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A little box pops up on my Mac…Fathers Day is tomorrow.  I just stare at it.  Let it sit there for a minute.  There have been 14 Fathers Days that have come and gone since he passed away and each one is different.  The first one was very difficult and I had no idea that Fathers Day was even coming up and then I walked into a Rite Aid and there it was a huge sign, Fathers Day is Sunday June 20, 2004 with a huge display filled with cards and gifts. I stood there staring at it just like the little sign on my computer but with tears in my eyes and a twisting of my gut.  I whispered out loud, but I don’t have a daddy anymore and then remembering that the last time Fathers day was more than just a day to celebrate my dad, it was also the last day I saw my father alive.  Each Fathers Day after that is a remembrance of him and I going out to get lunch at a brewery in Irvine.  As a kid it was the day we made daddy breakfast in bed or gave him silly gifts but as an adult it was the day I took him to get him food and something related to beer.  This time he sat with a large tray of beer samplers.  I don’t drink beer, so they happily were all his.  He sipped and commented on the mix of odd hops from pumpkin beer to super dark brews.  He was happy as we sat and talked.  He had recently taken to letting my mom take the helm and work and him being the stay at home husband.  He would fix things, do laundry, watch a little tv and talk to me sometimes while I was on break from my working for a large corporation from 9 to 6.  I wasn’t immersed in my work, it was okay but I was bored and unchallenged by it.  I did like he money but hard to spend it when working 14 hours a day.   The company was noticing my lack of drive but I didn’t realize it until one day I was asked in a meeting, do you like your job.  I instinctively answered, of course, I love my job.   Knowing somewhere inside the real answer was, no I am not challenged enough and need to express some creativity soon or I will burst.   My boss nodded and said, well okay but I don’t think he was buying it either.  I think my father sensed it also, he would come and visit from time to time, everyone in the office loved him.  He had a huge child like smile and would brag about his youngest and how proud of her he was (that is me, if you didn’t get the reference yet).  I was so glad he was proud of me, I hadn’t always been the best daughter in the world but at least now I felt like I wasn’t letting him down or worrying him about my financial status.  I think parents always worry, even if just a little and a good parent like him, wants to help out even when I was financially taken care of.  When he would come to visit he would fix things, he even changed he handle on my refrigerator door so when I opened it and was standing at the stove, I could just reach in, grab what I needed and put it back.  He wanted to help his little girl and it was so sweet and I loved it but what helped me more than anything was our talks.  Was him opening up about his experiences, his childhood and those rare moments when he would talk about what it was like for him being my father.  Those are the conversations that stick with me, those are the things that on Fathers day I remember.  I only wish I had taken more video of him, recorded his voice more or written down every moment where we connected.  One in particular conversation stands out, the last one we had while sitting in that brewery.  We were both relaxed, and enjoying our food and I asked him what  being at home was like for him. He said he was enjoying it and then he told me the words that stuck with me, “I spent way to much time chasing money instead of my dreams”.  I knew in this was some regret, I knew he had wanted to do more sailing in his life, had wanted to teach but he seemed to be in a place of more calm than he had been in.  He seemed less stressed out.  I knew he was right and that life isn’t all about money but it is about memories and doing things that make us happy.  I also knew he was a good father and he worked jobs he may not always have loved because he wanted his wife and children to be taken care of and he was wiling to sacrifice some of his dreams to provide that for us. I had a great respect for him now and I saw him as wanting to be happy and at peace in his older years.  His children were grown and he didn’t have the same pressure.

Shortly before his death a month later, in a one on one meeting with my boss, I was asked the question again, do you like your job and I blurted out No I don’t.  He paused and looked at me and said, we knew this and were trying to figure out what to do.  It was discussed and we both agreed that I didn’t fit in at this job.  He said to me that I was like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole and it just didn’t work.  We decided I would stay for another month, giving me time to train someone new and look for another job.  Then my dad passed away and they graciously let me stay for another 2 months while I worked through emotions and looked for work.

Now 14 years later I have discovered so much about myself, that I love being creative, that I cherish times over things (though sometimes I do miss being able to just randomly buy a nice purse or a pretty new dress), that I can survive more than I thought I could and that I am happiest when being creative.  I think my dad would like my artwork, I think he would still say he is proud of his little girl.    I am not sure where my path with my artwork is leading me, but it is what makes me happy and I know he would want me to be happy.

I walk into a Rite Aid now and see all the Fathers day signs, cards and gifts and I smile at his memory, I know I still have a daddy, he may physically be gone but his heart, words and love are always with me.  Thank you daddy for all you gave me and still give me.

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I rarely just post my thoughts or observations on here but I am going to attempt to.  Here goes:

I realized to day that I am in an in between place in society.  That is to say I don’t have a group that quite fits.  I am in my late 40’s and most people my age are married with kids, living in a house that they own or rent. How can I relate to these people at a dinner table….(conversation), Oh we took out a second mortgage on the house today so we can start paying for Michael juniors college.  We are hoping he gets into UCLA.  ….hmmm, well what do I say to this?  I am going to community college let me talk to your son.  That is the other aspect of my life that is different.  I am surrounded by young students in their late teens and early twenties.  They are just starting out in their life, they grew up in the 90’s the years of grunge and teletubbies, and I grew up with The Jetsons and bell bottoms.  They like to play beer pong when they have a party, in my day we did shots (usually tequila) but those days are long gone.  I laugh when they tell me they are old and they just turned 21.  What the heck does that make me, old geiser.  I suppose in some of their eyes I am.  At times I feel that way too.  I have fun when around them, most of the time but can’t really relate to some of the antics and the laid back attitudes.  In my younger years we went dancing on Friday and often Saturday nights but they like to hang out, play beer pong or drink beers.

