Charting life's circuitous path

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Oh, the places you won’t go…

It’s 3 am and I’m scouring the internet for a career.  I’m well into my 30s with two degrees and I’m asking myself “what do I want to be when I grow up?”.

I have a job.  It’s not bad – good pay, decent hours for part-time, and even benefits.

But I feel suffocated.  I dread going to work most days and when I’m there, I watch the clock for when I can leave.  The job itself is okay, but my hands automatically type and my eyes scan the information without much prompting.

And it’s driving me slowly batty.

I was lucky.  When I graduated from high school,  I picked a university that gave me a full scholarship based on my grades.  Then, when I went off to get my masters, I picked another university that nearly paid for the ride with scholarships and work pay.

What broke my luck was my degree choice.

No one told me that I’d be sitting here one day with a lot of useless degree baggage no one wanted to claim.

Going into my bachelor’s, I picked geology.  I loved the idea of working with the earth and the creatures stuck in its hard shell.  I grew excited going to my geology classes and loved sitting in lectures.  But math struck with a big fat C in calculus.

I was a perfectionist.  Type A all the way and getting any grade below a B was akin to failing.  I wish I had told myself not to run scared to my adviser to change my degree to English.

I wish I had an adviser that had the courage to tell me to pick something else.

I wish I could have thought of my future and not solely about my interests and playing it safe.

Getting my degrees in English was wonderful.  I genuinely loved the courses and I loved reading all of the arcane texts.  I learned how to interpret, how to read not only passages but human behavior.  I became more of a person through my degree and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

But what I wish I could change was my focus.  Instead of having a degree where my job prospects include teaching and more teaching, I could have minored in English and majored in, say, health, business or other real-world focus.04399997f33e249ad3640ef0690dc409

This year, millions of bright, young adults will be clutching new high school degrees and dreaming about “big things.”  They’ll be told that they can do anything, be anything.  They’ll pick degrees, choose paths that will guide them through at least four years or thirty years or more.  And while some will find the right path, many will find theirs lined with deceptive quicksand.

For all of those graduating and hearing the speeches about dreams: look at your feet.  See them firmly on the ground.

Keep them there.

Don’t be afraid to dream.  Don’t be afraid to reach for those dreams.  But remember to keep your feet on the ground.  Grab the dreams and hold their balloon weight in your hand, but keep your feet from flying away.

Life is a mix of dreams and reality.  Learn to mix them for dreams alone are like vapor.  And when the vapor clears, all that’s left is hard reality.


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Happy Anniversary! You fool…

April isn’t my favorite month. Even though the flowers start to pop out of the cold ground and the sun begins to thaw frozen joints, April is fickle.  Temps fluctuate like hot flashes during menopause and the rain creeps up on you from behind a bright sun.  It’s not the worst month (February gets that honor), but it isn’t all that.

It starts off with fun and games – I pulled a prank on both my parents with a “look what we bought!” pic of a random car.  They both fell hard and my mother even tried zooming in the pic I had text to see the odd sticker on the bumper.  Little did I know that my “April fool’s!” was a bit too spot on.

I was really excited about our upcoming 10th anniversary.  We had a cabin rented, a hot tub awaiting us and a LOT of food packed for a four day break.  I couldn’t wait to sit cuddled on the couch in front of the large screen tv and watching the latest Sherlock episode.  We had been holding back from watching it for our trip.  The cabin promised secluded trails and we both liked the idea of being away from it all.

Except the gods of April had other plans. 😦

Those plans didn’t involve a warm log cabin with heaping plates of warm saag.  They didn’t include Cary Grant movies or long dips in the hot tub.   Instead, they involved a two day stay in a town we never heard of, a broken timing belt, and a damaged engine with a freak snow storm tossed in for fun.  Ha. Ha.

Happy Anniversary!

hotelWe tried to make the best of it as we waited for the bad news from the mechanic.  There was a thrift store within walking distance of our hotel where we picked up some cheap paperbacks.  The fried cheesecake was also helping.  Just a bit.  😉

dessertSo after a nail-biting hour trip back home in a car with only 3 cylinders and no trip and no hot tub, I do get the chance to say:  I got a new car for my anniversary!
Course,  that statement comes with a few caveats:  a new car means a dead, old car.  A new car means a new monthly bill and a new car means bye, bye house down-payment.

Well, they do say that April is a time of change and renewal.  I just didn’t think it took it so seriously.

priusMeet Luna!  Our new Prius C.  I wasn’t sure about the purchase at the time, but now I love her.  Enough to actually name her!  We picked Luna as a name due to her “moonglow” special coloring.  It’s actually just sparkly white, but we thought Luna fit her.  Our old car still needs fixing or trading, but at least we can tackle that when the whirlwind that was April settles down.

May, however, is looking up!  Starting it off with a huge plate of millionaire bars certainly doesn’t hurt.  These were all the rage the last time we went to visit England and I had wanted to try out the recipe, but was scared off by the ingredients.  While the 4 sticks of butter is still so scary I try not to think about it, the small 1 inch square pieces and sharing most of them with coworkers makes them a bit better.

Course, hearing that these were the best my hubby has ever eaten made them an instant winner!  🙂

millionaireThe recipe involved homemade caramel and shortbread.  Sounds daunting, right?  Actually, it was really easy.  This was one of the easiest bars I’ve ever made, even if it did involve three steps.  Just mix, pour and set.  They were so soft yet firm, sweet yet mild and so delicious that I put this on my “must repeat” list of desserts.

You can find multiple versions of the same recipe all over the web.  I used this one with great success:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.  The only changes I made was to use half semi-sweet chocolate and half dark chocolate in the top layer.  This gave the layer more weight without adding more sweetness.

In like a lamb and out like a lion?  They’re not kidding!  Still, with April showers we do get May flowers, so hopefully we’ll get some brilliant blooms.  It’s my favorite month, after all. 🙂


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Caramel latte memories

coffeeWhen thoughts slowly swirl like caramel in frothed milk
Thick, dense, and dark against the white cream.
They dissipate, blending as the milk turns latte brown.
I sip carefully as it scorches the edge of my memories.
Friends walking away without goodbyes, disappearing.
Family silently watching each other, distrustful but full of smiles.
Memories, both real and imaginary swirl together
trapping each other in a tangle. No longer separate.
Earlier, the clean porcelain mug sat on the counter.
Alone, it waited patiently, safe in its knowledge of utility.
Shaking hands, unsteady, unsure grasp the smooth handle.
The steady porcelain never wavers, holding the hot liquid
Giving the lost hands something to do.
The caramel swirl mirroring the dark thoughts threatening to spill
A mind teetering on the edge of the mug.
For the briefest sip, my breath stutters out of my lungs.
Now warm.