The End of an Era

 

I officially resigned from Jazz.ercise.  I haven't had so much as an inkling to even take a class, it's like my brain has finally moved on. I tried quitting before, but that lasted less than year and I re-instated my franchise thinking I was refreshed and ready to teach forevermore....

Fast forward another 5 years, and I changed jobs, putting myself in an exhausting position at work that requires a lot of energy and more travel. When I tendered my resignation at the center last Fall, I don't think I thought I'd actually quit for real, but here it is. I did my last set of taxes for my business (in which I made a whopping $2k a year, but still have to pay taxes!) and I sold my microphone to a friend of mine when hers died. Now I need to trash all my notes and figure out what to do with all my routine DVDs. Maybe give them away to new instructors, maybe toss them in the trash. I'll have a half empty desk once I'm done with the purge. 

I don't feel much of anything, maybe a little sad, but at the same time, I think I worked through a lot of stuff these past few years of teaching. I always struggled feeling like I was a good instructor, and had a really hard time with the students who were constant critics, often forgetting to focus on the students who loved my classes. Over the last few years, I finally got to a point where I didn't care as much and I knew I was a good instructor. I was having fun teaching classes and not berating myself over missed cues or forgetting routines (yeah, it happens). I also started having chronic injury issues that were getting to be difficult to fix. The repetitive nature of what I was doing, and not being in a position to modify while leading the class seemed to be leading to chronic tightness that my chiro couldn't work through as easily. He started telling me a year ago to quit and find something else based on how many times I would have to see him with an acute pain, and then I got really sick a couple of times, including Influenza. Over and over, I heard, "you're doing too much, you need to get rid of something." It took a while to listen, but I finally did. 

Jazz.ercise is an experience that I'm grateful for. I'm glad I pushed myself to not only become an instructor, which was way outside my comfort zone, but that I stuck it through for 13 years. It helped me maintain my fitness, but it also helped me in my job. When I gave a technical talk last year at a conference, it was surprisingly void of nerves. I've never eschewed public speaking, but I've always done it under the cloud of stage fright complete with sweaty palms and shaking voice. Finally, that seems to have ebbed and I've gained a lot more confidence being in front of big groups. 

These days, I go to a gym where I'm swinging sledgehammers, jumping on boxes, lifting weights, and generally getting my ass kicked. I completed Project Management training and a Leadership class at work, and I'm starting to work on big changes in the way I do things to make a $200+ million project successful. Things are happening, and they're happening fast. It's the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one. One in which I kick fitness and my career path into high gear with a new gym and a clear desire to reach the higher echelons of management in my organization.

Stay tuned....

Why am I the only brown person in this family?

I was reading the book Ron's Big Mission, a book that I, as a white woman, can't get through without the white tears spilling all over the damn place. The story is about a little boy who is black growing up in South Carolina in 1959 and the day he took a stand at his local library demanding that he be able to check out books.

The positive side of reading these kinds of age appropriate books to my kids is that it provides an opening to a dialogue. X has flirted with discussion about skin color, but hadn't expressed dismay over his skin color compared to the rest of his family and extended family. He did this particular night, and we had what I hope was a good talk about how it's different even though it shouldn't be, and how it will be hard for him. I pointed out his other friends who are the only POC in their families, and he pointed out that a black kid at his school doesn't have white parents.  I also pointed out that his therapist is an adoptee, like him, and she was adopted from India.  She will understand why he feels uncomfortable sometimes and that he can talk to her about it as much as he wants. He can tell us all his big feelings too, and we'll do the best we can to help him.

The moment that I've been dreading as a parent has come, and whether I should have or not, I admitted that maybe Mommy and Daddy made a mistake when we adopted Baby Z. That maybe we should have waited longer for a baby who had brown skin like X so that he wouldn't feel so alone in our family. I don't know how that will ultimately play out, if X will resent Baby Z, or if admitting that was the right thing to do. I rationalized the placement by thinking, well, we've been waiting for almost 2 years and we've now been matched with 3 white boys despite our openness to race. I guess we can navigate this, because lots of other families do whether one kid is lighter skinned than the other, or whether there are multiple children of different races in the family. On the other hand, I know families that draw that line and say, my kids need other kids who look like them in the family. I don't know why I didn't draw the line, but I admit it was selfish to just want to be done with the process instead of being a forward thinker to years down the road. 

