Faith in the Future

To begin, I need you all to understand how long it’s been. Over seven years I’ve been applying for jobs. That’s such a long, long time. There was a brief lag after I got hired at Globe, but then it started right up because I knew almost right away (that was written four months after starting at Globe)that this job wasn’t for me.

So I kept looking. The economy is down, jobs are scarce and I’m in a field where jobs are slimming anyway. It has been a rough go of it. I’ve applied for hundreds (literally) of jobs, trying to find what was right for me. I was asked over and over again, what did I want, but I never really had the right answer. Public libraries are a better fit for me. And I love them. But there’s no job security there. And budgets shrink practically daily. It’s a scary time for public libraries, but still I tried.

I’ve been on interviews. Many, actually, and nothing every panned out for me. As you all know, I tried being the director at LEPL and that was pretty much a bust.

In recent times, I’ve grown more quiet about the job situation. I didn’t really talk about it. Not here, not anywhere, not really to anyone. If I was asked (Lanie always asked, it’s nice) I’d say what was up, but I rarely ever brought it up myself. Some people assumed it meant I had given up searching and was content to stay put. Not so.

The problem was, I had lost faith. It’s hard, extremely hard, to search for jobs. I felt weighted by the frustrations of applying, waiting, getting an interview, waiting, waiting some more, and nothing. Or worse, applying, waiting, and never hearing another word. It’s a struggle and not a good one, not even when the end result could be fantastic. The process is so awful, it starts to tear you down. That’s what I felt happening to me. I was being torn down by disappointment and failure. I couldn’t understand how no one could see that I would be amazing at this that or the other job.

I still wanted something different, but I began to worry it wouldn’t happen. That I might end up one of those sad people who hate their job but have been doing it for twenty years or more. I feared the future.

Then I saw a different position. Not in a library. But for a nonprofit that supports libraries (in fact, they run the job board I use primarily) hiring….for a teacher. The position is to teach information literacy to teachers and school librarians so that they can, in turn, teach their students. It’s what I do now, minus the library part, only on a grander scale. When I read the description, something inside of me whispered yes. I knew I was going to apply, but I was beaten down by all that had come before and decided to start over. A new cover letter and updated resume.

So I began. I wrote the first draft and sent it to Lane. I asked her to please, please, please, give it her best polish, because I needed something spectacular. She updated it. Then I did. Then she did again. Then we did my resume. DAYS of sending documents back and forth, editing and making changes until it was the best we both thought it could be. (Lane – humongous thanks and kudos to you, could not have done it without you. You are the greatest. )

And I sent it. Right as my Yahoo mail went down. I had no idea if it was sent. I spent the day being nervous about it. Wondering if it was a sign. The next day I learned that all my sent emails went through….in triplicate. Great. Now I look like an idiot who can’t send an email.

The wait began.

Meanwhile, there were countless other jobs, suddenly, and out of the blue. I began applying. Something about seeing this new job caused me to widen my net and there were new opportunities. And I waited.

Then the interviews started rolling in. No spoiler, I got the interview that I wanted. And my nerves set in. So many times I had felt this sense of anticipation, this feeling that things were going to change, that it was finally my time, but over and over again, I was left disappointed.

The day after I got the interview, I was reading a book. I know, that’s a real shocker. Suddenly, I read a sentence that jolted me out of my chair. Literally. I lurched up, read it again, out loud, and wrote it down. The sentence was this.

“You can have what you say if you believe that you have it before you actually see that you have it. That is faith.” (Wicked Nights, Gena Showalter, p. 131)

And I kind of went….whoa. It seemed so simple, so easy when you see it like that. Of course, it isn’t as easy in practice, but at that very moment, I told myself that it absolutely could not hurt to try. And so I began. I kept telling myself “this is it. You already have a new job, you just don’t know which one yet.” The power of positive thinking, I guess.

The day of the interview(-s, I actually had two scheduled back to back, the second was in a public library) I told myself, “today is the day that you got your new job.” I believed. I was driving to the first interview and stopped at a light on the ramp. There was a homeless person standing there with a cardboard sign. It said, “I’ve lost everything….except my faith.”

And I got goosebumps. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a dollar. I rolled down my window and gave it to this guy. Right then, it seemed like the absolute right thing to do. It seemed like a sign.

Not surprisingly, the interview went amazingly well. They told me the last interview was Tuesday, July 1st, ending at 2pm. They’d make a decision after that, before the holiday weekend. My second interview also went well, but they aren’t making a decision until the end of July.

