Full Moon Moments


In Developmental Theory we discussed the concept of the “full moon moment”, or a time in which we are shining with accomplishment. In that moment, if caught at the right time, praise and acknowledgment can help propel us forward. Or, if not caught, can lend to an even deeper need for acknowledgment, as well as developmental stagnation. I think I’ve been very fortunate in this area. There are so many moments that, when I look back, have helped guide my trajectory in a positive way. I know my strengths. I also know many weaknesses. I am so often surprised at how many people are able to rattle off weakness after weakness, but are stumped when prompted to list their strengths. There is also a difference between a true confidence, and an area of sensitivity hiding behind hubris. This is not to say that I am free of those moments–I certainly have as much ego as the next person. I also know what it is like to be genuinely confident without being enslaved by ego.

I am grateful that I have had many advocates, many supporters. In addition to family members, my encouragers have most often been educators. People who meet me now are often surprised that I am an introverted observer, and was once painfully shy. That is until they see me at a party, or, heaven forbid, in a potentially flirtatious interaction. The tremendous personal growth I have made is due to a lot of hard work, but also due to the potential others have recognized in me. I am lucky. Without those honest but unexpected nudges, I know I would not be where I am at currently. Teachers from elementary to high school to college and beyond have lent me the courage I needed when I did not have it, as well as the permission to know what I am good at. I also know the feelings that occur when my full moon moments are denied or deflated. Again, and I cannot say it enough, I am so grateful that those experiences have not formed the majority of my meaning-making.

I wish I was better at affirmation and acknowledgment. I am a recognizer and encourager of strengths, but I am not good at the gooshy stuff. As a matter of fact, flowery affirmation still makes me uncomfortable when directed at me (even though I appreciate it later). While I can intellectually see other’s emotional needs, I am not always equipped to meet them. I am an excellent listener, and I can be steadfast in times of chaos or need. I am not an empathizer. It is my mission this year to be more cognizant of other’s full moon moments, so that rather than squashing them with a correction or dry joke (no matter how entertaining) I can be a nurturing element in their lives. I’m not a social worker, I have to be jealous of my energies because I am so easily depleted of them. I am an educator at heart. I am an encourager. I want to help others help themselves.

So, as cheesy as this sounds, thank you to my supporters. Thank you to my teachers (in and out of the classroom) and supervisors who have recognized my talents before I have, to my advisors who have encouraged my interests and drawn out my talents and personality. Thank you to the community members and family and friends and advocates–for your patience with my areas that need growth but mostly, thank you for the gift of knowing me. This is a gift I will always cherish, and hope to pass on to others:

The gift of self-knowledge, the gift of self-worth and self-respect, the permission to honor the self as one would honor others.

So often in the culture of care, the self is the one person not taken into consideration. Which, unfortunately, depletes the self’s ability to care for others.

It is not selfish to think of oneself.

It is self-hurting and disingenuous not to.

Sincerely, Emilie

Rough Sunday


I will preface this by saying that I hope you all know I try to think and speak positively, in order to be uplifting rather than depressing. However, there are certain days that this cannot be maintained. Today, for instance, is an example of how things can go just a little bit wrong–and eventually completely overwhelm. Yes, I know, #firstworldproblems, but if you’d like to know why I’m sitting on my couch listening to indie music, burning incense and licking a spoonful of nutella, this has been my Sunday:

The story began, actually, on Thursday when I had my windshield replaced. That, in itself, was a month-long ordeal that I shall not go into describing here. What I will say is that that windshield had been cracked for three years, and I was proud of myself for finally taking care of it. I knew that I also needed an oil change, and was looking forward to being on top of my car maintenance, rather than behind. This morning, in addition to cleaning and homework, I had it on my to-do list to get my oil changed. I had also recently read that you can shine your headlights by scrubbing them with toothpaste, so I decided to try that today as well. I grabbed a rag, and then realized that I was actually almost out of toothpaste. I googled some more and saw a suggestion about using vinegar, but then remembered that I had some small toothpaste tubes in my travel toiletries box. (Yes, I have a travel toiletries box. You would too if you had my job). The winterfresh with baking soda worked just as promised, and I am hopeful that I will have brighter lights at night.

