Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gratitude 11

Today I am grateful for:

- my husband being able to be home with the kids while they are off for 2 weeks
- maintaining boundaries around Christmas and keeping it to the four of us
- light commuter traffic during this holiday period
- generally light workload during this holiday period
- Santa
- my husband's Xmas presents arriving in time
- my daughter's increasing computer/software skills
- lunch yesterday with a friend
- the rain, which will be great for my garden
- my children's willingness to write thank you notes and knowing how valuable this will be for them in the long run

Monday, December 22, 2008

Do I Really Want to Work?

This past weekend we visited with a group of friends we camp with each year. All our children are roughly the same age and we have similar backgrounds - it is a fun group and we've shared a lot of memories over the years.

One interesting demographic is that 2 of the 4 women work full-time and the other 2 are full-time homemakers. Well, one is starting to go back to work part-time, but has been a full-time homemaker for the past 10 years. She had a couple drinks and it became clear that she didn't want to go back to work, but is doing so under financial stress - she said her husband was "making her".

Then on Sunday, another girlfriend mentioned that her husband would probably like her to work more (she has her won business), but she doesn't want the stress. I marveled on how she had a choice.

So, it got me thinking, do I want to work? If given the choice, would I quit and stay home. Because, I can give myself that choice. That I know.

Talked with the husband about the concept of a sabbatical, and he was open.

But what do I want?

Thought for the Day

“All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.”

– Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Self Sabotage

Lately I have been thinking about self sabotage and the ways we keep ourselves from coping in a healthy way with our challenges and stress.

We each have a way of coping, a comfort mechanism, and the healthier they are the better.

The problem is that the healthy ones rarely have the instant comforting effect we feel we need. Healthy solutions are long-term and take repetition to feel their effects.

This past week or so, I've slipped back into the following pattern:

Come home from work frustrated and demoralized
Have glass of wine while making dinner to unwind
Sit down to dinner and find that I'm still stressed and upset
Have 2nd glass of wine
Feel more relaxed and with reduced inhibitions, sometimes I reach for a 3rd glass
Go to sleep, relatively peacefully, but with a nagging feeling like nothing is better
Wake up in the middle of the night
Maybe due to alcohol
Maybe due to unresolved stress
Lay awake mulling through problems that were covered up with alcohol earlier
Vow not to do it the next night

I am desperately looking for a new job as I have pretty much hated this one from day one, and just this week I celebrated 3 years. The boss is pretending that he didn't promise to finish my review by Friday of last week and that he didn't promise me a 5% raise. I am afraid to call him on it for fear that he will entirely revoke it. Meanwhile, he is talking about restructuring reporting structures, cutting me out of the administration chain of command.

So, I found a couple jobs to apply for this past week. Both referred to me by others. The problem . . . less money and maybe not in line with my original goal of not having a boss, but becoming the boss. My husband was critical of my choices and thought they were not steps up. I got upset and said I just want to stay here, have a reasonable commute and bearable job. I explained the money pressure to make more in a bigger job stemmed from being the bread winner and that we can refinance and he can get a job to make that go away. My husband then explained that I am more ambitious than him. I took that to mean I am stuck being the bread winner. I explained that I could meet my original goal of being in charge at a smaller agency for less money at any time. He was silent.

The pressure and lack of support for my job is insane. My peers have wives making their dinners, cleaning up the house and providing emotional support. I don't and I never will.

Here's the rub, I know I am good. I know that I would be a great general manager/CEO somewhere. But at what cost to me? And why? Do I have to do it just cause I can? Do I have to do it because you are supposed to reach for your potential?

I feel like I'm tired of being the money maker. That I want a job with a good boss. That I deserve a good boss and need to stop being macho and pretending I don't need or deserve those things. I deserve a job with clear boundaries. I deserve a job with stability. I deserve to be appreciated, even if it is not with bonuses, but instead flexibility to leave in the afternoon without getting grilled. I deserve not to be pushed out the fucking door by an insecure micromanaging bully.

And yes, I probably deserve to make more money in the process, but at what cost? More time in the job search? Longer commute? Moving my family? Playing with the big boys who have a better home support structure only to bang my head against the glass ceiling over and over and over?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I saw this over at Smile Play Dream, and was flattered she mentioned me.


Five names you go by: Tish, Squish, Honeybunch, Momma/Mom, Mrs. Berge

Three things you are wearing right now: red sweater, gray pants, black shoes (I'm at work . . .)

Two things you want very badly at the moment: a great job opportunity to surface and to become better at being authentic and using my voice

Three people who will probably fill this out or maybe will or maybe won’t: yertle, sierra, ???

Two things you did last night: picked out new plates, ordered Christmas presents for relatives

Two things you ate today: breakfast burritto (every work day . . .), a piece of dark chocolate

Two people you last talked to on the phone: my husband and a our new technician

Things you are going to do tomorrow: go to the school book fair, have breakfast with my husband, shop for a festive dress, get a haircut, go to a campfire at the beach - can't wait!!!

Two longest car rides: In 1994, I drove 1560 miles to escape Texas - it was a long drive with a soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. When I was a teenager, I drove 2500 miles round trip to visit my mother - can't believe my dad let me do it.

Two of your favorite beverages: Diet Coke, wine

Thanks Yertle!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gratitude

I am grateful for:

- Passing my SDA exam and adding another certification to my resume
- Having the guts to ask for a raise
- Dinner with a friend on Saturday night
- My husband watching all 4 kids for us
- My new friend I see on my walks and how our dogs play together
- Getting this Friday off
- Being able to identify and describe my feelings, even when they are negative
- Having the courage to speak my mind at last week's board meeting
- Friends who pass on job postings to me
- Amazon.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Being Hostess

We just sent off our last guests from the Thanksgiving holiday and I must admit that I am ready to stop being a hostess. We were blessed with two sets of grandparents and 3 aunts/uncles to share our day and we made a wonderful Thanksgiving paper chain with gratitudes from all written upon it. But as wonderful as family is, it can be tiring to be around others so much.

What I loved about the visits:

- watching the kids interact with their relatives
- watching the grandparents interact with eachother and the playful kidding between my dad and my mother-in-law
- finding ways to make the grandmothers feel involved and part of the process, even if it meant having to compromise
- making things ahead so I could relax a little during the day
- my dad helping with the dogs who desperately needed some outdoor time, but I couldn't give it to them as I was trapped in the kitchen
- my kids dressing up
- Uncle Dave and his dry sense of humor and strong connection with my daughter
- getting to know my "new" borther-in-law even better
- compliments on the meal
- feeling like a team with my mother-in-law and having my step-mom join in at the end
- not doing dishes, hardly ever, as I prepared all the meals

Thought for the Day

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Dogs are Good Citizens!!!

Both dogs, Rocky (9 1/2 years) and Ollie (2 years), passed their AKC Good Citizen test this weekend.

Yeah!!!

My Visit to Mom

Each year I make a trip to visit my mom. She is about a 3 hour flight away. She lives in a boarding house with no car, so a visit involves a flight, renting a car, and getting a hotel room. The last 8 years, I have made this trip with family in tow, believing it was the right thing to do and that my children should know their grandmother. It was 6 years ago that my mom last visited me in my home. I have offered to pay for her to fly down, but she refuses for a variety of reasons. Perhaps I should have limited my travel or also been stubborn, but I didn't and kept up the annual visits, feeling guilty that they weren't more frequent or longer.

This year I accompanied my brother as he travelled with my neice to see Mom. My neice is 3 years old and this was her first time meeting my Mom. Mom won't get on an airplane for my brother either - at least she is conistent.

I left my family at home and was a little suprised that no one complained about not being included . . .

The visit was 3 days, 2 nights. We spent a total of 5 "visits" together over that time, each 3 - 4 hours long.

I was detached and very guarded as I feel tender lately working through issues associated with my relationship with my mother. I engaged in some debate once when she got into her usual mantra of how awful her working mother was, how she wasn't there for my mom, how she should never have been a mom, etc. She then immediately says that I'm not that way and that I'm doing it all. Meanwhile, I'm visiting my mom while my son is home, receiving a Boy Scout award - snother Boy Scouting event I've missed. The discussion leaves me feeling miserable, and I realize I shouldn't have let it go in that direction.

I took the role of timekeeping, using the neice's naps as an excuse to put time limits on each visit. It was a little bit of a drag to be the nag and timekeeper, but deep down I appreciated being in charge and Steve was accepting and even appreciative.

Being with my brother was awesome. He's met someone he imagines he will marry. I met her and liked her. My neice is growing up to be very independent and has a wonderful imaginiation.

Not sure when I'll go back, though, or who will come with me.

Thought for the Day

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering you own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew.”