If I begin to think about the fact that we were open to adopting a baby of a different race to us in the first place, I begin to wonder if that was a good decision. When we were going through the process the first time, it was made abundantly clear to us that if we wanted to adopt a white baby, we'd be waiting a very long time. Considering it took 2 years of waiting to be matched with X, it's hard to think about waiting even longer. We were naive when it came to race relations today and we've both been woke to how far there is to go, especially in today's political climate. I'd say that despite the adoption agency we worked with being pretty good in terms of preparation for the realities of adoption trauma even in infants, they miss the mark on adopting children of a different race. I don't know that it would have changed anything for us given the length of both of our adoption waits, and in X's case, he likely would have been adopted by a white family because that's the harsh reality of adoption. White people typically have the means to pay for expensive adoptions. Adoption is inherently racist, taking brown kids from brown families and putting them into white families because we theoretically are better. I call bullshit. We aren't better, we have the upper hand when it comes to everything. 

 

You Know When

You're feeling so shitty about yourself and your inability to deal with your kids/career/family that you fly off the proverbial handle, tell your husband to fuck off ad make him so upset that he screams expletives all the way down the stairs?

That was my Friday night. 

 

probably hormonal bullshit.  

 

I don't know how to control it.  

Driving Home from the Airport...

I was traveling and spent my flight home watching "Pretty In Pink" for what I swear is the first time. (for realz!) Driving home from the airport, I hear an iconic song from my youth on the radio.  (Lovesong)

On a station I don't listen to because it plays music I associate with my parents. Now it plays music associated with people my age. 

You guys. I am f*cking old. It never ceases to amaze me when I have that flash of holyshitareyoukiddingme? 

 

 

Sick

“You’re doing too much, that’s why you’re sick” 

I heard those words last spring when I got influenza. My chiropractor was concerned that I was seeing him too much for injuries and that my body was too stressed. Thus began the slow mental journey to leaving Jazz.ercise behind in order to spend more time with my family on weekends. My job was ramping up and becoming a bigger stressor than I realized, and with increased travel, I finally tendered my resignation at the center last fall.

I joined a new gym, and we changed around our routine to accommodate early morning workouts for me. Everything was copacetic. I pick up the kids a little earlier and S gets to work out in the evenings. Everybody wins, right?

Now I’m sick. 3 viruses in a month. The first hit right before our Annual Meetings with the Region. I couldn’t travel, but dragged my sick, flu-ish body into the office to attend via videoconference. The meeting stressed me out beyond belief. Now that I’m a full year into this new position, I’m finding all the problems between my office and the regional office. They are huge.

The second virus was a rebound from the first one (lots of peeps around here have had similar experiences). I was pretty darn proud of myself for taking lots of oregano oil and zinc and Vitamin D so that it wasn’t too bad. That one hit during a project management training class that I also found to be stressful. Learning about project management only highlights all the problems I have between me and my counterpart in the region.

And now the third, coming off a week in which I had to get my boss to talk to the head of the office in the region in order to make sure that we could award a construction contract this fiscal year. Why did I have to get her involved?  Well, because after stressing over and over in meetings that we need to award in this fiscal year, the contracting person sent a schedule showing that she wouldn’t award until the next fiscal year. Team player everybody!

