Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

A few days ago was the day of the Dead, or " Dia de los Muertos".  It is on November 2nd, every year, a day when the people of Mexico and a few other countries, celebrate their dead.  There are numerous traditions involving processions, arts and crafts, food, and plenty more, that take place as a way of celebrating those who are no longer with us.  It is always a joyous and colorful event.

My mother raised my brothers and I to be very aware and in touch with death.  From a very young age, she would take us to the funerals of people we knew who had passed away.   I once overheard her say to someone who asked why she had brought us,  that death was as natural as life, and that we needed to be exposed to it, in order to understand that.  She also worked closely with death herself.  For a few years, when I was just a little girl, she was a forensic pathologist.  Later on, she started to work in palliative medicine, merging her medical knowledge with her spiritual, to help people move on to "the other side" with as little pain as possible.

So to me, death has always been just that, a part of life.  That is not to say that when I have lost loved ones I haven't been sad.  I understand that mourning is an important process in order to let go.  However, I agree with the culture of the Day of the Dead, in that we need to celebrate the lives, the memory, and the love of those who have passed, instead of lingering in the sadness of having lost them.

I have been wanting to make this celebration a tradition in mine and my husband's lives for a few years now, but between moving around and not having set schedules, time has gone by without doing so.
Last year that began to change.  My friend Nichol's birthday is on that day.  A friend of hers had told her how wonderful the parade that takes place in the Mission District in San Francisco for this day is, so she decided this is what she wanted to do for her birthday.  I luckily had the night off, so I painted my face and dressed up, got my day of the dead figurine maraca, and met up with my friend where the parade starts at.  We paraded from beginning to end, dancing, singing, chanting, laughing.  The energy was spectacular! People from all walks of life and all ages were gathered in celebration.  There were costumes, there were candles, there were flowers, there were bands and dancers, like a walking "Cirque du Soleil" with regular people as the performers.  It was fantastic!

Unfortunately, this year, I had to work.  But I decided that not being able to be a part of the parade did not mean I couldn't celebrate this day and our dead.
So before leaving the house in the morning, I set the table with a little altar for our loved ones that have moved on.  I got pictures of them, and arranged them in a pretty fashion with some fresh Calendulas,  the few dead of the dead figurines I own, and and apple from my friend's yard as an offering.

When we got home from work, I dressed up (although I decided to skip the face painting this time after a long day of cooking) , and Jason and I had dinner at the table, and cheered with beer to our loved ones who are no longer with us.
We talked about them, we laughed at the memories, and we enjoyed a delicious meal, in honor of all of those we love who are dead.
As the souvenir from one of their funeral states: " Just because I am out of sight, I shouldn't be out of your thoughts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning

My relationship to food could be described as a lifelong, deep, loving friendship.  Since I can remember I have loved to eat.  Although as I child I definitely had my fair share of items in the "I don't like" list, as years have gone by, I have come to appreciate almost everything as far as food is concerned.
Other than a few teenage and young adult diets in my past, I have never believed in depriving my body of  delicious wholesome foods. When others are concerned about too much fat and skinless chicken breast is their go to protein, I am comfortably enjoying bacon, butter and pork belly without any guilt.
I am however, rather strict about  processed foods and meats and vegetables raised and grown with pesticides, chemicals and antibiotics, or in other ways that are harmful to the animals themselves, the environment, and ultimately, humans.
So, I use my knowledge and other tools provided to me by years of cooking, research, and the luxury of living in Northern California, where all these beautiful, sustainably and humanly produced foods are available, to make conscious choices for my nourishment.
That being said, there are a few things that I do feel I consume a bit more than is probably healthy.
The main one is Sugar. Although we go back and forth about natural sugar versus corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners, the fact of the matter is, no refined sugar is actually good for you. And an even stronger fact is: they are in everything. On any given day, we consume a much higher amount than we should, mostly without even noticing it.
I also cannot function properly without accomplishing my daily morning ritual of a hot cup of Dominican coffee (with at least 2 full teaspoons of raw cane sugar) while I read Newsweek or Yoga Journal and slowly wake up and get ready for my day.
As far as alcohol is concerned, I don't have a hard time at all leaving it out of my diet, but at the same time, I don't usually go more than a few days at a time without at least a glass of wine or a beer.
So, in an attempt to give our bodies a fresh start this Spring, a friend and I mutually recruited each other to go on a detox cleanse together.
Because of my beliefs in food as nourishment, I would only agree to one in which we are only depriving ourselves from the "bad" foods, and where we can eat all we want of the "good" ones. That way, while our bodies are going into shock from lack of caffeine or sugar, we are at least still properly nourished, and our caloric intake is still appropriate for our daily expended energy.
It is actually rather simple: for three days, only eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Olive oil (and other nutritious vegetable and nut oils) salt and spices are accepted for seasoning.
We each had to choose three "toxins" we wanted to avoid during the cleanse. I choose Coffee, Sugar and Alcohol. She choose Alcohol, Coffee and Chocolate. At the end of the three days, we are free to reintroduce anything we want into our diet, or, if we feel we want to prolong it, keep going with the cleanse for as long as we wish.
It is currently the morning of day 2.  Although I haven't technically broken any rules, I feel like I have cheated a bit.  As far as the sugar is concerned, I have stuck to it. Same with the alcohol.
The coffee however, is another story.  I had the hardest time waking up yesterday.  My head was foggy and I felt almost drunk experiencing low energy and uncoordinated movements.  At about 2pm I started to get a headache.  Although I used to be prone to very chronic ones, as well as occasional migraines, I must happily report it had been months since my last one.  Every hour that went by, it got worse and worse...Pounding, throbbing....Around dinner time, I could barely walk, talk or open my eyes.  That's when I decided I had to take a pain killer.  Although it kind of defeats the purpose of a detox to willingly pop a little pill full of toxins into my mouth, I knew from my history, if I didn't take anything, it would not go away, at the moment, or the next day.
I laid down for an hour or so, and I waited for it to take effect.  As is started to dissipate a little, I got up, finished my dinner, and went to sleep.  I woke up around 6 this morning, with a faint pain still in action.
That's when I decided I would cheat yet again.  If I am planning on reintroducing coffee right away after my three days are done, then why put myself through debilitating pain? So I had a cup of green tea this morning.
A little less caffeine than my cup of delicious Dominican coffee, but hopefully enough to prevent me from getting another headache.  Almost instantly after finishing it, the little pain remaining started to slowly evaporate.  A I write these words, I am definitely still a bit foggy, but at least I am not in pain anymore.
There is a wonderful Yoga teacher who says that how you practice your yoga, is how you do everything in life. In my practice, I have learned to be open minded. I practice 6 days, but my day off is not set: I allow the week, my life, and it's casualties to inform me of which day I need to take that rest the most.
I don't plan what type of practice I will do on any given day, instead I let my body and mind, as well as my emotions, tell me what it is that they need. I don't push myself, I listen from within.
   The old me, would have dealt with that horrible headache, and strictly avoided all caffeine, no matter how much pain or discomfort it brought on.  I am happy to report that the present me, is a little more compassionate to itself.  Life is short, and you never know when it will be over.  What's the point of giving my body a break if while doing it I force it into excruciating pain that doesn't let it function?
So I enjoyed my cup of tea, and I will have another tomorrow.  On the other side of it, eating only fruits, vegetables and grains has made me feel great.  Maybe at the end of tomorrow I will choose to keep going with it for a few more days.  Maybe I will stick to green tea instead of coffee for a few more.  It's hard to say, as I am not sure what my body will be telling me in the future.  All I know, is no matter what it is, I will listen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Accepting the unexpected.

