Saturday, March 13, 2010

Meet The Family

JT (Jedi-in-Training)

My husband has always wanted to be a Jedi: to protect and serve. He was raised by a city councilman who taught him and his sister the value of working hard, volunteering, and serving one's community. His ideals about justice, integrity, and sacrifice are part of what make him so loveable.

I liked him from the moment I met him, and though it scared me a little, something just told me "I'm gonna marry this guy." He was sincere, he was serious, but so pleasant to be around. He was working as a jail officer, and despite all of the crap he took from inmates who spit on him, screamed at him or tried to fight him, it never phased him. He still had patience enough to treat them like human beings, and energy enough to go out on fun dates with me after work, introducing me to everybody at the station with an enthusiasm you just can't fake.

He plays in a rock band, but he's never used illegal drugs. He's a god with a microphone, but he still gets sick with nervousness each time he goes on stage. He's totally geeky about Star Wars, but his taste in movies generally favors indie and foreign films over mainstream blockbusters. His dark side, and perhaps his biggest weakness, is his perfectionism---and I mean that. He's incredibly anal about being on time and having a clean house. He loves cooking and has a natural talent for mixing spices and uncommon ingredients, but ask him to build or repair something and he might have a heart attack. He's the only man I know who's got his own copy of the Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook. He's fluent in Spanish and Beatlemania; all of his favorite bands are British groups. His favorite books are Harry Potter and Mein Kampf.

JW (Jedi Wife)

Okay, so that picture couldn't be farther from what I'm really like. There's the huge gun, the spandex, and the amazingly fit, definitely-not-a-mother tummy. So you'll have to accept it for now as a mere imaginative projection of my fantasies of badassness.

Like my husband I also work serving the public, which occasionally brings me in contact with the homeless, the mentally-ill, the uneducated, the rich, entitled and opinionated. My service is information: I work on the reference desk of a public library and my primary tasks are helping people find books and other materials, helping them research their projects, and helping them use the computers. I love my job and get a thrill out of finding a book or article that's perfect for somebody. I always had a love of learning, and now I spend a lot of my time finding the answers to questions I never would have thought to ask. But I also deal with the occasional abuse of difficult people, and my coworkers say that my shy, sweet voice makes me an automatic target for both the very kind patrons and the very frustrating ones. My work is challenging at times but one that carves me every day into a more compassionate, service-oriented person.

I got into this line of work when I discovered that my English bachelors degree and lack of supplemental skills hadn't prepared me for much more than a lifetime of secretarial work. I was turned on to the very doable possibility of a masters in library science by a beloved aunt (now deceased), and I applied for the online School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. I started taking online classes in January 2008, and by the end of that year I had enough knowledge, contacts and passion for this field that I was able to land a job as a part time library assistant and say goodbye to office work forever.

The dream that is closest to my heart is writing, although sometimes it is more of a dream than a goal I'm working toward. So far I've got one novel that will probably never be published, and a handful of poems scattered around the web in online literary magazines. My favorite authors are J.D. Salinger, Junot Diaz and Dostoevsky (in no particular order).

JY (Jedi Youngling)

Trust me, our little girl is infinitely prettier than her picture. (But like the Chinese proverb says, "There is only one pretty child in the world, and that's yours.") I chose this picture because, although she's just a baby, babies are born into this world already enlightened and living in the moment. Any difficulties they pose to parents are completely innocent of harm or malice, and must be taken in stride. I once heard someone say that babies are like little Zen masters, pushing all your buttons and challenging you to be a more patient person. Yet it's impossible not to love them, admire them, and sacrifice everything for them. My little girl is my reason for living and my constant joy.