Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Meditating in a Subway

We were locked out of our meeting space.  A spur-of-the-moment idea resulted in the seven of us seated at rearranged tables and chairs in the Subway restaurant next door, stacks of magazines in front of each of us.

The facilitator began our guided meditation.  Eyes closed, my senses were filled with piped-in music, scents of bacon and onion and toasted bread, orders being given, chairs scraping and footsteps padding on the floor.  At first it was distracting, and I had to refocus on our facilitator's words.  As the meditation and exercise continued, the sounds and smells faded to the background, forming a pillow for my thoughts.  Focus your energy...whiff of food...focus on the month...snippet of song...focus on the images...what can I do for you, sir?

We were almost finished when another facilitator arrived with a key.  We unanimously, quietly decided to finish the meditation portion of our morning in the Subway.  After a few exchanges of gratitude and "have a nice day" with the restaurant staff, we packed up and moved next door to our usual space to finish creating our collages.

I usually enjoy the calm, quiet space where we meet.  But this morning, it seemed a little less "full" without the clatter of the outside world, reminding us that no matter where you are, you can still go inward to find that place of peace.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Tend

Tend:  to act in a particular way, cultivate, serve, watch over, pay attention, wait, listen, be ready, take charge.  (Thank you, Merriam-Webster online dictionary.)

That's my One Little Word (OLW) for 2019.  After experiencing "enough" (2018's OLW) last year, I realized by this New Year's Eve that in many areas of my life I truly have had enough.  Enough debt.  Enough lack of sleep.  Enough drawn-out, longer-than-necessary work days.  Enough fat on these bones and weakening of muscles.  Enough avoidance tactics of eating and shopping and mindless screen time.  Enough wishing for more experiences and memory-making.

So this year, it's all about tending to those things I've had enough of.  Tend to my finances, my sleep schedule, my work hours.  Tend to my home and relationships.  Tend to my body's needs for healthy food and exercise.  Tend to what is truly important, and whittle away the rest.

Photo ©Christine Margocs.  Taken January 7, 2019.

Monday, December 31, 2018

A New Year's request to my friends on social media

We've got a brand new year coming up.  An artificial boundary to prompt us to review, reevaluate, renew to be a better version of ourselves.

One of the items on my review list is my social media presence.  I'm going to look back over my posts on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog, and evaluate the content of my contributions.  

I'm going to use the THINK acronym as I read:

Some of the questions I will ask myself:
  • Did I check the source of any information I shared before posting?  Was it reliable and trustworthy?  Or did it just cater to my own beliefs and opinions?
  • Are my posts helpful, inspiring, and kind?  Am I spurring thoughtful conversations, or just fanning the flames of an irrelevant issue?
  • Is the kind of world I want reflected in the posts I write and share?
  • Do I "like" posts that fit the THINK acronym? 
I respect the opinions of my friends, family, and colleagues, but I'll be honest--if I see someone rapidly sharing memes and posts from nondescript, unverifiable sources, then I'm just as rapidly scrolling through.  If those sources are extremist (on either end of the spectrum), then I'm scrolling through those as well.  

And about that sharing...

There have been several articles from reliable sources regarding Russia's use of social media to influence politics in the United States and abroad.  Those who seek to disrupt democratic processes may be responsible for flooding social media with "fake news" and incendiary posts, but guess who's responsible for spreading such inaccuracies--we, the users of social media, are to blame for spreading those fires.
So this year, I'm going to try to do more reading and THINKing.  I'm going to be even more careful of the posts I share.  I'm going to try and comment on the ones I do share, so that my friends and colleagues are aware of MY thoughts and opinions, not just some unknown meme creator's whims.

I'm going to do my part to make the internet a kinder, more reliable place for my friends, family, and colleagues to meet and share and discuss.  This does not mean that I'm planning on avoiding tough topics--it just means that when I do so, I will do better at making sure the information comes from reliable sources, and that my posts are there to spark conversation, not fires.  I will ignore trolls, because there's a chance they are not who they claim to be as, and not truly reflective of my community.  I will believe my own eyes and experience, and listen to the experience of my friends, family, and colleagues to help guide my beliefs and opinions.