St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Number




You Are 6: The Loyalist



You have strong relationships and are intensely loyal.

People find you easy to love and care for.



You like your world to be stable and secure, no surprises.

You're cautious. You prefer your inner circle to the outside world.



At Your Best: You are courageous, a positive thinker, and expressive. You can take on the world.



At Your Worst: You are secretly insecure - which makes you sarcastic, cold, and argumentative.



Your Fixation: Doubt



Your Primary Fear: Abandonment



Your Primary Desire: Security and support



Other Number 6's: Mel Gibson, Woody Allen, Jay Leno, Marilyn Monroe, and Julia Roberts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

You Tube, My Children, and the Rape Scene

It was just a matter of time.

We pride ourselves on not letting our kids have too much tv time. In fact our tv is smaller than a cereal box and they only watch videos on it. They don't even spend that much time on the computer, maybe 15 - 60 minutes a day.

But it doesn't take a lot of time to stumble upon inappropriate material.

Today my daughter was on You Tube looking up the Pokemon theme song so she could write down the words. She was almost done when my son said he wanted to look at the scary Pokemon video. I didn't think much about it, even when my daughter said it was too scary and she didn't want to see it again. I thought she was being dramatic, but that is not unusual for an 8 year old girl. I asked her how to find it and she told me the name. The Lost Episode. I saw that she had been searching on Ash and May kissing - they are two characters with a lot romantic tension, just like most shows. I scanned the videos after typing in "The Lost Episode", saw one that was animated and clicked.

With my son beside me I tried to click the pause button as soon as I saw the word "rape" in the opening words. I never saw what was next, but simply told my son that this video wasn't appropriate.

I then asked my daughter about the scary video and asked her to tell me what was scary. She said that Ash and May were kissing, and then May was screaming and then she was dead.

8 years old. I feel awful.

Thank goodness it was animated.

We've decide that You Tube is off limits, and we're looking into whether or not they have filters. But what do I say to my daughter? Do I stop with this or do I have a serious discussion about what she saw? What is age appropriate for an 8 year old.

Around this age my mom told me about sex and I remember my first nightmare about it. I used to fly alot in my dreams, up until my 20's, and I was flying in my dream when a man grabbed me and with his 5 foot penis (my mom forgot to put parameters on the items in our discussion) he had sex with me. It was awful and I can still visualize that dream 30 years later.

I don't want to do that to my daughter, but I also don't want to bury my head in the sand.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Quote for the Day

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!


- Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin Jr. and Hillary Clinton (aka Bossy Mom)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gratitude 10

- Being healthy after battling the stomach flu
- Seeing a beautiful sky full of stars while walking the dogs
- Running into a scared (it was dark) neighbor walking and having her take one of my dogs to help her feel safe
- Being able to send one of my books to a man diagnosed with cancer so he could show his children what he did for work and his impact on the profession
- Meeting with a prospective candidate and really liking him
- Having 2 dates planned with my husband this weekend
- Being able to volunteer once in a while at my kids' school, including tomorrow's Halloween party
- Jogging with my dog this morning and his improved behavior on lease
- Learning that he's even better when he's on the "casual walk" command

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moms

When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself.”
-Nancy Friday



Maybe it is not that I need to understand my mother's weaknesses as much as it is that I need to understand and overcome my own.

Two Way Streets

Lately I've been thinking a lot about relationships and the importance of having a two way street in each of our relationships.

This mostly comes about as I deal with some unresolved issues surrounding my mother, but as I examine my tendencies, I see how I coped with my mom has seeped into other areas of my life.

My mom was never really there for me. I don't mean to sound like an ungrateful or overcritical daughter, but it is true. As a child, she tried to be a peer, often talking to me about topics I truly wasn't mature enough to deal with. At the time I took it as a compliment and was grateful to be treated like an adult, now I know she was ignoring her resonsibilities as a parent and not respecting boundaries. During the divorce, she was completely absent as a parental figure, swallowed up in her own grief and upset. Even after I moved, our relationship revolved around her:

- When I had a lump removed from my breast, my mom was upset with me for not telling her. Her upset was the main emotion, followed later by empathy.

- When I didn't seem to call her enough when I was a grown woman in college, she took matters into her own hands and called the dean, who then called me into her office. Of course, my mom was not my guardian and was not contributing a cent to my education, but she felt the right to ask my dean to correct me.

As an adult, I find myself making every single phone call and every single visit. I used to explain it away and go along with her excuses. She doesn't like to fly, she doesn't have money, etc. But then I realized that it wasn't just the money she wasn't contributing to the relationship, it was everything else you expect from a mom. An interest in me, an interest in my children, a willingness to reach out instead of being reached, a willingness to express excitement over birthdays, holidays and milestones. I'm tired of making excuses for her and trying to pretend our relationship isn't damaged. I'm tired of doing all of the heavy lifting and doing so out of fear of guilt, both from her and from me.

So, as this happens, I find myself examining other relationships in my life, and realizing that I haven't been requiring two-way streets.

Here are some tag-lines I've tried to live by, which unfortunatley have fed this coedependency inside of me:

"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar

"Go along to get along."


I'm finding these don't work for me anymore as I can't do them and hold onto my needs and wants. I can't follow this and ensure that I am doing for me too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gratitude 9

I am grateful for:

- toilet paper - my yoga teacher reminded me to be thankful for the everyday things, like toilet paper
- an upcoming camp weekend with moms and kids
- a weekend affair with Double Stuff Oreos
- being in nature
- my dogs both doing great sit-stays when I have to clean up their poop
- daily morning walks with dogs
- getting back into my running routine after taking some time off for dog training and a cold/flu
- learning to set better boundaries in my relationship with my mom
- my brother's upcoming visit
- the flowers an employee gave me for bosses day
- getting to go out to lunch tomorrow with another employee as a bosses day treat
- being able to share the pesto I made with basil from my garden
- using my first bin of worm compost
- how relaxing it actually was to sort through the compost and remove the remaining worms
- fish tacos

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ollie is a Keeper!!



The husband finally agreed that we are keeping Ollie!!!



He's doing great on leash and getting better around other dogs!

Homework

I want the Magic Pill!

What stories do you tell yourself to keep you from making real change in your life?
I can have a normal life with a normal mom and normal grandma to my children. The past is the past and I can forgive and make my own future.

What beliefs or blockages prevent you from experiencing new ways of doing things?
One should never shut anyone out of their life, and parents deserve respect.

Do you constantly beat yourself up?
Yes, I can't do enough for my mom - there is more that I could/should be doing to make her life more comfortable.

Do you constantly label yourself as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or ‘not good enough’ in some way?
I need to be strong. Being sensitive or putting my needs above others is wrong. I am a rock and I can provide for everyone.

Would you allow your friends and colleagues to speak to you in the way your ego—your Inner Judge and Critic—speaks to you?
No.

Do your current beliefs bring you happiness (be honest) or pain and suffering (be equally honest)?
Pain and suffering.

If the latter, why do you continue to hold them and allow them to run your life?
I let my mom use me and I wallow in guilt, which I even transfer to my brother. I still feel guilty for going to live with my dad, for picking the stronger parent. Frankly, it is unfair that I ever had to pick. I got dealt a raw hand in life. But if I change my beliefs and my actions now, I can allow myself to be dealt a new hand.

What would it take to heal yourself?
I need to put limits on my relationship with my mother and to contain the damage. I need to put energy into the positive relationships in my life. My husband and children need me and my positive energy, which I will foster.

The average person has 16,000 thoughts a day. Would you characterize the majority of yours as ‘healing’ (love-based) or ‘killing’ (fear-based)?
I'm working on making my thoughts healing.

Did you ever just observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them, or in a ’story’?
Yes, during yoga and when I meditate.

What is it like?
Awesome - it helps me detach from the drama and not get sucked into anything too fast.

What one or two debilitating or limiting beliefs would you like to update right now?
The past is the past and I have a normal two way relationship with my mother.

Can you do it?
Yes

Will you?
I will try - I'm scared of change and the guilt trips from my mom when I begin to expect her to meet me halfway.

What one or two baby steps can you take this week or next to make changes in your life by creating new thoughts and beliefs about yourself—and then taking action?
I did one already. I am not dragging my whole family to Washington state for an annual trip. Just me. This saves money and unnecessary drama for my husband and kids - my mom never really offered them anything anyway, she's too self-absorbed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thought for the Day

“It is only when we realize that life is taking us nowhere that it begins to have meaning.”

~ P.D. Ospensky

Homework Cram Session 3

My therapist recommended that I spent time journaling and include a list of traits of my mom. Not dissimilar to the homework to "objectify my boss" last year, this is to help me see her more clearly as an individual instead of what I want from a mom.

