Monday, April 30, 2012


There are so many things in life that defy simple explanation.

I can see them, but I can't understand them. It frustrates me a bit. The answers sometimes seem so close -- like they are right there in front of me -- but I am not quite getting them.

In general, I like the mysterious benevolence of life. I find it fascinating.

But that's just me. I guess I'm doomed to being cheerful and looking on the good side of anything put before me. It colors my vision, I know.

Ah well. Off to do my various jobs of Monday, now.


The Aliens are NOT in control...

I had an unusual dream last night...

The world had been taken over by aliens. They weren't that evident in the dream; I just knew that they had taken control. To that point, they had been fairly benevolent, but, of course, human beings never welcome alien occupation and always expect it to take a turn to the oppressive side. So resistance was brewing. A good friend of mine was the editor of a newspaper, and she was figuring out ways to print coded messages that the aliens didn't notice -- just in case a covert communication system would be needed.

Later, in the dream, the alien presence had faded away. I ran into that friend and was very happy to see her. The first thing she said to me was "60 pages and counting!" (Although that's not really that much - I don't know why my mind choose that number.) I was very pleased for her.

Later, the aliens were gone and I think we had some coffee and a nice chat. The dream shifted to something else, and eventually my alarm awoke me. The messages I took away were these: It's a good idea to resist alien occupation, and it's nice to catch up with old friends. :)
Ugh. I hate the "new" look of blogger. What a hassle. There was nothing wrong with the way the other system worked. In this one, my words are just hanging in this little faded box while I create. It's disheartening.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Neutral Wednesday

I find I don't have much to say, nor time to say it in.

I feel spread a bit thin lately. The last of the May 1 deadline proposals wrap up this week (obviously) and I'll be glad to see them go. It will be nice to get back to working on stuff a bit less time-sensitive.

The weekend was good, but tiring. The Festival was well-attended and hot, sort of spread out. The week is moving along fast.

Next up - more ferrying kids about, then writing, then dinner, then writing. Then bed, then writing. I think you see the pattern here. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Feeling Happy!!

Even though it's blazing hot here - like crazy, extra-summer hot - I'm looking forward to this weekend. We will make our annual trek to the Festival of Books, talk writing, browse books, and see some of our favorite authors.

I don't like USC as the venue at all; I miss the graceful campus of UCLA. Otherwise though it should be a fun LA weekend. We even hotwired a boutique hotel for tomorrow night. After the pace of the last few weeks, I'm looking forward to a restful pause.

I have two more proposals to finish up tonight, but they're mostly done so I think I can complete them before I sleep. I'm looking forward to finally being caught up with everything next week!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From a Year Ago...

Nice Enough

It's a nice day. Uneventful. Lightly productive and pleasant to live through.

I'm trying to give myself some calm and space to process through this amazing opportunity opening up before me. I don't want to be over -reactive; I kind of want to stay together enough that I feel some control of the energy going on, instead of just having it course through me and go off in its own directions.

Yes, that is one way to move things around in life, but that kind of random transformation hasn't always served me in the past. Whatever. Maybe that makes sense to you, maybe not, but I kinda know what I mean.

So, I am being calm and breathing. I am reflecting before acting, neither procrastinating nor rushing in, but just being calm. I have made some progress in all areas of my life.

Today, so far, I've mostly worked. I've been putting the event planning on the back burner while I write proposals, so today has been spent doing physical errands for the event. Visiting funders. Picking up mail. Checking out the wifi at the event location. Running around through a sunny day in a cute little town is a very nice break from sitting at a desk. I was texting with my friend and she's quite jealous.

The long drive down the freeway was a nice space to clear my head. Meanwhile, there's part of my brain working on the different things I'll be writing next; part is planning the weekend; and part is considering all the best people to contact and all the ways to get support for my coming judgment. But I feel pretty good about it. Whereas in the past, there was always this panicky, fear feeling, now I feel like even if I didn't do or get anything else, that I would fly through this anyway on my own merits.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Holy Coincidence, Batman!

Or, you know, a sign.

A sign that things are moving along exactly as they are supposed to!

So, yesterday, my attorney happened to mention the name of a really fair judge that he hopes will decide my motion. Restless in between tasks, I thought I'd do a little research on him. Not in a creepy stalker way, you know, just to find out something and maybe see a photo so I can send positive energy his way. So that I'll know who I'll be looking at while my future is being decided.

