Today is my last day as a contract employee at the Foundation. As of Monday I will be a fulltime employee. I have joined the Global Health – HIV –Vaccine Team and could not feel more honored.
This week I sat in a meeting that discussed the inequalities is Mesoamerican and bring millions of dollars in financial aid to the poorest of the poor in the region. I listened to the president of our division share his recent opportunity to discuss with world leaders the relationship between government/regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical companies inconsistencies and thus global impact access to life saving technologies and drugs. One of our team members this week was recognized as one of the top 20 Nigerians living in the US making a difference. Over my short time here I’ve met leaders, diplomats, world-renowned scientists and advocates for improving global health. They are the real deal.
What energizes me the most about this job is the level of impact on a global scale that we are attempting make. It’s real people doing real work. The work my team is doing has the potential to impact real people around the world. This is high stakes and so very exciting to be a part of.
Last week, MG was asked if her and BG could give all their money to one area of focus she said this:
"If B and I could only work on one thing with the foundation’s money it would be an AIDS vaccine....Today, there are 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Five million are on treatment. Will the world pay for all the people who need treatment? It’s just not going to happen. That’s why you’ve got to work on a vaccine. If you can get a vaccine for this disease, then you can talk about elimination. And it may not look like it, but every time we do a trial on the vaccine, we learn something new. We’re making progress."
Some weeks are busier than others. While I used to be of the notion that I would spend one night out a week doing something social. Because if I got beyond that my fragile little self gets run down real fast causing fainting spells, yadda yadda yadda. So this week, was not a good example of me taking care of myself. In fact, quite the opposite. Let's recap:
Monday: Meeting up with old coworkers, I headed back into the old downtown stopping grounds for some happy hour action with SB and EN. Let me just say, Palomino gorgonzola smothered waffle potato slices must be from the heavens. You're going to want to order a plate (or 2) next time you're there. We ate and chatted about current conditions of our lives and had a perfectly lovely time catching up. While headed out I ran (literally, she was running) into an old friend who I hadn't seen in months. We ended up standing on the corner of 4th and Union in the cold for 45 minutes catching up on life before we decided to make plans to sit down and have a real good catch up (see Thursday). It's in those moments when I believe in serendipity.
Tuesday: Institute classes started up again with a new quarter studying Luke. The one and only Sister M is teaching, as it should be. I am quite excited to attend class with a teacher who has a seemingly innate ability to teach with reverence yet make the subject matter interesting, intellectually challenging and allows me to explore idea of a higher purpose, meaning and power. It's gonna be good, I can feel it.
Wednesday: Dinner at McDonalds with the man-friend. We sat inside. He keeps me classy. Nuff said.
Thursday: There is a new Latin food restaurant, Casa Patron, near Greenlake that I’ve been inching to try. So after running into said friend (see Monday) I took advantage of the opportunity to try somewhere new. A great atmosphere, food and service, you know I'm comin' back for more. The Vegetarian fajitas and with the obligatory chips and salsa were remarkably delicious. Great food with a great friend. Pretty much the best.
Friday: Friday couldn't have come soon enough after a crazy week at work. I picked up the man-friend after work and set out on a mission to banish the polo ridden wardrobe and bring him into the young professional look. Little known fact, I love shopping for men’s clothes with other people’s money. Maybe more than I love shopping for clothes for myself. So we shopped and shopped and shopped until the stores closed (they actually had to unlock us out of the Gap). We picked up a few items but made plans to hit up downtown the next day to really polish things off.
Saturday (the longest day of my life): After 4 hours of sleep, I ran a few early morning errands of grocery shopping and personal maintenance appointments before heading downtown to do some more shopping with the man-friend. Now again its no secret that I have taste in expensive things so when we started shopping I asked for a budget just so I could be aware of my boundaries. “Ehhh, whatever,” he shrugged. Swoon. As I walked in to Banana Republic – Men, I said, “I’m just going to pick a few things and you just don’t look at the price tag.” He says, “Go wild.” Music to my ears…so I did, and in the process fell in love with Banana’s Men fall collection. Maybe I couldn’t convince him to buy the $130 button down sweater that was beyond slammin’ (it still makes my heart pitter-patter), but we did walk out of there with a hefty bag of new finds. Lucky we only had 2.5 hours to do our damage otherwise it could have been much worse.
