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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dutch Lunch

A few years ago I worked for a company with Dutch origins. They were going through some transitions and I was as well. It was the perfect match for a summer job and there were a few things that happened which made me appreciate it that much more. One of those being lunch. Or as I came to call it, Dutch Lunch.

The people I worked with were all Dutch, they all spoke Dutch, and made me wish I knew Dutch! {To this day I still wish I knew Dutch.} I found it wonderful and fascinating, the ways in which they interacted within the office.  The most noticeable difference {besides the emails written in Dutch} was the way that lunch was done.  We would all, yes all, sit down together at the conference room table and eat the sandwich fixings from the refrigerator.  We ate on real plates, with real knives, and drank from real glasses.  

Sandwiches were done the Dutch way, open face.  There were multi grain bread loaves which were sliced for lunch {yes, in the office with a real bread knife}.  Then the choice of meat or cheese was put on top and eaten. There was mustard in the office, but I don't think I saw anyone use it.  It usually took 3-5 slices of bread to be satisfied. Then for dessert, nutella would come out and lavishly be spread on the multigrain bread. It all balanced out, between chocolate goodness and multi grains, right?

Everyone sat around the table and the whole office took a break.  It did take the place of having a "lunch break," but I didn't mind. If I really needed to I could have left. And I got off early enough that it didn't really matter.  When needed, people seemed to take care of their business and meetings at their most convenient time.

I think one reason I loved it and was enamored by this new lunch concept was that it was simple. It was simple, delicious, and not altogether unhealthy.  Would I have enjoyed a fruit or veggie thrown in? It would have been nice.  Did I love the new tradition of lunch?  Yes, even more.

I was completely spoiled by it. And not just because I was provided food, here in Silicon Valley that's all too common. It was more than the food, the mind was nourished with the body. There was easy conversation and banter, relationship. I taught and was taught about culture and customs and life over the simplicity of lunch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dreaming and Celebrating

I've talked about it here before, but I've had a hard time doing it lately. Dreaming. I think the thing that can make dreaming scary is the fact that we are sharing in a vulnerable way, our deepest thoughts. 

I think dreaming is so healthy for us. I'm not going to site any studies or look up research. It's not that time right now. But I am going to say, I know that studies have been conducted and papers have been written. And I know that dreaming is good for you. I just know. 

I find that when I dream, I feel better. {Except when I realize how far off my dreams are}. In general, I feel more alive, more motivated, more powerful. And now I'm working on channeling those feeling that come from those dreams into goals. Things that can be measured, moved, and celebrated.

This past year or so I have had so many friends get engaged and married. This last weekend alone, produced two more announcements. And I am incredibly excited for both couples. They are going to get oh so celebrated by me. But you know what? I need to celebrate me too. I need to celebrate my victories, which allows me to celebrate them better and with my whole heart. 

Let's celebrate the little things ya'll. when we celebrate, we are throwing a thankful party. We are saying this is good and i have to share it. We are slowing down time and enriching our perspective. We are saying thank you to God for life.

Let's celebrate waking up and the sun shining. 
Let's celebrate the best cup of coffee or the aroma of freshly brewed tea. 
Let's celebrate color, sights and sounds. 
Let's celebrate getting a project finished and imperfect progress on the next one. 
Let's celebrate goals being met and new ones being set. 
Let's celebrate relationships and growing up. 

Let's celebrate. 
And then let's dream what more we can celebrate.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Best We Know How

I had been behind horrible drivers the whole way there. I needed to return a few items and there were a few items that needed to be replaced, desperately needed to be replaced. I finally arrived, relatively unharmed and walked in the doors only to realize the return counter was at the whole other end of the store. That's ok, I thought, We need to have an attitude shift anyways. We are here now. We can do this and then we will take ourselves home for dinner.

I'm thankful for attitude adjustments. So very thankful.
I was in line for a minute tops, when a man stepped behind me. I could tell without even turning around that he was homeless, or at least down on his luck. The way he talked had an edge and a toughness to it. It was somewhat mumbled and strung together in a cadence that higher education folks don't normally use. 
I turned slightly, as he was on his phone and I didn't really want him to know I was watching and listening. I learned a lot about his life those next few minutes in line. It's amazing what phone conversations can tell you. But the reason he was in the returns line was what made me have so much compassion for him and so much pride.

The man had bought a shirt for his interview that day

The hanger said XL, the shirt it turns out was a Medium. "I put the shirt on for the interview and it seemed tight. It was a medium! Why do they even sell mediums? Do ya know any men tha' are size medium? {I do haha} I mean mediums should be in da boys section. So now I'm waiting...Oh, I talked to the guy at the restaurant taday and he said that he just hired some guys but he doesn't think one of 'em is gonna work out. It'd be 6am Monday thru Friday and it'just prepin' the food, but I told 'em I'd do it. He gonna let me know next week. Yeah, and it pays $10.50 and hour, so it pretty good..."

Oh sweet heavens. My heart swelled as I thought of him going to an interview. Him trying to get a job. Him working to work. I mean he had to set aside money to buy the damn shirt! 

I was so proud of him. So proud of this man I didn't know, that was doing the best he knew how. I could have judged him all over. I also shouldn't have been proud for his success, because God knows I didn't do anything to directly help him. I couldn't help it. He was trying and sometimes that's all any of us can do. Try to do the best we know how.

Attitude adjustments are great when they continue. As soon as I got home I prepared my dinner. Then I did prep for my dinners the rest of the week, sticking it in the oven. My entire kitchen began filling with smoke. There was a haze. I was hesitant to check the oven. I had only put chicken on foil on a cookie sheet. There was no way that my chicken was smoking, but then there was grey smoke coming out of the oven. Oh no.

I opened the oven to find a flame from the bottom to the cookie sheet. Full blazing. Unbeknownst to me, my roommate's bacon from the morning had leaked. There was a grease fire in my oven. Oven off. Chicken out. Shut it tight. Open all the windows and the sliding door. Awesome. Now we wait. 

I didn't loose it 'til another roommate suggested we put water on it...our electric oven...with a grease fire. So then I might have had a bad attitude. 

But this. We have a house and a roof. And for today we all have jobs and we can all shop for shirts that fit us for interviews and outings. And we still have a kitchen with an oven in it.
We are doing the best we know how.