How to Squeeze in Post-partum Exercise to Beat the Blues

You’ve delivered your bundle of joy and survived nights short on sleep but you’re still not feeling like yourself. So at six weeks when the doc gives you the thumbs up to resume your exercise and…gulp…sex, you may be feeling like all of this is premature. You’re not ready. Honestly, who is? I know I wasn’t.

After my second daughter was born five months ago, my neighbors were in awe. We seemed to have adjusted well. My five year old was doing fine. And we worked out a tag team combo that allowed us to get some sleep. On the outside it seemed like all was more than well.

But…things are rarely what they seem.

February storm: our backyard

Fighting Baby Blues

It was the dead of winter in New England and I was on leave from work. The endless cold dark days trapped inside with an infant were beginning to take their toll. I needed to move, I needed to sweat.

I haven’t belonged to a gym for 15 years but I love to work out at home or outside. This year though, the combination of  heavy snow, frigid temps, and an infant made me a prisioner in my own home.

Frustrated with the repetition of uncooperative weather, I decided to use my house as a gym. I turned on the microwave timer, turned up the tunes and began running stairs. I started in my basement, baby cradled in my arms, and climbed all the way to the second floor. I took it slow at first and then sped things up. My goal was to sweat and be left breathing heavily. It worked! I can’t tell you what a difference it made to lift my spirits. And I slept more deeply!

10 quick ideas to combat the blues:

  1. Get outside, if weather permits. Sunshine, fresh air and vitamin D are all a huge boost for mental state.
  2. Steal time. Your baby may not be sleeping much, so squeeze in a workout while he or she is awake. Incorporate it into your day. Five minutes here and there can make all the difference. Try it.
  3. Keep weights and workout equipment around. Use them with this short workout.
  4. Do walking lunges while carrying your baby. My baby loved this one. When she got too heavy I switched to a medicine ball or a hand weight.

    One way to keep them entertained

  5. Bookmark some short workouts on youTube. There are millions and they’re FREE. This one is just 2 minutes but you will feel it.
  6. Get creative about entertaining your baby.   I make sure my daughter can see me, so I’m usually just 2-5 feet away. I look at her, make faces, and she usually enjoys my workout theatrics.
  7.  Walk on the treadmill, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Even if your baby is fussy, you can usually wear him/her and the movement may lull them to sleep while you burn some energy and get an adrenaline boost.
  8. Exchange a cat nap for a short workout. Most days I thought a nap was all I needed to regain my sense of self again, and then I’d be on edge when my baby didn’t sleep. Sound familiar? Push yourself to try a quick 5-10 minute workout if you’re not able to nap. It will boost your energy level and you’ll sleep better at night.
  9. Drop to the floor and stretch. Get down on the floor with your little one and do some some stretching. While you’re at it, add in some crunches, push-ups, pilates or yoga moves. Simple stretching and weight bearing movement combined with deep breathing feels wonderful when you’re tired.
  10. Do standing squats. You can do these anywhere, with or without your baby in hand. They feel incredible. Here’s a quick video to check out.

If you’re reading this and thinking these ideas are nuts, because you’re too tired or you don’t have enough time, I hear you. Believe me, I’ve been there.  The old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” certainly applies here. So go for it mama!

Workouts I Enjoy

These are from beginner to advanced and definitely worth a look. I’ve included the times and indicated the exertion level.


Categories: Family, Kids | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

To Stay or Go

“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”

-Ranier Maria Rilke

Broken marriage

strained marriage. image via

When I read this quote from the tattered pages of a tiny little book my mom gave me long ago, it struck a chord. What is it about love, the simple act of love, that makes it so complicated and yet so simple all at the same time? You find someone to connect with, you “fall in love”, and then life happens: having children, buying a home, making ends meet, working, evolving your career, your education, all those things. But somewhere along the way you realize that this evolution, or the seeking, is really because something is missing. And maybe you knew it all along, but suddenly it’s staring you straight in the face because nothing, nothing, seems to be working. It all feels so tense, you’re constantly walking on egg shells and questioning your self worth.

Where is the love? You ask yourself. You look around and there is this person in the room with you right over there, sharing this life with you, sharing a bed with you. But There are no sweet little gestures. No shared glances. No soft embrace. So what is this union? Why are you even together? These are the hard questions we ask ourselves over and over again yet never utter aloud to the other person.

