Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to school

I've been a taciturn blogger this Fall, but I have an excuse: I'm studying, studying, studying, getting my mid-life brain into shape. My flabby neurons are huffing and puffing, jumping over synaptic paths long faded from disuse. I'm memorizing business practices, concepts and laws and re-acquainting myself with the horrors of formulas and charts. It's shocking to face the enormous mental challenge of actually remembering stuff after decades of living in the attention-span eroding school of hard knocks.

The subject: Human Resources Management. The setting: Brandman University in Monterey. The goal: Initials after my name! PHR. Professional in Human Resources. (I know there's some humor to be mined in that acronym.) The 4 hour, 225 multiple choice test is now just two months away. When stacked up in a neat (and terrifying) pile, the course materials measure 6 inches deep. I've befriended the campus coffee shop queen, Yvonne, at Cafe 316. I'm a regular, and she makes a killer double latté, with whipped cream of course.

I take comfort from what a fellow mature student shared with me after a mildly disastrous test, "Well, at least I'm learning!" There is the desire, as a colleague of mine has said, to simply "do it all with my heart" v. painstakingly reading and re-reading, creating flashcards, taking tests. Oh yeah, and did I mention, reading glasses? Let's not and say we did, please.

This morning we rang long-silent bells at Deetjen's Inn, where I'm known affectionately as "Ms. HR." ("Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" says Zuzu in that masterpiece of Capra-corn, "It's a Wonderful Life.") We made a crown from the beautifully shaped vine cut out of the center of one of the bells, the beginning of a Halloween costume. The people at Deetjen's move my heart, every day. Yes, this is my chosen professional path, and I want to understand it completely, bringing all my wisdom to bear to make the experience of work (that four letter word) as fun, empowering and rewarding as possible.

As you might imagine, there's inertia lurking in the Big Sur landscape, as well as the powerful tranquility we wax poetic over. I remember a visitor who contributed nothing to the party, except his transfixed pose, seated on the grass, watching the ocean, all day long, all weekend. The bugaboo of procrastination stalks me every day now, as I try to move beyond the flight path of the normal working adult, and re-grow study habits.

My kitchen is cleaner, my closets more organized, fresh linens and clean laundry suddenly have a higher priority. I'm drawn away from my desk (which faces a wall) quite often by the compelling quality of light in the afternoon, the need to take a cat-nap, or make a snack. Yes, I'll take butter on that English muffin, then the peanut butter, please. Watching my kitten and our neighbor's chihuahua chase each other on the lawn is a passion.

But by far the best procrastination-excuse of all is blogging about studying v. actually hitting the books! "The way to start work is to start work," says James Tyrone Sr. in Eugene O'Neill's play, Long Day's Journey into Night. And so off I go.

Room photo courtesy of Deetjen's Inn
"The Chase" by Linda Sonrisa


Christopher said...

The aleternative universe is mine, where I've never stopped going to school. Masters classes continue in January. Sure, the neurons are freshly fired, but maybe close to burning out.

"As you might imagine, there's inertia lurking in the Big Sur landscape, as well as the powerful tranquility we wax poetic over." Perfectly written.

Camille Bright-Smith said...

The Chase.....

It never ends, does it?

Thank you, again, dear Linda.

Lisa G. said...

You go, Mrs. HR.

Love your words, how you frame day-to-day experience and make it perfectly human, and therefore symbolic, philosophical.. poetic.

Good luck, love. I'm suddenly inspired to vacuum and paint my toes.

peter said...

I must call you.

Linda Sonrisa said...

Thanks Peter!
Love, Linda