I found some very nice articles about him and some impressive social-justice work he's done from the bench and in the community. Inspired by John F. Kennedy. Okay, so far so good. Then I found a couple of photos. He looks nice. Smart. Grandfatherly.

Then I clicked out of my search and into the home page for the Community Foundation I need to apply to next. And, Holy Cow! There's the exact same photo that I was just looking at! Turns out, my nice and fair judge does work for the Foundation as well.

It's like we're already working for the same causes. That seems positive, doesn't it?


God, I'm buzzy right now.

I am so excited about my news from yesterday. Already I am overwhelmed with the new list of things I'll want to do, ways to make the strongest case possible. All things to get done in addition to the fairly busy workload I already had.

But worth the effort. So worth it.

I couldn't sleep well last night. When I awoke at 2:30 am and realized that I was fully alert, I gave up trying to fall asleep. The beauty of my job is I can do it anywhere, any time. So I put those hours to use and finished up two more proposals. Then crashed back asleep just in time to be totally groggy for the morning routines. My 10 year old had to wake me up!!! (Repeatedly. And make the lunches. And cook breakfast. She is AWESOME!)

I've spent the morning dividing my time between the usual errands of tidying, cooking, and Target, and getting some work done, and talking to friends about this exciting development.

I am so joyous and hopeful. And also scared of getting my hopes up too high. Having to talk about it all of course brings back difficult memories. And then I just am on this huge energetic surge. It just feels incredible. It's like forces are aligning together to work this good act in my life. I've felt it coming too.

I reached out to a few old friends this week, and I went to a real, proper yoga class as a student for the first time in months. The energy that opened up is scary almost.

And I am just full of hope. Awash with love for the whole world and such a profound sense of gratitude. It feels like doors are opening. It feels like new things are being attained. I am so appreciative. Really. Thanks. Everything does feel like it is balancing, and that it is balancing in a loving, positive, future-oriented way.

We might not always get the past we wanted to have, but sometimes, we can still have something wonderful and warm and solid in the future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Miracle in Progress


My attorney JUST called. I haven't heard from him in a few years and I have just been waiting patiently. He says it is time to go back to court!!!

Now is the optimal time to put things in motion and clear up my future. I am SO excited!!!!!

I have been waiting and waiting for this. Making lists of what I can possibly do to re-establish myself. I knew 2012 was going to be the year.

I knew it!!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beautiful Monday

I'm starting this week with more energy than I have for a long while. It was a good weekend; I got two proposals done before deadline, and I knocked out our taxes in a steady six hours of work. It feels great to have that big task done.

We even get a refund so we will finally have a bit of a savings account. With my increased work and pay, we are very close to paying off all our credit debt and starting to build assets for the future. Last night, I told my family (they are used to me talking frequently about money as it's one of my obsessive-track topics):

"I don't think it sounds very motivating to have an Emergency Savings Fund like all the financial advisors suggest. It's like you are planning to have an emergency. Instead let's call it our Trip to Europe Fund, and stock it with enough to cover 3 months of expenses anyway.

And then, after we get to that goal, let's re-name it the B and J Wedding/House Down Payment Account. If we have to save tons of money and have it just sitting around, let's make it seem fun and positive."

Obviously, the girls were all for that. And since the security and happiness of my daughters is my number one guiding principle in living, I like it too.

They've ditched school today (due to minor colds) so while I teach yoga, they're going to work on homework, then we're all going to the mall for lunch at Nordstrom and to buy B some new jeans. She keeps growing so that they don't cover her ankles!

I hope your day is fun and rewarding as well.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

So far, a very pleasant day for me.

The calm pace of this day stands in contrast to most of the last two weeks. I'm not sure what's different. Perhaps it's the intensely rainy weather, washing my stress away. Perhaps I'm simply relieved that it's Friday, and the weekend is opening before me with a promise of rest. [After last weekend's holiday events and social visits, the only thing I plan to do this weekend is sleep in, light housekeeping, and our taxes for 2011. The fact that I find the prospect of completing our year's taxes rewarding, engaging, and fun probably tells you a lot more about me than I should be giving away! :) ]

I often get tense when my daughters go back to school after a vacation, and I have to start interacting with a "System" again. I didn't enjoy the whole afternoon of parent conferences for my older girl -- even though her teachers' comments were uniformly positive and appreciative. That has to do with the storytelling that goes on in my own mind -- and I'm well aware of the potential falseness of my fearful stories -- but awareness didnt' stop it from happening!

