Saturday, March 23, 2013
Warning....this is a long post....partly repetitive, partly autobiographical. It's not really humorous, but it makes me feel good to pour out my heart and my feelings.
It's been a long, cold winter.
I live in Minnesota...the winters are always long. Always cold. But I've always had a lot going on, and when you are busy, you are less likely to pay attention to the long, drawn out season. Last year at this time I was working....on my last few weeks at a job I loved, and helping wind down operations for a company moving out of state. Last spring was unseasonably warm, so by the time I was home full time in April, it was distinctly summer=like. And I was still busy....taking classes, preparing for the next step, looking for a new job in my field.
I didn't look very hard at first. After all, I had severance pay for the first several months. Towards fall, I started to put my whole heart into the job search. The severance period was over, and I didn't want to be on Unemployment for any longer than necessary. I went on a few interviews, did some testing for a couple of companies, came in close but never received any job offers. Most of my former co-workers are in the same boat. Some are working at jobs they hate. Others have resorted to taking temporary or consulting work. A few lucky ones have landed positions they love. And some of us are still out there....floundering....the market isn't exactly flooded with offers for fifty-something women whose college degrees are 30 years old and basically irrelevant. I'm too old and too experienced to start over again at the bottom of the ladder, working for 10 bucks an hour. On the other hand, the competition is so great that jobs such as the one I held are asking for Masters Degrees, CPA's, or at the very least Bachelor's Deegrees in Business....my Liberal Arts Degree is pretty useless in today's business world.
So I had a lot of choices to make. It was clear that it was time to re-invent myself. I did a ton of soul searching. But my thoughts kept circling back to one place. When my daughter (now about to turn 27) was a baby, I was fortunate to have my mom nearby and willing to babysit. I never worried about her....so many moms have anxiety over leaving their children in someone else's care....but not me. I knew how lucky I was. And yet, a part of my heart just ached every time I dropped her off. She was happy. She was flourishing. And I was miserable. I felt like I might miss something. Eventually, I decided to put my college education to work. I had graduated with a teaching degree during a time where schools were closing all over the country. The baby boom was over, and the boomers hadn't started the next wave yet. I never taught. But my love for working with children remained....and in an epiphany of sorts, I suddenly realized that I could have the best of all worlds. I could be home with my baby. I could work with children. I could bring in good money. I could use my training to build a program that would ease the worries in other parents minds about leaving their children so that they could work. I could do all these things, and more!
And so it began that I ran a successful day care out of my home for 13 years. I loved it. I never felt the burnout so many providers feel. But as my baby prepared to head to high school, we decided to move. We wanted to be in a better school district. And we were tired of the never-ending home projects involved in our 80-year-old home. We moved to the suburbs, into a beautiful, safe neighborhood into a 10-year-old home that had no projects that needed to be done. And we moved my mom in with us, and with her there in the daytime, and my kids ages 11 and 14, it was decided that instead of building a whole new clientele, I would close my business and go back to working outside the home. And I did, and that's the job that I came to love, and which laid me off and moved to Memphis last spring. They say that everything that goes around comes around. And so it did....
A couple of months ago I had another moment of epiphany. Mulling it all over....wondering how to reinvent myself....suddenly an idea started to take root and blossom in my mind. I tossed and turned for several nights. I prayed for guidance. This plan would involve making some real changes around our house. Babyproofing. Maneuvering around cribs in the bedroom, highchairs at the table. Stepping over toys. But the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I talked it over with the family. Everybody was on board. John is willing to sacrifice his peace and quiet for giggles and songs and fussy babies. My mom seemed excited about something for the first time in a long time. My kids cheered me on. I told my facebook friends and my Spark Friends, and got such meaningful affirmation from everybody. Former day care parents and now-grown day care kids were there with kind facebook comments that actually made me weep. I sent in the initial application, and waited for an invitation to the next intake meeting. They do it five times per year, and only 35 participants per meeting, so I had no idea how long I would wait. But I figured I could always back out of I changed my mind. I'd keep looking for work in the meantime. But it soon became clear that I was searching half-heartedly at best.