In short, I will do my best to think for myself.  And I ask my friends on social media to do the same.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Hail and farewell

There will be a double retirement party in my library this afternoon, for our campus cafeteria manager...and my library assistant.

Melinda has been my right-hand woman for five years.  After working in the office, she began the position halfway through my first year as a librarian.  That spring semester was one of the blind leading the blind, but we pulled through and came back for more the next year, and the next.

I feel a bit sorry for my incoming assistant, as Melinda has spoiled me.  Rarely do I need to give directions, as she is always onto the next task, usually before I even know it needs to be done.  She single-handedly runs the circulation desk, helping teachers and a class while I'm teaching another group in the lesson area or Book Nook.  I couldn't have maintained our double-class schedule without her assistance.

Melinda's smile is known by all who have encountered her in the office, lunchroom, crosswalk, and library.  As she said tearful goodbyes to our classes last week, there were cries of "Noooooo!" from the students.  She will be missed, and held to her promise of returning to visit in the near future.

Thank you, Melinda, for all you've done for our campus--and for me.  You've helped this fledgling librarian learn to fly, and for that, I'll be forever grateful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Twenty-eight years

This Saturday marks our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary.  I searched online for traditional twenty-eighth anniversary gifts, and came up empty-handed.  The modern take is anything orchid--flower or color--but purple isn't a favorite color of my husband.

Our college boy comes home on Saturday, so we'll celebrate earlier in the week, most likely with dinner and a movie.  I offered to pay for the tickets as my gift, and suggested to my husband that his gift could be the dinner part.  No muss, no fuss, nothing to dust; that seems to be the motto regarding gifts these days.  We have all that we need and more than we could want, the clutter of our lives on the cusp of overwhelming.

But what lives we have led, these past twenty-eight years!  Twelve jobs between us (eight of them mine).  A premature birth.  A miscarriage.  A medically complicated birth.  The loss of two parents, a sibling, and four great-grandparents.  Eight surgeries in our family of four.  Two and a half college degrees.  Several trips across Texas and across states.  A solo overseas trip to London for me, and an excursion to Tokyo for all of us. 

I've lost count of the number of vehicles we've owned...we're currently at five cars, three motorcycles, and several bicycles.  (Why?  We have four drivers, and the extra car is the only one big enough to move college dorm necessities and lug home a Christmas tree.)  We've had but two homes; our rental when we first married, and the house we bought the year after, now paid in full.  We have no desire to move, having built our lives and collected memories in these walls.

We've had our ups and downs over twenty-eight years, but we've always, always had each other.  Here's to at least twenty-eight more--more love, more laughter, more memories to share.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday Slice: What's in your phone?

I found my Muse for today's post in the photo gallery on my phone.  Browsing the pictures from the last few weeks, I found several that held my attention.  I realized that together they made a visual gratitude journal entry.
My amazing, creative, adventurous daughter.
Hot tea, and the view from my front porch.
Books of all genres, at my fingertips. (The boxes are full, too.)
My mother's crystal, and the ridiculous cuteness of this teeny cordial stemware.
More food than I need--this is Thanksgiving leftover potpie.
The glory of the skies at dusk--all I have to do is look up.
The joy of family traditions--visiting the Johnson City Courthouse the day after Thanksgiving.
Family willing to travel through states to share traditions.
My hardworking, smart-as-a-whip college boy who comes home for the holiday, and a husband who bears with my every fault and still manages to love me.
Cookie press cookies--can baking get any easier?
Comfy AND cute holiday shoes to wear while I bake gingerbread boys!
A note from the Universe at a school function.
A family heirloom, passed along by my great-aunt along with my mother's baptismal gown.

What's in my phone?  A lot of unfortunate selfies, and whole lotta gratitude.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tuesday Slice: The germs catch up

The alarm goes off
The chores get done
The lessons get planned
The emails get sent


The car gets gas
The groceries get bought
The toilet gets cleaned
The package gets mailed


The alarm gets set
The students get taught
The meetings get met
The phone calls get answered


The dinner gets cooked
The carpet gets vacuumed
The clothes get washed
The texts get sent


The weekend gets here
The break gets here
The alarm goes off
The germs catch up.

Sleep.  Medicate.  Sleep some more.

The alarm goes off
The chores get done....