I've spent the last 10 days or so rushed and impatient and pushing myself hard to get more and more work done. I've been feeling our family's financial need as a huge, cumbersome burden that I drag with me from hour to hour in the day, and long into the night.

And then I've been quarrelsome with S. And that doesn't help matters. Not surprisingly, he hasn't responded to my anxiety, irritability, and general criticalness in an open-armed way.

Yesterday was one of those grueling days. S and I argued the night before, well past when we could have been asleep. I felt out of sorts and unappreciated and inefficient. And I had to go to lunch with my boss.

For reasons of my own insecurity, that very pleasant lunch filled me with dread. I've worked with M for an entire year now, and our working relationship is only getting better and better. We are becoming more specialized; she handles the client relations and the financial paperwork; I do the descriptive writing and begin the applications. We both do research.

But yesterday was the first time we would be alone together face-to-face in a whole year of phone calls, and emails, and infrequent social occasions. We needed to discuss the unsavory history of a client organization, just recently come to light. And, in that spirit of disclosure and ethical business, I needed to confide to her my own background as well.

See, I'm a criminal. Well, I was a criminal, long ago, very briefly. But I've got the label now and fear the stigma and rejection. My poor judgment stopped my teaching position and forced my life down the path I'm now on. In general, I prefer to tell people this before I interact with them beyond a casual basis. Most of my friends and employers know this about me and don't care a bit. But with a new friend, or a new business partner, the moment of the reveal is fraught with anxiety and fear. Will they reject me outright? Will they pretend it's okay then go behind my back? Even talking about this situation - decades old now - in that heightened atmosphere brings back the pain of losing my career, the wound ripped freshly open. I want to be calm and matter-of-fact; instead my voice trembles and tears pool in my eyes. I hate that. I hate caring so much what other people think of me, and I hate feeling so vulnerable.

And this was my boss, the one in charge of my main source of income that my family so badly needs. I thought about not taking the risk. But instead, I told her anyway. It is just the right thing to do. And if she, or anyone, is going to reject me, I might as well get it over with sooner rather than later so I can start re-building anew.

So that was yesterday. My grueling task over muffins and salad. My head ached, my stomach churned, my hands shook. Like so many other difficult and terrifying moments in my life, I got through it. Of course, she was wonderful. Said it didn't matter a bit, that everybody makes mistakes, and that she loves my work. Even more reassuring, she sent me more work today.

So, I think everything is fine. Once again. Whew.

Now, I feel much better. I sit at my green desk, sipping a glass of chilled white wine and watching the weather. I write this, even though it's deeply personal, as I know I must express myself and process through it all.

Next, I will finish the text for a proposal to Weingart Foundation. I have four of those proposals to complete in the next few days. Like doing taxes, they seem like a fun break. Weingart is everybody's favorite funder, I think. Their form is super-easy and straightforward, and they are extremely kind and approachable. I'm looking forward to a much better evening and a renewed week.


I've been quarreling a lot with my husband lately. I've been tense and irritable, anxious and overworked. I mean, I know a lot of it IS me. I'm not very patient and I'm sort of snappy and I get fed up with the littlest thing.

I know that's not very pleasant to live with, and I'm sorry, babe.

But I'm kinda glad about it too. After a few tough days, I am feeling SO much better today. More balanced and hopeful. More warm and loving.

I think having those prickly times, and not having them turn into a huge disaster is actually very reassuring. It shows me that it's okay for us to just be who we are, and that we like each other anyway. And that's very, very nice.

It feels good to be liked for who you are, doesn't it?

Let's continue to work our way along this path - together!

Miraculous 2012!

I work with a (mostly) sweet, little old lady to plan a big fundraiser every year. Her longtime volunteering and good work in the community has been guided by her motto:

Expect a Miracle!

I realized today that I am expecting my own series of miracles for the rest of this year. There are a few things that I want very badly, and I am going to expect them to happen. So there.