Maurine N. P.

Had breast augmentation
Divorced her husband after 18 years together
Lives on social security, paycheck to paycheck
Has brown hair with gray that she does not dye
Lost her two front bottom teeth, but cannot afford to have them replaced
Is epileptic
Hadn't really lived on her own before marrying
Is the middle of three girls
Was a teacher for about 5 years, and this defines much of her
Is self-centered
Is egocentric
Is melodramatic
Belives that yelling at a child and calling them names is not abuse, like hitting a child
Does not talk to her youngest sister
Lost custody of her daughter after the divorce was finalized
Truly believes that she was a great mom to her young children and that she didn't get to finish her work as they got older
Was a size 2/4 most of her life
Took medicine to put on weight as a young girl
Believes that she raised her younger sister
Claims she was raped by a family friend who later played it off as an affair - when I asked my dad, he says she never told him
Cannot drive and has no license
Has no credit cards
Needs to nap most days
Refuses to fly on an airplane
Does not write letters
Rarely, if ever, makes phone calls
Considers herself a feminist
Smokes about 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day
Says she would give up eating before giving up smoking
Drinks coffee first thing in the morning
Appear to have the early stages of Parkinson's
Had a flower business when she was married to her second husband
Is on disability due to her epilepsy
Does not get along with her new landlord/owner
Refuses to consider assisted care
Is 5'8" and now more like a size 12/14
Lives in a room in a home of about 10 borders, considers herself the manager
Has lived in this home for more than a decade

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That Well is Dry

I had a very intense therapy session last night as I read my letter and grappled with my relationship with my mother and my unfulfilled needs.

Not dissimilar to when I was a child in therapy during the divorce, my therapist told me that my mother is unable to be a mother to me, to nurture me. She said "that well is dry and you keep trying to go there for comfort only to find that it is still dry". So, instead of looking for other people to meet my needs, I have repressed them.

I have presented myself, especially to my husband, as someone who doesn't need attention, nurturing, sensitivity, and care. That I am self-sufficient, independent and strong, needing almost nothing to exist and continue on.

This is flawed as I do have needs and I have not allowed myself to acknowledge them. I have stopped myself from getting them met.

Now I need to resort my needs and ask for them to be met. I need to explain that I am evolving from who I was and that I am changing. That I am a needy person and I have a right to seek out having my needs met.

I just hope that my husband's well isn't also dry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homework Cram Session 2

Warning: What you are about to read is therapy homework and may sound negative and resentful.

Dear Daughter,

I raised you to the be the opposite of me. I stayed home and volunteered instead of earning money. I was stopped by sexism and majored in English instead of Math as a result.

But you have no obstacles and can/should be as successful as you can be. I divorced your dad and am now living near poverty, therefore, I have instilled in you the importance of making your own money and being able to support yourself.

I have spent your life telling you that you will be successful and I expect you too. I have told you that you can have it all and I expect that.

I, on the other hand, am weak and needy. You are strong. Therefore, you need to cater to me. What does this mean, well, it means:

- You should call me, preferably weekly. I am poor and cannot afford long distance, plus I have trouble reading the numbers on those pre-paid calling cards you sent me. It's really best if you just call me. If you miss a week or two, be prepared for a guilt trip as I worry if you don't call, and as I said, I can't be expected to call you.

- You should travel to me. With my epilepsy, you can't expect me to get on a plane, so you should buy 4 tickets and bring your family to me. Oh, and since I am poor and live in a room, I can't put you up or afford to get you a hotel, so please cover that for yourself. Lastly, I can't drive and don't have a car, so don't forget to rent a car. I know this costs a lot, but I've raised you to be successful, so you can afford it.

- Don't plan on me remembering your birthday, your husband's birthday, or my grandchildren's birthday. I know I don't work, but I'm terribly busy and can't drive (to a store or post office) and don't have a credit card (to order on the Internet) and for heaven's sake, you know I don't write letters, so don't even expect a card. If you nag me, I'll remember the kids' birthdays once in a while, but if you don't nag, nothing will happen.

- While you were young I trash talked your dad. When you got older you taught me that you wouldn't hear this. Every now and then I'll ask about him, but don't feel awkward.

- Every now and then I'll get emotional and talk about how I wish I lived closer and could help with the kids. I'll pretend that writing letters and remembering birthdays is not helpful and is not a reasonable request.

Signed,
Your Mom

Homework Cram Session

Tonight I meet with my therapist and last week she asked me to do some journaling on what she perceives as my attraction/acceptance of selfish and lazy people.

This comes out of discussions about my frustrations with my husband and the commonality with my relationship with my mom.

I hesitate to write this on my blog as I fear it will be very negative, and I don't want to be a downer. So . . .

Warning! What you are about to read is filled with resentment. Please note, however that the writer is working through these emotions with the goal of healing her relationships and preserving and improving her marriage.

Dear Wife,

Please work full time in a job that you can barely tolerate while I work for myself, part-time, when I please and as it fits my schedule. Please do walk the dogs each morning, as you know I won't do anything with them during the day, and don't forget to make the kid's lunches, as I'll just let them buy school lunches even though our daughter should not drink milk and you think school lunches put her asthma at risk, and do this before you leave for your 9-hour work day. I'll get the kids ready for school. Yes, sometimes they wake up before me and I just stay in bed while they do God knows what in the house. And yes, they just have cold cereal on most days. And yes, I seem to forget to make our daughter take her medication, but thanks for the sign you posted above her backpack - we're getting a little better at remembering. Oh, and don't forget to feed the dogs.

After working your 9-hour day and driving at least 30 minutes to get home, we'll all be home waiting for you to make our dinner. Now, you know this is your fault because you don't like my cooking and because you are in charge of shopping, so how would I know what to make? About a year ago, you made those great lists of exactly what I should make (chicken, rice, salad, broccoli), but you stopped, so I stopped making the meals.

Please bring up your concerns and frustrations, but understand that I may simply not respond. Yep, that's right, not say a single word. Because you're emotional and will get over it anyway, why invest my energy, plus it's kind of hard, so I'll just avoid it and you.

Understand that I don't want you to spend a dime. Literally. I will complain about everything you spend that isn't on groceries (that are on sale). Also, I will not buy anything, because that involves spending money. Conveniently, this puts you in the position of buying everything like shoes for the kids and presents for my relatives. Don't expect presents either, those cost money.

After a long week of work, you get to have some quality time with the kids on Saturday. I know you miss them. I'll go off and run with my running club. Sometimes I'll run so far that I'm exhausted the rest of the day, so don't expect me to mow the lawn or do any heavy lifting on these days. Yes, I know I run more than 20 miles a week, but don't expect me to run with that new dog. He was your idea and that's why you get to do all the work. That will teach you a lesson. Even though I came with you to get him and seemed to agree, this is your burden.

You see, the problem is your standards are way higher than mine and you put this on yourself. I'd be happy with no friends, no parties, a messy house, clothes that don't fit, and relatives who don't hear from us at Christmas. You seem to think this is important. What's important to me? My running and my business, don't mess with those. Somewhere after those is where you fall. At least you are before the kids.

Signed,
Your husband of 10 years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

MeMe

I got tagged by Sierra so here goes:)

7 things I can do:
1. Make a project come in on time and on budget
2. Make a dog sit
3. Organize parties
4. Find the silver lining in most situations
5. Earn enough to support my family
6. A headstand . . . or at least I could a few weeks ago . . .
7. Bake a lasagne from scratch without a recipe

7 things I can't do
1. Go more than one week without a Diet Coke or glass of wine
2. Find patience when it is within one hour of my own bedtime
3. Seem to get over my jealousy of part-time or stay at home moms who get to meet for coffee or volunteer during the day
4. Carry a tune
5. Manage up
6. Sleep in
7. Seem to bake a cake or make frosting from scratch

7 things that attracted me to Tom
1. his patience
2. his dimples
3. his dry sense of humor
4. his easy going nature
5. his ability to remain calm
6. his aloofness
7. his quiet nature

7 things I say most often
1. NOW!!
2. Good boy/good girl - dog training seems to consume me
3. How about that
4. Too bad
5. Whatever
6. Honeybunch
7. Do what your daddy says

7 Celebrity admirations
1. Madonna - amazing businesswoman
2. Peter Drucker - management guru
3. Oprah - overcoming adversity and making a difference, amazing empathy
4. Bono - passion for peace
5. Ellen - amazing success, humor and role model
6. Warren Buffett - even though I can't agree with his family life (he's married but lives with a mistress), he's made billions in this down market and is a financial genius
7. Gloria Steinem - likely wouldn't be where I am today without her

7 favorite foods
1. chocolate
2. french fries
3. wine
4. Diet Coke
5. Double Stuff Oreos
6. spice drops
7. burritos

3 days, 3 parties, and lowered expectations

This past weekend was the perfect storm. I was sick all week with a cold that moved to my chest and I had a PTA function to throw on Friday night, a birthday party to throw on Saturday night, and breakfast to host Sunday morning. It was ripe for pushing myself to the edge and burning out . . . but I didn't.

