LunaNiña





Love as if your heart isn't fragile


Not too much attention

Posted on 3/10/2022 in Dailies | comments

After five years in the same job, at the end of the month I will be transitioning to a new position within the county system. I don’t hate my job - although as with any job, there are frustrations. But it’s not a need to get away that’s driving the change. Rather it’s a question of what’s next? I’m looking forward to the change in focus. While I will still get to use the skills and knowledge that I’ve accumulated throughout the year, I’ll be focusing on different issues that I’ve previously had some experience with but nothing full time. What I am not looking forward to is the transition and all the attention that that brings.

In a Jerry Seinfeld show about a decade ago, during the Q&A, a woman in the audience yelled out that it was her birthday. Seinfeld wished her a happy birthday and asked how old she was. The woman did not reply. So he quipped, “so you like attention just not too much attention.” That has stuck with me because that’s me.

I like attention on my own terms when I’m in the mood. I’m not always in the mood. So all this having to announce that I’m switching jobs and having folks react to it, it’s a lot. And because it’s not exactly a promotion people are asking why I’m leaving the current position. Telling folks who have been doing the same job for a decade (or more) that I don’t hate the job and I just need something different - well, I might as well be telling them I don’t like bacon, brownies or pie. They all seem to elicit the same “I don’t understand what you’re saying” reaction.

So I’m ready to just move on but still have two more weeks to go. Meh.


I used to love my birthday

Posted on 2/17/2022 in Dailies | comments

As the title states, I used to love my birthday.

I don’t anymore.

And no, it isn’t because I’m 13 months away from turning 50. Although, as with anyone that is close to turning fifty, I do find myself wondering, “Well. How did that happen?” Because, yes, inside I feel at most like I’m in my early 20s. Hell, somedays I might bump that down to about 15 and can’t understand why I have so many bills to pay.

But no. The reason for not loving birthdays anymore was the cancer. Admitting that fills me with such a sense of guilt. The fact that I had cancer and was cured of cancer should make me love life, right? Should make me want to celebrate my birthday even more, right?

Before 2015 and the cancer diagnosis, I would count down for weeks until my birthday. I looked forward to the day. Even when most years the actual celebration was me maybe just taking the day off and going to the movies alone. It wasn’t about parties (because I’ve only had a handful of birthday parties in my lifetime) and it wasn’t about the presents - though obviously those are fun to get.

It was just an uncomplicated joy about having a day where I could be happy about it being about me - even if I was the only one who was aware of the day.

While I can pinpoint the change in attitude to the year I was diagnosed with cancer it’s definitely a mystery as to why the change happened. I don’t know the why of it all. I just know that that particular joy is gone. It makes me sad that what used to be a happy (if silly) time of the year has been replaced by a bit of apathy and a lot of guilt. I tell myself it’s okay. After all, there are plenty of people out in the world who don’t care one bit about their birthdays. It certainly isn’t anything to worry about. I’m not depressed. I don’t dislike my life. Maybe not caring about getting older is just what happens when one is closer to the end than the beginning. I could be completely wrong about it being a result of the cancer diagnosis and it this change in attitude might have happened regardless.

There’s no real way to know.

What I know is that I miss that old excitement. And in 7 years, I haven’t quite figured out how to get it back.


Blog Lapse

Posted on 9/5/2021 in Dailies | comments

Part of the desire to blog is because my memory is awful. We could blame my advancing years but in truth my bad memory has been a problem for decades. For a while I had a reputation for taking meticulous notes at work and people, I believe, prescribed that to work ethic or quality work. Those were great by products but really the notes are just necessary in order for me to do the job properly. Sadly, I’ve never been good about bringing this habit to my personal life. On and off I’ve tried to rely on the blogging to fill that need but we can see from my inconsistent posting how well that goes. Maybe if I paid myself to blog that would do the trick?

Let’s do a quick recap of this year’s doings, shall we?

