Work

Dispatches from the Road

I forgot that Nashville is on Central Time, so my old bones feel like it is two hours later than it is. Both flights were smooth but full, and there is nothing like flying to remind me how much I dislike flying. Airborne containers of misery and over-crowding. But the 6-inches of seat I was allotted was mitigated by the 10 tiny pretzels I received. They really should change the name of the class from “economy” to “miserly.”

My hotel is in the heart of downtown Nashville (I think). It is connected to the convention center where the conference is, and my room overlooks the Predators’ arena. My room is nice too: a king-sized bed all to myself and a huge bathroom. It’s a standard hotel room, but it seems a lot grander. Oh la la!

I had dinner by myself. When we travel for work, Jimmy and I have a rule that we eat well or at least eat what we want. This meal was pretty much all of my meals for the day, so that assuaged a little guilt about having an appetizer and entree!

The news from the home front is that everyone is behaving well and cooperating.

So ends Day 1 in Nashville. The conference kicks off at 8 AM tomorrow and country music’s best and brightest are pouring into the city for the CMA Awards. I hope Nashville’s ready for us.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m getting ready to go out of town for work next week. I’m leaving Monday afternoon to fly to Nashville for a work conference, and I’ll return late Thursday night.  My brain is working non-stop and my anxiety level is high.  It’s a similar experience to when I was preparing for surgery in September, but I think I’m more anxious this time.  Daniel’s schedule is more complicated this week and it’s more complicated for a longer period of time: we have two days of hot lunch supplied by school and two days of lunch packed by us.  Snack to be packed every day.  A field trip to the nearby fire station on Tuesday.  Plus, he is the Star of the Week next week, so each day he is able to bring an item for show and tell as well as a cuddly for quiet time.  On Tuesday, his grandmother is coming to read to the class.  Oh, and I bet we’ll have homework on Monday.

It just feels like so much to keep track of, and I’m trying to get everything sorted and organized for Jimmy so he can handle it effortlessly.  It’s not that I worry about his ability to do it; it’s more that there is so much to keep track of. And this is only Pre-K!

Tomorrow we’ll make the morning snacks for the week as well as the lunches for Monday and Thursday.  I won’t think about what they’ll eat each night for dinner; Jimmy assures me that he can handle that easily. And I need to pack. And figure out what time my flight leaves on Monday. And gather my technology and its related chargers and plugs as well as the last 4 issues of Time magazine I haven’t read.  I’m sure I’ll forget something.

I booked this conference several months ago, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise but here it is! And it is a surprise. All of the thoughts in my brain feel like popcorn popping or marbles ricocheting. I never knew that juggling was a required core competency of parenting, especially when you are a working parent.

But then Monday night, I’ll be settled in my hotel room. No stories to read. No tantrums to manage. No nightly routine to orchestrate.  I’ll feel guilty but free at the same time.  I might work out. I might watch crappy TV. I might read a book. I might play on Twitter. I can do what I want!!!

Half of my heart will be at home, wishing I were dealing with the normal nightly routine while the other half will enjoy the silence.

Oh, and by the way? Daniel’s letter of the week next week is “F.” We’re already thinking of the “F” words for his homework LOL.

You have to laugh, right?

The Converse of Being Cassandra

Late Wednesday afternoon, I had the follow-up meeting for the Tuesday meeting that prompted my post that day.  I was dreading it, frankly, because it was coming at the end of a day full of meetings that would have the miniature of Munch’s The Scream that resides in my brain, well, screaming all day.

To my relief (and surprise), the meeting went well.  I laid out my case. I advocated. I espoused. I had support from other coworkers. I also may have been a tad too fearless in a few things I said.

But as we left the meeting, it appeared that my point of view had won the day.  I forgot how it feels when you are listened to, when  you win a debate: you feel like a fucking rock star.  I walked out of the building exhilarated, pleased and relieved. I know that winning a debate does not guarantee the changes I want, but it was wonderful to feel like logic and reason had won the day.

The sad part is that within 20 minutes of the end of the meeting, I was worrying that maybe I had been too strong. Maybe I shouldn’t have said one or two things. Sometimes the problem with being a truth teller is that you don’t know when to shut up. A nice girl wouldn’t act that way. A good employee would be more diplomatic.

