A Bruise to the Ego

It was funny when he did it.  Remember the opening to the Dick Van Dyke TV show when Dick came in and tripped over the ottoman?  Classic comedy performed by one of the masters.  It was hilarious!

Not so funny when a fifty-one year old woman does it when she's going downstairs for a late night snack.  Who put that ottoman right there?  Oh yeah, it was me.  How embarassing.  All for the sake of crackers and cheese.

I scream and Gerry comes running to find me flat on my back on the living room floor.

Was the bruise on the side of my leg worth it?  You bet it was - c'mon we're talking about crackers and cheese here!  Was the bruise to my ego worth it?  That one's a little tougher to justify.

A Sweet, Sweet Sound

While I was Skyping with Laurinda and Makiya today something precious happened. 

Makiya said "grandma"!  Then she said it again!

She made my day!

What Do I Do?

I've sometimes wished that I was a teacher or a nurse - not because I feel especially drawn to those occupations - just because it would be easy to answer the question when someone asks what I do for a living.

As it is I've stumbled to explain what my current job actually entails.  In the early years it wasn't too bad - I was a Programmer/Analyst.  Most folks knew that was business-speak for "computer geek".  Time passed, my work changed and I became an IT Consultant.  Try explaining that one to someone who's first question is "what is IT?".

A few years ago I left the technology/computer field and ventured out into a brave new world under the umbrella of Human Resources.  My official job title today is Work Management Analyst.  Clear as mud?

The other day someone forwarded me a job posting from monster.com and there it was.  A concise description of my job.  So for your reading pleasure, here is what I do.

Sr. Business Analyst HR Systems

  • Business Analyst
  • Customer Service
  • Design
  • ERP
  • Oracle
  • PeopleSoft

  • Technical Support 
  • HR Module
  • Functional
  • Requirements Gathering

.....looking for a Senior Business Analyst who specializes in HR systems with a preferred focus on PeopleSoft.  There will be a focus on analysis, requirements gathering, creating functional specifications and some other technical aspects.  They are not looking for an overly technical resource, but more functional with some technical skills.  Communication and client facing skills are a must.

So there's my day job in a nutshell.  Next time someone asks what I do for a living I'm going to spout this off. Someday I hope to be able call myself Writer, but this is what it is for now.

What is your response when asked what you do for a living?

Serenity in Starbucks?

My car had to go in for some quick work today so we made arrangements that I would drop it off after work, head down to Starbucks, and Gerry would pick me up after he got out of work.  It was a great plan - a Carmel Macchiato, my notebook and favorite pen, and an hour or so to write.  What could be better?

All went well until I arrived at Starbucks and sat down at an out-of-the way table and pulled out my notebook.  The place was hopping, but I am pretty good at tuning out background noice when I have to, so I wasn't worried about being able to write.

Then I saw, and heard, a young boy.  Now you know that I love little ones; I don't fault this little boy in the least for his behavior.  His mom sat in one of these big soft chairs they have in Starbucks chatting away to a friend while her child ran wild.  He played with the door while she weakly chastened him and took no action to actually make the behavior stop.  He hid around a corner and called at the top of his lungs for his Mom to come and find him. At one point she took him to the bathroom and when his business in there was finished, he came running out of that room leaving the door to slam behind him, screaming yet again.

I was sorely tempted at one point to stand up and chasten the child myself. 

I didn't; I did my best to ignore the undesirable behavior.  I did get some writing done, but my nerves were frazzled by the time Gerry arrived to pick me up. It wasn't quite the serene picture I had imagined it would be.

My day to be cranky

For no particular reason I woke up feeling cranky this morning. 

Perhaps it's because yesterday was the first day of spring and it was beautiful!  Then, last night, we woke to the sound of rain again. 

Here are some pictures I took in the yard yesterday.

Spring...come back.....!

Middle-Aged Spread

Gerry and I went to bed early last night, still recovering from our extremely long road trip of last week.  He settled in with his Suduko book and I was looking forward to getting back to the book I had started the night before called Middle-Aged Spread: Moving to the Country at 50

I set my pillows up in my favorite reading position, snuggled in under my blue bargello Amish quilt with the dogs curled up beside me, and was immediately transported to the author's Ontario country home.  As I read visions of Manderley danced through my head.

I hadn't been reading very long when I was disturbed by a persistent thwack-thwack-thwack from outside - seemingly originating from right above our house.  It took a few moments for me to realize that it was a helicopter flying overhead.  Thwack-thwack-thwack, over and over, back and forth, again and again it continued.

Gerry got up and peeked through the blinds.
"Is it the news or a police helicopter?" I asked, as if it made any difference.

He couldn't tell what kind of helicoptor it was even though it sounded like it was hovering right outside of our bedroom window. Regardless, my peace was disturbed and I lamented once again about the constant stressors we find ourselves facing in this 21st century life.

It wasn't enough for me to be disturbed by the thwacking coming from outside, I also had to speculate about the cause.  Was there a terrible car accident on the nearby highway?  Were the police in pursuit of a criminal in our neighborhood?

I found myself longing once more for a silent and solitary place to live. 

At some point the helicopter either went away or I was able to block the sound from my consciousness and, somewhat disgruntled, I returned to my book.

Sometimes I am afraid that I am turning into a curmudgeon and I wonder if I should resist this crusty character that overtakes me at times or embrace it as a part of growing older.

Something to think about.