So, headlights scrubbed, I printed out an oil change coupon and started Suzuki. I was horrified to be greeted by what is colloquially known as the “check engine light”, but my manual refers to as the “emission” YOUR CAR IS GOING TO BREAK TO DEATH “something” notification light. I mean really, I don’t remember what it was but the description in there is frightening. Knowing that I was due for an oil change, I checked my oil level. It was at about half, so I went into an auto store to purchase some oil and top the levels off in hopes that the problem would be resolved. There were some mechanics working in the parking lot, and since I hate it when people make me feel inferior, I drove back home to pour it in. Only took me about two minutes to find the little latch to pull in order to open the hood (I clearly do that a lot), and then I poured the oil in and measured again. Full! Of course I set the cap on the hot engine (like you’re not supposed to do) and then dropped it in the grass. I waited for a few minutes and then headed to Lowe’s since I needed some things there, hoping that the oil would fix the problem.

I went to Lowe’s for the express purpose of purchasing two things: rust-oleum high heat paint for my BBQ, and those disposable de-humidifier dry-rid things that hang or sit in the closet. I found the spray easily. Perhaps too easily. The  chemical/cleaning aisle was full of products, but there was no dry-rid to be found. Clearly the spring rains had prompted everyone else living in old units to purchase the items I needed before I was able to get them. I was a little disappointed that the products I needed were out, but I shook it off. After all they would be re-stocked soon, and I could always come back. But when I got back to Suzuki and she was still steadily displaying the check engine light I started to panic a little and made the choice to go down the google rabbit hole.

I learned that the light could be caused by anything from a loose gas cap to failed parts that could cause the car to stall and die forever. I got out and checked the gas cap. Rats–it was tight. I also learned that some stores will read the code that corresponds with the light for free. (I should mention that it was at this point I also learned that auto lights are tied to error codes that can be read. I am obviously very knowledgeable about auto mechanics). So I jetted on over to Auto Zone across the street from Lowes, also across the street from the other auto place I had purchased the oil from. They read my error code and told me what it was. Then, after I stared blankly at them, they explained that something was up with the oxygen sensor by the catalytic converter (does that sound vaguely like a real thing? I may have gotten that wrong). I was instructed to start by doing a fuel cleaning, as that could alleviate the problem, but if after a week the light was still illuminated I should contact a mechanic/the dealer to see what needed to be serviced. I also asked, twice for good measure, to make sure that if I waited a week to try this first thing if my engine would implode or explode or kill Suzuki for good. They said no, but that if I drove around for 6 months or a year I could cause irreparable damage to my catalytic converter (yup, I need to google that too). So I bought some fuel injector something from them, and crossed the street once more to Oil Can Henry’s for an oil change.

The car in front of me finished within minutes, and I was impressed at how quickly I would be able to get my oil changed. Then the worker knocked on my window and told me that since it was a first-come first-serve basis I needed to back up so that the car in the other line who had been there first could get in front of me. I was a little confused and overwhelmed by the car stuff, so rather than swap places with them, I pulled up behind them after they went in. Which would have been fine, except that the car in the left stall then finished I had to swap places with two other cars again because this time I was the first-come.

I decided that as long as they were changing my oil, they could do the fuel cleaner injector whatnot and I’d just save what I purchased for later. So that was going to take some time and be a bit more expensive. But then my transmission fluid needed replacing (and I actually believe them because I’ve never done it and I have put a ton of miles on poor Suzuki), and the air filter, and light bulbs for the license plate (again–surprise to me that my license plate needed light bulbs), so I got all of that and the cleany-mabobby. When the greeter announced to the mechanic in the pit that I was getting the injector whatnot the mechanic groaned and said “really?” I am not certain if this is because the mechanic didn’t like the type of work the required, the mechanic wanted a break, or if I am an idiot and no one really needs to buy the cleaning thing. Whatever. So they got the process started, and as he had to continually ask me questions I kept my window rolled down. This led to freezing cold air and rain coming in, for the better part of an hour.

The oil change went smoothly, as did the transmission fluid. The hang-up actually occurred in trying to change my license plate light bulbs. The mechanic took the entire back of the hatchback door off in order to access the light bulbs. At this point he also dropped a bolt down into the hole, and had to recruit someone to find it. He also dropped the inside of my door–a plastic panel–and that made a large clattering sound. He had to go back inside the main hut twice to find different tools, and at one point had someone look up my car in their database in order to figure out how to get the covers off of the bulbs. By the time the bulbs were replaced and my door was back in one piece, there had been a total of three mechanics consulted. There’s a dumb light bulb joke in there somewhere.