After a couple of years of contemplating buying a home for the kiddo and myself, in February of this year I got serious about it. I knew the location I wanted, which limited things a bit but I prioritized the kiddo being able to walk to grandma’s over square footage. We moved mid-April, which I’m told is fast in terms of home-buying but this is the first (and hopefully last) condo I’ve ever purchased so I have nothing to compare the process to. It’s a nice place; has some good and bad aspects to it. The most annoying of which, because of the humidity of the area, means some of the wooden floorboards are peaking. Home ownership, gotta love it, no? Last week, after picking the kiddo up from daycare, she refused to come into the building. Instead she took my hand and led me on a walk to grandma’s house. That she gets to do that whenever she wants was the point of the purchase so that makes the annoyances less annoying.

Speaking of daycare, even though the anxiety is tough to deal with, she’s back in daycare. Now that she’s 2, she needs more structure than I can provide while also working from home. And her excitement at seeing other kids whenever we would go for walks or to a park made it clear that she wants the company of other kids. That doesn’t mean the return to daycare has been seamless; she’s struggled a bit and as a result has been more clingy than is her usual. Prior to daycare, nap times and bed times were pretty easy going routines. Once daycare started, she started crying at every single nap time and every single bed time. Even if I stayed in the room with her, she wasn’t always happy. After a month and a half things seem to be calming down again. Which is such a relief. The moments weren’t fun for either of us.

Work in the office was supposed to resume this month, but that’s been pushed back to mid-October. Thankfully we’re only expected to work in the office two days a week. I remain forever grateful that during peak times of this pandemic I had a job that allowed me to stay home and keep myself and the baby safe but that doesn’t mean I was looking forward to going back to the office full time. It’s the introvert in me, I suppose. I’m perfectly fine with keeping in touch with folks via email and video chats. I don’t need to be in the same room with someone to feel as if I’ve connected. Maybe that comes from years of keeping online friendships going via those same methods? Either way, I would have been fine staying home indefinitely but two days a week is fine too. Better than the alternative.

I think that’s a good enough update for now. Let’s see if I can’t be a bit more interesting and timely with the next post, no?


No One to Pass the Baton To

Posted on 2/24/2021 in Dailies | comments

I’ve made choices (some good, some bad, some questionable) that have made it so that I’m alone at 47. Except for some fleeting lonely moments I’m okay with that. Truly. It was maybe a self fulfilling prophecy but I always had a sense I would spend my life without a partner. (Please, no, “there’s still time! Don’t rule anything out!” I’m not. If someone great came by tomorrow I’d say hello but I’m also not actively looking and have no intention on actively looking any time soon.)

That said, there are times when I wish I had someone to share the mental and emotional task of making decisions. Like buying a place, for example. All the forms. All the uncertainty of whether I’m making a good decision. All the homework on top of work and raising a child.

It’s a lot. It would be nice to have someone to turn to and just say, can you deal with it? I’m tired of thinking.

Thankfully these moments pass. Once we’re moved and unpacked I’ll be back to my usual self who likes being able to make all the decisions based solely on my preferences without worrying about having to consider someone else’s thoughts or opinions.

Well, there’s the kiddo obviously - although I think I’m a few years away from her caring too much about whether I put the utensils in the drawer closest to the stove or the one near the sink.

It’s just that right now I’m a bit tapped out.


Ina I’m Not

Posted on 1/29/2021 in Dailies | Parenting | comments

I was never really taught to cook. Not really. Unless we count that one quarter in 7th grade Home Ec where I mistook salt for sugar and made the nastiest pie ever imagined. Maybe that’s why I don’t like pie? Regardless, let’s not count that quarter because other than the awful pie I don’t remember a single other thing I was taught.

And so I’ve stumbled along in the kitchen, at once wishing I were more comfortable there but also not having a tremendous desire to get better. Until a year ago.

Once the baby entered my life it seemed like a good time to get comfortable in the kitchen. One, because I’m told feeding babies is looked upon as a good thing and two, joking aside, I would like to pass on a better relationship to food to her. And that, in my head, meant that I needed to get serious about cooking - I certainly have no illusions about this task. I hardly have visions of being Julia Child. I just need enough dishes in the rotation to not have anyone groan and say, “We had that three days this week!”

I’m 47 years old so, yes, I have spent time in the kitchen but let me put it this way, at no point have I ever considered inviting anyone over for dinner or have volunteered to make anything for a potluck. I don’t think people should suffer what normally passes as dinner fare in my place. My cooking is to put it kindly - serviceable. More often than not whatever I make is well done because I lose interest or just forget.