1. Gain total legal freedom. I'm sick of this limbo-land, and am ready to move forward even more with my life.

2. Get fit and in shape. It's cuter, it's healthier, and it makes me a better yoga teacher.

3. Make a LOT of money by working and having a lot of money show up in my life. By the end of the year, I expect $200,000. I don't know yet where all of it can come from, but it will.

4. Revive old friendships. Life has a way of taking us away from those we care about just through circumstance and busy-ness. But friends are life's riches, and are worth some effort. This idea that people who have a difficult past together can't be friends is ridiculous. I've never believed it. How can someone who matters to you just be cut out of your life? We all help make our pasts, and we all live with them, but the past doesn't have to drag into the future. I want the people I've shared my life with to stay close. (Plus I'm fed up with getting emails from people who used to be good friends only because some virus has taken over their account and thinks I will follow the link to a viagra site. That happened twice last week. Sheesh. )

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Working with the Past

It's a beautiful rainy day today. An unexpected gift of the season. I wanted to work somewhere with large windows, where I have a view of the cloudy, moving sky, so I'm back at what used to be my favorite cafe.

I walked in with a shock, realizing that I actually haven't been here in months. When my favorite yoga studio was still in this quaint little town, I used to come here all the time. But since the studio closed two years ago, my routines have subtly shifted. My business now tends to take me other places, and I work in other cafes, with better coffee and more reliable wi-fi.

Still though, entering this stuffy, packed room was like walking back into the past. A year or so ago, my friend and I used to meet here to work several times a week. And before that I have memories of this area, when I used to go to the park daily for my exercise and mood-lifts.

I associate this room with a lot of fiction writing, and a lot of blogging as well. And also some good solid proposal work. It's funny to be back here, and remember all of that. I think I'm glad to be so busy, and also that my life continues to evolve and move forward.

Cafes are just fun in general. They are packed during day time hours with people chatting quietly, and leafing through notes, and tapping away at laptops. They are the study centers and the home offices of the 21st century. I much enjoy being a part of that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The act of writing is an act of optimism.
You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt that it didn’t matter. -- Edward Albee

Monday, April 9, 2012


It feels like spring today.

The sun is soft and the fresh air renews our energies and our hopes. The past is past, but the future is before us.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Lunch - good or bad?

I had lunch with a friend today, and now I'm oddly depressed. I'm having trouble figuring out why.

Part of it is that I think I'm just exhausted; it's been a long and tiring week, and I feel like everything continually gets dumped on my lap to figure out. Bills, taxes, housecleaning, cooking, laundry, marketing, and supervising the girls all fall on me. Sometimes I just want a week or so off. Even a few days of a break. That's a full time load of work right there. Then I've got the four jobs, all jangling round in my mind.

So sometimes there's not that much room left in there for my friends' issues.

My friend is actually really happy. The boyfriend who was being lukewarm broke up with her a few months ago. She was heartbroken, but within weeks she met her current boyfriend. And he seems really, really awesome. She says he might be the one she's been waiting for.

He's super athletic, so they're working out together all the time. She's tall and has always looked great, but now she says she's down to a size six. I know I should be happy for her. But I just felt a bit worried, like maybe she was taking her weight too low to please him. She looks good a bit heavier. I kept asking myself if I was being jealous and insecure because I'm not at all happy with my own weight and fitness right now. But I don't think so. I think I actually don't think this looks healthy for her.

It was wonderful to hear how happy she is, especially after so, so many struggles with love. I guess I'm just worried that I've heard these good starts before. I don't want to watch the problems crop up. I don't want to see her get hurt one more time.

So, hopefully, her happiness and contentment is secure, and this guy can really be the one that works out for her. I hope so. I hope she gets whatever can make her feel good. I just wish I wasn't feeling so cynical about it.

Another Comment

Before I left CBTL, I bought one of their new Wild Cherry Tea Lattes. It sounds better than it is. I think I prefer it as just the plain hot tea. This one has a lingering flavor disturbingly reminiscent of cough syrup.


For all my fretting, I really do love my job. It stuns me still that I get to sit around (or stand around) in various places, moving information from one form to another and get handsomely paid. Yes, I do get stressed. Yes, I do procrastinate when I'm stressed. But any job involves work - that's just the nature of working.