The school communications from X's school have also been annoying. They ask us to volunteer 15 hours a year per family, so I signed up to help plan a big celebration thinking I could knock out as many hours as possible all at once. Well, I'm new to the PTA system and the divisiveness between working parents and stay at home parents. I was never tapped to help plan, yet they kept sending out all these e-mails about needing volunteers. In my most rigid and stressed state, I got bitchy about it, complaining to my friends and S and being really annoyed by the whole thing. What's the point of signing up at the beginning of the year if the damn PTA is just going to take the reigns then ask for parking lot volunteers 2 weeks before the event?  I'm now volunteering to take tickets for 2 hours. What the hell ever. I should be fine with it, but that's part of my ISTJ'ness that always gets me. My brain: "They had a sign up at the beginning of the year, what's with not contact the people who signed up in the first place? Who the hell is running this, and why are we getting information from 3 different places to put together the whole picture!" Plus, the after school program sent out an e-mail last Friday saying they were going to have a Valentine's party but didn't say how many kids were in the program. When I asked on Monday, I find out it's 40. I had to get 40 more valentines for X to give out because I don't want him to left out due to poor communication. It brought the total to 71 total between his kindergarten class, his teachers and the after school program. *headdesk*

These can’t be coincidences, or maybe they are?  I exercise regularly, am good about getting sleep. I’ve been unplugging more and more at night due mostly to the state of this country and the wholly unfit person in the highest office. My diet is pretty damn good, and I've reduced drinking to weekends only. So, what’s up with getting sick like this one right after another? It’s like my body isn’t really recovering so I can’t fight off whatever virus is brought into my house by my cute little germ factories.

Clearly, I need more therapy to help me separate my job from my self-worth. But even that stresses me out. I spend so much time at appointments for therapy, for chiropractic, for Baby Z’s latest foray into ear infection combined with Impetigo that I constantly feel like I’m spinning. S is only 6 months into his new job and his leave balances are so small that all kid related things fall to me (especially because I travel and that’s a hard ship on him and his hours) 

I don’t know what the answer is. But today I'll go home sick an hour after getting to work.

If You Have a Child Of Color Who is Adopted

Things that should be high on your to-do list right now: 

1) Get them a passport and make copies for you and your child to carry at all times.  

2) If they are an international adoptee, make sure you have their citizenship papers. Read here for more information: 

I can't believe I'm writing this.  

Dropping the Ball

X is supposed to do some reading every night. Now that we're into the second semester of kindergarten, this also includes reading a book (Spanish) he brings home from school. He's supposed to practice it at home, and on Fridays read it to his class.

ha.

The first week he had to read the book and bring it back to school we were on top of it. The second week, Baby A got an ear infection the same day I was to travel for work. Because, of course. On the Friday of that week, I asked X if he had read his book to the class. Nope. Why? S didn't remember to have him practice in between dealing with a sick and cranky 2 year old, and no one remembered to bring it back to school. That's pretty much how it goes these days. It's a constant dropping of the ball. We read to both kids at night, but we aren't necessarily teaching X how to do homework. It's damn near impossible for me to have him sit down and do anything when we get home. I leave work earlier now, but it's still a scramble to get dinner cooked and us fed before bedtime. Couple that with X being soooo tired every day lately and these things fall by the wayside. Now that travel has started, it's going to get worse.

*sigh* Sometimes I feel like the worst parent ever. 

#MicroblogMondays - I Marched

In the past I haven't been vocally political because to me it seemed that no matter who was in office, generally things went along status quo with some changes, but nothing major really seemed to occur. (the tide began to turn when we went to war after 9/11, but not enough to make me rise up.) Maybe that's my white privilege bubble talking, and I'm sure that's part of it. However, this past year the unthinkable happened and a reality tv star became our President. 

So I marched on Saturday January 21, 2017 for my son who is brown and for my fellow women. We all deserve equal rights and equal pay.

If these developments have taught me anything, it's that I can advance as far as I want to in my career. I think, I mean, I'm not a man...but...

I also got a manicure for the occasion.

I also got a manicure for the occasion.

Emotions Need an Out

There's some therapy happening around here that is outside of my usual therapy. I'm not going to talk about it on my blog because it's not my therapy per se. However, what I can talk about are insights I'm gaining in how I was raised and how I stuff emotions because I wasn't allowed to express hard emotions growing up. A quote I heard today was "Emotions need to get out somehow". 