Missing Megan

I think of her first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed at night.  We meet regularly and I feel much better after a visit with her.  We had planned to meet the week Gerry and I were on vacation but we had to reschedule.  Unfortunately, between her schedule and my schedule, we won't be able to get together again until next week.

I am finding it hard to get going in the morning since it's been so long since we got together.  It takes me longer to get ready because nothing seems to look right.  At night when I am getting ready for bed, sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder how in the world I could have gone through the day looking so terrible.  Really, it's true.

Some mornings I try little tricks to try and make myself look and feel better, but nothing seems to help.  I am counting down the days until we can get together next week and I can get back to looking and feeling like myself.

Megan is my hairstylist. I miss her.

The Land

I stand alone in the yard of the farm I've started calling Manderley and look and listen.  The morning is foggy; low cloud blankets the prairie like a soft cotton quilt.  The landscape looks cold because of the fog but it isn't really. I find it pleasant standing here.

I look to the west at some of the outbuildings.  They still stand strong after many years of service to the family that originally homesteaded this land, joined now by a silver quonset and a trio of silver granaries.

I turn toward the east and see the house; Gerry is inside looking around in the nooks and crannies at pipes and structural details that have little interest to me.  No one lives there now but it has not been completely cleaned out yet.  Earlier I saw little sign on the wall near the entry way that said something about fun happening at Grandma's house.

Then I turn my gaze toward the south where snow still covers the quarter-section of land.  In a few months wheat will be growing on that land that now looks so barren.

As I walk back toward the house I find myself breathing deeply as I take in the crisp morning air.  It feeds a part of me that has been starving for something lately. 

Behind the house is the area which is reserved for garden. A homemade greenhouse stands nearby just waiting for a fresh batch of seedlings to fill it's shelves.  An old outhouse, no longer used, adds character to the space.

As I hear the voice of the land whisper to me I realize that there is no other sound.  There is no other sound.  It is still and absolutely silent this morning, and it is that silence that allows me to hear the voice of the land. 

Zoo Day!

It was a beautiful day here in Baby-Land and we all went to the zoo!

Going to the zoo for the first time as a grandma was a different experience. I'm vaguely remember seeing some animals, but what captivated this grandma the most was the smiles and giggles of my grandchildren.  And that's just the way it is meant to be.

Lessons From the Road

I enjoy road trips with my husband.  It is a great opportunity to enjoy good conversation, good music, and good singing.  Well, perhaps good singing might be a stretch, but we sure enjoy belting out some of our favorites!  A road trip is also an opportunity to be still and contemplate. I found myself looking at some things we saw on this trip in a new light.

I took this picture while we were driving over a mountain pass where avalanche is not uncommon.  There is a kind of wire mesh netting hanging down over the rock-face along this stretch of the road that is intended to stop rock from falling onto the highway.

Wouldn't it be nice to have protection like this against avalanche in our own lives? Avalanches like a late night phone call bringing bad news or a call from a doctor's office asking you to come in to discuss recent test results. Just something to soften the sudden blows that hit us head-on sometimes.

Instead, we go through these things the best way we can at the time using personal strength that we didn't know we posessed.  We struggle, we cry, we despair, but ultimately, if we allow the trials to teach us things, we find that we come through them stronger and wiser than we were before.

Robert Frost wrote that "the best way out is always through".  There is no short cut to navigating our way through grief or depression; we must allow ourselves to give in to the experience, however painful it may be, in order to make it through to the other side.  Without this "giving in" and "going through" we find ourselves stuck in the darkness.  This stretch of mountain pass highway, cut right through a piece of mountain, reminds me of Frost's words. 

Every time I go over this piece of road that goes through the rocky mountain, I take something away.  The last time it had to do with determination and this time it reminds me of the need to let go of some things.

I wonder if the men and women who labored so hard to build this road had any idea that there were creating something that would be a source of inspiration to someone. 

Looking Forward

I have this picture on the wall beside my desk at home. There is a caption under it that reminds me to "Take care of this girl's grandma!" It serves as a reminder for me to try and eat right, get some exercise, and deal with stress more effectively.  I love this baby girl very much and I want to be around for a long time to watch her grow up and contribute to her life.

Starting tomorrow, Gerry and I are off on a journey!  It's been much too long since I have had this much time away from work and believe me when I tell you that I am long overdue!

I am looking forward to a visit with my BFF on Friday - time spent with her is always food for my soul.  There is no one quite like her and I know we're going to have so much to talk about (and not enough time to get it all in).

I'm looking forward to a road trip with my husband that provides lots of time for us to talk and listen to music that we like. And when he wants to turn the satellite radio to the 60's station, I'll have my iPod tuned into some SCN Podcasts.  I've got my SCN tote bag packed with all sorts of necessities like lotion, lip balm, special pens and pencils and my notebook.  I've tucked in a few chapters from my book and plan to get some editing and rewriting done as well.

I'm looking forward to seeing Brandon and Nicole and Jaxon and Laurinda and Gord and Makiya!  Words can't express how much I love this family of mine.  The babies (well, I guess they're actually toddlers now) will have grown so much since I saw them a few months ago.  Skype is wonderful, but it's no substitute for the real thing.

I'm looking forward to standing on the prairie, closing my eyes, and taking a deep breath. I'm looking forward to gazing over the vast prairie landscape and just letting go. I'm looking forward to seeing the property that we have been looking at only in pictures for the past few months.

I'm looking forward...Oh how I'm looking forward....