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Mel

I have been fired twice in my life. The first time, I was hired for what I thought was a cashier job in the mall, only to spend my first day doing hard sales.  Before I even had a handle of what the store sold, which was mostly novelty and gift items.  I planned to quit when the shift was up. It was a leave-at-lunch kind of job… but I had been sent out to get lunch for my boss, which made that impossible.  Plus, I at least wanted my pay for the day.  I got called over about 3 hours before closing to be fired.  I couldn’t have been happier.

The second time, I was working at a doctor’s office where my mom worked. I had been there for almost a year and a half.  I wasn’t treated particularly well (I had no job description, really… and when my direct manager got a promotion I found myself doing less of my work and more of hers), but I did my work and they seemed flexible with my changing schedule from semester to semester.  Well, seemed.  Not quite two months into this particular semester, a heavy one where I’d had to cut my schedule way back, I received a phone call that I was being let go because I wasn’t completing enough work.  I was upset.  More than that, I was angry.  I had record of the work I had done, and sent a letter to the doctors at the practice explaining to them what I had done. I didn’t care so much that I was fired– but I cared a great deal that my work ethic and character might be on the line.  Out of a decent-sized office, only two people reached out to me at that time.  My favorite doctor, and Mel.  I have kept in some touch with the other workers, and still am a patient at the practice. I began a new job, on campus, a few months later. Which wound up to be my favorite job ever. All things work for the best. But Mel’s card was a great encouragement to me… and it meant the world. She knew I had been fired unfairly, probably one of the few to realize this, and she wrote a beautiful note saying what great things were ahead of me and how that job was just a very, very small part of the life I would have.  She was right and I was far happier without working there– and even happier to know that someone saw who I was. 

Mel passed away last week.  Two days ago, Mom and I attended her memorial service.  She had battled cancer since before I knew her. And when I say battled, I mean battled. Mel gave cancer a run for its money.  After having tumors removed from her brain, she was still planning her return to work in a couple weeks.  It was after this that things took a turn for the worse. Mel was tough stuff with a great sense of humor. She was a protector. Sitting at the service, seeing her family… I still cannot grasp the concept of death.  Even after all the practice I’ve had.

Wednesday marks a year since my grandmother passed away.  I still cannot grasp it.  I still forget at times.  Still feel as though it’s not real.  Still can go back in my head to that day, and the weekend before.  It doesn’t happen as often… but it’s hard to shake when it does.  

Yesterday, we had a baby shower in my family.  My cousin’s wife.  Expecting a girl, their first child, this Spring. It is a reminder of a new season for us. Death is back in 2012 for my family– Life is in 2013, with two babies due in the next two months. A reminder that the bad is passed.  A reminder that even though death is hard to grasp– so is life.  This creation– how impossible that a baby grows and is born.  How miraculous.  As said in RENT, “the opposite of death isn’t life– it’s creation.”  I am still working on this.  Working on letting the emotions seep down to water the seeds that are growing deep down.  I’m waiting to see what will come.  I know that it will be good.  

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What are we waiting for?

As I’ve mentioned (I think), I am soon-to-be moving into my very own apartment, my very first apartment.  Although I still plan to be home on weekends to be close to my awesome mom, family, friends, church, and do some laundry– moving an hour away allows me to be super-close to school while avoiding some of the down-sides to on-campus living (lack of privacy, sharing a bathroom, and a kitchen full of allergens in my case!).  

The prep for this big step has led to many feelings.  There is joy in brightly colored dishtowels.  There is fear of loneliness.  There is excitement about setting up a home, and cooking, and thoughts of having company over.  There is sadness to be leaving my home now, with my mom and my comfortable life, even if I will be home for most weekends.  I am brainstorming of how I want to decorate; the feel I want to create , the pictures I want around, how I want to remember my grandparents in my new space– a space I think they would have loved.  

And then something happened the other day.  I was making Green Pea Pesto, with the hopes of blogging about it (note: a great alternative as a nut-free pesto! I would however, alter the recipe.  I may tackle this in another post.).  Well, while tasty, there were some, umm, technical difficulties with the creation of this dish.  The recipe describes a 5-minute process of tossing the ingredients into a blender and being done with it.  Well, my usually very reliable blender just wouldn’t blend the thick consistency of the peas and the garlic– the bit of oil just wasn’t enough liquid.  But at first, I thought my blender had broken.  So I put it in my mini-blender, which is also usually a fabulous little thing with enough power but the size of a single serving (that becomes a travel cup).  Still nothing.  Both motors spun the blades, severing the closest peas and sending them flying, leaving the blades spinning while the pesto remained untouched in a circle around it.  Finally, I wound up mashing the rest of the peas, and picking out the rest of the un-pulverized garlic, which was unpleasant (the dish was also far too garlic-y, and I am a big fan of my garlic).  This led me to the realization, that this recipe may call for a food processor.  I’ve never owned one.  Talking to mom, she suggested that maybe I should think of getting one.  Most are reasonably priced and are fairly multi-functional, able to blend and chop and do all other kinds of things. 

Which gets me to my point:  Although I love to cook, I had never considered getting a food processor before.  To me, this always seemed like a “big” item.  Something I wanted, but didn’t really need.  Something that I’d put on a bridal shower registry, not buy for myself.  

But why not?  Do I need pesto so desperately?  No.  But why is cooking for myself in a kitchen only owned by me less legitimate than my “someday” kitchen where my husband and I both cook and there’s two of us (and at some point maybe a couple of kids)?  While I have been in save-money mode– if and when I have money, I don’t flinch much at buying gifts for others (if, say, I had to buy a food processor off a friend’s bridal registry).  I also wouldn’t flinch if I was treating myself to a new techy item.  Or to put it on a birthday or Christmas wishlist, in the very least.  But there has been something “off limits” about a food processor, although I didn’t realize I felt that way.  (Apparently, a bread machine brings up similar feelings for me.)  

What are we waiting for?  What else am I not doing for silly reasons?  What are you not doing?  

You may never “arrive.”  So for the little things, don’t wait!  Use the good china.  Write until all the stationery is gone.  Save up for the coveted item.  Watch the movie (I’ve not seen a lot of movies waiting to go with someone I *promised* to go with).  To quote my dear Eleanor (Roosevelt), “You must do the thing you think you cannot do!” 

What are you waiting for? 

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