As I sit here with super tight neck and upper back muscles that haven't responded to active release therapy, I'm thinking it's something more. This may not happen so regularly, I may not be so tense in general if I knew how to release emotions. 

I like to say that my default emotion is anger, but that's not a primary emotion as it turns out. My default emotion is shame and I use anger as a cover. I've identified major shame spirals that I find myself in from time to time. What I'm wondering now is if my entire existence is one small shame spiral after another leading to stress and tension that several times a year results in massive knots. The kinds of knots that wake me up at night as I try to change position, and that leave me in constant pain for a couple weeks until they finally work themselves out with the help of various modalities. 

Thoughts like these are leading me to the shoulds. Should go to yoga more, should try meditation, should break out the coloring book S gifted me. The shoulds build up more tension. The cycle repeats.  

#MicroblogMondays - Challenge

I'm not into resolutions, but challenges and goals tend to motivate me. For example, the goal to complete a 100-mile bike ride. That got me on my bike on days when I was tired or sore or just not feeling it. Generally, my goals will be activity related to keep me working out and in shape.

I didn't set goals for this year, and I may or may not do any big bike rides, choosing to wait until I have a chance to get on my bike in the spring. 

Challenges on the other hand...I need to challenge myself to do all kinds of things, and have started with the low-hanging fruit:

Only drink 2 days a week

Writing that down feels like I'm admitting I have a problem. I don't have a problem, other than spending a stupid amount of money at our friendly neighborhood liquor store, and my expanding waistline. 

Merry Christmas?

The holidays weren't great around these parts. There, I said it. Not that I have any trouble saying things on my site, but I've been working really hard to temper my reaction to the outside world, because aren't the holidays supposed to be so fun with kids?

Here's what I've come to dread every year. The nightmare juggle of family and big productions and now, bonus overstimulated kids having meltdowns.

Christmas Eve had to be done at my in-laws because my bro-in-law was working on Christmas Day (water treatment doesn't stop for holidays y'all)

Christmas Day was supposed to be at my parent's house until I figured out that as is typical, my mom was being cagey and didn't clearly state when my brother would be in town. I found out on Christmas Eve that he wasn't flying in until Monday, the day AFTER Christmas. Ummm....so why wouldn't I want to see him again?  I kinda like that brother after all. Ok, so last minute scramble to change schedule and figure out if we have enough food in the house for a Christmas dinner I didn't plan on making. Lucky for us, a box of mac n' cheese satisfies Mr. Picky. Also, there was shrimp in the freezer. And a liquor store half a block away.

So, Christmas Day dawns after a Christmas Eve of crazy cousin time and presents at in-laws. A fun time by all I'm sure, but overstimulated and overtired left us with assholes for kids. Santa brought the wrong dump truck (naturally). The wind picked up in the afternoon, by which time, kids were super antsy, they had already watched a movie, and plans to visit the zoo (it's open!) were stymied. A quick trip to the park got us out for an hour so yay?

Day after Christmas brings the awkward Geochick family dinner and gift opening. Gee mom, thanks for the pasta attachment that I won't ever ever ever notinamillionyears use. Also, those sonic care toothbrush heads for my non-existent sonic care toothbrush are awesome. The topper was the sparkly hair clip accompanied by the comment "I got that because I thought you wore hair clips sometimes". Yep, used to. I'm old now and tend to shy away from sticking rhinestones on my head unless it's Halloween, but hey, you thought something...

Oh, and the EXACT SAME remote control car that X got two years ago, is now the worst remote control car ever because he couldn't figure out how to make it move forward in a straight line. 

December 27th brought sweet sweet work as usual. I've never been so excited to go sit it an empty office and not talk to people.

December 27th also brought a surprise box from one of my other siblings to which X and A excitedly tore into until X realized all he got was a couple of books (oh the horrors) and A was the one who got a toy. Tantrum commenced.