Impressively effusive clouds of white smoke came out of my exhaust for a while when the cleaning fuel was injected, so whether it was really cleaning out my system or was a cleverly conceived chemical reaction, I enjoyed it. Keeping your engine at 2000pms is kind of difficult when there are weird fluids being pumped through. So after a freezing hour and close to $200 later I was sent off on my way with the instructions to go fill up my tank and then drive on the freeway for a while.

I filled up, shivering, and needing horribly to pee. I figured I could drive to the mall exit and back and then head home, but I needed a coffee in order to warm me up. It was also three pm and I had yet to eat lunch. Anyone who knows me knows this is not a good idea. So, hangry, with a full bladder, and developing pneumonia I decided to go through the Cutter’s Point drive thru and get some hot coffee. I didn’t get close enough to the window, and kept having to lean out in order to pay. I also had to ask the barista to put a dollar in the tip jar from my change, because I couldn’t reach. Speaking of change, I unzipped the back pocket on my wallet knowing that since I paid in cash I would be getting some coins back. Which is a mystery to me why, a few seconds later, I thought it would be a good idea to flip my wallet over and look at the inside, thereby depositing the contents of my change-pocket into my lap. I think I was able to get all of the coins back into the wallet before the barista could notice, and I headed off to the freeway.

On the road, I decided I should swing by Cost Plus World Market as I hadn’t been there in a while and I shouldn’t waste a trip to the Westside. With that intent in mind, I drove right past Cost Plus and almost drove past the second entrance to the parking lot as well. Where I did turn led straight to Staples, and I thought “perfect!” as I needed some more matching stacking trays for my desk at work. I wanted to browse a little bit longer, but was driven by the brain-distracting need to visit the restroom to check out as quickly as possible. I was developing schemes of finding even a fast food restaurant where I would buy something for 99 cents so that I could use their bathroom, but as luck would have it someone came up to ask for the bathroom as I was paying. Of course there would be a bathroom in the store–why didn’t I think of that?

[I would like to mention, for the sake of attention to detail, that I had to repurpose an extra seat liner into toilet paper because there was none to be found. Additionally, the seat seemed to be unbalanced, because any shifting around led to the seat also shifting and threatening breakage.]

Still cold, but slightly less miserable, I finally made it to Cost Plus. After only two minutes in housewares, I reached out to pick up a jar that I was considering for the cotton swabs in my bathroom, but did not notice that the lid was askew. The white ceramic lid, of course, went crashing to the floor and broke into three pieces. I stared at it for a couple of seconds, cried out, “this day!”, and then put the pieces into my basket. Disconsolate, I walked around the store putting a few impulse purchases into my basket–nutella included–and sheepishly handed the broken item to the cashier. Either she was genuinely nice or she could sense the mounting emotional breakdown, because she took it away very kindly and told me no problem. It was about that time I noticed I must have cut my hand on one of the jagged porcelain bits. In my mental haze I was embarrassed and anxious, and actively tried to hide the cut from her view because I didn’t want her to be grossed out. In retrospect…I should have told her to be careful when handling the porcelain and warned her there may be a teeny bit of blood on it. Hungry brains are not thinking brains.

I’m back home now, much poorer, but I have eaten a sandwich.

The stupid light is still on, and I do not want to think about the type of work or money that might be required if the expensive cleaning thingy doesn’t fix the problem.

I have a happy lamp at work, I have a feeling I should probably get one for home too.

I guess when written out it’s a fine day. Maybe I’m pmsing, or maybe I’m just distraught because after fixing the windshield I didn’t even get a week without an auto problem. Either way, it’s been a rough Sunday.

Sincerely,

Emilie

Homebody


Ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed that somehow March is halfway over. This means that not only is spring just around the corner (and it could not come soon enough), but that my two-year anniversary of living on my own is just around the corner. My cozy little home has become more so with the addition of dark bookcases, candles and other decorative knick knacks. In the past year I have switched my bedroom, moved my instruments out to the living room, and created a beautiful office nook in the back room. I have replaced my computer, and hope to replace my windshield if my appointments do not continue to be cancelled. Creating beauty in my surroundings makes me very happy. I have always been such a nester, making myself at home no matter where I am.

Comfort and stability to me are more important than adventure or excitement. I suppose that thought should come as no surprise to me, but over the last year these things have become very clear. I am still a dreamer, but I dream in ways that are different from many of my peers.

