Random Acts

Left of Center

I made a boo boo at work; a big faux pas. I talked about politics … and specifically about Health Care Reform … with a person who most decidedly did not share the same point of view I did.

While I managed to gracefully avoid any shouting matches or finger-pointing (on either of our parts), I still came up slightly disgusted by this person’s beliefs about the Health Care Reform bill. And that’s only because I still couldn’t understand her reasoning that health care should only be provided to those who contribute something to society. What this “something” was, she couldn’t clearly define.

But this isn’t a blog post to rant about Health Care Reform. I figured one post was enough about that. No, this post is more about how my social and political ideals have always seemed to lean towards the left.

I’m sure it’s that part of me that has always believed that every person deserves to be treated with respect. And I’m not just talking about the respect that a person receives once they’ve reached a certain stature in life; whether it’s a position of being in authority or if it’s just having the job of being a parent or grandparent. Nor am I talking about respect in the sense of commanding a feeling of fear or demanding total obedience.

No, I’m talking about respect in the manner in which an individual’s feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas, wishes and preferences are taken into consideration. In which a person is accepted for their individuality and idiosyncrasies.

I’m sure that most people agree that respect is an important value to give and receive in life, but it appears that most people tend to think about being the receiver of respect rather than give someone else respect who they think may not deserve it. But then who should really be the judge on who does or doesn’t receive respect?

And see, that’s where I tend to veer off to the left. This is when I accept that every person is worthy of respect, regardless of what station they are in life; regardless of their race, religion, or lifestyle. I believe that everyone deserves at least the acknowledgement that who they are as an individual is more important than whatever “group” they might have already been lumped into.

In short, I believe that respect is a basic human right; up there amongst food, shelter and — yes, access to appropriate medical care.

So yeah. I’m guessing this is probably the reason why I tend to be more liberal than others; especially having lived in Catholic Suburbia for so long. Not saying, of course, that there weren’t others like me growing up, but living amongst more conservative affluent families with strong cultural and religious ties made it more difficult to find others like me.

Going back to my co-worker … while I don’t agree with her beliefs and subsequent reasoning for not supporting Health Care Reform**, I still respect the fact that she has her own unique perspective. And I can only hope that she respects me as well.

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It’s officially Palm Sunday today, people. This means that a week from today will be Easter; and a week plus one day will be my last Lenten act for 2010. Woo-hoo!!

Rain sleeps much more now ...

Today’s Good Deed: Okay, so the True Blue Wolverine in me had to do it. She just HAD to cheer for Michigan State today as they played for their bid to get to the Final Four in Men’s NCAA Basketball. It’s the first year I’ve ever done the March Madness brackets; and truth be told, I had MSU losing in the third round against Kansas State … But regardless, I’m glad that State made the Final Four. I think that the whole state of Michigan needs something positive to rally around.

Today’s Grateful Thought: I’m so thankful for the time I get to spend with my furbabies; my poor Rain especially. Our senior citizen kitty has been craving some extra attention lately, so I’ve been trying to cuddle her a little more than usual. Oh, I know that Rain’s nine lives will eventually expire (she is 19, after all), but that doesn’t stop me for hoping that she lives even longer than she already has.

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** It’s also interesting that we shared the same point of view when it came to funding of the Health Care Reform. So while we disagreed about the reasons behind the bill, we did find some mutual ground to share. That’s respect, baby!! 🙂

Midnite Wind

Yesterday evening I got to spend some time with an old friend, T. It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to sit more than an hour and talk … which typically would be during the annual Chicago Comicon when both of us would be “in town.”

T was always a gracious host. Charming.

I say “in town” because before last year, T would fly in from the west coast (or even overseas!) while Hubby & I would drive from Detroit. Yes, we’re that much of comic-geeks (well, rather Hubby & T are) to go yearly to Chicago for the past 5-plus years now.

Now, as of two months ago … we’re all in the same state and within one hour of each other. And because Hubby’s been helping him (as well as me) set up his own website (still under construction, BTW) to promote his own comic, the two of them have been “chatty” lately.