But that’s the past. We are living in the now. And in this ever changing world, the present includes me making chicken soup - almost like they make it back home in El Salvador.

On Monday I decided I wanted soup but, of course, didn’t have the necessary ingredients so we made a quick trip to the store. By the time we got home, however, it was too late to start the soup and have it in time for the kiddo’s dinner. So I put it off to the next day. The next day I discovered I’d forgotten several of the vegetables. I could have still made it but it just wouldn’t have been the same. Given that we’re still living through a pandemic, another trip out wasn’t in the cards so I placed a grocery delivery order. Finally, Wednesday we had soup. I know this happens to everyone at some time or other but in my head all the missteps just add to my feeling of not being adept in the kitchen.

So along with my cooking skills needing to get better, my self-perception will have to change as well. Why is everything work??

Thursday, on a whim, I decided to make pupusas. This is noteworthy for me because when I’m going to make something it usually entails so much thought. Can I do it? Do I want to? Let’s look at the 100th YouTube video to make sure I know what I’m doing.

But I’ve attempted pupusas enough that the process is pretty clear in my head. The technique still needs work but at least I’m realistic enough to know that even getting to good is going to require some effort. Skilled and consistently delicious? Well, let’s keep that dream on the back burner for now.

The pupusas came out pretty good. Probably the best batch I’ve made so far. It’s progress that I consistently think each batch is better than the one before.


So, in my basic cookbook, we have chicken soup and pupusas (let’s count the curtido as a separate thing, shall we?). It’s not enough to open a restaurant but it’s a solid start. If I keep this up, by the time she’s ten I’ll have 20 whole dishes down! Exciting.


Vaccinated

Posted on 1/23/2021 in Dailies | comments

I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. I don’t know why I feel as if I shouldn’t share that. Maybe I’ve seen too many people on social media posting about their vaccines along with messages that they didn’t jump the line or they got it because of their job, etc. As if the ability to get vaccinated quickly needs to be justified.

I’ve had several people ask me how I managed to get an appointment so fast, or what my hook up was.

Timing and an underlying health condition is my response. The day I heard that Va would be expanding the criteria to include people with underlying health conditions I logged on to the health department’s website for the county in which I work. After reading the message about the long wait there I went next to the health department in the county in which I live. There I was able to add myself to the list even before the website information had been updated to the new expanded criteria. I did it not expecting to hear anything back for days. To my surprise I received a message from the CDC to create a profile on the VAMS website that same night. At first I thought it was SPAM because the CDC email seemed a tad informal. After doing a little Googling I decided it was the real thing. I created a profile and after bumping around the site for a little while I was able to get an appointment for this morning.

The day after getting my appointment I started seeing the news stories about how the federal government had misrepresented the amount of vaccine it had in reserves. Well, I thought, so much for my appointment. For the last week and a half I’ve been expecting to get a notice that my appointment had been cancelled.

Thankfully that did not happen and getting the shot this morning went quite smoothly. All told it was about a 30 minute experience, including the 15 minute wait time afterwards to ensure that I didn’t have any immediate negative effects. So far there is only a slight discomfort in the upper arm, and a mild headache. But as we know, I suffer from chronic headaches so it’s hard to know if today’s headache is vaccine related or just a regular ol’ headache, it’s a day that ends in Y kind of headache.

Before I left the clinic they asked me to sign up with the CDC V-Safe app which they will use to monitor my reaction to the vaccine. Today’s check in was pretty uneventful. Let’s hope that trend continues.


The Ladder Goes Down Too

Posted on 8/4/2017 in Dailies | comments

Around August of last year I realized that it was probably time to start looking for a new job. I’m a perceptive person and while I couldn’t quite put a finger on why the winds had changed, change they did.

Have you ever looked at someone at work, someone who keeps slamming their head against a concrete wall convinced that eventually they’ll break through, and wonder why in the world they do that to themselves? In my almost 30 years of being in the workforce I’ve seen this more times than I can recall.

I’ve always wondered why someone would put themselves through that. I pride myself in doing good work. Hell, there are even times when I’ll easily say that I’ve done great work. I’m not perfect, of course, but I care; I care about doing my best. I have been known to say, “I know there are people who could do my job better, there are certainly people who could do it worse but I do it to the best of my abilities.” A mistake perhaps to say that to your bosses but it’s the truth.