I mused with my husband about why and we came up with the following:

- good planning - thinking things, events, needs through ahead of time
- good coordination - knowing who was doing what and being able to ask him to do things
- lowered expectations - kids were old enough not to need activities planned for them, Costco pizza was fine, generic root beer was fine, minimal decorations were fine, purchaased bagels instead of homemade coffee cake was fine, etc.

I must admit that volunteering with the PTA was especially frustrating as a working mom not able to make their meetings or visit the school during the day. It made me feel a little outcast.

All in all a great weekend with some good take-away lessons!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What Do I Want for the Holidays

I have an extended family that is very spread out, making holidays and visits a challenge.

Once a year I make the obligatory trip to my mom with my husband and children. I feel bad calling it obligatory, but it is for me. I take this trip for my kids to know my mom and to acknowledge her role in my life. It's not always easy or pleasant, but it feels like the right thing to do.

My dad and stepmom live a couple hours away and we see them several times a year, trading off who drives to see whom.

My brother moved away from the west coast and lives in Ohio. He came out last year to visit while dad was battling cancer. He is divorced with a 3-year-old daughter whom my mom has never met.

We talked about doing a shared trip to visit my mom and it has become a shared trip with dad, stepmom, then mom. It's become so much more than I initially imagined and it is being proposed for right before Christmas, one of the busiest and most intimate times of the year.

I'm finding myself trying to manage a family reunion among family that doesn't even seem to want to meet halfway. I'm losing myself in what is right and trying to meet other people's needs.

Homework - What I Would Need to Feel Loved

Affection without the expectation of sex
Gifts on my birthday and holidays, even if they are low in cost
Doors opened for me on dates
Having the manly things done around the house, instead of having to do them myself
To have things/chores done without having to be asked
To be appreciated
To be told I look pretty every now and then
To be listened to
To be thanked for what I do to support the marriage and family
Date nights a couple times a month
Hugs
Support on joint activitiesEncouragement and empathy
Kind gestures and a feeling that my husband is taking care of/looking out for me
Calls when my husband is away

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flight - Man vs. Nature

This weekend I had the joy of watching the Blue Angels, and I marveled at their grace and aeronautics.

That was until two hummingbirds buzzed by me. One was chasing the other out of my yard, which is ripe with tubular flowers, and the first was dodging the other to the right, left, up and down. They stole the show from the wonderful Blue Angels, mostly for their natural beauty, skill, and speed. As much as I marvel at projects which take a lot of time, money and skill, I truly admire what is around us and appreciate the opportunity to be reminded of it by two little hummingbirds whizzing by.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Rights as My Husband's Wife

To have regular dates.
To not have to plan all of said dates.
To get presents on my birthday and at Christmas.
To be flattered occassionally.
To work.
To have hobbies.
To have time alone.
To have support when dealing with the children.
To be respected as a professional.
To be more important than work, the kids, or anything else, just as we vowed.
To have my husband want to be with me.
To be able to be affectionate without sex.
To have a well groomed husband when we are out as a couple.
To be able to spend money, below our agreed upon limit, without criticism.
To have girlfriend outings and someday girlfriend vacations without the kids.
To be listened to.
To have my family treated with respect.

My Rights as a Person

To be respected.
To have time to exercise.
To have time to relax/meditate.
To recreate and to have vacations.
To donate to charities in which I believe.
To have my own opinions.
To say no.
To say yes.
To chose my friends.
To have input on my work.
To influence my space through decoration and cleanliness.
To get enough sleep.
To ask others to stop behaving in ways that hurt me.
To ask for what I want.
To have the opportunity to explore what I want.
To throw parties.

Psychotherapy Homework

I had an intense session with my psychotherapist last night and came home with some writing assignments. She suggested holding off talking with the hubby too much about the letter as I seem to have too many issues and not a lot of clarity on what I want or need.

Assignment #1 - Make a list of my rights as a wife.
Assignment #2 - Make a list of my rights as a person.
Assignment #3 - Make a list of what my husband would have to do for me to feel valued.
Assignment #4 - Make a list of what my husband would have to do for me to feel loved.

It has become clear that I don't feel I have a right to ask people to treat me a certain way, that I have a belief that I have to accept them as they are and cannot ask them to do things for me. That I have to conform. That I have to accept. That I have to adapt.

Allowance Follow Up

No action taken yet on letting the kids make a withdrawal on their savings account . . . they seemed to have forgotten for now.

To answer a question, I started the kids' allowance when they were 5 and 3 years old. Since the 5 year old lost out on a couple years, I seeded her account with some extra money. At 3 years old, the money was often misplaced or lost in the house. The same to some extent at 5.

We have wallets for each kid and we ask that they keep them in the same spot each time they use them (typically near their backpacks). They've cycled through a few wallets per year as they are lost or lose interest in the design.

The can count money and understand the concept of delayed gratification. They can read dollar and cents and are just starting to grasp the concept of tax.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Hand Signal




You Are a Thumbs Up



Your life philosophy can be summed up as, "Tomorrow is another day."

Your greatest wish is for everyone to be content with what they have.



You are naturally content and optimistic. You encourage people to be happy.

Even if life isn't perfect, you believe that life is what you make of it!



Thanks for the idea Yertle!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Great Article About Happiness

http://www.slowleadership.org/blog/2008/09/are-you-really-broken/

or

Click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

WOW

We're on day 3 of the shock collar and have seen notable improvement. It's awesome!

I'm so excited about solving this problem and providing a good life for us and our new dog.

This weekend I join group training which will help even more!

Kids & Money

Like many parents, I give my kids an allowance. They are 6 and 7 years old and get one dollar per year of age per week. This translates to $6 and $7 per week respectivley.

Since this is a tidy sum (we had to add a line item for it in our household budget!) for little people, we have a general guideline:

- Deposit 1/2 your cash before Mom or Dad will take you to the store to buy something.

We call it the "pay yourself first" discipline similar to having money taken our of your paycheck for retirement or savings.

This is all fine and they each have more than $100 in their accounts, but we missed one point . . . when are they allowed to make a withdrawal?

One child has been asking to make a withdrawal for simply buying more of something he already has a lot of, Pokemon Trading Cards. I had imagined this money for bigger items like skateboards or the like, but I'm really confused on how to manage the withdrawals.

I've been stalling, but the kids are restless.

Ideas?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Letter Follow Up

After dropping the bombshell of a letter on my husband, he was very angry and became wrapped up in his work and pending deadline. He stayed up past midnight almost every night and pulled an all-nighter the night before we had a breakfast date to discuss the letter.

We have not faced this head on and I feel like he is hoping that time will make the issue subside, since he did just finish a deadline and thinks that he can refocus his energy now that it is complete. Of course, he used all his energy on the deadline and he is now ill.

I am still frustrated and angry, still feel used and disrespected. But I am trying to be empathetic and respectful. With persistence, we will face this and recraft our marriage.

Shock and Awe

The training with our new dog, Ollie, has been going very well. He is responsive to commands, interested in us, and better behaved around strangers.

He is also still dog aggressive, especially on the leash.

This translates to barking, growling and lunging (with all 60 pounds of his muscular body) at passing dogs. I am barely strong enough to control him and the other day I fell into a neighbor's yard as a result. My head fell just inches from a piece of rebar sticking out of the ground.

My husband's patience is just about used up as this dog is far more work than he imagined, so we had to come up with a plan.

With the guidance and support of our trainer, we got a shock collar. I know it sounds awful, but it is so much more humane than the pronged choke collar we are currenlty using to get his attention. The shock is enough to be uncomfrotable, but not painful. Today, we meet with the trainer on how to use it.

We will then take every opportunity to go into crowded places so that he is exposed to many dogs and learns that showing too much interest causes discomfort. Our trainer rescued a labrador with similar aggression and rehqabilitated the dog, so we have the best teacher, in my opinion.

We have about 8 weeks to make it through the process before we see the results.