And seeing that *I* knew T before Hubby ever did … well, yeah. I was feeling a little left out. So yesterday, when I knew the two of them were meeting up in Evanston, I made sure that they’d stick around long enough for me to meet them after I got off work.

Seeing T again after a couple years (he never made it out to last year’s comicon, and we opted for San Diego the year before) was nice. It had me reflecting over the first day as a university student, moving into my dorm. I happened to first meet him in line while waiting to get my school ID taken.

Even though he claims we met back in high school my freshman year  after Track practice when I asked a mutual friend of ours if they had seen my brother. T even insists that I told him to look out for Dr. Bro’s “sh*tty brown car.”

Future-SIL, T and me (from right to left) ... Look how skinny I was!! Sigh ...

Which of course, makes me chuckle because that would totally be something I would have said.  Unfortunately I only have a very vague recollection of that memory. Which is why *I* still claim that we first met that first day I started in college.

“Hey,” T said to me. “Aren’t you [Dr. Bro’s real name] little sister?”

“Yeah,” I answered, as I crinkled my nose.

And every time we see each other, T has to bring up that story. Just to  remind me on how “offended” I looked when he asked me that question. And then I have to remind him how in high school I was always known as Dr. Bro’s “younger sister.” And here, on the first day at a new school, I immediately get recognized as being related to Dr. Bro. Again.

After those awkward first words, we found out that he’d eventually be moving into the same dorm that I’d be in and that we should “hang out” sometime. So afterwards, I ran up to my room and told future-SIL** that I just met my first new college friend.

Once T moved into our dorm (probably about a week after that first meeting), the three of us became quick friends. Future-SIL and I would pester him mercilessly and, for some strange reason, he would put up with us. Then there would be the countless times we’d end up in his room late at night playing poker for pennies and  … uhm, yeah … other college-related “experiences. (Oh come on now … I wasn’t that bad, but it was my first year in college after spending 12 years in Catholic school!)

T showing off his Chinese yoyo skills

Like, for instance, the time he called us on our dorm phone and whispered oh-so-quietly, “Does the wind blow at midnite?” In which he later came up at midnight with one of those industrial-sized roles of toilet paper from the communal bathroom on his floor. And brought it up to Future-SIL and my dorm room. Which was the corner room. Of the top floor of our building. And we proceeded to … uhm … let the wind carry the whole roll of toilet paper outside of our dorm room. Which then proceeded to wrap around our entire dorm building. TWICE. !!!

Anyway, my point being is that T is one of those long time friends that, regardless where we are (both in location and in whatever stage) in life, we pick up wherever we left off.

And that’s a comforting thought in the midst of chaos or tranquility.

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Eesh. Why does the last few days of Lent seem like forever? Here’s my daily Lenten bit.

Look closely at the yoyo above me ... Hmmph!

Good Deed of the Day: Does going into work for an extra day count as a good deed? If it means that I was able to give some extra feedback and encouragement and to my staff, then methinks it does!

Grateful Thought of the Day: I think this one’s obvious today. I’m grateful for friends where it’s as if we’ve never skipped a beat. It could be as simple as not having seen each other in a long time. Or it could be as unique as meeting in person for the very first time, but feeling as if we’ve known each other forever.  Those are true friendships.

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** What? You didn’t know?! I may have, in a previous post mention that my SIL and I were college roomates the first two years at university.

Pretty Asleep

Quickie entry for a Friday night. Since Hubby has an all-day conference downtown tomorrow, I’ve stupidly decided to go into work. Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Truth be told, I’m trying to get things done on a day where I’m not being constantly interrupted. As it is, it appears that the next month will be insane. And since I’d have the run of the office with no one there to bother me … why not take advantage of some peace and quiet?

So without further ado, here’s my daily activities for Lent.

Good Deed for the Day: Poor Hubby’s been working double-time lately. He’s been so busy this past week that he’s been up until the wee hours of the morning and yet still managed to wake up to get me to work on time. So the very least I could do was take his usual turn to walk our Kozzy-girl tonite just so he could take a bit of a snooze until he gets up again for another round of work.