And then, because you’ve tried so hard to avoid saying these words for so long, one day it pops out out of nowhere like a jack-in-the-box. And hits like a grenade falling from the sky hurled with all of the intense energy and will of someone defying the simple truth.

On this day, you didn’t set out to harm another, not even this person you’re sharing a questionable life with. But the deep pain and longing for something more, and the defiance and unwillingness to accept a life without deeper meaning, trumps the will to hold it back yet another day, yet another minute. All of what you have explodes before your eyes. And the force of the words uttered is so powerful that it threatens to take down all of what you’ve built. Everything is stripped down and raw; your life exposed for what it is. And you realize that all of this could be gone. Poof.

So, as terrible as this life may feel today, sticking with it and trying to find a way to make it feel more meaningful to you on the daily basis may be the only way to go. Because giving up all of this would also mean creating a new life where you’re still bound to this other person and yet truly going it alone without any of the perks of a partnership.

Do you hate this person? Or do you not know them at all, and wish that you did? There’s a big difference. Discerning where you are in your relationship is as hard as anything in life. Because only you know where you are, what you have, what you don’t have, what you want, and what you’re unable to get because you are unwilling to risk the reaction, explosion, or flat out rejection of your needs. Learning to withdraw to protect yourself or finding other ways to fill that void seems like the smartest way to go, or the least risky. But you’re never addressing the real problem. Which brings me to my next quote.

“There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.”
-Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965) American playwright

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Gift from my mom…found 14 years later

On a terribly angry emotional day when I was fighting with the Mister, part of our fight was about a room where I had to clean out clutter. In spite of our fight, and after a long walk in the sun listening to Tom Waits on NPR’s Fresh Air — which revived my spirit, I forced myself to get in and get the job done. Scouring through the clutter and old boxes of letters, bills, and junk, I found a treasure. A handwritten letter inserted in a card from my mother for a birthday some 14 years ago. I lost her 5 years ago around the holidays, so finding something like this was monumental; it felt like a gift dropped from the sky. But I stood there in the middle of meaningless papers scattered across the floor with Tom Waits cranked in my headphones, iPod jammed in my backpocket, and grime on my hands debating whether to open it. So many times I’ve been taken off the cleaning track by getting sucked into to sentimental mementos…just that day I had re-read forgotten cards from an old boyfriend, now tossed into the pile for the shredder.

But something took hold of me. I wiped the grime off my hands and cracked open the card.

I could not believe it.

FOUR handwritten pages of love from my mom! Beautifully written sentiments, but heart wrenching too. All the pain of my mother’s lawsuit and financial loss came back to me.  She lived and fought to give more to her friends and family until the day she died. I never took her expressions of unconditional love for granted, and now I have far too many people around me who don’t have a parent like she was to ever forget my good fortune.

But I have to admit that when things get really bad, and you have no family around you, you see other families that are angry, bitter, and even cruel to one another; it’s easy to question your memories and wonder if maybe things weren’t as rosy as you remembered. The cynicism seeps in, and can easily take over. I was in that place on this particular day, and I feel like my mom rescued me. She didn’t allow me to slip into a dark place and question her love. Her card and letter were ample proof of the love she gave me, and the best gift I could hope for.

I’m on a mission to photocopy the letter safely. In the meantime, it has been tucked away at my bedside to read before I fall asleep or start my day.

Thank you mom. I Love you!! xoxo

Photo of my mom with the letter and card (click to enlarge and read)

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Crucial Film for Young Women and Girls

Something happens to girls when they hit puberty, if not sooner. The day they realize that they are an object and their value is directly tied to their appearance is the day the self loathing and self punishment begins: dieting, over exercise, a hyper focus on altering their veneer. I don’t see this with young boys, though I’m familiar with the “Boys Movement” and the idea that they’re not living up to their potential due to various cultural influences and shifts in parenting styles. When I heard about the film ‘Miss Representation’ and saw the clip last year it affirmed so many things I’d been feeling and thinking about media today and its impact on young girls. If you know an adolescent girl who doesn’t struggle with her appearance, that’s something. If you know an adolescent girl who doesn’t struggle with her weight, that’s even more impressive. If you know an adolescent girl who has retained the confidence and spunk she had at age 10, well, I think that’s rare.

