Monday, July 20, 2015

Look Who's Not Dead

Yep, it's me.

This is the part where I usually make some excuses and I don't know what to tell you. I've been busy, I've been depressed, I've been whatever.

The truth is, that even though all those things are true, one of my issues is that I've not had a lot to say. I've kinda fallen out of love with my blog. It's not you guys, you guys are awesome. It's more that it's time for a content change and I just don't know what to write about. The kids are old enough that our conversations are rarely hilarious.

Well, I mean sometimes I have hilarious conversations with Brynna, but they tend toward the personal and sometimes I have hilarious conversations with Maren, but they tend to be purposely stupid.

I've watched bloggers I love step down and quit writing when their kids got to a certain age and they felt that their stories were not up for sharing anymore and wondered if that would ever happen to me. I mean, on the one hand, I haven't discovered the magic mix of chocolate milk and cookies that forces children to just stay children. But on the other hand, I've never really thought of this as a mommy blog.

I mean, I know I write a lot about my kids, but I also write about depression and divorce and being a geek and every other little thing that pops up in my life. None of those things belong to my kids or are contingent on their stories.

But here I am, and over the past couple of months, the only times I've touched this blog is to update my 36 Things. I've lost my passion for this place and I don't know what to do next. I'm not sure if I should try to recapture it or if I should just let it go, let it slide away.

Look, I want to make something clear - you should feel free to say whatever you want to say, but this is NOT me hinting that I want you guys to beg me to keep writing. In the first place, I'll never quit writing, I just may quit writing here. In the second place, according to my stat counter, "you guys" are like 6 people, so if you want to know what's going on in my stupid world that badly, I could just email you.

I never did this for anyone else, though, I've always done it for me and now I'm just not into it exactly. But I do miss it. Which I know is a weird little conundrum. I don't miss writing here so much as I miss the feeling I used to have about writing here. I used to walk around thinking, "I can't wait to blog this." I haven't thought that in months.

But, on the other hand, I like having this as my home base. This place is my place, more than Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr could ever be.

So, this is just me whining mostly, and some existential angst. But it's also a heads up. For a while, it'll be sporadic around here, but part of that is going to be me trying to find something that I'm excited about writing again.

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 1, 2015

All the New Things

So, I've made it through my first month in my new job and I haven't had a nervous breakdown yet. This past week was the year's biggest event for the organization, so I feel like I've sort of survived something significant. Doing such a huge event just a month into my tenure there was a baptism by fire, but I lived through it.

Yesterday, I told my dad that even my worst day at my new job is less stressful than an average day at my old job and that's true. For one thing, there isn nothing in this new job that is insurmountable and that's a huge change. For another, I feel like I have more trust and respect in a few weeks than I had after seven years at my previous engagement.

In other news, Maren graduated Montessori. I cried, although not as much as I thought I would. I am terribly sad that she's growing up so fast, sad that she's leaving such a wonderful school and sad that my last baby has moved on. But, this time around, I'm a little more ready.

I don't know why, but Maren seems so much more ready than Brynna was at this point. Maybe it's because I watched Brynna walk into elementary school and fly. Maybe it's because Maren seems to just bounce through whatever you put in front of her. Maybe it's because she's already excited to start next year. For whatever reason, though, I am mo
re excited to watch her conquer her next adventure than sad to see her complete her last.

Finally, Brynna is about to graduate fifth grade. That's right, I am two days away from being the mother of a middle schooler. I'm sure I'm going to cry at this graduation. I'll report back. she's so smart and so strong and so ready for the next thing. But she lacks her sister's ridiculous self-confidence. She's not sure she's ready, but I am. And I am excited to see what hell she brings to middle school.

She's also playing softball. You guys know, Brynna has had a spotty relationship with sports, but I think this time, we've maybe found her love. She's not good yet, but she's grown so much through this season that I can't wait to  see what happens next. I love to watch her play, to watch her concentrate and think and move. She's becoming someone different in a million small ways and I am so thankful to be a part of it.

Every time she plays, though, I think about how much I wish my grandpa could watch her play. He loved sports and he loved to watch his family play. I said something to Brynna about it one day, aout how much he would have loved to watch her play and she very quickly replied, "He is. He always watches me." And, I suppose he does.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mama

Hey, all, it's May 19th. It boggles my mind every year that this is not yet considered a national holiday. Not because it's the birthday of my best friend from elementary school or my most persistent college crush, or even my aunt. Today is the anniversary of the birth of the world's most awesome woman - my mom.

Here are a few things you should know about my mom. You know, for when she finally takes over the world, and you are forced to celebrate her birth with those of us who are early converts.

  • She takes care of everyone  - Honestly, she'd be a pretty benevolent overlord because she is always looking out for everyone else. She worries and stresses and fights and gives to make sure that everyone around her is always okay. 
  • She is wicked strong - No matter how dire my world has felt, Mom has put it into perspective with just a few words. She has weathered a lot, especially in the last couple of years and she is still a brilliant light, not dimmed by adversity. She is a rock and we are lucky to have her to hold onto.
  • She's beautiful - Like many a lady, she doesn't see it in herself, but she is gorgeous, especially when she's laughing. She lights up a room and commands attention. And I'm not just saying that because everyone says we look alike.
  • She is a great mom - I haven't always been just what she hoped for, I know that. I am weird and a little crazy and we don't always speak the same language. I've made choices she questioned and choices she right out hated. But she has always been there, she has always loved me and she has always supported me. We may not always agree, but I know that she's always there, even when we are actively disagreeing, she's still on my side in the bigger picture.
  • She's mine - you can't have her. Look, I know how great she is, but she can't only take care of so many kids. Between me and my brother and my future sister in law and my kids, she's got her hands full. Maybe when one of us grows up. If that ever happens.
I love you, Mom. You are my raft in the ocean, my parachute in a crashing plane, my net on the tightrope. I can only do great things because I know you've got my back.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five Things - Owl Door Headdesk Edition

I started a new job this week. And I am thrilled about it and excited to be here and I think it's going to be really great and I am also totally and completely DONE. I am exhausted and overwhelmed and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and completely change careers. I am looking for something with no real responsibility, no overtime hours, no commute, no stress and a big, fat, paycheck, preferably of the every two weeks variety. I haven't had one of those puppies in years.

