Thursday, June 23, 2005

State of the Susan

I am an amazingly fortunate and well-loved girl, let me tell you! We Southerners know how to cuddle and care for our own, as I have had amply demonstrated to me in the last 6 days. Granted, I did send about 100 folks on my email list a notice saying I was no longer at WMA with my new email address, so the News of Grief was out there... but so many people have been emailing, calling, and praying that I haven't had too much time to dwell on the difficulties of my situation. I haven't been this socially active, for, like, EVER. Almost daily there's been an invitation to lunch, or a horrified friend wanting details over dinner & a movie, etc. It's nice to have people outraged on your behalf!
Other developments: I have been dismayed to discover how filthy and cluttered my apartment is by the light of day. This is a strong indication of how lazy yet overworked I've been in the last year, as dusting has become an activity only attempted when guests were imminent, and spiders and roly-poly bugs have had free range of the areas behind furniture. Plus I have been forced to add even more to the clutter by bringing in the boxes of junk from my office. I have nowhere to put this stuff, let alone the gracefully placed stacks of books, boxes, etc. already scattered throughout my apartment. 742 square feet is JUST NOT ENOUGH. I need another room.
But that doesn't allay the underlying problem--that I no longer have any excuse whatsoever not to clean up the place. I think we have fully established that I have enough time now. I must root out the Packrat Within, and start hauling out unnecessary detritus to Goodwill and Amvets. But I don't wanna...!
Spirits are high, as I dearly love to talk about myself and how I'm doing, and this week has been one non-stop Me Me Me Me session. But I am beginning to get tired of Me, so I will be glad when all of the main people are fully apprised and I can start trying to figure out What To Do Next. I am hoping for a quick, clear and inescapable notification from God as to what my future plans are to be. Yeah, right.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Starting Something New

Yesterday I was let go from my job at William Morris Agency, after 8.5 years. The basic reason was that I was no longer a good fit for the job (which has expanded a great deal over the years), but I was appreciated for all my years of service with the Nashville office. I was a little teary-eyed, but managed to maintain my composure until I was out of the office. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent in a not-unpleasant state of shock, as I enumerated to friends and family how nice it would be to have free time for several weeks, and maybe try something new, and how nice to be able to sleep late on Monday! A couple of friends came over to commiserate with me, we went out and had a fun dinner, and I got to bed early.
I woke up in a considerably different state of mind. As the day as progressed, the shock has been wearing off, and the pain and grief has been setting in. When you're single, I really think that your job is something akin to a spouse. Carrying the analogy a bit further, losing your job can be like being divorced or widowed. The tears have been flowing off and on, and the vast, yawning gulf of "what do I do now?" is before me. I think that perhaps I'm meant to do something else now instead of computer support, but what that might be is unknown to me. I like my stable existence, and am happiest when I have a routine to follow. But now I feel adrift, abandoned, with no solid ground in sight.
This might be one of those life-changing seasons I go through periodically, where God (who loves me too well to leave me as I am) starts making changes on my behalf. I can recognize the ultimate advantages and rewards, but it's pretty painful during the process. I feel a little panicky about what Monday will be like, without my routine to cling to; common sense and my Dad say I should start the job search immediately that morning. Part of me rebels at the idea, because I would like to have at least one whole month without working, just to see what it's like. But I also know that I don't do terribly well when I'm idle and have nothing but ME time. Yeah, I need it, but not for days on end!
I am fortunate that I am well-enough provided for that I don't have to snatch the first job that comes along; but I think I will feel much better if I can find something suitable and get settled in. In the meantime, I am available for some computer consulting and whatever part-time jobs that might come along.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I am currently engaged in a wholly engrossing activity of truly nerdish/geeky proportions; I have become a chronic embroiderer. My favorite activity most nights is to come home and watch Simpsons episodes while I do needlework. I am keenly aware that this is the most appallingly boring activity most hip young thirty-somethings could ever imagine. But there are several compelling reasons why I feel the need to sew.
[BTW, did you know that the word "suzan" in Farsi means "needle"? See?!]
  • One, because it keeps me from being an irredeemable couch potato. As long as I am Productive, I don't feel like my evenings in front of the TV are a complete waste.
  • Two, because it keeps me from eating from boredom - it is impossible to eat and sew simultaneously.
  • Three, because it impresses the hell out of almost everyone. A well-executed sampler or project as a gift will pretty much make every other gift look tawdry, cheap, and ill-considered. "See? I love you more than everyone else!"
  • Four, because it is beautiful.
  • Five, because it is real.
Four and Five deserve some elaboration... some "embroidery," if you will. All day long at my IT job I manipulate bits of nothingness - I produce NOTHING except documents that more often than not never even get printed - ghosts of words that are read by someone in an email and then deleted, never to be made tangible. Needlework is the one inescapably real thing I do outside the office that actually displays talent and skill beyond my ability to hook up a user laptop on a DSL wireless network and connect via VPN to the office network, or add a show venue address to an enormous database.
It used to be that most of the things produced with needle and thread were useful in some way - you made clothing or upholstery or bed linens yourself. But now there's no need - it can be done more cheaply and quickly by machines in factories, or by women at home on sewing machines. Almost the only hand-sewing done now is for art's sake - quilts, cross-stitch, needlepoint. And when you use real linen, and cotton or sometimes silk thread, there is a tangible, beautiful product completed after many hours. It takes focus and it takes patience. Except for little projects, most needlework projects take weeks or months.
It's sometimes my only grasp on what is real, what matters, what is meaningful - with a TiVo, iPod, and Blackberry, I can literally spend HOURS on intangibles that have little value or benefit (unless it be to inspire or educate... but for me, usually it's just for entertainment). I come home after herding invisible bits and bytes around an unseen network all day, and I pick up a piece of fine linen with threads of scarlet and purple, and I am making something far more enduring than the report on client earnings I generated that morning, or the software installed that afternoon.
And of course, like I said - it impresses the hell out of everyone.