 

 

So Many Posts in my Head

And no motivation to write them?  I feel like I need to at least give bulleted updates on what's up around these parts.

  • I've made an appointment with my gyn for my annual check-up and to discuss the possibility that I'm getting hit with the ol' peri. I talked to my therapist about it and she questioned me quite a bit on whether it's really peri or if I'm getting triggered. That bugs me because I described to her exactly what was happening and she still thought it might not be wacked out hormones. Oh, and she said I'm pretty young for it. Yeah, well, I have a perfectly functioning reproductive system that never wanted to get pregnant...stranger things have happened!
  • I quit teaching Jazz.ercise. Did I tell you that?  I'm fronting like I'm on a break, but as I see sub requests come through my inbox, I'm not feeling the motivation to get a set together to teach. I'll give it a few more months before I completely pull the plug. (gotta' stock up on my New Bal.ance and Athle.ta gear at 30% off before I jump ship! priorities, you know?)
  • I joined a Cross-Fit'ish gym. The owners would probably give me a dirty look if they knew that's how I describe their program to other people, but I don't know any other way. It's based on functional movements (box jumps, tire flips, sledgehammer swings, sled drives, burpees, jump rope, obstacle courses), and they use kettlebell, TRX and battle ropes. It's insane. 30-45 minute circuit-style workouts that totally kick my butt up and down the street. I love it. My muscles are growing and I'm seeing definition in my shoulders and legs, just need to get rid of that damn belly.
  • I get up at about 4:45am to go to said new gym. So far I can eke out 4 days a week if I don't get too sore, and definitely 3 days a week. Someday I may be able to do 4 days in a row, but this early morning stuff takes some getting used to.
  • The biggest change has been to our drop-off and pick-up schedule. One of the issues we were having was that we were getting home at 6pm every day with the kids and it was brutal trying to get dinner on the table. I convinced S to do all the drop-offs and I'll do all the pick-ups. My work day now starts at 7am right after I go to the gym, and I'm able to get the kids home around 5.  So far it's sooo much better. I get to let S deal with the morning chaos and I'm much calmer and more centered in the morning. In the afternoon, I'm better equipped to deal and things have been running pretty smoothly if I do say so myself.
  • S and I are both working really hard on parenting based on feedback we're getting from professionals. X is also working on controlling his emotions and is figuring out what's appropriate. I've seen him walk right up to the line of tantrum then back off when I stay calm and tell him how I'm feeling. It's a ton of work, but I think we're seeing a turnaround.
  • Baby Z is a handful. Full on 2-years old, wants to do everything himself but can't and gets mad if we try to help him. Ugh.
  • Chris.tmas is upon us and we have to delay our annual Xmas Eve fondue dinner because of scheduling with family. I'm not too happy about that, but that's what happens when they are all in town. Hoping to do it next Friday before the New Year.

Perimenopause

That last post? The super ragey, depressed, sky is falling post? Pretty sure that episode (and similar ones over the past few months) are indicating I've entered perimenopause.  

I ovulated a few days prior to said outburst, thanks to the handy dandy indicator that is mittleschmertz, which was a doozy of a burst cyst. I flew off the handle the night I wrote the post and turned into a screaming banshee suggesting divorce (no, we aren't having problems) since I was clearly a shitty mother/wife/friend/daughter/yadayada.  I went to bed crying then popped up the next morning relatively ok. Like, not a whole lot of residual feelings other than a "what the fuck was that". Since then, I've been feeling frustration, sure, there's truth in what I was feeling and what I wrote, it's not quite as dire a situation as I may have led you to believe. 

In addition to these ragey episodes that I can kind of tell are coming at the same time every month, my cycle has definitely gone a bit wonky. I think I've stopped ovulating on some of the cycles, having really light periods that last about 2 days. (which also fuck with my head and make me wonder if I'm pregnant. side note: S is being a chicken about the simple little procedure I asked him to do, and now that he's less than a year into his new job, he's probably not getting it any time soon).  My cycle lengths have been fluctuating a little bit as well although not so much that they feel erratic. Until today, when AF showed up 5'ish days early. 

