Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trying It On

So my partner recently was given notice that he's going to be laid off from work. For various reasons, including the extreme discrepancies in our salaries and the possibility of him taking a huge paycut if we stay where we are, we're considering moving together somewhere else where he can continue with his company and maintain his salary. I never thought I would be the kind of woman who moved house with her man to further his career, so this is a bit hard for me to swallow. On the other hand, I also know that if anyone is going to start over, it makes sense for me to do so, since I'm just at the beginning of my career.

I've been mentally trying on the various places that we could move and finding it somewhat exciting and sometimes very appealing. For example, there is a chance we could move to Phoenix, AZ. Every morning when I go outside and have to scrape the frost off my car windows, this appeals to me more and more. Coming from Michigan, my first few winters here in the Pacific Northwest were nothing, but it's been almost ten years and now this feels cold to me.

In one Phoenix scenario, we would only be there temporarily and would probably live in a friend's vacant home. In that scenario, I think about working at the local food co-op or doing some menial data entry job or even teaching, but having a regular schedule and weekends off with A. Sounds lovely, no? If we stayed more permanently, I would pursue my license and establish myself as a solo practitioner - and I imagine my space and my practice being smaller and simpler, more in line with the vision I've always held. Much more about acupuncture and hands on healing. In Phoenix, we'd have a pool and it would always be warm enough outside for Chibo and I. Either way, I have grown to love the idea of moving to Phoenix.

Another option is leaving the company and moving to Chicago, where A's parents live. My family would be a short drive or commuter flight away, which is incredibly appealing, but it's SO COLD. After thinking of Phoenix, the Midwest loses much of it's appeal. My career would probably take off there, though, due to the dearth of available practitioners and I could help my mom much more regularly. Hell, I could even stay there part of the week and work up the street where some family friends have a healing center. I can talk myself into it, but it's not really what I want.

There is also the possibility of moving to New England, where A's sister and extended family lives. If we moved there, his parents would probably follow which would consolidate his family nicely, however, I think there is little or no appeal for my mother in New England, though I would at least be closer. Cold, cold, snowy and icy winters, though. But I enjoyed New England thoroughly when I visited last October and have many friends in that area. I guess I could probably make the best of that situation as well, though, again, it wouldn't be my first choice.

The last and somewhat distant option is a recycling of the old idea of moving to China for a few years. If we moved to China, I would either not be able to work or just teach English, but I would hope to find someone with whom to further my studies in Chinese medicine and have even thought about offering my services through the company to the American employees. On the other hand, if I wasn't working, I would be able to get the rest I so desperately need, could practice my Qigong and Taiji regularly and would be able to prepare healthy meals for A and I and have more energy to go adventuring when he was free from his work obligations.

The spirit of adventure that comes up for me with the options of Arizona and China comes up for the other places as well and come summer, I might find them more appealing, but with spring still far away and more mornings of scraping my car off ahead of me, anything cold is less appealing. In any event, I've advised A to apply for anything he thinks and we'll decide when there is an offer on the table - I may regret that advice when he starts getting offers, but in the meantime I can dream of adventure, make my pro's and con's lists and bundle up to keep warm.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I ♥ Blogging

Seems like forever since I wrote, but I've been thinking about writing all week. It's only come to my attention recently that I LOVE blogging. I love writing, I love reading others' blogs, I love creating links in my blogs to the things that made me think this or that and I love formatting it so it looks nice. Oh, and I love adding pictures (and videos!). I got a little overwhelmed for a while because I had multiple blogs: this blog,another Blogspot blog for work, a LiveJournal blog for me and one for Chibo, a blog on a social networking site for my other job, plus, MySpace and FaceBook which don't require blogging, but support it.

I started thinking of compartmentalizing different topics onto the different blog spaces and keeping my identity separate and secret in different places. For this blog, I will continue to keep my identity unrecorded, mostly so that my patients don't stumble upon my random ramblings, but I also feel like, even and maybe especially when I write about things that are near and dear to my heart, I don't mind and maybe even want my community to read what's happening. I guess that's the appeal of LiveJournal - A's become good friends with many of the folks on LJ and he writes without censoring himself and there must be some comfort in that.

