Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks, part two

It's no secret that Augie and Vi are at the top of my Things-I'm-Thankful-For list. I knew I would enjoy them, but I'm blown away by how much I love them. So what else comes to mind?

* Abby and Eric, who entrust their children to us regularly, and who in turn seem to appreciate everything we put into making our time together both fun and stimulating.

* Peter, who had the vision and foresight to want to do full-time daycare, long before the babies came along. And who has supplied the vision and foresight for many of our other adventures including saving the carousel and writing our book. Our talents complement one another in a way that makes us one very effective team when we set our minds to something.

* Blogging, a new creative outlet at many levels.

* Chocolate, dark.

* Sunshine. We haven't seen nearly enough of it during October and November, but December usually brightens up.

* Our good health (knock on wood). Aches and pains abound, but every day with no outright illness is a blessing.

* Christmas. I enjoy Thanksgiving, but I love Christmas. To me, Christmas begins on Friday (with list-making and putting wreaths on the doors and maybe a little shopping) and lasts until mid-January when we finally take down the last of the decorations and I give up on the notion of writing any more cards.

* Music. We both love music, and we're rediscovering it as we find new stuff to share with the kids. The kids are very musical, and Peter is turning out to be a very good teacher of music appreciation and skills. (Our bragging about their musicality goes on and on sometimes, and I catch myself thinking "we really need to shut up now.")

* Sleeping. I love sinking into my bed and pulling up the thick down comforter, and drifting off to sleep. So why am I still writing this at 2 a.m.? 'Cuz I'm a night person and 'cuz I can sleep in tomorrow morning. Wahoo!

That said, I really need to stop now.... Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving thanks, part one

About a year and a half ago, I was sitting in my car sobbing on a bright May morning because I didn't want to subject myself to one more day in the toxic cesspool that my place of work had become. Peter said, "Go in and quit. If it's this bad, just quit. We'll manage somehow." So I went to see the Human Resources guy, and described a few of the freakshow conditions to which our staff was being subjected. I told him what my husband had said. He asked me, "Is that what you want?" I took a deep breath and said, "Yes. This is sucking the life out of me. I have to get out."

The HR guy said, "There will be changes. Do you think you could wait a bit?" So I said yes, I'd wait it out. It took three more months, and then one day they fired our boss. Things got better immediately.

The same week, I realized that I did want to continue working, but fewer hours and with fewer responsibilities. I drew up a proposal to work 75 percent time as a senior writer-editor instead of a manager of seven creative people. "Okay," they said. And I wanted to work one of my days at home. "Okay." (A year later I said I'd like to go to half-time and they said "Okay" again.)

And that is how I went from a thoroughly unhappy, burned-out, acting-out director of publications to a mellow part-time writer-editor and part-time day-care grandma who calls herself blissed-out.

I am thankful that the HR guy was willing to suggest that I wait...he managed to tell me just enough without violating professional ethics, and he let me know that I was a valued employee who deserved consideration (of course I was, but our staff definitely didn't feel valued at the time).

I am also thankful to Peter for saying, "Quit if you need to." Feeling that I could quit made it less necessary to do so, because I no longer felt so trapped. It was not the first time he helped me through a nasty time at work, but I hope it's the last. There are two new bosses, and I like working with them. I love the work, and I'm good at it. And some day in the not-too-distant future (God willing and the creek don't rise), I'll retire to spend even more time with the grandbabies before they're off to school. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Second-child syndrome

I bet there are 60,000 images of Augie floating around on family computers and in carefully compiled photo albums, at least four of which I compiled myself. Vi? Not so much. I now understand what happens to second children (and, I'm sure, most kids after the Fabulous First). Or what doesn't happen. They are loved, for sure, but not so obsessively photographed. For one thing, each tiny new development is not quite such an amazing discovery to parents and grandparents. More important, two babies (one only 15 months older) are way more work. Anyway, here to help balance the cosmic photo record is a very recent snapshot of the sweet, beautiful, smart, and strong Lady Vi.


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