Gratitude 8

I am grateful for:

- Seeing old college friends and their children, so precious.
- Sharing old photos with my kids as they prepare reports on their family.
- Our excited, enthusiastic, and optomistic new hire.
- The fact that one of my employees sang "Happy Birthday" to another at 6:30 this morning as they started their day.
- Comraderie among our staff.
- My boss being away on a 3 week vacation.
- My son liking 1st grade and being excited to go to school.
- My children saving their allowance for items and counting out change to buy their coveted item.
- Long walks with the dogs.
- My empoloyee's professionalism as she tries to prepare the agency for her eventual retirement.
- My dog trainer's wisdom, understanding and compassion, for me and our new dog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Codependence

I have always considered myself to be a strong, independent woman. It wasn't until my therapist identified this recurring theme with putting others' opinions and needs above my own and creating situations which disappoint me that I realized I may have a problem with codependence. In trying to make others' happy, I seem to be making myself miserable.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Letter to My Husband

Dear Husband,

We have prided ourselves on creating an alternate reality in our marriage. In bucking the sexist notions of man and wife and creating our own dream. We did this without really talking about our expectations of one another.

I have spent many months thinking about our marriage and how we have arranged our lives, and I am not happy with our current arrangement.

I am no longer willing to support you financially.

We obviously have divergent views on your role as the parent who stays home. I do appreciate that you have stayed home. I do appreciate that our kids have had that time.

But I am no longer willing to continue this arrangement, and it is time for you to get a job.

We need to talk and come to an agreement about how we are to manage our family, both financially and otherwise.

Let's arrange for a sitter this weekend so that we can have a serious conversation about our needs and the next steps.

Rigid Notions About Marriage and Family

Divorce is not an option.

Divorced people are failures who cannot successfully manage relationships.

Family dinner is not negotiable.

Daycare after school means that you are delegating raising your kids to an institution.

Women can be the bread winner, cook, nurturer, etc.

Women have a responsibility to earn money.

If my husband is not happy, I am a failure as a wife.

We don't share our arguments with others, especially the children.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dear Eric

Dear Eric,

One week ago Saturday, you died. You were in the middle of a two week vacation, riding your Harley, and were killed by an oncoming car. The driver has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and your widow asked us to remember that his family has also suffered a tragedy.

Your widow did an amazing job at your funeral service. She was strong and kind. I wonder how it felt to lose someone so early in a marriage - you were only married 2 3/4 years. I wondered about your ex wife and how she is mourning your death. I wondered about your children watching their step mom deliver this important address to a standing room only crowd.

What struck me most was how little work seemed to play into your service. There was one picture of you at work. Your wife knew almost none of your coworkers. Yet this is where you spent 40 hours a week. You were an ass at work. You were opinionated and stubborn. Your boss felt you bordered on insubordination, your coworkers didn't think you were a team player. Your main coworker was out for weeks after a bike accident and you didn't seem to to care nor ask him how he was when he returned, yet he cried the hardest when we lost you.

Is work for not? Is it really so unimportant that it doesn't deserve mention at a funeral? Is my energy at work to be a good boss and to serve others a waste of time? Is it really just a paycheck?

You so frustrated one employee that he was applying for other jobs. Now I get to meet with him and my boss tomorrow. He's the boss' favorite, but I suspect you knew that. Although he caused us to violate an environmental standard and "lose" a $1,000 piece of equipment, he is still the boss' favorite. Yeah, it pisses me off too. Is that why you were an ass to him? Did you see injustice, or were you just critical?

The minister asked us several times, "What are you going to do with what he gave you?" and I couldn't help but think about how religious you were and how religious the funeral was. I saw the Black Sheep, the Harley Davidson riders for Jesus, I heard all the Bible quotes, but I still can't believe.

I am spiritual and I agree that there are so many things more powerful and important than me. But no God, no manly God with his manly son, Jesus. No one to forgive me, but myself. No one to guide me, but myself.

I saw too many religious people in my life who hid behind their religion as a balance to their evil towards others, and yes, Eric, I hold you in this category.

Many people praised how kind you were to strangers and acquaintances, but how about to your coworkers? How about to those closest to you?

I will miss you. I admired your work and individuality. I admired that you spoke your mind, even if I didn't agree. I admired that you took pride in your work.

I wish you peace and I wish your family peace in your passing.

Tish

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frazzled

I've let myself get caught up in the "shoulds" of life and am running myself a little ragged.

It doesn't help, or maybe it is caused by, the fact that my husband is out of town on a boys' canoeing trip for 4 days.

Here's the lowdown of the last 2 days:
- Breakfast with girlfriends on my Friday day off - very important, wouldn't have missed it for the world. Discussed adultery and the talk got a little scary, but all in all excellent.
- Dog training session - very important and very helpful. Am learning that I'm not escalating fast enough and being abrupt/harsh/shocking enough in my corrections to get my point across. Realized that I'm afraid strangers will think I'm abusive. Am being fraught and uncomfortable with how much this seems to mirror child discipline issues.
- Meeting with PTA prez to discuss event (evening dinner and supply donation event) for which I am responsible. Got checklist of action items and feel mostly in control, but a little worried since I've never done anything with the PTA before and don't want to screw up this event.
- Babysat from 5 until 9:15, which I thought was supposed to be 8:30, but I must have gotten my wires crossed. At 9:00 I started to worry, at 9:10 I told the little girl (3 years old) to go to bed with Torger with the plan of calling to see if everything was okay, at 9:15 the mom showed up with no explanation, which seemed odd, but mostly I was relieved to just go to bed having been awake since 4:30 am.
- Drove kids and dogs to off leash park to get them exercise before a day in the house. All went well.
- Drove 2 hours to parents', spent 7 hours in pool and in various activities, drove 2 hours home. Time with dad is precious and I try to make sure we enjoy it. My daughter complained initially about going and I simply informed her that at her age, I had no grandparents and she is lucky to have so many people who love her, that I love her grandpa and stepgrandma and we were going to share a day with them - end of discussion. Well, actually, she proceeded to say she just needed me, dad, and brother, and that's when I told her we were going, end of discussion.
- Poured glass of wine and proceeded to blog . . .

P.S. - Didn't feel dizzy with headstand, but then again wasn't in it for long.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Headstand


I did it! I finally did it!!

I needed the help of a wall, and guidance from my teacher, but it was great. I was laughing with joy.

Not that yoga is competitive . . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Myriad of Emotions

I feel a little overwhelmed lately and just on the verge of out of control. At first I got angry at myself for this, thinking I wasn't breathing deeply or taking care of my stress. But now, I'm being more forgiving. As I made this list in my mind, I understood the why and forgave my inability to erase the stress and other emotions:

- One of our employees was killed on Saturday. He was on vacation on a motorcycle trip - he had an accident and was killed instantly. He worked for us for 16 years and one of our senior employees in rank.

- My single dad brother just lost his job and wants us to drop everything and travel to Seattle with him since now his schedule is free. Family visits seem to revolve around his schedule, which makes me resentful. Then I feel guilty for not having more compassion for his situation.

- I'm pretty sure my new dog has dog agression. He's getting better on the leash, but still loses it when we pass other dogs, especially little dogs. He's 60 pounds of muscle - I can hold him back, but it takes a lot. The owners walk nervously and quickly away from me out of fear, and I'm left trying to control Ollie and getting angry, embarrassed and frustrated. Not sure how this one is going to get solved.

- The kids went back to school. Halfway to school, they told my husband (I was at work, feeling guilty for not being there, but knowing I couldn't show up too late the day after an employee died - I was needed at work - I stayed home long enough to help get the kids ready, pack their lunches and get photos) to go home and they walked to school by themselves. They're in 1st and 3rd grade and growing up way too fast!

But I'm alive and employed, married with healthy kids, so I am grateful for that.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

WOW

So after a very frustrating month with our new rescue dog, see Meet Ollie, I went to my first training session with Salem pictured here with the white dog.

Wow, I mean really WOW!

In the past 15 years, I have had private dog training, class training, and read books. Salem respected all that, but listened to my specific concerns, gave me some homework, and in just a couple days, my world has gotten 10 times better. I, of course, still have a lot more to do and a long way to go, but Ollie is acknowledging me and sticking close to me, which is what I need to get to the next step. I see light at the end of the tunnel and my husband finally agreed to let us get his license, his way of agreeing to keep the dog - yay!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gratitude 7

I am grateful for:

- my husband
- Oreo cookies
- smart employees
- job applicants
- my yoga class last night
- morning walks
- my husband continuing the kids' swim lessons
- long weekends
- neighborhood parties
- kisses from my son last night as we said goodnight
- that our new dog acknowledges me more and more each day
- our new dog making it through the night in our bedroom without licking incessantly
- elastic waistbands (see Oreo cookies)
- being able to tell my husband that I was hurt and not forcing him to withdraw

Fear of Moving

I've been slowly facing my fear of moving as a contemplate a potential relocation.

