Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fire's progression

I want to start first by expressing my appreciation to those who have asked for updates and expressed their caring thoughts. I recognize that we live in a time of short attention spans (me included) and that it's hard to give much extended attention to something that doesn't personally affect you. So thank you thank you thank you for sticking with this so far.

Here's something that I personally find enormously ineresting (did someone sound the geek alarm?):

On this map, you can see the beginning of the fire perimeter and the point of origin on Sunday, Oct. 21. Move the slider to Monday, Oct. 22 and you can see how very quickly this fire spread - like wildfire! - due to the high, hot, dry winds that rapidly scattered flames in all directions. Keep moving the slider through each day and you can see the enormous effect that lighter winds, cooler temperatures and the enormous efforts by firefighting personnel have had in slowing the progression each day.

Current status (as of this morning, Wed. Oct. 31):

  • Fire continues to move east and north
  • About 200 homes still threatened; 15 homes destroyed
  • Mandatory evacuations continue for several canyon areas
  • Acres burned: Approximately 28,445
  • Containment: 90 percent
  • Full containment expected: Sunday
  • Full control: unknown
  • Firefighters on scene: 1,948 firefighters, 167 engines/trucks, 32 handcrews, 18 bulldozers. 634 officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. 100-plus officers from California Highway Patrol
  • Aircraft: 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers, 13 water tenders

This gives an idea of the enormous number of resources currently deployed to the fire that's been burning for 11 days now. (There are still 5-6 other fires - out of the original 20 - that are still burning.) Ash in the burned areas is as much as a foot deep. They want to light backfires in the unburned brush in the rugged, steep hillsides near the northeast corner of the perimeter in an effort to destroy any fuel that could reignite the wildfire. This is necessary in anticipation of high winds that are expected on Friday. We're having a lot of humidity, though, and the brush is too wet to burn, so we're hoping for lower humidity to light the backfires and burn the brush in a controlled manner before Friday.

If all goes well, the fire may be contained by Friday. In addition to the fully burning areas, there continue to be dozens of small and large fires - random hot spots - throughout the rugged and nearly inaccessible terrain that they are fighting. In the topo map above, I've circled the area of my daughter's home in Lake Elsinore, with the wildnerness of the Cleveland National Forest between her and the fire. The fire is still 8 miles away and isn't advancing as before. We're so grateful.

Today's simple pleasure: No more smoke smell in the office - woo-hoo!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fire Update - cautiously optimistic ...

Thurs. night, Oct. 25, 2007

Big, big, BIG thank yous to all of you who have commented and are praying along with us for all those affected and praying the fire is contained soon.

The change in weather today is really helping. Last Sunday, the fire spread 15,000 acres in 24 hours, but now, it's only spread 1500 acres over the last 24 hours. They're saying they might have it fully contained by Tuesday. The weather is much cooler and I could see the sky today - hurray! More moisture in the air, too; we even had a two-minute drizzle this afternoon. Cooler weather and lighter winds really help our firefighters in their battle of these blazes.

The science of firefighting is really amazing to me. They've set up a fire command post in a public park, with the firefighters living, eating, showering, sleeping there for now. Those in command are very strategic in how they fight a fire like this, now that it's less chaotic than when it was first blazing and the Santa Ana winds were sending flames leaping in every direction. To counteract the fires going down the hills into the canyons, they're lighting backfires to go up the hill in Silverado Canyon, so the two directions will hopefully consume one another. They've sprayed foam fire retardant on the ridge top to help contain it and have dropped fire retardant along 2.5 miles of the county line. (Lots of cell phone transmission towers on the ridgetop.) Eighteen bulldozer crews have dug about five miles of firebreak line at the northeast edge, with about ten more miles to dig. The fire will continue to burn within that area; lots of "ancient fuels" - old growth forest - in Cleveland National Forest due to the fact that we don't have a lot of recent fire history there. It's still a threat and the mandatory evacuation order in Silverado Canyon is still in place; fire is too unpredictable to take any chances. The slower advance of the fire makes me hopeful, though, that it won't reach my daughter's home before they're able to contain it.