Still Saturday: Gemutlichkeit Oktoberfest Munich Style Dinner, or Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Tristan. "Gemütlichkeit"- the closest English equivalent is the word "coziness"; however, rather than merely describing a place that is cozy, Gemütlichkeit connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Tristan means "Happy Birthday Tristan" which is their dog who celebrates his birthday on a more than annual basis. The combination of these two meant one thing: Dinner with the crew. Joe made killer Schweinbraten mit Knodel, und Sauerkraut (pork sholder goodness and slaw – but way better) and a appetizer plate with pickles, radishes, dill and beets. Plus he made the potato dumpling goodness drizzled with gravy which he wasn't too impressed with but I could have eaten every last one. Julie and Steve brought Kartoffelsalat, fresh bretzel (fresh pretzels) with killer honey mustard sauce. Sam made a rockin’ potato salad that would put anything you find at a summer picnic to shame. I made Obatzda (Bavarian Cheese Dip).
Yes, the lactose intolerant one made the cheese dip. Accompanied with veggies and rocking rosemary bread from Essential Bakery. The cap it all off, Heather made traditional French Croquembouche. It was all too delicious for words.
Besides their ridiculous mad cooking skills this group of friends have got to be the funniest people on the planet. Oh man do we laugh. And they's smart. And honest. And some of the most real people I know. What a great way to spend a Saturday evening.
Now after a dinner party like that, you’d think you’d call the day a wrap and head on home to snuggle up for the evening. But no, I defy convention. The man-friend and I left early because our plans continued into the evening.
Still Saturday - 10/10/10 10k: Some genius thought it a good idea a few weeks ago to run a 10k at midnight on 10/10/10. Well, turns out it's October in Seattle and it absolutely POURED rain. We're not talking a traditional Seattle drizzle we're talking Amazonian monsoon. I've been drier in the shower. But a dozen brave souls ran 10k along Alki beach in the pitch black night and pouring rain. It was about as fun as it sounds. We made the most of it, eventually just succumbing to the reality that there wasn't going to be a dry inch anywhere. Every runner finished which was quite impressive given the circumstances. Drenched to the bone, I literally poured water out of my shoe and wrung a stream of water out of my socks. E's earphones I borrowed were drowned and no longer operational. I cannot emphasize enough how wet we were. All in all it was unforgettable to say the least.
Finally Sunday: The day of rest, or so they say. After yet again only another 4 hours of sleep I was up again off to church and woefully underprepared to teach. I was going to be relying on the Holy Spirit and divine inspiration a lot for this one. After getting through the lesson I knew I need to get home asap before I was going to fall asleep standing up. I raced home, fell into bed for a few hours before waking up refreshed just in time to head to Family Jam session at the Lyman/Howard House. With musically inclined friends we spent the evening circled up campfire style jammin out some tunes on the guitar and piano. Maybe a harmonica was involved. Maybe a little Cat Stevens, the Beatles, Brandi Carlile, Peter Paul and Mary, Allison Krauss, and Billy Joel was involved. Good music, good friends, good laughs...perfect wrap to a crazy week.
I’m not one to freak out. I generally take a pretty relaxed approach to issues with the mindset that if no one is hemorrhaging blood/dying/a freight train is headed toward me/Adam Brody is standing next to me/or Simply Desserts is out of Orange Pumpkin Cake, there really isn’t any point to getting too worked up. It’s just a waste of precious energy. But then there are some days where I am in unique form and find myself with great opportunities to get worked up. Yesterday was one of those days.
Freak Out 1:
When I got home late Sunday night I thought it a good idea to just reconfirm when my homeowners would be returning from Africa. October 4. Hmmm, October……4th. Oh cuss… I glanced up around the house and thought to myself, “Well, there is some work to be done here.” Thus began mad dash to clean a three story house like a crazy person.