On July 1st, I watched the clock hit 2pm. I knew that interviews for the position I really wanted were over. Now it was a wait to see if I got the phone call. I still believed in my heart that it was my time. At 2:41pm, my phone rang. Before I even picked it up, I knew. The job I wanted, it was mine. She offered it to me and I accepted it right there on the phone. I did not need to think it over. This is the job I want, this is the job I think I may have been waiting for. She told me that they wanted me badly enough to offer more than the position was being offered at. Extra money…I was blown away. They wanted me. I was the best choice for the job. I was blown away.

It was a long road, a hard road. It was challenging in so many unexpected ways. But, maybe it was all for a reason. If I had gotten one of those other jobs in the past, I wouldn’t have applied for this one. I would have missed this chance. I might never have read that book. I might not have noticed that quote. I may not have learned that faith is one of the strongest weapons in my arsenal, right up there with my brain and my truly awesome supportive friends and family.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I am worried because I won’t be a librarian any more, but I know that this is the right decision for me, at this time. This is my next step. This is finally the direction I am supposed to go – even if I never knew it.

Tickled My Fancy

I’ve got a thing for words, I’m pretty sure people know that. Since 2013 began, it seems I’ve been stumbling across so many different ones that make me happy. Here’s a sampling.

~Uxorious, which means excessively devoted to one’s wife

~Maritorious, which means excessively devoted to one’s husband

~filipendulous, hanging by a thread

~pogonotrophy, the act of growing and grooming facial hair

~zugzwang, being in a position where any move you make will cause you to lose (or have problems) – this is also a baader-meinhof because I recently heard this word in a television show, Criminal Minds, then bam! it popped up in my word of the day email. (Similar to this morning’s schadenfreude story, except I knew that word, so it was not a bm, but instead was synchronicity).

~ktenology, the science of putting people to death

~tarantism, the uncontrollable urge to dance

~scripturient, the violent need to write

And then there were series of related words. The first is time words:

~overmorrow, relating to the day after tomorrow

~hodiernal, relating to today

~hesternal, relating to yesterday

~nudiustertian, relating to the day before yesterday

~yestreen, yesterday evening.

Then, for fun, series words about series:

~penultimate, the next to last (I already knew this one, but I did NOT know)

~antepenultimate, the third to last

~preantepenultimate, the fourth to last

~ultrapreantepenultimate, the fifth to last (there is some dispute as to whether this is an actual term, but I keep seeing it)

The musical series:

~quaver, an eighth note

~semiquaver, a sixteenth note

~semidemiquaver, a thirty-second note

~hemidemisemiquaver, a sixty-fourth note

~quasihemidemisemiquaver, a one hundred twenty-eighth note (I found this under the heading “Prefixes gone wild”)

The seasonal series:

~vernal, relating to spring

~autumnal, relating to fall

Truthfully, I knew both of those. The vernal and autumnal equinoxes took care of that. However, have you ever wondered about the other two seasons?

~hiemal, relating to winter

~estival, relating to summer

And the group series:

~monad, a single unit

~dyad, a pair

~triad, a group of three

~tetrad, a group of four

~pentad, a group of five

~hexad, a group of  six

~hebdomad, a group of seven

~ogdoad, a group of eight

~ennead, a group of nine

~decad, a group of ten (from whence we get the word decade…)

~hendecad, a group of eleven

~dodecad, a group of twelve (from whence we get the word dodecahedron- or a twelve sided figure)

I could do this all day. There is little I love more than finding strange and bizarre words to help explain the world around me. Everything on here tickled my fancy, hopefully you found a little something fun for yourself. Pop into the comments and tell me which new word (or series of words) you like the best.

And this morning, a co-worker came to chat and said, “What kind of dinosaur knows a lot of words?”

“A Thesaurus”

Yuk-yuk.

Lastly, I’ll top it off with a quote I recently read. It was so appropriate I am thinking of making it my life motto. “This is the sort of thing that is extremely interesting if you are interested in this sort of thing.”

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Today’s quote is brought to you by our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. If he were still alive, he’d be 204 years old. Even more significantly, he now shares his birthday with my nephew.

photo

Welcome to the world, Camden Nicholas. Weighing in at 8lbs 2 oz. and 19 3/4 inches long. He’s surprisingly little for being 10 days overdue. He has a whole head of dark hair, and I mean a whole head. He has a crazy amount of hair. He’s got dark blue eyes and is wonderfully perfect.

photo

 

photo

So far, he is surprisingly calm and content. He was wide awake the first three hours of his life, barely crying, just wanting to be near his mommy. His big sister, Arionna, just loves the holy heck out of him. She’s been squealing around, singing, “I’m a big sister! I’m a big sister!”

photo

There’s MY baby sister, with her two babies.
photo

That was the very first time Arionna kissed her baby brother.

