Saturday, June 25, 2011

A regular guy

Looks like I fell off the #Trust30 commitment. The post I'm responding to today asks me to "pick up my ordinary," it is written by Patti Digh. How would I do this, choking myself with perfectionism like the weed wraps its tendrils around the hosta (until I yanked its root this morning, not so easy with my habits of thinking and acting.)

A man a little older than me who tried to help me when I was young remarked that I had a lot of self-importance and that I needed to become " a regular guy." "You think you're the only one who struggles," he told me, pointing out the person working multiple jobs just to keep a roof over the head and food on the table. And I didn't know what I didn't know. It's not that I want to be just like everybody but rather admitting that I don't deserve special treatment. So what are the ways I'd be "a regular guy" today?

Patience. Especially on the road, allowing myself as much time as I can to get from one place to another so that I don't have to drive urgently and/or with desperation. I try to anticipate where the light will change or there will be a crosswalk or another driver will cross my path and adjust, slow down a little, make room. As I've said in this venue before, "I don't own the road, I'm not the turnpike authority, nobody owes me anything." And not be resentful when I am not given the same consideration or someone drives behind me with desperation; as David Foster Wallace pointed out in a widely circulated graduation speech, maybe I'm in his way; and likewise, as a blog post I read makes clear, " I don't know what's going on." Maybe the other one is in a real emergency or just late and feeling desperate. I don't have to feed into it and I don't have to judge or feel superior because I have felt like that, that was the norm for me and it is taking lots of practice to change that. Through breathing and being in my body as I sit in the car seat, with acceptance, I can do it.

Generosity. I have an older friend named Carol who expressed a wish to buy a computer, that the one she had was outdated and that while her needs were simple, she would be interested in discovering material on the internet and online music. We saw each other fairly regularly while I was unemployed, but I didn't make a date to take her to the store and she has no car. When I knew I had a free Friday afternoon coming up, I made arrangements with Carol and picked her up yesterday. I saw her frustration with newer computers and the interfaces and components, but took the time to explain the choices simply, waited for her to make a decision, offered suggestions and worked with the salesperson to arrange the simplest solution possible. (Still have to pick up the unit and set it up.) She thanked me and yet this kind of giving is its own reward, combined with the satisfaction of doing what I said I would, in contrast to how many times I've made empty promises in my life.

Compassion for those around me, and this is new for me, having spent most of my life living in my head and really lacking empathy and having no idea what it would be like for another person, inside her or his skin, looking through those eyes, breathing that breath, experiencing that duration. My wife and I are living in an apartment while our house is being repaired. She had something of a melt down last night, working in an enclosed kitchen space in contrast to what she's used to, not having a salad spinner or a steamer, and then the smoke from the frying meat sets off the smoke alarm. While I would have preferred more emotional balance and the situation made me uncomfortable, upon further review of the play, I realized that this is the way she is feeling, she is expressing her feelings, maybe I didn't feel the same way but I wasn't the one trying to cook a meal in the kitchen while the smoke alarm was blaring and the obdurate smoke was not responding to the fan. (Add to that the general disruption and uncertainty of the housing situation.) I cannot expect someone to respond or feel like me and yet, no matter how many times I've been taught this in my life, in the moment, in the acid test, it is hard to remember and act accordingly. Asking questions too becomes easier with practice and trains the mind to respond and show interest and remember details from others' lives, even that the woman I work with went to visit her son, to be able to ask, how was that, even if it seems like chit chat, another person appreciates when someone shows interest. I know I do and am surprised when others remember details about me or ask about my children, probably because unlike me they are paying attention.

At the end of my sophomore year in high school, a fellow I was friendly with, we hung around quite a bit, wrote in my yearbook upon his graduation something about the ensuing years being hard on the soul, " so keep your feet on the ground," he told me. I had no idea what he meant by those words. I have a sense today, feeling myself held up by the earth or whatever is holding my body, a chair, a sofa. This was totally foreign to me then and for such a long time. Today, maybe the best I can ask of this moment, which is good, is to have my feet on the ground and be on this earth. I didn't know what I didn't know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fast ride