The pursuit of knowledge is my favorite kind of adventure.
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I do have some desires.

I would like to find ways to perform, both with music and theatre. I dearly desire to direct again, and to be more active in writing and submitting plays.

I dream of the day in which physical fitness is not a fight or chore, but second nature. Knowing that most of my hobbies are stationary this day may not soon come to pass, but it is a pretty thought.

Mostly, though, I’m grateful for this lovely life.

Sincerely,
Emilie

In Which Emilie Writes to You from a Magical Space-Age Computing Device


I am writing to you on my wonderful new all-in-one computing device, and I must admit the 23″ touchscreen makes me feel as though I am really writing to you from a spaceship. Any moment now I could go into hyperdrive and leave this planet far, far behind. I am quite particular about my keyboards as well, and this wireless one is smooth, but still provides a satisfying mini-thud sound whenever I punch a key. Then when I start typing really quickly (like right now) I look like one of those “hackers” in spy movies that mash the keys on a computer and somehow manage to make the lights go out. I’m pretty much a typing prodigy. In addition to this computer, I am also expecting a surface pro to arrive early next week. Now that the model 2s are out, the originals are on sale. I was able to purchase both my all-in-one and the surface pro for the same amount I was considering spending on a MacBook pro. Additionally, both of my units will be able to run Office 13 Pro which is superior to the Office ’11 available for MAC users, and I will be able to write on my surface pro in class just like I would a notebook. I am giddy over my refund-enabled purchases, and will now be able to write papers for grad school without having to worry that my computer will randomly shut itself off at any moment, just for a lark.

Grad school is pretty much my life right now, that and work. Hello the next three years! On top of two classes, I also am required to meet with dyad partners every week outside of class to discuss the movies and books we read weekly. Oh, I also need to research different private practices in the area, because as a part of my program I am required to attend a certain amount of therapy sessions. If you have any recommendations, be sure to send them my way! Turns out it’s somewhat difficult to get approved for billing through GroupHealth when your initial reason for therapy is “grad school requirement”. (Sidenote: I do think it will be a very valuable experience, and all therapists should be going through therapy as well, so even though I joke I am taking it seriously). Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the classroom and am very excited about both the field and also the new friends I am making, but I am afraid I am in a sort of bartering system with myself where I either get to A) spend some time relaxing B) spend some time exercising C) Spend some time socializing or D) spend some time cleaning but I cannot ever seem to fit in more than one. I will get better, I’m just a little out of practice! (Ok I need to interject here and go back to the whole subject of my magical space-age computing device and let you know that I am so ecstatic right now!)

In order to help simplify my life a little I thought I would attempt to address my never-ending bag lady problem by sewing myself a custom bag big enough to carry everything. I ordered the most adorable fabric from Spoonflower (if you have not explored that website you are missing out on life) and have begun making it. The end goal is to create a giant, quilted tote. The lining is sewn and the outside is cut and waiting to be sewn. The quilting, straps, pockets and other embellishments are still under consideration. I fear, however, that I may have made a slight miscalculation. This current dilemma was actually brought on by a remark one of my dyad partners said to me after we had our last session. She merely mentioned that I might not want the most giant bag (my paraphrase, her words were definitely more elegant) as it would be rather heavy. Now, ever since she said that, I’ve been staring at my beautifully prepared lining thinking, “it’s too big”. I think I’m just having a brief emotional crisis that I shall ignore and continue on. I mean, 21″x17″x7″ isn’t an unreasonable size for an over-the-shoulder bag, is it? I mean it’s big, but is it too big? I will be carrying files, textbooks, a surface, my wallet, a water bottle, snacks and dinner. You know what? No, no I’m not going to doubt myself. If it ends up being hilariously large I’ll just use it as an overnight bag and make another school bag of more moderate proportions. After all, you can never have too many bags. Ok, crisis averted. Kind of.

Except the more bags I make, the less far I am getting from the moniker “bag lady”.

Who am I kidding? I’ll always be a bag lady. I’ll just make sure to always have really, really cute bags.

So cute that you’re going to start carrying more bags just so you can be more like me.

 

Clearly I need those therapy sessions.

 

To summarize, in closing: School, work=my life. School+work=lots of bags. New bag+school+work+computing devices=awesome, resigned, bag lady life.

