perspective

It Just Happened

Just like that. I looked up and the calendar is showing September first is right around the corner. What in the heck!

Have I been in a coma? Did I get amnesia? Did I get hit by a Mack truck? No, I sure didn’t. I’ve been living in what seems like a a time warp of sorts. The corona blah.

I see some sense of normalcy on the horizon. School is back in session. A digital start moving on to in-person tomorrow. What a whirl wind for my new high schooler.

One way hallways, masks required, one way stairwells, limited social activities, no fun bus rides, just a bunch of rules, rules and more rules. In her world it’s still better than being stuck at home on a computer for hours. For me it’s a break from the insanity of the last 6 months.

Work adjustments, life adjustments, school adjustments. Just another day of change management. Grind, grind, grind.

September is here. Fall is in the air. Sweaters, sweatpants and blankets ahh how I love me some fall fun. Looking forward to hikes, toasted marshmallows, pumpkin seeds and maybe if I’m lucky a trip for a quick getaway if travel restrictions are lifted. Starbucks coffee in the famous red cup is a must as well. Caramel brûlée I hear you calling my name.

Here’s to hoping this fall is a giant leap forward into normalcy. May the leaves falling be a symbol of corona being a topic of the past vs. the present. May sports this fall be memorable for my child as she begins her high school career. May there be school dances and football games. May there be activities to look forward to that involve people and socializing.

Bring on September, October and November. Let these three months be ones for the record book. I want to look up and say “wow, I’ve had the best three months” instead of “wow, did I just wake up from a coma the last six months?!”

Fabulous fall here we come!

perspective

Cranky Pants

This chick is cranky and opinionated! At least I admit it and at least I am comfortable publishing my cranky, emotional and somewhat opinionated stories and rants. Knowing full well said stories are read worldwide….a fun fact I am super proud of.

Fun fact: this past month our readership skyrocketed. Not sure why but it did. Cheers to all you newbies out there reading along. We adore you from afar.

This post is also not about something current in my life that should make you wonder if you know me and are reading this. I wrote this a while ago and just opted to publish it now. A blast from the past so to speak, However it rings true when I hear or experience life through my lens and thus I figure it was time to share my thoughts.

I am at a loss at society today. One can look at the craziness on the news and see all the horror the world has to offer. But I am in control of what I watch and what I am exposed to as an adult. And for that reason alone I rarely watch the news it’s just too depressing.

As a parent sometimes you just open an email from school only to see how vile people are. Offering your kids drugs at school, writing death threats on the bathroom wall or even worse. Times are changing and bad news travels faster than the speed of light thanks to the internet.

The yellow school bus kids ride isn’t even a sanctuary anymore. Bullying and isolating happens on the daily to those who are different. I often shake my head and think who raises their kid to be ugly to others? It’s unfortunate as our kids still have developing brains and don’t have the foresight needed to tune out the negative vibes like we can as adults. It’s just awful to watch in some instances.

I choose to focus on the positives in life. A few positives: I have my good health, my good friends and an amazing family. I have a nice roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and I am fortunate to be active in the community. I volunteer when I can and I make a concerted effort to impact others each week in a positive manner.

So what could possibly make me cranky? Life makes me cranky. All the takers in life weigh on me daily. Takers are near and far. Takers are people or entities who want to take things away from you that you work so hard for.

Takers sometimes come disguised as friends but I say frienemies. The friends you tolerate that you don’t trust as far as you can throw them. The ones who are nice to your face but then throw you under a bus the first chance they can to elevate their personal image. I’m sure everyone has at least one in their life.

Or maybe it is your boss at the office who tells you to your face that you are the best thing since sliced bread then turns and tells your coworkers how incompetent you are. Maybe it’s a friend of the family or neighbor who pretends they are supporting you but then sweep in and snag your valuables. Valuables can be defined differently for each situation. And then there is the big taker, The corporate greed monster. The big fish in the little sea. That entity who likes to sue people with limited resources to take out the competition. Or maybe it’s a strategy the big company has thinking your firm doesn’t have the capital to defend a frivolous lawsuit. Or maybe that big company thinks they can bully you with the threat of a lawsuit. The last scenario is just like the school bus bully but the kid grew up. He is still just a bully. Different disguise but still a bully.

