Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"The difference between try and triumph is a little umph." ~Author Unknown

I have goals. Not necessarily resolutions 'cause sometimes I'm just not that determined and , but I do have great ambition and intent. So, I feel the need to only list a few that will feed my artistic soul:

  • Get all of my music collection oranganized and in one place so that I can find what I'm in the mood for and make it easier to share it with all the other music lovers that I know. Music is the heartbeat of life after all...
"The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt." ~ Bono
  • Read more books - good books make me daydream, daydreams make me realize who I want to be and what I really want from life.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.~ Joseph Addison
  • Scrapbook more (which includeds completed ALL of my projects - baby books, wedding albums, birthday presents, and scrapbooks that I get to keep too). Scrapbooking is such a great outlet and even though I get away from it for months at a time, I always realize how much I love it when I get buried in all my stuff again. Scrapbooking is my haven.
"All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness." ~ Eckhart Tolle
  • Learn to play the piano - I have my grandmother's old piano that used to sit in her house. I only remember playing one or two basic songs on it from when I was a kid, but I always remember it being part of her house. Everyone learned how to play a song or two on that old paino - my mom and my aunts and uncles. There's some good memories in those old keys. It's about time I shook the dust off of them.

“Life is like a piano... what you get out of it depends on how you play it.” ~ Unknown
  • And what else...well, I would rather be spectacular at a few things than mediocre at many. I'm gonna concentrate on these and go from there...
"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." ~Thomas Alva Edison

Monday, December 22, 2008

Simple beauty

Mount Hermon Camp, Santa Cruz, CA December 2008

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.” ~ Unknown

It's about time I took and posted more pictures. Photography gives me a better appreciation for life's details and makes me want to be more adventurous in seeking them out. I need to make a habit of carrying my camera with me more often. I made a point to buy a Canon Rebel so I can finally start getting the shots with the result that I want, now I just have to do it. I'm starting to get my photographer's eye back after a few years of not really taking anything other than drunk self portraits. :) I guess somethings just lose focus now and then.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I want to be a cop.

I struggled to open my eyes when my alarm went off this morning - they felt like they were glued shut. I hit the alarm more times that I can remember. I dropped everything that I picked up as I was getting ready to go, but I was not going to be late and I was not going to miss this. There are few opportunities where I can go out as affiliated with "The Police Department" and feel like I'm doing something good, simply because people should do good things for other people. Not paid, not required by law, not as a duty I swore to carry out. It felt good. It always does...even better, I saw the faces of the kids that were on the receiving end of it. It didn't take much from me and I didn't have to go that far out of my way, but I know for sure that there are at least a dozen kids, and a handful of relieved parents, who will have much more to look foward to come Christmas morning. I remember a Christmas one year when I was 12 or 13. We didn't have anything. No presents, no special dinner, not even gas money to go to my mom's side of the family like every year before and every year since. I was sick. Really sick. I didn't get out of bed for days, but in my feverish haze, I do remember seeing the disappointment on my parent's faces that they couldn't provide more for their children. Some things you don't forget.

I've wanted to be a cop since I was 14.

I got sidetracked. I'm a dispatcher...not that dispatching isn't a great career and a completly vital link in the public safety chain. I can say without a doubt that without it, efficient, life-saving public safety would come to a disturbly ineffective pace. I never intended on being a dispatcher. It just kind of happened - dispatching found me and I still remember the attitude that I had when I started. This is where I'm supposed to be right now. I can do this and I can make this better. I can be the best at this. More than 5 years later, now I think - if I choose to, I can stay in this career until I retire, but I don't think this is where I was meant to stop and that is what has been eating away at me for far too long.

I had a youth pastor, Joe, back when I went to church religiously, who was the inspiration for my law enforcment desire. I give him credit regularly, because him and his family are still an intregal part of my life. He used to lace his Bible lessons with a real life work story about and arrest, or a stop or, a call for service, and the one thing that always caught my attention was the humility and respect for human dignity that he portrayed in his stories. He made me want to be a cop for those reasons - not for the glamour, or the praise, or the mystery of it all; but because I knew he had actually made a difference in people's lives. When all the other girls around me wanted to be teachers, nurses, missionaries, and mommies, I wanted to be a cop. I still want to be a cop.

I was discussing with a friend from work that law enforcment as a career does things to young, new employees. It seeks out and finds the best, the most qualified, eager and enthusiastic minds and hearts and beats them down into a cynical, untrusting, remnants of what they started out as. This is not the case with everyone who retires or leaves law enforcment, but it is what I have witnessed more often than not. I've been in a uniform for 10 1/2 years now. That's more than 1/3 of my life. People try and tell me that those early years, as a Cadet and an Intern, don't really count. Those are the years that are the most important. Those are the years when the desire and drive beat out the pay, the cynicism, and the baggage of what this field has to offer. Although the color of my shirt and the size of the badge has changed (Police Cadet, Police Intern, Dispatcher) the patch on my sleeve and the meaning that it is supposed to carry has not.