One thing I'm noticing right now. Character counts are tricky to me. I have a pretty good intuitive sense of word counts - I know how much text 100 words is or 200 words or 500 words. But when the application limits characters, I'm lost. I have no working idea of how much writing equals 2000 characters. Then I have to think about if I want to use big words or littler ones, and even where I want to put or omit spaces.

Tricky, huh?

The First Week of April

This week has been an uphill slog. Actually, even an uphill slog sounds a bit appealing. At least it would be physical exertion, something I am sorely lacking of late. If I don't get my schedule together and get regular yoga back into my life, I'm going to fade away.

With everybody back at school, I have spent every day this week working from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. If I'm not cooking then I'm picking someone up or dropping them off. If I'm not busy with errands, then I'm enjoying "quiet time" sitting at my computer and working. And I've had to squeeze in all the extra work of preparing for Easter too, making each day this week a mix of shopping and school and work.

I had a big meeting yesterday that took almost six hours of the day, and then came home to where I had left dinner cooking and had pre-boiled the eggs to squeeze in a family dinner and eggdyeing with my parents. Fell into bed with three proposals unwritten.

Feeling the buildup of work that I want to finish but can't quite get to really gets to me. A-ha, you say. So why aren't you working now? Well, in a way, I am. I'm switching gears to quiet, thinking workmode. I made a list this morning and it's not as bad as I feared. Yes, I do have eight proposals to complete. But only three of them were due last week, so I'll get those done tonight. The rest were due today, but I'm sure by Monday will be fine.

So if I can relax... and just let it flow... I'll catch up and start next week fresh.

I really do feel run down. I injured my back again this week, but couldn't really slow down for the pain, so just pushed through it. Yesterday and today, the anxiety is making my stomach hurt. This is how out of sorts I feel: I was out working at CBTL and I wanted to come home instead. It was too loud and hectic; all the people nearby me were projecting anxious, hyper-work energy. I actually craved silence and being alone.

Now I'm at my peaceful ocean of a desk, floating in its sea-green space. A breeze is moving the tree outside my window and the chimes are twisting in the currents. It is much more peaceful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The older I get, the more I think I don't understand life at all.

When I was younger, I was too busy living to think too much about meaning. I knew I had to work hard and succeed. I knew I should care about and help others. But I didn't get LIFE. You know? I was just too young and inexperienced.

Often I still feel frightfully young and uncertain of things, like there is so much more out there to experience and consider. And really, I feel like it is all in here, and not "out there" at all. That the in-hereness of LIFE is one of its secrets that you start to figure out when you slow down and be.

I spend a lot of my time in the outer world. Doing things, achieving, accomplishing, striving, surviving. Generally, I like it there. I enjoy the busyness and the socialness and the continuity of my life. BUT I also like the sense I carry within me, a quiet, still, heavy, calm, soothing awareness that real life is inside and that all the rest of it is just illusion and trappings. It's why I can be happy even when I'm sad, and calm even when I'm agitated. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's okay too. It's what I feel.

Paradoxically, I've been feeling quite middle-aged of late. That's unusual for me. I convinced myself long ago that I was going to live well into my 90s, so I usually tend to think of my 40s as being a time of youth and vibrancy, not even halfway along my path this time through. But lately I'm driving in the car, or shopping, or writing, and I see myself as others most. A 43 year old woman, overweight, tired, frazzled hair and aging skin. You can't hide the reality of all of that behind an energetic smile. And it's okay. It's okay to me to be what I am. I'm not frightened of it or resisting it. Most of me actually embraces it. I worked hard to get to this day, this moment, and I have earned all of my past. It just seems sort of ... weird, I guess.

But happy. Mostly happy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In a Rush

Wow. Time just keeps slipping by! I'm working four part-time jobs plus taking a writing class so I really am busy all the time now. I spent five hours today JUST sending EMAILS as part of pulling together a fundraiser. And it's not taking place until June.

Emails are writing in quick little five minute bursts! I've written dozens of them today.

Ha Ha though - Just got the latest comments from yesterday's assignment and AGAIN, I just love them!
"But otherwise, I have nothing else to suggest. This is great work, with very good dialogue and a good introduction to K. Nice work, Marie."