He took his sweet time deciding to come out, but his entry into this world was short, sweet, and easy. Just a few pushes and he slipped into the world without a sound. It’s incredible how fast the world can change. This morning, it was without this new little life and then, at 11:24 am, everything was different.

Emily is doing amazingly well. After struggling so much to get into labor (three different days she was induced) she was rewarded with the easiest labor in history. At 11 am, they checked her cervix and she was fully dilated, they had her do a practice push about five minutes later. Less than 20 minutes later, after only five pushes, Camden slipped into our lives and our hearts.

I was lucky enough to be there, to see his head as he started to crown, to watch his head squeeze out and then, just a breath later, he was here. A beautiful baby boy.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’ve not been blogging much lately; that’s because I was rapidly approaching my 500th post here on WordPress and I was saving that milestone for this one.

This, my 500th post, is the perfect place and time to welcome my new nephew into this world.

Happy birthday Camden (and to you, too, Honest Abe)! It’s really incredible how much I can already love you.

The Universe is Listening

If you read yesterday’s post, you’d know that I’m feeling a bit lost about my job situation right now.

Usually when I write things like that, I’m not writing them to elicit sympathy, or even to share my feelings, I write for two reasons, 1) because it makes me feel better and gives me a bit of clarity to write it down and 2) to help me remember in the future.

This time, though I didn’t want sympathy, there was an edge of frustration to my post. I just feel so overwhelmed by it all, I needed it out there, I needed feedback, I needed to know someone could hear me.

The universe heard me.

As you’re probably all aware, in addition to writing, I’m an avid blog reader. I follow 70-odd blogs and they change all the time.

One that I have consistently followed is a “self-help” style blog calledMarc and Angel Hack Life. It’s common-sensical advice about life, given in list format. I love it. I don’t always agree with everything, but many of the things they say I find enlightening or truly insightful.

After I posted yesterday, I had a long talk with my mom this morning (that always helps!) and then I hopped on my reader to check the daily blogs.

I hit Marc and Angel and the post for today was called: 12 Tough Truths to Help You Grow.

Interesting.

The entire post resonated with me, but the three that stuck out were:

1.Everything is as it should be.

This is something I truly believe, even when times are dark, but it is during the dark times that it is the hardest to believe. It’s difficult to force yourself to believe that you are supposed to be living through pain or disappointment or frustration, but sometimes we have to. It’s how we appreciate the times of joy and happiness and glory.

2. Not until you are lost in this world can you begin to find your true self.

This one hit home; as though it were speaking directly to me. I feel a bit lost right now and I don’t know which way to go, which way will make me happy. That was the whole point of yesterday’s post. But that single sentence helped me gain the perspective that I am supposed to feel this way right now, because I am searching for my true self.

And, finally, this one.

12. Everything is going to be alright; maybe not today, but eventually.

These are words that I really needed to hear. I believe that things do work out. I believe that no matter how hard it gets, it will get better. (Apparently I told that to Elena a while back and she clings to those words when things are tough for her.) I believe in this, I believe that this is just a phase, a moment in time, but golly it’s nice to hear someone say it.

I don’t know what possessed Marc and Angel to write this particular post today, of all days, but I am sure glad that they did.

Their few, simple words helped me to feel better. It made me smile to think that the universe is listening and it knows what I need. Today, it gave me exactly what I needed.

There is a line from one of my favorite poems (Desiderata, Max Ehrmann) that says, “whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

I’ve always found comfort in that. Today, the universe tried to clear things up for me.

Thanks, universe, I truly appreciate it. I hear you.

To Sound Like a Five-Year-Old

Dear Simon,

I remember the day you were born, so very small and curly black hair all over your head. I drove to the hospital with Grandma. Back then, I didn’t know your mom very well, but I was so happy she called. Pa left from work and met us at the hospital.

You were the first baby to join our family. I remember when I held you, it felt strange. Like you were brand new to me, but somehow, I loved you already. Luckily, when Arionna was born and I got that same feeling, I recognized it, because you had already taught me.