 

Sincerely,

Emilie

 

And We’re Off to a Really Great Start


I just know that 2014 is going to be a solid year–I’m already having a jolly time. This morning I woke up at 5:30 and then snoozed until 6:00. I love a good snooze. After acknowledging that the morning was rolling away, I popped (read: rolled) up and got ready. I had just enough time to shower, do my hair and makeup, make and eat breakfast, make coffee, and get into the office before 8am. I was the first one there! That hasn’t happened for a while. So the morning was just delightful.

Later on I ate the lunch that I had packed myself (oh yes, I ALSO packed lunch before leaving home) and then headed over to my Dentist’s office for my teeth cleaning. I had forgotten when my appointment was, but luckily the office always confirms the day before. I arrived with a few minutes to spare, so was surprised when the receptionist greeted me with a strange look instead of a friendly smile. Things felt a little weird. “Two o’clock, right?” She didn’t even bother to use words, just lifted three little fingers and shook her head at me. So…I drove back to work. Which was good, because I ended up running into about three different fires that needed dousing. Which was also bad, because as I was straightening things out I glanced up at the clock and realized I was about to be late for my actual appointment. At this point I dropped some files off mid-conversation with a coworker and rushed off while squeaking, “I’m going to miss the dentist!” Of course I arrived promptly at five minutes before my appointment and the receptionist and I giggled over my second appearance of the afternoon. I then got to spend the next half hour relaxing in the comfortable dental chair and getting my teeth cleaned as my dental hygienist complemented my complexion, inquired after my work and shared happy holiday stories. Such bliss!

I finished out the work day (plus some more to make up for the dentist adventure), and got a reminder call about my haircut tomorrow. I wrote down the time just to be safe. When I got home I made mango-mint chicken with bean salad, paid my rent (after having to fix the year on my check…oops), and made my lunch for tomorrow. And requested an eye appointment because my prescription is about to expire.

Oh yes! And I got to take notes on my brand new clipboard-folio in the office, inspiring jealousy around me. Nothing like brand new office supplies to make a girl happy.

All I’m saying is that whether the events of this year are commonplace or extraordinary, it’s the attitude that can really make the day.

Sincerely,
Emilie

A Secret, A Gag Gift, and Another Year Gone


My dear friends I have something to admit. You all know that sports have never been my thing, and I once took a book to a Mariner’s game. But the thing is…I’ve kind of secretly gotten into this whole Seahawks fervor. It’s not my fault, I swear! It’s exciting to have a local team that’s winning. I got sucked in about halfway through the season when I was driving home from Portland. I like listening to talk radio when I’m driving, and on this particular day instead of the hosts I was expecting, the local station was broadcasting the Seahawks game. And you know what? It was exciting! I didn’t have to know anything about football, the broadcasters made it a fun experience and at the end I found myself rooting for the home team. After that, I got my homemade tv antenna from my Dad, and started using that to tune in to the live games. I wouldn’t say I’m a fanatic, and I still find all of the day-of status updates to be kind of annoying, but I have been secretly paying attention to every game since. What can I say? I’m a sucker for phenomena.

In other news, Christmas was delightful and I have been thoroughly enjoying my week and a half off from work. Gotta bless holiday leave! Admittedly I’ve been rather slothful, but as soon as classes start up again I won’t have a moment to rest so I’m not even going to feel guilty about it. I mean, when else am I going to be able to devote this much energy to netflix streaming and hulu+? I was still tired from fall, so I think it was necessary for my mental health to not do a heck of a lot over break.

As a result, I’ve had this brilliant idea. Ok, I’ve had several brilliant ideas over this break. One of them is this idea for a crafting club (if you’re interested hit me up), another is a premise for a play, and the last is a sort of Emilie take on health resolutions. I’m giving myself a LOT of leeway here, but my resolution is to exercise for 30 minutes (type of exercise does not matter), at least 300 days in 2014. See what I did there? That is 65 days of no pressure, and a short time period to qualify for having exercised. But if I meet that goal it will still be the most successful year of consistent exercise yet. I’m going to make a cute little chalkboard and just make a hash mark each time I meet the goal. If I meet the 300, I’ll probably buy something nice as a reward. I’ll keep you updated on how well I do, but I think this is an excellent way to recognize that I want to be more consistent in exercising without coming from a body-negative perspective. My hope is that I will exercise more than 300 days, but it’s a great jumping off point. Feel free to join me in this effort if it resonates with you!