My best stopped being good enough at some point last summer. I tried to figure out why. I tried to do better but after some months of experiencing unacceptable levels of anxiety I decided it was time to let someone else try to do better. While I don’t feel comfortable going into too many details let me just say that by the time that I sent out my first job application in October things were pretty uncomfortable. I’m the kind of person who, even as she’s signing the offer letter is already wondering, “What’s next?” so I’d wondered what the next job would be like but in that wondering I always figured I’d leave this job sad but satisfied my contributions to the cause would be remembered well. Based on the feedback I received on my way out, I’m not sure that’s the case.

I’d been wanting to get back to Virginia for years but I was, if not always happy at the job, at least satisfied enough that I kept putting off the move, feeling that I was still learning and growing. But the needed change last fall was a good opportunity to get back home, where I’d be closer to family which would be nice if


Wherever I Go, There I Am

Posted on 8/2/2017 in Dailies | comments

There’s a reason I chose to focus my work around children and families. Were I a stronger and braver person I would have done what I said I would do - focus on child abuse prevention. But somewhere along the way, without consciously making a decision, I changed my mind. Perhaps because I know my limitations. Or maybe it’s just that, without an advanced degree doing direct work with such a vulnerable population didn’t seem advisable. Regardless, even working in the broader issues that impact children and families I still find myself. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years now and it still surprises me to see myself in the work.

Not literally, obviously. That level of fame or infamy is not mine to attain but as I read today about the signs of eating disorders in young people, there I was. I read down the list, mentally adding check marks to the things that applied. I’m not a hypochondriac who imagines she has every symptom she reads about so I think I do a good job of being objective.

We all come at life’s experiences with baggage, don’t we? There may be people who say that baggage should be stowed in a deep locker at a train station, the key lost and the things forgotten. But I don’t know how to compartmentalize like that. I am who I am because of who I have been and who I was. That is neither a bad or good thing. it just is. Neutral until it can’t be. And so, I know my weaknesses, the fault lines. I sense the scars but don’t dwell on them. I recognize the limitations and try as much as I can to not let them bind me.

Still, seeing the words. seeing the recommendations for how to address the risk factors. listening as the trainers go on about how to appropriately reach out to a young person in need

It makes me sad.

Not for the person I am today because as an adult, my choices, good or bad, my action or inactions are mine and mine alone.

But it makes me sad for the girl I used to be. The one who could have used someone quietly asking, “Are you okay?” but who never heard those words.

I am who I am because of who I was. And yet, in these moments I wonder, Who could I have been?


Cloudy with a Chance of 80s Pop

Posted on 7/24/2017 in Dailies | comments

My personal computer died several years ago.

Well, having typed that I feel the need to clarify. I might have had a slight role in the killing of said computer. It was a refurbished laptop that my brother had kindly gifted me due to the fact that my old old computer had decided it no longer wanted to do more than five minutes of work at a time. It booted up fine but after a couple of minutes the fan would kick on, give it the old valiant college try and then say, “Nah, girl. Your Facebooking isn’t worth this heat. Bye!”

So to the rescue my brother came. And that new old computer did the trick for a while. And while it was tricking (wait, what?) I would hear tell of this thing called the cloud. And articles and people would marvel about the flexibility and portability of the cloud! The cloud would solve all problems and I am certainly a fan of a problem-free life. But I also have this thing sometimes called procrastination. So I didn’t back up anything to the cloud. Besides, anything and everything I cared about (my photos and thousands and thousands of songs) was saved to my trusty external drive. Pfft. I’ll be fine, I figured.

You see where I’m going with this, yes? Of course you do because you’re smart. Smarter than me, definitely. So where were you when I most needed you?!? Hmm. That’s trouble of a different kind, no? Let’s move on.

One day I decided to upgrade the OS on this old new to me laptop and that’s when that laptop also said, “Nah, girl. Bye!” Except, perhaps knowing that the afterlife of any computer used by me (which means a drive full of badly Photoshopped images and messy CSS files) would be lonely, it decided to take with it, the external drive that I had neglected to disconnect prior to the upgrade. Really, when you think about it - it takes a special kind of skill to kill not just a computer but an external drive too.