I was introduced to an intriguing new novel via Twitter, the Traz by Eileen Schuh. The subject is Katrina, a 12-year old "brainiac," computer-whiz, proficient in physics, learned hunting and survival skills from her grandfather, meditation, self-care and herbology from her grandmother, grew up in a chaotic home with an alcoholic, unloving mother who fights constantly with her policeman husband. Gradually, Katrina experiences more and more loss - her grandfather, and then ultimately both her parents are killed in an auto accident, her mother driving under the influence. Katrina's left with a lot of money and nowhere to go. Already, through a boyfriend, she has made connections with unsavory characters, and is sought out by Shrug, leader of a biker gang called the Traz, who is in reality an undercover cop. Katrina accepts his protection. The duration of the novel takes place over a couple of years and seems to pace slowly but the total effect is like a fast motorcycle ride. The situation is riddled with ambiguity, particularly Katrina's apparent sophistication belying her young age, and what are the implications for her future being mixed up with this organization. Shrug alternately presents as protective and threatening, insisting on controlling the situation and carrying out the operation his way, and yet to what potential harm has he exposed Katrina? Most of the story is told through Katrina's perspective; we read what Shrug and others perceive that seems to contradict what she says and thinks and wonder what's unsaid, does she knowingly or unknowingly present a different reality from what she's claiming? She is protected and imprisoned in the biker compound, gathering herbs to make strange tea concoctions, hacking into computer networks for criminal ends. Finally, Shrug cannot protect Katrina from the awful truth about the murder of her ex-boyfriend that is initially presented ambiguously and dreamlike and is clarified near the end of the story. (Interestingly, the Sergeant is called "Kindle," maybe he starts the fire or you can read everything through him, a conduit for information, I don't know. ) Evidently this is the first of a series, igniting an appetite for the sequel. A study guide with moral questions for exploration and resources for students dealing with life issues follow the conclusion of the novel. I recommend this dark and compelling story.

(Cross posted to GoodReads and Amazon)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Open to the unknown

Today's #Trust30 prompt by Jonathan Fields asks: “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” In a field facing potentially drastic changes, librarianship, this is extremely relevant for me. So rather than defining myself as a librarian or information specialist, person, whatever it is, I have to ask, what do I like to do, what am I good at, what new abilities might I want to acquire? Maybe I don't know the answers to any of these questions right now.

Take computing. I had great difficulty using a computer when I was younger, had to rely on help from my father to pass a math course, or from more skilled peers just to type a college essay into a word processor. I knew nothing of commands or programming, could barely play games even, and for me a computer was little more than a sophisticated typewriter.

This all changed with the world wide web, software developed to browse it and information placed on remote servers for me to find using these tools to help me in my library work and answer questions for the people I served as well as for my own personal interest. And all this was completely unknown to me several years before, I could not have conceived of it, even as others were working hard to turn it into reality. And what followed has been a long fascination with information discovery on the internet. Finding. I think of the Latin word invenio, I find, I come upon, from which comes our word "invent."

So the path for me in the future may or may not involve a library building. It may involve skills used in finding and organizing and presenting information, connecting people with people and information, or it may be something I haven't even thought or heard of. My colleague Bill Mayer is known to say that the distinction between the library and IT in organizations or the distinction between the library and the network is dissolving. In a place, be it a business, educational institution or municipality, where these things are conundrums, this can present an opportunity for someone interested in information and knowledge, making things accessible for people and putting them to use. And I once worked with a scientist who told me it was my job to make myself obsolete, and if I did, and did it well, there would potentially be other opportunities and rewarding work for me. I believe he is right.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two for the price of one

Traveling and with limited computer access this weekend I have not set aside time to respond to the #Trust30 challenges from Lachlan Cotter and Ash Ambirge on fear and surprise. One asks is do not doing the thing I fear worth sacrificing what I want and the other questions how I surprised myself in the past by doing something I couldn't and how will I surprise myself now.

If there is a strong wish in me it is to know the truth and to be honest with myself and others. I believe writing helps me pursue this, especially as the words that come out prove to different than what I imagined or what is revolving in my mind, the endless chatter of fantasy. For I have found it so easy to deceive myself, thinking I am honest, when I have left something undone, not paid someone I owed, not acknowledged someone who did me a courtesy, and I go about thinking I am conducting myself well.