Speaking of health–if you are looking for a way to drink more water I highly recommend buying yourself a giant wine glass. Now hear me out here–my secret santa at work gave me peppermint ice cream and a giant wine glass for Christmas and while I laughed at the time, it has become a new favorite possession. According to the label it can fit an entire bottle of wine in it, and while I haven’t tried that out I will attest that it has a nice weight and fits deftly in the palm of my hand. I’ve been filling it with water and drinking out of it throughout the course of the day. By the time I go to bed I’ve had several bottle’s worth of water! It’s the adult way to stay hydrated…

Can I get a resounding head-shake on the fact that it is practically 2014?

I love my little home here, with my pictures and crafts and music nook and books. Someday I’m going to want a house, but for now this suits me just fine.

Here’s to happy thoughts, and new loves, and learning in the new year. Here’s to making it through setbacks, working long hours, and finishing them off with a smile and joke. I don’t know what the year holds in store (other than lots of homework), but I think that’s the best.

Sincerely,
Emilie

Emilie’s Quick Christmas Update


Can it truly be almost Christmas? The glowing tree in my living room seems to say yes, but by my account it’s still weeks and weeks away. I think my sense of the passage of time has become skewed. I noticed years ago that spaces which awed me as child seem cramped and lackluster now, but it is alarming how quickly another year has come and almost gone. Where’s the time to breathe?

I had intended to write a Christmas update letter and mail it to friends and family, but I think this is a better forum for such a newsletter.

Here is the speedy version:
1) I hosted a small Christmas Crafting party on Sunday and had a delightful time. My homemade snow globe contains a veritable snow storm!
2) I have already completed one semester of grad school, and cannot wait for the second. Counseling Psychology is fascinating, and relates very well to my background in the arts.
3) I’ve become a nester. I keep decorating and upgrading my furniture, and having a home makes me feel so content. I used to think I’d always want to be a renter, but now I know eventually I will want to own my own place.
4) I’ve put about a gazillion miles on poor Suzuki thanks to work, and some road trips with friends. She keeps trucking along, and I have so enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making some new.
5) I have read many excellent books (as well as some terrible) and am looking forward to getting time over my week and a half holiday for reading some more.
6) My taste buds are changing. Greens entice me in a way they never had before, and I actually like cheesecake and egg nog. I know, my former enemies which I had sworn against ever enjoying are now on my holiday “must” list.

All of this is to say that things in Emilie-land continue, for the most part, to be lovely and happy and productive. They also slip by quickly.

Sincerely,
Emilie

In Which Emilie Talks About Travel, and Reflects On Her Mean Shopping Face


Thank heavens October is over. That was an exhausting month. I visited Juneau and Anchorage for work, and I really liked Anchorage. Also the air was dry so my hair looked amazing, and I am putting that on the back burner in case there is ever a chance to live there for a while. The food, however, is heinously expensive. It was beautiful, but I was a little disappointed at how much Alaska looked like Washington. Granted, I made it right before the snow started, so perhaps that would alter the landscape. I did eat reindeer!

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I got to see a Glacier in Juneau, and in Anchorage I was able to check out the Anchorage Museum, which was great! It had art, Alaskan state and tribal history, a hands-on station which was probably designed for Children but was my favorite part, and the best thing was they were having a bead trade show so everybody got in for free!

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I have always wanted to visit Alaska, so I can check the state off of my bucket list. I would love to go back and spend some time exploring farther north, see the aurora borealis, and visit the tourist trap at the North Pole. Also lots of hiking and nature!

After Alaska, I visited Boise, Idaho for the first time. I hate to say it, but Boise may just be the ugliest city I have ever seen in my life. The downtown was brown and unimpressive, and the surrounding areas were just blah. The attention to aesthetics in the city was extremely lacking, and honestly it made me a little unhappy to be missing beauty. Unlike Alaska where I walked around thinking, “wow, this is so beautiful” and consequently feeling at peace, in Boise I walked around thinking “ugh” and was relieved to fly back to Seatac. I did win a Mrs. Potato head at the fair, as well as eat ice cream cleverly shaped like a potato.

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Then on returning from Boise I rushed down to campus to refill on college fair pieces, go to class, meet about a paper with a classmate, and then drive down to Portland to be there for the fair the next day.

I was pretty exhausted by this point, but I had a great time in Portland. I presented at the National college fair which went well, was able to meet up with some friends for meals, as well as have lunch with my family before heading home. While in Portland I also discovered that the Starbucks mugs I have been coveting for months were finally on clearance, so I purchased eight of them to take home and replace the chipped mugs I have. I also finally bought the Martha Stewart chair I’ve been wanting for my office.

