Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking Stock

-Two feature stories a month for UBA's website
-Helping get a concession stand converted into a food truck for Mission Houston
-Working behind the counter a few weeks and serving as team captain for the Houston Buyers Club AIDS Walk team
-Increasing the number of insured women who receive mammograms at The Rose Galleria, a local center with 25 years of serving the insured, underinsured and uninsured
-Serving as storyteller and occasional editor for Matryoshka Haus, a resource reservoir for social enterprises

And massages.

As of Feb. 5, these are the days of my life. I could use one more gig that pays but overall, I'm thrilled that the dream is about to become reality.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This is getting old ... but I can give a good massage!

One classmate is a expert at needlework and is working a new pattern. Another colors pictures ... from a coloring book. One took a nap under the table. Another is reading a book.

Such is life in the classroom in the last semester of massage class.

I alternate between trying to write, reading my emails, and playing spider solitaire.

What's the instructor doing? you might ask.

Well, we don't start until 9:15 a.m. Roll call taking such a very long time when you have 19 students (and yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek). Next we review the muscles we "learned" the day before. In actuality, he reminds us what he told us to underline the day before because they are the EXACT things that are on the quiz. Then we take a break. After, we read about more muscles and underline more portions of the text. With such a taxing schedule we are now ready for the hour and a half lunch period.

Returning from lunch we wait for everyone to arrive. That's another 15-20 minutes. We then take the test on anatomy. Of course, that's ONLY AFTER we've reviewed. And what is the review of? Were you listening? That's right -- the exact questions that will be on the quiz. We take that quiz, read the next section of anatomy, underline, and at that point it's 2:30 or 3 p.m. and wow ... that was such a full day we now just ... sit.

Or do needlework, color, nap, or read.

I'm looking at three more weeks of this.

Can you say, ARGH?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Another Day in the New Life of Me

Spent the day counting nutritional supplements and healthy options for everything from hand creams and shampoos to power bars and energy drinks.

Then set up an AIDS Walk Houston page for the Houston Buyers Club (where I was doing all that counting).

Came home and read the incredible tale of the young man who worked with Congresswoman Giffords before trained medical assistance could arrive. I began to cry as I thought of all the interns and staffers I've worked with and how every one of them had equal degrees of passion, intelligence and courage.

So when I opened the door to my two expected guests, I was in tears. I then explained why and proceeded to (a) try to stretch and knead a constricted neck muscle on my friend, then (b) give her daughter her third-ever massage.

After, I received a text message from the friend which I will treasure forever: "I hope someone says about me what my daughter said about you, 'I felt like I was her friend after 5 minutes in her home.' (Emphasis on the 'I'.)"

Today was the day I've been working toward for the last several months ... non-profits, caring people, addressing pains, providing pleasure.

Ahhhhh . . . I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Dark Day

If I were in a relationship, today would be the kind of day I'd call and ask him to come over and hold me for a while.

Mid-afternoon, Facebook activity increased. The word at the time was that a Congresswoman had been killed. Later we learned that while Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, she was actually alive. As of this evening as I'm typing, we're told six people were killed.

Among them are a 9-year-old girl who recently had been elected to her school's student council, a federal judge and one of Giffords' aides -- Gabe Zimmerman, her community outreach director who was engaged to be married.

Every loss today was senseless. Every life should be recognized and treasured. But I was particularly moved at the thought of Zimmerman.

As a former staffer for a state representative who organized plenty of town hall gatherings like the one that was scheduled for today, I could identify with his last moments. I know what it's like to get somewhere early, make sure the staging is set, greet the representative, ensure she has all she needs to be comfortable and then stay on the edge of activity, alert to who shows up, who looks friendly, and who might be trouble. Never did I ever think I would have to scan the crowd for a shooter. We did hire security on a couple of occasions but it was more for crowd control than actual fear of violence.

I have met so many young men like Gabe, believers who want to make a difference, who dedicate hours upon hours for little monetary reward, and who have so much potential you can almost see their future office-holding in their eyes. No one should die at the hand of a crazed gunman. Knowing just a little bit about one who has makes the loss so much more real.

I don't have a pithy comment about the U.S., about the demise of social decorum, or about how one side or the other might have brought this on. I have no clue why things like this happen or how we can keep it from happening again.

What I do have is a great sense of the void widening today. Dark, deep and wide it's kinda scary. And I could use a hug.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In one day ...

-- Got a great email from a friend who reads this blog and likes it. Since she's a published writer, I was incredibly moved.
-- Had lunch with a friend who runs a coalition of organizations that focus on health and human services as well as education and after bemoaning how bad it's going to be for them in the 82nd Legislative Session, we mapped out what could be an education/awareness gig for me.
-- Opened a reply from a non-profit providing mammograms and breast cancer awareness for uninsured and undrerinsured that was advertising for a full-time communications person but was open to a part-timer with 25 years experience (that would be me) and have set up an interview on Thursday.
-- Connected with my client based in London but who is now in Alaska visiting her ailing mom and made plans for a communications overhaul
-- Remembered why I love my life . . .