Daily Archives: April 9, 2014

Journalist, Sijeh, Baker, Mom

The title of this post most succinctly describes who I am, in no order of experience and certainly not in order of importance. Still, they are me. As my children approach their last years in senior and junior high school, I find myself thinking often about these descriptors, wondering if the newer additions to the list can ever take center stage.

Journalist and mom are the two things I wanted to be from as far back as I can remember. I got my first paycheck for the former a year out of college and became a mother five years into my career. From minute one, being a mother has filled me with unmatched senses of wonder and responsibility. I would move Everest one fistful of dirt at a time for either of my kids, if I had to.

Most of my time in print and television news and public affairs has felt almost as touched as my life as a mother. I’ve met and produced interviews with countless VIPS, including former U.S. presidents. So, I could leave my career tomorrow feeling that nothing’s been left undone. And I wish I could.

The career has satisfied my intellect and does a good job keeping the children in all that they need and most of what they want. I’d like to do something more soul soothing now, which brings me to the remaining items on the list.

I’ve been baking since I was a child, taught by my mother and grandmother, but I didn’t do so with regularity as an adult until my mother died in 2007. I could now fill a very large bakery with the number of pies, cakes and cookies I’ve made since then, for one simple reason: when I miss her acutely, I bake. It’s an activity that satisfies an emotional need.

I’ve perfected so many recipes, it’s been suggested by more than a few that I sell what’s coming out of my oven. But that won’t pay the mortgage – at least not from my oven. And if it did, it wouldn’t leave time for kung fu and being a sijeh.

I need not explain the importance of being a sijeh, a kung fu black sash. Most days, my blog is about just that. It is among the most soul-soothing components of my life, as it satisfies a host of needs as well. It is, in fact, a way of life. But it, too, will not pay the mortgage – at least not any time soon.

And so I continue on with what does keep the bills paid and the children fed, while grabbing the kung fu clothes daily and the mixing bowl weekly. Neither can play a larger role in my life for the foreseeable future, but these parts of my persona that have grown considerably in recent years are as much a part of me as the things I always wanted to be.

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Missed Signals

Those of you who’ve done me the honor of regularly reading my posts for four months now know that I’m putting some effort these days into being more mindful of the world around me and more attentive to the details emanating from its inhabitants. The hope is to use what went previously unseen to be less intimidating, annoying or otherwise irksome to the non-type-A members of the human race.

So when I walked into the gym tonight fifteen minutes after the yoga class was scheduled to be finished and found the yogis just leaving, I suspected I might have to wait for time in my new sanctuary. Rather than wonder, I went to ask. Before the yoga teacher even reached the door, I could see something in her face that was less than pleasant. I prepared for disappointment.

“Do you need the room?” she asked. We’d met a few times and chatted on Sundays; so she was smiling.  I nodded but told her I could just go to a squash court until she was done. “That’d be great. I’ll come get you. It’ll be about half an hour.”

I guess I read her wrong, I thought as I walked toward the courts.

Forty-five minutes later, after warming up and doing a few abbreviated forms in the boxed in boxing room because the squash courts were occupied, I headed back to the yoga room. Camille was still there.

I gave it another fifteen minutes, but she and a yogi were chatting on my second return. At that point, type-A woman that I am needed some clarification. I knocked and was granted entry.

“Just real quick: in the future, should I figure on you using the room for at least an hour after your class is over?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry,” she added, looking at the clock. “I take private clients at the end of my class. But not Sundays. You’re still good on Sundays.”

Heading back to my staff, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. Why wouldn’t she just tell me to begin with that she had a private client and I wouldn’t be able to use the room? Was that passive aggressiveness at work? Conflict avoidance?

Whatever it was, it made me awfully comfortable to continue being a potentially intimidating, annoying or otherwise irksome, type-A woman. I may miss a few signals from others but at least mine are clear.  So…note to self: trying to be more attentive and less irksome doesn’t mean others will do the same.