In a news conference this afternoon, Gov. Schwarzenegger commended all those who have worked so hard in fighting these fires. (I last heard there are still 10 burning throughout SoCal.) He also commended all the volunteers: people who have brought food, supplies; nurses, doctors, cooks - so many people helping in so many ways either through volunteer command posts or individual efforts. Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) sent a breathmobile to help those dealing with reactions from breathing our smoke-filled air all week. The insurance companies have been issuing announcements as to how to contact them for claims. One resident has already received a check from his insurance company for the loss of his home, and the insurance company has people in the field contacting homeowners proactively.

The governor also said they'd prosecute to the fullest extent any arsonists (two fires, including the Santiago, are cited as arson,; two others are deemed suspicious), looters, scam artists, fraudulent contractors and loan agents. There's already been a number of arrests of people taking advantage of others' tragedy. The ATF arrested several scam artists and in doing so, found that some were wanted for attempted murder, too. Our government dollars at work in such a positive way.

So, we're hopeful, and praying the weather continues to be good. Thank you for your continued support. It's good to know that I can count on friends for kindness and prayers.
Today's simple pleasure: Seeing raindrops on the patio!

Photos: Sullivan, Yamanaka, Vasconcellos - Orange County Register

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire - Please pray for my daughter and family

My daughter just sent me the following article link:

We didn't think it would be getting so close, but the arson-caused Santiago fire continues to grow; winds are still unpredictable, although, thank God they aren't blasting the way they were. Her home is in Lake Elsinore near Temescal Canyon, in the hills of Cleveland National Forest with open wilderness all around; the forest is right behind her backyard. They've closed my granddaughters' school for today. I'm praying that since some of the other fires are under control more firefighter and water-dropping planes can be deployed out here to the growing Santiago fire.

Please help me pray that this gets contained soon. And that they find that arsonist. The reward is now up to $250,000.

Today's simple pleasure: Knowing that my daughter and family are safe today.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wildfires - thank you!

My office is just a few miles from one of the fires raging in Southern California (the Santiago fire); since Monday, our office has had smoke inside that we've been breathing and smelling, eyes red and irritated, coughing. My lungs feel dirty. It's nasty. Co-workers have been evacuated from their homes. I've had a headache since Monday. When I left work yesterday, my car looked like there had been a light snowfall, dusted entirely with ash and soot. A deliveryman just came in with a mask over his face; since he's in and out of his truck all day, that's probably a good thing since he's breathing all this stuff all day. As I left home this morning, flakes of ash as big as my fingernail were falling from the sky. Well, what there is of the sky; the sky is still covered with smoke and ash, a gray/brown haze blanketing the sun.

Some of you may find this map interesting; it shows the current fires and when you click one, it opens and provides more details, such as acres burned, evacuations, etc.

If you click the red balloon right above "Santa Ana", you'll see the info on the fire close to my office in Irvine. (I live in Huntington Beach, though; no fire danger at home.) There are fires blazing near my daughter's new home, not close enough to be in any immediate danger unless the winds start gusting again. You can see the line of fire from her backyard, looking across the lake to the surrounding hills.

Today, they've said that the Santiago fire (the one close to my office) is still only 30% contained and still spreading. They believe the arsonist set that fire in three places and was someone who knew how fire spreads. The firefighters have been working nonstop; the police and other service personnel and volunteers have been going door-to-door asking people to evacuate. These people are all heroes in my mind, giving selflessly to help others, pushing themselves for long hours under the most wretched of conditions.

Some friends have said they hope we get rain soon; we haven't had any significant rain here for over a year. Very heavy rains would cause another disaster: with vegetation burned on the hillsides, we'd experience heavy mudslides as we did a couple of years ago, again following big wildfires.

We don't talk much about "fall" here; newcasters and reporters refer to it as "fire season" and talk about the forecast for the fire season, warnings and preparations for the fire season. Spring, Summer, Fire Season, Winter. It's nature's weather pattern for us: following beautiful, warm summers, the canyons and hills are dried out. Then the Santa Ana winds blow their hot, dry, heavy gusts through all the dried vegetation, a tinderbox just waiting for the right spark to start a conflagration.

The winds are unpredictable still, but for now they're dying down, giving firefighters an opportunity to gain some control over one of the worst fire seasons we've seen. Thank you to all who are thinking of SoCal and praying for everyone's safety.

