Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well I handed in my resignation at work today. Given how worried I'd been about it, it worked out pretty well. My direct line manger was a little shocked but essentially said good luck and your always welcome back. The CEO and I talked for about an hour and I was really able to explain my thinking. Again he understood and was very positive. My friend Vicki who heads up HR also took the news well. She knows Mexico from numerous vacations and can see the draw. It was a sad thing to do and people seemed a little disappointed but supportive, so all in all it was successful. I do now feel like I have crested a hill and that things will be easier here on in. It will certainly be sad to leave work, as really a lot of the people I work with are like family. I think this happens more when you live in a country that's not your own. Still I hope to maintain these friendships. In many ways I think I'd gotten the hard part out of the way the week before when I'd been in such an anxious stew about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I've also paid to get my furniture stored and have a quote for moving it all into storage. Its all starting to come together now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Birthday II

For my birthday I went out to dinner with Catherine, Fernando, Willie, Jerry, Jeff, Jose and Steph.
Willie and Catherine:

Fernando Snr. & Jnr. (I could just eat this little boy):Jose, Steph & Jeff:
What a very cool bunch of people:) I had a really good time, and I got to thinking that this week , with my sunstroke and general exhaustion I definitely allowed myself to slip into a place where my fears started to take on a life of their own. I'm back in the world where a calmer reality reigns. Going to send notice on my lease today and to the gym. One nice calming thought is that I could come back in 6 months if things don't work out. Hell I'd be back by February - I'd hardly be missed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm getting older!!!!!!!!!

Just a little bit. 36 today but you can hardly tell and I'm still happy to report that I'm very immature - no sign of growing up here:) Had a nice lunch in the park today with work friends and out with my home friends tonight. Could kill a glass of wine! Hey it is my Birthday.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling rehydrated and rested...

At last I seem to have drank enough water to feel back to normal. I actually got cold during Batman. Willie is a great advice giver and gave me some peals of wisdom on the way home from the Movie.
As a side, I think I read somewhere that Heath Ledger's role as the joker may have pushed him into the mental state that lead to his overdose. He played a good role as the insane joker and I guess he really had to get mentally into that place to be convincing. That made me think of a little postcard that a friend used to keep on her fridge 'you are not what you do'. It got me to thinking that you do tend to become precisely what you do. Like Heath becoming manic after getting into his part as the crazy joker; me becoming panicked about Mexico because I let myself get tired and start to allow crazy out of control worries take hold. I was watching 'Sex in the City' on my i-pod and that too made me think about how many girls spend all of their time ruminating about men and their relationships instead of just letting them happen. I see many of my friends in complete (crazy) states of panic about what the latest little comment their boyfriend made really means - what a waste of energy.
So I decided I'd fallen off the healthy mind and body wagon recently. NOt going to the gym enough, eating and drinking too much, sleeping not enough, watching too much nonsense on television. Taming the mind and being at peace where you are takes constant effort, and it's so well worth it to feel peaceful about life.
So I wiped all of the TV shows off my i-pod this morning so that I can be disciplined enough to read on the PATH. Reading and the gym I think are the ways for me to stay well grounded during this little transition. Lets not underestimate the value of a good afternoon snooze (work is a little inconvenient in this regard, I'll admit).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I am zapped...

Partially because I taught a scuba class in doubles in 96 degrees yesterday, bruised the sole of my foot and lost a peal stud earring and partly because my week was so draining, but I feel like somebody picked me up like a wash rag, twisted me up and rang me out. I've drank tons of water today and am still dehydrated. I laid in a tub of cold water to try to cool down and I still have a high temperature. Lesson - I've been trying to do too much, with too much going on in my head. Last night I went out for a nice dinner I'd been looking forward to, and could hardly talk because I was so physically and mentally exhausted -not such great company!
I guess last week was a bit of a roller coaster: work, thinking of resigning, my dad possibly being ill, thoughts of not being able to go to Mexico, things making me feel like staying in NJ wouldn't be so bad, money and the lack of it, and the prospect of more of it and whether money is even important to me. Its a big muddle.
The aim for this week is to rest up. Its my Birthday on Tuesday and I'm hoping to go out with some of my favorite people - Willie, Jerry, Jeff, Colleen, Jose, Fernando/ Catherine.
Mexico is actually quite a simple move and not an irreversible decision. I can come back if it is not quite right for me and I am pretty sure a change of pace and a less materialistic existence is just what I need. I plan to stay in touch with all of the important people in my life from NYC. Being drained makes me quite irrational.
Ohh... Willie just called me and invited me out to see Batman. This will be just the thing to make me feel better. AC, a movie, popcorn with one of my best, most kind hearted friends. I'm sure I can also snag a big hug from Willie. I think its my guardian angle working his magic again. Now if he can look after Dad and get me a little bit of energy this week....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Other bits of the weekend