Nothing about today was what I expected.  It was a day full of simple little deviations on the plan. I woke up later than usual. Instead of relieving my bladder first thing after getting out of bed, I smelled poop as soon as I stepped into the bathroom, and after sniffing around for a few seconds found the culprit: a nice pile of rather soft cat shit behind the toilet.
 Instead of saying hi to my husband with a quiet hug while we waited for our coffees, I went in the kitchen to get the paper towels and cleaning spray...Then I cleaned up some soft shit...Some nice, stinky, runny shit...
I sent some emails before I did yoga. I worked out before I cleaned. I had lunch before I normally do.
Then I ran some errands. I answered the phone to find out my friend's parents are getting a divorce. It was hot and muggy instead of cold and rainy outside. I ran the errands, got home, planned my yoga class for later that afternoon. My husband got home, got inspired and invited our friends over for a drink. It was nice to see them. We talked, and before I knew it it was time for my yoga class and the phone was ringing.
My student/friend had brought a painting I had commissioned her to do. It looked nothing like I had expected it to, but I fell in love with it immediately upon laying eyes on it.
Class went by faster than I could explain. And afterwards, we sat and talked, and somehow ended up hanging out for over two hours. There were unexpected fried chicken sandwiches our friends had brought over earlier, so we had dinner, some wine, and talked about our lives, our art, our families, our relationships.
Wednesdays are normally not like this, but our talk, and our hanging out, was just what the doctor ordered.
The day had been so different, yet I had accepted every second of it. I didn't try to fight any of the derailing, I just focused on being present and dealing with everything one step at a time. In the end, it ended up being a wonderful day, perhaps because I was so present and accepting.
As I thought of my day, I thought of relationships, and how we have such a hard time accepting the unexpected when it comes to family, friends or even significant others.
I once had a friend name Michelle. I made a mistake, hurt her feelings, and lost her. I beat myself up, I asked for forgiveness to no avail, and tried to practice acceptance for myself, for my mistakes, for my imperfections and the fact that I had simply fucked up. It took time, and lots of energy, but eventually, I let go and forgave myself.
Today, as my friend and I talked about mistakes and regrets, I thought of Michelle. I realized, that just like today, what happened between her and I was unexpected by both of us.
Nonetheless it was life, and we are humans, living life. And humans are not perfect. We make mistakes, and our strength is not in preventing them, but in how we react to them.
I realized, that just as our past relationships and the mistakes we make in them, teach us a little more about ourselves, about what we need in a relationship, and how to become a better version of ourselves maybe our past friendships and the mistakes we make in them, do the same. 
We live, we learn, we grow, and somehow we are more open and prepared for the people we will meet along the way. Maybe, the end of some friendships makes room for new ones, just like the end of a romance frees us for another one.
Loosing Michelle was painful, but I learned from my mistake, and as I chatted with my friend today  and in all honesty we revealed some of our deepest fears  I realized that something unexpected was happening yet again: I might have lost Michelle, but it seemed like I had found a new one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

No new things in the New Year

I do not usually make new year resolutions.  I feel that most often than not, when I used to do them, any derailing, as little as it might have been, was enough to make me give up and forget my commitment.
So one year I decided that there was no point to making any more resolutions if I was just going to break them.
A few weeks ago, however, I decided I would do an experiment for this new year.  I called it a plan, or a project.  I was inspired by my great friend Courtney, whom for her baby shower asked that no new presents be bought for her little girl. She wanted everything to be used, either acquired as a hand me down, or from a thrift shop.
Her wish got me thinking about how in this day and age, and particularly in this country, we go about our lives buying, buying and buying.  Most of the things we buy we don't need, some of them we end up never using, and so many times we are not even present when we unconsciously open our wallets, hand out the cash and end up with a random new thing.
I thought it would be a great exercise to see if I could change this pattern in my daily life.
For the duration of the year 2011, I will try to acquire as little new things as possible.
With the plan will come plenty of questions and conundrums, so I thought it would be best to set some ground rules to begin with.
I will allow myself to purchase new underwear, shoes, food, cleaning supplies and body care products.
In an effort to reduce my consumption, for these items that I am not willing or able to get used,  I will research brands that give part of their proceeds back to the environment or to a given charity.
I already buy toilet paper and paper towels made out of recycled post consumer paper.  Maybe I can go an extra step and try and use more cloth towels to clean.
I will learn as I go to retrain the mind from an impulse or thoughtless pattern, to a conscious decision on how I consume.
Challenges will arise as the days pass.
For example, I lost our camera on a flight back from our Christmas vacation.  My husband and I both take lots of pictures.  Now we don't have a camera.
I will start researching about buying a used one. Or maybe I will try to be without one for a few months and see how that goes.
The project not only entails being less consumer driven, but also being more creative.  I will figure out how I can use the things that we already have in different ways.
I will make more things as gifts instead of buying things.  Maybe I will start some sort of exchange program with friends or coworkers.
Whatever happens, I will actively try to use and acquire less.  I will make and effort to be less wasteful.
I often hear myself saying that we have everything that we need.  Yet we are always getting more things, that we don't need.
This will be an exercise in restraint, in figuring out how clear we can see the fine line between need and want, and hopefully, as the months pass and I practice this new lifestyle more and more, I will find ways of applying it to those areas in which new is necessary (such as food).
A few days ago at work, as I cleaned a case of beets, I admired how beautiful the greens were.  We only use the roots there, so I washed the leafs, and took some home with me.
As I write these words, a delicious beet greens soup is on the stove, ready to provide me with some warmth and nourishment.
Out with the new and in with the old! Here we go...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We are family.

