This is No Bridget Jones

Jonathan promised to take me swing dancing when my ankle heals. SWING DANCING! :) I'm so excited that I just vacuumed the house (the thrill of anticipation somehow makes me more productive?)

Maybe we can pull off this look again:

The picture was taken before a Great Gatsby party we went to in Reno that lived up to its namesake in decadence. Women were decked out in fringe and pearls and some guys wore zoot suits and we had cocktails and dinner on the lawn. Sadly Jonathan is sans his dapper hat in this picture, but let me just say that if I had met him at one of Gatsby's roaring parties, he would have been first on my dance card.


Who Will Sign My Petition?

Not speaking from my own job, but generally, I've always wondered and especially wonder after being exposed to other countries' work philosophies...

Why do Americans work so hard?

Why are our work weeks bleeding into evenings and weekends?

Why is it so rare in this country to be given paid vacation automatically--or even more than a week or two--rather than requiring people to put in the time and prove their worth before they're treated like a human being?

Why do we believe the lie that work gives us our worth? That money equals success?

. . .

I'll sign any petition to change this. Please just don't tell me the answer is socialism.

One Small (but really quite big) Step

Anyone call fall in love. Not everyone can marry their life to another's. The same is true for any obsession. It's easy to fall in like, in lust, to be infatuated and passionate and let it take over your thoughts and time. It's not so easy to commit yourself to it when it ruts into routine, when it feels like a task, when it makes you sweat, when it loses it's glitzy sheen.

It didn't take me long to fall in love with stories when I first learned to read. It's been one of the enduring romances of my life, this appreciation for linking word pictures and sentences with the purpose of interpreting life, of explaining it in ways that you hope resonates with people who perhaps just needed a different way of looking at things. Last year was my honeymoon. Kind of like how in the Old Testament newlyweds were meant to take off an entire year from work to fully engage their new spouse, to understand each other and learn to communicate in their spouse's language, that's how last year was for me and my life's ambition. Without distraction, I had all day to process what I was reading and learning. I wrote, too, but for me the value was in the absorbing, not the actual writing, because like a newlywed I was so thrilled with the newness of the experience that my head was in the clouds and the writing was sometimes foggy, sometimes clear, but not without purpose. No work is purposeless.

Now here I am, faced with the commitment I made and encountering the problems I tried my best to mentally prepare for: disciplining myself to write without assignment, with a full-time job, with only my infatuation and honeymoon years grounding me. Anyone can write. Not everyone can marry their life to a passion. So today, with God and you as my witness, I'm here to make a public commitment to the work that's called me and consumed me for as long as I can remember. And starting tomorrow, I'm going to do what anyone should do when they've made a commitment. I'm going to take the first small step of discipline. I'm not going to finish a book or call an agent--that'll happen later, in its proper time. No, I'm going to wake up an hour earlier and write before I go to work, when my mind is fresh and clean. It seems like such a small thing, I know--but that's the trick. If I'm tricked into believing it's a meaningless thing, I'll be tricked into making light of it and getting out of it. But commitment requires practicality. Romanticizing is fun and has it's place, and there will be times when it's the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. But now I must act. I must avoid the snooze button. I must lift my feet out of bed and place them on the floor. I must walk to our guest room and turn on the computer and write without stopping. I must.

And after quite a few 'musts,' eventually I'll realize that I want.


A Taste of Italy

You must slice thin, not translucent, milky discs of real whole milk mozzarella to top a homemade marguerite pizza. Layer them on like petals. Ring them in, over the top, until a spot of sauce is left breathing in the middle. Cover it quickly before you think it looks pretty--wet tomato rose spinning in an English Garden--cover it quickly! and sprinkle fresh snipped basil over the pie. (Unless you prefer it underneath the mozzarella. Then you should perform this step after the sauce and before the cheese. I never said the steps in my recipes were chronological.)


. . .

I interrupt this blog to bring you . . . a pathetic excuse.

signed with deepest apologies,
The Working Amy Who Hasn't Gotten Her Sea Legs Back After Spending the Year Adrift in Unemployment.

More words to come soon.


Last Friday Hurrah

After two take-away coffees from home and a quick errand to church, today our daytrip to Sausalito turned into a daytrip to Yosemite. Springtime, after all, is the best time to see the valley's raging waterfalls and it was supposed to be a beautiful day. Yosemite is only two and a half hours of pastoral scenery from us and we got acquainted with the rolling countryside and Mexican fruit stands before arriving in the park early afternoon. We had just enough time to catch some nice pictures in partly cloudy/partly sunny weather when suddenly it started to sprinkle...and sleet...and snow! The first snowfall we've seen since Easter in London last year, now just a few days short of Easter 2009. We grabbed some lunch and by the time we had finished the sun came out. Bright sun! So much sun that it lit up the lush mountainsides and shrubbery in a haze of emerald and lilac. Haven't seen this much green since we left Ireland last summer, and after living in dry climates most of my life I couldn't seem to soak it all in fast enough.

Here's to Yosemite and the memories we'll soon be making together...