Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I’m Petting My Peeves Again

Under the category of Pet Peeves, I have officially listed the following: The telephone goes both ways.

Glossary of Terms:

Contactor – the person who reaches out, makes an effort to contact, or otherwise contacts another person or party.

Contactee – the person, persons or parties the above-defined Contactor reaches out to, attempts to contact, or actually contacts or connects with.

Huh?

Really?  You need me to break that down further?  Okay, how about this:

Contactor = You

Contactee = person you’re trying to reach

(I made these up.  Don’t bother looking them up in the dictionary.  Although to be fair, the official Wikipedia description for the word Contactor is: …an electronically controlled switch used for switching a power circuit, similar to a relay except with higher current ratings.  It goes on further…but I won’t.)

So, referencing my above-mentioned peeve, if you haven’t heard from someone in a while pick up the phone and call them? Please? This goes for phone, email, instant message, Facebook, text…pick your preferred method of contact.  Don’t whine about not having heard from someone when you could have physically contacted them yourself.

And I really don’t want to hear anything about, “Well, I didn’t want to bug you.”  If you need something…if you want something…CALL!  If you just want to hear the person’s voice…CALL!  You do not have to wait for that person to call you!

Good grief!

To reiterate, the telephone works both ways!  I know you can count so you know your numbers.   You probably have my number in your contact list or in your little black address book – if you’re still reliant upon ancient technology.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Advice, Given & Received

A friend of mine said something to me the other day that resonated with me in a way very few things do these days.  We were discussing my anxiety over a certain project and she said, “You’re just anxious about [the project] because you care.”  (I’m paraphrasing.)

Holy moly!

Okay – so it may not be such a moment for you, but it was for me.  I do tend to get anxious about the outcome of things and she’s right, my level of anxiety is directly related to how much I care about the project or thing that I’m working on, or people the project will affect.  The more anxious or stressed out I am, the more I care about what I’m doing.  I never really thought about it in that way before, but…wow...I've definitely thought about it now.

It’s kind of wild (and maybe, if I am being honest, a little disconcerting) to have someone who isn’t me know me, in some ways, better than I know myself.  If this person were just about anyone else, I might have brushed it off and not thought another thing about it.  But my friend, being who she is, means that paying attention is practically a requirement.  This is a good thing.  It's folks like her who you want to listen to.

This probably isn’t going to really change anything – knowing my anxiety vs. care ratio – but it does fall into the category of Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given.  And, though I suppose it wasn’t exactly advice, either, I am still putting it squarely in the BAIEBG column because it fits there.

Here’s another example of great advice given to me.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (sorry – don’t smack me) I worked in a jewelry store in Old Town, Alexandria, VA.  The store owner was brash and difficult and we butted heads…often.  I loved my job.  I loved the jewelry.  I wanted to love my boss, too, but she made it very difficult.

One day, a co-worker pulled me aside and advised, “You’ve got to listen to what she is saying, not how she is saying it.  Do that, and you and [boss lady] will get along just fine.”  (I’m not paraphrasing here – I actually remember this one word-for-word.  Hm…how odd that the above advice was given only yesterday -or maybe it was last week- and I can’t remember the exact words, but this thing that took place nearly 20 years ago, I remember verbatim.)

I don’t remember exactly what happened after except to say that my life got infinitely better after that sound wisdom was imparted to me.  Even now, as a much older adult, I occasionally have to remind myself of those words.  Listen to what they are saying, not how they are saying it.

It's good advice, don't you think?  I think it can be effective in both your personal life, and your professional one.

TTFN
JMS

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cool Things and Secret Keepers

There's this pretty cool thing that I"m holding onto because the time isn't right to discuss it.  (No, I'm not pregnant.  Please stop asking me.  I'm forty years old and my youngest child is now seven so at this point I would prefer not to start all over again. I'll just borrow the itty-bitty next door when I need my baby fix and spend my time contemplating the later years when I'm a grandma.  Plus, when they're that tiny, I can give them back when I'm done!)  Anyway - cool thing happening soon.  At some point I will come clean, I promise.

Said Cool Thing, however, is the reason for my lack of posting lately.  I just am afraid to give too much away, or jinx myself, or in some unknown way get myself into some unknown trouble.  (I suppose that's not too hard given that it's me we're talking about here.)  I can say that officially, things are ready to roll, and a new chapter shall begin on Monday.

