finally I have completed my last paper and emailed it to my professor.  Has this semester already gone by?  My first attempt at being a student has been successful!  I’ve got one semester under my belt and only have 3 ½ years to go…. Ugh.   I’m sure it will pass much too quickly as most of my life has.  I feel as if I can breathe a great sigh of relief though.  I’ve gotten good reviews from my advisor on my progress and any worrying I may do about it would be worthless.  I now can only wait to see if I’ve passed. Fortunately or unfortunately, however you look at it, we are on a pass/fail system, so the pressure for the A grades isn’t there.  I just need to pass.  And in another measure of futuristic education, we no longer receive grades in the mail.   Of course, where else?  We can look them up online in a couple of weeks.  It’s been a stressful two weeks, finishing our group project, which we believe was a successful presentation, completing 4 papers and then finally this 10 page paper at the end.  And I’m only going part time.  If I reach my goal and get some free money next year, I’ll attend full time and all of this will be doubled.  I read 8 books this semester, although the term read is a stretch – it was more like buckle down, underline, highlight, re-read three times until it sinks in.  So much of what I’ve read seems to have gone in one eye and out the other.  And more than that I’ve learned what not to do and how to do it better next Fall.  Combining work, school and Christmas, I’ve discovered, is the ultimate challenge.  Next year I’ve definitely got to start baking my famous cookies before Thanksgiving.  I can parcel out my holiday duties and work them in if I begin much much earlier.  I didn’t buy my Christmas tree until today.  And I haven’t even started on my Christmas cards, barely began my annual Christmas letter, and only have a wreath on the door for decoration.  I did get some cookies made for our last class which were a great hit, but alas, the rest remains undone.  It’s nice though to think I have one less area to focus on.  And that’s been another success I think.  I actually focused this semester.  Nearly every night after work or class I would come home, eat dinner, and study for 2 hours.  I kept myself to a schedule and there were moments where I didn’t, but there were more moments when I did.  I studied one day at a time.  That should be the definition of progress.  One day at a time. 

I have almost 5 weeks off until the beginning of the next semester, how I’m looking forward to that break!

So I hope the rest of the world is enjoying the holiday.  I’ve missed the lights and the parties and the shopping, but I’ve got 5 days where I’ll try to squeeze some of that in.  I look forward to staying in Sacramento for the weekend and this time Sequel isn’t sick.  I’m starting to get into the spirit of the holiday and I hope you all are too!

From my now restful little piece of Mayberry,

Jo