I was on the phone with my mother not too long ago. Catching up with Mom when one lives in another country usually means a very long conversation full of random facts, maybe even some gossip. As the topics of our talk switched from one to the next without any link, she mentioned that she had gone to meet my ex-boyfriend’s (and dear friend) newborn daughter. “What a precious little girl, and his wife is such a wonderful mother, what a beautiful family they are!” –she said-.
As I heard her pronounce those words, and felt the joy and sincerity in her voice, a very important fact dawned on me: We are not considered a family until we have children.

 I started thinking: Are those of us who are not sure if we will ever have children, or those who don’t have any, and never will, any less of a family than the one with the baby, the little house and the car?
 Unfortunately, according to our society, we are. Obviously the extreme amounts of time, energy, emotions, decision making, not to mention money that are involved in raising a child (or more) are factors that bond a couple (married or not, divorced or separated) in indescribable ways. The joy that a room full of their son or daughter’s laughter brings to a parent’s heart is comparable to no other gift in the world, and the connection between brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons and all the other possible combinations, priceless.
So to some extent, it is understandable that people don’t consider a childless married couple, or two people insanely in love who are sharing their lives as a family. However, to those of us who belong to one of those categories, things aren’t that black and white.
  I never thought I would get married. Not because I don’t believe in marriage, but because I am too much of a romantic and I don’t believe in divorce. From my experience in matters of the heart, which for my very young age is not too bad, I figured that there wasn’t another person out there whom I would truly feel and most importantly, believe that I could love in that way for my entire life, and share all of it with him/her.
In true romantic fashion I will say, at the risk of sounding extremely cliché, that once my husband and I really looked at each other, we just knew.
  Everyday that has gone by since then has only reassured us that choosing to share our lives was the best decision we have ever made.
We look forward to spending time together, his smile is to me the most fantastic sight of nature, and my happiness is in his own words “The most important thing in the world” to him.
We share laughter, we share sadness, we take care of each other, we worry about the other, learn from one another: We are a team. He helps me slow down, I help him speed up, and coming home to one another is always the high of our day. And the truth is that we both spend a whole lot of time, energy, emotions, decision making, and also money on this relationship, every day of our lives.
 So who is to say that the two of us are not as much of a family as my ex-boyfriend, and his beautiful baby and wife?
Our society dictates rules and defines relationships in ways that sometimes go unrevised for too long. Nobody remembers them on a daily basis, and they aren’t written anywhere, but they remain in the back of most human’s minds, creating automated responses and reactions to some important questions and situations.
When it comes to family, I believe that some of those definitions are not as much outdated as they are simply incorrect.  As an immigrant to the US, my parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents have been in another country for over nine years now. Some of the friendships that I have made here (as well as some of the ones I made during childhood ) are as special and strong as are all of those loved ones who are biologically bound to me by blood. Therefore, they are my family.
  In my eyes and in my heart, the concept of a family is a group of people who love and support one another timelessly and unconditionally.
 I share a home with my husband and our Garfield-like cat, my brother shares his with his wife and their two restless dogs. My brother in law and his wife are childless too, with two new kitties and a loving adult dog.
I can assure you that we all have a beautiful family.  Not even a drop less perfect than the one with crying baby next door.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The bliss of a crowded room.

