Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Gjon Mili—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

I love this picture. It makes me want to jump for joy!

What leaps are you taking today?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


There's a light on a hill

That's far out in the distance
And it calls out my name
It calls out for a change
- Fishbone, "Change"

Well, my friends. There have been a lot of changes going on and it has been pretty overwhelming.

For one, I changed jobs. Of course, every job is different; every job has its good and bad things about it. I had been at my last job for over five years and I guess I got pretty comfortable there. So now, being in a new place, I am struck by the contrast. There are good things: the people I work with are really on the ball, super organized and detail-oriented. The work flow proceeds at a much quicker pace, so there is definitely a sense of accomplishment. Some things are neither good or bad--just different. Among those: the corporate culture here is very reserved. People don't do a lot of socializing. There seem to be an inordinate number of rules and safety regulations. To be in compliance with licensing, we do multiple types of drills--earthquake, fire, civil unrest. The bad: many of the employees are unhappy. There's a lot of talk about how the organization has gone downhill in recent years. Interestingly, this has not a whole lot to do with the economy, which you might expect, but rather with what many see as a shift in corporate culture. What also strikes me is that at the last place I worked, people uniformly seemed excited about the mission and purpose of the organization--even people who didn't work directly with the clients were proud of the agency's work. There was a sense of ownership. Not so, here. There is a definite divide between the people who work with clients and who genuinely seem enthusiastic about their work, and those who don't (no buy-in whatsoever, it could be just any job). These are just my impressions, but it is a big difference to me.

Other changes:  a lot of family drama. A LOT. Not in my immediate little Blah Blah circle, but in my family of origin--i.e. my mom, my sister, my brother-in-law and ther family. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but that whole crew lives together. Until my grandma passed last year, there were four generations in one house. In the last year or so, relationships there have deteriorated. My mom and brother-in-law stopped speaking, there were periodic outbursts followed by more not speaking, my mom packed her things and went to live in a hotel for a few days, etc. It has gotten really out of hand. The ownership of the house is complicated; the value of the house is 2/3 of what it was when they bought it five years ago so they can't sell it and get away from each other even if they could overcome the ownership issue. It is a basic nightmare. Oh, and my mother was evidently diagnosed with a mental illness several years ago and no one told me.

All these years I have been trying to come to terms with wildly erratic and sometimes downright hurtful behavior from my mom, completely bewildered by it. Trying to respond from a loving place, with understanding, and yes, sometimes anger because it was so frustrating and it seemed like she was at times being malicious. And maybe she was. But I feel like I would have been more understanding had I known what was really going on.

Oh, so much more to say. I have just uncapped a flood.

Other changes:  My sister just got let go yesterday. She had been at her job for 14 years. The economy.

I love my sister so much. She has a heart as big as the world and is so very sweet. She makes mistakes in judgment at times, but mainly from wanting to make everybody happy. She was already so stressed by the situation with my mom and the house and her husband that her eyebrows started falling out. (I am not making this up.) I am disheartened by this latest development, but buoyed by the hope that her recent job interviews will pan out. Yes, she had already begun looking for a job. She worked for a family-owned small business that had really been struggling in the recession, and she could tell by the balance sheet that something was going to have to give. So I am trying to remain hopeful.

It helps that my little bunch is a messy, loud, hugging, smothering ball of goodness. At the end of the day, when I get home from work, I am coated in love. Sweet Dub is a child-wrangling, dinner-cooking, laundry-doing, always-kissing rock star. Viva is a doe-eyed eager-to-please sweetpea. And that Ceeya--well, I am here to tell you that Age Three can be Challenging. I much prefer the Terrible Twos in some ways. But Ceeya is always quick to run to me and wants to be by my side constantly. For better or worse. (Like especially when one of us is in the bathroom. she wants me to sit down next to her while she's on the toilet. Sigh. She won't always be this small, I know. I should enjoy even this.)

Next time: a little more fun. Maybe some discussion of Viva's upcoming birthday and what our plans might be. If you're still reading, that is.