Here I am, not sure where to go or how to find a group of people that fit.  I don’t own a car so it isn’t always easy to go to things at night, it can be scary coming home at 12:30 in Los Angeles.  A lot of my friends have moved or are very busy with families of their own.  I find myself having less and less people to do stuff with on the weekends.

I suppose I need to join groups on meetup.com or something similar to that.  I have gone to a few events with them and they keep me busy but yet to connect with anyone.

In between, middle aged with a child like heart but an adult mind, both in spirit.

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Tomorrow (December 12) is my 41st Birthday.  To celebrate I want to write 41 things I am grateful  for.  In this life we tend to concentrate on what we don’t have, and where we aren’t. There is always something to be grateful for and at this time of the year it easy to forget when we are consumed with buying gifts, driving here and there in a frenzy. I challenge you to stop each day of this holiday season to take a minute to think of the things you are grateful for in this life, it is not hard to do, it can be from small things (I am grateful for the bird outside my window) to large things (I am grateful for the money a friend sent me). Recenter yourself and your life and have a grateful New Year.Here is my list of 41 Things (not in any particular order, they are all important to me)…

  1. I am grateful for my mom buying me a plane ticket to be with the family at Christmas.
  2. I am grateful for the sun shining today – feels so good.
  3. I am grateful for my adorable cat Romeo.
  4. I am grateful for my dearest friend Linda, for her being there for me so much, for making me laugh, crying with me and sharing with me through good and bad.
  5. I am grateful for my friend Christina, for her laughing with me, growing with me, spiritually guiding me, and for being an amazing woman and friend.
  6. I am grateful for my sisters, for there emails, phone calls, and caring so much.
  7. I am grateful for Verdugo Jobs Center and how helpful they are.
  8. I am grateful for my feetsie pajama’s and how warm they keep me at night in this cold weather.
  9. I am grateful for my friend Yavonne, for her humor, for taking me to the movies when I need to get out, for her wisdom, strength and inspiration.
  10. I am grateful for Clothing swaps, media swaps and swaps in general.  I have had so much fun at them.
  11. I am grateful for all of my paints, canvases and supplies, that allow me to express myself and do something I truly love.
  12. I am grateful for my god children, Jai and Naia, for there constant love, acceptance, joyful exhuberance, creativity and intelligience.  I learn so much from you.
  13. I am grateful for friend Sam. For his caring about me, for his humor, for his smile that stays with me, and for the sweetness he exudes.
  14. I am grateful for my friend Mary, for our late night phone calls about family, and life, for her dedication to our friendship and for her knowledge about so many things.
  15. I am grateful for nature, for the beauty that surrounds me, for trees, flowers (roses are right outside my apt) and for the beach and mountains.
  16. I am grateful for cotton candy ice cream from Rite-Aid…..Yummmy.
  17. I am grateful for the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition, for what they do, how they inspire me and for being able to see people do care.
  18. I am grateful for movies that make me laugh, cry and think.
  19. I am grateful for my computer and for my friend Mark who lent it to me.  Thank you Mark, you are such and good friend and I am grateful for you.
  20. I am grateful for my Woman’s Artist group and for the support I recieve there.
  21. I am grateful for the Spiritual group I belong to, for the wisdom, caring and joy I get from it.
  22. I am grateful for having an adventurous spirit.
  23. I am grateful for my bed, yes you read right my bed, the best bed in the world that helps me get a very good sleep every night.
  24. I am grateful for all the wonderful gifts I have got for my birthday.
  25. I am grateful for chocolate…oh devine chocolate.
  26. I am grateful for the Really Really Free Market, for what it represents, for what I have got from it and for the people who run it.
  27. I am grateful for Alanis Morrisette. For the vulnerability, humor and growth she expresses in her music.
  28. I am grateful for surprises, oh how I love fun surprises.
  29. I am grateful for the memories I have of my dad, of his hugs, his laughter, and our wonderful talks.
  30. I am grateful for being able to express myself, living in a place where I can do that.
  31. I am grateful for chinese food, especially Wonton Soup from Panda Inn.
  32. I am grateful for the medical clinic that I go to, for the way they are patient, caring and help me when I need it.
  33. I am grateful for the Library, for me being able to use the computer to print things when I need to.
  34. I am grateful for Sunday drives that lead me to interesting places.
  35. I am grateful for being able to be in Santa Barbara to celebrate my birthday with my friends.
  36. I am grateful for the  new curtain rods I got today, they are very cool.
  37. I am grateful for my friend Charles who always remembers my birthday and sends me funny e-cards.
  38. I am grateful for Starbucks Vanilla Frappucino, man I love those little bottles
  39. I am grateful for Charles Schultz creating the Peanuts and especially Snoopy which I just love.
  40. I am grateful for being open to change, for being inspiring and inspired and for learning so much in my life and sharing my wisdom.
  41. I am grateful for having lived 41 years and still going strong, learning more and smiling at the journey ahead.
  42. This is the bonus…going into my 42nd year…..I am grateful for new adventures, for the love I have from family and friends and for dreams coming true.

Thank you for reading my gratefulness, now go share yours 🙂  

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