But the real question is why? I’m sure we all have our own theories but “Miss Representation” gets at the heart of what’s happening in our culture, in the media, and how pervasive that influence is on girls and women. I can’t wait to see it. Check out the trailer and let me know what you think.

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Surviving Miscarriage and Unexpected After Effects

I haven’t posted in nearly a month. When I look for reasons the most obvious is the fact that I’ve been dealing with the side effects of a miscarriage while simultaneously juggling numerous “life events”. As my mother always said, “When it rains, it pours.” And life is proving that little nugget to be true. I haven’t mentioned the miscarriage here since I wrote “Angel Babies in the U.S.”. I thought I was doing okay with all of it. I didn’t take any time off right away, just the half of the day after the miscarriage was confirmed. After that I threw myself back into work, thinking that keeping busy would help reduce the sorrow and any “navel gazing” tendencies I may have.

It worked for the first couple of weeks. I was even able to go way beyond the call of duty in a way that I might never have before. When K.’s Aunt died I offered to pick up his sister at the airport while the rest of the family was already at the wake. This is a woman who from the first day we met created stories about me to tear me down in the eyes of her family, particularly K.’s parents. After 6 years all of this has come to light, even within the family, so no one expected me to do this. But I did. And I had a genuine smile on my face. I really was fine. We even opened our house to her and had her stay the night. I’m not sure if I was numb and floating by or if I was wishfully gliding through life thinking I get through this patch and soon be pregnant again, figuring why wallow or be somber and dramatic. Meanwhile, my big secret was that I had saved what I had miscarried hoping I’d come up with a meaningful way to honor the possible life that wasn’t. (Yes, for those cringing, I do mean the tissue expelled from my body.)

Documenting my positive pregnancy aka the joy stick

Surviving the Doctor’s office

It’s Father’s day weekend and today I got word that my step daughter’s aunt gave birth to her first child last night. All of this fell on a day that could not have been full of more family strife. The truth is that I have been on edge, on the brink really. All hormones and emotions, and that hasn’t made me easy to be around. I’ve found it hard to share what I’m feeling so I’ve kept most of it inside though I know my family and coworkers see the angst from what’s brewing beneath the surface. I allowed myself to cry when I miscarried. And to get angry when I called my OB’s nurses line to let them know it happened; I was put on hold and forced to listen to the exact line from the song “Can’t live, if Livin’ is without you.” (It really happened. Like a bad joke.) And then when I went in to have my HCG levels checked the clueless (heartless) nurse with the sunshiney smile asked, “Is this your first? We can rush the results to you tomorrow.” I knew what she was asking but her obliviousness to my plight made me want to make her squirm a bit.

“First? First what? I’m not sure what you mean. I’m getting my levels checked for my miscarriage.” I replied matter of factly.

That changed her demeanor to something more appropriately subdued.

I got through that visit. But there was another after it and when my levels got to 14 (the goal is to reach zero), I decided I wouldn’t go back again. I couldn’t go back again. The site of the newborn babies, the bellies bursting with life, and the smugness of the nurses shooshing me while quietly trying to get me into the office without uttering the word “miscarriage” was just too much. It was a baby factory and I had no place being there casting my dark shadow on this hopeful new mothers and mamas to be. Each time the drive, parking, being trapped in a long elevator ride with a newborn and mother threw me into a bad place. What the hell! Why couldn’t they send me to another lab in the hospital, I shouldn’t have to be around those women and put in that scenario. It’s heartless and totally discounts the emotional loss of the patient. My last OB’s office would not have put me through that. They had a separate blood lab and would have sent me there directly – I know it.

