Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are You Walking a Mile or Just a Few Inches?

I had a business meeting tonight. I was perturbed. This particular group is an alumni association I am a part of after having done an intensive business training workshop a few years ago. There are over 300 grads of this program and yet only a faithful few of 10-20 people show up at the monthly meetings. There is the notion that a lot of these other grads realized they couldn't hack it and that's why we don't see them. May be true. It wears me ouot thinking about it so much. But, I like the people. I am committed to attending, so I go.

We had nominations for the governing board tonight and, as expected, quite a few folk weren't there - maybe because they didn't qualify to run for a position; maybe because they didn't want to get tapped because you cannot be nominated unless you are there to accept it. So there weren't many in attendance tonight. I knew someone would nominate me and they did but I declined.

Prior to the nominations, the head of the program was pretty much lecturing everyone on the disappointment in attendance or the lack of good, dependable participation when the expos are held or for special programs created for us. And another member concurred talking about passion and how we must have it and hustle, etc. And the president also had her part to say in it.

So after the nominations, there was more from the program director as 3 of the 6 positions had no one to fill them. The president, thank God, stayed on and she will pick people. But this, for the director, was yet another example of people not doing all they can to help and letting their opportunities slip by.

No one said a thing I didn't agree with. But I couldn't help feeling like they were lumping me in with the lumps who don't show. We were there. We are the faithful few who show up. Why were they even directing this toward us? I found myself growing a little resentful because I can imagine they look at the outside of my life and think, "Gee, Village Works could be so much further along than it is now. Gee, Village Works should be taking advantage of all these things." Well, we did. I've done the expos and now I am resting from them. I've shown up for the meetings and tried to help people only to have things not go through. I am not bitter either. I keep going despite the negativity that I see and hear sometimes. I can see what we COULD be and I keep going.

However, don't lecture me on passion. I have plenty, enthusiasm and drive too, otherwise I would not be here 10 years after my partner and I first had our idea. Don't tell me I should help. I am there. That IS help. And when I was childless, I was the everyready volunteer at my church so people know what I can do when I have the energy for it. How dare you even suggest that we aren't further along because of me or people like me who aren't stepping up to be organizational leaders. I am a leader in my home. I am a leader in my business. I am leader on my job. I attend 2 different business groups monthly and that sounds like a little but it's really a lot.

It is irking me that it SEEMS people are silently thinking we're standing on the sidelines, not jumping at the opportunities they think they are giving us but are they living my life? They say, "What about this and this and this? Have you tried that and that and that?" I hear you. I agree they are all very important. I am one person. I cannot do it all! Not at once, anyway! I learned years ago to keep it manageable because anything else causes stress and breakdowns. I'm not breaking down myself for anyone short of my family and CLOSE friends.

There is a season for everything and this is not my season to take on more leadership roles. Darn it! I just became the chairperson in my OTHER business group, mainly by default, because I am the most senior in the group of newbies amd changes have been made to accomodate people with my schedule. So I am trying - for THEIR sake more than my own - to be the leader our group needs. And those of this first group want to chide people like us for not stepping up in ways THEY think we should?

Because I am bigger than that, I will stay and help anyway. Because I believe in us and the people who are taking the charge - again - I will keep on keeping on. Because I want to stay connected for the sake of my business, I will wait and see.

But I am growing very tired of defending people like me. The others with kids and jobs and businesses who are hustling and making it and are saying, if we can do it so can you - to you I say, congratulations. Just don't lecture me on my passion and how I need to give my blood when I'm already giving my heart.

Everyone needs to set their limits. Plan for more. Expect more but darn it BE REALISTIC! Life is not just today, it is, by God's grace, a series of todays so it doesn't necessarily have to be done THIS day. You CAN actually plan your life by age group, for instance. I already know I want to do some different stuff when I get into my 40s, and even moreso when I'm in my 50's. I am whole person, after all.

We live by seasons just like the weather and this may not be the season to lead an army to battle but next season could be. It's hard to predict. But as long as you stay in the fight, good enough, I say. The lumps of the world need to do their part too and yes, we can make it on the initiative of the go-getters but it's not fair to expect that. That's why the good die young. YOU WORE THEM OUT!

Somebody, please, take your lectures to the lazy and translate it into a language they will respond to. I am NOT the one, and how you dare you even try to imply that I am anything other than the hard worker I choose to be. I know the plans of my heart, as does God, and I am proud of me.

I am not going to re-read this. There are probably spelling mistakes but that's what happens when you purge.

Time for me to email our group's president and have a chat with her about all this. Rant over.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Livin' My Life Like It's Golden

That's me. That's why it's been an INSANE amount of time since I last posted! But I still love you all. Really! I am always amazed by the amount of time I take to do the things I do. When did I last post? Great day! May 15th? Exactly two weeks ago? Has it been THAT long? And what do I have to show for it?

Let's see.

1 - A huge disagreement with Mr. T. that resulted in my not talking to him for about 2 days so that I wouldn't go off any more than I already had. (I wrote about it. I'll re-read it and probably post it since I do write about marriage but what I DO NOT seek to do is scare the singles. Marriage is work and that's all there is to it.)

