Lessons Learned

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In no particular order other than what pops into my head as I ponder this topic from events of the past month or so:

  • Change is a constant – remember that new office we moved into in late summer? Well, I received notice on a Monday afternoon that we had to vacate it starting Thursday. I had less than 48 hours to view and approve floor plans to build cubicles in a similar space upstairs. It’s smaller, still has windows, and my area has a corner window, but I also lost the most space. Oh, and this is also most likely temporary. 6-9 months perhaps just like the other room. Yay! (that was sarcasm).
  • Australian teenage rugby players are a lot of fun to host as they travel to play teams stateside. Wait, make that *heaps* of fun to use their terminology.
  • When sharing a rental car on a long road trip, and a hotel room with your teenage son, you should probably not both eat chili in a bread bowl. Ever. From ANY source, but specifically not from the food court at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. FYI.
  • It sucks to be steamrolled. I was fired from a job for the first time ever and over something I did not do. I am no longer writing blog posts for Blogmutt. From their end, they seemed certain I had plagiarized an article. From my end, I pushed back many times since I had NOT. But, they have a zero tolerance policy on that topic (which makes sense from their business model standpoint) and unfortunately I happen to have experienced that their owner is not the most pleasant sport who gave me no benefit of the doubt for even a second. So I am done with that and at first I was going to pursue another paid writing gig, but then I thought better of it. I’m taking a break on that for now and only writing for fun because it did start to be a chore (and at only $8 an article and still taking me 30-60 minutes to write it wasn’t worth it).
  •  It is NOT a good idea to run during a Santa Ana heat wave. Not even a normally easy 3 miles on your local trail. 20oz of water consumed by mile 2.7 and I was struggling mightily.
  • It’s a Small World After All – oh wait…ear worm warning! I know, too late 🙂 A high school classmate emailed me because HER son is also going to UNM this Fall. It will be nice to know someone else there on drop off weekend!
  • Sometimes, you have to be a bit insistent that you are no longer a football liaison/volunteer. I’ve graduated. I don’t want the emails and no, I will not attend the continuing fundraiser planning meetings every week again this year. Say it with me again: I’ve GRADUATED! Tag, you guys are it. Happy to answer one off questions, not sitting in meetings anymore!
  • Be careful who you ask for a good recipe using fresh vegetables. Make sure you are asking a similarly minded, similarly time and money pressed mom who understands what teens will eat (or not). Otherwise you may get a suggestion such as this which I shall not be following since it involves a blender which I don’t have and am much too lazy to consider cleaning after use – I do appreciate that she includes frozen fruit though-  A for that effort, but can you tell she hasn’t had her first child yet?:

“I find that smoothies are an excellent way to get the younger lot to eat healthily. They disguise the vegetables perfectly! Fruit is an excellent way of masking the vegetable taste in a smoothie but it’s best to add in at least 50% veggies, especially the dark green ones as they are nutrient rich and will prevent the sugar highs. Try blending 2 cups of leafy greens with 2 cups of frozen bananas or frozen berries with 2 cups of plant based milk such as almond milk. You can actually make your own almond milk by blending 1 cup of almonds with 6 cups of water. Drain the milk through a nut bag”

 

  • No, I wont be making my own almond milk.
  • Since I wont be blending smoothies from scratch or making my own almond milk, or writing for anyone else, or attending football meetings, that means that I can instigate the Merry Merry Month Of May again! Aren’t you excited? I found a list of blog post ideas that I will surely ignore at least 1/3 of the time (No, I wont be making and sharing any craft ideas for Pinterest!) that should at least inspire me to write *something* semi-entertaining every day.

Change is good!

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I have missed writing so much! In any form, be it here in journal format, the assigned writing I did for the MOOC course I took in the Spring, or the more structured blog posts submitted on Blogmutt. Heck, I don’t even get to tweet in those little 140 character bursts of thought hardly at all anymore!

