Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lesson Learned. Thanks Train Buddy.

This morning was an especially chaotic and crazy Wednesday. It all began by tripping over my cat, Smokey, who I know is plotting a mutiny against me with my other cat Pouncer, as I ran out the door.  I was in such a state of disarray that I unthinkingly dashed out of my warm house into my already warmed up vehicle, minus one very warm "George Costanza"  puffy coat. Without any coat at all for that matter. I failed to realize this until I pulled into the train station (already 7 minutes behind schedule). As I began the foot race to catch the train, I felt angry and upset at myself for starting the day off so poorly and cursed my failing memory of important a coat.

Because I was a teency bit late, I failed to score my usual one seat Hilton suite on the train, fully equipped with a small table AND a power outlet for my laptop and/or smart phone charger. It's like Heaven. Curse you college students for being more on time and organized than I this cold Wednesday morning! I was officially seat-less and had to scrounge up any available seat that I could. So I popped a squat across from a gentleman dressed basically in rags, who was apparently carrying his entire life around in a very used plastic Wal-Mart grocery bag. I gave him the once over and quickly avoided eye contact. I started to gently message my left temple in an attempt to rub the developing morning caffeine withdrawal headache pain out of my throbbing brain. I also quickly started to fumble through my jumbo sized purse in search of those coveted noise canceling headphones, along with something...anything to read.

Before I had the chance to block any incoming conversation, the homeless man asked, "Where's your coat?" I looked behind me as if there were a small chance the man was addressing some other person behind me. When I realized he was talking to me, without looking up I mumbled, "Oh...uh..I forgot it this morning." I could feel the man's unrelenting gaze and sensed the silent judgment I knew he was inevitably passing on me for  how disheveled and unorganized I must have appeared. Although I was trying to avoid further conversation, the man said, "That's too bad. It's going to be a cold today. want mine?" "Want your....what?" I asked. "Coat," said the man as he gently pulled at the collars of his ultra- light and tattered wind breaker jacket. This kind, gentle offer took me so far back, I needed a moment to regroup. My brain couldn't process that this person, who had literally nothing, just offered me, an unorganized discombobulated stranger, the shirt off his back. I didn't know what to say. "" I replied. "My office isn't even a block away from the train stop. I'll be fine. Thank you though." He smiled, gently nodded and then opened his plastic bag and became distracted with its contents. I however, was transfixed on what had just happened.

As I looked away, I felt a few hot tears welling up in my eyes. I took a quick glance at the other peeps riding the train this morning. I never really noticed or paid attention to how many affluent men there were riding the train. A sea of dark suits and subdued ties. Warmly bundled in wool coats, scarves, hats and gloves. Warm shoes and socks, and I wondered if any of them had ever even considered to offer their coat to someone without one. I know I honestly never would have. The thought hadn't ever crossed my mind to go without a coat for one day so a stranger could stay warm. But then again, I've never gone without either.

Why did it take the generosity of a total "less fortunate" stranger to remind me how fortunate I really was? Does going without really reaffirm how fortunate you are for what little you have that you would feel obligated to share it with others? I guess so.

Thank you "train buddy" for teaching me a lesson of gratitude and of selflessness.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here's to quiet moments...

Rachel and Baby Owen
Saturday was a special day in Sooz world. Aside from all the other goings on of a busy Saturday, one of my "besties" Rachel stopped by for a special Saturday visit. She lives in Logan so any "Rach time" I get is pretty rare and cherished. I jokingly tell Rach that I will journey up to "L-Town" for two reasons: the birth of any new babies and when she offers me a free message. Other then that, she comes down here to "O-town" occasionally to visit her parents (who live around the corner). Oddly enough, my house was empty Saturday afternoon. Rachel didn't bring husband Dave or little Owen, so for the first time in a long time, my friend and I had a chance to really chat. No matter how long we go without chatting, we pick up right where we left off as if time stood still since our last interaction.

Rachel is one of the very few friends that I attended elementary school with that I am still in contact with and remain good friends with. Throughout high school Rach dragged me to Seminary in the early morning hours and overall was a wonderful example of stellar superstar friendship.

Since we graduated, life obviously moved on. I dashed off to college and world travels. Rach finished message therapy school, bought a house, got married, had Baby Owen (who is now three and can sing "Twinkle" in French) and is expecting Baby #2 (John or Jane Doe) on Halloween day.

Spending a few minutes with her on Saturday was a real treat. Baby Doe must really like Auntee Sooz because the baby was moving around and I could feel the movement when I touched Rachel's pregnant stomach! It was amazing. I told Rach the Baby was trying to give me "knuckles" or a "fist pump" from inside the womb. The baby loves me the most already, I can tell.

It wasn't until after Rachel left and I had a few more minutes alone with my thoughts that I started thinking, "Look how far we have come Rach!" From our elementary/ Jr. High mischievous adventures, driver's license celebrations, first car triumphs, high school and college graduations, wedding days, homeowner successes and now babies. It's kind of hard to believe we are where we are in our lives. Like, grown ups or something. Through any big or monumental achievements I have accomplished thus far, I needn't look to far to see Rach around somewhere offering some kind of silent smiling support.

The enclosed photo is of Rachel's first pregnancy with Baby Owen. I took this photo for her when I was working as a photographer with Lifetouch Portrait studio. That was a really fun day and a super fun photo shoot.

So here's to you Rach and your "years of diligent service" of friendship. I couldn't be more excited to welcome Baby Doe (formally known as Baby X) into this world with one Mother of Baby/Diaper party.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sooz and the City

I thought that my last week as a clerk at the Second District Court in downtown Ogden would be chill. It's not. Not only am I cleaning out 5 years (literally) of old office decor and unused office supplies from the "Sooz Suite," I'm also working really hard to not leave ANY work behind for clerk that is replacing me.