However, I surprised myself once when making a driving mistake, getting in the way of another driver who honked at me furiously. We ended up side by side on the street and I rolled down my window and he rolled down his and we looked at each other for an instant. At another time I might have been frightened and avoided him. However, I looked into the man's eyes and said to him "I'm sorry." He curtly nodded. The light changed and we drove off and I will probably never see him again. For once, I took responsibility and did not act out of fear. Can I do so again and not once but every day? I admit I know too little.

What right now teaches me is to accept who I am and see how I can change for the better and become more honest and responsible to myself and others. Part of that is owning my own story. I look back on mistakes and accept this is the kind of person I was and did the best I could with what I had. I looked on others' successes and saw only my own failures. I can get beyond that now. So much is helping me. I learn from Victoria's post on experience not being wasted, necessary to bring one to where one is. Or as Brene Brown writes in The Gifts of Imperfection, which I have finally begun reading, "Owning our own story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it." I am similarly inspired by Marjory's story about connecting with her soulmates and living the story of their bodies together. She and Julie wrote the words describing their bodily experience on each other (love the smiles and laughter in the pictures.) "We wrote our precious word messengers on each others chests to let them sink into our hearts." Further on Marjory writes "Your body needs to know that you will hold its story with tenderness." Or it is captured for me in this sign, courtesy of insightful and courageous Carolyn.

So I continue to pursue honesty, aiming to be like the monk who says to his disciple "I am close to not being deceived about myself." "But master, how can that be?" asks the disciple. The master replies, "Talking is easy. Being is not."

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Garrett, you quote too much"

I am an imitator, from birth, it seems. I would repeat things I heard, whether appropriate to the situation or not, whether true to my experience or not.

Here's an example. I met a former teacher of my brother's when visiting a school I would later attend, and sat in the classroom. "Of course we miss Andrew, we all wish he'd flunked," the teacher said wryly. Then many years later I repeated those words to a student worker of mine who, having just graduated, was bringing her parents around on a visit. Of course, they were horrified at what I said, and I had not thought how it would be inappropriate or misinterpreted. And this was my favorite student with whom I enjoyed a wonderful working relationship. And I still failed to learn, continued to parrot words I heard elsewhere even when it didn't make sense. It is unconscious, it is not a working part of the mind.

It's one thing to use another's words for inspiration or to really get inside them and see how they say something to my life. I quote less and less because I know that the words are empty unless I apply them to my life and can show by example how that is done. I like to feel connected through quotes and through sharing of words and stories. And yet for so long I have interfered with the telling of my own story.

If what I have learned from others teaches me something it is humility and my lack of originality, on one level. On another level, as far as I am concerned, I am the only one who can act for me and in my own interest. It is a fluidity between self-assertion and letting go, effort and relaxation, the will to change and acceptance.

And it is not what I like or prefer that will make the difference but what I do. I know that but I fail to act.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One thing

Eric asks if I have one thing to say to millions of people, what is it?

Good question. It's not something I've created and it was something hard to come by, what many tried to teach me and I couldn't learn until practicing it and hearing it over and over again.

Breathe. Relax. Smile.

It doesn't have to be fake. It doesn't have to suck. I can be grateful and I can be kind. (Unlike when the narrator of Don Juan tried to solve the couple's marital problems and reported "their treatment was not kind," and then the young Juan threw a pail of water on him "unawares." That's the kind of thing that can happen if I don't mind my own business.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The thing I'm afraid to do

Make someone angry. Or do I have that power? It is someone else's feeling or reaction, not mine, isn't it, as Mastin demonstrates with one of his quotes. And then I remember what Maya Angelou said, "people won't remember what you said, people won't remember what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

So I am afraid to tell someone close to me that their negative look is drawing me downward. I am upset by the catastrophe that we are in together, that we share, and I've done what I could. I'm powerless over the situation and I'm powerless over her. She won't change, she is who she is and she becomes more and more resistant to help, even after some progress. While I acknowledge her right to feel what she is feeling, she probably will not be satisfied unless I am feeling what she is feeling. Why do we have to feel the same thing? Why do we have to agree?

