Briefly dipping my pinkie toe in the blogging world for a moment as the mayhem in my life mounts!
First, on moving:
I was |this| close to securing a tiny rental house; well, tiny for most standards. It is more than 4x the size of where I live now. But, you have to be poised to move quickly, and I want to give my current landlord at least 30 days notice. So the little diamond in the rough slipped through my fingers I can’t give notice and then frantically try to find a place in a month, especially with the 14 plus hour days I’m working lately – no time to even get out and look at prospective digs.It is a precarious little dance on a wire. I’m still mildly optimistic that I’ll find some place closer to work and the kids while remaining within my budgetary constraints. I don’t want to take away from my debt pay-off plan and derail my return to the woods too badly. My youngest daughter and the two babies went with me last weekend scouting out places I had found, and we had a good time, giggling a lot. She makes me laugh often, and the boys were very good despite being dragged in and out of car seats to amble about empty houses. And she did an amazing little thing for me when she heard I’d missed out on the place I really wanted – sent a couple of ‘cheer-up’ E-cards and a note telling me she loved me. That kind of encouragement and expression of love can take a really bad week and give it an upturn at the most needed moment.
I work so much lately that I really hedge my weekends for time to try to regain some balance, catch up on sleep and get a handle on things neglected during the week. I’m fairly stingy with my time, which leaves me seeing the babies and the girls less often, as I simply don’t have the energy to make the long drive, play with the boys, and then muck it back home. This is new for me, feeling so overwhelmed that I just don’t want to do anything that requires a lot of time. I used to be a go-go task mistress on the weekends, getting lots accomplished, running about town, working in the yard. It is very frustrating to me. But if I don’t rest and do catch-up, then I start the week feeling even more behind. Today is a ‘bonus’ PTO day in preparation for the High Holy Days approaching, and it feels marvelous. I have a little task list written out for things to accomplish – and one of those things is to lie in the bed and stare at the ceiling for an hour, lol! This might be a symbol that something is wrong when one has to list R&R on a task list, do ya think??
I reached my breaking point with my workload this week at work and wrote a letter to my management. This was followed by an executive huddle and a promise that relief was coming. Will it? I don’t know. I am my own biggest problem here. I believe in doing the best one possibly can at one’s job; never being the one to say “That’s not my job” but rather trying to find a solution. My late husband used to chide me for being a workaholic back when I only worked 9-6, occasionally taking on additional things. In this position, since it was new and never held by any one prior (and now there are three of us), there were no guidelines. I kind of made up the job as it went along. For a long while it was a pleasant and challenging but manageable job with normal hours. We’d have some short bursts of working until eight or nine, but not usually. In the last three months though, our incoming work has doubled each month, meaning today I’m handling four times the work I was just back in July. I hate to say “I can’t do it.” This week though, I finally did, because I can’t. I mean, yes, I CAN continue to work 14-15 hours – for how long before I have a nervous breakdown is anyone’s guess. I am currently the only one carrying more than one customer, being senior in the department. That’s about to change for our most recent hire though, as they onboard two smaller customers to her. Being her back up, when she’s out I’ll now cover five customers 0_0. And the reverse is true for her as well, except that there are usually two other people who cover segments of my work when I am out. We’re still down one person due to illness. In chatting with other people, I’m finding that this is becoming the norm, particularly if you’re identified as someone who will take on extra without complaint. What used to be a positive quality is now a Catch-22. So I’m stuck and trying to figure out how to establish reasonable boundaries without hurting my company. I could walk away every day at the end of my assigned shift – no one stands over me making me work and I’m salaried, so it’s not for OT purposes. I simply know the work has to be done and that I’ll start the day behind if I don’t tackle as much of it as possible before I fall out of my chair. Lately, despite the hours I put in, the day still starts that way due to the increased influx of work. Have I mentioned I dislike that feeling a lot? LOL.
I am aware that I have created part of the problem – but as yet have not figured out how to stop it without causing things to break. I realize that I could look for another job. They are out there. Since I am in my tenth year here, that’s almost like trying to contemplate a divorce. The devil one knows, versus the unknown. I like what I do. I like the majority of the people I work with. I appreciate my boss and the confidence he places in me. They are highly respectful of my religious needs (yes, I know legally it is required, but an employer can make it tough without actually breaking the law). And I know that it isn’t something only in my company or department. It is rearing its head nearly everywhere here in the US.
