Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mid-week Pick Me Up

Anyone willing to ask themselves some tough, but fun, questions, should check this out!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Broken Baby

This concept has been on my mind for a while now after reading about it on Yertle's blog. It reminded me of a coworker of mine who had two daughters, both very different. One was strong and healthy and the other was often sick. It seemed so odd to me at the time.

We have that in our family. My daughter was wearing bifocals at age 4 and has asthma. Her asthma caused her once to be hospitalized and now requires her to be hooked up to a breathing machine several times a day every time she catches anything, including the common cold. She often complains about the glasses and asks when she won't need them anymore. None of her friends wear glasses. We pass the buck and tell her that we'll ask the optometrist. What we don't want to say is that she may need surgery, but would still likely have to wear glasses even after that.

Each year, we hope that asthma with get better. That the openings in her lungs will get bigger and won't get clogged up with mucus with every little illness. This summer we enjoyed a drug-free summer for her, only to have to put her back on a daily pill this week. She has to take an inhaler to school and go the nurses office during the day when she is recovering from a cold or sickness. It lasts about 1 - 2 weeks.

So she asks why she has to wear glasses and no one else in the family does. We try to make it better by explaining that mommy needs them to read and daddy to drive, but it doesn't make it better. Then she feels hurt and frustrated when she gets asthma and has to be hooked up to the machine several times a day. I get frustrated with having to wake up in the middle of the night to give her the medicine - it feels like having an infant all over again.

So what do I say to her. Life if not fair. Suck it up. God picked you because he knew you are strong and can handle it. We need to work on your diet more to figure out if the holistic doctor was right and that you really can't eat milk, yogurt or wheat, which is in everything. Mostly I just ache for her and wish I could fix these problems. But then I remind myself that life is not fair and that I should just suck it up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Being Disliked

Found this tidbit on the Chief Happiness Officer, Kathy Sierra talks about being disliked:

Should you ignore the detractors? Diss them as nothing but evidence of your success? Should you just wave them off with a “just jealous” remark? Absolutely not.

Somewhere in their complaints there are probably some good clues for things you can work on. But if you start trying to please them all or even worse, turn them into fans, that could mean death. Death by mediocrity, as you cater to everybody and inspire nobody.

As a boss, I have some loyal followers and some not so loyal, dare I say reluctant, unrespectful employees. It's hard because accepting that some people just won't buy into you and your style is hard. You don't want to ignore them, but you can also let them ruin all that is good about you and your work if you focus too much. I like what Kathy says, though, that there are some good clues to work on. One book I read called this "mining the shadow". Finding gems of knowledge in your darkest parts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quote for the Day

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
— Carrie Fisher

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Neighbors and Growing Up

My neighbors across the street have been married for more than 20 years and are somewhat retired. The man is a professor who is a skin cancer survivor. The woman is a mom of a grown son, who still lives with them but I never see him. They are good neighbors. They wave hello, know our names, more importantly they know our children's names. They keep their yard clean and are kind.

So, what's so special about them?

Each morning while I am getting ready for work, I hear a little something. Our bathroom has a window that faces the street and I get to hear people walking their dogs, runners out of breath from the hill, and my neighbors. In the early morning hours, what I hear from my neighbors is a car pulling out of the driveway. Then I hear the man's voice. It gets louder as the car pulls away. He is following the car out of the driveway, walking after it. He calls out "Drive safe" and "I love you". He does it EVERY morning as his wife drives away.

It melts my heart.

When I leave for work, I kiss my husband good-bye. His is still asleep at this time, as are my kids. My leaving is his wake up call I know. He grunts and murmurs when I leave. When I told him the story about the neighbors, he laughed at his grunts and murmurs, which are still loving, but in a different way.

I want to be my neighbor when I grow up . . . maybe tomorrow!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Maybe We're Just Hiding in Clay

I'm not very religious, but this story was read at my Rotary meeting this week, and I loved it. Maybe it will inspire you too.

Clay Balls (author unknown)

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone.

Excited the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure.

He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he just threw it away.

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person by God.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Before and After

While going through the pregnancies and post-baby body, I felt like I melted into the background and no one paid attention to me. This is my 10-year college reunion photo. I'm the one on the far right, half cut-off and looking down at my feet.
Then I got a few more years under my belt and came out to be the person who takes charge and steals the limelight. I'm the one in the middle doing the super model pose . . . and yes, I'm wearing a control garment underneath!

Somewhere along the line I embraced my feminine side and was willing to allow it to shine. Sometimes a little too much. Yes, I wore the red dress to an evening wedding once . . . an etiquette boo boo.