Sometimes I see the realtor's sign for a home that will soon be sold, it says "under agreement." And then I think if the deal falls through a sign should be put up which reads "agreed to disagree." So why can't we agree to disagree. Because the one closest to me sees it as an act of disloyalty. I don't have the stomach for this fight and I've demonstrated so time and time again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Talking to myself in the past and future

Today's prompt by Corbett Barr asks "What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?" I've always ducked the latter part of such questions, not being a person with conviction and courage to plan for and execute something in the future. And I would look back on the younger self with regret and shame, how I must have disappointed him. In one way, as many say, there is only now. In another, that now includes for me everything and everywhere I've been, whether I am conscious of it or not. This is still the same body even as cells have died off and been replaced, especially with fat cells. Faulkner is quoted as saying "The past isn't dead. It's not even past." I also think of the Book of Laughter and Forgetting, which states "The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone," and goes on to say the subject really wanted to change the past. How many times have I either automatically or deliberately changed outcomes in my mind, like I were writing fan fiction. At the same time, the future is already here, moment by moment, faster than I can comprehend, days have gone by. This year is almost half gone by.

Where was I five years ago? Not in a good place, work wise, financially, personally, many struggles with family members, and I was very sick and not seeking any kind of solution. I had to take steps to make changes but I could not do that without help and five years ago I was unwilling to accept help. I was so withdrawn and so inept I didn't even know how to talk and I am still learning how. What would I say to the person of five years ago that I am still carrying with me? Accept help, as hard as that is, as obdurate as you are. Acknowledge your pain and the pain you are spreading around. Take responsibility. And it will work out in one way or another, you will not come to harm, have a nickels' worth of trust. However, I doubt that the person I was could hear it or take action, something else had to happen, I had to be backed into a corner.

What would I say to the person five years ahead? Don't forget. Change does not happen overnight. Remember what changed for me, acknowledge those who help me, and keep doing what works, every day and try to incorporate something new that will help. Visit friends and relations, be grateful, acknowledge the spiritual forces which made you, stop, work hard, make decisions, do the next thing requiring to be done. The lesson I learned: "Let me do it now for I may not pass this way again." Someone else described procrastination as disrespect for the future, and I've certainly created more problems for the person down the road doing this.

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Bold

Response to today's #Trust30 Dare to Be Bold

What is the one thing I've always wanted to do? Writing. And I've seldom done it, never acquired a discipline or a practice or a technique. I know nothing of phrasing or rhetoric or other technique, so what comes out is what comes out, if anything comes out at all.

In recent years, I've introduced myself as a librarian and a writer, thinking that by saying it, I would become it. It is not so.

Why do I want to do this? What am I trying to express? Would anything be better left unsaid?

I've had moments of satisfaction, writing articles for various publications throughout my life, school and career related, many papers that I was proud of once the agony of composing them had abated, and two poems, one for my wife and one that just sort of came to me some summer day. I do not have them hand but will post them when I do.

With this blog and other endeavors I've tried to acquire a habit, a practice of writing. But I don't strategize successfully. I am often at a loss. Words don't come out easily, the thoughts in my head don't seem to translate into written words.

What's going on? What is my aim with this? Creation? Passing on what I've learned? Celebrate something?

It's deep within me, this desire, but I cannot say why, I don't have a good reason. Wrote stories when I was a kid. I can smile at them now, not cringe. Something I have always wanted to do and never given the time.

I'm grateful to Buster Benson and his 750words site, which I have been using daily for several months. However, I have not gone back and reviewed anything, made use of it. Might be a good place to start.

However, I need to be with the process, not just dump something and throw it over the wall and be done with it. Revisit.

"What can communicate tries." Cid Corman

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What am I waiting for?

Reading Jonathan Mead's #Trust30 prompt and the quote from Emerson, my only response can be "Fuck, yes." I have spent my whole life wishing and waiting and nothing has come and I don't have any practice, creative or spiritual. Or I cannot maintain consistency. So with a week left, what would I do? Say goodbye? Make apologies? Probably not the latter. I've apologized too much already in my life, often every other word out of my mouth has been sorry. I suppose I'm a sorry ass, have the word written all over it.