It’s too bad that your parents didn’t get along so well after you were born. It meant that I didn’t see you again until you were almost 9 months old, just before your first Christmas. You came to visit us and I remember how fascinated we all were with you. I took tons of pictures of you that day, but back then, Auntie Livi only had a film camera. (Someday, I’ll explain film cameras to you). But a couple have been digitized.
photo

It’s bad quality, but it is still one of my favorite pictures, because it marked the day you truly became part of our lives. After that, we were able to see you more and more. You started spending weekends at Grandma and Pa’s house and I still lived there, then.
photo

We used to play together all the time and it was always tough to make you laugh. That might seem strange, but you always made me feel like I really had to work for it, and that made every smile, every laugh, that much more precious.
photo

That next Christmas, I gave you a Cabbage Patch doll, and everyone but Grandma made fun of me, because you were a boy. But, I thought it was important for boys to play with dolls. You never liked it that much, but when you held him, you were always gentle. And you are gentle still, when you are around babies. I think it is sweet, that as rough-and-tumble as you are, you can be so gentle, so tender when you’re around children smaller than you.

And though it was never your favorite toy, you did play with him sometimes. Orrin is his name, even though Grandma always calls him Omar. I promise, his name is Orrin.
photo

And you always did like changing his diaper, weird as that may seem.

You also had a thing about being naked. Not just in the bath,
photo

but just whenever and wherever.
photo

That one was actually your second birthday. We got you overnight and after your bath, Grandma could not get you dressed again.
photo

Even when you became a much bigger boy!

Even though it doesn’t really fit with my story, I have to pause and remind you of how your mother gave you a mohawk when you were two years old. We try not to remember it too much, but I do have pictures…
photo

Yeah, it was that bad, buddy. Sorry about that. Luckily it grew out.

When Arionna was born,  you were so excited to have a cousin. You were impossibly sweet to her, and still are, which could be why you are her favorite person in the whole wide world.
photo
photo

Besides Arionna, Josie might be your favorite “person” in the whole wide world. You were scared of her when you were really small, because she’s a very big dog, but then, one day, you just started petting her and from that moment on, the two of you were the best of friends.
photo

She still loves you, possibly more than anyone else. You play with her and give her treats and whenever you’re around, she follows you wherever you go.
photo

When we get to see you, we always try to do something fun, something special and we’ve done so many things together, it might explain why I have SO MANY pictures of you.

We’ve gone to the zoo and the conservatory, many times. Some of my favorite pictures of you are from those visits.
photo

There was a sign that said, “don’t ride the zebra” but I put you on it anyway. I’m fun like that, but you already know that.

photo
photo

That is still, to this day, one of my most favorite pictures of you. It wasn’t posed, you just stood like that and looked at me. You would not smile, and now, I’m glad, because I like it better this way. It just shows more of your personality.

Every year, we take you to the “Big Truck Extravaganza” and you just love it. You’ve been obsessed with trucks and trains since you could first talk.
photo
photo

I don’t know if it is because I take so many pictures of you, but you’ve developed an interest in photography. Every time my camera comes out, you want it. I always let you do it, and you’ve gotten very good at it. You have a habit of taking funny pictures of yourself, but they always make me laugh.

photo

You took that one, and I just love it. We look so happy, we must have been having a ton of fun.

Then, when I got my camera back from you, I got these two:
photo
photo

It’s rare that you sit still and smile for me when I’m taking pictures of you, I usually have to bribe you, but every once in a while, you let me do it and it always makes me happy.

But then, sometimes, you’re just so happy, you don’t even care that I’m taking pictures of you.
photo

That was the 4th of July, you were sitting on the roof of Grandma’s car, on the side of the road, just watching fireworks and you had so much fun, you laughed and talked about it for weeks afterward.

Last summer, when you were four, Grandma and I took you on a real train ride. I’ve never seen you so happy. You were full of questions about absolutely everything.
photo
photo

I didn’t have answers for hardly anything (and you’ll find that is pretty rare for me) but we found a nice worker and you stood and asked him question after question and he answered them all. You’re so smart, you remember everything you’re told and understand things in your own way. Even now, over a year later, I bet you could still tell me all about that train ride and what you learned.
photo

I bought you toy trains that day, so you’d have something to remember and you loved them so much. We stopped in Stillwater on the way home to watch the lift bridge and here, you’re demonstrating how the bridge goes up and down, but also notice how your new trains are displayed at your feet.
photo

That same day, I got this picture of us, one of my favorites. We don’t have that many pictures of just the two of us, because it is always you or me that is taking the pictures. I think we should teach Arionna how to take them so that we can be in more together, what do you think?

