Blathering: Mercury Retrograde

Last week I was joking with some folks on Twitter that some of the craziness we have seen must be due to Mercury Retrograde.  And it turns out I was correct. In case you aren’t familiar with Mercury Retrograde or aren’t as nutty as I am, things go a bit crazy when Mercury retrogrades.  Nothing goes smoothly, especially in transportation and communication. Technically, I’m supposed to be horrifically impacted by Mercury Retrograde because my sun sign is Virgo (ruled by Mercury), my rising sign is Gemini (ruled by Mercury) and Mercury resides in Virgo in my chart.  In short, it’s a lot of damn Mercury, and I’m screwed.

This week was bizarre, y’all.  Major llama, llama office drama: my boss resigned unexpectedly.  I hosted a team member’s retirement party on Tuesday and was still getting my shit together for it literally minutes before it started. On Wednesday, class let out unexpectedly early, and I was summoned to the office for an emergency meeting for my entire group with our executive director. On Thursday I ran from meeting to meeting to meeting.  After work, traffic was backed up on the route I take to pick up Daniel thanks to a wreck, and when I got to day care, I discovered it was on lock-down because a man had robbed the bank up the street.  Thankfully they let us quickly get our children and leave.

I haven’t been sleeping well either, waking up at 3:30 every day as you probably deduced if you follow me on Twitter.  Actually, no one in the house has been sleeping well.  Daniel has woken up super early almost every day.  The cats can sense when my eyes open, and our geriatric cat Bit starts yowling loudly at our door because she knows we’ll let her in instead of risking her waking up Daniel.  Then she yowls to be put on the bed and she yowls until I rub her.  She falls asleep cuddling my leg (which is kind of nice) but leaving me locked on my side of the bed.

We are so ready for this week to be over.  I was ready for it to be over on Wednesday.  And today begins a new month.  That’s nice because February was weird.  At the beginning of the month, I looked out my dining room window to discover crime scene tape and police cars at my neighbor’s house across the street.  When I couldn’t detect any sense of urgency from the officers, I began to fear the worst and another neighbor confirmed it: my neighbor had committed suicide.  His wife had left him, taking their daughter.  We had noticed moving vans there the weekend before.

For weeks his truck sat in the driveway until I noticed a few days ago that it was gone.  So was the wreath on the front door.  I can’t imagine how sad the wife and child must be feeling and how horrible it must have been to return to that house and finish cleaning it out.  It seems silly, but when I drive by the house, it has an air of sadness and loneliness.  What happens to houses after something like that?  Will anyone live in it again?  What kind of psychic energy has been left behind?

I don’t want to end the post on a down note, so here are a few lighter notes:


A few days ago, we were going over his behavior chart for the day before bed, and Bit (the aforementioned “yowler”) meowed loudly because SHE wanted to be fed.  Daniel leaned over to her, held out his hand in classic “talk to the hand” pose and said, “Hold on, Bitty-Boo.”  We rolled.  I almost cried I was laughing so hard.

Listen to Your Mother

I am humbled and awed and amazed to report that we received 41 submissions.  41!  I would have been thrilled with 20!  Marty and I had to add an extra day for auditions next week.  And the submissions….oh, it’s going to be difficult to narrow down to around 13-14.  We have amazing writers in this area. The Raleigh-Durham show is going to be awesome!


I wore my Lady Gaga socks to work today.  It felt good to wear a new pair of fun socks 🙂 Granted, I wore them with jeans, so it was appropriate.  Next time, I’m wearing them with black pants!

Lady Gaga Socks

She was born this way apparently

Marissa Mayer

In case you missed it, Yahoo’s CEO caused a storm of controversy by mandating that every employee needed to be in the office and rescinding working from home privileges.  My first reaction was, “Thanks for the vote of confidence and support from one working mom to another,” but given the challenges she faces, I think she did the right thing.  It takes commitment to rebuild a culture, and it will be difficult to achieve that if the workforce is dispersed.  Unsurprisingly, her decision has been a hot topic in the blogosphere.  Here are a few of my favorite posts on the issue:

And then there’s this article: “The Quest to Find Realistic Role Models for Working Mothers.” Yes, yes, yes!!!  This article hits on my uneasiness with Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. I volunteered to read Sandberg’s book Lean In and write a review of it for Liberating Working Moms because I’m genuinely curious what she has to say.  I also empathize with Mayer’s position as a powerful CEO of childbearing age who carries the weight of a generation and gender on her shoulders and finds her every action scrutinized from a variety of perspectives (but who also has a nursery attached to her office).  I respect Slaughter’s opinion, yet I wonder if her generation and my generation experience the workforce differently.  And this quote from the above article articulated everything I had been feeling:

When working mother success is defined by the achievements, struggles, and angst of an elite group of women, it overlooks what Judith Warner articulated in Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety as the ability to “accommodate the more average kind of ambition with motherhood. The kind of ambition that most women and men have: to work a sufficient number of hours, at work they find interesting, meaningful, or enjoyable to earn enough money to buy their families a sufficiently good standard of living.”