However, work is slowly returning to a more manageable pace, and even the football tasks will be settling into a more manageable routine now. Shoot – on the weeks the team plays an away game, and there isn’t a new program to produce and taco/spirit wear sales to collect, I will feel like I am lounging around!

So I thought I would turn my writing brain back on with some spur of the moment topics that allow me to so some free form writing.

Today’s topic? Change – in the form of moving.

We are moving the office within the next two weeks. Target date is the 13th. I’ve wrangled enough file cabinet space to cover our immediate needs, but we still need to go through and mark off what will be moved and what will stay down here since we do get to keep part of the area here as a sort of on site storage.

It’s interesting – I am not a pack rat at all. If anything, I throw things away too soon because clutter irritates me to no end. But, when you HAVE space it is amazing how easily you can fill it! I have 5 large drawers just in my own area right now, and in the course of the past week I have cleared it down to 2.5 smaller ones. Then there is the storage area where I had been keeping 4 bankers boxes of documents for ages now. I even marked them “KEEP – do NOT send offsite!”  Hah! I went through those and ended up keeping a grand total of 7 file folders. Or less than ¼ of one box. Lordy!

It feels good to purge all those papers though.

Funny how the same thing happens with electronics. I had the opportunity this weekend to do a phone upgrade. That translates to older phones trickling down to the boys. Of course, since today’s phones are really hand held computers, you first have to back them up, then wipe them clean before the next person can activate it with all of his information. Before we did that, 17 and I noticed that we had used up a LOT more memory in our phones than we anticipated. So, rather than backup old stuff, we did some deleting. And then more deleting. And then MORE deleting! We each spent at least 40 minutes clearing out the old apps and photos and videos from our phones clearing out at least 1/3 to ½ of the memory usage! We are both now quite thrilled to have our app screens down to just TWO pages each (not even completely full on that second one!)

Yup, change is good – either in real life or virtually!

Video Interview from San Jose

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Last week, just a few minutes after I arrived in San Jose for Netroots Nation, I ran into a young man who describes himself on his business cards as an “Apprentice Troublemaker”. I think that is a very accurate description 🙂 I also think I was some pretty darn good company to have been interviewed by him – click on his site www.HenryBurner.com to see for yourself. Right after the interview he told me the tale of the FIRST walk out he led at his day care center. I’d say this kid has a pretty bright future ahead of him!

Netroots Interview

A scene from the morning commute

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It was one of those longer stoplights, and the car to my right provided a little snapshot of life with a small child.

A standard issue four door sedan that was, for once, not the usual black or gray but a rather pretty shade of cobalt blue. In the backseat, perched directly in the center was a car seat providing the occupant with an unobstructed view through the windshield. In the car seat was a boy who looked to be pretty close to four years old. His brown hair was perfectly combed over with a side part and smoothed down on his head.

He had that Ready for Preschool look.

And he was AWAKE!

In the perhaps minute of time that our cars were stopped side by side, I don’t think he paused once for a breath during a very animated tale he was telling.

He gestured!

He wagged and bobbed his head!

He leaned forward and was clearly wiggling his legs as his entire upper body shook with the excitement of this story he was telling.

I mean, it was DRAMATIC!

But, it was also a happy tale because he was clearly enjoying the act of reliving this event as he smiled a lot and his eyes were bright and happy.

Then my eyes drifted to the front seat.

Dad was taking the boy to school on his way in to work this morning. He had on a shirt and tie, but no coat and his hair was also perfectly coifed, though showing a few wet ends near his shirt collar.

Dad was not quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the boy.

Dad seemed to be wondering what in the hell was in that bowl of cereal his kid gulped down.

He had one elbow up on the door and was leaning into his arm with that look of someone who didn’t get a decent night’s sleep. He showed not one single ounce of facial expression or reaction to all the chattering wafting up from behind him.

Except that even through the doors of the cars and the space between us, I could FEEL his single, plaintive thought:

“Are we there yet?!”

