August 03, 2002

Welcome Mary to the blogging scene

Welcome Mary Brotherton to Blogaria. I've been giving her prods and hints all along, after reading many emails from her that were worthy of blog posts. We met Mary, who works for our accupuncturist, about a year ago. Knowing that she loves to write, George and I both told her, MARY YOU SHOULD BLOG! Well, she finally gave into the temptation. Watch how quickly it becomes an addiction, Mary. She's new, so any hints you can give her, I know she'd welcome. Hey Mary, put your email in my comment field if you want some extra advice from the crew.

August 02, 2002

Taking a Chance on Me

I've been working full time for 20 years now. And for me--well you all know me well enough to know that full time is full time plus pulling all the stops out, doing whatever it takes for a cause or colleage--which means that full time is more like 50-60 hours a week. Sometimes more. Not all my dutiful nature, mind you. I got a lot out of my work--I always have since writing has always been involved. So I loved work as much as work loved me. The star performer, the one the client always wants to work with. Meantime, have a baby why don't you, and raise her at home while you work full-plus time, trading care for her off in random intervals with your husband, who is also trying to further his career and take care of business, and suddenly project after project after project, goal after goal after goal, time ticks by. And where did you go? We go?

So I made a decision yesterday, and my employer was kind enough to accommodate me. I'm going part-time. Starting with 30 hours a week, which will give me the freedom to work just the hours Jenna's in school when Pre-K starts August 12th. Doesn't sound like much of a cutback, but when you realize I was working 50 just to be able to bill 40, it could mean a lot. What that means I think, first, is nights and weekends without work. Wow.

Wow. I can't remember the last time I didn't work a weekend to try to keep up, bill the hours. Be the star. The one they think kindly of. That's the wonderful world of consulting. Billability, the double-edged sword. It's sweet when times are good--look how valuable I am = see how much I bill. But in tough times, both economically and personally, the struggle to fulfill your commitment to the organization (when you're an overly consciensous worker like me) can wear you down, wear you out. burn you out.

I'm worn out. And I'm doing my best to change one part of the equation that's burned out my passion. By going part time I think I can give the BEST of me to work and the BEST of me to myself and my family. It's a start anyway. One change at a time, so to speak.

Next week, for the first time in my grown up years, I am a part-timer.



That's all for now.

August 01, 2002

looking for me

It's not that I got lost along the way; it's that in some fundamental ways, I never formed. I'm talking origins, the origins of damage--not of damaging things done or said, but of the most important thing that never happened at all.

I've been running for a long time--making my life one big project, one activity-packed week at a time, living my days in billable hours, pushing along, trying to make progress for me and my family--in short, hiding. Hiding from what? Noticing. Noticing that I'm not here. Anywhere.

You've heard people say, "I spent a year in Alaska trying to find myself." That'd be nice. I wish that would work for me. The point is, I'm not out there. I could go to Alaska, Australia, to the corner smoke shop to get a pack of American Spirits, and guess who wouldn't be there. Me.

So begins my odyssey. Unraveling and digging into really hurtful places, empty spaces, terrifying to me, and coming out of it with I don't know who, hopefully coming out of it alive. Hopefully coming out of it with my family still there. And even more--hopefully making myself do it. I have to start. No other way through but in.

July 30, 2002

some time off

I won't be blogging for a while. Some other things demand my attention right now. Thanks for understanding.

July 29, 2002

we went to chuck-e-cheese

My mother decides to run her game on me--she knows that we try to make Sunday "family day," and that we didn't get to have our family days--well, not the usual ones anyway, which are, well, fun--while George was in Hong Kong. Lots of in between here that would take me staring a dysfunctional families team blog to recount, but the bottom line is that we offered them some visiting time with Jenna Saturday, and on that day they became mysteriously not around.

So by Saturday night my mom is appologizing for missing us, asking if they can take Jenna for a few hours on Sunday. Now, consciously, she believes this is just a simple request, oh they miss her so. But unconsciously it's LOADED. So yesterday when the Sunday Request phone call comes in earnest, I say no. I say, Sunday is family day and we have plans. She is dejected, hurt I can tell, but I'm getting better at NOT letting it ruin my day or yank my survivor child chains.

And we had a really nice day. We went to the hobby shop and raced cars. Then off to Chuck E. Cheese. George writes about it it better justice than I could:

"There is a beautiful common bond parents can share with one another and that bond is their progeny. It is truly a thing of beauty to behold so many people who decided to take the chance of procreating and sacrifice a considerable amount of freedom [mental and emotional freedom, especially]."

Every time I hate Atlanta and begin looking at it through the eyes of someone who doesn't live here anymore, I become more and more aware of its one redeeming quality: diversity. I don't think there was a country or ethnicity missing at Chuck E. Cheese this day. At the booth next to us a family in traditional garments from Africa chatted in a language I didn't know. On the "Take Your Photo with Chuck E." ride, a mother perhaps speaking Portuguese was watching her incredible daughters with whisps of curls that I wanted to sink my fingers into, take a lock and keep it for my own. Hispanic, East Indian, Mediterianian, varieties of Asian, African Africans, African Americans, Red Necks--and, my FAVORITE--mixed families crossing and bluring all of these lines, just like the net.

And the unity among the fathers, which George writes about made me teary eyed. Here were men that could be doing anything else on a Sunday, and they were there with their children, and in many cases, their wives. Good dads. Dads that lifted their daughters on and off rides, not with a monotone stare, but with the contagious joy of a child.

George hit a payday at one of the games. He figured out how to align the trigger mechanism just so, nudging it a milimeter at a time, until the coins roled upright across this spinning wheel and threaded themselves inside a thin slot. The other dads gathered round. I glanced over to see three at one time in rapt attention at George's technique. And once he'd won about 1,000 tickets, he took a break and handed his perfectly-aligned shooter to a fellow father, who brought home at least that many before handing it off to another dad, who soon learned the technqiue before handing the reins back over to George.

All these dads, giving one another the thumbs up across the expanse of children. Winking at one another--their secret safe with eachother. They'd walk by George and say, "Thanks, man. Thanks for showing us." I'm proud to be there--wife of the Chuck E. Cheese game master.

Meanwhile, Jenna--yes, she was there too--had the time of her life, making friends and learning how to finally boss other kids around instead of being on the receiving end.

All in all, it was a fine family day.

Although I don't think we're here for the long term, it sure was a pleasant day in historic Kennesaw, Georgia.