I've changed. I used to wonder why the senior dispatchers and cops were the way they were. I used to wonder how it was that rookies turned into the hardened, doubtful, hateful employees that they become. I get it now. I've been seeing myself evolve and I lost my fight to stop it more than once. I've come to decide few thing about that change - some of it is emotional survival - get detached and unfortunatley some stay detached; some of it is feeling like you're living your life under a constant microscope; but more than anything, I realized that it isn't so much the actual job. At least in my case. It isn't the screaming parents whose children have stopped breathing, the stress of hearing officers yell for cover and then go silent, the chaos of injury and death, or all the callers who remind me that their tax dollars pay my salary and the chief is their neighbor. In my department, it is the unsettling fact that, the people who are surrounded by have been loosing their fight too. From what I've gathered, they're loosing their fight for a variety of reasons - they were drafted into a career they weren't meant to have; they believed it to be something that it wans't and they were never told otherwise; they have no more love for what they do; they were given the physical and mental battle gear, but not the emotional ones; and the final thought - the one that has stuck out the most lately is that that older generation, the ones who are the supervisors and decision makers, have given up and not only lost their fight, but lost their entire battle. I'm not talking about the supervisors who are in the trenches with all of us. I'm talking about the ones who are safe in their offices, whose memories of what it's like to pick up the phone or knock on a door, are so distant and faded, it's a wonder if they even remember if they were real in the first place. Quite simply, I would venture to guess that they forgot who they were when they started.

For the last few years, I've stuck with a saying that I heard in dispatch. "If you're going to be effective in this career, you have to love it a little bit, or it won't love you back." I've told every trainee that and I stick by it. I've stopped loving my career as a dispatcher. It is suffocating me. Lately, I am anxious before I go into work. I've only experienced that a few times before. I've been swimming upstream against the flow of past practice, unreliable partners, lackluster traning, and ineffective supervisors. It is exhausting.

I'm not 14 anymore. I don't think I was ever naieve. I lost that very early in my childhood, before I even hit double digits. I know that perception and reality are worlds apart. I know that you can't change people. I know that battles are lost probably more than they are won. I also know that you cannot pretend to be someone you are not. At least not for long.

I'm almost 28 but I still hear that voice in my head from half a lifetime ago that said "I want to be a cop." That voice is not as loud as it used to be, but it has never gone silent. However, the voice that tells me that I am meant to do something more and that I can't settle for being at the end of a headset for 20+ more years has been deafening in the last year.

I don't exactly have a plan for the rest of my career, other than I plan on having a career. I know that I've wanted to be a cop since I was 14 and some things you don't forget.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A $4 reality check, an unexpected compliment, and a priceless picture.

I was annoyed today. Annoyed that I had to report in for my 2 day work week after being off for what? 10 day? Who knows. I've lost the ummmphhh for my job. It comes and goes and as embarassed as I am to have such an entitilist attitude about what I do and what I get paid on a hourly basis, I still complain and piss around. I have a recession-proof job. There will always be crime and there will always be sickness, so basically if youre in law enforcment or healthcare, you have a decent job security rate. I make more an hour now as a 27 year old single woman than my father did in all of his career as a 40-60 year old married full time union carpenter with 3 children and I complain that I still don't make enough money. Yet in the midst of one of the worst unemployment crisis and finacial dilemmas this country has faced, I stood in line at Starbucks waiting for my $4 coffee in my paper cup that I wasn't planning on recycling when I was finished, annoyed that I had to go back to work. 2-day work week. As I tried to blend in with the walls (like I do everytime I go out in my all LAPD blue head to toe police uniform), a guy asked me point blank, "Are you a police and fire dispatcher?" "Yeah, I am" I said with my less than enthusiastic tone and facial expression. "I was down there at the old police department about 10 years ago putting in a heating system and I have to tell you, you truly do not receive the credit you deserve for the job you do. You women work your ass off and you no understands how important you really are. The guys on the street get most of the credit. I used to listen to the calls you gals took non-stop and was so impressed with what you do." "Well we do have long days," I spit out baffled at getting such a blatant compliment in public without coaxing. As I stood there expressionless, I had a thought that I sounded ungreatful and...well, just bitchy. So then of course I spit out, "Well it's not all hard work, we have some fun and besides those guys really know who the boss is even if they get all the credit." I don't even think I said Thank You.

At what point did I become so jaded and cynical that I seemingly take for granted what millions of people, billions even, hang all their wishes on? Job security and the means to live a decent and priveledged lifestyle. I mean, I know that I worked hard to get where I am, I know that the people who I work with that know my work ethic and history know that I worked hard to get where I am, but somehow still, I lost sight of being grateful for what you have in a very ungreatful world.