Consolation Prize

The day they did the scan to confirm my loss K. asked the ultrasound technician about pap smears and how often she sees losses when women have had them during pregnancy. She gave us a pat answer, left, and came back to tell us that we would be meeting with “The Doctor”, Henry Whathisname. Not our doctor, ours was conveniently off on vacation, this was any available doctor. As we were guided into another room I glanced at a book they had on display. It was about miscarriage and was written by none other than “The Doctor”, Henry Whathisname. I had a few seconds to inform K. that the man we were going to meet with was an expert on miscarriage. But I didn’t have to do that. The Doctor arrived in our room with his book in hand. Introducing himself, he offered his condolences for our loss (extra points for that), and then handed me his book — to keep(!). Thankfully he didn’t offer to sign it. The whole thing seemed like a clear lawsuit avoidance tactic; a free book from a published and well known doctor — we were supposed to be blessed to meet him and walk away feeling “special” that we had somehow been heard.

Begging for a rhogam shot

I had a miscarriage years ago and knew that as a negative blood type it was important to get a rhogam shot. This time my current doctor’s office never mentioned this to me on the phone either time they spoke to me – I mentioned it both times – and yet still, in their office I had to ask them for it. It’s something you must have within 72 hours of miscarrying to avoid RH sensitization which can impact the viability of future pregnancies. Women with RH sensitivity tend to miscarry more easily – they develop antibodies that attack the babies blood.

A sensitized mother’s body will make antibodies. These antibodies will then attack an Rh positive baby’s blood, causing it to breaking down the red blood cells of the baby and anemia will develop. In severe cases this hemolytic disease can cause illness, brain damage and even death.

* Taken from:

With all of this in mind I was floored that none of the nurses so much as mentioned it. During my first miscarriage years ago they strongly emphasized the importance of the shot and brought it up multiple times. All I could think was: what if I hadn’t had one before and didn’t know that this was vital to keeping healthy and having a shot at another viable pregnancy? Would they have caught my blood type and called me back in the next day? And this is a popular OB/GYN office in a nearby affluent town. All of these interactions rubbed me the wrong way and made feel like a number, a cog in the wheel. Where was the humanity, the sensitivity, and the sense of responsibility?

Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll delve into more about the unexpected toll hormones have had on my body and struggling to rebalance.

Categories: Family, Kids, Life, Pregnancy | Tags: | Leave a comment

Angel Babies in the U.S.

What to Say

When I dropped off my daughter at preschool this morning I ran into one of her little friends with his mom. I knew she was due in April and had been asking around about the baby to see if anyone knew if she had delivered yet. She’s a sweet lady and I was anxious and happy to hear her news. So when I saw her I said, “Hey. How are you? Where’s the baby? Were’t you due in April?” I glanced down and her belly seemed still pregnant but smaller. She replied with a funny look on her face, “Oh, no one told you. I thought someone was going to tell you….”

I knew right away that something wasn’t right, but unsure of what had happened I felt my smile fade and my face drop. “Oh. I’m so sorry…I had no idea anything happened.”

She then reached for her 3.5 year old son and told him I was asking about his angel baby baby sister Sofie.

Angel baby sleeping in clouds

Angel baby’s peaceful slumber

I looked at the sweet faced boy and said, “You have your own angel baby sister. That’s pretty special.” I didn’t know what else to say. Poor little guy. I then reached for his mom and gave her a huge hug, amazed at how strong she was able to be about the situation. I had had a  miscarriage and angel baby years before and I knew the emotional toll it could take. But losing a full term child? I could not imagine the heartache, sorrow, and anger she must be feeling. I had no idea how she was keeping it together.

She walked him to his class and my daughter skipped along happily. I then learned that she went into the hospital thinking she was in labor and was sent home after a hospital stay. Days later when she returned they found no heart beat. She didn’t tell me this, it was the Director of the preschool who filled me in while she walked away. My heart sank when I heard this. Early on in her pregnancy she attended my daughter’s birthday party along with her son. She was perfectly healthy and told me she was due in April. One reason I even  remembered is that it’s my birth month.

Sometimes it Just Happens

She returned to the lobby and I apologized profusely. I said I couldn’t imagine what she and her husband must be going through. And she admitted it sucks and said but what can you do, they’re still investigating the cause. The doctor’s told her, “Sometimes it just happens.” Hardly reassuring. And this is on the heels of lots of media coverage about the poor record and standing of the US maternal. We have the second worst newborn death rate in the modern world. But meeting and knowing someone whom this has happened to makes you question how privileged a country we really are.