First I was afraid of creating a new sense of community for myself and family, finding a home, finding all those little things (doctor, dentist, housekeeper, hairdresser, Girl Scout troop, Boy Scout troop, Rotary club, dry cleaner, vet, etc.), dealing with the stress of moving, selling the house that I LOVE, ruining my children, and the list goes on.

But lately, with the help of my husband, I have been seeing this more as an opportunity. To really integrate into a community. To pick my commute. To reevaluate what we want in a house and neighborhood and shop for just that. To loosen our financial belt a little and go for a 30 year mortgage instead of this suffocating 15 year mortgage we currently have. Here's how cool my husband is, he even agreed to do counseling before and after the move, just as a way to help us manage the stress and take care of our marriage.

I'm excited and feeling better and better each day.

Now I just need to get a job offer!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Good Advice on Happiness

Courtesy of Carmine Coyote at http://www.slowleadership.org/blog/2008/08/how-to-give-up-suffering-the-workplace-blues/

Don’t buy the foolish idea you have a right to be happy and successful. There’s no such right. The best way to be happy is to give up being miserable. The best way to be successful is to be who you are and do what fits with that. Sometimes you’ll feel happy, sometimes sad, and very often neither. That’s the way life is. Smile and enjoy it.

Stop watching your emotions. They’re not worth it. They go up, then down, then up again like the stockmarket. No one really knows why, whatever they try to tell you — not even mental health professionals. You can’t will your emotions go or stay where you want, so quit driving yourself nuts by trying. Best of all, treat them like the weather: sometimes an inconvenience, sometimes a pain, and sometimes full of joyous sunshine. Many of them are probably due more to what you ate or drank yesterday than anything meaningful.

Mid Week Motivator

Lessons from The Tao Te Ching or Daodejing
(Number 3 is my favorite)


1) Live with Commitment. Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth “You Owe Me”. Just look what happens with a love like that....It lights up the whole sky.

2) There is no way to Happiness...Happiness is the way. Bring Happiness to all you do.

3) You accomplish much by trying less.

4) See yourself in everyone you encounter. They want peace, not always struggling, not being sick. They want love.

5) Trust in other’s to know what’s best for them.

6) Live without attachments and be generous with what you have.

7) Be strong by bending.

8) When you have a choice to be “Right” or to be “Kind” – Always pick to be “Kind”.

9) Practice radical humility. Live low like the ocean for all the streams will come to it.

10) Rather than looking for Miracles, see everything as Miraculous.....

11) Practice death while you are alive. Live as though heaven is on earth. Release yourself from your burdens, regrets, guilt, and anger that cages you. Instead live in peace, tranquility, forgiveness and harmony.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flirtation

I have been 100% faithful to my husband for 10 years. It has been easy, actually, because all of my straying happens in my professional life.

You see, in those 10 years of faithfulness to my husband, I have changed jobs 3 times. And I'm working on number 4.

Last week I met with the hiring manager for a position in Monterey. I happened to be up there for a conference so I suggested we meet for coffee. He suggested dinner and I agreed. We met for 3 1/2 hours. He spent a lot of time talking about how hard he is to work for, how demanding he is, and then also what a slacker he was/is in his career and how he worked his way up from blue collar, a "country bumpkin" with a University of Phoenix degree rubbing elbows with the Stanford grads of the world. I enjoyed dinner and I enjoyed him, but I didn't go back to my hotel room thinking I found "the one". But then his administrative manager called me in the morning and asked if she could meet with me before I left the area. We met for a drink and spent 2 1/2 hours together. She was great and got me really excited about the possibility. She followed this man from her last job of 16 years. Her dedication and loyalty spoke volumes.

I didn't think I would move for what many would call a lateral career move. The title is the same, but he says he's going to retire in two years and this is succession planning. But it is still lateral . . . My mentor reminded me that although it would be great to find a great boss, what I really want is to be boss and not to lose sight of that. If I'm going to move my family, perhaps I shouldn't do it for less than a general manager position?

Anyhow, no decisions need to be made until I have an offer that must be answered. We'll just take it one day at a time.

What's in a Name?

Got this from Yertle . . .




What Tish Means



You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.

You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.

You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.



You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.



You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.



You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia.

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gratitude 6

I am grateful for:

- the tooth fairy
- how adorable my daughter looks with her two front teeth gone
- short business trips to pretty areas - Monterey here I come!
- my new dog behaving better each day
- my husband accepting the new dog a little bit more each day
- my two dogs not killing eachother - fighting, yes, but no blood
- green hair and memories of summers at the pool
- supportive staff who take care of things when I go away
- my husband
- my dad's being cancer free even after an xray scare
- being able to donate blood

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I Want

I was listening to a radio show about the law of attraction and he was advocating clarifying your wants. I realize I need to do this about my next job.

So here goes:

- Enough money so my husband can continue to stay home with the kids
- Flexibility to be home for dinner and on the weekends
- Authority to achieve the goals set forth
- Clearly defined goals and the opportunity to provide input on them
- A boss who will mentor and coach me
- Mutual respect
- Advancement opportunities
- An opportunity to continue to improve/protect the environment
- To live/work/volunteer in the same community
- A positive, supportive work culture

Pre-Interview

It was really scary, but I contacted the hiring manager of the job in Monterey and asked to meet with him. We're having dinner next week.

It took him a day to reply and I really felt exposed and scared. But now I am so glad I took the risk.

Now I'll get a chance to find out what he's looking for and if it matches what I want.

Yeah!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gratitude 5

I am grateful for:

- my son's fondness of Monopoly
- my daughter's ability to play banker in Monopoly
- that my husband takes my kids to swim lessons
- my new dog getting better each day at heel, sit, stay, down and come
- my two dogs actually playing together yesterday
- my husband's willingness to give this second dog thing a go
- Gmail
- leash-free parks
- new job opportunities

Says It All

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scared

One of my lines finally got a nibble.

The HR person called and said that the hiring manager asked her to specifically look up my applciation. I thought the job had gone away, but no. I might be a shoe in. I might be able to snag it before it is advertised - I might have the inside track. I might just get into a position to be mentored for 2 years before taking the No. 1 spot.

I might have to move my family.

I'm scared. It's a big deal to move my family for a job. I have always fantasized about giving my kids the stability I never had, but I also have no real glue here. Friends, yes. Family, no. No "real" glue.

I'm planning to pursue it. My husband is supportive and encouraging.

A chance to live, work and volunteer all in one community. My dream.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mysterious Black Goo

I love boys.

Heck, I even love men!

But my poor house suffers when too many come over.

This weekend we had 6 kids over for dinner and here are the results:

- Broken bow - 1
- Broken arrow - 2
- Mysterious black goo stain on carpet in workout/yoga room - 1
- Mess - everywhere

The oldest kid of this bunch is a little rowdy and I discovered him with my daughter twice breaking house rules that she should know. She ended up in a time out for quite a while after the second time, and the rest of the kids were told to stay where a parent could see them. I try to be understanding, but I find myself simply not wanting him to come over to my home again. This kid seems to take things just a little too far for my comfort. But he's the son of my close friend's boyfriend and her children and mine play often, so it is natural to sometimes have his two sons too. They have been together for more than 6 months and his family is a fixture in her life.

Maybe I'll hold my judgement until this carpet stain comes up, right now I'm just upset about the damage.

Gratitude 4

I am grateful for:

- Being able to talk to my husband about anything.
- Neighbors who invite my children over for play dates.
- The big fat Sunday paper and a pot of coffee.
- My playgroup of almost 8 years and the families who participate.
- My babysitter, who is coming Friday and willing to watch 4 kids total.
- Early morning runs.
- My new dog getting better and better on the leash and off.
- The finances for my volunteer organization balancing for June and July.
- 180 calorie Kashi Roll bars, which have 12 g protein and 6 g fiber, and to Yertle for reminding me to eat more frequently.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Third Wristband

First of all, thanks to Yerlte for your kind words about unconditional love. You made me very, very happy to know that you feel this way about our friendship and my feelings for you. What a treat to hear it!

An thanks to Sierra for the good dog advice. I took Ollie to a fenced tennis court area and he ran and ran (and pooped three times) and seemed to tire himself out. He likes to catch the ball, but then just prances and shows off that he has it.

So today I took the kids to Boomers, a local amusement park. I used some points from the San Diego Blood Bank, where I donate several times a year, to get all day passes, or "wristbands". We got 4 to start and had planned to take the kids twice while the adult(s) watches. Well, I decided to use a pass for myself. I got to ride go karts, play miniature golf, ride a Ferris wheel, play laser tag, get nauseous on the tea cups, and even ride the merry-go-round swings. I had so much fun playing along with my kids and enjoying the day. I stressed less, yelled less, and threatened less. All in all a good time.