Any ideas?

That's what I thought.

Anyway, I am much, much too some word I can't think of to be coherent or to put together a list that makes sense, so here's just

Five Things (Not Related)

  1. I'm going to redecorate the living room again. I've been doing various stages of this since it became my living room and there was no other adult voice to tell me that my metal owls and constantly moving tables were stupid. I've painted and rearranged and taken everything off the walls and put new stuff on the walls and made art and generally taken over the living room. But it still doesn't really look like it should be my  living room, because I've been stuck with this plaid furniture that I loved five or six years ago when I bought it on a whim. Don't buy sofas on a whim, even if they are super cheap and still wrapped in plastic and at the ReStore and you are terrified that if you leave they'll be sold before you can come back.  You know, honestly, I don't regret the purchase, but I'm glad that they are retiring. Anyway, I have new couches coming, they are green, but they are plain green and they are deep and the sofa is really long and I can sleep on them when I can't sleep in my bed and I am so happy. So, prepare for new colors. The soft, outdoorsy mossy green is going to fit in perfectly with what's already there, but this is the beginning. I am going to have color, people! Color.
  2. Usually September is my month from hell. There are no free weekends in the entire month and then it's October and there are so many fun, Halloweeny things to do, but this year... This year, April is kicking my ass. I went on vacation (which was awesome, but tiring) and then it was Easter and then Brynna got baptized and then I was quitting my job and then I went to Girl Scout Camp and then I started a new job and this weekend, there are 26 things to do. It's so bad that last night, the Ex was like, "Hey, this weekend looks rough, do you need me?" Which is awesome, but then I am a stubborn, overly independent thing who totally said "What? No, I'm just blowing off about half of it." Which is true, I am, but it's going to be crazy. I'm just holding out until next weekend, when the kids are gone and the house will be quiet. In between softball games at least.
  3. My baby brother is getting married. He's been engaged for a few months, but the other night, they finally set the date and I am so excited. I tried to talk them into getting married on my divorciversary, but they seemed to think that would be bad luck or something. :)
  4. There's a comic book store within walking distance of my new office. Goodbye pocket money.
  5. There is no five. It's like the cake. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

More About Last Week

So, in other news, I quit my job last week.

Well, kinda. I gave my notice last week, while on vacation, which felt super skeezey, but was just the best I could do. I'm here for this week and next and then I move on. So, some thoughts on this whole thing:

Over the past year or two, I have periodically referred to stress at work or being upset about work or so forth and so on. I have not exactly liked my job very much during that time. It's been every kind of anxiety you can possibly imagine.

It's a good job and for the most part, I have worked with amazing people. From time to time those people, being real life human beings have acted in ways that aren't stellar, but for the most part, they have been great. I like the organization. I like many, many things about my job.

But, this is, to some degree at least, the nonprofit life. We are dependent on gifts. Gifts are dependent on the overall financial health of the nation. That hasn't been great.

We also operate on a pretty thin margin. This varies by organization and many have a nice year or two worth of funds put back for cushion, but in my experience, most don't. Most are a matter months away from not making payroll. Nonprofits are the working class of businesses, Always a couple of paydays away from homeless.

And, our biggest expense is our people. Which means, that when funds are low, you can cut programs, which you don't want to do because programs are why you are there, or you can cut people or benefits.

In the past eighteen months, our staff has reduced by 66%. Our benefits have decreased. Our workload has increased. And our stress level has gone insane.

This is not the fault of my boss or my board or the organization. This is the nature of the nonprofit beast. This is the world I make a profession in. And it sucks.

I haven't written about any of this because, you know, job. And I'm being as vague as I can be, because you know, bridges. But what I can tell you is that the last couple of years have wreaked havoc on my health, both emotional and physical. I get way more headaches than I used to, my depression has reached exciting new heights and panic attacks. Panic attacks suck.

And, still. I have mixed feelings about leaving.

I'm excited about my new opportunity. But I am sad to leave. I've been here 7 years. This job is older than one of my kids. I've been through 3 cars in this job. (Which sounds bad actually, but it was kind of the tail end of one and then the van from hell... eh, I'm not explaining myself.) This, in many ways is home. I know this place like I know my house and I will miss it. I will miss my people and my office and my job.

But, with any luck, I won't miss the sleepless nights or the constant upset stomach or the nagging headaches. Hopefully, this is going to equal a healthier, happier me.

Nonprofit is a passion. People don't do it for the money or the benefits or the job security, because those things are not all that great in nonprofit. We do it, because at the end of the day we want to feel like someone, somewhere is living a better life because of something we did. We do it because we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

But it is a hard life. Not like logger hard or ice road trucker hard or crab fisherman hard. But hard. Chances are you know someone who works in nonprofit. We are a pretty big chunk of the economy. Give 'em a hug.