See, the thing about this long, cold winter is that I found joy in staying home and planning the cheerful changes I'd be making in my home. I found myself missing my old co-workers, but not the idea of dressing for work every day, fighting the freeway traffic, and all sorts of nuances of office life. I started wondering how it would feel working with two-year-olds again...rather than adults who just ACTED like two-year-olds. And I knew the answer. And I started watching for the letter from the Day Care Licensing Unit of my local county with great anticipation. And yesterday.....it came.
I will be going to meetings on April 11 and April 18. I know in my heart this is what I want to do. At the first meeting we will learn about the rules and regulations, training requirements, etc, and get all necessary paperwork. At the second meeting we will turn in the paperwork, set up the home inspection and the fire inspection. Once I attend these meetings, there will be no turning back. Does this bother me? No Way! I am only more and more excited.
Next winter will be just as long, just as cold. But I will be living a purposeful life, making a difference in the lives of some very important people. Yes indeed, the sun is peeking through!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
I wanted to put this out there right off the bat...my husband is a saint.
He has never, EVER said anything negative about my weight, or any of my other shortcomings. He has never made me feel like I was anything less than perfect in his eyes. He has never been caught covertly ogling other, slimmer or more beautiful women -- and I think if that was happening, I'd have busted him at least once in the past 29 years! He never makes comments, or looks disappointed in my appearance, or makes me feel less than desireable to him. I know how fortunate I am to have this man, and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life.
Yesterday was a less than perfect day for me. My mom has lived with us for the past 13 years. (Didn't I tell you my husband was a saint?) As she's aged, our roles have changed, and it's no longer a living arrangement that we have for convenience sake....it has become a caregiving situation. I feel that I didn't really sign up for this job, and sometimes I find myself being resentful. And then I beat myself up for those feelings. Complicating the situation further, I have allowed my personal life to be pushed so far back on the burner that I don't even really have one any more. When I do try to carve out a little time for myself, my mom morphs into a controlling, nasty person who makes it her mission to make me miserable. And that old mother/daughter dynamic kicks in, and I sink deeper into the anger/resentment/regret cycle, and she wins. I'm actually getting stronger and standing up for myself a little more often -- normally I would NEVER let anyone speak to me this way. I'm actually considered a strong person. But she's my mom, ya know? She definitely knows how to push my buttons, and on Friday night, push she did indeed!
So yesterday (Saturday) I was still getting the cold shoulder, and it was stressing me out more and more. I'm a people-pleaser by nature, and having somebody mad at me -- especially my mom -- and especially when I did nothing wrong....well, I don't handle it well. When at 3:00 in the afternoon my dear husband, who works two jobs because I don't have one right now, was getting ready to leave for work. He knew how upset I had been all day, and I know he saw tears welling up in my eyes as we said good bye. Silly, I know....but he's my buffer, and he was leaving me alone with my angry, sometimes hateful mother, and I was stressed out....and as an emotional person, that stress makes me cry.
Later, as so often happens these days in my mother's weakening mind, something snapped and she wasn't angry at me any more. In fact, as has always been her way, she wanted to bribe me with food. I think she knew she had done something wrong, but I know she didn't know what. But to make up for it, she wanted to order a pizza. (Is anybody seeing any clues as to why I may have issues with food?) I told her that since it was just the two of us, it wouldn't be worth it to order pizza. (She would eat maybe one piece, and in my emotional state, having seven-eighths of a pizza here in the house would NOT be a good thing.) So I made us a couple of Stouffer's french bread pizzas, which I thought was a good alternative. After that she went to bed, and I felt better, the crisis having passed, and everything on a more even keel. I then worked out for about 45 minutes, improving my mood even more, and settled in to wait for DH's shift to end at midnight.