I'd like to think how I am now is better, but it was nice being invisible. During grad school, when I had the kids, I went to school with a bunch of young beautiful people who drive nice cars and went to fancy restaurants. This was just as we were having kids and scaling back. I also spent 40 months either pregnant or nursing. I felt like the tagalong awkward sibling.

Since then I've allowed myself to be a little more flamboyant and I've gone back to being the leader so I know I can't be rejected. I go ahead and let people think I may be dumb, or poor, knowing that the truth is mine to embrace and their loss if not recognized.

But I crave the intimacy that other moms seem to have. They get to spend time together when dropping off the kids and some even steal away for a cup of coffee. I envy that beyond belief. I envy a close friend, outside of work, outside of my family.

But that's not fair to the friends I do have. One is my neighbor. She is a divorced mom of two. She is one of the few moms who can make time to hang out when I'm off work. The other moms seem too busy with family. This neighbor/friend is an amazing paradox of femininity. Beautiful in a Barbie way, but with fake hair, fake boobs, and a fake nose. Does she have true security? I don't know. She looks hot, but she's critical of herself too. Makes you realize that we all are deep down.

This is such rambling and I'm a bad blogger, but perhaps some of it sparks some thoughts for you . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sabotage and Success

Ever since reading Yertle's blogs on Sabotage and Fear, I haven't stopped thinking about them. I want to understand and in trying to understand I'm finding some parallels and some opposites in my own life.

First of all, I adore Yertle. We've been friends for almost 20 years, and she has always been there for me. She is an amazingly bright and extremely caring person. She really listens when you talk . . . even though she can do just about 20 things at once ;) I've always wished the best for her and still do. (You're a dear, Yertle, and I love you!)

In reading Sabotage, I see a glimmer of self-hate, or is it just a little lack of self-love? Like she doesn't deserve to have things be wonderful. That wonderful is scary. In a parallel, I recall a conversation with my stepmom about me and some differences between me and my brother. She called me successful. The minute the word escaped her lips, I felt terror. I had just finished rereading "The Paradox of Success" that profiled many successful people and how they are living a facade and deeply unhappy and insecure inside. Is that me?

I tend to be a leader. In life I found that I didn't belong easily to groups and so I would simply create ones of my own. Like starting the Physics Club in high school or my own playgroup after having kids. But being the leader can be really lonely. Just last night I was talking to my husband about our big party and how I fear that I may fear intimacy. That I seek to have large groups instead of small ones. That I lead in order to be alone and not have to bond on a one-on-one level. It's a sort of one upmanship that I tend to hate in others, but it's inside me too.

In reading about Fear and its follow-up, I see a fear of being apart, of being rejected, of being scrutinized. Then I started thinking back to a tape on interviewing I listened to years and years ago. The person on the tape was talking about how to manage being unemployed and getting a job. One thing he said really struck me. He said that there are all sorts of laws out there on discrimination for race, gender, religion, etc. but none for weight. Then he went on to say that weight discrimination is alive and well and "practiced with a vengeance." Wow. He then told his listeners to go get fit.

So, how do we discriminate against people who are overweight? Do we ignore them? If so, does the weight allow a shield?

Following my own advice on "Take Being a Role Model Seriously", I need to get back to work, but I'm sure there will be more on this.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Good

Okay, this is a little self congratulating, but I know you'll indulge me. A few weeks ago I blogged about my bad of coming home and nagging my husband when it should have been clear that he had a bad day too.

Well, tonight I tried to make use of my lesson and make good. My husband came home from swim lessons with the kids and there was a lot of yelling, from him and the kids. If you've ever met my husband, you probably can't even imagine him yelling. Well, first I went back to the bedroom and acknowledged that he might be out of patience and asked if he wanted a break. He seemed relieved and left to read. I made dinner, but let him rest and tried to keep the kids from disturbing him too much. Then later I approached him and offered him a hug or a glass of wine. He took both. I told him that I appreciate that he is with the kids in the afternoon and that I was sorry that they were not easy on him today.

Dinner went okay. The usual restlessness, but nothing unusual. I went ahead and did the dishes (typically his job since I do the cooking) and let him rest.

Now, he is cuddling both of them and reading to them.

Sometimes we just need a break to come back refreshed.

Good Boss

A little while back I blogged on my fear of being a bad boss and some of the challenges of management. Right now, I'm knee deep in personnel crisis, but that's my job.

Yertle asked about books on being a good boss. I''ll have to think on this a little, but I do have two lists to consider.

One of my mentors, a man in his 80's who spent his career in teaching and HR and is now involved in volunteering and politics, gave me this list.

The Fundamentals of Leadership

1. Establish who is in charge.
2. Know what you want to accomplish.
3. Know what you want each person you manage to accoumplish.
4. Let them know what you expect.
5. Find out what your employees want.
6. Find our what your employees expect of you.
7. Take being a role model seriously.