Photos from the Orange County Register

Today's simple pleasure: knowing that people are starting to be able to go home. (Yet keeping in mind the 1600+ who don't have homes any longer.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1 million

On the news tonight:
  • 20 wildfires burning
  • 1600 homes lost
  • 1 million evacuees (yes, milliion)
  • 600 square miles burned
  • 6 deaths
I'm just in tears. So much sorrow fills my heart for all who are affected by this.

The wildfires have caused the cancellation of blood drives all over SoCal (evacuating a million people will do that), resulting in a severe shortage of blood for patients in local hospitals. I last donated on Aug. 29, so I'm eligible to give tomorrow. (Donations must be 56 days apart.) I've scheduled my appointment for Friday. I'm not a firefighter, but I can help in this small way.

Today's simple pleasure: a big hug from my daughter


I open the window ... and then quickly close it. The smell of fire is everywhere. A headache expands across the back of my skull, my eyes are dry, red and irritated, my lungs feel dirty. The sky has disappeared, blanketed with a thick gray/brown cloud of smoke and ash. I try to keep my breath shallow, not breathing the air too deeply into my lungs. I cough anyway. Even with the windows closed, a fine silt covers every surface. The carpet feels crunchy; I can feel the fine layer of dirt on the wood floors beneath my bare feet.

One of the wildfires (there are 14 now) is a few miles from my office. About 4-5 of us toughed it out at the office yesterday, others worked from home, and still others had to evacuate, hoping they would have homes left when the fires had finished their work. It wasn't easy being in the office. Even inside, the air tasted smoky and burned my eyes and lungs.

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds have spread the fires rapidly. Strong 60mph gusts swept the leaping flames in many different directions at once, creating great danger for firefighters and homes. The blaze near my office is thought to be arson. What evil would compel a person to deliberately set a fire, scorching the earth, destroying homes, putting homeowners, firefighters and animals in danger? Near a trail, two burned bodies have been found in that fire, unidentifiable, burned beyond recognition.
Firefighters are bravely battling, but there are so many fires, so many acres ablaze. Resources are spread very thinly throughout the area. Several of them had to take shelter in their emergency shelters yesterday, when the wind turned and they were caught in the middle with no escape. I thank God that the fire didn't kill them and they survived and will eventually return to their families when this is over.

Hundreds of thousands of acres are on fire; 250,000 people have been evacuated for their safety, taking whatever they could with them, praying their homes would still stand when they returned.

Please pray for all those who are so very bravely putting their own lives in danger to help others. Please pray for the residents who don't know if they will have homes, and for those who have already lost theirs. Please pray for the animals, pets and wildlife, impacted by these dangerous fires.

I pray the winds die down today. Even so, it will be many days before the fires can be contained and then extinguished.

Southern California is on fire.
All photos from the Orange County Register

Today's simple pleasure: gratitude for firefighters, the Red Cross, emergency services and the volunteers who give of themselves to help others.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

everyday blessings

This has been a week filled with blessings.

I interviewed for a position with an interactive marketing/Web development company a couple of weeks ago, a company that does work very similar to work I did in a previous company for an automotive client. I got the job and started in my new company as a Project Lead this past Monday. I'm just so happy! It's such a good fit and I feel like a squirrel nestled in a burrow that's made just right - cozy and comfortable and content; working hard while treading on familiar ground. I absolutely love working Web projects, working with talented teams of producers and developers, ensuring all the myriad bits and pieces of a site work correctly and meet common usability guidelines, setting a high bar on quality to ensure the client is thrilled with our work and that it meets their business needs. (Am I geeking out yet?) I feel so blessed to have landed here; God's perfect plan for my life again manifesting itself. I am humbly grateful.

I had a couple of unexpected blessings financially during my period of job seeking: I recently received a check from an insurance company for a vehicle accident back in February, I received an unexpected refund for a vacation I took in February, too. Between severance pay, vacation pay and unemployment, I ended up with enough extra money to buy my new laptop when my old one died. Unexpected blessings came out of being laid off: I was able to rejuvenate for eight weeks, take daily walks, see my daughter and granddaughters more, increase my yoga practice, work on some home projects and I ended up ahead financially. I am humbly grateful.