So what would be the way to go out? Reverentially, thankfully, gratefully, respectfully, appreciating what now is? Hedonistically, taking every pleasure I have hitherto refrained from? In recent days I have been seeking a balance, self-care, family, friends, work. What would have to go? the 'puter. I am tied to it and unconscious. Would I get on a plane to France as I resolved to do yesterday and see my brother and his family? Would I express gratitude to my parents, who scrubbed me when I was fresh out of the womb, sheltered and clothed me, gave me an education and sent me on my way and continue to treat me generously? Seek out teachers throughout my life, as well as friends, thanking them for what they have given me? I can't think of any places I really want to go, what can I say, I like it where I am, I always see something new and that makes me feel alive, can't say that has always been true or always will be, being on the depressive side. Put my "affairs" in order? Say goodbye to my children? Say, I will not leave you comfortless?

Interesting this question is asked today. A friend of mine's daughter-in-law has a form of terminal cancer. A young woman with a young husband and a young child, and with the loss of her income they are in the midst of significant financial hardship, so my friend made a plea to which I responded, but truly I cannot comprehend anything like this, cannot grasp it in the roots of my being, even as I cannot understand the flattened houses on TV from the tornadoes last week.

And the day will come and part of me accepts this, maybe it is only intellectual, maybe it is postural, but what if it was said to me right now, have I really understood this word?

After all, I cannot keep it simple. And I know I've done the best I can with what I've had and I can still do better. Finally, in the last days, I would write more gratitude lists. Final rounds of thanks like roses unfolding their petals until they come to the end of their time in the sun.

And I have to say thank you for the #Trust30, I would not be addressing these questions otherwise or make a commitment to daily blogging, and I feel myself coming alive that way, FWIW. I feel a little bit of hitherto undiscovered strength and energy, maybe something I lost years ago and forgot. Thank you an exponential number of times.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Questions of Travel

Today's #Trust30 prompt from Chris Guillebeau is about travel. Where would I go and what would I do to get there?

I'm not much of a traveller. Throughout my life I've experienced free floating anxiety whenever the prospect of going anywhere is on the horizon. "Airport stomach," my first wife and I used to call it, and she claimed she never had it until she met me. I suspect because I made a lifetime of putting things off for tomorrow, a travel date represented the most anxiety-provoking thing for me, namely, right now, today, I have to do the thing that was planned, not just put it off for the future.

I've relaxed a little since then, feeling life's hold a little more loosely. Just starting a new job I don't feel I can take time off in the future. I have traveled little. My favorite city is Paris. I love the historic buildings, the art, the gardens, the Seine. However, I would like to visit Strasbourg, where my brother has lived for years. He has a new family and a baby on the way. Many times in the past he has asked me to come visit him in France. We connected twice in Paris (on each of my visits with former wife and current wife,) but I've never seen his French city on the Rhine where evidently the streets still have German names.

And this not visiting my brother, saving money, making arrangements, making a commitment, is part of a larger picture, hiding from my brother, hiding from fear of being judged unworthy by him and feeling the lash of his criticism. We've both grown and I've relaxed over many years and we see each other differently. He has never not been supportive. Whereas I would be influenced by his opinion, I can follow my own influences, and we can disagree and I can not take it personally and assume I'm wrong or that even being wrong is the question. So engaging with this man to whom I am closest genetically and biologically and yet there is such a gulf between us, not just geographically, carries meaning for me to make this a priority with time and money. And it would be great to take the kiddos, though I am not sure how David will react to the French, he's probably watched too much South Park.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Post-It Question

Jenny asks a Post-It Question on today's #Trust30 prompt.

My question would be: How can I remain true to myself and what is within me in the face of all my responsibilties, new job, children, home, taking care of others?

I think of Kierkegaard quoted in Carson McCullers's Clock Without Hands: "

“The greatest danger, that of losing one's own self, may pass off quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, that of an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc., is sure to be noticed.”

My response after 48 hours will be updated here.

Update 6/6/11: OK. I lied. More than 72 hours, and haven't really thought specifically of this question, though maybe through answering the other questions I am, in part, living this question. There is still so much work for me to do.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One Strong Belief (courtesy of Buster)

I am indebted to Buster Benson for his excellent 750words site which has helped me developthe habit of daily writing. And today he asks "What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family?"