On Tuesday, Sept 6 I will be starting my new job at the Matheson Courthouse (located in downtown SLC) at the Guardian Ad Litem's Office (Direct translation = Court appointed attorney for children and/or incapacitated persons). Aside from the dreaded commute, I am really excited to work in an office that advocates for little children. As far as I can tell, the job will entail basic clerical responsibilities including some light drafting of pleadings for the attorneys. It's a really small office filled with passionate folks eager to protect and defend the tiny innocent little victims of unfortunate situations. I feel a little nervous and anxious to get started and be a helpful part of the team. I feel like I have first day of school butterflies again!

I'm not sure if my car will know what to do when we drive to the train station Tuesday morning rather then pulling into the old familiar parking lot at the Ogden courthouse. My departure is bittersweet. There are many aspects of the court that I will really miss, and there are many I will not. New opportunity is exciting and I am feelings a rekindled sense of ambition. I am ready for the new adventure!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Special Act of Kindness....

I recently started a new part time job at Super Target. It's a pretty OK job. The Target team is friendly and helpful and the patrons are generally polite and cordial. Aside from being physically tired from standing all the time, it's an alright job.

Sunday was my third day and about 6 hours into my 8.5 hour shift my dogs were barking, my back was a little achy and I was ready to strangle the next small child that demolished my perfectly clean and tidy check out isle.

So when a tired, worn out pregnant woman with two small trouble making boys came through my line I had to take a deep breath. The woman had nearly $200 in groceries, diapers and etc. After about 9 million coupons her balance was still about $160. She opened her wallet and unzipped a special section that held her WIC (Women, Infant and Children) vouchers and her Food Stamp card to manage the remaining balance. As I began to enter the vouchers, an elderly woman who I can only describe as "Grandma Stever-ish" in appearance, perfectly coordinated and accessorized  from head to toe with matching purse and pocket book, pushed her way to the counter and said, "Excuse me honey, I hope you aren't offended by this," and quickly swiped her debit card and paid for the woman's groceries.

The pregnant woman's eyes filled with tears and she asked the elderly woman, "But...why?" The elderly woman smiled and something I will never forget:  "Because I can and I will. I have been there sweety and with two babies and one on the way, you could use a break." The elderly woman then reached into her wallet and took out a crisp $50 bill and handed it to the mother and said, "You take this money and you do something nice for yourself. Get a mani/pedi or get your hair done or anything you want, but do something special for yourself before the new baby comes.And when you are in a position to help someone out, I hope you will." The mother was overcome and gently tucked the $50 into her wallet and hugged the elderly woman and went on her way.

I' don't know why this act of kindness moved me so much. I think maybe because the generous woman reminded me so much of the late Grandma Stever it made my heart ache with missing her. I've heard of similar anonymous acts of kindness amongst strangers but can't really recall witnessing anything so generous. After the incident occurred, I could only think of the saying that, "The errand of angels is given to women and this is a gift that as sisters we claim. To do whatsoever is gentle and human to cheer and to bless in humanities name." It definitely softened my heart and made the rest of the shift much more bearable.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here's to You, Ivaloo

Tonight I had mixed feelings about going to concert band rehearsal. The feeling was mostly laziness. It was a long day, and it was getting the best of me. I decided to go, and, like always, felt happy I went. I like to play my saxophone. I like it a lot. It brings happiness to my heart and when I play my saxophone, I feel.....I don't know, a little fearless. I feel like, I don't care too much when I make mistakes. I just listen harder to the others around me, make a note and do better the second time.  This is completely opposite to other aspects of my life. I tend to dwell and dwell on things I can't control. Social issues and the like, force me to loose sleep at night. But saxophone, no. Meh... it's all good. I love it.

At tonight's rehearsal, I looked over to the flute section and saw Ivaloo. A founding member of the group and recent widow of the band's associate director, Dr. Daryl Lund. I wondered how she was feeling. It's only the second rehearsal of the year and Daryl only passed in November. Many of the new pieces we played tonight were pieces he chose especially for us. I felt proud of her for being in attendance and in a strange way, felt that me also being there, playing music, was in some weird way, offering her my support...or condolences. I wondered if she felt sad. Lonely perhaps. I heard her say to another band member who asked how she was "holding up," that every day gets a little better. She must really love playing her flute as much as I love my saxophone. Or, perhaps, she feels like she is honoring Daryl by playing music for him to hear from the heavens.  What a strong woman to troop through the sorrow and play music through her sadness.

If I ever feel too lazy to go to band again, I need only to think of Ivaloo...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Call me Susie Maguire

It's Friday night. I sat down to relax and slipped into watching Jerry Maguire on the E channel. I forget how much I like these kinds of movies. Movies that reinvigorate a passion for life, and for living.

In the movie, Jerry is unhappy with life, his job and etc. Sound familiar? So, Jerry, drafted a "Mission Statement." (Frequently confused throughout the movie as a "memo.") A statement about how he wanted things to be different. He wanted a change. It got me thinking: Don't we all kind of need a "mission statement?" A New Year 's "mission statement," perhaps? A statement to give this new year some direction? Perhaps a script on how this year will differ from last's? How it will be a better, more meaningful and purposeful year? I think yes. I'm drafting my own statement right now and feel ready to rock. Bring it 2011. Bring it on.

Yeah, I know. I get that we are 14 days into this year. But... I struggle to make "New Year's" resolutions because I'm more of the school of thought that everyday is a new day and a new opportunity to "resolve" to live a better life. Because...isn't that really what these goals are all about? Living healthier, wealthier, more fulfilled happy lives? I think yes. Just say'n. That's just how I see it.