Friday, April 25, 2008

Keep Asheville Wie*rd

It has been said by natives of the city, that a person either hates Asheville or loves it. Natives keep bumper stickers, license plates, window decals and T-shirts that read "keep Asheville Wier*d".
It goes without saying that I love Asheville. Our city has such a charismatic feel to it. It is just the right size and very open-minded and creative. I so enjoy walking around downtown taking in all of the smells of international cuisine, watching people play instruments in our town square at pretty much any time of day. I love the pride that people have in our city, residents and visitors both.

I have been here for 8 years and plan to keep counting. It is a small city and of course has its bad spots, but for the most part, is clean, green (we have more than the normal share of earthy, tree-hugging, dirt worshipers--which is fine by me), and inviting. Of course, being placed in the Mountains we see lots of tourism and have to deal with Leaf Lookers during our gorgeous autumn, but that is a small price to pay for not living in a concrete jungle if you ask me.

The season is coming for hiking in the mountains and wading in creeks near gorgeous waterfalls, picnicking along trails that snake through the Blue Ridge Parkway, to name just a few of the summery pleasures here.
With the days of summer comes one of my fave things about Asheville ~ Bele Chere. The summer street festival held here each year. People come from all over the world, vendors, artists, musicians, you name it. For three days, our city spills over with vitality and energy ~ even more than usual.

Though it may seem, I am not practicing an ad for a brochure about Asheville. I just woke up this morning, looked out the window at the crystal blue sky wrapping around the mountains which are covered with trees sporting their new lime-green leaves, and felt proud of where I live. The air is clean, the sun is shining.
Thought I would share.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Moonlight Dancers

The Moon is full and bright, predictable and comforting.

The darkness shifts, a new energy is rising.

A dance is beginning, one with which she familiar, and one she is stranger to.

At this time, ground rules are of utmost importance. A heart must have a voice now.
What each partner learns about the other is paramount, during the moonlight dance.
It will set the tone for what lies ahead. Either the movement will be uninterrupted and fluid,like a mountain spring in late summer, reflecting two people who are in tune with one another. On the contrary, if the partners are not fully present with one another, focusing intentions and thoughts elsewhere but the methodical movement of the rehearsed progression, it will appear and feel choppy and broken ~ out of sync.

He is confident. Feels over-deserving of her cooperation. He thinks he knows her. Can anticipate her moves, her feelings, her talents, her weaknesses. Reminds her of the times she has fallen, with a fleetingly backhanded compliment. She is shy. She has an idea about him, but isn't sure what drives his soul. She doesn't want to lose her power, her control. Can she trust him to lead?

The music starts.

The dance is just beginning.

His hands aren't gentle, they move too quickly, too roughly, not establishing trust, but rushed gratification. She feels like a little girl again, unable to find her voice. She loses concentration, can no longer hear the music, can't find her dancing feet. She stumbles.

The dance comes to a halt. The music stops.

The moon shines on, with it's glorious brightness, unaware of the dance, unaware of the power it's mere presence unleashes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In my own words

Anyone heard that song floating around lately where the artist writes a letter to himself at age 17 to reassure him that his future self turned out alright?
Even if not, you might enjoy this post.

You see, I did it backwards. I wrote a letter to my future self on October 29, 1994. I was 19 years old, writing to the person I would be at 34. I sealed it and wrote on the envelope not to open until June 11th, 2009. Well, even though I was supposed to wait another whole year, I opened and read it the other day.
I wrote about what I hoped to have in my life, my dreams and aspirations, what consumed my mind at the time.

So, here is an excerpt:

I don't know what kind of person you have evolved into. I can only say what I, the 19 year old Heather hope to have in my future. Hopefully you have your ultimate dream of children, but I hope you didn't forsake your other dreams for immediate fulfillment. As a 19 year old you were confused. There were so many choices, so many different ways to start your life, you were so scared to take a wrong step as the first one. You knew, at 19, that ultimately your dream was to help people, but you couldn't figure out how to make that happen.
Maybe now, in 2009, you have achieved what your soul had planned for you. Hopefully you have awakened to the belief that you can create your own life exactly the way you want it to be, regardless of outside beliefs and pressures. Hopefully you are your own unique person, allowing no pressures from others to sway your beliefs and knowings. Do you have your ultimate fulfillment yet? The one I search for now, in 1994? Is the world still the same in 2009? Are there still wars--both outside between countries and inside each person on the planet? Who did you marry? How many beautiful children do you have?

