Central Park in Spring

In the unrelenting asphalt and dressed stone of Manhattan, Central Park in spring appears as an ethereal Eden.

Looking at the old trees with thick, far-reaching branches, I think about the natural tress that were here before the conquering of New Amsterdam. Fitzgerald wrote about that, in Great Gatsby he talks about the green breast of untouched land that was here before the dutch landed. When the Dutch arrived, the came “face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. ”

Perhaps the ambitious conquerers in this great city come here to remember how to wonder.

New York City

I just got back from my trip to Canada, not long ago. I barely finishe unpacking, and now I’m called off again to New York city.

I went to Canada to see my Aunt Lola. Lola is my dad’s oldest sister, oldest of three. She told me, “I went to New York City once. For one day…It was a long time ago.”
“It’s probably not that different. It’s an old city.”
“Well, they didn’t have they Twin Towers when I went.”
“THey don’t have them now either! It’s exactly the same!…But there’s a big hole, so maybe not.”

My three aunts, Lola, Pat and Zelpha, AND my dad are having a reunion of sorts right now. They all decided to go see Zelpha, the youngest sister, in New Mexico.

Lola is a nurse, and Pat is a nurse-an R.N., and Zelpha was a stewardess. Zelpha told me that she became a stewardess because she wanted to travel and see New York City. She did, for sure.

I guess it’s New York where she met Uncle Bill. She told some good stories about it, just how it seemed to her as a small town girl.

So I’m going to New York again. This will be the third time I’ve been. All for work reasons, so it’s a little different. I’d love to go and live there for a while. I can tell it would be a very inspiring place to be.

One of the things I like about it is that you are powered by your own feet. I have a strong attachment to walking. MY feet can get me places, but machines are suspect.

Well, maybe this trip I’ll get to look around between all the work requirements. We’ll see.

Oh Canada!

I’m on vacation, which is lovely. A whole week, 5 working days, our of my usual schedule to get away and see new things.

I love seeing new things. It’s easier to see new things when you are far away from home. And I like to see new and DIFFERENT things, things that make me think different thoughts. It is not so different to see a new McDonald’s, for example. It may be new, but it’s not that different from the usual McDonald’s near my home.

I like to visit other countries, because they give opportunity to see different things. Chris has an incomprehensible attachment to America. Maybe it’s because he never wants to be too far away from a Coke supply.

HIS preferred vacation is to see Nature, some kind of natural phenomena or vista-that makes him happy.

Nature is okay, but I like to have a lot of people around me.

This trip was about seeing a North American rain forest. The only one is found near Seattle. Rain forests are cool, I was excited to see it, but it sounded like an excessive amount of Nature to me. Seattle is near Canada, so I compromised, and said it would be a successful vacation if I got to see a foreign country, and Canada would do in a pinch.

Also, my Aunt Lola lives in Canada, on Vancouver Island. We could go see her!

After a little more thought, I decided we should see more of Canada, and bop over to Vancouver.

Vancouver is where I am right now. It’s a beautiful city!

The rain forest was amazing, Vancouver Island and Victoria was pretty nice.

We giggled a lot about Victoria. “I wonder if they will advertise places as being ‘Victoria’s best kept Secret’?”

I was totally reduced when I saw an advertisement with a lovely woman in a bubble bath drinking champagne. It was for a motel: “Making Victoria Affordable”

But double entendres aside, the ferry was fun, and my Aunt Lola was so nice and hospitable. I was so glad I went, even though it was out of my way. We talked about family things, and she gave me a lot to think about.

And then Vancouver.

There is a Sun Run today in Vancouver. 50K people running 10K. Fifty thousand people is a lot. They will definitely clog up the streets.

But it’s a beautiful day for the run. Man! Sun is shining, but it’s a little brisk out there.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do today, I fell asleep before Chris figured out how to avoid the crowds. He hates crowds.

Funny. I love crowds, but I grew up with none. He grew up with all kinds of people, and can’t stand congestion.

You just never know.

I’ve already started to be sad, because tomorrow the vacation ends. I’m always sad when a vacation ends.

But I miss my cat, and I am full of plans for things to do when I get back.

The days are longer. We will have so much we can do with the daylight.

last resorts

Sometimes the last thing you would ever do turns out to be exactly the right thing.

I went to HR today to talk about my issues with being used for target practice.

I’ve always been afraid of HR. I’ve always been afraid of asking for help. Any help is always with strings attached; that’s how I feel. And I never know when those strings will be pulled.

But I had nothing left to lose. I was a walking wound, and I just couldn’t deal anymore.

So I figured I’d go.

It worked out all right. I feel much better about the situation. They didn’t make me confront my oppressors, they mostly just talked to me and gave me some advice about how to proceed.

It’s good just to be heard, sometimes.

I have a feeling this happens a lot at this firm. Peopple have to come and cry in HR to get over the mean people who run the company.

Well, it makes it much easier for me to go on the vacation I am leaving on tomorrow. I’ll be able to go ahead without the lingering demons of work.


So, because I’m bringing my computer on this vacation, i will probably be able to give some posts about my trip.

Stay tuned.

Thoughts on Candide and the workplace

I read Candide by Voltaire long ago. I thought it was incredibly funny, and it was hard to believe it was meant to be philosophy. It was so funny! All these crazy things happening to these people. One good thing then all of a sudden all these bad things.