2 - A huge deal for my business that has had my team and I running at high speed for these past few weeks. Plus, I've been working on a couple of very important jobs for friends of mine - one of whom is getting married - so it's been great in that way. I love to see new puzzles come to life.

3 - A major change in the host for our website. The old people, who were only our people for about 8 months, had to go. Just like in a good marriage, communication in a business relationship is essential and we just weren't talking the same language. Our new people are very promising because one of them is a former co-worker whose work I trust. We're very excited about it. For now, the flash created by the former developers is running but it's inaccurate - another reason to make the change.

4 - I switched to my summer hair. Oh sweet twists. How I missed thee! (Picture to come later.)

5 - I had jury duty last Friday and for the first time ever got out by 10:30 a.m. God gave me a reprieve. He knew I needed a real break and the last THREE times I served I stayed all day just to go home without being picked to serve. Some of you may think I got off but darn it, if I'm going to go anyway, pick me! Pick ME! But I think they have called on me way too often now so it's time to pay close attention. Let this be a notice to myself that I SERVED JURY DUTY ON MAY 25, 2007 and therefore, if I am called again before May 25, 2010, they are harassing me!

6 - Mr. T. and I went to see Son in not one but TWO school productions in the same month and that, like jury duty four times, is above and beyond. The sacrifice? Well, the first one was a 2 1/2 hour production. It had 34 acts, Oh yes, I said 34. Son was in Act 1. That's it. But we stayed for the rest. Aren't we good? Oh yes we are! But it was cute, really. The second show was only about an hour but it was a 5th and 6th grade concert. Son, NOT a 5th or 6th grader, was one of the kids to hold up a sign for the song they sang from The Sound of Music. You know the one. "Do, a deer, a fe-male deer..." He held up "SO" nice and tall. That's my baby. He sang along and came to sit with us when he was done. And yes, we stayed for the whole thing. Has anybody seen my badge of courage?

7 - Mr. T and I also got a little music of the adult variety when we went to see Earth, Wind and Fire in concert at Mohegan Sun. We grooved that night. I learned EWF is one year younger than I am and I am 36. I knew I grew up on the stuff but I had no idea just how intertwined EWF and I were. I only know that the music of the 70's is my father's music and the 80's, of course, is my era and that is the stuff I continue to love more than the music of today. I think it's the feeling that goes along with it, of a peaceful time when all was taken care of and I could really just exist. It was very cool.

That's pretty much my life in a nutshell. Work at my job, work at home, plan for kids' summer vacation - and mine. You know. Life.

And now, I need a little ice cream.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Belated Greetings!

I am late. I know. I have been busy being an entreprenuering mommy. Going to Son's 2 1/2 hour talent show Friday night. Going to nephew-in-law's graduation and late lunch Saturday. Going to church with family Sunday and just lazing about eating free ice cream because it was MY day after all. Still I must tell the blogging mothers of the world...

Happy Mother's Day!

I even updated my puzzle image of the week - late - to reflect the belated sentiments. We multitasking mommies and mommies-to-be have a lot on our collective plate but I congratulate every mother who keeps her kids her priority in this increasingly hectic world. When you hear about the insane things that happen to children by accident or on purpose, you know how hard it can be to keep the kids in plain sight, let alone tops on our list of important things to take care of. But if not for them, then why? Sure, if you have no kids and no plans, then your motives may be different but BC (before children) the motives may not be quite as solid and fulfilling as they are now.

Man. Kids can be a headache and every day I have to back up and do something again when it comes to them. But when I sit there and watch them exhibiting my and my husband's personality traits, throwing them back at us like little missiles blowing up our theories for how they SHOULD be; when I see their unique ways shine so brightly despite the infusion of our DNA; when I watch the eyes of others as they stand amazed at the mature phrasings that come out of my daughter's mouth or they hear my son sing; when I listen to them fight and make up and fight and declare themselves best friends and fight some more; when I hang their artwork or smell the flowers they give me for no reason at all; when I happily go to work later than most because I have to watch Son get on the bus and take Daughter to the school she loves so much; when I kiss Son goodnight and put Daughter back in her own bed for the 3rd time in the middle of the night, I just can't imagine living this life and doing all I do without these little tormentors around to make it all worthwhile.

I've been told it all goes so fast and I know it's true because I've watched the babies of my church grow up over the past 13 years I've been a member and become adults yet I haven't aged a bit. Mr. T and I stared at Son's recent school picture wondering how he got so grown in that photo but in person he still looks so small. I can't think about the fleeting time though. I have to stay in the here and now, soaking them up for all they are worth. Burning them into my brain forever because it's just too sad sometimes to think that these little people are temporary and I truly won't be living with them for long. One day I won't be able to wrap my arms around them twice and swallow them in my hugs not just because of size but because they probably won't let me for awhile before coming back to a place where it's not embarrassing to be loved by your parents. I'll just enjoy today and remind myself to do it because sometimes I forget. And I'll continue to thank God for making me, as the minister who preached Sunday said, His babysitter. Truly one of the best paying jobs in the world.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Time Warped

May I suggest a new law of physics? The velocity of 24 hours is relative to the location of the object.