Lastly, from that day, I took this picture. You were staring out at the world rushing by from the moving train and you were so deep in thought you didn’t even know I took this. And I was close to you. I was actually holding you up, so you could peer out the door of the train (even after the guy told me not to do that because it wasn’t safe–I told you, I’m fun like that, breaking rules to let you have more fun).
photo

And while I have said that many of these pictures are my favorite, that one is, so far, my all-time favorite picture of you. I’m sure you recognize it, because it is framed in my living room.

You’re such a cool kid, Simon. You make me laugh and I love talking to you so much. I think you like talking to me, too, because we always have the best conversations. Plus, I’m the one who makes you do weird things, like have a sword fight with corn on the cob:
photo

But, who else are you going to do those things with? You need me around, dude, because I’m not like everyone else you know. Which works our perfect, because you aren’t like anyone I know either. You’re completely unique and one of my favorite people in the world.
photo

No matter what we’re doing, it’s always a good time when we’re together.
photo

Now that you’re five, I’m thinking you’ll start remembering more and more of these things we do together, but if you don’t remember the fun and the good times from the first five years, just ask your favorite Auntie Livi, I’ve got the stories and I’ve got the pictures.

“The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like a five-year-old.” Some might say menace, but if they’ve ever talked to you, they’d realize that talking five is actually pretty cool. Just like you.
photo

I love you, Simon.

Happy 5th Birthday!
photo

Loving you more than you’ll ever know,

Auntie Livia
photo

(you took that!)

 

“Many Years From Now, When I’ve Lost My Looks A Little”

This June, it will be 15 years since I graduated high school. That is not really that long. Not so very far away.

Yet, somehow, I remember almost nothing. High school, to me, comes across like a story I read. I read it, digested it, and promptly forgot about it. If you remind me of some of the plot, I may be able to dredge up memories, but mostly, there’s just nothing there.

It’s not that I hated high school or that it was particularly hard or damaging. It just didn’t matter that much to me. Maybe I felt like I never belonged there, like there was something else, something more, waiting just outside those walls. I certainly remember everything that happened since in finite detail. I’m known among my friends for my incredible detail. But when it comes to high school…

That is not to say I have no memories. Just few. The ones I have are distinct. Like a snapshot. Just a specific memory, taken completely out of context. For example, I remember quite clearly that the first time we nicknamed my high school crush (to this day, he is still referred to as Island Boy) Elena and I were on a bus.

She mentioned, in an email about us visiting the Walker. I flashed on that moment and thought we must have been taking the bus to the Walker–way back then. She said no–we were visiting the Guthrie. I don’t remember ever going to the Guthrie in school. I’ve been, several times, but don’t remember it being for school. I said, “what did we see”? She said that we saw “A Raisin in the Sun” and “A Doll’s House”, but that particular time, the time of the nickname, it was to see “A Doll’s House”.

And, as soon as she said it, I remember it perfectly. Riding the bus, it was winter [Edit** I just looked it up and “A Doll’s House opened at the Guthrie October 16, 1996 and ran through the end of the year. So it really was winter], I believe, and very cold. That, perhaps, is how we got on the subject of traveling to islands–the conversation that forever sparked the nickname. I remember that play. I still don’t remember seeing “A Raisin in the Sun”, but, if I’m not mistaken, we also saw “Playboy of the Western World” [Edit**I can’t find a listing for “A Raisin in the Sun, so either Elena is mistaken, or it wasn’t at the Guthrie, however “Playboy of the Western World was there in 1997. I also saw a listing for “She Stoops to Conquer” and I’m pretty sure I saw that, too! That’s a lot of Guthrie plays]. But, none of that was there until Elena told me about it.

She, my friend, remembers everything. She knows the names of people we went to school with. She has stories about them, or at least can describe them. At graduation this winter, a man came up to me and said hello. He recognized me when I was on stage. He checked the program, saw my name, and was confirmed. He introduced himself and told me how he knew me. We went to junior high and high school together.

I don’t remember him at all. AT ALL. His name sounded vaguely familiar, but that is it. After graduation that night, I called Elena and said, “who is Matt T___?” And she knew, right away and talked about him.

Just so we’re clear,I remember that time in my life. I remember the jobs I worked and places I traveled and friends I had and things (stupid and fun) that I did, but I don’t really remember much about high school. The people. The events. Just my few significant memories, like I’ve pushed out everything else that once existed there. Who knows? Maybe it was because a brain can hold only so much and mine is pushing the limits of its storage capabilities. But, when I hear people talk about high school, friends, family, etc. I wonder why everyone else remembers that time and I really don’t.

It’s an odd phenomenon, for sure. Maybe it might be worth my time to attend my 15 year reunion. Of course, if I go, Elena will have to go with me, or I won’t remember anyone.