Finding the Art in Everything

28 October, 2010

Statement of Mission

I am here to reach the lost and build an organization capable collectively of doing so. In building the organization, I must equip the saints with good communication, required supplies, and sufficient space in which to work.

26 October, 2010

Here and There

I was delighted by a friend's list of unrelated items. It did what good blogs do for me. It made me think "Me, too! I can do that!"

1. With the help of a wise new friend, I figured out where the time in my day is going: to people. I feel like I used to be able to accomplish more in a day than I do now (which may be inaccurate). It's not that I have less to do, necessarily, I just do less. I blame three of my life's recent additions for this: driving and traffic, an inconsistent work schedule, and living with people. Two were obvious to me, but the third was surprising. I have lived alone for a long time, so I didn't realize the time consumed by the daily minutiae of maintaining relationships.

2. A Marin native illuminated some of this county's peculiarities for me--things I'd noticed but didn't know how to name. People here are "slightly apathetic", "casually sophisticated" and "quirky" to the point of making an art of it.

3. I have become more obsessive about my paper-crafting. It's sort of a cut-and-paste self-medication driven by a hunger to share my experience and creative inspiration around every corner. In other news, I found a store near my coffee shop interesting in carrying my notebooks.

4. I am so disturbed by men over thirty who use "Booyah" and "It's go time." Even as a punchline.

5. I went to Coffee School in the City for my new job. Unfortunately, the curriculum content ran a distant second to a research paper I wrote in sixth grade, titled "Where in the World is Juan Valdez."

6. A customer in my coffee shop talked today about growing up in North Beach where real Italians make coffee for other real Italians. He overheard a customer order a drink with specifications nearing 50 words, and shook his head. "What happened to the days where a drink was a drink? Everything was a cappuccino and it was perfect. Coffee? Yes or no. Let the barista make the damn drink." His small capp was on the house.

7. I miss teaching, my classroom, and my students every day. I feel like the Autumn started without me. One of my regulars at the coffee shop is a teacher who retired after 35 years. She misses it, too. After describing my move to Marin, she smiled knowingly and said, "My dear, you are plant who has been re-potted. You've just left behind a few roots." Here's to hoping they'll regrow.

23 October, 2010

H is for Happy Birthday

It is the fourth anniversary of my blog, and my 29th birthday. Or at least it was when I started this post.

A friend said that after today, I'm rolling toward 30 like a snowball headed for Hell. It's a colorful analogy, but I'm hoping its loaded with hyperbole.

I had a really lovely birthday. I got a badass leather jacket in the mail from my mom, as well as trip to Nordstroms in a little silver box. My sister-friend mailed me new Stila red lipstick, the Stila Paris palette, and some Chocolate shortbread made from pure crushed cacao. I had to work, but I got to go with Shannon for some life-changing pumpkin cheesecake at the Cheesecake factory.

I was so delighted by the sweets and the bits of glamour, but it was the Coleman kids who gave me a great birthday. Faith and Zach, who are 6 and 8 respectively, stormed my room at 7am to wake me with a big "Happy Birthday!". Zach had arranged all my presents by "my seat" on the couch. Kaelyn had scribbled a giant "Happy Birthday" all over the mirrors that I use. There would be NO missing her salutations. And then, when I got my coffee and curled up on the couch, there was the big reveal of the Coleman birthday tradition: The Birthday Turtle. Here he is:

The birthday turtle sings "Happy Birthday" and marches around. Faith informed me that everyone in our family gets to have the Birthday Turtle sing to them. And there it was. Everyone in our family. On my birthday, the Coleman kids did all the things that mark the special days of family members.

When I lived in Florida, I loved my birthday because of the fuss my students made and the chance to throw a party. Even though we were too busy to spend time together often, birthday parties were not missed. Once a year, I could be surrounded by my favorite people. This is a really important occasion for a single person who lived alone. There was one day when the warmth and celebration was more powerful than the sense of solitude and loneliness.

This year, I didn't have to manufacture the occasion. When the warmth and celebration found me, I noticed the loneliness and solitude were gone for the first time in years. This year I got the birthday turtle because I'm part of something to celebrate--full time. Every day.