As I often do during my work week, I flip throught the pictures of the week from around the world. Somewhere amongst the pictures of wildlife, civil unrest, and nautral disasters, there was a picture of a little boy in the Congo, 3 or 4 years old maybe, squatting down near a pile of flour that had spilled from a sack. He had swept all that he could scrape off the ground into his little hand and was eating it. "Wow," was all I could muster to say at the picture as I sat there a world away with the half-drank, now cold $4/cup espresso truffle latte sitting next to me. What I could provide with just my spare change to a child with a life like that. What the $2.50 that I ended up dumping down the drain could have probably bought for his entire family for a week... I might not have swallowed all my coffee, but I did manage to swallow some of my pride.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's 3am. I want to run.

Usually when it's 3am, I don't want to do much along the lines of running. Today, I didn't go to the gym cause the right side of my nasal is all plugged up. Again. Seems like I always run myself down (no pun), don't sleep enough, pull all nighters (shocking? not really.), and then I get this nasal thing. turn, then I can't function, and just when I get to getting over that workout hump and start to actually feel like I'm not going to pass out, fall out, or ass out when it comes time to go to the gym, I get hit with some virus. I'll be damned if this one lasts for long though. I'm just rambling now, but I've managed to lose 6 lbs in the last 3 weeks. Not bad. Not bad at all...and that was even through Thanksgiving. In fact, I reported to the gym at 10am on Thanksgiving day and met with my trainer. How's that for dedication?

Of the smaller sized accomplishments in my life, I would like to run a 5K without an ambulance or chase car standing by. It's a goal, not yet a reality, but I'm working towards it, 90 seconds at a time. I can handle the intervals right now, walk, run, walk, run, walk, run, waaaaaaaaaalk, run... It's been mind over matter to keep that up for more than 20 minutes in a row, but I've managed to pull out at least 2-3 miles a day for the last few weeks. I have to remember these things when I'm on the treadmill:

I can do it. I actually look at myself in the reflection of the windowpane that stares out into the intersection of Elmira/Peabody and tell myself I can and that my shins really will not burst through my skin, I am not having a heart attack, and my workout pants will not combust into flames from the friction of my inner thighs running so furiously.
I can do it, 'cause I remember when Catie Allio was a little girl and could run like all the other kids her age.
I can do it, 'cause Annie wants to have a sleepover and watch The Little Mermaid like all the other girls her age.
I can do it, 'cause no matter what the signs pointed to in the past, my dad will never again run in his future.
I can do it, 'cause you have to walk before you run, and you have to start with 90 seconds before you can commit to 90 minutes.
I can do it, 'cause there is a pair of uniform pants from when I was in high school, a pair of jeans from when I was college, and a dress that was just too beautiful to not buy in my "skinny" closet.
I can do it, 'cuase maybe I still want to pass that physical that will get me from behind the mic to out on the street.
I can do it, 'cause I say I can.

So, it's 3am, and I want to run.

A blogger is born...

So I've been hearing for quite some time now that I should be a blogger. "You should be a blogger, that's hilarious!" Well, thanks for the compliment, but I was just telling you a life story. Trust me, I just cannot make some of this stuff up. Then I realize that some of the things that have happened, just have to be shared. I mean really, how often do you get hit on by a midget on the beach in Waikiki, or fly to New Jersey to meet a stranger you met online, or dress up like Aretha Franklin circa 1960's and karaoke R-E-S-P-E-C-T on a cruise ship?

And thus - Karma's punchline - AKA Karma's Beeeeyaaatttch, was born. I have a lot of thoughts, a lot to say, a even more that I want to do. I don't worry so much about wanting to be original as just trying to be myself. I'm 27 - too old to start some things over and too young to stop dreaming about what I want to do when I grow up. Somedays, my little world is spinning so much, I don't know who I am, and other days it's completley clear and I know why I'm in my little spot in the world. Then there are the days when I think I have it all figured out and I get a karmic ass-whoppin'. Now, I'm not a Buddist or Hindu, but I do believe in the concept of Karma. I believe that you answer for your atitude and your actions, good or bad. So, I'm taking action to carve out a little spot for all my Karmic tales, opinions about life, rants, raves, photoblogs, wishlists, and larger than life stories.

You know that Twix commercial?

Boy: "I know, right? Do you want to go to my apartment?"
Girl: "What kind of girl do you think I am!?"
Twix: Need a moment? *crunch, crunch, crunch*
Boy: "I thought you were a believer, someone who'd want to blog about our ideals, but..."
Girl: "Oh blogging! I love blogging!"'s like that. Blogging. That's what we're calling it now.

So Karma, I tip my hat to you. This is just the beginning...there's more to come. Like life...there's always more to come. Now chew on that...*nom, nom, nom*