Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jill of all Trades, Mistress of all

When am I good enough?
I've been on a downer lately.  At least in my mind I can't seem to do anything right.  My ideas are off-base, my timing is off and I just don't feel like I have any 'pizzazz'. My energy is low.  I've been blaming allergies but in truth it may just be a case of the blues.  Growing up in a hyper-critical household, I know I'm overly sensitive and have spent tons of money in therapy to 'get over it'.  I wonder if I ever will?  On the best days I have coping mechanisms for when those creepy boogie man thoughts enter my mind, but on the worst days it is like dragging a chorus of ne'er do wells around inside my head weighing me down.  So my question for the day is -- when am I good enough?  When isn't it a shame I'm not the most beautiful, intelligent, witty, graceful woman in the world?   

 When am I good enough? 

I love baseball, and an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants.  All teams have their stars.  This year, we have Lincecum and Wilson (pitchers) and Posey (catcher).  But without the other players on the field, it is only a couple guys playing catch.  What about the utility player?  Guys like Aubrey Huff who played a long time before stepping into the limelight in the 2010 season?  There are hundreds of guys like him all throughout Major League Baseball who show up day after day, season after season.  Aren't they good enough?

When am I good enough?

I've been in civil service for over three decades.  I didn't go to college after high school.  I ran from the hyper-critical family home in Chicago to California and had to support myself.  I was quite the social butterfly in those early days, flittering around from one thing to another.   Regardless of what I was doing, working with computer systems has always been part of my work life.  In my 30's after my son was born, I settled down and got a bit more serious.  I enrolled and finished one of those IT programs and began my 'official' career as an IT worker.  So for the past 18 years or so I've at least tried my hand at practically every discipline known to IT woman-kind.  It was traditionally a boys club, but that didn't stop me.  I adjusted.  I adapted.  I accepted change.  I wore heels and hose. I wore polo shirts and kakis.  I developed my own IT fashion sense that I wrapped my experience, my 'soft skills', my keen intuition and my social butterfly glittery-ness.  I am a valuable utility player. I’m a solid all around gal. When that ball comes at me and I try or go down swinging. I can even hit one out of the park once in awhile. I intuitively know when things are and aren't right. Understand how to do the research and to get proof.  After all these years I have a label.  "Jack of all trades, master of none."  Aren’t I good enough?

When am I good enough?

Am I a good enough wife, mother, friend, dancer, artist poet, gardener, intuit? When am a thin enough, fit enough, tall enough? (A stretch for me).  When am I sweet enough, smart enough, work hard enough? When am I fair enough, understanding enough, gentle enough, ambitious enough? When am I enough?  The list is exhaustive. I could go on-and-on.  We probably have these stories. I say I'm good enough, when I say “I'm good enough!”

I am Lady Mistress Michelle Lucia DeVita Fong "michey, Mickey, Mickie, Michi, mich and chell" of Casilada Castle, Dancer-Artist-Poet, Creator of Computer Systems, Mother-Surrogate-Mother-Sister-Friend, WOMAN, Wife-Lover-LandPartner-Coparent. I am Mistress of all. And isn't it a pity I'm not the most beautiful, intelligent, witty, graceful and glittery woman in the world?  Sometimes I feel when I kick up my heels in the sun, I'm the lovliest one.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Salad Club RULES

I started Salad Club in April 2010. My inspirations and motivation for founding such a club? A friend and really groovy heath-nutty gal started eating salad every day for lunch and within a few months noticeably lost a bunch of weight. (I couldn't hardly belive it). A group of gals at work get together and share food and ate lunch regularly. Their laughter and deep connection was envious. Lastly, fresh salads at my work cafeteria cost like $8.00. So I figured for $8.00 I can make a heck of a salad. So salad club was born.

My groovy-chica friend and another health-minded seriously demented friend and co-worker (you know who your are *deb*) get together on Tuesdays for lunch every week. We have some rules but that was just being silly and copied off the "Fight Club movie. The main thing is we get together, share a meal and talk about healthy eating. The topics range from our husbands, children, pets.... Healthy beauty products, supplements, recipes and healthy eating strategies. Sometimes we even talk about.... work. (no really)

In February 2011 I started working with an integrated health professional and am transitioning to eating a plant-based diet... This raw, vegan-ish diet has sent me on a heck of a journey. Mindful eating has been a huge challenge for me. I realized I wasn't listening to my own body's wisedom and am slowly learning what many most folks probably do naturally. When am I full? What foods provide nutrition and health to my body? What foods give pleasure, but are unhealthy for mind, body and spirit? All these questions -- all these answers.

What I want to say is yesterday I wore the brand new pair of jeans that I couldn't hoist over my fabulous derriere a year ago. One thing for sure I've learned -- change for this 51-year-old woman comes slowly. Looking at one year ago how much I've changed it seems tremendous.

What is my new challenge? I look out the window and see all the possibilities a year from now will bring. All from just eating salad.

Salad Club RULES

1st RULE: You do not talk about SALAD CLUB.