These seem so simple, but it is amazing how many people don't follow them.

Another list for thought came from a speaker at my Rotary. His premise is that you need to make your employees feel 3 things to be effective:

Make Your Employee Feel:

1. Influential - they need to feel like they can influence the direction of things, how work is done, what work is done, what decisions are made, etc.

2. Significant - see Dilbert and think the opposite. It's simple, people need to feel like they matter and are worth your time.

3. Capable - make sure they have the tools to do what you task them to do. Think of parenting and how you try to get your kids to feel like they can do things in baby steps.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I have one employee, who is careless and insubordinate, on a personal improvement plan and another employee, who I hired and who is awesome, just gave her notice. And yes, the awesome employee was making dealing with the difficult employee easier.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Honey, do you still have clothes on?", he said in a deep, uncertain voice.

"Yes . . ." I reply with anticipation and curiosity.

To which he replies, "Would you like to take the garbage out?"

This, in a nutshell, is why I love my husband.

Bad Boss?

So, I try to stay away from work topics as I worry about the confidentiality of combining a blog with many of the situations I face at work as a boss. But this article came out, and I just had to comment. It stipulates something we all fear, that nice guys finish last and that to get ahead you have to screw people. It is the corollary of a book that just came out, The No Asshole Rule. This book talks about how much money true assholes cost the company and how good leaders recognize that and don't reward them.

The reason I focus on this is that this is exactly what I try not to be, a domineering and intimidating boss, but at the same time, I am responsible for the effectiveness of my team and must hold people accountable. So, how do you correct behavior without seeming like a bully? All these management books talk about being personable and "touchy feely", but they are geared towards male readers who are less nurturing by nature. So, should women be reading the books about being tougher as a way to even out or should we embrace our softer sides. Probably the latter, but there's no simple rule . . . unfortunately.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Me to the Power of Three

I got tagged recently by Yertle and I really thought it was fun. Being the bossy mom that I am, I've decided to start one . . .

1. Name three things that you adore.
- my family
- my dog
- happy couples

2. Name three things you appreciate about your spouse/significant other.
- his calm manner
- his patience
- his commitment to health

3. Name three things that you are especially good at.
- organizing things and people
- getting things/tasks done
- networking and getting friends/colleagues together

And Sierra, you're it

The Mountain of Mulch and the Dumb Blonde

So we have a big party coming up in a week. Each year we host a potluck (in my opinion the best kind of party, affordable and the guests feel involved and connected to it). To prepare for the event, I ordered 4 cubic yards of mulch, think about the size of a compact car and you'll get the idea of the amount. In my brilliance, I had it dumped in the driveway . . . while my cars were still in the garage! Thankfully, my husband's car was on the street so he could drop the kids off at summer school and get to work. Meanwhile, I'm spending my day digging myself out. This must be what if feels like to be snowed in!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

"Honey, Do You Remember . . .

when we last had sex?" That was the question last night, and I am embarrassed and saddened to report that neither of us knew the answer. At least it was mutual! Sure seems like that's the last item on the to-do list for many of us moms. I'll spare everyone the details of what happened next, but let's suffice to say that maybe that last glass of wine we both had wasn't the best idea . . .

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Rave and the Best Drugs I've Ever Taken

So the local craft store had glow sticks in packs of 15 for $1. This is what my som bought with his allowance this week. Tonight was a blur of glow sticks and hip hop - too cute.

Several months ago I started taking an anti-acne medicine. I'm 36 and was getting 1 - 3 cystic pimples (the really big ones that hurts and take a week or more to heal) every menstrual cycle. Fed up I asked my doctor for help and he prescribed a low grade antibiotic. I take a probiotic to help balance it and I have to up my calcium to offset the mineral binding effect of the medicine. It is so great to be mostly acne free - I can hardly describe how wonderful it is for my self esteem and self image. I tend to be very natural and this was a very big step for me, but I love it. It vain, but true.

Me Me Me

I'm new to this blogging thing, and I got tagged today by the sweetheart at Smile Play Dream. So here goes . . .

4 Things That Should Go Into Room 101 and Be Removed From the Face of the Earth:
(What is "Room 101" supposed to mean??)
1. Bullies
2. Grudges
3. Impatience
4. Elitism

3 Things That People Do That Make You Want to Shake Them Violently
1. Be Lazy
2. Don't Take Responsibility
3. Whine

2 Things You Find Yourself Moaning About
1. My Boss
2. My Husband's Thriftiness

1 Thing the Above Answers Tell You About Yourself
I'm absolutely terrified of being an:
- elite, bullying, impatient boss to my employees,
- whiny, lazy wife to my husband, or
- impatient, unforgiving mom to my kids.
And I've been all of the above more often than I care to admit!