Monday, March 31, 2014

An Intro To A to Z 2014: The Songs

I came up with the idea for this last July while I was doing The Ultimate Blog Challenge. I was walking my dog with my iPod on shuffle mode when Today by The Smashing Pumpkins came on. I was instantly transported to the first time I ever heard it, when I was a teenager, and  I was struck by how awesome it still is every single time I hear it all these years later. Then I got to thinking about other songs that have the same effect on me and realized there are a lot of them. Music has always been a tremendous force in my life and a part of my personal support system but I haven't written about it much. I thought it would be cool to write about these songs that move me, because there are a lot of great stories there too, but at that point I was already into the current blogging challenge. The idea rolled around in my head for a while, then in October it occurred to me that the A to Z Challenge was six months away and that would be an awesome opportunity to highlight the songs I'd been wanting to write about!

As I listened to music and had ideas over the next few months, I'd jot song titles down and eventually narrowed it down to one song per letter of the alphabet. It took time; some letters had lots of contenders while some had one obvious choice, a couple drew a blank for me initially and one came down to a tie so close I simply couldn't choose. I made a playlist of my choices and spent a lot of time listening to the songs and taking notes. It was fun to spend time with the songs in a way that I hadn't before, absorbing all the lyrics and processing any memories I have associated with the song, really taking a look at what makes it so special to me. I know that when you read my essays, these particular songs may not reach out to you, but if you are a music lover you will be able to appreciate what I'm talking about. You will have your own play list of songs that have spoken to you and helped you through life. That's what I want to acknowledge here, that music has the ability to do this for so many of us.

Whenever possible, I've put the official video for a song at the end of its post. Because I grew up in the hey day of MTV some of the videos play a role in the song's significance in my life. If the video wasn't available on YouTube, I chose whatever was there that I found most appropriate. I had a ton of fun doing this! I hope you enjoy my month of tribute to the songs that have moved me and that it inspires you to think about the music that moves you as well, and maybe it will even introduce you to some new music!

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's That Easy

On my second day at my new job, I was monitoring anesthesia during a surgery when the receptionist slid into the room to tell me that a client had just hit my car in the parking lot. I closed my eyes and exhaled "How bad is it?" but she didn't know. My boss immediately vouched for the client, letting me know he was a nice honest guy who would surely take cake of things but my heart had already sank.

To my relief, I got outside to find my car in tact with the exception of one tail light but I will admit all that shattered colored plastic and glass made quite a mess in the snowy parking lot. Now here's an interesting thing about me; I suffer from anxiety issues and will often torture myself over seemingly minor issues such as what is appropriate to wear to a specific event or keep myself awake at night stressing about whether I'll be able to afford the gift I want to buy my other half for his birthday. But when it comes to major issues, ones that deal with others and my impact on The Universe, I'm often the one under control. Understandably, the driver was upset and embarrassed but I assured him that "Seriously, this is no big deal. We'll get it taken care of." It only took two days to get my car into the shop, fixed and back home. The gentleman was apologetic and friendly through the entire process. He repeatedly thanked me for being understanding and nice but I was also grateful for his honesty. If I'd finished my shift to find the damage without someone having come forward, I would have been crushed.

Car camping at The Gorge 2008
My car is 13 years old and has over 192,000 miles on it. I love this car. To say I'm emotionally attached to it is an understatement. It's not in great condition but it's fine. I'm used to all the dings it has and the noises it makes. There's a crack in the windshield, the back windows don't go down and in order to pop the hood you have to reach way up under the pedals for the handle and turn it a certain way but it runs fine and I don't have a car payment! This car is one of the last things I have left that links my current life to the one I left in North Carolina seven years ago. The day it leaves my life is going to be a sad one. If I had gone out to the parking lot and found my little Focus all crumpled, my heart would have broken.

I was grateful the damage was easily repaired and that the experience was positive and I went on about my business. A week later, I was busy at work when the receptionist brought me a greeting card that had been dropped off by the guy who'd hit my car. I was pleasantly surprised and quite curious. It contained a gift card to a local restaurant and a beautiful handwritten message. This kind human felt compelled to go out of his way to thank me again for being understanding and reasonable! He wrote "What a breath of fresh air to meet someone who is respectful and pleasant. It gives me hope for our society." As I put the card back into the envelope I was full of a sense of gratitude and pride in myself. I thought Well, I might be a lot of things but at least I'm not an asshole! The fact that a person was truly appreciative of me not being a jerk was pretty impressive. The whole thing was straight forward as far as I'm concerned! Someone made a mistake, apologized and made it right. In return I was understanding and kind. That isn't complicated. I don't think a person should be surprised to receive that treatment from a stranger in a situation like this.

Since that situation was easy for me to handle, it seems like there are other places in my life where I could be using this approach to make things easier, mainly with myself! What if I screwed up and instead of lying awake at night beating myself up about it, I said It's okay self, you're intelligent and kind and you made a mistake, so what? Make it right and then don't do the same thing again? I feel like I should challenge myself to try this. I find it interesting that the behaviors and personal philosophy that I believe in and show to the world is most difficult to show to myself. I wonder why that is?

My car seats 2 co-pilots

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stay Tuned

When it rains it pours, right? Not only is that fitting for spring time in Montana (lots of rain on top of all that snow can make for terrible flooding) but also for life. I worked three days in January and I spent a great deal of my down time sitting around reminding myself that everything happens for a reason, that it was good for me to be home with my thoughts for a while and that things would pick up again. I was right, or course and now I'm reminding myself that things will slow back down again! I've gotten more work offers through  my temp agency, so much so that I've had to be careful not to over extend myself, and when I took my dogs in for vaccines on Saturday, their veterinarian offered me a job (for the third time!). So I went in to sit for an interview with her today and I'm considering taking a part time job at her clinic. It's funny how things can change from one month to the next, from one day to the next...

I haven't been blogging much lately but I promise you I have been writing! So please bear with me because you're going to be seeing a lot of posts from me really soon!! Last year was the first time I participated in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge but I've been looking forward to it all year and am gearing up for it again! I have a theme in mind this year and I hope my readers will enjoy a month's worth of alphabetized posts! Right now I'm in the process of getting them planned and hopefully most of them written and scheduled so that I won't be frantically writing every day in April!

Another thing I've been doing that I'm excited about is writing for Bozeman Magazine. I had written a couple articles in 2012 but they were in the journalistic style where I was assigned a topic and I wasn't crazy about it so I didn't continue. I'm not sure why it took me so long but at the end of 2013 I approached the editor again, gave her the link to my blog and basically said "This is what I enjoy doing, could you have a use for me?" and she said yes! March is my third month writing a "local living" article.

Spring is around the corner and the quiet winter doldrums are behind us (maybe? hopefully?). Who knows what the next cycle of the year will bring. I'm still working on my personal goal of living in each moment instead of focusing on or worrying about what lies ahead. It can truly be a challenge for me sometimes. There's so much to do, things to prepare for, places to go... But even on the days I struggle I can see I'm miles ahead of where I've been before. No matter what happens next, I'll be okay!