This week, my oldest brother (who is younger than me, but once told me I wasn't doing a good job being the oldest, so he was going to take over the role), had minor surgery that went well. I prayed and thought of him all this week, praying for the skill of his surgeons, the strength of his body, the goodness of all who cared for him. It all went well and he'll be back to normal within a few days. I am humbly grateful.

My dad had some recent tests due to some problems he's been having. Apparently, he had a significant stroke sometime recently. The doctors have prescribed some medications for him to help with the problems he was having. He not only survived the stroke he didn't know he'd had (possibly in his sleep, they said), but the stroke cleared out a clot they said he'd had, too. I thank God for Dad's continued presence in our lives. I am humbly grateful.

My daughter and her family are settling into their new home, filling it with love, unpacking and decorating; my granddaughters have already made friends and are both doing well in their new school. More blessings. I am humbly grateful.

Each day is just filled with everyday blessings; we only have to open our eyes and our hearts to recognize them and appreciate them. "Thank you, God!" is on my lips a hundred times a day; the words spring forth so easily that it's almost as reflexive and natural as breathing.

I thank Him for the liquidamber tree in front of my window that's just starting to turn fall colors; for the gifts of family, friends, and strangers; for good work to do in a manner that honors Him; for the fresh air when I go for a walk; for a good, strong, challenging yoga class. I thank Him for each breath I breathe, for the sun, the moon, the sky. I am aware of His presence in all that surrounds me, all that is within me, all that is within each person I meet on my short life's journey. I am humbly grateful.


Today's simple pleasure: a beautiful view of the moon that Bug told me she saw through her window tonight, the moon glowing with the shape of a cross behind it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Code

"Imagine all the people living life in peace." - John Lennon

The son of one of my beloved friends was recently accepted into the Ross Volunteer Company at A&M University. The top 80 juniors must pass a rigorous process to be selected for this prestigious distinction.

Those selected must maintain a strict code of honor, including abiding by "The Code of a Gentleman":
A Gentleman...
Does not discuss his family affairs in public or with acquaintances.
Does not speak more than casually about his girlfriend.
Does not go to a lady's house if he is affected by alcohol. He is temperate in the use of alcohol.
Does not allow his temper; nor exhibit anger, fear, hate, embarrassment, ardor or hilarity in public.
Does not hail a lady from a club (Barracks) window.
Never discusses the merits or demerits of a lady.
Does not mention names exactly as he avoids the mention of what things cost.
Does not borrow money from a friend, except on dire need. Money borrowed is a debt of honor, and must be repaid as promptly as possible. Debts incurred by a deceased parent, brother, sister, or grown child are assumed by honorable men as a debt of honor.
Does not display his wealth, money, or possessions.
Does not put his manner on and off, whether it the club or in the ballroom. He treats people with courtesy, no matter what their social position may be.
Does not slap strangers on the back nor so as much lay a finger on a lady.
Does not "lick the boots of those above" nor "kick the face of those below him on the social ladder."
Does not take advantage of another's helplessness or ignorance and assumes that no gentleman will take advantage of him.
Respects the reserves of others, but demands that others respect those which are his.
Can become what he wills to be.

Old-fashioned? Or simply good manners applied to good values? These are the kinds of behaviors that once were expected of all people: being kind to others, not showing off, treating people with common courtesy. Above all, respecting oneself. These are the values with which I was raised, and with which most of my friends were raised.

Wouldn't it be a very different world if we all adopted/adapted The Code of a Gentleman? I can't be the only person who is dismayed at the public displays of bad behavior on My Space and Facebook, or from spring break revelers. Jerry Springer wouldn't have a show if we all adopted The Code of a Gentleman.

Imagine a society where we all curbed our tempers, were temperate in our use of alcohol, refrained from gossiping about others, or taking advantage of others; imagine a polite, healthy world where we respected others and ourselves. Imagine sharing the road with kind drivers who never lost their tempers to road rage. Imagine people having self-respect and not suffering from altered behavior due to an excess of alcohol. Imagine us all doing what is right for us and for others, treating others with courtesy at all times.
Imagine spreading kindness to each person who shares our life journey today. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a hand extended to help another. Simply being good and kind gentlemen and ladies.
Today's simple pleasure: giving my hard-working, home-owning daughter a back rub

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Can you see me now?