It hit me the hardest when I was on the swings. These are the swings that hang from long chains and then get twirled around - this ride by a large clown - clown story to follow. So my daughter talked me into riding this and I was told to sit in front of a little 4 year old girl, to "balance" the ride. After a few rotations, this darling little girl belts out a "Wheee, yeah!" and throws back her head. Well, who was I not to follow suit. Then she started laughing and laughing - what a delight!

About the clowns, did you know that it is International Clown Week??? We met Dizzy Dave, a quiet, almost nervous clown who works a desk job at AT&T when he is not clowning around. We had a great conversation with him over cotton candy, which the kids offered to share. It was fun to listen to the kids ask him who he saw at ComiCon. (this is the blog for links, huh?). Then we ran into Dizzy's friends in the parking lot - they were joining him for a round of miniature golf - a close knit group of friends, all dressed to the nines in clown gear, and wheeling one clown in a wheelchair. I have never seen a disabled clown and something about the site warmed my heart. To have that joy and to share it, too beautiful. My kids got "I saw a clown today" stickers and it was great! I felt like the town know-it-all when I told them "Oh, Dizzy Dave is inside waiting for you!"

A beautiful day for sure!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mid Year Resolution

Even though I'm still trying to keep up with my new year's resolutions, I seem to have added one earlier this month.

It all started with the vacation. I made a point of not bringing work along on the vacation - no laptop and I kept my cell off unless I wanted to call out. I also made a conscious decision not to talk about work too much. This stems from the fact that work tends to made me sad and talking about it only brings me and others down. I did talk some about my job search as that was more uplifting and positive.

So, I kind of liked this new approach and have worked to stick with it since coming back from vacation. I am working especially hard to not let this talk come into family dinner time or time alone with my husband.

I'm okay talking about the job search, as long as I stay positive, but I work very hard not to rehash and complain about my day.

And you know what? I like this new way much better, and since I like it, I think I'm going to stick with it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gratitude 3

I am grateful for:

- Kisses from my daughter
- A job that allows my husband to stay home
- My primary care physician, who is good enough that my husband doesn't mind his annual physicals, even when they involve unpleasant procedures
- Sharing my daughter's albumn with her and seeing her read and look at things she did just years ago, but didn't remember or recognize
- My dad's bows and arrows that he lovingly made for the kids and their friends
- My dad's wife for joining our family

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sure to Make You Smile . . .

. . . if not dance.

Click here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Meet Ollie

So we turned our lives upside down this weekend and adopted a gorgeous, and strong, Labrador/Brittany Spaniel mix from Labrador Rescue. His name is Ollie. Ollie is between 2 and 4 years old and weighs about 60 pounds. He was rescued the day he was to be euthanized and after spending one month is the shelter. From the shelter, he spent one month in boarding and then one month with a foster family. So his last three months have been pretty unsteady.

We adopted him to be a running partner for me as our current dog is getting older and having joint issues. She will still come on the walks, but can't run anymore without injury.

Since adopting Ollie Saturday morning, we have had a lot of excitement. He has:

- Escaped the house twice, running up and in and out of the street for about 1/4 mile each time.
- Eaten 1/4 of a birthday cake, off the kitchen counter, damn those long legs!
- Discovered how to get into the automatic close garbage can in the kitchen.
- Destroyed one toy which our current dog never even damaged.
- Tore up the carpet tack strip in our bedroom entry way.
- Run 20 miles and still has energy to spare. (The husband has also taken him running - I couldn't dream of going that far in three days!)
- Eaten the nose off of one of my son's stuffed animals.
- Found the opossums living in the neighbors bushes.
- Pulled me in directions I didn't know I could go.
- Captured my heart.

Now I just need him to capture my husband's heart!

Wish us luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Boss in the Middle

One of the things I hate about being in the middle between and employee and the big boss is performance reviews. When we agree, it is easy. When we disagree, I have to decide whether or not to fight the battle. My boss often accuses me of being too pro-employee, and as a result, he recommends adjustments to the reviews I prepare for staff who report to me. On one rare occassion it is upward, but more often it is downward.

I aquiesed on the review for one employee, who was quite upset at seeing ratings go down from last year. He went so far as to use the word "demoralizing" and say "you guys really know how to push people out".

How do I respond to that.

Do I present a unified front, do I be honest about the differences in opinion (which I did), or do I simply say that they can go above me if they don't like it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Clean House

I have a little secret.

I'm really quite ashamed and almost too embarrassed to admit it.

It's a feeling I feel like I shouldn't have.

You see, the husband and kids have been gone for a week, and . . . .

Here it is: I have been enjoying my family being gone.

It hit me most when my mother-in-law asked if I was lonely and missing my family. I was honest and told her that I was making the most of my time alone. I am relishing in odd meal times, odd meals, lots of early morning activity, getting projects done, quiet, and most of all . . . a clean house, with things left where I put them and no new things appearing out of what seems like nowhere. A clean house, like a gift from heaven.

But I feel guilty. My daughter is suffering from serious homesickness - she's 7 years old and has been away from home for 3 weeks. We didn't quite expect the homesickness since the majority of time she had parents or a parent. But it's not the same as having your own bed, your own yard, your dog, your toys, your friends, even your own bathroom. I remember traveling extensively for my first job, and one of the things that really wore on me was public bathrooms - I got so sick of restaurant/work/hotel bathrooms. Weird, huh?

So, today I am grateful for my time alone, while I have it, and for knowing that my family will be home soon, so that then, I can be grateful for their presence.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gratitude 2

I am grateful for:

my basil crop
my dog
running into a friend during my morning walk
girls night this Saturday
my husband's willingness to get a second dog
my health
my old coworker who I met for lunch yesterday

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gratitude 1

Plagarism is the finest form of flattery, so I'm taking this idea from Yertle's blog.

I am grateful for:

Beautiful sunrises during my morning walks
Fellow dog owners whose dogs play with mine
Neighbors who put my paper on the porch as they walk by
My children's friends who come to their parties
My husband who calls me and tells me he loves me
My paycheck that allows him to spend time with the kids
My dad still being alive
The young teenager who is walking my dog during the day while I work late
Our nanny of almost 8 years

Monday, July 14, 2008

Like a Slap in the Face

So I went back to work today after a couple weeks away.

Wow.

I feel so drained. It was so hard to go into work after being away. To walk into the climate I have grown to hate. To try to put on a smile for the people I like, but the place I hate.

We had a board meeting and then the annual employee appreciation lunch. This is when my boss pretends I don't exist. He doesn't introduce me to anyone, doesn't acknowledge my accomplishments, doesn't sit with me, and doesn't allow me to present to the board, instead presenting letters I wrote as if he wrote them himself.

Further justification for why I am looking for a new job.

Which I will find, on my timetable and to suit my needs.

I will appreciate the experience I gained here and learn from it while I create a new reality for myself.

I deserve recognition, growth, opportunity, challenge and respect. All of this and more.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Extremes

I've spent the last two weeks with family. The first week with my nuclear family - husband, daughter, and son. The second week with husband's in-laws to celebrate the parents' 50th anniversary. Pretty big accomplishment in my point of view. All of the 5 children were there, including the 3 grandchildren. The other grandchild is 20 - my kids are 6 and 8. The expectations of little kids by others continues to amaze me. It was really hard to watch other people. albeit family, reprimand my children. It makes me angry and protective.

For example, who really expects a 6 and 8 year old to be quiet at 1 in the afternoon? Or who expects an 8 year old to not interrupt sometimes? Answer: my sisters-in-law.

Now, though, I am home alone for 2 weeks while the husband and kids travel and spend more time with the grandparents.

I think I'll survive, but it already feels really weird. Being home alone without chatter or company has been fun this first day, but I'm already missing my family.

Goals: scrapbooking, yoga, shopping (new bed, another dog). Maybe another novel or two.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Perfection and Baggage

Last night I restarted therapy. I have been diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Basically saying that my life is requiring adjustments and I have stress as a result. At least this is what will be written down to justify the visits to insurance.

Part of the session focused on my feeling that I have to be perfect in my duties. This comes in two ways. I am going to be letting another employee go in a week or so, and I have been feeling a lot of guilt/angst over it. I feel like as a manager, I should be able to make any employee perform. That not being able to is my fault as a manager. The therapist helped me to understand that I was carrying the baggage of the employee and not accounting for his/her responsibility in the situation.

Same thing with the boss and how I've been beating myself up for us not having a good relationship. If I were a good employee, I should be able to work for anybody and make it work. Not so. I'm not responsible for his baggage either.

This helped me a lot and I think it is going to make me a better manager. The more I can understand the true requirements, while exercising respect and compassion, the better I will be.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Leadership

The wicked leader is he who people despise.
The good leader is he who people revere.
The great leader is he who the people say we did it ourselves.