My new mantra: Good Things.  Good Things.  Good Things.

Sending positivity out into the universe!

TTFN
JMS

PS: Some of you already know what's going on so, as of right now, you I am declaring you my Secret Keepers.  ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A moment of brutal honesty

In chatting online with a long-time friend last night, I came to some conclusions that I may not really have arrived at if not given an opportunity to actually think about them. In a moment of brutal honesty, I'd like to share with you the following conversation. My friend's name has been omitted, though I will say that she was the guidance counselor at my high school years and years ago and knew me when I was, quite literally, at my absolute worst emotionally.

GC
This is totally off subject but someday, when you have time and feel like it, I would love it if you could talk to me about what was going on with you in high school, and how you overcame whatever it was that was making you so so unhappy, What worked to help you? and what didn't. I am so proud of the life you have made for yourself, but I would really like for you to talk about what turned you around- if you can and want to.

ME
I can tell you right now. It was a combination of having lost my mom at 15, my dad having remarried too soon to a woman who slapped me across the face and told me to get the F out of her house, living with a grandmother who had not one clue about how to raise a teenager in "modern" times and not being allowed to do anything with friends that a normal teenager would do.

GC
So how did you find your way, instead of going to the dark side?

ME
I really don't know. I guess it was probably because I was afraid to become like those around me? Fear was a great motivator for me back then. It's also the reason I never got into drugs or alcohol in any real way. Fear. I was afraid to get caught. Afraid to become something less than I could be. Afraid of becoming like my alcoholic/abusive father or simply horrible step mother. Or of being so out of touch with reality or modern day society that I didn't understand things. I was afraid of not performing to the absolute best of my ability. I think fear was probably - at that time in my life - a major player.

As I grew older, wiser - whatever - I overcame a lot of those fears and have learned to be stronger for overcoming them.

For example (and maybe not the best one) the day I drove on the highway for the first time - all by myself - was a HUGE thing. I was TERRIFIED of driving on the highway. My mom was afraid of it and so was my grandmother so I probably picked that fear up from them. When I moved to Tennessee, and took a job in Knoxville, for a long time I was able to get to and from work just driving back roads. Taking the long way around, which was stupid and a waste of time, energy and money. So, one day I decided that I'd just get on the highway and go one exit down. Just one. And I did that. I was terrified, but I did it anyway. And I did that every day until I was totally comfortable with it. Then I moved another exit down and so on until one day I was driving all the way to work on the highway. Then the big test was driving all by myself to South Carolina (Greeneville) to pick up my husband. I was cured. But again, it was a FEAR that drove me. No pun intended.

GC
I'm thinking your mom did a pretty good job when you were young. Somewhere you learned to put one foot in front of the other. I am sorry you were so afraid.

ME
I was afraid that if I didn't learn how to drive on the highway that I'd box myself into a certain kind of life and maybe affect my own children. Project my own fears on them. I still struggle with that some days, but my kids are not (thankfully) afraid of much.

GC
You are a masterpiece

ME
LOL! Hardly. I struggle every day to keep myself together. But now, I do it not for myself - I do it for my family. For those that rely on me. My life has never, ever, truly been MINE. It's always belonged to someone else, been ruled by someone else, or something else (fear). But thank you.

GC
Well, your life will become your own, with time. In the meantime, you seem to be raising amazing children. That is a pretty important thing and when you are my age, you will cherish that as a wonderful life production. Having pride in your children is priceless, though you should certainly have pride in yourself!!!!

And not a part of that conversation, but in closing of this post, I do have pride in myself.  Most of the time. I'm working on it.  A little bit.  Every day.  And some days it's a lot harder than others.  But the good definitely outweighs the bad now, and for that I am so very thankful.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Urine a Top Secret Bathroom

I’m trying to come up with something funny to say about peeing in a cup. Aside from the fact that peeing in a cup is just funny all by itself. Then there’s the whole Uncomfortable Level of Intimacy with Total Strangers thing. I sense a blog post coming on.

So there you are, scheduled to pee into a cup, sitting in the waiting room…waiting. Longer than you really want to because you haven’t peed in preparation for this test so your bladder is screaming at you while you wait. (The flip side of this coin is knowing you have to pee in a cup and not being able to. That’s torture, too.) You’re trying to sit there, all calm, cool, and collected – projecting the appropriate level of professionalism even while waiting to pee in said cup.

