It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

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Poem: Walking In Dawn


Dark walking

with chilled breath

blowing ghostly visitation

while chilled bones

slowly warm

Shadow halos

stretch quiet in the glow

slapping footfalls

counting distances unknown

Sleeping houses

passing by

may be saving shelter

should fears come alive

And sun starts to rise

grasping at sliver moon

dangling in the gray sky

tendrils of yellow reaching up

making moon vanish

Now lone mockingbird

is joined by a chorus

Dawn has been

walked awake

 

 

 

 

New Wheels


Down here most every where I go is by car. The traffic is nuts and the drivers are crazy. I’ve read we have some of the worse drivers in the country and I can definitely say that I agree. They are impatient and rude and usually not safe. The roads are simply scary.

I moved down here with my beloved Bianchi racing bicycle, but never had the guts to ride it anywhere. You would never find me riding on these roads on that bike with these crazy drivers! No thanks. 

But I have missed doing some riding and I live in a great little community. So I figured if I could sell my bike maybe I could get something more suitable for just tooling around the neighborhood or going to the gym and pool.

Last weekend I lucked out and got a buyer who wanted it for actual riding not parts. I got almost the asking price and she got an amazing deal. Honestly I helped out a kid in need.

And today I got my new baby. Perfect for my new needs, although not as slick or fancy. Still it’s a great brand, a Trek, and the shop was very helpful.

So tomorrow I try her out! After all, I’m not as young  as I used to be,  so a sweet commuting/touring bike is perfect for me now!

The Good, The Bad…


These are my new work shoes. Standing all day can be tiring, so I treated myself. It was interesting going into a big retail store–one of those gigantic chain athletic stores to find something. Now that I work in retail again, I could scrutinize the employees from a point of view as a customer doing similar work. Of course, I often evaluate these situations being a student of human behavior, but today I came at it from a purely retail perspective.

I interacted closely with two employees and had two totally different experiences. This store has no-one specific helping in the shoe department–they just mostly expect customers to wander around by themselves and randomly check things out. And then, if you should perchance find something you like, you can try it on yourself…OR if you don’t–then you might be lucky and find someone to help you. Maybe…

While I was doing the first option a young male employee came over to me and asked if I needed help, so I explained to him that I was looking for a shoe to stand in all day. I tried to explain to him what I was looking for, but he was very eager to show me something he thought would be the right shoe. So I looked at it (because I didn’t want to let him down)  and immediately didn’t like it (it was white and not my style of sneaker), but at least he tried to be helpful and nice.

So I kept wandering, found finally found the sale section! There I came across some decent running shoes in my size that would work. But I also came across another pair of moccasins that I thought were pretty cool. Sadly, they didn’t have a price tag, and I feared this could mean a great hassle in the check out. I liked them enough though, and have very few shoes since moving (I gave tons away before I did) that I figured it worth trying to get a price.

I flagged the next employee down I could find…another young man. He seemed rather put out, but said he would see what he could find out. He came back rather quickly and said: how much do you want these shoes (well actually I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want them dude) because it’s going to take me a really long time to figure out a price, and honestly (uh oh…lying) the last time I looked at the price tag it said like $100. I said: $100?? Really?? He said: Yup. Hmmm…??  I said: Never mind then.

My guess is he was simply too lazy to do his job and get the real price, which I doubt was $100. So, they lost a sale. But I did find another cute pair of shoes on sale instead.

When I got to the check-out the first guy was there and he rang me out. He remembered me and we chatted. He tried to get me to fill out some points thing (which I didn’t, even if I did let him down) . And I over heard him talking with another customer how he had been in recovery and clean for a while. He was friendly and did his job well. Took it all very seriously. World of difference from the other dude.

I suspect this guy had hit rock bottom in his life so he knows the meaning of gratitude. He doesn’t mind doing what he’s suppose to do, or helping out some old chick looking for a pair of shoes for work. He probably would have looked up the price of the moccasins for me and they would have sold 3 pairs of shoes that day. Oh well…instead, I had a good customer experience with him and will fill out the survey and say he did a nice job…whereas they other fellow did not.

 

 

Jackpot


For those of you who regularly following my blog and have been wondering and care, I saw the orthopedic doctor today about the tear in my rotator cuff. He showed me the MRI pictures and it is a  pretty decent injury.

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He had me do some movement with my arm and saw my pain level and mobility. Luckily I have been an athlete for so long because I have good musculature around the joint to compensate. Plus I’m stubborn and tolerate pain well.

So he said for now I can get away with a cortisone shot to decrease the inflammation, which is causing the pain. Plus he gave me some exercises to continue strengthening the arm. He also told me what not to do which is just as important. Guess I’ll never be a swimmer again. Unless I get the surgery.

And they’ll be no doubt that I will know if it tears completely because then the pain will be excruciating and I won’t have use of the arm. Ok, I get it, no lifting heavy objects.