I also fear that it wasn’t fact and reason but emotion that won the day. Does that matter? A victory is a victory, right? Well, I prefer to have people come around to my way of thinking because it’s the right thing to do, not because they want to appease me. I want my coworkers to understand that I take the stands I do for the good of the organization, not because it’s what KeAnne wants to do.

I received some great advice to my last post. I’m going to try harder to pick my battles. But what do you do when everything is a battle?

Cassandra Syndrome

I have a reputation at work: the truth teller. If I were Native American, I might be called “she-who-reveals-the-elephant-in-the-room.” I think that this reputation, this quality is perceived positively, and I’m expected to speak up and say what others are thinking but won’t say.

I worry about it, though. I worry that I’m speaking too much, too loudly. My voice is too strident. I’m too forceful. I worry that coworkers are secretly rolling their eyes at me and exchanging glances. I worry the prevailing thought is, “There goes KeAnne on her soap box again.”

I wish I could be silent. I wish I could wait until I was asked my opinion, but I can’t. The words bubble up inside me and practically explode from my mouth, spewing over everyone.  I’m compelled to say what I’m thinking. I go to a lot of meetings and in each one, I tell myself I’m going to sit and be quiet. Detach.  Be thoughtful. Pensive.

And then I wonder if I feel that way because I’m a woman. If I would feel differently if I were a man.

The downside of being a truth teller is frustration when you tell the truth, and it is ignored. I’ve always identified with Cassandra, able to predict the future and tell truths but cursed to be ignored. Cassandra watched her world fall apart around her because no one believed her predictions about the destruction of Troy.

I have no psychic ability (to my disappointment), nor am I dealing with events as catastrophic as the ones Cassandra did, but I am very, very frustrated. I find myself explaining situations, answering questions, providing information, predicting outcomes over and over and over, and it is like I am shouting into the wind. My words spin away into nothingness, never to find their target.  And the more frustrated I become, the more strident and aggressive and let’s face it, unfeminine I feel.

I feel like a traitor writing that when we’re being urged to lean in, speak up and not opt out. I want to be respected for my work and the contributions I make, the thoughts and opinions I have. I want to be a leader, a go-to person. I do not want to be a loud-mouthed bitch.

But right now, like Cassandra, I feel out of control over how I and my message are received.

Gone Fishing

Daniel's favorite.

Not really. It might not surprise you that I don’t fish.  I have fished. I grew up with a pond in my back yard and can dig for worms and bait hooks with the best of them. And yes, it is fun when a fish takes the bait and you reel it in. Cleaning and eating what I’ve caught? No thank you. I’m weird about fish in that I prefer someone else to cook it for me. Just one more way I differ from my family.

I digress.

Jimmy, Daniel and I are leaving for the beach in a few hours.  Seven glorious days at the beach.  This year we’ve rented a beach house.  That sounds very grand. In actuality, it’s a townhouse, but it’s an end unit and ocean front (my one requirement). When we began to plan our annual beach trip, we talked about finding a three-bedroom condo or a beach house.  Jimmy wanted to find a house if we could because he thought we needed more space.  A third bedroom in a condo would just get us another bedroom but not really more space.  Last year’s condo was good, but it did start to feel a tad claustrophobic in the living area. 

Surprisingly, there are affordable options for ocean front beach houses for one family.  We’ll see how it goes. Since it’s a townhouse, it’s two levels, and the beach views are on the second floor where the bedrooms are.  I wonder if I will miss seeing the beach from the living room.  On the other hand, it will be nice to be in a real house with real appliances and not Lilliputian ones. And we’re only steps from the sand and water!!

There are new bathing suits. New sand toys. New books.  We are ready. Most importantly, we are mentally ready.  We need this vacation.  Jimmy has been working so hard at work. I don’t think a week has gone by that he hasn’t had to work late (thankfully from home) at least one night. Daniel has been working hard at daycare, and I know he’s ready for a break.  As for me, work continues to be interesting.  Some days are good; others make me want to beat my head against the wall. Sometimes it feels like death by a thousand well-meaning cuts.  The last two years, our beach trip has happened after the summer all-staff meeting at work. I know I’m ready for vacation when I leave that meeting muttering, “F this. F all this.”