Do you ever notice how rare it is for people to acknowledge one another as we go through our days? Yet, we are all members of the human family, co-inhabitors of the planet, neighbors, branches of the same Tree of Life. So why do we not acknowledge our shared humanity?

My daughter and I used to make it a point to smile at other people in their cars as we drove, to really look at people and see their eyes and smile. How fun it was when they'd smile back! It would lift our hearts and we'd see them continue on their way, still smiling. Hopefully, they then shared that smile with the next person ... and so on and so on ... passing the smiles forward ...

When I'm paying a cashier for a purchase or talking with a server, I make it a point to look at them and make some small-talk comment; often it leads to a short, happy conversation, a human connection bridging our lives for a few light-filled moments, as happened earlier today when I was chatting with the Target cashier as she rang up my purchases. My granddaughters always laugh; "Nana! You're always talking to strangers!" They find it - and me - a bit odd. We went to Disneyland recently and I spoke to strangers throughout the entire day: a couple having an impromptu picnic in the grass, a group of young men who asked me to take their picture, people standing in line with us. They were thoroughly amused at their crazy-friendly Nana.

I was shoe-shoppping recently and had a completely delightful conversation with another shopper, a friendly, light-hearted woman about my age, with a beautiful light about her. We talked about which heels to buy, which lead to a discussion about dancing, where she and her husband go, about salsa and Latin men, about the other items she was purchasing - oh, we had the best time two strangers in a store could have in ten minutes!

Sometimes Bug and Li'l Bug will try to talk to me while I'm paying a cashier, and I gently remind them not to interrupt, that I have to pay attention to the person with whom I'm currently interacting. Long ago, I used to work retail and when I'd be ringing up a sale, I'd make it a point to pay attention to the shopper, to acknowledge them and thank them. Sometimes the shopper wouldn't even look at me, vaguely handing the money over in my general direction, taking the bag and mumbling a "thanks" as they walked away, their head in some other place far away. Sometimes in a place of business, I'll wonder if I've suddenly acquired the super-power of invisibility - (proclaimed in an announcer's voice) Invisible Girl! - as I try to get a server or sales associate's attention.

These days, I see people all the time rudely yakking away on their cellphones while the cashier or order-taker is trying to help them, sometimes trying to get an answer to a question while the shopper is entirely oblivious to the person's existence. Lately, I've seen signs in a few shops asking people to get off their cellphones while placing their order. This always makes me smile - and I then have a nice chat with the order-taker about the sign and we both laugh.

Simple politeness would tell one not to be on a cellphone when you're conducting a transaction with another human being. Simple politeness would suggest that we acknowledge one another as we go about our days, to smile or nod a "hello" as we pass. Simple politeness would compel us to engage with one another using good manners, looking the other person in the eye, speaking in a friendly voice. It lifts up both parties when we do so. And it shows your mama raised you right.

"The Christ in me recognizes the Christ in you." Instead of being a thousand miles away, we can be Here, in the present moment, present to the other people in our immediate energetic field, exchanging that energy with one another, acknowledging their simple humanity, influencing one another in a positive way, maybe brightening someone's day for a few moments. We can recognize the Divine in one another when we take a moment to simply and fully be present to each other, to see the simple Goodness within and smile and offer our Light.


Today's simple pleasure: the CD of her own beautiful music compositions that my yoga teacher gave to me this morning.

Friday, October 12, 2007

angels in our midst

Each day, someone we encounter may have something wise or wonderful to impart to us.

I try to view others as possible teachers in my life, becoming present to me at this moment on my journey so I may learn and grow. (I may also be there to be teacher to them as well; it goes both ways.) Because of this, I've become less prone to judge and dismiss the random stranger who crosses my path. I've become more attentive and more aware of the Divine that exists in each of us.


Today's simple pleasure: feeling the sun and air on my skin

Monday, October 8, 2007

"We want waffles!"

"So, what do you two little munchkins want for breakfast tomorrow morning? How 'bout those funnel cakes that I have in the freezer?" I asked my granddaughters last Friday night.

They were spending the night at my place, the night before they moved to their new home, the first-ever for-real home - not a rental this time, but their first home, all for their very own with a real mortgage and everything. The girls' beds were taken down at their old house, ready for the big move on Saturday, so they spent the night with me on Friday.
"Yeah! Funnel cakes" said one.
"I want waffles, Nana!" said the other. "Your waffles!"
"Yeah, your waflles" chimed in the first.