I talked to her a bit more, she told me that many people were coming forward and writing her letters to let her know they support her or went through something similar. I believe I heard her say that 3 or 4 people went through the same thing. THREE or FOUR mom’s carried their babies to term and delivered them stillborn. THREE or FOUR mom’s within her small circle. Doesn’t that seem high? Why don’t we hear about this? Are people in so much pain that it’s actually easier to sweep it under the carpet then to talk about it.

Mother’s Day

This mother was trying to get through her day, minute by minute. She had survived Mother’s Day, it fell on the weekend after she lost her  baby girl, but I could see on her face that she was in survival mode. Amazingly she was able to be candid and see some positive things that had happened, like having her son around as an outlet for her love. They’ve been able to talk about his angel baby sister and how much they love and miss her, grieving in tandem has been a huge help to both of them.

We talked about getting our kids together. Her son has a new swingset and so far the only person he wants to come over is my daughter, not even his best buddy at preschool. My sense was that’s because he knows her like a sister, they were babies in daycare together and she’s very spunky and brash but also affectionate and loving, probably a safe and non-threatening choice for him. I just started working more hours but said I could be flexible and find a way to make it happen. I noticed her husband waiting in the car and went over to offer my condolences. He was as candid as her and also moved by the outpouring of love that they have received. He said he was doing better and told me they talked about me the other day because they knew someone should tell me.


Friday the 13th and My Situation

I’m all over the map about trying to write about this because I found out the day I was scheduled to see my OB/GYN for my first pregnancy visit. I’m 8 weeks pregnant and I saw my Doctor yesterday, Friday the 13th. She elected to give me a pap smear which this morning resulted in bleeding. I sat through a long confirmation service at church and midway had to leave to call the Dr’s office and explain what was going on. As I write this I am in bed. My husband has my daughter out doing errands so I can rest. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and  I may be miscarrying. When I asked the nurse why they would give me a pap smear this early on, she said its standard practice and mentioned something about detecting HPV. She told me to keep an eye on the bleeding and go to the ER if it got bad. If not, they would schedule an ultrasound on Monday.



It’s Monday, I’m going in for the ultrasound in less than an hour. Last night I was hopeful when the bleeding slowed but I changed a pad and then felt something slip through. It was a giant clot. I dissolved into tears and called for my husband. He was at my side immediately comforting me and also quite sad. We wanted another child and had been trying off and on for 2 years. We considered fertility treatments but I came to the realization that I wasn’t up for it. We had his daughter from a previous marriage and our daughter together, so we are already blessed. I gave up and then found myself feeling “fat” and tired. He suggested I might be pregnant and I joked it off. We tried hard all those years, switching diets, reading books, doing abdominal massage, getting acupuncture, drinking Nyquil…and no results so how could we be pregnant now? Low and behold 3 positive results on 3 pee sticks. I didn’t know what to do. I got a blood test and that was positive too. It was really happening for us. So though we both had to adjust we quickly moved into a positive place of anticipation and haven’t breathed a word to our family while waiting to know more and get into the “safety zone”…as if there is one.

We called the nurses line and they were concerned that I would have heavy bleeding through the night and urged me to go to the ER if that happened. But I have barely bled at all. I now realize that the clot measured larger than an 8 week embryo should. It was 1.5 inches but an 8 week embryo is about .5 inches. So I have no idea what it was and what’s going on. Hoping to get some answers soon. My husband is meeting me there.


It’s Friday. We found out on Monday that we lost the baby. There’s too much to write and though I’m doing well I don’t have the energy to rehash it. So I will revisit the experience in a separate post.



Categories: Family, Kids, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Keeping Your Social Media Sane

This afternoon I found this response to a message I had replied to. It was a client and friend who noticed my Twitter activity.

Separate question/not criticial: you are all over twitter. How do you find the time or manage the time? There’s so much great stuff it’s just overwhelming. How do “limit” all your input channels and stay sane??

My flight from SXSW had returned the night before and I was feeling particularly gleeful that I had stuck with my “dumb phone” throughout the conference. Don’t get me wrong,there are times when I wish I had one and I will upgrade to one in several months. But I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to be completely connected all the time. Disconnection keeps me sane. So I responded.