Exactly.  I have ambition.  I want to do a good job and advance.  I like working, but I don’t want to be CEO of any corporation.  My ambitions and goals as a working mother are very different from Sandberg’s, Mayer’s and Slaughter’s.  We need more “normal” working mothers speaking and writing and advising (that’s critical) about what it’s really like to be an average working mother and what we really need.

How was your week?  Is Mercury Retrograde screwing you over too?


  1. I’ve held off on writing about the whole Melissa Mayer thing bc I’ve had such a horrible week! I’m with you though – mercury retrograde for sure, going from gallstones to liver tumor to strained abdominal muscle in one week.

    I am certainly writing something next week because I think I have a unique perspective – I have a very successful software career AND I am married to a rising executive. The demands of each of our jobs is so incredibly different. I’m sure people *think* they understand the demands of Mayer’s job but they do not live the reality.

    The last few months have seen great examples. My BFF’s son got diagnosed with a brain tumor while Jon was in Spain. We talked, and he could come home if it was an emergency but mostly I had to figure out how to deal with it on my own. And this week…. he has to leave for a week in England next Saturday. If I had needed liver surgery, he could postpone, but since it’s just a strained muscle, we have to figure out how to get me the help I need so he can go. (Can’t drive a car on muscle relaxers.)

    So…. do I think Mayer is the right role model for working parents? Absolutely not. Execs are rare in the working world. I think people, particularly women, should shoot for that level, but they need to understand what comes with the job. Whenever Jon has a spike in travel, people tell me he should find a different job. Um, this is the life of an executive. Just like it is the life of lawyers and doctors and accountants.

    However the reality that I can’t write about on my own blog is that Jon is unsure whether he wants to stay on this track bc he doesn’t want to lose more time with the kids, just like all the working moms we vilify for choosing to not go executive track! That’s why I get riled up whenever it becomes a “working mom” issue. It’s a parent issue, and the reality most execs and lawyers and doctors and accountants learn is that if you want kids, you can’t have both parents with high-powered jobs without a huge support team and missing out on time with your kids.

  2. I’m sorry you had such a crazy week this week. I hope things settle down this weekend and next week.

    Thanks for your outlook on the Marissa Mayer debacle. And for the links. I really enjoyed all of them and I appreciated getting well rounded opinions on it. As someone who can’t work from home (I’m a middle school teacher) I’ve always thought it would be really wonderful and I feel bad for the people who had built their life a certain way and are now being told they don’t have those options anymore. That must be incredibly hard. At the same time, she has been hired to turn the company around and maybe drastic measures like that are necessary. And interesting issue to be sure.

  3. Oh, I thought it was just because of the Full Moon. GOODNESS, this makes sense.

    Sorry you had a rough week.

    As a mother who works from home — and quite well, thankyouverymuch — I’ve been watching these conversations with interest. I’m a normal working mother with no desire to be a CEO.

  4. So much to say here. First, thank God for Lady Gaga socks. I totally need a pair of those.

    Then: I’m so sorry about your neighbor; I will be thinking about him, and his family, and your community.

    I live under a rock and hadn’t heard about the Melissa Mayer controversy. But as much as I would love to work from home, and support my family while being available for my children, I can see where she’s coming from. Her decision says a lot about what she believes is and isn’t possible in virtual space. In my experience, you can build relationships online, but it’s a lot easier to do so when you have a foundation that you created in person. It’s entirely possible (and likely) that once she’s re-booted the company she will allow people flex time again.

    But your point about “normal” working mothers is well-taken. Why aren’t there more average stories out there, instead of the women who do it all with no guilt or regret or self-conflict?

    I’m sorry that your week was such a suckfest … though I guess in the end the tow truck was a bright spot, at least, for your son!

  5. Whoa. Lots to unpack here! First of all, I am so sorry about your neighbor. That must have been upsetting.

    The Marissa Mayer thing has been the talk of the town here. She’s always been a hot topic, with a lot of people disliking her robotic workaholic ways at Google. As someone who hasn’t gone back to work because I must go to an office and work 70 hours minimum to work in my former profession, and that doesn’t work at all with my kids’ schedule and my husband’s insane work schedule, I understand the culture she’s trying to establish there. I think the biggest problem with Yahoo is the crazy acquisition schedule they were on for so long. They bought too many companies with no good idea of why, and so too many disparate people were brought together with no plan. I guess making everyone go to work at the same place might force them all to bond.

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