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September 2017
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February 2018

65 Mornings

Dad's coffee cup

"So, what's next?" Lesley asked. "Now, that you've explored abstract art, where will you take it? Will you be working on another project? What's next?"

Grateful that I fell into the middle of this circle of awesomely talented women, I knew I had a bit of time to think. My first, internal response was that I just didn't know. 

But, Lesley had taught me better. Having worked through her CCGP (Closing the Creativity Gap Program) and finishing up the current Red Thread Retreat, I had one great support system in place. Knowing I had a bit of time, I closed my eyes and throught back to a list of prioritized projects in place.

When my time came, I had my answer, "I want to write. I want to take photos, and I want to put words to them. And, I think I want to put it all into book form and self publish it."

And, then I thought, "Oh, crap. I've gone public, and now I've got to make good on this."

Most of the artists present knew my photos, knew the words I often put with them, smiled and nodded their heads. Yes. Yes. Yes. Go for it. 

So, maybe I can do this. Just maybe I can.

A bit of the prioritized list of projects had to be dealt with first; there was a time crunch, and I'd learned to focus on what really mattered first. I had Christmas gifts to get done, and then, I could move forward.

Last Wednesday, I completed my 65th trip around the sun. Most of the other "significant" birthdays seemed to come and go without much fanfare or even thought on my part. Honestly, I sometimes had to do some math to figure out just how old I was.

But, 65 seems to be a milestone of some sorts. I have my Medicare card to prove it, and the good Lord knows, I had the attention of insurance companies wanting to sell me supplemental insurance.

65, for what ever reason, seems to be a good time to really embrace the fact that I have time to create, time to explore, time to do a bit of what I want to do, stuff that feeds my soul.

I'd neglected my blog; it pretty much faded into non existence. I didn't need to wonder why; Lesley's aforementioned CCGP class etched into my brain the roadblocks in place. Most importantly, I knew I'd put the darn roadblocks there myself, and even more importantly, I could remove them.

I know I have stories to tell, but I always managed to convince myself they weren't important. No one would want to read them. An idea would appear in my brain; I'd shove it aside. Soon, I'd be reading a piece of someone else's writing, on the topic I'd tossed aside, and readers loved it. As, Elizabeth Gilbert of Big Magic wrote, an idea came to me, I ignored it, and it went elsewhere to find someone else. 

When it comes down to it, it shouldn't matter if no one wants to read it; I want to write it anyway.

Knowing my tendencies to think something to death, and then not follow through (another one of my self imposed road blocks), I knew I had to put my idea out there, make it public. So, I mentioned it on my Instagram account, and now, I'm putting it out here on my blog, not an easy step, because you see, out came the stalling tactics.

I told myself that my blog is sadly outdated, no one reads it (Well, why should they if I don't write so something?), I should update it first. Maybe, I should just ditch this blog, begin a new one. 

Yep, stalling tactics. I need to write. I need to start now. The rest can wait, can be done as the writing begins.

Then, some more tactics. Should I begin a new and second Instagram account? What should I call it? A Year of Mornings? Nope, that would set me up to fail; that seemed to say I had to  post every morning, and I knew that as soon as I missed one or two, the whole thing would die a slow death. Well, to be honest, a pretty quick one, most likely.

So, again, I pushed that road block out of my way, and for now, it's "65 Mornings," because after a year of it, I should have 65 photos with accompanying words. That's only about 1 for every 6 days. Manageable, and I liked the idea of having the 65 in there.

For now, I'm just staying with the one account, and making sure that hashtag the appropriate photos with #65mornings. 

Come along with me for the ride, okay? You can find me on Instagram as @paulateach, and I'll be blogging many of the photos as well. 

You know what, I'm proud of me! 

 


No Soup...er, Paycheck...for You!

Nonessential

You skipped the suit coat, dress shirt, and pants this morning, instead grabbing a t-shirt and pair of jeans. No briefcase needed, just a few books. The morning would be long, and all you'll be allowed to do is sit...no answering the phones, no touching the computer. Just sit and wait for the powers that be to show up and hand you a several page document that lists a few "Thou Shalls," but many, many more "Thou Shall Nots."  Thou shall not use any government issued technology. Thou shall not answer your government phone. Thou shall not attempt to sue the government. After signing off that you've received your furlough packed, you'll be allowed to leave and head home for an indefinite period. In the meantime, the  books would help pass the time. The last go round, you waited 4 hours for the packet bearing folks to show up.

It's a miserable thing to be deemed "Non-Essential." The biggest minus, of course, is the lack of a paycheck. But, it does something to the psyche. After 40 plus years of doing your job, and doing it extremely well, the message is sent that you don't matter much. All those years of putting in your 8 or more hour days, then coming home, still on call, answering phones in the wee hours of the night and then heading downstairs to telework so that one problem or another gets solved, well, none of it matters much. And people from all over, weigh in with the certainty that you're nothing but a free loader anyway. 

You don't know when your next pay check will come. Simple things get put on hold; you don't want to use the gas, so you mostly stay put. The grandkids sometimes get told "no" when something as simple as a request for McDonalds is made. You need to be careful, because if this thing goes on for more than a week or so, the next step is to contact utility companies, creditors, etc. and ask for mercy. It's one huge dose of humble pie.

My husband is one of the thousands and thousands of faces of this budget mess. While senators, representatives, and more argue their lines in the sand, we just wait and pray. 

It sucks to read folks from all over the country commenting "Good. I hope it stays shut down." Or, read the VIP in charge of shutting the government down, pronounce it, "Kind of a cool feeling." The president's son states that this shutdown is "good for us." 

I don't know what the answers are. I do know that I  blame both sides, each one so focused on getting what they want, that you just don't much matter. Oh, they all sometimes preach a good game, but they get paid. They're getting paid for not doing their job. 

I also know that some of what each side is arguing for is important. Terribly important. But, you also want them to just pass the budget, or at least a continuance, and then address these matters. You just want them to stop using all the issues and you as bargaining chips.

The news is another ball of wax. On one hand, it's your life line to the possibility that you might get to go back to work. On the other hand, it's a mess of conflicting information and a blame game. Honest to God, my middle schoolers behaved better than these "esteemed gentlemen and ladies." And, if they didn't we firmly addressed the matter. I am so tired of the name calling and blame game. Last night, I read one article that held out hope that some progress was being made, that "they" were working hard to the government open. The next article plainly stated that no hope was to be had. Both news agencies are respected sources, but they told such different stories.

I know I have it better than so many folks; I have food to eat, a roof over my head, and much more. I keep trying to put it all into perspective. Most of the time, I can do it. At other times, the anger and worry wash over me like a tidal wave. 

We'll get some yard work done, a few house projects will get completed. There are closets to be cleaned and stuff to be decluttered. We won't sit around feeling sorry for ourselves.

But, still, it sucks to be "Non Essential." It just sucks.