Thankful Thought of the Day: Sleep. Right now I’m so thankful it’s time to sleep. Yeah … lame, I know. But it appears that the older I get, the more of it I need.

And since I just watched “Pretty In Pink” this evening, let me leave you with this wonderful quote that Iona said about growing old:

“Why can’t we start off old and grow young?”

The *Other* Look

Vintage Hello Kitty, circa 1976

I was five years old when I got caught shoplifting.

It’s one of those definable moments in life that a person never forgets. And it’s funny that today this memory would bubble to the surface of my mind.

I’m not quite sure what triggered this memory. Perhaps it’s because I’m hanging out at the local Border’s on Michigan Ave again (free WiFi … gotta love it!) Or maybe it’s because I happened to see a little kiosk in front of Macy’s that had stuff similar to the chotskies I stole at the tender age of five.

Anyway, I can remember shopping with my mom at Oakland Mall one Saturday afternoon when the incident happened. It must have been around Easter or Christmas, because all I could remember was having to try on frilly dresses that I had no intention of keeping clean once I wore them. Distracted by the ribbons and laces on third floor of Hudson’s, my Mom left me to my own device around the girls section.

I naturally found my way over to the little Sanrio kiosk located close to the girly accessories. The little Asian girl in me absolutely looooved Hello Kitty and secretly wished she could be Hello Kitty’s twin sister, Mimmy. As Mom continued to be distracted by polyester and rayon (it was the late 70’s at that time … breathable stain-free fabric for kids still hadn’t been invented), I thought about how cool it would be to have this pocket sized colored pencil and paper set complete with Hello Kitty stickers. Because they were so small, I didn’t think twice about putting them in my purple hippo Garanimal pants.

Early 80's Hello Kitty Chotsky. Would have gone good with those mini colored pencils!

And because my Mom just happened to call me at that moment to try on a few dresses, I quite honestly forgot about my new treasure until we got home. Which of course, when I discovered it in my pocket, I immediately went to my bedroom and began to draw with my new mini-colored pencil set.

I probably would have gotten off scott free if my Mom didn’t catch me playing with my new “toy” the next morning before Mass. In which I can remember the shame I immediately felt when she asked me where I got those pencils. Without my Mom having to say any more words, I broke down and sobbed; confessing that I took them from the store the day before.

Now is the time I can tell you about this particular look my Mom would give Dr. Bro and me whenever she was angry. In our teenage years, Dr. Bro and I would call it “The Eyes.”

Yes … Eyes. As in plural. Because she just wouldn’t give us the “stink eye” where one eye would squint while the other eye glared at you intensely with the corresponding eyebrow severely arched in an upward manner. No … my Mom’s look was more like two normally big eyes bulging out to two times its normal size. Both eyebrows would be arched to the extreme while she glared at you as if lasers would shoot from her eyes to burn every fiber of hair on our heads. Needless to say, Dr. Bro and I would run and take cover whenever “The Eyes” would come out.

Probably late 90's version of Hello Kitty

I distinctly remember the look in my Mom’s face when I confessed about stealing the pencil and pad set. Because it wasn’t “The Eyes.” Rather, it was this strange mixture of shock and sadness. As she stood speechless in front of me for a few moments, I suddenly felt smaller than I ever had been in the five short years of my life. I can recall feeling that way because I knew my shoplifting caused her to have that expression … and I hated knowing that I disappointed her so badly. At that moment, I almost wished I would have gotten “The Eyes” instead of that other look.

After she recovered from my confession, I was told to go to my room where I would wait anxiously until she returned. That’s when I got the lecture about stealing, which of course was reinforced by the Seventh Commandment. Then it was off to Mass where I had to pray to God for forgiveness. Afterward, we went straight to the mall where my Mom would make me give back what I stole and tell the store clerk that I was very sorry.

Obviously it was a very good method of learning from one’s mistake, because I’ve never shoplifted again since that incident.

I’ve seen “The Eyes” many times in my life; especially during those high school and college years. But I had never seen that other look since my shoplifting incident. I’ve never seen her disappointed in me as much as she was that Sunday morning.

To me, that is an extremely important thing to remember. Because even during the worst days of my infertility journey, when I felt as if I was as small as that five-year old version of me, she’s never me shown that “Other Look.”

Which, to me, means that even though *I* feel as if I’ve disappointed both her and my Dad by not giving them the grandchildren they so deserve, my Mom isn’t.

Disappointed in me, that is.

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Whew … is Easter here yet?! Oh yes, only 10 more days left of this Lenten Crusade.

Probably my fave Hello Kitty ... a Filipino version! LOL!

Daily Random Act of Kindness: Ugh. Having a hard time remember what good deed I’ve done today. Short of holding elevators for complete strangers and holding doors open for fellow employees, I can’t think of anything significant. Eesh … perhaps I need to make it up tomorrow with a better good deed.

Daily Thought of Gratitude: Not sure if I already said this in the past 30 or so days or this exercise, but I’m thankful for mass transportation. I love that I can get to places without having to drive myself (or have Hubby drive). I love that I can jump on a bus and travel down one end of Michigan Avenue to the other. But another unexpected benefit of mass transit is that I find myself getting more walking time in; it forces me to be active for more than I normally would have been if I was still living in Detroit.

Okay. I’m tired … and I still have another day of work in front of me before the weekend. Think I’m calling it a night!!

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Ink Me


I’ve always loved water

I’ve been itching to get a tattoo. “What?,” says those few ApronStrings Readers left. “You mean you don’t have one?” And my answer to that would be a surprising no. Especially seeing that my early 20’s were spent at the height of the tattoo revival in the 90’s.

It’s not that I didn’t have the opportunity to get one or two (or three) over the past several years … it’s just that I never knew exactly what I wanted. And if I was going to get something tattood onto me permanently, I needed it to be something I knew I could live with for the rest of my life.


And since our Honeymoon, I’ve loved Hawaii

That was one of the two criteria that had to be met before I would even seriously think of getting a tattoo; aesthetics. My tattoo had to be something that was both personal and meaningful. And it had to beautiful; well, at least in my eyes.

The second criteria had more to do about where this tattoo would be located. In my career as a bedside nurse, I’ve seen enough tattoos in various areas that most people wouldn’t want you to see. Well, unless … (go ahead; use your imagination … ) Regardless, it’s seeing how some of these tattoos start to morph into shapeless blobs with age or worse, change in body-type (read: weight gain/loss, etc). So that was my second criteria: I had to be satisfied with where this tattoo would be displayed. It couldn’t be in any area that I knew would eventually sag or expand.

And the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve also realized that I need to find a “strategic” area to place this tattoo. Because I’m now in a position at work where I’m more visible to other vendors and associates outside of my immediate department, I would need to think of an area where it might not be as noticeable.


So how to make it tattoo-like?

So why have I been thinking about finally getting a tattoo? Well, it’s not because I don’t know what I want to get; because I do. And it’s not because I don’t know where to get it; because I have a good idea about that, too. It’s really because I just had a co-worker who got her first tattoo.

You see, I’ve actually known what I wanted to get for quite a while now. And I’ve had a general idea of where I would place this tattoo. But the thing is, I want to have Hubby design it for me. I want his artwork to be part of my body. So until Hubby is able to make my design a reality, I won’t be getting my tattoo.

I just realllly hope it’s before I get any older … because I never know what part of my body will begin to sag next.

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Indonesian today. So here’s those Daily Lenten act.

 

This is probably the closest ... but not quite!

Perbuatan baik untuk hari ini: Nope; no dollar bills lying around today. However, there was something else lying around on the ground when I went to take our Kozzy-girl for a walk tonite. Because on Monday I happened to inadvertently stepped in one of those yucky doo-doo’s. SO … yes, I picked it up in our handy doggie bags and threw it away. And no Hubby, it’s not the same one you left behind last night because *I* forgot to reload the doggie-bag container. 😛

Rasa syukur untuk hari: Grateful thought of the day? That would be that Hubby cooked dinner for me tonight before leaving for one of his Meetup groups. Which he totally didn’t have to, but because he knew I had an incredibly busy day at work again … he did it so I didn’t need to cook when I got home. Can you tell how much I love him? Now if he’d only design  my tattoo …

Voices Emily

I’ve made no bones that, at one time in my life I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to sing in front of adoring fans and raise the roof with some kick-a$$ songs that I wrote myself. Never mind that I was just a mediocre musician. And never mind that I never have an incredibly strong voice. I mean really … I never did make the actual Show Choir in High School; the same Show Choir that would go on to compete and  perform in other settings (a-la Glee).

My Cousins & I being "Gleeks"

Regardless, I just wanted to BE something important; to display some incredible talent and to feel some pride in myself. I wanted show that I had enough confidence in myself because confidence was something I’ve struggled with my entire life.

Well, not my entire life. Just from Eighth Grade on, when upon leading up to graduation from middle school, I was voted “Most Arrogant.” Which then resulted in me being ousted from my usual group of classmates; especially  during our class trip to Toronto where I got stuck rooming with one of the school teachers and the other “bad girls” of our class.

Anyway, my point in bringing that up is to show how one bad incident in a person’s life can affect his or her outlook in life; his or her confidence in what may be considered talent or skill.

Hubby rockin' out on Rockband

Last week I’ve start getting back into American Idol. I usually like watching the first few weeks with all the auditions just so I can get a good laugh at some of the contestants (“Pants on the ground,” anyone?). Then I usually opt out of Hollywood Week and the first few live weeks; aiming to pick it back up around the Top 12 or so. And I think I do that because by then, most of the contestant’s real personalities start to show off in their performance; they’re more comfortable in the skin that they’re in. In short, they start to have much more confidence in themselves.

The reason I brought up American Idol in relationship to confidence is because some of the comments that Simon, Randy and the other judges make in response to some of the contestants’ performances. Many times I’ve heard them say that singers need to find themselves in the song choices they make; they need to make the song their own. And while I sometimes think they try to pigeonhole a few contestants into a certain genre, I do feel that the judges do that in their best interest; to help the contestants focus on what the judges feel is their strength.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my parents had a very early version of a karaoke machine; a dual tapedeck and 8-track player that could record your voice singing to an instrumental version of any song in your karaoke tape library. (What can I say? It was the early 80’s … CD’s and digital technology wasn’t consumer-friendly at the time.) So yeah, I’ve got a few tapes downstairs in my parents’ basement with my voice one them.

More Rockband with Hubby's Cousins

But the thing about these recordings is that my voice always tried to sound like the artist that originally recorded the song. Whether it was a breathy version of “Like a Virgin” or a nasally version “Do You Really Wanna Hurt Me?” I never truly discovered my own voice.

As I continue to find my new reality in a Child-free world, I’m finding that I’m beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I find that, although I’m not always the most well-liked person out there … don’t always hold the same popular opinion that other people have … I’m quite okay with it; comfortable enough that I don’t always feel like I need to be “right” or prove someone “wrong.”

Oh, believe me … most days I still find myself “left out” of the Mommyhood Club, seeing that I’m part of that 10% of the population that bite the infertility statistical bullet. There are more days than none where I feel the losses more than I count my blessings … but those “off days” seem to happen less frequently.

And, unlike the awkward 13-year old eighth-grader who felt incredibly shunned by her classmates, I’m no longer afraid of showing a little pride in myself; a little more confidence on who I really am … regardless of whether I’m a mom or not.

Ironically? This year … the year I’ve finally accepted myself and my body for what it is? Well, it’s the same year that I’ve managed to stop trying to sing like Madonna; the year that I’ve finally found my own voice.

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Annnnddd … it’s Finnish today; for my Daily Lenten exercise:

Tyler also "Rocks Out"!

Hyvän teon tänään: Once again, I managed to find another stray dollar bill laying around. This time it was in a typically busy hallway at work. And of course when I found it, the entire hallway was empty. So once again, I made a donation to my co-worker’s favorite homeless guy. Funny thing was, when I found it I was on the phone with Hubby. And his comment was, “Wow; if you kept all the dollar bills you’ve found recently, you’d have a nice little pot.” Of which I quickly replied, “No way … I’d rather have my good deed return to me in spades!” Hey, my philosophy has always been “What goes around, comes around”!

Tunne kiitollisuutta päivä: I am so grateful to have the staff of RN Case Managers that I do. Even though they challenge me every day … today, especially as I rolled out their performance goals for the year … they’ve always showed appreciation to me for giving them the opportunity to express their opinions. Hey, I figure that I’d rather hear the complaints directly in front of me than behind my back!!

Okay, that’s all for now. G’night once again!

First Day of Spring

Tyler in Chicago for Spring Break 2009

Today marked the first day of spring here in Chicago. So what was the first this I saw this morning? Snow. What’s worse is that yesterday was absolutely beautiful; just like the previous three days before then.

Welcome to the Midwest; where we’re all proud to boast the fact that we get to experience all four seasons. We just may not experience them in the order that Nature is supposed to hand them to us.

On another note, it looks like we won’t be heading back to Detroit until late April. We were thinking of going home for Easter, but were actually dreading the drive home for once. I’m not sure if it’s age, but I just can’t seem to recover as quickly from busy weekends and long drives.

In any case, instead of visiting family for Easter … we’ll be entertaining instead. It appears that both my niece and nephew will be coming to visit us for the weekend and it should be fun. I’m especially hoping to spend some time with Tyler, as I’m sure that this will be one of the last Spring Breaks he’ll want to spend with us once he hits high school next year. And it should definitely be fun seeing Kairi … as I know she’s finally able to readily recognize us.

Kairi with Dad and Tyler, 2009

What will be interesting is to see how Kairi and Kozzy get along. Last year when the whole family came and visited, Kairi was only seven months old and Kozzy was still too new to the city. It was funny to watch the two of them try to interact, as both were rather scared of one another. The best part was that whenever Kozzy barked, Kairi would naturally cry … and if Kairi cried, Kozzy would have to put her two cents in and bark back. And if one would get louder, the other one had to raise it up a notch, too! So we’ll see how both are with each other when they meet again on Easter weekend!

Until then, I must continue on with the promise I made to post daily. And I do confess … I’m looking forward towards the end of my daily posts. Not that I don’t want to continue doing Random Acts of Goodness or write about things I’m grateful for … no, I’m just looking forward to going back to writing about more substantial things other than (what feels like) a journal entry of daily events.

Anyhoo … let’s get on with my Lenten activities.

Tyler & Hubby on Navy Pier, 2009

Una buona azione del giorno: Why do I feel like I should be having pasta and marinara right now instead of saying what good deed I did today? I think the nicest thing I did today was wake up early this morning just to take my Kozzy-girl out for her walk. Apparently Kozzy thought she was doing ME a favor by waking me up at the time I normally wake up for the weekend. <Hmmmph> But really, what she wanted to do was go out for her morning stroll. Too bad neither of us knew exactly how cold it was this morning … me without my winter boots and Kozzy without her doggie coat. Brrrr ….

Sentimenti di gratitudine per la Giornata: Today’s grateful thought is all about the availability of free WiFi. If it wasn’t for that and my laptop, I would be tied to the apartment … or worse , to my cubicle at work … doing all the other stuff for work that I can’t get done during the normal business week. So yes … free WiFi? I heart you. Dearly.

No Schedules Allowed

It’s finally Friday night and I’m so happy that the weekend is finally here. So what if the weather is supposed to be crappy weather all weekend? So what if it’s probably going to be spent doing laundry? Or, worse, work?

All I know is that I’m not going to be held to a specific schedule; not going to be pulled into a last-minute meeting. Not going to have to deal with a constant barrage of emails and IM’s. And even though there is work to be done, the fact that I’m going to be able to work at my own pace just totally makes the whole weekend!

So this post is going to be short tonite; no fluffy stories or reflections about a child-free life. Tonite is all about keeping up with my Daily Lenten promise.

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Today’s Good Deed: While walking the mutt-ster this morning, I managed to find a dollar bill on the sidewalk. After looking all around me to see if there was anybody in the vicinity that might have lost the money, I picked up the dollar and put it in my pocket. And no … the good deed wasn’t that I returned the dollar to the person who lost it. I actually made it a point to give it to my co-worker who, every work day, passes the same hungry homeless man on the way to her commuter train station. I figured that he could use the dollar more than I could.

Today’s Gratitude: Can I just say one word? Friday. 🙂

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One more thing … couldn’t resist putting a photo of this up here. Thought this was one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen in quite awhile; perfect for the annual dyeing of the Chicago River for St. Patty’s Day. Click on the picture to find out more about the Ad Agency behind the concept.

Out of My Shell

Nice Sunny Chicago Day ... Last Summer!

It’s gorgeous outside. And I know this, despite being locked up under artificial lights since 8:30 this morning, because I’ve been unchained from my desk for a lunch time break. I couldn’t let the beautiful day go by without soaking up some of that sun.

I’m getting a head start on today’s post only because I will be attending my second Meetup for the week; another one about Bloggers in the Chicago area. This apparently is one of the bigger groups (300+ members), so I’m a little hesitant to see how personal or unpersonal this event will be.

In any case, I suppose it’s a good thing to get out there in this city. After a over a year of being here, I need to find a balance between work and play. And seeing that this was one of my problems back in Detroit, I figure it best be something I correct now.

It’s amazing how the older we get, the harder it is to step outside of our shells. Somedays I’m still amazed how I managed to pick up and leave the only city I’ve ever known and start over. And having a job waiting for me was definitely a blessing in disguise; because, if anything, at least that provided me with the ability to interact with people and relate to them on some common ground (the job, our backgrounds as Case Managers, etc).

This hasn’t been the same for Hubby. While he continued to have free-lance jobs and interact with people either online or on the phone, there wasn’t much face-to-face interaction in his day. (It probably was more face-to-laptop screen or ear-to-iPhone interaction more than anything.) While I encouraged him to work outside of our apartment where there were more chances of human contact, somedays he was too busy to leave his home-office. And somedays, he preferred only furbaby interaction instead.

Either way, it’s a good thing that he discovered Meetup.com. It’s a site that allows people to search for communities and events by interest; narrowing it down to a specific location. And because Chicago is a rather big city, there happens to be more groups/communities available that suit his interests. So for the past (almost) three months now, he’s been attending various events and beginning to build his network.

Now is the time for me to start doing this. And seeing that my interests lately have been more towards writing more and blogging, it makes sense to go to this Meetup tonite. I have no idea where this blog will take me, but I truly hope that I can at least learn some tips of the trade in trying to get my blog out there and read more often.

Wish me luck!!

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Whew … 17 more days and counting until my Lenten journey is over! Go me!!

Good Deed Du Jour: Today we had another inservice at work for the entire staff. Unfortunately, the majority of my in-house staff wanted to go together; which I couldn’t allow because our phones needed to be covered for potential incoming live calls from our Customer Service area. But since two staff members left behind had really expressed interest over going to this topic in the past, I told them I’d cover for their phones and get our telecommuters to cover the phones as well. Both of them were very grateful!

Gratitude Du Jour: Thank goodness for warm sunny days! Nothing like a little bit of sunshine to give us a taste of Spring … which officially begins on the 21st! Yay!!

Triple the Thanks

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world; someone to love, something to do, and something to be hopeful for.”  — Tom Bodett

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all you Laddies and Lassies … Well what’s left of it anyway.

Oh yeah, a Detroit Original ... *finally* in Chicago!

But more important (at least to me), Happy Blog O’Versary to me!!

Yeah, I’m lame; but I just had to add a bit o’ Irish to it, seeing as I started this blog three years ago to the day.

After my first Meetup last night, I was so exhausted. Not that going to the event was so stressful … It’s just that it had been a reaaallly long day, and the last thing I felt like doing was writing a blog entry. Yet I persisted. After all, I made that lofty promise both here and with NaBloPoMo. (D*mn you, the overachiever in me!)

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This week I’ve been trying to have One-on-One meetings with my staff. It’s something that I’ve learned from my previous stint as a supervisor that has proven to beneficial with getting to understand my team.  While meetings are a great way for a message to be delivered in a manner where everyone hears it at the same time, One-on-One meetings provide a person to be heard and recognized individually. And since many days I’m too busy running from meetings to meetings of my own instead of being readily available to them, I’ve made it a point to allot a block of time on my schedule just to spend quality mentoring time together.

On the drive to the West Loop yesterday.

The thing is, I now have a staff of 12 people; 10 of them that are Nurse Case Managers (CM). With six CMs, carrying out One-on-One’s are quite a chore. Adding the additional four new CMs to the list? Well, it’s simply exhausting … even if I broke them up over the past three days. But the upswing to them is that I’ve really gotten to know these four new hires.

Two of the new CMs are younger in age** in comparison to the rest of my staff. Not that the rest of my staff are years and years older than them. But with these young newbies come a fresher, more enthusiastic attitude than the more established CMs.

Then there’s the older, more experienced new hire. She has years of knowledge in Case Management and resources up the wazoo. After spending time with her today, I realize that she is definitely one (of the very few) staff members than can understand the intellect behind some of the business decisions in our department.*** And, trust me … I truly appreciate that!

Anyway, this older new hire is currently going through Empty Nest syndrome. With her only daughter now in college and no spouse in the picture, she confessed that she had been going through a difficult time. For the past 18-plus years, her life was centered on her child’s life, and now she’s not exactly sure what her next step will be.

We stumbled on THIS while trying to find parking ...

Reflecting on that conversation had me contemplating about my struggles with my infertility “next steps.” For so long, my life was centered on getting pregnant and starting our family. After the failed IVF attempt, Hubby & I went on a long sabbatical on actively TTC (trying to conceive) to decide what our next step would be. Should we try another round of IVF? Or should we look at adoption? And even if we finally came to a decision, could we even afford either option? But after a multi-year sabbatical, entwined with several pregnancies in our families alone, we finally decided to go down the Childfree Living path.

While doing this, I realized that “Empty Nesting” is similar to an infertile who finally sets free that dream of having a family. Suddenly there’s no purpose in life and there’s a struggle to find out what to do next. And the childless couple as well as the Empty Nester both share the same thought process; both begin to think, “Our lives no longer revolve around a child anymore.”

It’s just that an infertile’s “child” is merely a dream.

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One last bit about my Blog O’Versary … Thank you for all those readers and commenters out there; both faithful and new. Knowing that my voice is heard in some manner or another means that I am leaving a legacy behind … even if it’s a “virtual” legacy.

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We were told it's a large toy storage facility!

Oops. Almost forgot about my Daily Lenten practice. But really, this shouldn’t be too hard today.

Daily Good Deed: I think that today, my daily good deed happens to be setting the time aside to spend with my staff. As much as these One-on-One meetings take up a big chunk of my schedule when I could spend it working on those projects and reports I’ve been assigned to, I believe that this is one of those value-added tasks that allow me to see the bigger picture of my staff.

Daily Gratitude: It’s all about you readers today. Again … thanks for your love and support.

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** Which sometimes makes me feel so old as their supervisor … especially since I’ve always been the youngest CM/Superivsor on the block. And here I am hiring younger staff than me … eesh!

*** Here’s an example of what I mean. I know that most people are resistant to change, and I expect that. When enhancing and streamlining a piece of our established CM process, most of my established CMs will voice concerns that we’re adding an “extra” piece of work for us to do. While they may see it as non-value added step (despite given a logical explanation), this older CM actually sees it as another piece of the puzzle to a) understand the member and b) a way to “justify” our jobs.

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