And because it was 1:00 am, I gave myself 30 minutes to do as much as humanly possible as fast as humanly possible and hope to the good heavens that I’d wake up early enough in the morning to finish up. 5 hours later when my alarm went off I sprung (gently rolled) out of bed and proceeded to clean more like a crazy person. Thus began sprint sweat-induced cleaning frenzy. Wash sheets, scrub bathroom, take out trash, vacuum, do dishes, pack up my things, take my things down three flights of stairs (don’t even ask me how many trips). I knew enough to wait to shower until cleaning was done but the 3 flights of stairs perpetuated the hot sweaty mess look. With just minutes to spare before I had to leave for work, the house was sparkling.
Freak Out 2:
In the midst of my frantic cleaning, I took 15 seconds to step on the scale. Guys, I have packed on the L-Bs. Thanks to the EXCESSIVE amount of birthdays/parties, the lack of exercise, increased stress and the significant amounts of wheat and dairy into my system, my clothes are QUITE snug. Maybe that’s an over share but maybe it’s honest. So, yesterday I kicked my bag o’ cookies-a-day habit; I opted for rice cake and peanut butter with an apple instead of delicious Grandma’s Vanilla Crème Sandwich cookies. Baby steps.
Freak Out 3:
Those few minutes I had to spare before running off to work rapidly disappeared when I got into my car and discovered I was sans cell phone. “I’m sure it’s around here somewhere, let me dig around,” I thought. No luck. Let me go inside and call it. No luck. Let me dig around some more in the same places I just dug just in case I missed it. No luck. Let me run inside and call my phone from every room in the house to see if I can find it. No luck. Let me tear apart everything in my car ONE MORE TIME. No luck. Eventually I threw in the towel and headed off to work (outrageously late now). I pep talked myself all the way to work as to why I really didn’t need my cell phone and that I have other ways of being connect to people and thinking who really calls anyway? By the time lunch came around I had forgotten about it but then enlisted a friend to call me repeatedly until I (or someone else who was in possession of my phone) answered. Finally, at the bottom of my toiletry bag I found said phone, safe and sound. Freak out concluded.
My seeming absence from the blogosphere should not be associated with a lack of things to blog about. Because boy-howdy do I have things to blog about. And maybe a few things I want to blog about but to protect the innocent, I won't (nudge-nudge wink-wink).
There has been a lot going on. More birthdays/parties than you'd think humanly possible. Accepting a full time permanent job offer, living in West Seattle temporarily, lack of sleep and exercise, etc. Really great things are happening, really tough things are happening. Feeling really close to some people and really distant from others (in some cases wishing it were the opposite). Lots of good decisions being made, lots of poor decisions being made. This pendulum swing of really great to really not great has perhaps caused a roller coaster effect that has driven me to want to jump track for smoother tracks, but I just can't kick the habit.
Which all leads to me to believe that what is lacking is a sense of balance. I feel like BFF is always yelling at me about this. I have an uncanny ability to just put the throttle to the ground and take off, in every sense of my life. I have always operated in the all or nothing, go big or go home mentality. But in my wiser years, and I come to an understanding that perhaps this isn't the healthiest approach to most things.
Because in reality, going big or going home is often a catalyst for stepping on the gas and pushing things faster and wanting things sooner than they should happen.
I am deliberately being vague here but the reality is that the details are irrelevant. What is important is recognizing that I am wickedly unbalanced and what I need to do is nourish the relationship that are healthy, let go of the ones that aren't and be able to identify which is which. Taking care of my health and body which has been suffering the most needs to be a priority and finding a way to feel comfort in quiet stillness, rather than be distracted by cleverly disguised chaos.
I'm tired, running on fumes which is perhaps (definitely) contributing to a heightened sense of vulnerability and hyper-emotion tonight, but it's at least honest and authentic, which is more than I can say about some things in my life.
So cheers to reflective Friday nights in front of the fire on a fall evening.