- Lao Tsu

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why I Love Him

My husband just became a den leader for a new Cub Scouts troop, which will include our son.

Been There Done That

From the title, you are correct in assuming that I have almost 100% made up my mind on something.

In response to a recent post, Yertle suggested to me to "go to those hard spaces - to have the conversations about the difficulties instead of letting them fester under the surface. If you feel brave, maybe you could actually talk it out with the boss."

In theory I agree with this. Yes, this is a better way than allowing things to fester.

But . . .

I have felt a strong reluctance to this and my strong reluctance and closed mind have been kind of bothering me. I'm embarrassed. I feel bothered that I'm not willing to do this. I feel stubborn and a little ignorant.

Until I remember some of our past conversations when we have "gone there". The last one was especially bad. He took out his cell phone and replayed a message I left. He then critiqued my tone and use of words, accusing me of keeping things from him. He told me he wanted me to be different. He wants us to duke it out and then kiss and make up. I'm not a duke it out type. And I will not become that to please him. I told him that we might not be able to reconcile his wants and what I can do.

I feel like I have gone there and I feel like it has not been a positive experience. I feel as if things have not improved as a result, and there was no benefit to offset the cost.

So, I don't want to go there again. I don't want to have another conversation attempting to clear the air.

I don't see any benefit. I've already made up my mind to work him out of my life. Sure, I'm making this work temporarily, but I don't plan to continue to work for him or with him, so I am focusing on my future, which does not include him.

In the present, I am as open as possible, but I'm not looking much beyond 6 months. Getting along is just temporary.

We'll see, I may end up eating those words some day. If that day comes, I will gladly eat them, but this is where I am now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Unconscious Muttering

I say, you think.



Rambling :: my boss

Magnetic :: my children's toy magnet kit, which has pieces all over the house

Again! :: a child wanting something

Acoustic :: guitar

Mahogany :: forest

Promises :: my dad

Ill fitting :: swim suits

Sublime :: my family

Poop :: smells like money

Disoriented :: drunk

Number 2

Now, even though I work in the wastewater industry and have blogged about my children's escapades with poop, this blog is not about that #2.

No, I came in #2 for the job interview I had back in April. I'm not surprised. There was just one 45 minute interview with no additional interviews. It was pretty clear that the job was going to an internal candidate and I was just one of the "three bids" (this is lingo - generally in the public service sector, you want three bids for products to insure that you got a competitive price).

But what was interesting was the call with the hiring manager. He told me that the job reporting to him was being filled by an internal candidate, which I congratulated him on because hiring within is truly ideal. But then he mentioned that one of his coworkers just quit and that their job was a much better fit for me. I took this to mean two things: I was overqualified for the position for which I interviewed, and I impressed this guy enough that he would consider having me as a peer.

I patted myself on the back, put the job on my radar, and started my weekend.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Paradox

At the center of every healthy man who is really alive is a paradox: while he always struggles to minimize pain, he would choose the world of pain and confusion and problems to the one with no challenge and no problems and no pain.

- Robert Greenleaf

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Emotional Culture

Listening the the Dr. Robin show today, I heard this phrase,

Emotional Culture

It refers to the culture in which we are raised on how we are taught to deal with others we love, our relatives and our friends.

It made me think of the Emotional Culture of my childhood and adulthood and my desire to not recreate this culture for myself and my family. My parents are divorced and could barely handle being the same room for my wedding. My father is estranged from his brother and my mother is estranged from her sister, who by the way lives just 20 miles away from her. My brother divorced his wife and uses the daycare as a means of drop-off to avoid even seeing her.

But I don't want that for me.

I want to grow old with my husband. I want to be in my children's lives. I want their grandparents, aunts and uncles to be in their lives. I want to be strong enough to continue to have people in my life, despite the differences and challenges. I want to acknowledge that my life is better with them in it - that I am better having a relationship with them.

Now, where I pause, is how, if at all, this applies to work.

Is cutting and running the best for me, or is figuring out how to make it work the way to go. Deciding to stay in my city has slowed me down, but it is definitely important to me and worth the sacrifice. Distancing myself allows coping.

Luckily, I'm enough of an individualist and leader that I feel confident I can break the Emotional Culture pattern in my home life, and this is what endures.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Feeling Discouraged

This job hunt is taking too long and I'm beginning to feel discouraged.

I either need to step it up a notch or let it go, because doing both is wearing on me.

Hope to hear from the city soon. Would need to refinance the mortgage to handle the paycut. Is it worth it?

Sorry to be lacking in motivation today - I know it is just a phase and I'll snap out of it.

Been thinking about going back into counseling - worried I'm carrying too much baggage and being overly protective of me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Desired Things

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.


Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.


Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.


You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Authenticity

Be who you are and say what you feel

because those who mind don't matter

and those who matter don't mind.


- Dr. Seuss

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Katrina at the Helm

hello,my name is katrina.

Me and my brother,torger just got new buggie boards.When me and my dad came
home torger was so exited.

Unconscious Mutterings

Gossipping :: my MBA team mates
Misplaced :: keys (lost them today, but luckily they were in Lost and Found!)
Spaceship :: Enterprise
Ignore :: me
Bodily :: Image
Tweezers :: eyebrows
Goodnight :: Moon (and the red balloon, and the cow jumping over the moon . . .)
Curls :: hair
Faucet :: water
Right? :: Left?

I say, you say:

Gossipping ::
Misplaced ::
Spaceship ::
Ignore ::
Bodily ::
Tweezers ::
Goodnight ::
Curls ::
Faucet ::
Right? ::

Life is Beautiful

The first day of June and my Louise Hay calendar reminds me,

Wherever I look, I see beauty. I resonate with all the beauty in life.

This morning my husband ran off, literally, to run a marathon. This is equivalent to being the Superbowl widow - he gets up early, runs 26.2 miles, and then lies around the rest of the day moaning somewhat incoherently. I still love him and love that he does this.

But, what's cool, is that I got to party with the kids all day.

While they were partying in the water, I did yoga, watched young lifeguards in training, and read a little bit of my magazine.

The kids got their boogie boards yesterday, courtesy of the running hubby, and they were so excited to try them out. I actually got to stay dry the whole time, watching diligently from the dry land. What a delight to watch these beautiful creatures try something new!




Tuesday, May 27, 2008

HR Drama

As a manager, it never ceases to amaze me how much of my time is spent with drama in and around people. Today I dealt with one of our top employee's resignation and the boss' decision to not counteroffer, but promote, in addition to another employee's eventual layoff. This all happens during a time when I have a bunch of technical work to do also.

But it makes me wonder what my real job is and where my energy should be focused. How much time is appropriate to devote to human resource issues? Is it appropriate to promote someone as a means of hoping they will stay? How much do I weigh the ramification, gossip, newly created expectations and potential unintended consequences in the decision. How many people do I include and who will be upset when they are left out. Just when do you pull the plug on an underperforming employee?

So I came up with a short list of what a good boss is:

- Decisive, but not rash.
- Considerate, but not overlly personal.
- Demanding, but not overbearing.
- Inclusive, but respects privacy.

What should I add???

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If My Boss Were My Greatest Teacher

Yertle challenged me to think of my boss as my greatest teacher and to figure out what lesson he is teaching me.

When I went into therapy in the winter right around when all the s**t hit the fan, my therapist found that I was interacting with my boss in similar ways to how I interacted with my mom during the divorce. I felt helpless, yet I also felt like so many boundaries were trespassed. She was my mom, divorcing my dad, and she spent countless hours telling me why he was a bad person, treating me like a confidant. I gave her power because of her position, but she violated it in so many ways by not respecting the responsibilities of her role as my mom.

These two people, my boss and my mom, were in positions of power over me and they both abused me verbally. Because of their power, I thought I had to accept that form of treatment, that I had no choice, that they were right and that in some way I must have deserved that treatment.

I had people with great responsibility let me down and disappoint me.

So what am I to learn. The cynic says to learn that people in power are no greater than me, and maybe even less responsible. That everyone is human. That even though I am in a lower position, that I have boundaries that no one may violate. That no one has a right to degrade me, no matter if they are my mom, my boss or the king of England.

Yes, thanks Yertle.

I think you helped me uncover my lesson.

He Quit

No, not my boss, my husband!

Bless his heart, he finally quit his job and is looking forward to a wonderful summer with the kids.

It took an ultimatim. I told him that he needed to quit before the last day of school (kids are in kindergarten and 2nd grade) or I would. That seemed to motivate him.

He's going to road trip to his parents, who are in their 70's and 80's, and spend some quality time on his honey do list.