 

Hey, welcome to a new phase of life. Hope this shit goes down fast cause 15 years of this crap is going to suck donkey balls.  

Struggle

I wrote a post in August about things being hard. They're worse. I yell at my kids on a daily basis. My kids are showing anxiety around me. I feel like shit about my inability to fucking control my emotions. Another friendship is gone and now I can unequivocally state that I am not friends with anyone I chose for bridesmaids at my wedding. My job is demanding.  I keep gaining weight. I quit teaching Jazzercise because it became too much. I joined a gym where I can work out at 5:15am and getting up that early sucks. S is telling me we have to figure out how to turn this around. I'm already paying a therapist $300/month and well....see my litany above. We start therapy with an adoption therapist soon. More money to therapy. Meanwhile, I  cant fucking keep it together at home. Maybe the only positive thing I've done lately is tell X that when I lose it it's my fault not his and he is allowed to talk back at me and tell me he doesn't like it. (trying to empower instead of scare into submission but still...I'm not supposed to yell!)

Today he told me he was going to tell the judge that I should not be a parent. What judge? The one who said we will be a forever family. Really? Whose going to be your parent? Daddy. 

2 things: 

1) Wow, he has been absorbing adoption talk

2) Fucking hell I have got to get the fuck out of this funk. 

 

Point of View

Often, as adoptive parents, we rely on fellow adoptive parents and adoption agencies to teach us about adoption. That's comforting and validating, but it leaves out 2/3 of the equation: first parents and adoptees. In my own journey through adoption I've found some resources where the PV (point of view) of adoptees and first parents is brought to the forefront. This is an uncomfortable place to be given the multiple views on adoption and transracial adoption in particular. When I become squirmy, I tell myself that it signals growth to face my own biases and work through what makes me uncomfortable in order to be more present and available to my kids and their needs.

I invite you to invite uncomfortableness into your life and check out these important views.

Another Version   - Danielle is a birthmother who blogs about everything from her adoption story, her family, and feminism.

Lost Daughters  - A consortium of adoptees sharing their thoughts on adoption. An awesome one-stop for varying stories from domestic private, foster, international and transracial adoptions. 

Adoption and Birthmothers (aka Musings of the Lame) -  I will point anyone thinking about adoption to this site for an education on what adoption really is vs. what the agencies tell us.

The adopted ones blog  - Two adoptees from the baby scoop era started a blog. 

Harlow's Monkey  - JaeRan Kim, a Korean adoptee, and Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Washington blogs about her experience at this site, and also has a professional site https://jaerankim.com

Transracial Adoption Perspectives - A Facebook group where the PV of transracial adoptees is front and center. White Adoptive Parents (WAPs) are invited to engage in order to learn. It can be a challenging place to be for WAPs, and this is where learning to sit with uncomfortableness comes to play.

 

 

p.s. Happy American Thanksgiving, whatever that means considering it signals when White people started pushing Native people off their land. Are you uncomfortable? I am.

 

How My Views on Adoption Have Changed

November is National Adoption Month.

I used to think that was awesome, a way to help educate the masses on how great adoption is.

That was then. This is now.

I have mixed feeling about adoption now that I've been through the process twice and have experienced every adoptive parent's nightmare of failed matches, including taking a baby home only to have his mother change her mind a few days later. But this isn't about me, it's about my kids and how they are affected by the decisions that were made for them, in situations where if the system were set up differently, they could have been raised by their first parents. While I don't doubt for a second that under this current system, my kids would have been adopted no matter if we were there or not, I'm not sure it means that everything is copacetic. We have an open adoption with X's first mom and in the last 5 years, I've learned a lot about the pain of a mother who has had to make a sacrifice through no choice of her own. I've seen firsthand how she wants badly to know her child, but every time she sees him, is reminded of the situation she found herself in; is reminded how she was not allowed to be a parent. Baby Z's mother doesn't want to know him except through the removed medium of letters and pictures. The situations are different, the people are different, and the decisions are different, but I venture to guess that the pain is not different. They choose to face it in their own ways.