So waffles it was. Real waffles, Nana's waffles, just like my mom used to make, straight from the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. What could be more authentic?
Not giant, square Belgian waffles, with their oversized height and big, puffy nooks. No! I've disliked Belgian waffles since I first encountered them, foreign and alien, unlike Mom's sweet, perfect waffles. I like real, traditional, round waffles with the nooks just the right depth, the edges irregularly shaped and slightly toasty. Made splendidly on my Villaware waffle maker from Williams-Sonoma. (My brother gave me a W-M gift certificate one Christmas, bless him!)

The oldest grand, Bug (aka J) - who loves to cook - helped me mix the batter. What a nice sizzle the batter makes as it hits the hot waffle maker plate! As each waffle was done, we spread butter on each, poured on some real maple syrup, and for Li'l Bug (aka B) - who loves anything sweet - we added some chocolate chips.

Having my granddaughters with me is like playing with puppies! Always having fun, laughing, giggling, moving, dancing, singing, both of them talking at once until I hold up my hand and say "You first, then you. I want to hear what each of you has to say." And they start to take turns, then forget and one yells at the other impatiently "I haven't finished!" They play, they fight, they bicker, they stand up for one another, they disagree, they jump on one another and roll around on the floor, their little-girl giggles like frantic bubbles filling the air like a bubble machine gone crazy.

Because Friday was the last day at their school, their schoolmates all made goodbye cards for the girls. Bug's class threw a surprise party for her, something they planned all week long while her teacher sent her off on various errands to get her out of the classroom. At my house, we took turns with the girls reading their cards. Bug said that for some reason, the boys were surprisingly "insightful" for once, writing very meaningful and heartfelt cards for her. Her friends decorated and made cut-outs for their cards (looks like some have scrapbooking experience), and one made a book filled with funny drawings. Li'l Bug's cards were filled with messages, especially from the boys, saying they didn't want her to go. One boy said he'd "do anything (well almost)" if she'd stay - oh, the little boys all have a crush on Li'l Bug!

We had a fun time reading all their cards on Friday night and had hot waffles for breakfast on Saturday morning before the Big Move to the new house. Three waffles each, the girls had - did I mention they LOVE real waffles?
Now they're living further away from me, no longer just a 12-minute trip from my house; I can't just come over when they call and want me to come over or go to their school events or to every soccer game. Now they're an hour away from me, a 100-mile round trip. I'm grateful I've had them close by for so long, time enough to forge a close bond that can't be broken by distance. We'll find new ways of being together, maybe less often, but each time will hold special meaning. And I'm sure I can always entice them with some hot waffles smothered in butter and syrup.


Today's simple pleasure: giggling, waffle-eating granddaughters!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

time, rest, renewal, reconnection

The following is a reprint of an earlier post from my previous blog space ( It's now been 7 weeks since I was laid off. I trust that I will be where I'm supposed to be, and right now, I accept that I'm supposed to be right where I am. But, I'm ready to get back to work. I don't know yet where I will be, but I accept that and don't resist the changes that have occurred in my life. "Receive what you have been given." Each day, each moment is a gift of undeniable beauty. I receive and embrace all that I have been given. My morning walk earlier today showed me beautiful roses still blooming in vibrant, strong colors, still blooming despite the change in the weather, happy to be right where they are. I can do no less.

September 13
time, rest, renewal, reconnection

It's been one month today since I was laid off, a time during which I'm ever more aware of how perfectly the Divine works in my life, providing abundant blessings and grace ...

Each morning, I strap on my brace, making sure it fits firmly and snugly, lace up my brown Vans and take a walk through the surrounding neighborhood. Now that I'm between opportunities, I have time to do this for myself, enjoying exercise and fresh air at the start of my day, instead of driving off to work. I say hello to people I meet, see the changes people are making to their homes and landscaping, admire the garden designs, or the new paint or the new addition that's going up. I notice the changes in the greenery as we move toward fall, certain flowers fading while others are still rip-roaring with blooms. It's a beautiful time, a time when I can connect with all that is around me. This morning I had a nice chat with a man walking a beautiful brindle pitt bull dog, a rescue dog. Friendly hellos and smiles to others, fresh air, a wave to a neighbor - not a bad way to start a morning.