Now I grant you that it happens that I don't vent here about anyone that I know is reading, so if I gave my blog address to another 10 friends, there would be another 10 friends that I could rant about, but really, when do I rant about them now? And would it really be so scary for them to read that I adored Twilight or cried my eyes out after Nights in Rodanthe?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tender Heart

It's been a movie watching week and my heart can't handle anymore good movies! Twilight finally hit the second run theaters, so we went to see that. I was a bit immune to the buzz around it, but had read about the tourism in Forks since the books and movie, so I knew it was a bit of a craze. I'd seen the previews and knew that the actors and actresses were lovely. I even knew the basics of the story - vampire romance. Recently reading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series (which I have referred to as the 'adult' Twilight) prepared me somewhat, but not enough.

Some confluence of stars has created an entirely amazing love story in this movie. My chest actually hurt for two days after watching it, because the love was so strong, so intense. I really cannot say more, because I could be easily moved to tears just thinking of it. I probably won't have this same reaction if/when I watch the movie again - I can just vaguely remember other movies I've had strong feelings and reactions to never being as good or as strong the next time around. But I loved it. Brava, film makers and actors, brava. Of course, I wanted the book immediately and A indulged me by picking me up a copy. I read it and enjoyed it, but -- and this is RARE -- I enjoyed the film more.

(On a side note, my friend R recently watched the film as well and she had the same reaction - I think we could easily end up 30-something Twilight junkies!)

A few days later, A brought home a movie for me that I've been wanting to watch, Nights in Rodanthe. The previews show Diane Lane and Richard Gere laughing on the beach together and everything seems really soft focus, so I imagined a sweet love story...and got warm and fuzzy as that developed onscreen until the shocking plot twist stripped away all illusions I ever had that life works out. Now, if you know me, you know that I don't cry often, easily or at all gracefully. This movie reduced me to a pile of blubbering mush. I cried from the plot twist through the end of the film and for at least another hour, harsh, sobbing, wracking cried that left my face red, my eyes shining and my nose raw.

Maybe my heart is too tender for these films and I should stick to slap stick comedy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Napkin Rings and Finger Bowls

Not just for your fancy dinner parties.

In my reading of etiquette books, I came across a couple of items, the use of which has been relegated to fancy dinners or upper crust dining in general, but which could and should be rekindled among the common folks: napkin rings and finger bowls. I found a kindred spirit today when I pointed out some napkins and tablecloths on sale to a coworker. We got to talking about napkins and napkin rings.

Napkin rings were historically used more commonly for the everyday at home dining and not used when setting a formal table. That trend seems to be reversed now and the well-dressed table has simple to ornate matching napkin rings at every place setting. Napkins rings, it turns out, when not matched, are a great way to differentiate which napkin belongs to which diner when reusing the napkin for more than one meal. I mentioned this to my friend and she remembered her parents doing that and had just been thinking of that as she was tired of washing so many apparently clean table linens.

Finger bowls are similarly considered upper crust, but usually formal meals are created to minimize the risk of mess and one does not eat with one's hands at such. On the contrary, informal family dining is more likely the place where a finger bowl would be more useful. So, if you should come to dine at my house and notice finger bowls and mismatched napkin rings on the table, please don't assume that I'm confused about my table settings - I'm just trying to keep all our hands clean!