The desk was only available online, so I ordered it. In order to save time I will give the short version of the desk shopping fiasco: I ordered it online and the website promised it would be delivered on the 5th. It was not, and tracking information was suspiciously unavailable. The desk was finally delivered on the 7th. When I opened up the box I could not locate the desk legs right away, and after a moment of panic discovered them tucked inside the desk drawer. What was actually lacking from the box was even more infuriating–the hardware kit had not been packed inside the box. The next day I called the distributing company, and they informed me that it would take seven to ten business days to receive my hardware kit. He also mentioned that their database was down, so heaven knows if my order will even make it through. I was tired of waiting for my desk, so I marched over to Lowe’s to buy the eight bolts, lock washers, and flat washers that I needed. I found exactly what I wanted within a couple of minutes, but then some employee wandered over and asked what I was buying. I indicated that I had already found it, but then she insisted on knowing what I wanted it for. At that point she decided to tell me I had grabbed the wrong thing (because I had grabbed stainless steel as that had the size I needed and the cheaper options had not) and spent 35 minutes wandering up and down the aisle looking at different options and not letting me buy what I wanted. I told her the size of the bolt I needed, and was adamant that the bolt needed to be completely threaded. She gave me bolts that were only threaded for one inch, and insisted I needed to buy those. Also, while asking me about the desk, she kept referring to some imaginary “him”. An example: “what did He say you needed?” She acted as if I couldn’t possibly be looking for hardware without the instructions of some man. I found this shocking as she was a woman working at a hardware store, you’d think she would not want to perpetuate stupid gendered stereotypes. Rather than sticking to my guns, I was annoyed and hungry so in order to escape her clutches I bought the stupid wrong bolts, took them home knowing they were wrong, and was proved correct when they wouldn’t work because they were not fully threaded. Could I have been more forceful and insisted that she was mistaken, and bought what I wanted? Yes. And I probably should have. But for whatever reason in that particular moment it was more important for me to get away from the intrusive assistant than it was to buy the actual hardware that I needed. My desk is currently on the floor of my office, and as I had already appropriated the plastic rolling drawers I’d been using to supplement my old desk for extra organization in my bathroom, my printer is currently sitting on my office chair thus rendering my office completely unusable.

Reflection: I hate it when people are overly attentive, and I cannot stand it when people do things for me that I could be doing for myself, therefore extending a process. This is particularly true when I am shopping. When I am browsing, I take my time looking at every object soaking in the beauty and the possibilities, but when I am actually shopping with a purchase in mind I mean BUSINESS. I walk quickly, head straight to the aisle I need, search out my item, grab it, check out (preferably at self checkout) and am back in my car before most people get their shopping carts. I get this business look on my face (which I have heard makes people think that I am upset or angry or mean, and I feel is somewhat similar to my bar-face, which explains a lot) and the message I am trying to externally communicate is that I am efficient, I am on a mission, and am not to be bothered. Unfortunately this look is not successful as often as I would like, and when a poor shopping assistant ventures a tentative, “may I help you find something” I have to make a mental and physical effort to politely decline with a smile, rather than snap and snarl at them for derailing my trajectory. Inside my head, in addition to being efficient, I rather enjoy the process of figuring where an object is located, and feel cheated when some employee shows me where it is rather than allowing me to find it for myself. In short–shopping is a very private and important process to me, and I can’t stand it when others intrude in that process unless I’ve invited them in on a joint shopping trip. Now, let’s all look for pathology there!

For having to work on my Sunday birthday, I had a rather lovely day. Our open house went well, my boss and I were given matching tiaras, and our office ordered us cake!

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Now that I’m 24, 6 years from 30 I may add, I’m making a concerted effort to transition from hand-me-down broken bookshelves and cast-off SMU furniture that is synonymous with post-residence-hall living, and slowly replace my furniture with nice, matching, and chosen items. My desk and chair were the first strides in this area. The next purchases will most likely be matching bookshelves for my books, and someday will be followed by some solution for the crafting/sewing half of my back room. In case you haven’t figured it out, aesthetics are particularly important for me, and having actual matching bookcases seems like a logical transition from recent college graduate to young professional. Which I am.

