The only (mild, in this case) annoyance was having to drive 3 1/2 hours to get there and later to get back. M and I traded off driving, but it's still boring. It's just long enough -- and a familiar enough trip -- to be tiring.
If only there were a means of transportation where one did not have to drive oneself, and could instead relax for the trip. If only one could actually stand up and even walk around a bit during the trip. Perhaps chat with some strangers, have some food and drink. Read rather than stare at the road. Enjoy the passing sights rather than worry about the crazy drivers and other road hazards.
There used to be such a civilized way of travel and it was called the train. One could ride several trains between Omaha and Kansas City. But due to a variety of factors, some of which having nothing to do with people not wanting to ride the train, the passenger trains between here and there have long been discontinued. Oh, the rails are still there, and in fact we see freight trains during every trip to Kansas City.
And, we would have ended up at the same destination -- Union Station Kansas City. Imagine that!
Three things draw us there: (1) my parents and grandparents are buried there and I like to visit regularly, (2) I lived in K.C. twice: as an infant (which I don't remember) and during my final college years and a little past (which I do remember) and like to compare "then" and "now", and (3) barbecue (Omaha has **no where** near the quality and variety of barbecue that is available at many Kansas City spots).
In terms of cemetery visits, this weekend we did all three. Since parents are in a reform Jewish cemetery, it's open on Saturday, so we get there nearly every year. But grandparents are in two different more strict cemeteries, not open on Saturday. Not to be disrespectful, one of my sets of grandparents is in a cemetery **right next** to active BNSF Railroad tracks. It is difficult to keep one's concentration under those conditions.
In terms of the city in general, there was lots of new construction, road projects, etc. M and I found a car wash that has a wall of windows, so one can park outside and watch cars getting washed. If you understand, you are a geek like us. If you don't understand, remember my mantra -- to each his own and respect everyone's interests. We also rode the Kansas City Streetcar for the first time. It's a start. Now they need light rail, too. (As does Omaha.)
As for barbecue, we worshipped at both Jack Stack's (our barbecue of choice) and Gates (a favorite from my college days). That not being enough, we also brought some home.
Both the Royals and the T-Bones were out of town this weekend, so no baseball, unfortunately.
Plus a bonus thunderstorm yesterday! All in all, it could not have been much better.
You volunteer for a thing. Good for you. Seriously, non-sarcastically: good. The world needs people to step up on so many fronts, and you do. And you do the thing, and then the thing gets done, and sometimes you have a natural gift for it, and sometimes you don’t, sometimes you just work hard at it and do some learning and figure out the thing. You get good at the thing, fast or slow you get good at it. There’s a little bit of applause but maybe not as much as there is work done. There never really is, that’s how volunteering works.
Great! Fantastic! Now stop.
I’m serious. I’m really, really not kidding. You need you to stop. Your organization needs you to stop.
Not stop volunteering completely. Nope. The world needs people to step up. But here’s the problem: if the same person steps up to the same job for too long, it becomes invisible. It becomes A’s job. And A still gets thanked, hey, good job, A, what would we ever do without A. But sometimes that last rhetorical question turns literal: A is probably not immune to breaking their leg, having a family member who needs care, a job crisis, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Tahiti. (Or Australia. Hi, Paul.) A, to get really morbid with you, is probably not the world’s first immortal. So if you can’t do the thing without A…you can’t do the thing. And the more important the thing is, the more that’s a problem.
Also of concern, and very hard to bring up: sometimes A’s skills slip for one reason or another. Yes, you. Even if you’re A.
Say you’re arranging the little kids’ Christmas program. And the first two years, you are filled with joy and energy and you have so many ideas and it is amazing! And people tell you how amazing it is! The best ever! My golly! What a Christmas program! And the next few years, you have not quite so much joy but so much experience, so the combination is still pretty great, probably better than anyone else could do! Wow! You are the Christmas program monarch! And when a 4-year-old vomits off the back of the risers, you have someone ready to clean it up quietly, and you have enough adults to make sure that the 6-year-olds do not rampage when they get offstage afterwards, and this is just a super, super job!
And ten years down the line, not one single person has approached the beloved mainstay of the community to say, “Your Christmas programs stink on ice and you need to stop.” Which of course they would feel totally comfortable doing, so you can definitely tell that you’re still at the top of your game and feedback will always get to you before people are frustrated enough for it to be non-constructive.