Said object - me - can experience every minute of that 24 hours when I am at work for 8 to 10 hours and things are somewhat quiet. Not that it's torture, per se, because I've lived a torturous job and this ain't it. Nevertheless, no matter how much you love your job, for many of us there is just no place like home. And so that time passes so slowly that I swear it goes backward to gain the momentum it needs to keep marching forward. And then when I get home, it is gone in a flash and I must get to bed if I want to have any energy for the next day.

Or vacation. Vacations have a way of excelerating time as well, unless it's a 2-week vacation, then it actually slows down a bit after the first week passes so you come away like you really got some rest.

Well, I'm pretty tired from my job right now. It's a non-stop pace these days - most days - and that's cool. I like to keep moving but I just needed a Sunday when I didn't have to think of going to work on Monday so I took today off. I did email my job ONCE but I wanted to pass on some information. That's all. But it wasn't even the info I needed so I could have gotten fresh numbers but my co-woker said, "Stop working!" So I did. For them.

Instead I spent the day working for myself because my business needs me. With one job needing to be planned, a quote needing to go out and talking to my partner about another job we want to solicit, I needed a day to tend to these things.

I got up at the usual time because the kids must go on and after watching one get on the bus and dropping the other off, I took my car to the mechanic because the front brakes are whispering to me now but I didn't want them to scream at me later. My business partner picked me up from there to go to a meeting with our manufacturer to discuss lowering production costs. Love my manufacturer. He brought in 2 of his guys to think across all aspects of this big job we will do later in the year and as usual, we left with one more new thing to think about adding to our puzzles and a great way to package the ones we have to do for our client.

We left there to go work on the potential client's quote and my partner then brought me home to call one of our artists and email 2 others about the work we need to do. I emailed another manufacturer for another part of the process and had to have the hard talk with the potential web host who we let go before they got going due to too much miscommunication. Our new one will be awesome since I know him so it was a trade up. I took the briefest of naps, was awakened by a phone call from the fired host to plan a wrap-up meeting and by then it was 2:45 people! Son was going to be home in about an hour from then and I'm sitting there wondering where the heck the time went.

Did someone take a little more than they were supposed to? Do you have a portion of my time in your pocket? I could really use it back. But now, Daughter will be home with Mr. T. soon and the madness will really begin. At least I got to get Son off the bus and walk home with him hand-in-hand, help him with his homework in the daylight thus freeing him to goof off and I was even able to blog a little, because I've been really busy with VWE. There was no rushed feeling so Son could tell me about the baseball team he formed today - The Hersheys - who lost their first game the the Red Hots. "They melted us into melted chocolate!" We could sit and watch Criss Angel on Oprah as he got out of a straight jacket in less than half the time it took Houdini. Son could also read his homework book to me about the human body and ask me what marrow was and I didn't feel annoyed at the question just because I had a million of my own thoughts I had to corale first.

I love my job. But how sweet it would be if the business could get to the place where I can stay home and every day could be controlled chaos. A few people on Oprah today - from the snippets I caught as I fixed Bourbon Chicken and french fries for Son - talked about perserverance and that in the moment when you're ready to give up lies sweet success. I hope this year proves to be that turning point for us. Maybe I can think realistically about the possibility of working for myself for good sooner rather than later. I really want my job to be the last place I work for someone else. I'm determined to make that happen no matter how freaky that seems.

I just have to keep trying.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Business Is Potentially Booming!

I can't believe it's been 5 whole days since my last post and even now I only have literally 5 minutes to say hi to the blogging community.


If potential business was profitable, I'd say we were having our most profitable year ever but potential does not pay the bills. Still I've been busy the past few days talking to our marketing consultant about a potential project that would be the biggest we've done yet. We've got 2 out of 3 yes responses and need just that last one to be able to fully say this is a go. Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes please.

Thanks to my financial adviser, someone else wants a quote on a good size project as well and she represents potentially repeat business. We hit it off so I think it's simply a matter of proving we can do the complex thing she wants to do. Keep those body parts crossed, ya'll.

For the fun of it, I'm working on artwork for a friend of mine who is getting married. She doesn't have to go with it. I just like the idea she put in my head so it can, at the very least, be one new piece to our line and I love new artwork.

Plus our web developer redesigned the site but didn't work out for anything else we wanted to do with him. However, our new one is someone I already know, worked with previously and whose abilities I trust. (His fiancee did my logo for M.O.M. and my business.) Plus he's part of a larger company that will take little old us as a client and give us the benefit of their massive web marketing experience. I'm very excited and glad the other thing didn't work. God is good.

Now, if anybody knows any of the teachers working at Temple University, can you give me a holla? I need an introduction!

OK,. That was 10 minutes. Gotta dash! More potential puzzle projects to work on!

P.S. We are always looking for artists to join our crew. But we don't pay much right now because we're tiny and growing. Still, if you want to take a chance on our blowing up and be part of that - including the pay - then ping me and let's see if your work fits our style.