The list goes on and on but the moral of the story is life is tough. Whatever your battle you must find your sunshine and let it light the way to new beginnings. Learning this simple life lesson in your early and formative years with help you navigate the adult world that is harsh and full of takers waiting to prey on you whenever one sees a moment of vulnerability.

Ignore those in today’s society who judge you for having a mask on or off. For those who roll their eyes when you say you want to enjoy the fresh air outside. For those who are so wrapped up in corona that they want to bully others online or in person. Just mute them!

This is yet another post from the vault. An oldie but goodie. A fresh corona spin added and here we are at the end of the story, for now.

Remember to watch your back somebody is always on your tail no matter what stage of life you are in. Don’t stay a cranky pants. Keep evolving. Never stand still. As long as you are looking forward whatever is in the rear view is the past. And nobody can change your future but you.

challenges, working women

Digital Dooms Day

Today was the day. First day back at school, digitally. How did it go? It sucked! It sucked life out of me.

Did my kid get up and do what needed to be done? Yes. Did she have tools to be somewhat successful? Yes. Granted this rant is just my perspective and I know there are many others with a different view but for those who haven’t started back to school here’s a view from my lens.

1st period login was from the car. Yes I’m a bad mom but hey I leveraged technology using a hotspot so I could get my workout in and took my sidekick since I knew she would be strapped to the computer all day. All damn day! This was a requirement due to what was on the plate for the day and my mental health matters, too. First order of business: shirts are required on Zoom. Do not take your laptop to the bathroom. Nobody wants to see that! Wow, just wow. Those were the welcome words from the teacher. That surely took me for loop.

Period 2 was no biggie but I did get texts from others having login issues. First cluster of interruptions. Period three was Spanish so nothing like listening to teens learn a language over Zoom while you are concentrating on your paying job!

Next time frame had screenshot of strange faces on Zoom. Then somebody thought it was funny to post porn on Zoom. Yep just another day a school in 2020. What kind of schooling is this?

Email-text-call from county about trouble with sites. Maybe that’s because 90,000 people are online plus telecommuters. Shake my head in disgust. The school system created this mess.

Lunch. Thankful it’s lunch break but my kid gets 1 hr 20 minutes for lunch. No school lunches. Let me stop and make something. Oh now you want to talk at the counter about all the craziness. Did I mention I work? Did I mention I only have one kid to deal with? How about folks with 3? How about those who work in an office who are not as flexible as me?

How does any adult get anything done? Has any school board member thought about this? In come the work emails. Employees are stressed. Can’t focus with all the interruptions. More stress on the home / work front.

End of the day yet? Well it’s really just the beginning for me. You see I still need to do my work after playing teacher, tech person, email coordinator, etc. How is this good for anyone’s mental health?

Oh just when I thought the day was over in comes the email-text-phone call from the school. Clearly one method of contact isn’t enough. Spamming is required. This message says well, our system sucked today so we are asking you to login in earlier tomorrow. Okay my kid starts at 7am you want her learning at 5am? Sounds logical to me. It also sounds logical to keep kids glued to a computer for 8 hours a day…NOT!

How many parents need Valium after day one? Remember I had it easy in comparison to those who juggle work at a brick and mortar business, or the single mom, or the mom of 5 kids under age 12. And note I mention the word mom a lot. The main reason for that is I would guess 80% or more of those I know have the mom as the token teacher regardless of their full-time or part-time obligations. It’s an invisible expectation. Even those moms who are teachers are expected to take their kids to school while they teach. Hmmm it’s not safe to go to school but the teacher’s kids can go to school. Let the juggling act begin.

I let out a big sigh. It’s time to move on. A new day tomorrow. But I do ask myself: how long will this insanity go on? I have built up tolerance. I have exercised my patience muscles. I have been flexible. I have adjusted. But how long until the seams bust?

Valium anyone? Or maybe Xanax is more applicable. Hope you enjoyed the comedy rant. All you can do is laugh at what we call life today. And of course many make shift momma/teachers are working on fractions hourly to combat stresses. The pic below is a great visual.

dare to be different, inspire

Sally Said

I’m kind of a big deal.

All my friends want to be around me.

At the park.

At school.

At the mall.

Being a big deal can get crazy at times.

Sometimes one of my friends will get really mad if I don’t spend enough time with just them!

I also have to make sure I don’t leave anyone out when I make plans to play after school.

Sometimes picking teams on the playground can be hard work!

I have to make sure I don’t hurt any of my friends’ feelings when I pick teams.

