Saturday, February 04, 2017

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Let me introduce you to my "Bucket o' Cr@p" law. 

It's a theory I came upon years ago and have yet to find an exception.  I believe everyone has a bucket to carry with them every day and fill with their worries. Examples: My 14 year old self worried about looking dorky line dancing during recess and why she couldn't get her hair to feather back. My 50 year old self worries about climate change, aging parents, why can't I sleep at night? Is this the right career for me? Why hasn't Toby peed in 12 hours, maybe he's blocked? Why can't we all just get along? Ohh, don't even get me started on politics! Etc etc etc.

But - whether big or small, relatively frivolous or life-threatening - everyone's worries will expand to fill their bucket. Be honest, when was the last time anyone looked around the room that is their life and said, "Yup, we're good here. There's nothing to be done" and just took a nap. It simply doesn't happen; the bucket must always be full. It's the Bucket o' Cr@p law and it can't be denied. 

God I love Romania, 'cause you can BUY your own tub o' crap in the market. For real!
But lately - it's just been too much.  Given the daily barrage of things to worry, get angry, get sad, or get sentimental about - it seems my bucket now runneth over and I'm left feeling like this.

I like to manage the contents of my bucket by writing. Ideas and clarity come to me in times of quiet - like when I'm not sleeping in the middle of the night, something that has been happening a lot - and writing it all down lets me organize my thoughts and get to the heart of what's bugging me.  

So with everything that's happening - why haven't I been writing about it?  Why haven't I been clever and insightful and offer my views on how daily events are affecting a diplomat's daily life and work? (And I don't just mean in the U.S. - check out what's going on blocks away from our apartment, too!) 

First, even if I were to try to keep up with the torrent of world topics to respond to, there's also this:

Blogs and Social Media: In addition to following the Hatch Act, employees are required to clear personal communication, including blogs and social media postings, through Public Affairs if said communication pertains to current U.S. foreign policy. 3 FAM 4173, 3 FAM 4174, and 3 FAM 4176 go into much greater detail on this requirement. The bottom line, though, is that if you wish to post something pertaining to current U.S. foreign policy (such as the January 27, 2017 Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”) on your personal social media account or blog, then you must have the post cleared. The appropriate reviewing office then has two business days to get back to you with any objections regarding a social media post or five days for a blog post. If the Department has no objections or does not respond within the allotted time, you can publish the post but still must ensure that it contains no classified material and that it does not claim to represent the official position of the Department or the USG.

Hmmm... that sounds like a lot of work and I probably shouldn't add, "Find new job" to my bucket. 

That's why I haven't written in a while.

This all leaves me wanting to enjoy only the really simple, like watching the pigeons on my balcony or the snow melt off the neighbor's roof and go plop! into his back yard. Just anything that doesn't require a reaction, an action, a response, an emotion. 

I simply can't outrage anymore. 

I don't think this is just me, either.  I've noticed lately that Facebook is filling up even more than usual with videos of a rabbit eating a dandelion, a dwarf goat jumping in place. In the Bucharest Metro stations, which have TV screens for those waiting on the platform, they're showing "A moment of fresh air for your eyes" followed by a minute long video of a breeze waving through a field of high grass, fish in a river, a guy powder skiing through a glade.  Ahhh...

That's about all I'm capable of processing about now. Something REAL, something lasting. The bucket just needs to be let be for a while.


  1. First of all, what exactly is Romanian crap? Is it good?

    Secondly-- I think we all share a feeling of dismay, disappointment, frustration of late. I teeter between tackling it head on via social media and reverting to bunnies amongst the dandelions.

    Believe it or not, yoga and meditation have helped me enormously. I am brought down to the important things in life, the larger and the smaller.

    I so enjoy your writing-- it is a bright spot for many of us and you are an inspiration.

  2. Crap, actually, is carp - a very favorite fish here, but not being a big fish eater - I haven't tried it. And thank you for the kind words. I agree about yoga and meditation! Or if I can, just getting out into the woods and watching the way the rest of the living things just go about their business, day after day, day after day.