Say it’s not the Christmas program. And it’s not just burnout. Say it’s finances, and say your memory has started to go. This is not a random example; I know someone who was in charge of part of the finances of a volunteer organization and started to slip into the early stages of Alzheimer’s. And for the first few years, experience carried them through, and I bet that they told themselves that it was still fine and they were still doing a better job than anyone else would have done. And for the first few years they were probably even right. And by the time they moved into the memory unit, there was literally over a decade of mishandled finances for that volunteer organization. No one is the villain here. That person is not a bad person. But we never think it’s us. We never think, I bet I’m the problem here.
Nor is Alzheimer’s the only way this can happen. There are habits of thought one falls into, things that seem obvious, that are just The Way We’ve Always Done It, and some of them are because We have had Bitter Experience, and some of them are…just habit. Sometimes the Bitter Experience no longer applies. Sometimes this is all very true, and passing the job along to someone else will mean that it is done worse. We have to do that anyway. We have to be willing to let someone else make mistakes and do it worse sometimes. And sometimes we can pass along notes and advice and all sorts of information to make this smoother, but it can never be perfect.
But seriously. Rotating jobs. Changing what you’re volunteering for. I very, very occasionally see this discussed as a favor to yourself to avoid burnout, and it is. It’s also a favor to your organization. And you can come back after a few years, when someone else has taken a turn and learned to do the thing…although if it’s always you and the same person alternating, that also tells you a thing about the organization.
The last question is, what if no one else steps up? And the answer is: that tells you something about the health of the organization, right there. If no one else steps up and you are literally the only one, then maybe it’s time to say that your volunteer energies should be used on something else anyway. Which is a bitter pill to swallow when you’ve put a lot of time, energy, and love into something. But. Sometimes.
I have no exact perfect answer for a timeline on this. There is no five-year rule or ten-year rule or one-year rule. It depends on what you’re doing, how often it happens, what kind of energy it requires, what size of group, all sorts of things. But I’ve seen this in more than one kind of organization–churches, art groups, science fiction conventions–all in the last year, so I thought I’d say: we never think it’s us. Sometimes it’s us when we least want it to be, and those times are the times when we get the least signaling about it.
Only 3 more days to go! So far, so good. Eerily enough, I haven't experienced any cravings. I get hungry, but since I know I basically can't eat out, I don't eat or I eat whatever I have on hand that is compliant.
The strongest emotional eating urge I've had to date was after I very intense, difficult meeting at work. I wanted a sweetened coffee for comfort.
Doing the W30 together has been wonderful. We're spending more time together because of all the cooking at home. We love to cook together. If the W30 doesn't do anything else for us, it will be worth all the hassle for that gift alone.
Last night, we made our own BBQ sauce! It is a spicier recipe than my general preference for BBQ sauce, but quite tasty nonetheless. In theory, we'll be using it in a "BBQ Chicken salad." There was an emergency project at work that required my entire QC team & as a thank-you, we got lunch from a local BBQ place. Happily for me, I was able to get plain burnt ends & a half-chicken w/ no sauces or sides. Takes care of our meat needs for a few days!
I've already marked the calendar for my reintroduction. The book says legumes first (well, actually it says to do alcohol first, which is pointless for me since I don't drink). I don't want to eat legumes for a variety of reasons, so I'm skipping them and introducing non-gluten-containing grains (rice/corn) for a day instead. 3 days back on strict W30, then I'll try dairy for a day. Another 3 days on W30, then gluten-containing grains (wheat, so pizza & sourdough breads because I already know about anything else is a Bad Idea).
I should be all reintroduced & able to resume a more normalish diet in time for our Colorado trip June 13th!
I'll be spending most of my summer focusing on alto flute, starting with the Alto/Bass Flute Retreat in June! Looking forward to that! Already have my music, and working to set up my lesson the day before. I had a long lesson with Gina this past Wednesday. We made more progress on my balance issues. I wish I could just use the straight head, darn it.
A friend encouraged me to go to the International Low Flutes Convention next year, and to enter the competition. Don't know how I feel about that right now. Part of me is all GO FOR IT!!! while the other part is hesitant. Like I need another thing to do, y'know? We'll see how this first workshop turns out. :)
For now, I'm going to log a little bit of practice time w/ my newly cleaned & adjusted alto!