I love my kids, and my love for my kids has no bearing on my conflicted feelings about how I came to be their parent. That doesn't mean I need to be happy about the system that brought them to us. I can't help but wonder, if adoption hadn't been so easy, would we have children? We would have gone the IVF route if the lure of adopting a baby hadn't been marketed so effectively. Who knows if that would have been successful, and maybe we would have had to accept the fact that we would be a family of 2 plus dog. Adoption marketing permeates our entire society painting the adoptive parent as "saviors" of the children who need families. But how many of those children really need families?  They already have families, and often the situations that lead to adoption are temporary.

 

Scorched Earth

There are two ways to deal with a failing friendship: The fade-out and the break-up.

Earlier this year, I discovered something about one of my friends that cut me to the core.  She declared support for a candidate during the primaries and then refused to discuss it further knowing that two of us at the table didn't share her views. When one of my other friends pressed her to explain what it was about the candidate she liked, she refused to answer the question. I exploded with accusations of racism and misogyny toward the candidate (guess who?) and couldn't hide my distaste for her choice given the number of candidates running in the primaries at the time. This was at the beginning of dinner and the rest of dinner was fairly tense. Obviously, my reaction was over the top, but I feel so strongly about it that I never apologized for my attack on her candidate.

Needless to say, I've ruined that friendship. I did invite her to a couple things this summer but she refused the invitations. I finally sent an e-mail that, while I tried my best to soften it, I felt the need to discuss the rhetoric that will absolutely affect my kid. I never got a reply from her, and I guess I can't fault her for not replying or wanting to discuss it when my views are as black/white as hers are, on opposite sides.

This is the only time I have made a decision to leave or break on my own. I typically want so bad to hold onto the friendship that I try everything I can until it's made perfectly clear by the other person that they don't like me anymore. In this case, I thought long and hard about what this group of friends brings to my life and whether it was born of mutual interests or of convenience. In talking with my therapist, it became clear that this group is one of convenience. They all got married at the same time, then they started having babies and all of their kids are within a year of each other. There are six kids in that group who are all close in age. My kids are off by a year to three years and X is the oldest. We don't fit nicely, as became clear on our last "get a house in the mountains" outing as Baby Z had to be chased everywhere, but was too young to play and X got bored. Not to mention the pregnancy and breastfeeding talk because they were all pregnant at the same time with #2. I drank with the dads.  

Anyway, discussions between me and S started after that about whether we really needed these friends. He wasn't clicking with their husbands and we felt "other". But, I figured, hey these are girlfriends who are fun to hang out with (or were pre kiddos) so I'll stick with book club and such. We had a few game nights with and that was pretty fun. It seemed to be like a good group to stick with even if most connections were tenuous at best. For instance, I never hung out one on one with the other two, and felt like my other friend was the only connection I had to this group. And, we hung out for about 5 years, so if something more substantial were going to develop, it would have.

Well, then the politics started coming out and it became clear very quickly that despite the desire of two people not wanting to discuss it because they have different views than us other two, I became more and more uncomfortable. Then the dinner happened and that was that. I think I even unfriended her on FB.  *update* No I didn't, just unfollowed her. I'm not on FB much anyway except for groups so it doesn't matter. Plus she never posts. 

That brings me to another question why is it so bad to unfriend people? Is there a reason why we need to be engaging with the other side as it's well-documented that social media posts hardly ever change anyone's mind? S and I have talked about the election and what our country will look like after it we both realize that no matter who wins, it appears that the divisiveness is not going away. When I'm part of the problem because I refuse to listen to her side, although she won't really divulge her views, what does that make me? Am I just as bad as the misogynistic racist candidate?