OgilvyNotes cartoon graphic explaining social influence

Re: Twitter…great question! You’re sane for asking. I don’t have a smart phone and so far that has worked to my benefit. So I send personal tweets via text from my phone when I know someone is “listening” for updates from me. When I’m online I tend to only use b/c it’s more sane and less overwhelming than tweetdeck etc. I don’t have to slow it down. I can scan my lists etc at my liesure and pick and choose what matters. I also do a lot of keyword or hashtag searches when I need information. You can save searches too, not that I have.

At SXSW everyone was so connected and into the live updates to the point that they were literally walking into each other or sitting in a room “socializing” but no one was without their smart phone and few were engaging w/others. I want to avoid that and have real conversations. Plus, I was alone a lot of the time or on a bus so I had more time to send tweets.

Limiting this social stuff is good. Just log in 1-3Xs a day (briefly) and spread it out so you still appear “active”. Don’t get sucked into doing it the way the “cool kids” are telling you to. They live, eat and breathe it, but you have a life! Social media IS overwhelming. But it’s also such a great resource for connecting with smart people who know their stuff. Oh yeah, and don’t ever treat your linkedin profile like twitter (with lots of updates). That’s a great way to piss people off…I’ve heard that one a lot lately.

Wow. You clearly struck a nerve with this question. Good luck!

Then tonight after enjoying down time with my family and editing some inspiring video from my trip (an incredible interactive documentary session) I noticed this post on Twitter: Take Back Control of Your Work (and Your Life) by Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.

I like numbers 1 and 3 in his list. If I could do these all of the time I would be exponentially more creative and efficient.

1- Just say no.

3- Do one thing at a time as much as possible.

What do you think? Is it an impossible task? Do you find yourself taken over by the coercive aspects of social media?

Categories: Career, Technology, Work | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Good Boss, Bad Boss

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best...and learn from the worst

This is a follow up to another post: Do You Bring out the Worst in People? I heard about this book from a Stanford talk that was podcast a couple of months ago. I decided to check out the book,  it’s worth a look: Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst. Whether you decide to read it or not, here are few interesting points I gleaned from the talk the author gave at Stanford.



The “Toxic Tandem”

…there’s something about being the boss where people tend to now pay much attention to their employees.

The people who you lead watch your every move.
You will get more blame and more credit for organizational performance.

Leaders are responsible for about 15% of what’s accomplished and they get 50% of the blame or credit. So they get more of both than they deserve. The best bosses work hard to see how people are attuned to them.

  1. Focus on their own needs.
  2. Focus less on the needs of others.
  3. Act as though the rules don’t apply to them.

To be a good boss

Be perfectly assertive: can be pushy, can get into people’s face when necessary, can give negative feedback and back off when necessary.

  1. Management that’s too intrusive stifles creativity.
  2. You don’t plant a seed and dig it up every day to see how it’s doing. You leave it alone for the most part.
  3. Let people do their work and their jobs.
  4. We want confident, competent, but not arrogant pig headed bosses who can’t take feedback.
  5. Humility to update when the time comes a long.
  6. Bosses need to be able to hear feedback and act on it.
  7. Wisdom and management requires listening. Hear the truth and people can tell them the truth. Most give an incentive NOT to tell you the truth. They flatter to get ahead. Anyone who tells bad news we like less.
  8. Fight as if you’re right; listen as if you’re wrong.
  9. Powerful people arrive late and end meetings late – they draw things out to feel important.
  10. Protect their people from idiocy form on high

One of my favorites is “protecting your people from idiocy from on high.” If you’re lucky enough to have a boss who does that than you are lucky indeed. Most bosses I’ve worked with don’t have the vision to see the B.S. nonsense from the real issues. Or they see it but don’t have the intestinal fortitude to block this nonsense from affecting their employees.

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Kat is Turning 18

Today is March 18thth, which means my stepdaughter is turning 18 — Happy Birthday Kat! She refers to this day as “Irish hangover day” and she seems quite proud to have been born the day after St. Paddy’s. Soon the family members from all sides will be pouring in to wish her well and help us honor her special day.