It can be his custom to stop and get food on the way home, if he's been exceptionally busy and hasn't had a chance to eat anything. He'll call and say where he's stopping, and ask if I want anything. Sometimes I'll have a little something....sometimes not, but he always offers. Last night he was stopping at McDonald's. I said yes, I could eat a cheeseburger. Sometimes we share some late night McNuggets, but tonight I would have a cheeseburger instead. That's all.
But when he came in the door a half hour later, he was laden down with a bag and a drink tray. This man I love so much....he remembered my watery good-bye to him several hours earlier, and I think it hurt him to know I was hurting. And knowing my penchant for Shamrock Shakes, he got us each one. But the thing is, I treat myself to one of those babies ONE TIME per year, and I had already had that a couple of weeks ago. But it didn't stop there. In addition to the cheeseburger I'd ordered, he brought me a large order of fries and he had also got us a 10-piece McNuggets to share. And remembered my favorite sweet & sour dipping sauce. And I was so touched that he wanted to make me feel better by offering calorie-laden foods -- because to be honest, the old Sharon would have buried herself in that McDonald's bag, only coming up for air when necessary. But I'm wiser now. I'm eating healthier. I'm working out. I'm making better choices even when I do indulge. My wonderful husband, who was never a "chubby-chaser" by any means, but who also apparently doesn't care if I carry some extra cargo as long as I'm happy, desperately wanted to make it up to me for all the stress and grief that my mom had brought upon me the only way he knew how. With a huge hug and a bag of food.
And I drank the shake. And I ate the cheeseburger and a lot of the fries. And even a few of the chicken nuggets, with the sweet & sour dip. I didn't want it. But I did it anyway, because I couldn't bear to hurt his feelings after he had done such a nice thing for me. Now tell me....does this ever happen to you? Do you ever eat just to make someone else happy? This people-pleasing...it's another good reason for me benig the size I am.
Luckly for me, DH does know that I don't eat the way I used to. Normally he wouldn't have brought me the extra food I didn't ask for. But I think he was distraught, knowing I was sad, and he just did it. He's not normally a diet saboteur for me. But love makes you do strange things....like comfort somebody with food when you know they are working hard to lose weight. Or like eating something bad for you in order to not hurt your loved ones' feelings.
Of course, the scale was up this morning. But I'm back on track today. Emotionally, and food-wise. At one time, something like this might have derailed me completely! But now, it's just a little bump in the road.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Below is an excerpt from a Facebook post I made earlier today:
I loved my job at Mesaba. There's not a better bunch of stand-up people out there as the group I was proud to call my co-workers. Maybe that's the biggest reason that in the 10+ months since I was laid off there have only been a handful of job opportunities that interested me even a little. Maybe I'm too picky? Or maybe in my heart I know that I wouldn't be happy at most of the companies I have looked at. And all through the process, my old, pre-Mesaba life was calling out to me as well. Now, after careful consideration and lots and lots of weighing pros and cons, I've decided to take the first step in regaining my day care license.
I don't know if I'll go through with it in the end....I've just put out the first feelers. But I find myself more at peace than I've felt since my last day at Mesaba. I find myself more and more excited over the plans I've already started to make. I do believe in my heart I've already made my decision. The family is behind me, and I'll once again be earning an honest wage in addition to doing something I love. I have no idea how long the licensing process takes these days, and if it will go faster for me because of the licerse I previously held for 13 years. I also don't know what the need for this service is in my neighborhood, and a thousand other things. Maybe it won't be practical in the end. But the first step has been taken, and I'm really excited!
I thought I said it pretty well there....and I wanted to share the news with my Spark Friends as well as my Facebook friends. I've been distracted lately, mulling this huge decision over and over in my head, and dixcussing it with my family. I hope this new venture pans out for me....and look forward to telling you all about it along the way!
Monday, January 07, 2013
Um, Happy New Year?