Who I pick first or last can be a really big deal to my friends.

Being a big deal can be hard work.

I have to be extra nice to everyone all time time.

I mean I try to be nice to people all the time but I might mess up and hurt my friends’ feelings.

I don’t know why I am a big deal.

I get up the same way each morning.

I even have crazy hair in the morning.

I brush my teeth just like my friends do.

I am not rich.

I am not famous but I might be famous one day.

I don’t have super powers.

I am just me.

I really like being just me.

I like to smile and have fun.

I like to laugh at funny jokes.

I like to make funny jokes.

I like to play sports and have fun outside.

I like to play with my dogs.

I like to be around people especially my friends.

My friends say I am goofy sometimes.

I make my friends giggle a lot.

I always have fun playing with my friends.

My dad says I am his sunshine every morning.

My dad makes me feel good when he tells me that.

My mom told me once that he calls me sunshine because I can brighten up any room full of people.

Maybe my mom and dad make me believe I am a big deal.

My sister says I can fall in a bucket of doggie doo doo but still smell like roses.

I never really understood what my sister said but my mom explained it to me.

My brother just says I am annoying.

My mom said you are special.

Your smile is infectious.

You can can make people feel better about themselves even when they can’t see for themselves.

I still don’t understand why my sister said doggie doo doo smells like roses but my mom said one day I will know when I grow up.

My family makes me rich I guess.

I love my family.

I guess I love being a big deal, too.

Being a big deal helps others.

I hope you can be a big deal, too.

If lots and lots of people believe is being a big deal then the world will be a much happier place.

I hope somebody reads this story in China or maybe even Russia. And maybe I will write more stories and become famous one day.

In today’s world we need more Sallies. What Sally says is important. In world of crazy corona challenges we all need to be kind and channel our inner Sally. We can all be a big deal. Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Because Sally said so!

challenges

Flexible, Agile, Pivot

These three words have come up multiple times in the past week.

First, from my friends in the teaching profession. Those are the three words they are being told to embrace as school begins in person (don’t say face to face it sounds too close) as we return to the buildings. Don’t plan too far in advance, as things could and probably will change day by day. In fact, since we started writing this post, we’ve already switched from in person to online school in many places to start the upcoming year.

Be flexible and ready to adapt to evolving conditions and unexpected challenges. Be agile, able to move quickly, efficiently and confidently from situation to situation. Pivoting to change direction is almost inevitable. With so many unknowns and twists and turns on the horizon those words are valuable to latch on to. For teachers who are trained to plan, abide by calendars, and be as routine and predictable as possible, it’s a bit against their training and possibly their nature. Time to rethink, reframe, and expand in a different direction, and help students and their parents do the same.

Me on the other hand, I giggle a bit on those three words. They represent my life In many ways, during a pandemic or just a routine Tuesday afternoon. All the twists and turns. All the adapting. The organized chaos I call life. I thrive under pressure and beg for adversity most days. It’s fuel to my fire.

Then the conversation hit on a Friday night at the ball field. We all had masks on. Following the rules. The sun was scorching despite the evening hours. I took my face mask down briefly for fresh air. It was still hanging on an ear. Technically I was wearing a mask. The directions didn’t specifically define what mask type, how it needed to be officially placed and so on.

Out comes a gentleman I knew well. He saw my mask and followed his glance with an affirmation (or was it an accusation?) of me not being a rule follower. That spurred a discussion that lingered. I am a rule follower. I just choose to follow the rules within the terms I choose. He implied that I am an A, B, C2-C3-C4 person. As if all the rules have an asterisk. Options within the boundaries.

Yes, that is correct. I always have a backup plan and C4 may be a good pivot point description for me. Explosive. Dynamite in a way. Always with a second, third and fourth plan. I call it depth. It’s layers deep. I make the rules work for me. It allows me to not only survive but thrive.

Some may see it as grey. Operating in the grey tones of life. Pushing the limits. Especially if the limits don’t make sense in certain situations. Staying in the black and white only confines me. Shades give life texture, interest, originality, make me memorable. For some, it makes them rewrite the rules with more care and specificity. It forces people to be agile in their mind and in their lives. But I am always at least one step ahead, if not more. Rewrite the rules and try to corral me. Just another challenge for me to find the gray and keep growing.

I see it for what it is. Depth, diversity, dynamic layers ingrained within. How the mask conversation turned into an unmasking of sorts