I sat there with this letter for some time. I was thinking back on who I was then and how the world seemed to me from that young perspective. I can picture myself sitting at my desk in my room, gazing out the window as I wrote this letter. I know that at the time, I was a manager of a small children's boutique in the mall and really enjoyed my job, but was starting to desire something more. My heart was yearning for a direction for which there were no signs pointing the way. I was entertaining the thought of going to school, or maybe had already begun the first semester of college--hence the confusion. I know that I was dating, but nothing serious. I remember wanting a child so badly that it consumed my thoughts almost on a daily basis. I would wander through the children's sections of department stores, go to the baby store and run my hands over the soft blankets and sleepers. (Once I even purchased a tiny blue sleeper that I kept tucked away until I had my first son)

Sitting here now, almost 33 years old, I wonder if I robbed myself of those carefree years by trying to grow up too fast. I hear people talk about their twenties and how it is a time for mistakes, playing, and just simply time for self-discovery. Throughout my adolescence I was very unsure of myself, as most of us are during those worrisome years. So many changes, so much to think about.

In retrospect, I guess I was a typical 19 year old wrestling with the huge questions and decisions that seem to never have any real answers.

If I were to write back to myself though, I would have to say that I am reaching my goals, though not necessarily in the order I may have had planned for myself 15 years ago.
I would be pleased to know that I now have 4 children; I know that back then, knowing that I would have children someday would have been a great source of comfort. But, in some ways, I think I did forsake other dreams to have my children and perhaps the timing wasn't the greatest. I mean, I didn't want to be a single parent and to have to struggle to give my children a good life. I brought these children into the world for instant gratification in some ways, because I just couldn't wait any longer and once that train left the station it was gone for good. Thee is no going back once you have become a mother and some choices are now along a different set of tracks, out of reach.
I would tell myself to play a while longer. To focus on myself and to not be afraid that I would take a wrong step. To not be so careful for it is in the times of personal release that we learn about ourselves. To just live one day at a time and not place so much worry on the future at such a tender age. I would reassure myself that things would work out, that the path for my life would reveal itself in due time.

" There is no prescribed way for everyone; there is just your way for NOW, until you choose another".

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What pisses me off

So, I work at a childcare center. Not so bad, right? I enjoy the children, been doing it for years, can get by for now...right?

Well, seems that after two months of working my ass off, not missing any days, picking up extra work anywhere I can find any, being willing to step into any room without complaint when a teacher is out or has to leave, now that I have fallen ill, the mountain of guilt dropped upon my head by the Director is as heavy as a Mack truck.
See, she doesn't want anyone to EVER miss work, not even scheduled time off, because then she may end up in a classroom - God Forbid. The Assistant Director is the same way. She WILL NOT step foot into a classroom, EVER, no matter what issue the teacher may be having (let me say that in this center, most teachers are alone in classrooms without assistants, and to not be able to count on the help of the administration when it is needed is frustrating to say the least). I was astounded at this as well as many other issues representing the extreme gap between administration and teachers at this center.

So, this morning, I call in and tell her I have a fever, coughing (which by the way is what is afflicting many children in the center and they have not been sent home as the policy so clearly indicates should be the case) and fatigue. I let her know I came in yesterday anyway though I was sick, in an attempt to make it through and not cause a hardship on anyone.

Know what she asks me?

"Well, are you on the way to the doctor"? I know, doesn't seem like too crazy of a request, unless the job offers NO insurance and pays only $9.50 per hour! We all know how much a trip to the doctor can cost and I certainly am not going until it becomes clear that I will not get well without medication.

Oh, well. Just a few mental notes to self:
1.When my center is open and staffed, offer health insurance and enforce the sick policy for children. Really, there is no excuse not to do both of these things.
2. Keep connected with the teachers. They are the heart of the center and when they feel discouraged and broken down, taken advantage of and overworked, the outcome is not a good one and morale is at risk.
3. Realize that people who work from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. M-F must have a day here and there to tend to necessary tasks, and that teachers will, on occasion, succumb to illnesses; it is the natural side effect of working with children.
4. Enjoy the time in the classroom with the children, away from the ringing phones and screaming mountains of paperwork that are the demands of being a Director...after all, if it weren't for the children, the job of being a childcare Director would be non-existent.

Over and out.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 7, 2008


I am sorry I haven't updated before now, but here is the situation. I don't really have any news concerning the little boy that was missing last weekend.

Although we never officially heard, which is EXTREMELY frustrating, we think they must have found him. We have chosen to arrive at this conclusion because the rescue/search efforts simply halted. As of last Monday, there were no longer search parties or resuce personnel anywhere around, so we are taking that as a good sign.

However, I have waited all week with a very uneasy feeling in my gut, because I haven't seen the little boy playing anywhere either. Usually, he is always outside wandering around, looking for someone to play with. And, in case you are going to assume that his mother has stepped up to the plate and decided to actually parent her son, protect him, and establish boundaries for playing, let me assure you that is and never will be the case. She cannot be bothered.

So there are no signs of him at all. It is like he simply vanished into thin air. I drove by his building the other evening, and it was all dark in his apartment. But, at the same time, there has been no media coverage of the entire incident (which means little to me, I trust nothing the media says anyway).

So, we wait. And hope. And wonder..if we will ever see our little friend again, or if he has become yet another sad statistic, lost forever.