Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ding! Level 47

You know how people reaching a milestone often comment that they can't believe X amount of time has gone by? I don't usually feel that way. When I look back at my calendar at Birthday time, I often think "how in the heck did I do all that on one year?" This year is no exception.

Tonight, I don't want to just make a catalog of things that happened, I want to share some of the important things I've learned while 46.

In September, Doug and I took an impromptu trip to Maui for four days. It was my first trip to Hawaiʻi, but Doug had spent time there as a teenager with his parents. I was not prepared to fall in love as deeply as I did. There was just something about the sustained presence of beauty that uncoiled something inside me. I have had a lifelong love of Hawaiʻian song, and the trip motivated me to learn a couple songs in Hawaiʻian. It was a very good reminder of how difficult it is to memorize lyrics in a language you donʻt speak. We hadn't been home for a week before I was planning our next trip in July 2013. Eight days on the Big Island.

October saw my successful re-election to the Slighe nan Gaidheal Board of Directors. It was a contested election with more than 3 candidates for the 3 open positions. Contested elections aren't the norm for our little community, so we all faltered a bit while we figured out how to manage conflict instead of basking in our consensus. It became obvious during election cycle that there were people who wanted me off of the Board and I have been struggling to find a way to live with that. Part of the answer was realizing that I really am ready to retire. At the end of my current term, I will have given 18 years of my life to Slighe nan Gaidheal and I think that's enough. I'll spend the remainder of this term wrapping up loose ends, upgrading infrastructure so that my skillset in IT isn't necessary for daily functions, and handing work off of to others.

Me and Auntie Pat
Kimiko Sakai
Some more important things happened in October also. My beloved Aunt Pat died on October 6th. Doug came with me to her service, where we learned that my mother's best friend, Kimiko Sakai had also died three days earlier. I was raised calling her Aunt Kim, and thinking of her two sons and daughter as family.
Eric and I in Cleethorpes, October 2001
Then November came, and news arrived that I had lost my last uncle. My mother's brother Eric had passed away on the 29th. Eric was the black sheep of the family, meaning that he had spirit and imagination. My mother adored him.

December brought two sets of visitors to stay with me and go to the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Seattle Center. Doug and his best friend Sophia, and the much-loved Robins / Rawdah family from Portland. During one of my trips through the galleries when Doug was here, I had a revelation. I realized that I was surrounded by objects, most of whose sole purpose was to preserve the reputations of people into the future. I sank down on a bench and began to sob quietly. Doug knew what was moving me, of course, sat beside me, and leaned in close. He said "Your enemies will never be able to chip your name off every obelisk. They can't." No. They can't. Furthermore, someone who believes lies about me never was my friend to begin with.

Tacoma's Museum of Glass
The first quarter of 2013 saw lots of preparations for my first big out-of-town concert. Puget Sound Revels selected me to be one of the Salon Series artists and produced a full evening concert at Tacoma's Museum of Glass. I decided to ask some of the members of the Revels chorus to be my backup singers, and they agreed. The show came together splendidly, and it boosted my confidence to no end.

One of the most challenging things to happen this year was a change to Doug's schedule imposed by his employer unilaterally. He went from working Monday through Thursday, to working Thursday through Monday. No days off together at all. We started living for our next Hawaiʻian vacation at the end of July.

Our Saturday date-night destination, the incredible Mirchi Cuisine of India was sold. The Mom-and-Pop shop which had lost its Mom to undiagnosed cancer the previous July passed into new hands. It's hard to describe Mirchi. I used to say that it was the best Indian food I had ever eaten. Now I just say that it was the best food I had ever eaten period. We haven't been back since.

A typical Mirchi meal
I finally gave up on ever finding the time to do a big CD mailout on my own and hired to do it for me in June. I paid for 100 CDs to be mailed to radio stations and music reviewers around the US. It worked! I got some airplay at last. Probably more significant, though, was the airplay I got in Scotland on the BBC's Radio nan Gaidheal programs. There's a certain sense of approval that you get when you take your coal to Newcastle and can manage to sell a lump or two.

July arrived at last  and Doug and I made our second trip to Hawaiʻi together, this time to the Big Island for eight days. Well, at least it was planned for eight days. Tropical Storm Flossie wound up extended our stay a little!

Back to the subject of learning, I think the most important thing that finally sunk in, was that the people who deride me behind my back and try to undermine my position in my community are the ones with the problem, not me. There's nothing I can do to help the situation, so for the sake of my soul, I will stay on the high road and keep my eyes on my own goals.

1 comment:

Rev. Judith said...

Jealousy is ugly. The high road with one's eyes on one's own goals is the best take away to take away. The high road gets easier the longer one remains on it.