I believe that everyone has a story to tell. Not everyone has to listen to everyone else's story and it is not possible to do so. From listening to any one, if I can learn one thing and take it with me or put it into action, it has been a successful encounter for me. It wasn't always this way for me. I was not a good listener. Too much in my own head to put myself in another's shoes, really imagine what it would be like to be someone else and feel what he or she was feeling, imagine where they had been and where they were going and what they were thinking and feeling right now. We are more than we can say or communicate in action, and I only see the instant that I see, and what do I really remember, is it accurate, do I really perceive what is right in front of me?

At the same time, I have been easily influenced by one person's point of view or another's, one that is persuasive enough, and it helps me to ask is that the entire story, or is there more, to filter from my experience and where I am right now. And asking questions becomes a practice generating more questions. It is good to know that, and to feel love and tolerance for others even if I might not like what they do at a given moment.

Force Majeure

After yesterday's post which may seem swaggering and overconfident, or not, nature waved a threatening finger with severe storms coming from the west. We were not especially affected, other than with pelting rain, lightning dancing and flickering from the ground up all around, a crack that sounded like it was right on top of the house. However, it was a little anxious, to paraphrase Piglet, not just being a very small animal, but because this old house is a falling down house and may not withstand high winds. The worry may not be so much part of it falling on us inhabitants but upon our neighbors to the north. It could be a big disaster. I decided to stay where I was, which may have been foolish, given that tornadoes had formed elsewhere and that the rain was so forceful evidently that radar had difficulty tracking the path. West of us towns were hit, buildings ripped, a school with the roof torn off, a truck overturned, many injured, some died. Maybe not on the level of Joplin but that would be small comfort to the victims. I have friends and colleagues in the middle and western part of the state (interestingly, communities which are largely ignored by the media except in situations like these) and I am concerned for them.

On one level, I didn't think the storms would amount to much, that it was unlikely that tornadoes would form in our area. I can say that I believe I will be taken care of no matter what happens. I don't what the present feeling would be in the face of catastrophe. Shock has not been a stranger to me, it has come in the form of life changes, bad news, accidents, but probably nothing on the scale that others experienced last night and are waking up to this morning. Truly from any broad perspective I have lived a sheltered life, probably have no business even commenting on this subject. Did many of us feel these feelings with the news of Japan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Joplin? Yes. So what will I do today? Pray for those who are suffering and not add to others' suffering or my own.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Today (Response to Liz)

Since I need prompting, I've joined a 30-day challenge, #Trust30 on Twitter. I'll take any help I can get, of course I have to act on the help I receive. Liz's post asks me who am I today, in one sentence?

My answer is: I am happy and confident.

If I were to say more than one sentence, or why I would say that sentence, those words out loud, write them, it's because I know I'm not alone. I know I'm loved. I know I can be useful. I know I have work to do. I know I have inner resources. And I know I have priorities. I am at the beginning of something amazing, and not knowing, watching things unfold, even as I move within it, doing what little I can, but always taking action.

Rhere have been times when I've dreaded the day that comes with no escape, when I would have to do what I said I would, take a trip, move, face disruption, face reckoning. Can I live daily with some feeling of urgency, without the desperation, without the dread, with gratitude, not from fear but from purpose, as Mastin teaches.

And for me there is usually an undertone of anxiety or uneasiness which I need to learn to be with and then take action. Years ago I worked briefly with a man named Jose who said, to my incredulity, no harm can come to you, they can hurt you, they can kill you, you're still you. I don't know if my saying that to someone else will give that person comfort, but I am a small part of something far greater than me that will take care of me, that I matter and don't matter, am responsible for what I can change and powerless over what I cannot change.

And I am grateful. Perhaps not at every instant, I am not conscious every instant. When I consider the landscape of my life, where my feet have walked, where my body has stood, sat and lay down and risen up again, the greater part of my life has been and continues to be unmerited gifts.

Today I have work to do for my new job, work that demands my attention, meeting with my counselor who always starts me off with relaxation and a smile, and time with my children whose company I enjoy even if they are not always enjoying one another.

On my way to the interview for the job I was eventually offered and accepted, on the highway, I found myself following a cement mixer with the word "Advance," on the back. It became my word for the day and I found what I needed from within and I know not from whence it came and I am still advancing. And happy and confident.