Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day

I just started attending a Unitarian Universalist church here in Washington DC. I went to the service on Valentine's Day and heard many poems and songs about all different kinds of love. This one defintiely called the tears out of my eyes. I never thought that a poem entitled something as adjective-free as Parkinson's Disease could be so moving. That's love.

Parkinson’s Disease
by Galway Kinnell

While spoon-feeding him with one hand
she holds his hand with her other hand,
or rather lets it rest on top of his,
which is permanently clenched shut.
When he turns his head away, she reaches
around and puts in the spoonful blind.
He will not accept the next morsel
until he has completely chewed this one.
His bright squint tells her he finds
the shrimp she has just put in delicious.
Next to the voice and touch of those we love,
food may be our last pleasure on earth—
a man on death row takes his T-bone
in small bites and swishes each sip
of the jug wine around in his mouth,
tomorrow will be too late for them to jolt
this supper out of him. She strokes
his head very slowly, as if to cheer up
each separate discomfited hair sticking up
from its root in his stricken brain.
Standing behind him, she presses
her check to his, kisses his jowl,
and his eyes seem to stop seeing
and do nothing but emit light.
Could heaven be a time, after we are dead,
of remembering the knowledge
flesh had from flesh? The flesh
of his face is hard, perhaps
from years spent facing down others
until they fell back, and harder
from years of being himself faced down
and falling back in his turn, and harder still
from all the while frowning
and beaming and worrying and shouting
and probably letting go in rages.
His face softens into a kind
of quizzical wince, as if one
of the other animals were working at
getting the knack of the human smile.
When picking up a cookie he uses
both thumbtips to grip it
and push it against an index finger
to secure it so that he can lift it.
She takes him then to the bathroom,
where she lowers his pants and removes
the wet diaper and holds the spout of the bottle
to his old penis until he pisses all he can,
then puts on the fresh diaper and pulls up his pants.
When they come out, she is facing him,
walking backwards in front of him
and holding his hands, pulling him
when he stops, reminding him to step
when he forgets and starts to pitch forward.
She is leading her old father into the future
as far as they can go, and she is walking
him back into her childhood, where she stood
in bare feet on the toes of his shoes
and they foxtrotted on this same rug.
I watch them closely: she could be teaching him
the last steps that one day she may teach me.
At this moment, he glints and shines,
as if it will be only a small dislocation
for him to pass from this paradise into the next.

Galway Kinnell, “Parkinson’s Disease” from Imperfect Thirst. Copyright © 1994

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reminding myself that cyberworld IS the real world

Following up on the curret status of affairs:
I DO have a cool job but I'm still facing some career path hurdles and disappointments.
I'm dating a man who I like but don't know very well.
I'm living in what is still a new city, even 9 months after my arrival.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Washington DC

The job search continues even though I'm in an office all day, seemingly job having. It's my first time back in an office since I left to go to Peace Corps, so since August of 2006. It's only temporary and it's the perfect way to ease back into the working world. I loved being a Peace Corps Volunteer. I had a great time and I know that my projects made a great difference. So, now I'm temping at headquarters and although the work that I'm doing will probably not rock anyone's world I appreciate being there and know that it's a great opportunity to be in on the action.

At the same time I'm still looking for a job and I'm living in a new city. I turned 31 recently as since I am now officially in my 30s I want a job that will move me in the direction of my goals, so I'm reluctant to take just any job that comes along. There are so many interesting jobs to be done, it's tough to really focus and clearly define my central ambition. If I'm really honest my true, most important ambitions include things like having a family. I also want to have a super cool, stimulating, meaningful job. And so the job search continues.

In other news, I realized late yesterday afternoon that it was my ex-fiancee's birthday. He called me on my aforementioned, recent 31st birthday. I try to maintain a positive relationship friends with all of my exes, some are even good friends, but he's different. I want to be kind and respectful as I do still love him. But, I don't really want to talk to him. Ahh the wonder of the Facebook wall.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Capitol 10K

I'm running! Come and join us. I'm currently reviewing suggestions for costumes.

The job search saga, Part I

I just got back from Peace Corps and I use "just" loosely as today is day 71 stateside. I've been earnestly looking for a job for about a month now. I kicked off my personal quest with a career workshop and job fair by the Peace Corps's Career Services Office. I had done some job search work before the workshop, but not very genuinely or consistently. Last summer, while still a volunteer I started doing some online federal applications back in Peru, thinking of them as practice. Toward the end of service I was so busy that I had to stop. Very recently I learned that there's definitely a system for success in the federal application and I started out totally uninformed and on the wrong track. A few different resources helped me get on track. The Peace Corps Career Services is really top notch and my undergraduate's was pretty helpful too. My grad school office probably would be helpful as well, but they're hard to use remotely. For practical advice on applying for on federal jobs I found to be very, very helpful.

Results have been slow going for me, although I can't really complain because it has only been a month. In December, in my completely uninformed frame of mind USAID actually flew me to Washington DC to interview for my dream job, based on one of those "practice" applications!!! Sadly, but not surprisingly, I think I blew it. I was "not invited into pre-employment at this time." My oral interview was a panel in an odd room and I don think that they could actually hear me. Also, the complete absence of follow-up questions threw me for a loop, but is apparently standard in federal interviews. I think that they were trying to be impartial, but because I was unprepared for it, it just made for difficult communication. Also, it was my firs time speaking professional English in a year so that was challenging. The upshot is that they told me to reapply because they're lowering the bar a bit... uh thanks? Don't worry I have already reapplied :)

We're dealing with the worst economy in my lifetime and I'm looking for the best job of my life. Frankly, I think I'll get it. I'm a glass-half-full kind of girl. I'm 30. I've worked since I got out of college and I got an MA somewhere in there, so my next gig should really be a "career builder." I want to stay there for a good while, I need it to pay decently and I need it to have good mentoring and growth opportunities. Maybe it could also wax my car and wash my clothes, but seriously if the posts are any indication I really do think that there is a job out there. I'll just have to be open and creative. I'm applying mostly to federal positions so it's taking a while.

Quick and unrelated vignette on why Texans are the best people ever: I just got a phone call from my godmother's cell phone. When I answered the call a woman named Stephanie said that she worked at JCPenny's and that another customer just found the phone in a dressing room. She was randomly dialing numbers to speak with someone who knew the phone's owner. I said that I would certainly tell her and that my godmother works at Nordstrom's in the same mall so she's probably still there. Stephanie said, Oh does she work in alterations? Why yes she does. So, they know each other and my godmother's phone is waiting for her at the catalog counter in the hands of her acquaintance, recently turned friend.