At some point, someone moves you a little further down the hall. You think, “I’m getting closer,” and, hopeful, continue to sit…and wait. You tamp down your suffering and sit quietly.

Soon, someone hands you a piece of paper which you are instructed to read and which contains top secret information regarding how the sample collection process will take place. Top Secret. I can say nothing further.

When you are finally called back, a nice lady leads you to a giant galvanized steel box with an enormous pad lock. She opens the box and, after requesting to view your photo identification card, she instructs you to place your purse in the box. Do you have anything in your pockets? Um…nope. (Good grief – you know this is about me. I’m changing tense now. Please keep up.) I usually only use my pockets for my hands and as a display of ease in any given situation. I demonstrate, and they are impressed with my innate ability to look casually at ease. I confirm that I am not carrying anything that could possibly be used to tamper with the sample I am about to provide for them, and place my purse in the steel box. Nice lady locks the box, hands me the key. Now you have something for your pocket besides your hand.

She takes me back and goes through the Top Secret procedure, explaining what each thing is during the course of the entire process. She must do this, and further, she requires me to keep an eye on my own specimen so as to ensure that it is not tampered with.

Then she hands me a cup. Not a cannot-see-through-it cup. A clear, plastic, totally-can-see-everything-inside sample cup. No cover. No labels. She leads me to a secure door. It baffles me that she has to swipe her badge to gain access a bathroom, but I just go with it. I’m cool, remember? She instructs me to fill the cup to here and not to flush, then to bring the sample back to her. I have four minutes to complete this process. The hardest part of this whole process, besides suffering the full bladder, was the excruciating effort it took to restrain myself from automatically flushing the toilet. There was a piece of paper over the handle which reminded me, but walking away was torture.

When I’m through (details omitted to protect the innocent) I open the door and begin The Walk down the hallway, past other waiting victims, with my clear, plastic, now-pee-filled cup. I cannot have any shame.

Once I return, she verifies an acceptable temperature of my specimen and continues to walk through the process both physically (labeling and capping my sample) and verbally (explaining what each thing was to be used as evidence against us. Oh! Wait! Sorry. I just lapsed into Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant.)

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Sign away my life’s blood, and agree to offer up my first child as sacrifice…(not really).

After retrieving my purse from the giant steel box I am allowed to leave. And though I know, in my heart and in my mind, that I have absolutely nothing to worry about with regard to the outcome of this entire process, I know that upcoming Good Things are totally contingent upon an acceptable outcome so of course, I am doing the Jen Thing and waiting on the other shoe to drop.

(sigh)  And now, we wait.

TTFN
JMS

Monday, June 16, 2014

Good Stuff Happening!

Oh boy.  There's been A LOT going on lately!  I don't even know where to begin.  Some stuff I can talk about and other stuff I can't, but honestly, it's all good.  

First of all, as stated in one of my last couple of posts, VBS is over for another year.  It seems like I live year to year in fear of, preparation for, or recovering from VBS.  It's always a TON of work and it's always SO much fun, and it's always SO exhausting - but the kids have a great time (and not just my own) so it's also TOTALLY worth it.

I posted on Facebook the other night that I'm still "reeling from all the good" and that's still very true.  

Good friends bought their first house and are moving nearby, which is not only awesome for them (new house, YAY) but awesome for me, 'cause they'll be so close!

I went to the endocrinologist the other day and he proclaimed me in good health.  "Don't come back for another year!"  That's always music to my ears!  Apparently, 2 years and a couple of months post surgery, my body is adjusting well to the lack of a thyroid.  Meds are good, no adjustments needed, and the ultrasound looked all clear.  So, yay me!

And something else going on with me (something good) that I can't really talk about online, but that a lot of you will know about already, or find out about soon.  (No, I'm not pregnant.)  But definitely a major life-changing thing coming up that I am totally excited about and which I am feeling most overwhelmed and humbled by.

Father's Day Weekend was great.  We spent some time at the zoo that Saturday with Hubby's sister and her hubby.  Excellent day, and I hardly even got sunburned!  (Another bonus!)  And even though Father's Day this year happened to fall on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of my beloved mother, I'm OK.  I think maybe the overwhelmingly positive things balanced the very negative thing.

TTFN
JMS