Katherine at 5 years old

I discovered yesterday that she’s “afraid to turn 18”, this is what she told our neighbor. I didn’t know realize that this is how she’s feeling about the impending year ahead, but I’m glad she was gutsy enough to say so in front of both of us. Honestly, that’s half the battle. Admitting how scary it is seems quite sane to me; so much is expected of kids at the end of their high school years. So many changes appear for them all in a row, and so few are truly ready to leave the nest, flap their wings, and fly on their own. Yet, that’s the expectation we put upon them.

My one wish for her is that she realizes we are always here – whether she’s 18 or 38. Our love is constant and we will always do our best to see her through anything she wants help navigating in life. Nothing is too small or too big; we’ll be here to listen and support her as long as she remembers that she has to reach out and let us know.

We love you Kat!

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Mystical Paper Beasts Devour Unsuspecting Street Artists

This is so cool!

Man hanging from building being devoured by graffiti monster

Animae Dementia: Mystical Paper Beasts Devour Unsuspecting Street Artists | Colossal.

Categories: Artistic, Environment | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Review of pardons in past decade shows process heavily favored whites

If only this were as shocking as it should be. What’s sad is that people in positions who should be aware of the numbers, or at least have a better idea than the rest of us, are “astounded”. Really?

Here’s the full article from the Washington Post

Categories: Environment, Life | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Do you bring out the worst in people?

The problem with bringing out the worst in people is that you may never get to see their best.

Chosen Autonomy

People who work for themselves often do so because they’re unable to work with others. The amount of compromise involved is not part of their make-up, it’s unnatural and they simply don’t like it. Nor do they think it’s something they should have to do. Ever. But when they’re “the Boss” they can push people around, yell at them, act uncivilly, disrespectfully and pretty much get away with it. Sure they may go through lots of employees, but they don’t care, in their mind those people are “dumb” for not listening and doing as they’re told.

Taking a Stand

Very few people stand up to volatile Boss types, especially Bosses who have a tendency toward temper tantrums. These Bosses also tend to have a low social IQ and don’t “get” turn taking and listening; everyone else is “dumb” except for them. God forbid. So, the smart employee sees very quickly that reasoning won’t work. They either have to stay and take it on the chin or leave and be free of it. Not a great way to manage or retain your employees.

Angry Boss

I found this article about Bully Bosses. It points out that the bullying is from deep seated feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. That rings true to my experience with these types. And there’s a tip to survive them in the short term which involves flattery. However, this only reinforces their “delusions of competence”, according to the article. Best suggestion? Go over their head or leave the job.

How Can a Bully Boss Change?

So, where does this leave the Bully Boss who reports to no one and can’t be fired? They will continue to thwart any kind of confrontation and will remain convinced that they know what’s best and everyone else is “stupid”.

Why do I care? You might ask. Well, I have at least two people like this in my life and their Bully Boss tendencies overlap into their personal relationships. Yet they see none of it. No amount of therapy seems to make a difference. To me, it all seems so needless.

10 things Bully Boss types should think about and do:

  1. Take a good hard look in the mirror, look into your own eyes. Face yourself.
  2. Be honest: take stock of the turmoil and chaos surrounding you.
  3. Is this much chaos part of a normal existence?
  4. Ask yourself: WHY am I so angry?
  5. Is it about you or is it about them?
  6. How would you feel if someone screamed at you all day the way you’re screaming at others?
  7. Try living by the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  8. Allow others to speak and really listen to what they say. Don’t talk over them.
  9. Avoid sarcasm when you’re feeling insecure, tired, or angry.
  10. Offer empathy and help generously.

Be aware of your tendencies and strive to let go of anger and little things that set you off. Give yourself 30 days of this and see what changes for you. Is life a little more fun? Are people offering to help you now? Are they happy to see you each day? Are they letting you in on office secrets or private matters? How does it feel to have people around you, helping you, who really want to be there?

Think about it. Do you want more of this or do you want it to stop? The goodness can disappear as quickly as your temper can flare. Figure out what works best for you and stick with it. There’s a whole wide world out there.

Categories: Career, Family, Life, Work | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude – YouTube

via TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude – YouTube.

This clip is what Pockets of Sunshine is all about. It embodies the idea of living in the moment and appreciating all that life has to offer. I hope to start my days this week watching this to get my head set, open, and awake to possibilities.

Categories: Film, Inspiration, Life, Photography | 5 Comments