Friday, August 27, 2010

The Food that we Eat

I feel a bit of a need to explain the new addition of seasonal foods to the headline of my blog. It would be lovely if I did by nature eat naturally, but I do not and thus do not always feed my family as naturally as I would like either. Rather I love the idea of eating foods that are in season and becoming more in touch with the eating process in general. Last summer when my mom was visiting for a weekend, I put this theory into practice for a complete meal. I know that was a long time ago and what have I done since? Truthfully not as much as I would like, but I do remember that meal. It was in season, prepared in our home kitchen, and utterly divine. We had been out enjoying a brilliantly sunny day and stopped off at a local outdoor market in one of the neighborhoods in Seattle. There we purchased hormone free meat, a variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits, and paired everything with a local wine. The meal was fresh and vibrant. The downside is how long it took to prepare and that is the biggest obstacle to my natural and seasonal cooking dreams, my lack of time! Someday I hope to repeat this meal. The new addition to my blog header is to remind me how rewarding good, fresh shopping and cooking can be and to try and put these ambitions into practice whenever I can.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Goodbye Summer?

Today is cloudy and cool. That was fine by me. Lately it has been hot. I had to be inside today. Of course, I had to be inside on the hot days also. I wonder if this means a farewell to summer. Maybe it is only temporary. It is challenging to predict the weather here. Mostly it tends to get hot after school starts. For us that will be on Monday, August 30th. It seems early. Definitely earlier than last year. Much earlier than the year before when our school district was on strike. I have mixed feelings about the start of school. No more sleeping in on weekdays. Not like we sleep in on that many of them. However, a lazy weekday will be unheard of once school begins. I will very likely be working full-time in the near future. The start of school will then mean less time at home for me. Activities start and the kids go here and there and everywhere. I am trying to keep up on my writing project. My friend that I am doing it with/for is counting on me. I like the project. It has been hard to fit it in during the summer. The school year has more structure. Will is be easier then? That remains to be seen? The weather is cooler...the leaves are not yet changing...I saw a strange sight today, I was driving in an older neighborhood in the city and all of the leaves from last Fall were still all over the sidewalks. It was an eerie sight, almost like the seeing a ghost of Falls past. I bet that we will still see sunny weather. I bet that the kids will start the school year in shorts. I bet that I will get organized, come this Fall.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Radio by, Myself (1988)

I was searching through some old papers and found this one, written for Creative Writing 323 with Dr. Burell, 1988. I miss that professor, Dr. Burell, he was the real deal as far as English/Writing professors are concerned, sophisticated grey beard, neatly trimmed, moustache, bow tie and all, this is one of my favorite stories that I wrote for that class in the Fall of 1988:

I only vaguely remember the first time I saw the radio. It was secured with duct tape on the dashboard of my Grandpa's old red Chevy truck. It was the truck he used to take fishing. The front hood was rusting from the salt air. We were on our way back down to the beach house, my mom, brothers, and the dog were behind Grandpa and I in our old family station wagon.

At the beach house I remember the radio, perched on a low counter in the kitchen. Grandpa used to listen to local talk shows early in the morning. He would smoke his cigarettes and drink his coffee in the dusky peacefulness of the simple kitchen.

When he was manager of Sprouse Reitz, he would stay at our house off and on. He would bring the radio. I remember the times he would hide it from me. I would run all through the house, looking through cupboards and closets. When I had a friend over, the hunt was twice as fun. We would laugh, he would tickle me and I would scream. Mom or Dad always ended our fun.

Time came to pass and Grandpa and Grandma moved up close to us. Grandpa retired and I was fast growing up. The radio he brought with him. He would still listen in the mornings. Though he was officially retired, Grandpa still worked at Payless. He made deliveries and did janitorial work. The radio went with him in the delivery truck. The old red Chevy had been sold.

It was one Christmas a new radio came to replace the old. Someone, I do not remember who, gave him a big AM/FM with a clock too. He listened to that and the old Nobility was tucked away.

On Saturday his memorial service was held. On top of my parents' refrigerator, there it sat. My mother came up to me, "Your father thought that you might like it," she said. I tried to hold back the tears. He had been ready to go, he was tired of this world. The Nobility now sits in my home, a knob is missing, it is dirty, and does not match the decor. But with it comes those beautiful memories of how Grandpa was and those alone are mine to treasure.

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Job??

It is still hard for me to believe, but I am actually applying for a new job. This is really big for me, the first being that I haven't officially applied for a job in over a decade. My last two positions were obtained when two different friends of mine who work in management in my field asked me if I was interested in job positions that they had open at the time. Looking back, I am really quite thankful that my last two jobs were so easy to obtain, especially the first one as I was a new mother to a two-year-old and infant twins. My brain was no where near the level that it should have been to actually interview for employment.

Another reason that this is a big step for me, is that this is a full-time position. I have been working part-time and very part-time or not at all since the birth of my children. Going back to work full-time would be a huge change for me. I know that I am ready for it and can make it work if the position is right for me.

Lastly, this is huge because this is the kind of job that I really want. I was going to apply for this kind of job sometime in the future, when everything was right and it was the perfect time to do so i.e., meaning that I wouldn't get rejected. Because this is probably the only kind of job that I would leave my current position in order to take, I am filled with anxiety about not getting it. Of course, even though I am qualified I am sure that there are a number of other people who will be applying who are qualified as well. I guess that the important thing is for me to get my name out there and have my resume on file. If this doesn't work out, hopefully something in the future will.

All in all, this would be a dream move for me. I don't want to talk about it much more or I am afraid that I will jinx my chances. Here's to a lot of prayer and keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Listening Ear

Yesterday I went to a professional conference about supervision. It was interesting in that many of the concepts and tools presented were quite elementary in nature and also things that I thought that I knew and maybe even thought that I was using. The speaker had a way of presenting these simplistic concepts in a way that made them seem new to me. Being a good listener is hard, it takes work, it takes practice, and sometimes one might even need to be taught how to listen.

When I was a pre-adolescent I remember my first experiences with someone who truly listened. It was the wife of the pastor of the church that I attended. Last week I visited that church for the first time in probably fifteen years and she just happened to be there. Her husband has long since passed away and she is quite elderly, but far from frail. The church has grown significantly since her tenure there, but way back when it was also considered to be a large church. She still listens. She clutched my hand and focused her eyes right on me although surrounded by a number of other people who also wanted a bit of her attention. I am not even sure if she really remembered who I was, but she still made me feel like I mattered. After she was done with me, she graciously turned to the next expectant person, and when it was time for her to catch her ride back to the assisted living facility, her exit was graceful and well-timed.

I know from talking to other people throughout the years that I am not the only person who feels this way in her presence. She had that gift when she was younger, the wife of a man pastoring a large church with her children still young enough to be at home. She has always been the best listener that I have ever met. Now I am not being critical of my friends, many of them are good and some are even excellent listeners. But sitting in that seminar yesterday made me think back to this woman because she had mastered the art of making people feel like they mattered in more of a professional sense. As I work in an area where people are sometimes in vulnerable positions, I have more than once wished for this gift. Not that it wouldn't hurt for me to listen better in my personal life as well.

So now begins the work and practice of making myself a better listener in general even when I might not want to listen. Hmmm...I probably should try and do that at work. At home? I guess that I will just have to take it one step at a time.