I'd actually taken Friday off work which was really nice. After the first day of lectures I'd planned to stay at the Quaker Woods camp ground. Mostly because I wanted a peaceful weekend and I know so many people at Dutch Springs (where I teach scuba in the summer) that I was worried camping there would just be very 'busy'. Well as I neared 'Quaker Woods' I became a little bit concerned re the nature of the country I was driving into (the little ditty from 'Deliverance' sprang to mind). After a few wrong turns I eventually found the camp site. On turning in I decided to lock my doors. I have never been in a trailer park, but this place was very reminiscent of the gypsy camp in the RICHES:
Now I probably have a pretty good appreciation of alternate lifestyles, and find traveling folk interesting, but I felt like a foreigner in strange land in this place, and decided to go with my gut feeling and move on. I did see a pretty interesting license plate that I could not help snapping:
I was very sad not to see the matching 'HERS' truck. Hans/ Allie have you never fancied getting his and hers trucks - I think it would be hot:)
Get me out of here a little voice in my head was screaming! So I decided to head to safe territory and made my way to Dutch Springs. I camped out of the way up on a hill and sat on my beach chair while the sun went down, drinking ginger ale and reading 'People' magazine (What can I say - I'd reached spiritual capacity!).
Sue arrived on Saturday and it was really nice to see her again. We are very similar in many ways and it was cool to have someone to discuss what we'd learned that day with. We also drank wine and ate pasta then brought a few sneaky beers back to Dutch Springs and chatted until it got dark. My tent is awesome (thanks parents for an inspired Christmas gift and Jude and Robin for my lovely cosy sleeping bag).

Dali Lama

I have just got back home from a weekend of teaching by the Dali Lama on 'Lam Rim' or 'The Path to Enlightenment'. The Path to Enlightenment is a 14 century Tibetan text written by Tsong-Kha-Pa which has just been translated into English.
This was such a wonderful experience and I'm so glad that I decide to go. The Dali Lama has an amazing presence. He's fierce, serious, thoughtful, and mostly filled with an infectious child-like joy. A friend Sue joined me for the weekend and we were lucky enough to be siting right at the front, about 4 people away for the Dali Lama and his monks. This was a lovely experience as you really became involved in the close relationship he shares with his long time translator. The Dali Lama would teach in Tibetan and his words would then be translated into English - his English is pretty good but he struggles to explain more difficult concepts. He was fast to jump in with a stern chastisement when the translator made mistakes but it was clear that the two have a loving relationship.
Much of the teachings were on lack of self and taming of the mind through meditation. As the mind becomes more tame emotions weaken in force (recognizing the destructiveness of certain emotions and cultivating antidotes to them)
Its very difficult to capture what I learned this weekend because his teachings were very deep and I don't think I can do them justice in my own clumsy words. He taught an interesting lesson on the differences and similarities between Christianity and Buddhism.
Tough stuff. The Dali Lama has had some deep friendships with monks etc. of other religions and has clearly spent a lot of time contemplating them. His discussions on compassion and emptiness were beautiful.
I also enjoyed his discussions on developing an indifference to harms caused to oneself - this I'm getting better at, and that one should take a firm stand when harm is being committed. I guess the route you take depends on the harm being committed - I find it hard to know which way to jump.
He also discussed being exposed to people on self destructive paths and how to deal with their pain without disturbing your own peace of mind. He also cautioned that there is an old Tibetan saying ' a man who has fallen cannot help another fallen man to his feet'. I think its best for now that I continue to avoid conflicted people:)
This morning the guy we were siting next to during the teachings offered us free tickets to the afternoon 'public' session. This was a much more generic, less spiritual talk, but he did discuss his views on the causes of unhappiness in the West - grasping at careers, money, always wanting more possessions, getting onto a turntable and being unable to get off. This is much of what his teachings had covered over the weekend, on a deeper level and really sums up the issues that I have been struggling with for years. This came at a really good time for me as I will be handing in my resignation in just over a week to try a more simple lifestyle. The public talk also made us realize how lucky we'd been to go to the private lecture sessions.
What an amazing weekend!