I'd like to know what happened to the first week of the year....here we are entering the second week, and I haven't even gotten around to wishing my Spark Buddies a Happy 2013 yet! I was going to send you all a goodie a week ago....a handful of confetti and sincere heartfelt wishes for a happy new year. But time got away....and it seems a little lame to do so now. So though I won't be sending the confetti, please be assured that I really was thinking of you all and in my heart I was blowing noisemaker in your honor.
I am a resolutions gal. I know some of you aren't, and I understand that point of view too, because there's notling specifically magical about January 1 on the calendar. But for me, it's the symbolic closing of a chapter and the turning of the page to a fresh new one, and it just screams "New Beginnings!" to me. So I make my resolutions, and as long as I'm specific with them, I tend to do pretty well.
Except for this weight loss thing. I resolve every year to eat healthier, exercise more, etc. And I also make other non-weight-related resolutions as well. Those usually get done. But the health thing....well, it needs some work. But instead of focusing on the negatives, I like to think of what I HAVE accomplished, even if my Wii fit still goes "oooohhhhh" when I step on it.
I have lost nearly 30 pounds. I still have far to go....but I have to stop and remember to give myself a pat on the back. I have lost 30 pounds!
I have my blood sugar under control. I am pre-diabetic, and I had a scare last year with my blood sugar being high and unstable. But I have managed to turn things around, at least for now. It's something I'll have to be diligent about all my life, but as for right now....I have my blood sugar under control!
I am stronger than I was. Slowly but surely, bit by bit, the exercise, both cardio and strength training that I do regularly has made me stronger. I'm still very fluffy -- definitely not a hard body. But I see subtle changes in myself and I smile. I am stronger than I was!
I have the resources I need to make the rest of my weight goals a reality. I have DVDs that I really enjoy doing. I have my new Fitbit, which I can't stop raving about. I also have my new Wii fit, which is only a machine, I know....but it keeps me accountable. I have knowledge gleaned mostly from this site and my wonderful Spark Friends. I drink my water religiously, try to eat my rainbow, post honestly on the message boards, and accept kudos and constructive criticism, whichever is called for on any given day. I have a lot of stress in my life from one particular person (starts with M and ends with om) but I have coping mechanisms that work most of the time. All in all, I have the resources I need!
So really, I decided not to mention numbers in my resolution this year....as in "I will lose 50 pounds."....but I'm just going to do all I can to make 2013 a year of positives. There will surely be some major changes in my life, but I hope to roll with the punches -- and at any rate, do everything to make this MY YEAR. So, Happy January 7 everybody!
Monday, December 10, 2012
As most of you know, I'm currently laid off from my job. And loving it. And struggling with knowing that I do have to go back to work...eventually...
BUT, there is a definite up-side to all this. For the first time ever, I am not trying to "do it all" and hold down a full time job besides. I can devote my time to "doing it all" and I've been having such fun! I am completely done with my holiday shopping. Every last thing from the gifts themselves to the bows and tags and the extra scotch tape to wrap them all up. What a great feeling! I've got ingredients for most of the baking I intend to do, and a time set aside to do it. The Christmas cards are ready to be mailed. And best of all, the house has been (for the most part) decorated since Thanksgiving weekend. The finishing touches have been done in the two weeks since then. I can sit in the darkened room for a few minutes each night before I go to bed and admire the beautiful lights. Because I do love lights.
I have the lighted village,
And the various trees, (4 of them in all)
Well, ok, I guess I didn't get a picture of the last one, but I'll have to do that tomorrow!
And I have my stuffed snowman collection, my ceramic snowman collection, my candles, my nativity, and the Hallmark animated figurines. And the cookie jars. And the hanging snowflakes. And the stockings and other mantel decor. And of course, the outdoor lights. And the lights in the bedrooms.
Yes, I'm aware that I overdo it. And nope -- I have no plans to stop. I love this time of year! There was only one thing missing, and we got it today:
Yep, in my book, it's the most wonderful time of the year!!
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