A weekend in pictures

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Friday night: after a week that was not necessarily as frazzling as last week, but included the extra special ingredient that was a Mon-Fri off and on (mostly on) hormonal series of head/shoulder/neck/sinus aches so…yeah…it sort of didn’t matter that I only had one football meeting to go to (which was actually quite good and productive)…all that dominate my sense of each day was how miserable I was. Grumpy and just working extra hard to keep my wits about it – which I did – but then I would be so so tired. Therefore, Friday night all I wanted to do was sit on the sofa and watch all the shows that had piled up on the DVR. And I did. From 6-11. Me, the cats and the remote.

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Saturday I woke up pain free and HAPPY! Oh yeah! I went to a boot camp and was thrilled to be able to do all the exercises with 100% effort. Then I had a meeting to learn about a new writing assignment for a local client, then I got home and wrote for Blogmutt to clear those off my agenda so I could write for the new client today. My goal was to write two posts, but I swear I was so amped up from feeling GOOD that I was able to knock out three and still have 30 minutes to spare! In a week when I would have been happy to sell 5 posts, instead I sold 7 ensuring another tank of gas will be funded by Blogmutt:

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When my posts sell next week, I’ll hit level 5 in points and earn a Linkedin badge – which is pretty cool because it means more exposure to my freelance writing availability and credentials.

The main event this weekend was a neighborhood pizza party at a house across the street. There, we hung out in a yard that is smaller than mine but 1000 times more functional! The owner put in a completely functional kitchen/grill and pizza oven in one corner and a gorgeous fireplace in the other. He picked up raw pizza dough from a local restaurant and let us choose our toppings. It was so much fun and so yummy! The collage below is from the party – disclaimer – the beer bottle was empty! Seriously 🙂

Pizza Party

I managed to pull myself away at a decent hour and still get up early enough to join Renee for a run out on the switchback trails again. My first time tackling those hills since my IT band has calmed down. I am thrilled to discover that not only could I do the run without issue, but now several hours later after some decent sofa time, it is still totally fine. Hopefully that means I can increase my mileage again…slowly!

View from the top out over the Santa Fe Valley:

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I hope your weekend refreshed you in the same way mine has.

Frazzled

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I posted on my Facebook status today, just this one word: Frazzled.

My brain has had to be so ON the last 3 days – that I can feel the synapses burning from overuse. A football meeting directly after work on Monday followed by more work I had to complete from home that wasn’t done until 9:30pm. Yesterday was the first of 3 AP tests for 16. Of course all 3 are morning exams. So I went in to work for 3.5 hours in the morning after dropping him off, then picked him up, and we went home so that could work until his dentist appointment (didn’t want to drive back to work for just 2 hours). After the dentist I worked at home again until 6:30. Today was AP test #2. This time, I picked him up and brought him back to school and then came back to work. But of course the proctor for his exam messed things up and they didn’t get out until 12:35. They were supposed to be done before noon. When I got back to work, it was more mania until a little after 3:30. It’s just been a series of days with system problems, people making careless mistakes and things falling on my desk to cover gaps again.

None of this would be that difficult except for PEOPLE needing THINGS and with QUESTIONS and never having a moment of quiet to get anything DONE (dammit!). I can handle the tasks – I just need to be a Hermit for a day to get them all done properly. So it took 3 days and 2 evenings, but it’s done. And I’m frazzled.

So today I was happy that the rain had stopped, and I could take another walk. I mixed in a few photos from my house over the weekend when we had an amazing sunset. I loved the glow from the sky on the roses in the side yard.

Yes, that is a helipad in one of the photos. When I walk out of this building I head down the property to the helipad which is, of course, abandoned and not being used, but does make for a nice quiet place to walk around and take in the view across the freeway and listen to some birds. the towhee cousins were out and about quite a bit. Both brown and rufous sided. That blue roof building is some other business across a canyon from ours. No clue why it is such a bright blue, but there it is!