Monday, July 7, 2008

You'll understand this more if you're British

We brits are quite depraved. My friend Lisa sent me this clip from a TV show I used to watch as a child. How they could get away with this is the question:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th Weekend

Spent July 4th at Bob's house with Carey. He has a nice bunch of low key people staying in the house this year. Friday Parker from work also came down for the day. I like Parker a lot but I don't much care for mixing work and home life. Its inevitable that work talk comes up and it just makes me very uneasy.

Friday night we grilled and had some wine, sat in the hot tub.

Saturday we took a drive to Sea Bright to try to see a pod of dolphins that swam up the river there. We weren't the only ones who'd had this idea and there was lots of excitement by the river - reported spottings etc. Sadly we did not see the dolphins. We did have a nice lunch in a bar that reminded me of one of the bars I used to go to in Ocean City. Carey and I then went boat shopping with Bob. Boats are not actually that expensive. Its something I would really like to have. We took a look at a $250k boat with a fairly big exotic cabin downstairs. Love sleeping on boats. Then we looked at some smaller boats in the $10-20k range. I bought myself a heavy waterproof boat jacket for Cozumel because the rain down there can be torrential and you get freezing on the boat when you get wet.

In the evening I was having trouble getting together any kind of energy to go out. I just cant seem to manage to get excited about going out to drunken bars these days. We did eventually go out and ended up getting a little tiddled and going to a bar by the beach. I was kind of pleased I had gone because I randomly bumped into a student of mine from last year and it was nice to reconnect.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fire Flies

So I did my last night of teaching in Lebanon this Tuesday. I was still feeling very tired and a tinsy bit down about one thing and another. While Eric was doing his exam I wandered down to the bottom of the garden. Outside of the fence is a field with trees and an amazing number of fireflies were dancing over the grass:

Just as I was loosing myself in the beauty and peacefulness of this, Midsummers Night Dream like, scene a deer came ambling through the clearing. This is the stuff that makes little worries just melt away (another hug from my guardian angel, I thought)

This weeks tunes....

Since I bought my ipod just over a year ago I am constantly listening to music. I've mentioned that I am getting huge hording urges in relation to things that I'm worried I wont be able to get in Mexico. The same applies to my music collection - so I have been downloading songs like crazy so that I don't find myself in a position where I can never listen to them ever again (hey you never know right?). Anyway I thought I'd share my songs of the week. The first is 'Deception' by BLACKALICIOUS. Stu sent me this song on a tape years ago and I got round to asking him who it was by last week. I have since listened to it over and over on my way to work - it puts a bounce in my stride:

Favorite lyrics: "Ego blown like his soul had been ab-ducted. Though his heart was once real, now material has filled, up his world and he couldn't get enough of it...Now the moral of the story is that some go; Why would money make the inner vision crumble? So if you're blessed with the talent, utilize it to the fullest, be true to yourself and stay humble"

Jose's girlfriend introduced me to Belle and Sebastian and 'Expectations' also makes me feel sunny on the way to work:

Favorite lyrics: "you've got to make the bastard think he's right"

Having just re-watched "How to loose a guy on 10 days" I downloaded Carly Simon "Your so Vein" - I know some of these guys...

Favorite lyrics "I had some dreams.. there were clouds in my coffee". Don't ask me why - I just think its a nice metaphor.

And my favorite all time summer song - 'Doin time' Subllime: