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More Flopped than Flipped

The story of my life ...

There’s no other way to put this than saying that I’ve suddenly found myself unemployed. Without going into details, my whole world has … as the title of this post suggests … as been turned upside down. Once again.

But I’m trying my hardest not to feel weighted down, as if I’m falling down that rabbit hole of darkness.

Oh, who am I kidding? A week ago today, I fell. And I fell hard. But now I’m trying to climb out of that hole and not let all those negative thoughts pile up on me; like they did for years and years.

It’s funny how one big “fall” can trigger certain negative thoughts to resurface. And when I mean all … I mean all ; especially those illogical and irrational ones. For lack of better explanation, let me give  you an example of my train of thoughts lately:

“I’ve lost my job because I wasn’t <insert negative adjective> enough.”

… quickly turns into …

“I’m just not a good person.”

… Then that turns into …

“And because I’m not a good person, I don’t deserve good things in life.”

… which then turns into …

“I don’t deserve to be a mother.”

Yep. When I alluded to all negative emotions … I meant all . Even those ones that I thought I might have resolved over the past year.

As Hubby pointed out to me this past week, when things get bad I tend to pile everything up into one big ball of negativity. And instead of thinking about what “good” I’ve done in my life, I pile on  — no, I shovel on — all the “bad” dirt on top of the hole that I already fell down into. So for the past week, I’ve been trying desperately to unravel that tangled ball of yarn … dig out of that hole I’ve started to fill up … that has totally messed up my mind.

I’m much better today. Obviously, since I’m finding myself able to write about it now. But catch me three or four days ago, and I didn’t even have the energy to read my emails or screw around on Facebook. And we all know how much Emily loves her Facebook.

Having Hubby’s support, as well as both sets of parents and siblings, has been my saving grace. If it hadn’t been for them, I think I might have begun to believe those irrational thoughts about me being “bad.” And it’s because of an idea that Hubby came up with last night that I’ve decided to pick up my pen — er, laptop — and write (type?) again.

That idea? It came from a blog that Hubby, in his “design world”, stumbled on. This site, as the writer explains, is all about the small victories in life. And as Hubby has told me time and time again, I need to remember those achievements that I’ve made … especially when things get down and, well … dirty.

If I HAD to be hung out to dry ... let it be on a beach

So this will be my goal. In the course of the day, I will try to find a small victory I’ve conquered. And I’ll continue to do this every day until I find a new job. (At least that’s the plan … )

Because right now, I think I need to wrap my own set of “Apron Strings” around myself. I need to find some of my own happiness in any little victory I can.

Oh, and my small victory for today? I turned on my laptop and started blogging again.

If you’re interested in reading the “whole” story, feel free to email me or comment below and I’ll send you the password for the following PWP-post. It’s not the same one that I’ve used before. **

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** For obvious reasons, you’ll also find that any previously un-PWP posts related to work also share this same password.

How To Deal

Kairi during her visit to Chicago

I am so happy that today is Thursday because this means I only have one more day to deal with work.

As predicted, I came back to the office with more fires than I could possibly put out in one day. Never mind the fact that after our house guests left yesterday afternoon, I already signed on to my work emails just to play a little catch-up before physically returning today. And never mind that today should have really been spent at our monthly leadership class.

So yeah … the dedicated employee in me thought it best that I stay in my cubicle today and work diligently at putting out fires. And the dedicated employee in me will return again tomorrow to do the same thing again.

One of the things I dealt with today was the frustration that some of my staff members voiced over issues that have been ongoing since the beginning of the year. And while I understand their frustration and have often allowed them more than enough time to yammer on about how unreasonable they feel certain things are … there are some days (like today, for instance) that it’s just not the right time to go on and on about these things.

Now before I hear about how I shouldn’t let them complain about the way things are and that I, as their direct supervisor, should just demand that they do what I tell them to do (after all, they’re getting paid to do this work, right?) … That’s just not who I am.

I am not a dictator and I am not a micro-manager. I have always been someone that has sought to find some sort of win-win solution amongst all parties. I figure it’s better to get an employee to “buy in” to a new process, a new way of thinking rather than “force” them to do something that they don’t understand or don’t think makes any sense.

Kitty Cat Rain, hiding from a curious toddler!

So yeah … I would rather hear their frustration. As long as it comes with some sort of idea for a solution. And besides … I’d rather have them “complain” in front of me rather than go off in a huddled mass and let the bitterness and negativity fester around me.

While admittedly taking this time with my staff takes a lot of energy out of me, it does reap some great rewards. The number one reward is that my staff trusts me; and it’s because during these “wailing” sessions, I’m always adamant about being as honest and truthful as I can be about any given situation. And of course, the other reward is that they are more than willing to help me or the rest of their teammates out in a pinch.

Today, amidst all of the chaos at work, I managed to experience one of these rewards … one that actually took me by suprise in the form of one of my most pessimistic employee.

While originally she did come by my cubicle to talk about an issue that was bothering her … an issue that resulted in an answer that I knew wasn’t one she’d like … she suprised me by saying, “Well, I guess I’m meant to experience these types of situations over and over again until I learn how to deal with it properly.”

Wow … I was literally floored by her statement. And completely amazed by how much growth she’s experienced in the year that I’ve known her. Because a year ago, I’m pretty darn sure she would have stormed off in anger and let it fester for ever and ever and ever.  But instead, she accepted it as if she knew it was something that was beyond her control … and that the only thing she could control was how she could react to it.

Tyler was *SO* excited to ride the CTA

Which then lead into another discussion about how there are certain things in life that are beyond our control. And that the trick to being “okay” with situations (rather than angry or sad) is to realize what we can and can’t control about the situation … how we can react, whether to expend energy on something that may prove to be futile anyway, etc.

So after this incredible conversation I had with my team member, I took a moment to reflect exactly what she had said to me. And how it reflected in my own life; particularly on how I’ve dealt with my infertility.

What I came up with was this:

Obviously during my journey to Hubby & my decision to finally live child-free after infertility I’ve ran into many “challenges,” many pregnancy or adoption announcements, many invitations to children’s birthday parties. And sadly, I’ve even faced one of the hardest challenges that life can indirectly throw my way. But even then I obviously hadn’t learned the lesson I was meant to get out of these challenges.

It wasn’t until I learned to give up that anger that I had felt for so long that I began to feel a little sense of calm. And as I slowly came out of the sadness and depression that followed the anger, I truly was able to open myself up to more than just grief.

And what opened up was this incredible opportunity to literally step away from the world where most of my grief took place. Once I gave up that feeling of having to “control” … or rather, brace myself from the grief of my infertility, I began to feel “okay”with myself … okay with the fact that I had no control over my body.

But what I did have control over was exactly how I could react to these situations. And what I did have control over was what path I could take next.

My new favorite picture of my niece & nephew!

Having been in my new world for over a year now, I can finally look back and know that Hubby & I have taken the path that feels most suitable for us … given that we couldn’t have children of our own.

So the lesson I learned today from my employee? The one that usually tends to be the most distrustful and discouraging? I’ve learned that even though you can try to force control over certain situations like trying to have children (and all that comes with an infertile trying to become pregnant or trying to adopt**), the best course of action is to simply trust in yourself and learn how best to deal with it.

** Easier said than done, I know. But I’m living proof that you can still be infertile and learn how to “Just Relax.” It’s taken me 13-plus years; but I think I’m actually at peace with my infertility.

Wanted: An Old Skool Spring Break

Wow. It’s bee-yooo-teee-ful outside here in Chicago. It’s a nice 68 degrees outside and sunny. But the best part is that tomorrow it’s supposed to reach the low 70’s!

Unfortunately, I’ll be stuck behind my desk at work for most of the day. Boo.

At least I was able to enjoy today; as I worked from home. How enjoyable is it to be able to take a mid-morning break to walk our doggie? And I just love not having to wake up any earlier to get ready for work on these days, when all  I have to do is roll out of bed, stumble to my trusty laptop and sign into the office. Oh how I wish I could do this more than once a month!

Today being the Wednesday before the Easter, I’ve noticed a lot more students out and about enjoying the nice weather. Which makes me believe that these kids are all on some sort of Spring break or semester break of sorts.

Jealous!!

Makes me wish I could be back at school just so I can have those extra days off. And it’s not just because you automatically get those days off … it’s more that when you’re off at that time, your entire “business as usual” routine stops. There’s no other person that you’re responsible for when you’re off. There’s no other person relying on you to make sure things are in order for him/her when you’re gone for the week. And most of all, there’s no pile of work waiting for you when you return from that time off.

Now, scheduling a vacation … even just between Hubby & I is a pain in the neck. After all, last time we went away (to Vegas, baby) … and even though people knew we would be gone, chaos still ensued which ultimately ended up with Hubby having to deal with work-related things. While on vacation.

Blech. When did we become so responsible?

But speaking of vacation … I know that I’m ripe for another one sometime soon. Maybe it’s the fatigue I’ve been dealing with. Or maybe it’s the feeling of being overworked that has me feeling like this. Either way, I think it’s time some quality Mr. & Mrs. ApronStrings time.

Unfortunately … and this goes back to the whole scheduling a vacation thing … that probably won’t be until August; when we’re scheduled to go on an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle with my parents.**

Oh, I take that back. It’ll be in July to Toronto for Hubby’s cousin’s wedding. But even then, it’ll only be for a long weekend.

Anyhoo … I wish that my numbers would come up in the MegaMillions lottery. That way I can go on vacation and travel more often!

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Whew. I did it. I blogged for two straight months … IN A ROW!

And thanks to NaBloPoMo … I get this lucky badge to add to my awards and such. Woo-hoo!

But hold on to you’re seats, kiddo. I still have 5 mores left of posting daily to fulfill that Lenten promise. So without further ado:

Random Act of Kindness Today: Sunday it was my kitty, Rain that needed all the attention. Today (and in most days that I work from home), it was my other kitty, Yami. So … before taking our Kozzy-girl out for that mid-morning walk, I let Yami snuggle on my lap and paw away at my computer for a bit until she got fed up with me trying to take a picture of her on the PhotoBooth application on my laptop. She’s just too adorable to resist … but when ya gotta work … 🙂

Grateful Thought Today: Work-From-Home Days … for all the reasons I listed above. Plus … the fact that I tend to concentrate better on reports and projects without the constant interruptions and meetings. Somedays it can be a challenge (read: still get interrupted by emails and phone calls and IM’s), but it’s worth it just to be able to sleep a tad longer.

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** Thank G*D for my parents love of traveling … if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think Hubby & I would have the gumption to plan something on our own. But really … it would be nice to have a quick getaway with just Hubby & me; to recharge our batteries.

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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!

Mish Mosh

I think I’ve hit the proverbial “brick wall” with my daily blog entries. I’m just not at all feeling creative these days and I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m just 15 days away from finishing up the promise I made to myself to post daily until the Monday after Easter.

Yeah, I’ve got me some writer’s block going on.

Oh, not that I don’t have things to say (when don’t I?), I think I’m at that state where I know I’m in the last stretch before the home front. And if I. Can. Just. Push myself. A little further …

Today was laundry day. And at the cafe next to the laundromat, there happened to be this sign –>

How can you not laugh after seeing that? Especially now that I’m imagining a future bowl of soup take off on me in the midst of consuming it so it can save the world.

Afterward, it was back to the local coffee house so that Hubby can continue to do some more work without the distractions of the TV at home. Nope … instead we were distracted by looking up scores for the NCAA March Madness Tourney.

Of which, this is the first year I’ve ever did a set of brackets. While I’ve known I’m a sports fan(atic) for a while, I’ve never been too much of a college basketball lover. (Hubby blames it on the demise of Michigan’s Fab Five.) And I could never understand how people could become so distracted on those Thursdays and Fridays of the NCAA tournament. Until now. D*mnit.

Oh, and I just have to send a quick shout-out to my alma mater, Oakland University that did make the tournament this year. Unfortunately they lost in the first round. But that’s more I can say about Hubby’s alma mater. 😛

One more piece of babble before I sign off for the night. And I have to mention it only because it is a rather historic day in Washington DC. I think any American would’ve had to be living under a rock these past couple years not to know what I’m talking about.

Hubby "rockin' it" at the local *Bucks

Yes, I can’t believe that today will be the House vote on whether or not to pass the Health Care Reform bill. And seeing that the key Democratic  hold-out amended his decision based on a last-minute Executive Order from Obama, it’s sounding more and more like this Health Care Reform bill will be signed into legislation by the end of tonight or in the early morning hours.

As a professional clinician in the Health Care arena … let alone one that specifically works for a health insurance company, I’m honestly a little nervous about what this will mean for the landscape of my imminent future. While I will be incredibly relieved that this version of Health Care Reform means that everyone has access to quality health care (because regardless of whether a person is poor or rich, we should all have the basic human right of receiving appropriate care), I’m a little worried of the reality on how this will all be funded.

Again, not saying that I disagree with the concept that every living being should be able to have access to the basic human right of quality health care … I’m just simply stating that if Health Care costs continue to rise at the rate that they do, how will even the federal government pay for it?

My Mom made the comment this afternoon as a spoke with her that it’s because of rise in Health Insurance premiums that have forced those previously opposed to the bill change their mind. She specifically pointed to my employer ( … you know, the one who pays my bills?) as an example.

WTF?! This is Suburban Chi-Town's version of the Leaning Tower

However, what she failed to see (and what most people also fail to realize) is that the raise in premiums is due to the rise in overall health care costs. And rise in overall health care costs is a combination of multiple factors. One which can specifically be directed towards those pharmaceutical companies and high technology companies that produce those multi-million dollar machines that can diagnose cancer just by standing next to it.

I’m kidding, of course. There is no such instrument. But the truth is, it’s these companies that charge US the consumers millions of billions of dollars in order to turn a healthy profit on their end. And when I talk about “consumers,” I mean any person that seeks health care services, the facilities that prescribe these drugs or purchase these instruments, and the health insurance companies.

Where else would these pharmaceutical companies get the money to advertise their medications (A$$-effects anyone?) And how else would they continue to make the profits by keeping the patents to these medications for years and years (and years), and charge hundreds of dollars for their “Brand Name” drug when it could be made more readily available for generic distribution (and therefore cheaper to the consumers)?

So yes, this is more the reason I’m concerned about the current Health Reform bill. Because, quite frankly, it really doesn’t discuss any reform when it comes to health care spending.

Another Random Chicago Pic

And maybe it’s because I’ve seen both sides of the equation … both as a Registered Nurse working in the hospital and as a RN Case Manager working for the health insurance company …  trying to assist with finding resources for those un(der)insured patients in order for them to be safely discharged home, that I absolutely know Health Care Reform is needed.

I just hope that somehow with the passing of this bill, that these other issues will also be addressed. Especially now that those “bills” (as in the bills that typically get sent to the individual who received services and/or the health insurance company, if they have any) would be the responsibility of our government.

Whew. Okay … this was a much longer post that I anticipated. But hey … perhaps this means I’ve plowed through that brick wall?!

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In German today, here’s my Daily Lenten exercise.

Eine gute Tat des Tages: Uhm … I’m honestly not quite sure I did a Good Deed today. At least not yet. I guess I’ll have to do something before the day is officially over. Hmmm … perhaps walk our Kozzy-girl when we get home? So Hubby can continue to work? Yeah. Think I’ll do that.

Gefühle der Dankbarkeit für den Tag: Well, today I’m grateful for Hubby who did a stellar job in helping out with the laundry today. Especially since I’m not feeling a 100% today. I’m all achey and clammy. Uh-oh. 🙁

Okay y’all. Time to sign off for now. Until tomorrow …

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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