It was for a class, of course. We were trying to figure out what made this philosophical. The teacher said, “Someone suggested that the actual number of bad things that happen to the characters is exactly equal to the number of good things…I haven’t counted, though.”

And that makes me think. Still makes me think. How many good things does it take to be equal to a bad thing? Really…Equivalency is what I’m talking about.

If someone says, “You have a nice smile”
is that an equivalent counter-balance to someone else saying, “Your breath really stinks”?

Those are kind of equivalent, maybe. Depending on who says it and when.

But how many, “you did a good job”s does it take to make up for “We’re very disappointed in you”

It may depend on the person.

Here’s another one. People who do customer service get this all the time. Teachers too. When you have that customer, that person you are assisting, or student go ballistic on you. When they threaten to call your manager, tell you exactly how you are failing them, accuse you of some mishandling of a task….

And you have to stand there, take it, and speak in a calm voice explaining the situation and getting some necessary response/information from them until you are at last released from their tractor beam of displeasure.

you are released. You kept your cool, you handled the crisis.

How long does it take to recover?

It takes me a while. It leaves me shaky and vulnerable.

It makes it harder to help that person. Why go back to the source of pain?

How many good nights sleep does it take to get over the adrenaline rush of someone’s accusation?

What’s the equivalent?

i try to find satisfaction in a job well done. My reward is in recognizing that I did a damn good job.

I’d rather not take the bullets. I’m tired of being the target practice.

So…One thing I got to do

Went to New York. Work trips. They are not usually so fun. It’s an experience, to travel. But all experiences are not pleasant.

Work trips are…well…experiences.

I was interesting to swim like a fish through the masses of people in times square. It was interesting to see how they live and eat and get around.

It was interesting to drive by Queens. I was interesting to drink the coffee and try a cannolli.

But I didn’t really do anything fun. I drank a lot, because people there drink a lot. Well, the people I was with there drink a lot. Realize, a lot to me is a cocktail and a glass of wine.

I think one evening I had two cocktails and a glass of wine.

That was the evening I had fun. I got to go see The Village. Greenwich Village. THe one that is supposed to have it’s own style, counter culture creativity.

I went to a famous place:

I guess a lot of counter-culture bands got to play there before they became THE counter culture bands. I missed the Smiths, The Ramones, Blondie and The Police the first time around.

I remember the Grunge movement. Which, when I say that, everyone thinks is Nirvana. But that’s not what I remember. I remember listening to the local college radio station, and hearing music like I’d never heard before. I remember bands with weird names like Lucy’s new Fur Coat. I remember going to a couple raves, and coffee shops where people wrapped embriodery threads around strands of hair. I remember wearing flannel shirts and my boyfriend’s torn jeans because I had nothing else to wear, and being cool because that was “alternative.”

I had trouble remembering who Nirvana was. But I loved the alternative scene. I often wondered what else was going on…Was alternative really alternative if it was the only happening? And there were categories of alternative…”Goth” and “Industrial” and “college”….

THAT is what I thought about when I went to CBGBs

Maybe it’s still alternative in the Village. Maybe it always will be.

April is here

April has arrived.

Yesterday was april fool’s day. I wish I knew something about how April Fool’s day became foolish. But I don’t.

I am pushing onto my 12th day straight of working. All 12 days were GRUELING. ALL of them.

The first 5 days of the 12 were spend at home in Los Angeles. But man oh man. Hard hard days of work. On wednesday (or was it thursday?) I had so many fires to put out that I spent 12 hours rushing from one thing to the next. On the way home, my skull felt like I had a drill going through it directly above my right eye.

I was thinking of the movie “pi” as I drove home…It is not unusual for that side of my head to ache. I call it my brain tumor. But the reality is, I cracked open my skull in a car accident when I was a kid. That part of my head is the seam it healed on. And it aches sometimes.

But this was substantially worse than ever before. I wondered why it was so bad? Maybe I was hungry…When did I last eat, anyway?

I’d grabbed leftover catering in different rooms…A bagel here, a danish there. But I hadn’t stopped to eat any real food all day!

No wonder.

But then on Saturday, at 4:30 a.m. my alarm went off so that I could drive myself to LAX. Had to get to New York City.

Had a whole mess of work and a whole mine field of political pitfalls to avoid. People to please and appease.

Managed that, only set a few mines off. Well, I guess I’m entitled to one or two mistakes. As long as their are far enough between.

Then I went to the next stop, Washington D.C. This is the original war zone. Mine field, nothing. Dodge the live fire. “Friendly” fire.

But as my brother says, I’m nuetral like Switzerland. Smile and commit to nothing, that’s all I say.

But in addition to dodging political entaglements, I had to actually get some work done. Yes. I stayed here till nine p.m. last night. Still wasnt’ done.

I was staying 4 blocks away, and was looking forward to the walk. But no.

“I’ll call a car, ” the receptionist said. “It’s standard procedure. If you are from out of town, you don’t know what streets to cross to the other side.”

Imagine. Danger and harm does not cross the street. Amazing. Safe on the proper side, but you don’t know which side.

Danger lurks everywhere, but it won’t get you unless you walk within easy reach.

Maybe those who wish you harm are lazy.

So…last night I ate frog legs for dinner, which was marvelous. And I fell asleep at 11. Woke up this morning at 4:30

Worried about the last day in dangerous territory. Because this is that last last day. Today, I return to the my home, my cat, and the one person who makes sure I sleep very very well.

I have only a few more hours.