Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

Dang. I missed Wednesday and the HodgePodge. Ah well, story of my life.  Maybe next week. So today instead of a hodgepodge, you get random Thursday Thoughts.

On Failure
I saw a meme the other day that said something like "It wasn't wasted time if you learned something". It reminds me of the failures I've accomplished.  I'd rather call them near-wins. A few weeks ago, I interviewed for a dream job. Great location, work I would love, and a place G would love to live. I came in second place.  At first I was feeling pretty low; it's hard not getting what I want.  Second place is first loser, right? And when I say "at first" I really mean "for a week".  But then I reconsidered. Five years ago, I never would have even applied for that job. I almost got it.  So I'm going to keep trying. I'm ok where I am, and I love teaching English - it seems to be its own reward. But I'll keep trying.  I've got another publication next month, and I'll keep writing. These things are key. I have a really nice acquaintance who just took his sommelier test.  He did great on theory and some other part of the test, but not as well on the blind tasting. So he didn't make it this time.  The cool things in my opinion from a distance since I'm not affected are that he took the test in the test in the first place, that he'll know more for next time, and that lots of people supported him getting there.  That test is expensive, and I bet if he crowd funds it again, he'll get even more support. Because there is no doubt in in my mind that I can reach my dreams and that he can reach his too.  You should see what he does in his community, to help fight hunger and homelessness. We nearly won, both of us. I'll try again if you do, buddy.

On Names
My blogger buddy, Nonnie's Random Thoughts, made a comment about all the names I use. I like my monikers but realize that they can be confusing. I get confused sometimes myself. So just so you know.... Antoinette and Mindie are both legal names. My last name is also real if you know what it is. And yes, it's French and yes, I know what it means. My immediate family calls me Mindie, with the exception of one niece who playfully refers to me as "Anti-Onette" since I am her aunt. In my professional life, I also use Mindie. However, many of my friends and all of Gs family call me Antoinette. I prefer that name.  It helps me online to differentiate between professional and personal writing. I like Antoinette for my blog and I like the way it sounds when said out loud. As for my blog- I'm a Wild Okie, but since I've moved back home to Washington, I'm much more idle and find myself in an idyllic, pastoral setting.  Hence, Idyll Wild. They're all me. I like the idea of playing with identity and online presentation of self. Not in a false way, but in a multi-faceted way.

September 11 and Emotionally Charged Dates
Today is September 11th, the anniversary of the attacks. I have a hard time writing about events I am emotionally invested in, and they are often not timely discussions. Today I'm going to try to speak frankly about this.
I was teaching Organic Chemistry labs at Oklahoma State University the morning of the attacks. I didn't have cable and didn't know about the events until I got to school.  My first thought, after the shock, was "those poor people".  My second thought was "I'm in Oklahoma. I hope nobody retaliates against my Muslim friends for this."  Maybe that's terrible, and Oklahomans are generally nice people, but when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building, some yahoos shot up the local mosque. They had childcare there you know. A playground enclosed around a fence and all, so it's not like the perps didn't know.  OSU was/is a big oil and petroleum research school, and lots of students come from Arabic speaking countries to study before taking their knowledge home to the petroleum fields.  Since this is a span of years, they bring their families. Many of the women wore conspicuous burkas, abayas, and hair coverings after their custom.  I talked to all of my non-white friends and cautioned them to lay low. If there was backlash in our community, I was unaware. My friends and their friends were all ok.
I was vehemently against beginning a war on such flimsy premises. Not that what happened was minimal at all- and devastating and changing and harmful to the American people.  We lost our innocence that day, as a nation. People at the university were against war too, but that didn't stop us as a nation from exacting revenge in an ongoing war that we're not even close to cleaning up. Nobody wins in war. Hurting a whole people because they hurt you. I don't know.  And each person killed sent a ripple we are still feeling; a feeling that will be carried through our generations.  To live in such times, to lose the feeling of security, of trust in our own government as they passed a thick Patriot Act and created Homeland Security, to have our own government take away our freedoms in the name of security. I'm not sure it was the right thing. It was also the day I stopped being able to believe things on the news.
I don't even know that I'm right about this. I can't take my thoughts and memories out of context and so they are jumbled.

I have insomnia, the kind that lets me go to sleep but won't let me get back to sleep.  It's been crazy the last few months, since the funding was cut for my last position.  Worrying has always been a hobby anyway.  I do the regular things- cutting out electronics before bed, good exercise, eating well, avoiding caffeine after 2 p.m. I sometimes do gentle yoga before bed and take Benadryl intermittently so that I can get a good night's sleep. My cat wakes me up between 2:30 and 4 for a drink of water and some food. If I don't get up and do this, she's often throwing up half an hour later. At 18, Eleanor takes a lot of medicine for her little tummy, her thyroid and her arthritis.  I'll pretty much do anything to keep weight on her and I'm sure that doesn't help with my sleep cycles.  Sometimes she wakes me up just hopping up to cuddle and many is the time I wake up to find her snuggled next to me.  Last night though, last night I went to Nirvana got a good night's sleep. After two days of very little, I zonked out for almost 9 hours. I'm feeling pretty great today! Eventually, this will calm down. I'll get back into my daily routine since I've been off work for the last two weeks, and all will be well.

I'm looking forward to school starting. I love fall and I love teaching Freshmen.  I know this isn't a popular thing to say, but getting a bunch of kids fresh from high school in their first days of independence is awesome.  They'll try anything. They want knowledge. They'll voice opinions and sometimes learn things they didn't know.  Teaching literature even to older students gives me the same feeling.  Humility. I feel small and honored to have a place in the growth and development of others and I often learn just as much as they do. Teaching makes me want to be a better person.

That's it.  That's all my thoughts today.  I need to get back to creating syllabi and planning daily activities for the next 10 weeks. And I'm going to make time to take pictures of autumn in the Northwest, whatever form that may take.

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