Friday, September 24, 2010


Tomorrow marks the beginning of yet another stretch of incredibly long days. In some strange way, it is enjoyable. I would like to think that working so much gives me a sense of purpose, but it doesn't. Really, its just an impressive way to use all my time.

Climbing was a good choice. I have been trying to go climbing for months now, but things always come up for either me or my partner and we end up cancelling. Finally, I had a few hours of free time and the only worthwhile thing I could come up with to spend it on was climbing. My arms are tired, my brain is at ease, and my eyes feel heavy. Nothing puts me in a more perfect state of rest than climbing. I may not be the best, I may not even be that great, but I climb nonetheless.
The act of climbing forces me to focus only on what is in front of me - where to place my foot, the best way to reach that next hand hold - and allows my mind to relax. But good company multiplies those effects. To laugh and climb and enjoy those few hours of simple good times is priceless.

While we were climbing, I couldn't help but remember how seemingly pointless it is on the surface. If you take climbing at face value, what you get is a bunch of people shimmying up a wall simply to reach the top. That's it. Its not like we do anything once we get up there. You touch the top, you come back down, you go somewhere else and do it all again. There is a physical and mental challenge in climbing, as with any sport. But really, once you have conquered that route and reached the top, what was the point?
Of course, this is looking at the skin of climbing. Underneath (again, as with most things) is the real value, the real point as to why anyone climbs.
For me, I realized that one of the important things in climbing is relationship. When you climb, you interact with your partner and/or group, often talking and laughing and getting to know one another. Other things are the same. Sometimes the action itself seems devoid of value, but in reality it presents an opportunity to get closer to people, and also to challenge oneself; to prove that you are capable of physical and mental feats beyond what you thought you could achieve.

Climbing is a little bit of those for me. Mostly it just helps me to forget about my life for a moment and do something I can do...climb some rock.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I was hoping it would be easier than this. Quitting my job was rough. I had imagined that I would be nervous until the deed was done and then an immense weight would be lifted from my shoulders.
Instead I am left to wonder whether or not I did the right thing...I haven't felt this bad since Darren and I were on the rocks. The job itself is something I could live without. It was fun and I liked making coffee, but I could do other things. The thing that makes my stomach churn is leaving all of my coworkers behind...Amanda told me that I am her favorite and her "go-to" girl. I believe her. We are already short one person, and now because of me, its two. I wish desperately that I could work the two jobs and call it good, but it isn't a reality.
Amanda is going to give me massive amounts of crap for the next few days for quitting. I know this. But its okay. She's even going to get hammered on my behalf tonight...which makes me feel even worse.
Dammit I wish this was easier...
I just hope and pray that this new job is everything I need it to be for me to justify leaving.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Life in Review

For the first time, I understand why we were told to outline and brainstorm before writing essays. I'd like to think that when my life becomes busy, my brain organizes everything, whips it into a single file line and keeps it all in check. Unfortunately, I know that that is not the case. Instead, my head becomes like a bowl of rice noodles, sticky and utterly inseparable. All the ideas, thoughts, complications, and tasks pile onto one another and fight for air like so many fish in too small a pond.
So as I sat down to write several nights ago and not a single thing made its way to paper, I gave in. Fine Mr. win.

Forefront on my mind these last few days is simply the unexpected.
Almost a full year ago, I moved to Seattle. I had my heart set on working at a tea house or coffee shop, because it was something I had never done and seemed to be something I might enjoy. I gave my resume to several tea houses in the area, one being Teahouse Kuan Yin. The owner called me a week later and told me he was impressed with my cover letter and would love to have me on staff, but he had just hired two new employees. I continued my job search, ultimately ending up with my current job as a barista at Tully's. I mostly forgot about Teahouse Kuan Yin and moved on.
Almost four days ago, I received a phone call. It was the owner of Teahouse Kuan Yin, Marcus. At first I thought there was no way he would be calling me. There was no reason at all for it. But I answered the phone and it was him. Asking me if I was still looking for work. I said yes (which was a lie, because I already have more than I can handle), because if this could really work, I wanted it.
We scheduled an interview and he hired me no more than twenty minutes later. My first training shift was today. My second is tomorrow. I have two more on Thursday and Friday. If all goes well, I will be closing alone on Saturday.
When was it ever this easy? When does a year old resume ever land anyone the job they want? When does showing up to an interview and not trying get anyone a dollar an hour raise? Thus far, I am still shocked that things have unfolded the way they have.

I thought that I would be able to keep my job at Tully's and fit in some extra shifts here and there at Kuan Yin. Unfortunately, within a day it was clear that I was going to have to make a choice. Teahouse Kuan Yin or Tully's?
This is my dilemma: Tully's is short staffed as it is, and I know I am more valuable now than I have ever been there. It is a good job and I like all of my coworkers...but do I pass up this long awaited opportunity in the name of courtesy, or stay at Tully's simply to keep everyone else from suffering the loss of another employee?

After several days of tossing that thought around, and after my first day of training at Kuan Yin, the choice seems clear. Although it will be difficult to deliver the news to my manager, it would be a shame to waste my chance at the teahouse in the name of politeness.
This is a new chance to prove myself as capable and willing. It is difficult for me to develop a sense of self after so many years as a people pleaser, but now is as good a time as any. The door is wide open. I have to rise to the challenge.

Wish me luck.

(P.S. Thanks for keeping me accountable, Griff.)