In my little garden, I'm noticing that the salvia responds better to more water than I'd been giving it when I was working. I didn't know that before I was laid off. The skies are clear and blue, the ocean breeze a bit brisk and cool, early for this time of year. Things that I wouldn't notice if I was in a beige office cubicle, working between two monitors for 10 hours a day. I feel like I'm opening, releasing, remembering.

Remembering who I am. The last few years, I've been telling friends that I've felt that I'd forgotten who I am. Work, stress, not enough time, bills, health issues - no time to be me, to be a friend, to volunteer at church, to connect with cousins and family the way I wanted, the way that fulfills me and gives me happiness. For one job, my commute was about 4 hours a day in heavy LA traffic. In another, I was a square peg in a round hole; not a good fit, no matter how I tried to adapt to a company culture that was so different from any other I'd ever experienced.

The past couple of weeks, people have been "showing up" to remind me of who I am. It's been wonderful! A beloved cousin who I haven't spoken with in many years suddenly called from Korea where she's living right now. "You sound just the same!" she said, which made me so happy. An old high school friend has shown up and we've exchanged e-mails filled with the same intelligent wit that we shared in high school. "Your personality is as sparkling as ever!" she wrote. A former co-worker has also shown up, a real girl friend who I always enjoy so much and who I can share girl things with. Whenever she and I reconnect, it's always at the most perfect time and she brings me laughter and refreshment and joy in being female. I sometimes wonder why we don't stay in touch more regularly, but then I realize that, too, is part of God's perfect plan.

The Tibetan language has no word for "unemployment". For most of the world, work used to be seasonal: farmers and ranchers would work their land or care for their stock for most of the year. After the harvest, the land - and the people - would rest, being renewed, refreshed seasonally. Other chores would take the place of the usual farming and ranching, in accordance with the seasons. The land and the people lived in harmony with nature and the cycles of the year. Western culture doesn't embrace this same harmony. Our 24/7 accessibility to work - Blackberrys blazing, e-mails flooding inboxes night and day - doesn't provide the rest and renewal cycle that our natures need.

Right now, I feel that the Divine - my Lord and God - has given me this time to reconnect and to remember who I am, to renew my spirit. I am happier and brighter, laughing more and laughing more easily. I'm opening up and releasing - aaaahhhhhh! - letting go of what was, to embrace what is. This is a time of restoration, rejuvenation, growth, beauty. A time to pause and to remember to live with intention. Thank you, God.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This could be good ...

I had the interview yesterday with the Web development company. I'd really like to work there and hope that they feel I'm the right candidate for the position. The work would be very similar to work I'd done in a previous company, project management on automotive Web properties, so could be a smooth transition. My skills and experience in IT management, team supervision, Web development, automotive and leadership provide a strong background for the role; everything I've done in the past has lead me to here and could prove valuable in the position.

I'm really trying to avoid the word "want" in relationship to this. "Want" indicates lack, and my life certainly doesn't lack. I have abundant happiness in my life; a satisfying job would be really great to add to it. My happiness and joy and light are independent of whether or not I land this position. Happiness does not depend on external factors; it is something we carry within ourselves, a yogic bliss that goes with us wherever we are.

A job with this company would be wonderful, and I did the work I needed to do in preparation for the interview. I researched, I role-played with my brother who made himself available late Sunday night to help me, I practiced, wrote possible questions and scenarios, even bought a new outfit that I would feel good in and that helped me to feel confident.

I interviewed with four people one-on-one, and I think the discussions went well. It was late in the day, though, and their workdays were winding down; I didn't get the meatier situational and behavioral questions I'd anticipated, but the questions and discussions were good and I felt a positive energy. I have sent my thank-you e-mails to the people I spoke with. I've e-mailed two of my former co-workers who are currently employed with this company in another office and asked them to e-mail their recommendations attesting to the quality of my work.

Now it is in God's hands. If this is where I am supposed to be, then I will be there. If not, then God has a different, better place for me to continue my journey. I am loved, I am happy and this has been a great experience to prepare for the interview and to get to know the people at the company. All these things are positive and fill me with joy. I will be where God wants me to be, carrying my happiness wherever I land.