I despaired for months over having lost thousands of mp3s collected over more than a decade. I’d say maybe a quarter of which I can recover if I take the time to rip my CDs, which thankfully I still have so that’s something but there’s other music that I’m just not going to be able to recover. Upon hearing my sad tale of musical woe, a friend tried to salvage the external drive and he ensured me he’d been successful. So for a year and some change I’ve been content with the knowledge that once I got a new computer I’d be able to pull my music back in and then do what I should have done ages ago, which is back it up to the cloud.

Sadly, so far the friend’s had no luck figuring out how to extract my music from his iTunes library. So close yet so far. You’d think that after almost 3 years of doing without my music library I’d not miss it anymore but I still feel a slight ache whenever I think of it all being gone. Granted, that’s probably due to the memories attached to many of those songs. Someone I cared for a lot ages ago helped me build that collection and that person and I are no longer in touch. And if we know anything about me, letting go of people I care about deeply isn’t the easiest thing for me to do.

Speaking of music, during the second adoption training class the group somehow got to talking about music and I made a joke about how my poor kid will grow up hearing 80s music and there was a collective groan. “Oh no,” someone said, “Don’t let that happen!”

So who knows. Maybe the loss of the music is the universe’s way of helping me to move on or sparing any poor child that I adopt from endless rounds of t


What Do You Write About When You’re Afraid to Write?

Posted on 7/9/2017 in Dailies | comments

For almost as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried to be careful about what I write about work. When your early blogging memories include the knowledge of how the phrase “being dooced” came to be, you learn (or at least I did), to be vague when writing about work - if one even chooses to write about work at all, that is. Add to the already healthy fear of being fired for publishing things online that should best be kept to the confines of the work environment the very real fact that things went downhill quickly during the second half of the last year and that provided no incentive to get back to blogging.

Well, to be clear, all of 2015 and 2016 were anxiety producing both personally and professionally. When I found the new job and moved into my own place in Virginia, with the anticipation of things calming down (and having a personal computer again) I had this idea that I’d be able to turn some of my energy to the blog - both the content and the infrastructure.

I did start writing again, somewhat, as the archives show. I thought, with the start of the adoption process that I would maybe even write about that. But as I work through the (sometimes lonely) process of answering question after question, compiling document after document I find myself worrying about putting too much online. I don’t worry about there being anything technically wrong with my application. I’m not rich by any means but I could afford the care of a child with careful budgeting. That doesn’t set me apart from basically much of the child-having population. I have no worries about the background checks coming back with anything as there isn’t anything to come back. So that really only leaves the faceless, nameless people out there who will be gathering all this information, reviewing and assessing/judging me on my ability to be a good parent. I’m worrying for nothing, I know. The stuff I’ve posted on here, the stuff that’s online isn’t scandalous or even all that interesting and yet, pitted against couples wanting babies, two income families that might be better able to care for a child with less stress or worry about finances, I worry about sharing anything that could land me on the “Does she really think we’d ever pick her?” pile.
And so I don’t write. With not writing about work and not writing about the adoption process what does that leave?

I suppose I could tell you that I’m finally getting around to watching The Wire. Because, why not wait until I’m no longer living in Baltimore to finally get around to watching this iconic piece of entertainment centered around the city I called home for about 6 years? I’m sure that I’ll be able to add a voice to the hundreds of thought pieces already on the web! And have you heard about this actor named Idris Elba? He’s easy on the eyes no? I’m sure he’ll be going places.

Or I could tell you that my latest podcast obsessions right now are Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time. Period and Criminal. Because I seem to be the queen of catching on to old content, the Denzel Washington podcast stopped updating back in April, having discussed all of Washingtons oeuvre. But I have about two years worth of content to listen to so no new shows is hardly a problem. By the time I’m done I’m sure I’ll be able to find some other show that was hyped ages ago but that I am just now hearing about.

There is a an abundance of content to immerse oneself in through books, tv, etc that there is just no way to stay on top of everything. Thank goodness for archives, I suppose.

I still haven’t dug into my collection of books as I’ve wanted so that’s still on the to do list. Maybe I should make better attempts at writing at least brief of impressions of what I read; that would help with adding content to the blog and keep the writing muscles in shape. Plans plans plans. Never a shortage of those either!

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