Sunday, February 28, 2010

All Systems Not So Go

In the be careful what you ask for category, work has been wonderful so far this year.  I'm busy with new clients and new projects and thoroughly enjoying the challenge.  Particularly with last year being pretty slow, I am grateful for what I hope is a new trend.

I am also realizing in this time, that I don't have all my systems working well, and that is causing me stress.  When I worked full time out of the house, I had things humming - childcare, the house fairly well organized, cooking and meals in pretty good shape and it all seemed to work well - most of the time.

I'm somewhere in the middle now and seem to have lost control of the flow.  The laundry is taking over - clean socks are truly a requirement for teenage boys, in case you are wondering! The meals are less than planned - is there a limit to the number of nights you can feed a family peanut butter & jelly sandwiches? Charlie, in particular, is in flux with rides to and from school when I'm out of town and certainly racing back and forth to school, practice etc..   It has just felt like a crazy few weeks.

So - it's time to rally the troops and get the systems back working.  My family is ready, sometimes willing, and certainly able to help.  My goal this week is to plan better and enlist their help.  Part of my problem is that I a bit of a control issue when it comes to household stuff - like laundry.  I need to let it go and know that it's more important for the clothes to be clean than folded perfectly - right?

As is often the case, just writing about this helps me realize that I can do this.  Tonight we'll look at the weekly calendar with an better eye toward the balance. I'll ask for the help I need and know that it's OK if it doesn't all go perfectly.

Easier said than done for us control gals - but I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making a Difference

I love to see successful small organizations thriving, especially when they are truly making a difference in people's lives.  One such organization is owned by my fabulous friend, Marnita Schroedl and her husband Carl Goldstein.  The organization is called Marnita's Table and it is focused on building cross cultural communication through intentional social interaction.

I first met Marnita in the fall of 2002.  I had decided to leave General Mills and go out on my own as an HR Consultant.  I spoke to skads people in the process of figuring out how I wanted to enter the world of consulting and heard even more opinions about what I should do.  The process left me fairly confused and a little disheartened.  

Enter Marnita (I believe her title at that time was "Lightening in a Bottle").  To say Marnita and I have different styles in an understatement - I think we represent the opposing ends of the introvert/extrovert scale nicely - you can guess who is who!  Her expertise in Marketing Communications and the energy she brought to helping me find the right combination of work and passion for me was invaluable.  She also generously came to the HR class I teach at Hamline to take my students through and one of a kind diversity session - and never failed to touch their lives each time.

Marnita and I worked together as coach and client for a year or so, and she helped my craft a business model that still works for me today.  Through that time we became wonderful friends and I am thrilled to see her organization doing wonderful things in the world.

There was a great article about her in the Star Tribune on Saturday, check it out when you have a chance, and know that if you are with an organization that needs help igniting cross-cultural communication on almost any topic, in an incredibly effective way - Marnita is the one to call.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Every Little Bit of Beauty.....

There is a little bit of pain.  I don't know why, but I will always remember my mother saying this to me when I was growing up.  As I approach the big 50, I realize that this is true.

I had my eyebrows done on Friday.  Now I don't spend too much time or money on "self care" but I am all about beautiful eyebrows.  I have fairly serious eyebrows and always feel better about myself when I have them done.  I typically have them waxed, and went to a new person on Friday who waxed and threaded them.  The threading was cool - apparently an old Indian tradition that involves fast moving thread - the results are great.  It's a small expenditure of time and money, and does a great deal for the self esteem.

It does, though, involve a little bit of pain, but really worth it in my book.  I know this may be a silly little post, but I like the idea of us each doing small things that make us feel good about ourselves and we travel on this journey of growing older.  

I will try to remember to do those small things throughout this year that increase the beauty - even if they involve a little pain.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

It's Ash Wednesday.  Now, you know, I'm not too versed in the religious significance of all of these Catholic days, but I have to say I like the idea of Lent.