On Jury Duty

 I almost forgot about a jury summons. Lucky for me, S remembered and prompted me to check the date and I didn't miss it. *phew* However, I had to tell my boss that the summons could interefere with travel I had scheduled, which is a bummer to have to give the news that I can't handle my schedule. 

Dutifully, I informed colleagues that my travel may get cancelled, and lo and behold, my number was instructed to show up on a Monday morning at 8:30. 

Its been several years since I've had jury duty, and I've never been to our new courthouse. I'll say this, the assembly room is much better than the old courthouse. It's large and bright with pleasant artwork and restrooms close by. The chairs are still uncomfortable. 

Sitting on an uncomfortable chair, I attempted to work on a project schedule and address important emails. There was a time when I would gladly bring a good book with me, but those days are past. I don't work overtime, and that means I always feel behind. So, if it's a weekday and I'm sitting in a courthouse, might as well try to be productive.  

At 11:15am, my number was called. Exciting! Last time I was dismissed from the assembly room feeling like I just wasted 2.5 hours of my life. At least this time, I saw the inside of a courtroom. About 18 of us filed into the room and to my surprise the attorneys were standing. General questions from the judge commenced as she ran through the first cut. Several people invoked religion as an excuse for not being able to judge someone else. A couple of people had been involved in similar cases. With that being the first cut, I made it to the jury box with 12 others. For the type of case being tried, only 6 jurors would be chosen. We all had a list of questions to answer while the prosecutor and defense attorneys scribbled notes on our education levels, occupation, family occupations, affiliations with friends or family in law enforcement and law professions, interests, hobbies, TV viewing habits. Seemed like a lot of information, but ok. About 20 minutes into the process, I had an inkling that I was out. I was the only technical person in the box, and one of the most educated. Both sides spent a fair amount of time grilling the other master's degree holder (teacher) and completely ignored me. When I was finally dismissed, I couldn't help but smirk my way out of the courtroom. 

I don't think I've ever experienced such a smug feeling before. The elitist high stuck with me for quite some time. No one wanted me on the jury, I'm too smart.*

 

 

 

*Clearly, my head is up my ass. Likely, my attitude in which I was not warm towards either attorney, I sat with closed posture as I'm wont to do when nervous, and I rolled my eyes at the defense attorney when he used the phrase "stand your ground" all contributed to my dismissal. He was an idiot. 

 

#MicroblogMondays - The New Job 9 Months In

"You work less than you used to, right?"

A colleague, who understands our organization well, asked me this question. He wasn't slamming my position, or slamming me, but it does show how design engineers view the position I'm currently in.

I'm actually working more. There are more nights spent trying to skim through e-mails and stay on top of what I'm supposed to be doing, vs. the fires that pop up each and every day.  I left the office to go on vacation for 4 days over the 4th of July weekend and came back to 115 emails. Now, that's not a lot to some people, but for me it's overwhelming. What I think people forget is that the Program Manager is on-demand for every dam in their region. I have 60 with one high profile politically charged project, 2 going to construction in the next 2 years, and multiple projects in the middle of evaluation. Plus, there are all the other on-going inspections and evaluations of the dams that I'm at least supposed to know about.

I have yet to figure out a great system, although I've been trying One-Note and that seems promising despite not being able to use the cloud. I've become adept at keeping up with e-mails when I travel, constantly checking my phone and spending some time in the evenings to address issues. 

Traveling has become a whole lot more of my schedule. There's training, and conferences and meetings that pop up. For example, I knew for months that I was going to essentially be gone the entire month of September. That came and went, it was really hard on all of us (two the trips were 5 days) and I came home thinking that I was going to be back for a while. No dice. Now I'm going to be gone on trips half of October and I'm going to miss Halloween. Not that Halloween on a Monday is a major holiday to miss, and there are plenty of Halloween activities for us to find before the actual day, but it still kind of sucks. 

Generally I feel like I'm treading water and constantly fighting waves that engulf my head leaving me sputtering and panicked.

And it wasn't even a promotion.

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