Friday, February 27, 2009

TIme to Buck Up and I Heart Ashtanga

Well, after reading this entry by the AWG ( Angry White Guy, Saturday Feb. 21)  where he writes that a real job contains three important elements: a sense of personal autonomy/accountability, a degree of complexity, and a solid connection between effort and reward. It does not contain: a paper hat or a cash register that has food symbols on it instead of numbers. Take the job that you want. Find a job that seems like it will be challenging, fulfilling and pays you some kind of wage and then work hard to do it well. If you take a job because it gives you benefits(and that is the main reason to take the job) then all you will have at the end of the day is benefits.

My original goal was to have a change of employment by the end of February. As I have said in the past, I kind of like parts of my retail job, I like the product, I get along with the people but the pay is completely ridiculously low, not just a little low, stupid low. So I HAVE to change. The magazine I have been working on, Edible Chicago, I love working on but it is a labor of love and soul not money. So I have to change strategy and change jobs ASAP and I just have to buck up and do it. I would love to take a job where they will give me some room to get up to speed in Powerpoint among other programs. I like working at a computer and I like designing things so I think I would like working on presentations and making them snappy. 

Meanwhile, I LOVE ashtanga and the Primary Series, it is better than going to a therapist, having a glass of wine, eating great food, it sounds very corny but ashtanga is food for the soul, incredibly trite but true. At the end of the day what do we have but our bodies and the Primary Series connects me with myself, physically and mentally and empties my cache(brain) of all the stuff that has accumulated during the day and maybe it is because I have some great teachers, Bill Shapleigh, Tom Quinn and I just took Daylene Christensen's class, and of course, Paul Weiss ( who leads the class from a real loving but humorous place). And I am seeing improvements, I was born with squirrel arms so I will never have the long fluid look but my legs are slowly but surely getting to a place where I can do a full lotus pose, my backbends are getting much better that I think soon I will be able to stand up by myself, my handstands are getting better and even there is hope now that I might be able to do a bind, like Marichyasana A, my hands still don't reach each other but each time I get closer and it is a metaphor for how things are going in my life, even though I have major job and economic issues, I feel like I am get closer to a positive resolution. At least for today, I feel the universe is a benevolent place and compassionate place.

I still work on the Jagged Edge bit by bit as well. I have a lot of scenarios I need to elaborate on but I still haven't come to any idea of what the plot will be. My latest idea is that the heroine/main character of the story, checks out(in more ways than one) people at the register and is able to visualize their dirty laundry, like an asian woman who comes in wearing a black fur coat,  pointy boots with spiked metal heels, and a black eye disguised with makeup and the man with her , who has a completely bald head with scabs on it, tall and big wearing a trench coat and small, tortoise shell glasses is actually a sadist or a nondescript, thin, soft spoken man with a pock marked face buying a jacket who uses a credit card from a computer company and she can see through him that he actually loves little boys or a father that comes in shopping with his very attractive daughter and at the checkout counter caresses her face and our character realizes the father is actually molesting the daughter and our character looks at the father and he looks at her and they both know she knows and he scowls, pays and walks away.  My output is so low at the moment, Joe Janes continues to write a sketch a day at 365sketches, Meghan is just about done her thesis, at least I can write a few sentences a day, a paragraph maybe, I guess when I get home my mind gets preoccupied and is not in a place to write. I am just great at EXCUSES......My point for writing it, is to show people how active the human mind can be and that people are not alone in their own thoughts and anxieties, that it is part of the human condition. And to show how we all have so many layers to our personalities, some more than others and how much courage it takes for some to let people into those deeper layers. I think that is why I feel so comfortable selling outerwear and wearing outerwear, it is protective and comforting and how the people who seem most confident sometimes hide awful things about themselves behind these layers and the people who think the worst about themselves sometimes have the most to be proud of and they just don't know it. 