I know it is a time of prayer, denial and reflection that leads up to the Christian holiday of Easter.  I remember it most clearly from my childhood with the no meat on Friday rule that we followed for many years.  We used to have eggs on Fridays, because, as my mother pointed out "Lent is not a time to have something special on Friday like shrimp, it's a time to sacrifice" 

I'm not so worried about following the no meat rule anymore, but I do connect with the idea of reflection.  Rather than give up something silly, I will commit to taking time to pray and reflect every day and to do something each day, however small, to impact someone else's life in a positive way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little Rest

I'm back.  I've been in kind of a writing dead zone this last week.  It seemed like I didn't have any ideas floating around in my head - or at least none I could articulate.  As I was thinking about it today, I'm guessing it's just another of the detours on this journey to 50.

None of us are inspired everyday right?  I think of the number of days I go through, happy, fairly focused on the work and/or family, but not necessarily thinking about anything worth sharing with the world.  I wonder if you all go through those phases too?

So I'm inclined to think the writing rest is OK, and part of the process as a woman of a certain age.  I decided that writing about this is as good a place as any to re-enter the blog.

I'll be back tomorrow, with a more interesting topic - Like a child, I enjoyed the rest, and am recharged....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do a Little Damage

I have a new TV Obsession. Actually it's a Netflix obsession, but close enough.

I love the series Damages starring Glenn Close.  I think it's on the FX network, and I'm not even sure what night it's on, but someone told me about it and I ordered the first season at Netflix.

It is a terrific series - great actors like Glenn Close, Ted Danson and some actors I am not familiar with, but who are fantastic.

The series is smart, well written, suspenseful and just plain fun. It took me in right away.  In fact, I am going to have to watch the first season again with Bill because I made the mistake of watching one while he was out of town and by the end of the weekend it was all over.

Bill and I found the 40 minute, DVD version of a good series to be a sweet spot for us.  We can fit it in on a weeknight sometimes and it's over before we can fall asleep in our chairs.  

So give it a try if you have a minute - It's a great escape from the snow and long cold winter.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chapel of Spin

Back today after a bit of a break this week.  Bill was out of town and work (thankfully) was really busy, so somehow the blog got lost in the shuffle.  

I let the boys sleep in this morning instead of going to church - a little treat with Bill away.  We don't go to church every week, but we often do because we love the place, and we always get something out of it.  Today, though seemed like a great day to sleep in and enjoy a quiet morning.  We all got up early yesterday to get places, so it was nice not to set an alarm.

What I did do this morning was feed my soul in a different way.  I went to a spin (cycling) class at the Y.  As I was sweating on my bike, I remembered how good it feels for the soul, to move the body.  (It is especially good when the class is over!)

I tend to get into my head sometimes worrying about work, kids, world events and life in general. This was one of those weeks for a variety of reasons.  I have to remember that when those times find me, it really helps to move my body.  Somehow it all seems better after a good workout.  At the very least, I have taken a breath and am able to think about an issue more clearly.

Today, it was the chapel of spin.  I'm sure there will be plenty of things to worry about tomorrow, but I'll keep my chapel options open and tackle the tasks.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tri it With Me

I am excited.  I just signed up for the YWCA Women's Triathlon for this summer.  Registration is now open at The YWCA Women's Triathlon site - it will be held on Sunday, August 15th at Lake Nokomis. 

I did this event last year - it was my first triathlon and I had a great experience  it is all women (sorry guys) and the perfect event for a first timer. They have a training program, a google group and all kinds of support before and during the event.  You don't need any fancy equipment, I did it with my regular running shoes and old bike and it worked fine.

I encourage you to join me - sign up it will be the most fun you've had in years. I'm always looking for swim, bike and/or run partners, so jump on in - the water's fine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do Pass Go - Remit $200

Well what goes around comes around I think. We did successfully apply for the boy's passports today. We went to the Hennepin County Midtown office and had a great experience.  

The woman that helped us couldn't have been nicer or more helpful - she even noticed that I had used white out on the application as I was rushing out the door on Sunday.  (Here's a heads up -  white out is taboo on any US Government forms, I was just trying to save paper, but I suppose it makes sense).

So now the applications are hopefully on their way to that big Government office in the sky and will show back up here in 4 weeks or so.

It is a good reminder to me to:

A.  Always read the instructions on the form thoroughly

B.  People really are inclined to help and patience and a little humor will always get you through the line.

C.  Take a breath when things are not going right and figure out the next step.  (a good lesson in general, I think)