2nd RULE: SALAD CLUB starts at 12 noon on Tuesday, LPW, 2685A. (moved to EAI War Room and time changed to 11:30)

3rd RULE: Show up with a salad and a beverage.

4th RULE: Sharing of toppings is encouraged, but not required. Please place toppings to be shared in a designated sharing area.

5th RULE: There must be at least two vegetables must be in every salad. All vegetable salads are encouraged.

6th RULE: Please dress appropriately as set-down by "The Benevolent Oracle" when attending SALAD CLUB. Shirts and shoes are encouraged.

7th RULE: Salad eating will go on as long as we still have teeth.

8th RULE: If this is your first lunch at SALAD CLUB, you MUST eat salad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunday's Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market season is about to launch into spring. As a regular market goer I tend to get peeved at those fair weather shoppers who don't realize that this is basically my grocery store. I've been working on some helpful hints, that seem obvious but I think need to be posted at the entrance of the market every spring.

1) Although there are no check out stands, there are informal lines. Wait your turn to pick your produce or pay for your food items. It is just merely polite. Last Sunday an older lady practically snatched a bunch of carrots out of my hands. I was flabbergasted.

2) The market isn't going to be cheaper than Costco. It isn't nice to tell the farmer that has toiled with love and devotion to bring these wonderful foods to us.

3) Please leave your cute doggies at home unless they're an assistant.

4) It is great to bring kids to the market. We brought our son for years (untill the teen years prevented him from leaving the bed until high noon). Make it an adventure! Get them involved with the cooking of whatever foods they pick out. It'll be fun and they'll love it and love you. That being said, please feed your kids something healthy before you come to the market. I feel sorry for the hungry-screaming kids who don't get to enjoy shopping for their own food because they're hungry and they want a sweet roll and their mommy or daddy say NO. It is painful to see.

5) If you smoke, please don't smoke anywhere around the food market. Smoke travels and it is gross.

6) If you run into someone you know (we invariably do), step out of the lanes of traffic or out of line and have a nice chat. Think of it as a community building exercise.

7) It is wonderful to ride your bike to the market. Please park and lock your bike.

8) If you have a stroller/wheelie cart thingy. Please, please, please don't block the line (see 1). Be aware of your surroundings. Don't bump people or run over their feet. If you do, you may consider apologizing rather than giving 'the look'.

9) Be careful of accepting counterfit. I've seen fake 10s going around last year. The grower/farmers aren't responsible and there is no use of being mad at them if you get one. Check your money.

10) Observe the traffic rules. Why do you have to go "in" the "out only?

Hear the future?

My son recently accepted admittance to UC Berkeley (Cal) as a Regents and Chancellors Scholar. This weekend, we all went to "Cal Day" an open house event at the university. What a day of mixed emotions. Whew! We got up early and drove the 90 minutes to Berkeley to be there by 9:00 am. Forty-thousand plus show for the event to tour the campus, check out programs and prospective students from all over the globe. We got there early to find a coveted free (one of only two days of the year) parking spot. The Cal campus is fairly large so we dropped him off at the Stanley Hall (bioengineering building) to go to the first meeting of the day. To see the man I once knew as a child walk away into the future was frankly frightening. However, as the day went on and I walked around the university, exploring for myself, I realized how much there was there to offer him and I got so happy for him. The caliber of the program, professors and students is perfectly suited to him. I was worried that he wasn't used to city life, but I think he'll enjoy learning what a dense urban area can offer him in the way of diversity, culture and challenge him to be a better human being overall. He will be able to explore cirriculur opportunities and experience the traditional college life. It was like a dream come true.
By the end of the day I realized it has been a long time coming. All the science projects, early morning drives to soccer and basebal fields, standing in the rain or the heat to watch some event or the other in a closed in space with lots of smelly kids. Late night pep talks when he'd put off whatever assignment until the very last moment. Bake sale flops (on my part), field trips with a car-load of tired kids, dragging our tired-selves around behind him at museums where he looked at every single thing and read every single sign (including, "Restrooms, this Way"). From beanie babies to trains to legos (we were in legos quite a while) to robots. Soccer, baseball and mathlete practice, music (a very poorly played saxaphone), school events in costume (pioneers, colonial settlers and most notably pirates (complete with penciled on moustaches). Oh let's not forget about dinosaurs (if triceraTOPS, where are the BOTTOMS?), ancient egypt and the steps for mummifying a body and what the spirit has to do in the afterlife, sailing around the cape horn, and whether or not he 'likes-likes' a girl or she's just a friend (not that he'd ever talk about that with me now). Rock collecting and star gazing. Loving his friends like they were our own tribe-children. Parents of those friends, we hope to remain friends with for life. A single black balloon, a yellow ruler, moments of pure bliss watching him put a very loving and understanding cat in a leg lock or playing in the back yard in childhood's innocence. And laundry, loads and loads of laundry. This chapter of my life as a mother over. High school graduation is around the corner and all this life we've been living -- some of it easy, some painful -- has paid off.
By the end of the day, I realized if I was quiet. If I was very, very quiet and still. And I listened very carefully, I can hear the future of our dreams calling. It is palpable.