Well, this post has tons of contradictions, bucking up on one hand and on the other working inward, but that is me, full of contradictions. One of my new or renewed actions of late is to support my friends and acquaintances, I helped a friend leave the hospital after a test because he was required to have someone take him home and I am going to start tutoring disadvantaged kids once a week for 1 and 1/2 hours, and I like to support fellow(what is the female version of fellow??)bloggers in their writing efforts.  And my running, has been very minimal of late, today is a grey sky but I hope to get out and at least breath a little outside air, I don't know how fresh it is considering I live in a city. I continue to feel like I am on the edge of the ledge but I have confidence that I can maintain my BALANCE for now!!!!!!!!
             JB

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

My oldest friend, Nancy,tagged me on Facebook with the chain letter "25 Random Things About Me".  I have never fully embraced Facebook, I joined a long time ago to get access to a friends profile and I did not want my personal information out there, so I joined under a different name, Julie Brown. Then I tried to change the name to my real name and never heard back from the Facebook people,(maybe Facebook is actually run by aliens so that is why you never can reach a person). Since then, I use it occasionally, to keep up with my friend Ivan who I met on a trekking trip, to somewhat stay in touch with my retail college student friends who really use it and to stay aware of how it works. So I just didn't feel comfortable and I don't like to feel pressured to respond to chain letters, any kind of chain letter drives me bonkers!!!!! But then in Salon I read an article by Robert Lanham on the 25 things phenomenon and I decided this blog was as good a place to post my 25 things as any place. I already have my list of 43things. I am definitely a list person which is why I am finally succumbing to this 25 Random Things.
1. This picture is of my old dog who I loved, loved, loved, Sophie, a german short hair pointer, in the car as I drove to Moab Utah to drop her off to live with my friend Kirstin, who owns and runs the mountain bike company, Rim Tours. Sophie eventually died out there and is buried in Kirstin's backyard. Kirstin earned a zillion mitzvahs for adopting her. See this entry for the full story.
2. I was a plongeur(dishwasher)at the Peter Kump Cooking School in New York while he was alive, So I took his French Techniques classes for free in 1988 while I was going to business school. I went through Tech 1 about 4x and went through Tech 2 about 3 times but he taught me a love of great ingredients and appreciation for sharp knives and a love of everything French!!!! He was James Beard's protege and the founder of the James Beard House. 
3. I am not a morning person but I would love to be and it drives me crazy that I am not.
4. I had the idea of starting a dog wear company for large, urban, dogs called Drippy Dog. I still have the URL. The first product was going to be a simple, plastic rain poncho. And I own the URL Youvegotthepower.com and Needtogetaway.com
5. I believe in always having fun in everything that you do, life is too short otherwise, but feel guilty about that belief because it isn't a "responsible, adult attitude, a corporate attitude"(vestige from growing up with my family) but I am feeling less guilty about it over time.
6. I  feel most at home and the healthiest at 10.000 feet.
7.  If I had unlimited funds and didn't have to work I would consider getting my Phd. in religion/philosophy, get an MFA and/or go to cooking school in Paris.
8. I always loved to do handstands and walk on my hands everywhere and all the time when I was 12 and 13.
9. I never wear the color, yellow, orange or red, you can never go wrong with black in a city.
10. I completed my first marathon in 1984 in 4:41 hrs and Rod Dixon won, since then I have finished 12 marathons, once I finished New York and Chicago back to back. My best finish is a 3:52 hours in the Boston marathon but I ran as a bandit so it is not official but I KNOW I did it! But marathons for me are too corporate now and have lost their appeal(call me old school, triathlons the same way, people have gotten too teched out in terms of gear), I would really love to have the time and be fit enough to finish one of the long trail runs out west and even the very short Imogene Pass run in Telluride.
11. I think Telluride is one of the most beautiful places in the universe, I would love to live there but it is a little too isolated unless you have a gizillion dollars so you can leave every now and then. Maybe that is why most of the people who live there now have a gizillion dollars.
12. I have 2 younger brothers who are fraternal twins. One lives at home in Connecticut with my mother in the house we grew up in, and before that lived in Chicago/Pittsburgh/Minneapolis for 10 years, the other brother lived at home with my mother for 12+ years and then got married and moved into his wife's apartment 15 minutes from my mother's house.