Anyway, here’s hoping that tonight is quiet without too many demands from the other occupants of the house and that I can just watch TV and stay offline. Thankfully there is a break in the AP schedule – the last one is next week so tomorrow is just a normal school day. No earlier than normal drop off or mid-day pick ups. Phew!

Walk #3

Unexpected connections, sunglasses and – chi?

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I knew Thursday would be packed.

Another department manager had resigned, and a replacement wouldn’t arrive until next week. That meant existing folks jumping in to fill the gap. For the month end close, my day helping out would fall heaviest that day.

I was prepared because I had cleared out my own tasks faster than usual and I made sure no one needed me for anything that evening in case I had to stay later.

The additional challenge to the day was not even, really, presented by the work itself.

It was the damn Health Fair!

First of all, I had it in my mind to make sure to bring the temp worker and my other full time female co-worker with me. (The male in my office was not interested).

The reason I did was because I had read a Happify task: Reach Out To A Potential Friend

Is there someone at work you’d like to befriend but don’t know how? Is there a neighbor who once said “I’d love to have you over for a drink, sometime!” but never followed through?

Now, I never take these tasks 100% literally – in fact, they all have an option for you to decide on your own how you want to approach it, but it’s the intention behind it that matters.

I wanted to reach out to the temp so she could enjoy the giveaways and presentations. She couldn’t win the raffle as someone not a full time employee, but she still might see something of interest to her and just be part of a social event to break up the day. The full time co-worker is a normally shy and quiet gal who I knew wanted to go but would also feel better if there were people with her.

Well, the other full time employee and I were over there for the full 90 minutes of the event! We had so much fun doing little things like trying out food, juice, lotions, getting a bone density reading, a BMI test and then….then..then! The one that blew us both away – the chi analysis.

We had watched them in the corner booth for a bit and already heard reports that the woman who did the reading was amazing. Her husband uses chi for pain removal, and he was also there. My co-worker has some cranky knees so she sat down for a session with him while I put our names in line for the reading. It took time because she was giving everyone at least 10 minutes at a time.

All I will say when it came to my turn is that I was astonished at how accurately she “read” me without asking me a thing! I stood in front of her for about 2-3 minutes. She was about 2 feet back from me, and she kind of bounced her hand in the air over portions of my body – mostly focusing on the torso and shoulders.  She took notes on an iPad, and when she was done I sat down, and THEN we talked.  Truthfully, she asked spot on questions, I did my best to answer succinctly because people were waiting in line – but just even her questions were so revealing that my head was in utter turmoil when I stood up.  Turmoil sounds bad, but it’s not really – there was just so much she uncovered so quickly I knew it would take time to process.  My co-worker felt the same way when she was done. Oh, and her knees felt much better, and they still do today!

We are both going to call them for a full 30 minute free session.

So, clearly I reached out and connected with my co-worker quite successfully. We were still talking about it again this morning, and it’s probably the most animated I’ve seen her since she started working here. I know I probably would not have stayed as long at the fair or perhaps not even done the chi session without her.

Oh – and we both won prizes! She won a free facial treatment, and I won a pair of pretty snazzy new sunglasses! Which is kind of funny since I had just left my old ones at my parent’s over Easter  which reminded me that those were cheap and scratched, and maybe I could treat myself to some new ones. Hmmm…maybe I gave off a chi vibe about that?

Anyway, I was extra grateful at the end of the day to have this additional task in my Happify track:

Body Scan Meditation:

Block out 10 minutes, lie down somewhere comfortable, and spend a minute focusing on your breathing.

Now, imagine you’re taking a scan of your whole body, starting with your feet and moving past your torso on up to your head.

This was absolutely perfect for me to do and I know the reason I had such a good night sleep despite working until 7 and having that turmoil in my mind is because I first talked to M about it and then did this task.

The bottom line is that these tasks make me approach things so much differently each day.  I certainly would not have made the connections that I did on Thursday which would have been a huge loss.