Last week, I went to New York City for a few days.  My best friend, Laura, her beautiful 8 month old baby boy, her husband, his sister and I, all shared a hotel room in Manhattan.  Late summer last year, Laura, her husband and I had all been in New York at the same hotel.  There had been some issue with the reservation, and as an apology, they had upgraded us to a giant suite. It had a big bedroom with a king size bed, a super spacious bathroom with double sinks, separate tub and shower and double doors. The great living room had a large sitting area with a couch that comfortably sat three adults, a desk and a chair in one corner, a kitchen table in another, and still plenty of floor space for a rolling bed and for me to practice yoga in the mornings.
This time around, Laura made sure to request a suite with separate living room, and specified it would be four adults and a baby.  As we planned the trip, and enjoyed the excitement of anticipation, we all pictured our fun weekend in that fabulous room.
Unfortunately for us, all hotel rooms are not created equal. When we checked into our room, late at night, with an overtired baby, we were unpleasantly surprised to find that our magnificent suite, was less than half the size of the one we had enjoyed last year.
The front desk was very sorry, but they were fully committed and there was absolutely nothing they could do for us.
However, as Hector noted, the truth was, the room was great.  We just couldn't see that, because we had seen better.
The weekend transpired in the crowded room. Bags everywhere, towels hanging from the door knobs, baby bottles piled up in the living room, pants on the floor, diapers on the table, pacifiers lost under the bed, and barely any floor space for walking, let alone doing yoga.  Whenever the baby crawled we had to closely follow him, because there was so little floor space, every corner had plenty of unsafe elements for him to explore.
For those of you who don't know me very well, a cluttered space is one of my least favorite things in the entire world.  In the words of my dear friend Kevin, "Clear station, clear mind".  And for me, consequently, an unclear station, or in this case room, translates into a very frazzled me.
But the days went by, and I found myself not as bothered by the clutter as I usually am.  I was not only clear headed, but so very happy, to be sharing this crowded room with these four lovely people. 
I still managed to keep my crap organized, so, I could still find what I was looking for (which is the main reason I need things to be uncluttered).
We were on top of each other, and I didn't feel like I needed any privacy.  We were smelling each other's poop and I didn't wish I had my own room. Our first night there the baby barely slept (meaning we were awake all night) and I wasn't even that tired the next day.
It might have been a messy crowded room, but it was a happy, joyful space, because we were all so happy to be there, and so grateful to be together.
On the day I was returning home, I got a call from my husband letting me know that our friends who were visiting with their baby from Northern California, might be staying with us for the night.  Our apartment is rather big for a San Francisco apartment, but if we shared it with two more adults and a three month old baby, it would be cramped in no time.
Normally, after four days away from home, and long plane rides and airport delays, I am usually looking forward to being back in my own space, and enjoying a little peace and quiet.
As I walked home from the bart station, I still didn't know if our friends were staying with us or not.  I didn't have their cell number, and my husband was at work, so it was just going to be a surprise either way when I got home.
When I opened the door I found a quiet, dark apartment on the other side.  My cat was excited to see me, but there was no clutter, no crowd, no people.
While I settled in and got some dinner ready, I felt a little sadness inside of me: I had actually been hoping to come home to another crowded room, of another set of friends, and another baby nephew.
As I enjoyed some alone time, I thought of how much fun we had in New York.
The thing is, when we are spending time with loved ones, we are sometimes so happy and present that we can even let go of some of our biggest pet peeves.  Maybe love can conquer anything after all.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A strange joke from the technology Gods.