The final note in this unabashedly segue-less update post is that if you are interested in seeing me on stage in the near future, your only opportunity is on November 22nd. I am filling in for one night only at the SMU One-Acts in Laundry & Bourbon (which will be in the first half of the evening). Go see it any other night to see the actual Hattie, but if you want to see me that’s your one shot until heaven knows, maybe I’ll find a summer production to be a part of. We’ll see how I feel homework-wise.

That’s all for now folks, I’ve got lines to memorize and dishes to wash.

Sincerely,
Emilie

Today I Turn Twenty-Four


No matter how lovely the day, my birthday would not be complete without some reflections on the past year and recognition of all that has passed, as well as those who have influenced me. Year twenty-three has been one of tremendous personal growth. While from the outside my year may have seemed stolid, I assure you a great many changes have occurred. The most obvious is that I have begun graduate school and am a semester in to a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. What precipitated that decision, and what motivates my future choices, is rooted under the surface.

This year I have learned how brave I am. I have asked for, and been ready for, and accomplished bigger things than I ever thought possible on both a personal and professional basis. Bookish and brainy, gifted with not patience but the foresight to wait for better things; I always viewed myself as a little timid. The truth? I’m a brave, brave woman. I will try most anything that resonates, and each time I challenge myself I feel nothing but rewarded. And my resolution to “get out there” socially? A smashing success! I have never had a year more balanced with healing solitude and rewarding social time.

I have also learned to recognize the gift of family, and to appreciate having them close enough to be a part of their lives and have them be a part of mine. Autonomy has always been important to me, but this year I have learned about the importance of connection.

It has also sunk in that I can be a successfully independent adult. Which includes things like mowing the lawns on time, paying my bills and managing my budget, and choosing carefully where I want to spend my energy. Time is finite, and I don’t want to waste a moment of it. Does that mean you won’t find me marathoning hulu and netflix, or taking a nap when I feel exhausted from travel season? Absolutely not. It just means that I recognize the purpose everything serves in my life, and when there is something that is a consistantly negative drain on my energy I am learning how to say no and cut that thing from my life. I’m growing, and with growth comes discernment.

On the health spectrum, the year has been viscissitudinal. From month to month I wavered back and forth between excellent eating habits and subpar choices. I had several consistent months of exercise, and completed two 5ks with another scheduled for December! That may seem like a small accomplishment to most of you, but to me that was a monumental success. Other months, particularly this last, had feeble and scattered attempts at fitness. Those months directly correlated with the hours required at work and with outside activities, so I am also trying to be much more cognizant in the future of what I sign up for. A constant challenge, that.

I love my job. I love my class. I love my friends, new and old. I love my family. I love my understanding of self, and how it continues to grow. I LOVE where I live. I’m not being superlative.

I know a lot of people have had strong reactions to my life choices and motivations behind them, but I assure you I’m on an authentic path. All learning is related, and all paths are connected.

There is still a lot of life to live, and slowly I am realizing that it is alright to pass on opportunities. I do not have to fit everything in now, there will always be new chances around the corner and at better times.

I want to give back, in my own way, to those around me.

My intentions for year twenty-four follow:

1) Do only as much as is rewarding, learn to pass on what is not
2) Give back, in a way that is genuinely Emilie
3) Write, play, sing
4) Focus on goal-oriented budgeting and spending
5) Purposefully hone areas of professional development
6) Continue to focus on physical health/fitness in rewarding, non-guilt driven ways
7) Go places and explore the world

And on top of intentions I have one wish:
1) Learn guitar. It’s time.

Of course, no year would be complete without those who help make memories, and to you all I can say is thank you:
Thank you for the advice. Thank you for the trust and opportunities. Thank you for the concerts and road trips. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you for your patience with me, and willingness to be available when I am–which is not as often as I would like. Thank you for the books, spa days, video chatting and blog posts. Thank you for the podcasts. Thank you for the tasks and projects. Thank you for the hugs (even though I’m still the world’s most awkward hugger). Thank you for the happy hours. Thank you for the phone dates and inside jokes. Thank you for sharing your journey, and belting your lungs out with me at the piano and in the car. Thank you for the unlimited opportunities and incredible teaching. Thank you for the non-ego ego-filled midnight breakfasts, late-night swimming and planners (all covers for “processing”). Thank you for the constructive criticism. Thank you for the collaborative process. Thank you for calling me out when needed. Thank you all for making this life a dream.

Twenty-four feels great to me.

Sincerely,
Emilie