Funny, being an athlete probably hurt me in the long run too, causing a lot of the injuries to the arm. But it has protected me too. This is somehow ironic.

But I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot for now and won’t be laid up for months! And in the meantime I’m working on becoming ambidextrous!

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Mangoes From Heaven


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For the monkeys!

Way in the sky….

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Just babies….

Or up close and personal, these babies will someday turn into this:

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A WalMart Mango.

A lovely ripe mango! This one is from the grocery store, but the unripe babies are hanging, along with tons of others, from a tree that I walk by every day. This tree is right near the sidewalk but I suppose is technically on the property of the private Christian school that is right near my house.

I see the kids running loops around the same loop where I walk. Plus I hear them on the other side of a great fenced area of bushes playing various sports like soccer and baseball.

In fact three times now I have tossed a runaway soccer ball back over the hedge to delighted voices of things like : hey look Mary there’s your ball. Then in the general direction from whence the ball came they yell: thanks!

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The Hedge….You can see the soccer field….

So I’m kind of thinking when those mangoes ripen, that maybe I might just be entitled to one or two as payment? After all, soccer balls cost a lot!

Balance


As I was in the shower today I had one of my epiphanies. Having just done my walk, yoga and mediation–I suppose I was ripe for this moment to come flsahing into my brain, especially since I have been sharing some thoughts recently with a very special friend. They revolve around meditation actually, how we get to that special state we so often hear about of complete inner peace or contemplation that the advanced masters teach. But our conversations are also centered around spirituality: what we as individuals chose to practice, what resonates with us and how we relate these practices to our world.

I am a complete novice when it comes to meditation, having only been at it a short time, and almost never seeming to be close to any kind of place I’ve heard. I’ve read books, articles and listened to talks about how one quiets the mind (not an easy task for this ADD/OCD girl) of all thoughts to help attain the path to a meditative state. This then, as I understand it, carries over into daily life as an inner calmness one can draw from when necessary. For me, with so many thoughts flinging around in my head all the time, it becomes quite a chore to chase them away, but there are methods to help with this, the prime one being coming back to the breath.

My practice is to do my yoga, and maybe a walk and/or run first to prepare my body prior to my mediation. From what I have read, this is not uncommon. The yogis often use yoga as a way to ready the body to get into the meditative state. This made perfect sense to me  today while I was in the shower.

Yesterday, I had a very small break through while mediating. First, I did it longer than I had ever done it. While I was doing it, for a brief moment, I began to sense a noise in my head–not the usual whoosh I sometimes hear in my ears, but almost a musical noise. I can only describe it as a note or tone that sounded as though it was cosmic or celestial or earthly. And then there was a light. Again, not the flashy lights I normally see behind my eyes, but this was something more, something deeper and more brilliant. And then both were gone as quickly as they came. And  the thoughts were drifting back in and out and I couldn’t get back to that place.

I told my friend, who has been mediating far longer than me, and he told me he had never experienced anything like what I had described. Today in the shower I thought about this fact. This is when some things came together for me. He does not practice yoga prior, nor does he do much physical in his life. While he is an extremely spiritual person, he does little for his physical ‘temple’. He has some medical issues due to diet also.

Years ago I was an avid athlete running 60-70 miles per week, doing marathons, running races a couple of times a week and speed work too. I ran myself ragged and to injuries. I was a vegetarian and thought I was taking care of my temple, but in a sense I wasn’t due to over doing it, plus my spiritual self was neglected completely. Now, though, I am much more balanced about my athletics, more careful and mellow. While I still workout every day to be healthy, I don’t hurt myself any longer. I take care of my body and am careful what I eat and my spiritual practices, while very personal, they are also vital to my well-being.

There is a third piece of the puzzle necessary, I believe, to be able to reach this state of nirvana and that is to have love in one’s heart. I certainly didn’t have it back in the day, but am attaining it more and more as the days pass now. Trying to have it on a daily basis, even for difficult people in my life is a challenge. And hopefully I will have it in a big way soon.

So what I see is a balance of these three things: spiritual awareness, the healthy treatment of one’s physical temple and keeping love in one’s heart in order to truly be able to reach a state true meditative state of nirvana. This bliss, this letting go of ego and thoughts is not easy for us in a world filled with sounds, sights, desires, greed, lust, food, money and all that tugs on us. For me it is something I am having to learn, to breathe and to dig deep within myself to still my soul.

But that one moment of cosmic music I heard followed by the flash of the light showed me there is something worth following that is way bigger than me.

Photo: My Missing Fitbit


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Here’s what’s left of my fitbit one that I lost last week!  Well that’s not totally true~ the main part is now junk. I found it tonight on my walk with the dogs. It was smushed into the ground having been run over more than once! I’m sure it was rained on too! Odd that I walk by there twice a day and only found it today. Boo! Much sadness. Now I need to decide if I’m brave (or stupid) enough to buy another one? Surely I will have a new theory about how and when I wear it from now on! The next time will be the washer I’d imagine…sheesh!