We have been in San Francisco for a month tomorrow.  It has been somewhat hard for me to settle into our new home, as I am finding that all the times I said: " When we left, we were ready to go, I don't think we should go back" I meant it. 
The city, although as beautiful, colorful and delicious as I remember it, is louder, dirtier, and more hectic than I remember it.
I was ready for lower rents and larger homes.  For a quiet yard and a place where I could see the stars.  I was ready for Sonoma, and I have been slow to let go of the fact that we, as a family, were not quite ready yet.
So while I worked on my inner peace and practiced acceptance, I focused on searching for jobs, as that is one of the advantages of being in the city: food establishments abound, and jobs are always available.
I kept my habit of searching craigslist everyday, and found that here, there were a lot more options than in wine country.
 I screened through the adds and decided which ones were worth my while, and then I carefully composed a different cover letter for each one, selling myself by listing the specific skills that would make me wonderful for every position.
 In spite of my husband's advise to not even interview, I decided to stage at a new restaurant in the Marina. It's a cupcake place that is also a full service restaurant, and let's just say they don't have a full grasp on things quite yet.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I worked in their kitchen without judging, and found that it wasn't as bad as I had expected.  I decided that if I was offered the position, I would accept.
The day after, I went out of town to beautiful Auburn to visit my great friends and their farm.
In the meantime I wondered why I hadn't heard back from all the other jobs I had applied to. Time had gone by, and no one had contacted me. I started wondering if the economy was as bad as they say after all. I have a decent resume, and was overqualified for some of the jobs I applied to. How come not even one had called back?
While in Auburn, the owner of the cupcake place called me, and for the two following days, we played phone tag with no luck.
The day after I returned to the city, I got a call from an old friend.  He just had a baby and was wondering if I would be interested in taking care of her for a few hours a week.  I gladly accepted his offer.  Although it wasn't in my field of choice, and it was only a few hours, it would be fun, stress free, and I would make more money than I was currently making (hum... $0).
Minutes after we hung up, I saw I had a missed call from my father in law.  No message came through.
As I waited for Dave's message (he always leaves messages) I started thinking about how I had a few missed calls in the last week that hadn't left messages either, particularly two from my friend Nichol, known for leaving ultra long messages.  So, while I had lunch, I decided to reboot my phone.  I had gotten it a few weeks ago, so I didn't see why anything would be wrong with it but you never know.
A couple of minutes later, my phone delivered 24 voice mails. 24 fucking voice mails!!!!!!!
There were countless numbers I didn't recognize, and none of these calls had come through at any point.
Some were from two weeks ago.
I decided to listen to the unknown numbers first.  My heart started racing.  I had just finished my yoga practice and instantly lost all my inner calm.  Message, after message, I heard unfamiliar voices calling back about jobs I had applied to. One of them had called more than once.
My lovely new iPhone 4 had eaten 24 messages.  How was it possible that only about 4 of those calls even came through? The calls were not made while I was out of town, so cross that one off the list.
There is absolutely no explanation.  I started running around my apartment.  My husband was at work, we were going out for cocktails and dinner that night with some friends.  I needed to vent, someone to talk to, someone to help me figure out what to do.  I called a few friends that I knew would understand my anxiety, none answered. I kept breathing, telling myself to calm down.
I sat down and wrote down the names and numbers.  I called one.  She was on the other line, could I call her back in ten minutes?  I called another one. He was in a meeting, could he call me back in ten minutes?
Are you fucking kidding me? Now I was going to have a double call in ten minutes?!
Over fifteen minutes had gone by.  I decided to call the first one, knowing that as soon as I did, the second would call me.  I dialed the first number, 8. Right then and there the second person called me.
I answered and apologized as much as I could for the insanity that had occurred.  He joked that they wondered if I had stopped loving their company, since I hadn't called back, and then told me that although they had hired everyone they thought they needed, he had just realized there were a few holes in the schedule and they would need one more person part time.
After a long pleasant chat, we scheduled an interview for the next morning.
I called the second one. We spoke for almost an hour and I felt she was a bit unorganized.  She gave me a bad feeling, which was confirmed when she asked if I could cancel my morning appointment to meet with her instead. No thanks! Regardless, I scheduled an afternoon interview with her.
I decided to not call anyone else back, as I already was meeting with these two potential employers.
I needed to let it all go and start getting ready for dinner.  I didn't want to be late.
The next day, I went to the first interview, which, had it not been for pure luck, would have been the second one. 
I have always loved this company and when I was younger, fresh out of culinary school, I had a bit of an infatuation with it, and hoped to someday work for them.  The interview went great, I loved both the chefs, and as it came to an end, I hoped I was offered the position.
I decided not to go to the second interview.  I would trust my instinct. Regardless of whether I was offered this job or not, I didn't want to work for miss frazzled.
I still kept thinking about how crazy it all was.  Had I not been out of town, I would have spoken to the cupcake lady and taken that job, even though I knew was not the best thing for my career, and by the time my phone decided to deliver the messages I would have been employed.
Or, by the time the phone delivered the messages, everyone could have filled all the positions, leaving me in the disappointment of knowing I could have had them, if only...
A few hours later, I got a call back from the first interview offering me the job.  I gladly accepted.
A few days after I started, I got offered a full time position.  A few days after that, a small raise.
 However, I still had to figure out what to do, as I had agreed to watch my friend's daughter.  Five days before my first day on that job, he called me to let me know they had found someone permanent who was going to be a better fit for them.  Just like that, it all worked itself out, on its own.
I can't help but wonder what kind of trick the phone Gods were playing on me. But looking back on it, I see the beauty in the irony.
When it comes to technology, I have always been a bit old fashioned.  This experience has only confirmed my beliefs.
The lesson I learned is to turn off our smart phones once in a while, because if we don't, they get tired, then angry at us for not giving them a break, and they decide to keep things to themselves, that they really should share with us.
 So, people: be good to your phones!