I’m heading into my ninth month of underemployment. The days go slow but the nine months has flown past. This nine month realization made me understand how important it is to have time for growth between conception and new baby. Much like parents-to-be, I’ve spent my ‘pregnancy’ researching, learning, contemplating, understanding, and transitioning into this new phase of my life.
I started this gratitude door in June 2018 after I left my NRS position. In the middle of the door is a metal ornament, from my Lloyd family, that has the character for ‘Journey’ in Japanese. I have spent the last nine months posting up what has made me grateful on this journey. And of course, as with any pregnancy, there has been uncertainty, queasiness and my ankles have even been swollen on occasion. Yet, there has been so many wonderful people, events, moments. And I’ve had the time to be grateful for the enjoyment and the education.
And February was 28 days of more reasons to be grateful…
Serving = 10 shifts! The restaurant is starting to pick up. “Winter is going!” I even got to work a few dinner shifts. We are inching towards patio season. Despite the lucrative serving season approaching, it is my intention to ‘retire’ from Wood once I find the right Monday-Friday position for me. I have been truly blessed to have Wood for the money but also the camaraderie. I love the people I work with and enjoy the actual work which makes this underemployment stage much easier.
Job Search = 24 applications …and a series of interviews 🙂 I believe the expected interviewing activity of early 2019 was postponed, first by the government shut-down and then the threat of a second shut-down. Finally, I’m meeting with people to discuss their needs and my needs to determine the right fit for me. I’m enjoying the flurry of employment possibilities.
Workout with Josh = 8 times! I saw a play this month where the trainer said to her client, “pain is just a fact.” The statement shifted my perspective. I’ve certainly done my share of complaining about my knees, feet, shoulder, and back. The culprit to my aches is age and serving. Still, I continue to workout with Josh to strengthen this body for the long haul. I have pain… it’s just a fact.
Yoga = 6 times! I have made it to 6 classes… even in this crappy weather. Yoga is absolutely necessary for my achy body and cranky spirit. In one class, the teacher asked if anyone had any issues she should know about. People responded with physical ailments like knees, back, etc. When Jane asked me, I said “I’m just cranky!” She effectively worked in poses for all the physical complaints. And before the end, she queued up some twisting poses ‘to help Katy get rid of her crankiness.’ It worked!
*11 documentaries! I watched a variety of interesting documentaries. There was a series of 5 Oscar-nominated documentary shorts. I also saw a PBS two part Victoria and Albert’s Wedding. Since I enjoy the Victoria series so much, the documentary provided additional facts around the relationship. I watched a PBS four part series called Busiest Cities. It looked at Hong Kong, Moscow, Mexico City and Delphi. It’s not tourism based. It illustrates more the challenges the locals face. It was fascinating! I also watched Heal, a documentary on wholistic healing.
*1.5 books! I completed one and half books and started another one.
I followed up last month’s The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha with his book The Happiness Equation. Valuing yourself, making space, the myth of multi-tasking, and how eliminating options leads to more choice. Pasricha illustrates modern barriers to happiness and then shares how to overcome them. It was fascinating, inspirational and practical. I highly recommend it as a how-to book to happiness.
I also finished the second 1/2 of the historic novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamole, America’s First Daughter. It chronicles Martha ‘Patsy’ Jefferson’s life. I continued to be disenchanted by Thomas Jefferson as a slave owner and fathering a second family that he never acknowledged. I also was blown away by the debt he and his son-in-law carried (Patsy’s husband). Money was not discussed with women. So, Patsy found out financial burdens after they had accumulated. At one point, her husband owed $30,000 in the late 1700s which must translate to millions in modern times. Besides dealing with debt, Patsy dealt with her own and her sister’s domestic violence. Even when I lament about how tough it is for women in 2019, I am grateful to be a woman now and not then.
Because I read and re-read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, I picked up Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser. Fraser provides a factual account of Wilder’s storytelling. Where Wilder writes about the locust eating the crops, Fraser describes the event as a locust plague that crossed multiple states. It left people destitute and homeless… for years. The magnitude of the destruction caused by these locust was astonishing. In her writing about life on the prairie, Wilder was very whimsical. Her reality was much more gritty than her children’s series related. Wilder describes their home IN a hill by Plum Creek. Fraser gives the reality of the dirty existence for the poverty stricken forced to live in a hole they dug. Laura and her family were poor. Her father chased a dream of success and kept uprooting his family in that quest. The family was often starving. One winter, the girls couldn’t go to school because they didn’t have warm enough clothes to leave the house. Fraser’s account is devastating (and fairly dull) but amazing. Wilder began writing her Little House books at age 57. After a childhood of malnutrition and hardship, she lived to 90 enjoying fame and financial success.
Theatre Reviews = 9 reviews! I saw and reviewed “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Porchlight Music Theatre) ,“Girl in the Red Corner” (Broken Nose Theatre), “The Father” (Remy Bumppo Theatre), “Dear Evan Hansen” (Broadway in Chicago), “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (Steppenwolf Theatre), “La Traviata (Lyric Opera),“An Inspector Calls” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater),“May the Road Rise Up” (Factory Theatre),and “The Man who was Thursday” (Lifeline Theatre).
Journaling = 9 entries! I continue to chronicle this journey in my third book, “Unexpected Changes.”
Playing = YES! On February 1st, I crawled out of my Polar Vortex cocoon to have lunch with Bill. I finished my Oscar movies with Ellen (Green Book), Maryam/Keith/Ellen (Vice) and Patrick (Cold War). I even watched the Oscar nominated documentary shorts. I hosted a small Oscar watching soiree and ran ballot betting across the country.
I had lunch with Katelynn, Jen B-B, Collin and Bill (multiple times). I had drinks with Josh, Rick, and Ellen/Maryam/Keith. I had dinner with Bill, Ellen, the parents/Jenny/Kelly, Ellen/Roger, and Tom. I even gathered with the Chicago folks that went to Greece in 2017 for a Greek dinner reunion.
And during some of the continued bitter temps, I finished a complicated donut puzzle and then walked down to Stan’s Doughnuts to feed that craving.
Although Chicago has had a brutal winter, there is more behind us than in front of us. The sunshine is lasting longer. And it’ll be 50 next week. I’m ready to March ahead into Spring!