So as I watched for the New Moon sighting in Israel, which starts the seventh month and ushers in Yom Teruah, I have had a lot on my brain. (what else is new, haha!) Mostly, I am thankful. What I struggle with are first world problems and issues. No one is shooting at me or burning down my home. I don’t need to worry about what there will be to eat tonight or next week. My health is good and I have a roof over my head. My water supply isn’t going to disappear possibly in a month. A wildfire isn’t looming close to my home and I’ve not been flooded out due to torrential rains. When you put those kinds of things on the other side of the see-saw, it can make one’s worries seem rather paltry, you know? That is what I choose to focus on, even though lately that is becoming a more difficult choice. However, it IS a choice.
And now the part probably most of you really read this far for, the music 🙂 I got ensnared in some new pop tunes for my workout tracks, but I’m not listening to those right now (wore them out earlier in the week!) As you might expect, these tunes will have a Hebrew slant 😉
Live Like a Warrior – Matisyahu
Matisyahu has gone through a huge personal transformation since I started listening to his music way back when, but his music has always remained fresh and in the reggae vein, a sound I am particularly attached to due to the ‘happinesss factor’ I find in most of it. Like many people searching for a spiritual identity, he’s gone from none, to hard-core rules based, and now come out on the other side in a place where he is comfortable.
Be’yom Shabbat – Idan Raichel Project (On Shabbat) This includes portions of the Sh’ma, which has always been a favorite of mine. In Amharic(Ethiopian) and Hebrew.
If you are not religious or if you are agnostic, pagan or atheist, you might wish to skip this part 🙂 Just sayin’.. A clip of something beautiful to me.
While this is a deviation from what is commanded, it still gives me goosebumps every year.
In case you need a crash course in what you are watching, here’s a bit of info. Those facing the Wall (not relevant to me or Torah at all) are all non-Kohenim. Those facing outward towards the crowd (hard to tell sometimes while they are under the tallit-the white covering you see many wearing) are the Kohenim (Hebrew priests), performing the Birkat Kohenim. The Birkat Kohenim (Priestly Blessing) is found in the Torah in Bamidbar (Numbers) 6:22-27. It is my greatest hope that in my lifetime, the Kohenim will be restored to their proper place and that this will occur anywhere there is a desire.
I stand outside of the stream of ‘accepted’ Judaism (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative,Reconstructionist, Karaite) because I am a sojourner, or stranger who has accepted the covenant; as such I do not hold to the additional rules and rituals that have been added by man over the years. Although I find them very beautiful, I am careful to separate what is an addition and what is commanded. My validation comes only from my acceptance by a Kohen (a Hebrew priest) and the personal witnessed vow that I made. It is the single most important thing I have done in my life. And the beauty of it is, it doesn’t matter about others. I’m not told to badger others into what I believe, or kill them if they don’t believe as I do, or shun them. I don’t judge them by my beliefs either, because it isn’t required. I am free to love and accept other people exactly as I find them. This has given me great joy over the years.
As we move into another Fall cycle of Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth, my pulse always quickens. It is my favorite time of year, Fall. The time of gathering in of what one has grown for preserving. The time preceding the blanket of Winter (if you live somewhere else other than where I do…lol!) The time of slowing down and enjoying the fruits of labor.
When I lived in a place with seasons, it was a busy time, filling up jars with bounty, gathering apples and pears for storage in the basement, of digging up tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, and harvesting huge pumpkins! I love the crisp bite in the mornings and sparkles of frost on the grass, the smell of wood fires and the mellow golden warmth of Fall afternoons. It is all a whisper, a hint, of what is to come.
This year I get to travel to the Midwest and spend time with my best friend, who is already having frosty mornings. I am excited to get to visit with her and her husband; to go hiking and to camp. She’s a great cook too, so I get to sample some of her simple but delicious foods (things I don’t have to cook!)
So while I am still struggling with work, with finding a place to live, with finding a place at all for me sometimes as a widow/mom/grandmother/daughter, I am also excited and forward looking. Life can be hard and fast; yes, brutal even. But it is still Life.
No matter where you are, what burdens you are bending under, you are still alive – seeing, doing, feeling, being. Try to remember that, as I too, try to do the same.
Be well. Smile at least three times a day. And when the crap piles up, well, get a damn shovel and heave that stuff 🙂
PS. I spilled coffee into my personal computer that was due for a backup THIS weekend Here’s hoping that the flip and fan activities I took make it usable again, at least long enough to transfer the data I need to onto the external drive. 0_0