11. I was Captain of the Green Team at Convent of the Sacred Heart and was always a Green at Sacred Heart where I went to school for 13 years, kindergarten through 12th grade, except Sophomore year when I went to "Green"wich High School. And I went to Dartmouth whose colors were green and white and called "The Big Green". Maybe that was a bit of foreshadowing of my true interests????
12. I am not being random enough in this list and am getting too serious but I do like to invent new words. The latest word is baggle, when pants do not fit well, they baggle(the saggy part of the pant, particularly on women, right below the bum, NOT a good thing). I use the non-word exactamundo a lot, it is just a great sounding word in my book and can be said in a gizillion different ways, and I really like the word, gizillion in case you did not notice but I do not claim to have invented it.
13. I played Dr. Quack in the operetta The Pink Siamese when I was 6/7 years old. Dr. Quack is another foreshadowing of my true personality. I was dressed completely in a duck outfit, traumatized me for life.
14. I was in China, over 9/11 right near the Afghan border coming back from K2 base camp and the day before we heard the news over a short wave radio about 9/11, one of the porters was severely injured and almost killed, it felt like a funeral at our camp and the next day we heard about the WTC. One of those weird coincidences in life.(My friend Ivan and his Dad were on that trip)And that is one of the core episodes in the story/book I started to write, "The Middle of the Stans"
15. I have 2 bikes and no car, I like to bike everywhere and I really do not believe in cars.
16. I am in love with the ashtanga primary series, it just hits the spot, doing backward rolls, headstands and backbends makes me happy.
17. My mother had an low impact, aerobics exercise business for 30 years but smoked the entire time(in secret) and still smokes but has dementia now so we get along pretty well.
18. During job interviews in college, Mobil Oil flew me out to Chicago to interview with their office here, I wanted to stay back east, Chicago was way too midwest. During business school, Morgan Stanley flew me out to interview with their office here, I wanted to work in New York where the action and hip people were. Now I am here.
19. I love beautiful things(vases), textiles(cashmere, silk, pretty shirts, pretty shoes), art(abstracts), flowers(peonies, roses, star gazer lilies), men(what can I say I am shallow), places(Telluride, the mountains in Pakistan, wild places).
20. I really like to laugh and have an absurd, weird sense of humor that I am comfortable with now.(Go back to #5) I have had this weird sense of humor since I was 6 or 7, it had to have been the Dr. Quack experience....(See #13)
21. I love dramatic, well written plays in small venues about family/work dysfunction and I would love to write one or more some day about the dysfunction of a trading desk and Wall Street and/or the dysfunction of growing up in Greenwich, CT around all the wealth because I think in watching actions unfold on a stage it sparks recognition and healing and awareness in people about themselves and is a good thing and I love words and layering with themes and foreshadowing and recognizing patterns. But I am a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better writer in my head than I am on paper which I am coming to terms with. Eugene O'Neil and Tennessee William's plays I LOVED analyzing in college. Tracy Lett's plays amazing, David Mamet, Tom Stoppard and AR Gurney, just love their work.
22. I want to finish a marathon when I am 70 and when I am 80. Over the last years, my pace has been consistent with the 80 year old men, so maybe there is hope.
23. My father died when I was 13 of a heart attack at 48 at home in Connecticut and my mother kept asking me to wake him up although I knew deep down he was dead and I just wanted to go back to sleep, but my mother kind of put me in situations like this before my father died, when he died and after he died.
24. We had to eat calves liver once a week as a kid and my mother cooked it so it looked and tasted like leather, I was an expert at figuring how to eat it and spit it out, stash it in my napkin, excuse myself from the table a gizillion times, stick it under the radiator, anything not to eat it and my father would not allow us to leave the table unless it was finished, one of the life experiences that drove me to cooking school. We also had to eat tongue(boiled), and kidneys.
25. If I could have anybody's jobs, I would love to be Maureen Dowd and write snarky columns like hers, have my friend Ade's job and lead people on mountain climbs all over the world and live in Sydney on my down time, be an up and coming playwright, be a foreign correspondent like Christiane Amanpour, live in Aspen, but work for the Jane Goodall institute and take trips to Africa to save the gorillas, run my own restaurant in Aspen or live in a mountain town and work with college students(I applied for this one and would love to do it) 
                     Good thing that I did not post this on Facebook, I wonder what Julie Brown would post??????????? At the retail store they kid and call me Uptown Julie Brown............I kind of like the alter ego.............
                                  JB