Monday, February 9, 2009

And the other extreme

Oh yeah, and I have another friend who doesn't have internet at home and only checks her email a couple times a week at work. I was thinking about her with admiration (though I often get frustrated by this) the other day and even thought about getting rid of my cell phone. Not sure I'm ready to go that far, but even the thought tells me I shouldn't get an iPhone or a Blackberry at this time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wasting Time Online

I thought it was funny a few weeks ago when I read that my friend comes home every day and checks her email and her Facebook. I was feeling just a little superior that she's so locked to the internet, the assumption being that I am more free from it. That assumption would be false. Now that I've opened my Facebook account and have established connections with 300+ people, I too check my Facebook account regularly, despite having set my account to email me with events of import and the ability of my friends and connections to email me directly should anything need immediate attention. This draw to Facebook has made me aware once again of all the sites that I visit regularly and the ways that it's so easy to waste time online.

Yesterday, for example, I came home expecting A to be overjoyed to see me and to demand all my attention the minute I walked in the door. This wasn't what I wanted as I had been pretty busy at work and needed some transition time. Well, never doubt your powers of manifesting your reality, because A was busily involved in a new game on the Wii and didn't demand any attention. When I found myself seeking something, anything, to entertain myself with online, I decided to head to the gym.

So, what do I look at online? In addition to an irregular habit which often falls into MSNBC in pictures (they have some great photo collections), I also
  • Check 4 email accounts (1 regular, 1 junk, 2 work)
  • Log onto 2 Blogspot accounts - used to follow several blogs as well
  • Use 2 Livejournal accounts, used mostly for reading A and other friends' blogs
  • Read Christine Kane's blog
  • Track my food and exercise with an online tool
  • Network with Facebook, Linked In, occasionally MySpace and a work related social networking site
  • Organize social activities with
  • Do random searches - most recently photos and style notes on Jackie O and photos and biography of Sting
When there is nothing of interest in any of those, I KNOW I'm just wasting time, but I think sometimes that I'm wasting time even if I've gone past a couple of those in a day. For example, this post - it's really just wasting time, of course, procrastinating from starting work for the day. Well, I guess since it's barely 9am and I've already done 5 of the above, I'd better get on with it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

On MSN Today

I need a page like that isn't - suggestions welcome! At my office, the homepage for the computer I use is set to, so I've gotten used to seeing all these links to little "articles." I click through and often get to read some pretty interesting things. Without, I would not have discovered The Slate or The Root, both of which have become regular reads for me, but I still find myself discontent - I want a little more substance without going all the way to style.

At any rate, today's links include a lot that have to do with WORK. Interesting to me in light of my recent post about how I'm wondering about changing my work schedule. There's 5 Ways to Fit in a Part Time Job, Why You Should Work Weekends, and even a feature on different treatment for single vs. married workers. Seems like I'm doing what everybody else is either doing or thinking about doing - working two jobs and working on weekends. These articles both point out the importance of having enough time to rest and take care of one's self which is my particular dilemma at this time - feeling so overwhelmed that I fall asleep at 9 o'clock every night.

I have to say that the piece I found most interesting though is the one about single vs. married workers. I haven't had the experience (yet?) of a different working environment or experience based on not being married, but I have noticed a difference based on not being a parent, which the article also covers. Since I look forward to being a parent some day, maternity and paternity leave don't really bother me, but I have been bothered by differing expectations and differing levels of response to requests for time off. For example, it has been my experience that a request for time off for a family vacation to Disneyland is looked at differently than a request for time off for a girls trip to Vegas. Both are fairly frivolous trips, but the family vacation is definitely higher on the priority list of managers, in my experience. Now, I really have no cause for complaint and haven't ever really had troubles with this to speak of, but my brain had latched onto this inequity and wouldn't let go...

...until I read this article. It's a great reminder that we create our realities. I LOVE "John's leave" and that this worker took his situation into his own hands. Rather than just be tired and resentful of covering for other workers leaves, he made appropriate arrangements to take care of himself. It's so simple yet profound. And instead of an us/them (married/single, parent/childless) mentality, focusing on individual needs acknowledges that we all have different needs and allows for the flexibility to meet those with solutions that work for the individual rather than policies that work for no one. I'm inspired, both as an employee and as a future employer.

I'm still not sure what to think about the Carrie Bradshaw part of things, though...