Friday, October 26, 2012

Coming Storms (Both Literal and Figurative)

This autumn has turned out to be full of surprises. I mentioned in a post earlier this month that several people close to me were facing some challenges in personal and work relationships. This past week brought new updates on two of the three situations.

Our friends here in New York are coming ever closer to needing new employment, which could mean they need to leave the U.S. permanently. That really bothers me, since the couple has been in the U.S. for over a decade. They’re the kind of hard working, well-educated people we want to stay in this country. My friend is an accomplished scholar with a Ph.D. in English, and her husband is a gifted graphic designer, yet the expense of sponsoring someone for a green card means neither can find an employer willing to support their efforts to stay in the U.S. permanently.

A relative who is facing some relationship challenges has let me know that some additional factors are involved in that situation. Some of the things I’ve learned about that situation don’t surprise me, although it makes me wish I were in a position to travel and visit that relative right now. I think being there could help, but it’s just not an option. In that earlier post, I mentioned how frustrated I feel when I can’t fix things, and this is definitely a situation where life is telling me to “sit and stay!” I just don’t happen to appreciate the message.

As if those personal storms weren’t enough, the weather forecast for the next few days suggests that the Northeast may be hit with an actual storm, in the form of Hurricane Sandy. Current predictions (as of Friday a.m.) suggest the storm could hit New York City early Tuesday morning. The forecast suggests the winds and rain from that storm will collide with a winter storm from the west and cold air from Canada, which could lead to heavier rains and/or snowfall. Plus, Monday will be a full moon, meaning higher tides and increased likelihood of flooding. Oh, and all of this could occur right after Jen’s birthday, which is Sunday.

With luck, none of those things will happen, but Jen and I are stocking up on supplies just in case. It’s a bit ironic. We left Arizona (where the worst weather-related issues were heat stroke, lightning-sparked wildfires, and flooding from monsoon rains) to move to Seattle, with its earthquakes, snow-capped volcanoes, and occasional winter snow or ice storms. Then, we moved from Seattle to Brooklyn.

In our six years in Brooklyn, we’ve had an earthquake, a tropical storm/hurricane, blizzards, flooding, tornadoes, and heat waves. For people who like to plan ahead and have control over situations, we sure picked an odd place to live. There’s not much we can do about the weather, other than prepare and hope for the best. Come to think of it, that’s all we can do about any of these situations. And, letting things take their course isn't really our strong suit.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

I don’t have a grand topic in mind for this week’s post, so I’ll just prattle on about a few recent events.

I didn’t get last week’s post written because Jen and I took a few days off. We intended to spend them at the New York Comic Con, and we attended it on Thursday. We saw a lot of great costumes and picked up a few exclusives from some of the vendors. It was our first time attending a comic convention, and I’m not sure if we’ll make it an annual event or not. We certainly had a good time, which makes me think we’ll go again.

However, the things that kept us from attending all four days will probably come up again next time. We wore ourselves out with all the walking and standing we did the first day, and we found ourselves getting a bit tired of the crowds. Also, we’re both homebodies, and having that much time to be together but spending it surrounded by others isn’t really a high priority for us. We’d rather spend that time together, away from people.

With the time that we didn’t attend the convention, we caught up on some reading, watched some movies, streamed some TV shows, and just generally relaxed. I think we both needed a little down time, which was the point of attending the convention. Getting that break without the crowds was an added bonus.

During our long weekend, we found two new favorite TV shows, although we’re about 15 years behind the times. Just before Comic Con, we started watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and we added “Angel” to the mix over the weekend. Streaming the two has been fun, although I’m actually surprised that we enjoy them as much as we do. Neither of us is into horror, whether it’s a novel, movie, or comic. Given that, watching these shows seems a bit out of character.

I wouldn’t normally admit to watching a show like “Buffy,” especially this long after it was in its heyday. But, I’m pretty sure very few people are reading my blog, so I think my admission is safe.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Week of Lessons

This past week has been full of learning opportunities, and I’m not sure I appreciate the lessons I’m learning.

My Facebook experiment has been a challenge. I find myself mindlessly navigating to the Facebook home page a few times a day or checking the Facebook app on my smartphone, which underscores that deactivating my account was a good idea. I hadn’t realized how often I would take “just a quick peek” at it, which usually turned into several minutes of reading posts and commenting. I haven’t seen indications that my productivity has increased yet, but I hope I will soon.

This week has also reminded me of some less-than-desirable personality traits. I’m the kind of person that likes to be in control of a situation, and I also usually plan for contingencies. The events of this past week have reminded me that I can’t always fix everything and my attempts at planning don’t always work.

One example of this affects one of my relatives. Last week, I learned that this person is going through a tough time with a personal relationship. As much as I want to swoop in and fix the situation, this week has reminded me that I simply can’t do that. The feeling of powerlessness that accompanied that realization really bothered me, because it reminds me that I need to stop trying to control everything.

In case I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time, I also learned that a close friend is struggling with a relationship issue too. Again, I can’t really do anything to help the situation, other than give these people my love and support. That’s not easy to do since we live in different states. But even if I were nearer to them, I couldn’t fix either situation. And, it’s not my place to try. But, my impulse to take charge and fix the issues keeps nudging me toward intervening.

And, in case I hadn’t gotten the message the first two times, I received a reinforced version of that message again yesterday. Another close friend, who is in the U.S. on a work visa, works for a company that is going through a restructuring. Several people have been laid off, and this friend is worried because losing the job would mean leaving the U.S. after over a decade of being here and attempting to get green card status. If that happens, my friend has only ten days to leave the country. Again, there’s nothing I can do, but I sure want to try.

The autumn change usually prompts me to some introspection, and I certainly have a lot to think about.