And then there are the dreams.  In the last month, I have started having vivid dreams about work. And violence.  In these dreams, something bad always happens.  People are hurt. People are shot.  I neither perpetrate the violence nor am a victim and as dreams go, it’s never exactly the people you work with, but the theme is the same: bad stuff happens at work. Gee, I wonder what that means.  Stress? Anxiety? Uncertainty? Psychologically unsafe?  All of those things, but for now, I’m concluding it means that I am very ready for vacation.

I’ve posted before about the beach restores me.  I’m looking forward to that and very much need it.  I can’t wait to build sand castles for Daniel to smash. To wiggle our toes in the sand. For the three of us to swim in the ocean and pool. To go to the aquarium and see what’s new. To eat great food. And most importantly, to do nothing but what we want to do and if that means nothing at all, that’s OK. I hope we three return rested and rejuvenated.  And hopefully I’ll read a better book than 50 Shades of Grey (one of last year’s beach reads).

See you next week.

 

WTF Week

This week has not been a great week.  I know you’re probably thinking, “didn’t she write that last week? And the week before that? And the week before that?”  I guess it’s true.  It’s been a rocky, rough time at work and when it’s the place you spend 40+ hours a week at, it impacts you.

I’ve been struggling how to write this post because I need to write it.  It’s been on my mind for a week, but I’ve had so many emotions over the last week that I haven’t been sure how to write about it without possibly shooting myself in the foot or being premature.

First of all, I still have a job.  Yay! Given that, what do I really have to complain about? A week ago, I was asked to take a new position in the org.  It’s a market research position and honestly, it was what I asked for.  A couple of weeks ago, my former interim supervisor (did you follow that?) asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him: data, information.  I want to do market research and disseminate information to help us make data-driven decisions.  Well, it turns out that leadership took me at my word and gave me exactly what I asked for.

So the question becomes why I am not more enthusiastic since I got exactly what I wanted.  It’s been a difficult transition. I’m losing an occupational and organizational identity I’ve held as a web developer for 13 years.  I’m losing part of my team and retaining only one direct report which makes me feel a little ridiculous.  I watched a coworker who I helped hire become manager of the team I was formerly a part of.  I now report to a coworker I also helped hire.

I’m also formally untied from people with whom I’ve been structured organizationally since 2005. I tell people that we were a family.  It’s true.  It’s the best group of people with whom I’ve ever worked.  We worked well together but also cared about each other.   It’s a huge shock.   I think I’m also reeling from the major amount of change lately.  In addition to my manager and my coworker, I had a team member retire, another team member leaving for her dream job in Miami, and my most recent hire moved to another team in the re-org.  I truly feel like a bomb went off and left destruction in its wake.  Some of those people I’d worked closely with for over 10 years, and in 4 weeks, everything has changed.

I’ve cried a lot the past week and been in a definite funk.  I went from feeling like a future leader in the organization to a failure.  Because that’s what part of me whispers: you failed.  You didn’t do a good enough job.  That’s why they were so quick to remove the web duties from you and give you market research.  And not to consider you for leadership of your former group. You failed. And I can’t stand that feeling.  And of course, these changes haven’t executed delicately, so my feelings get hurt and umbrage taken regularly. I feel awkward talking to coworkers with whom I used to be close and being overly formal: “if you don’t mind, I could talk to…”

I’m trying to take a deep breath and calm down.  Trying to take each day as it comes even though I feel so blue and wonder about my place and the perception of me. And then I wonder if a man would worry about this and feel like I’m letting Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer down in my reaction to this situation and my inability to leverage it to advance.

All this sturm and drang and remember, I actually got what I asked for which should make me feel a little bit good, right?  I guess that what I’ve discovered is that sometimes, getting what you want doesn’t feel as good as it should.

Since I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, I’ve had a lot of chances to find some good reads.  If you have a moment:

Links

  • Google appears hell-bent on destroying any social capital it had with its users.  There are reports that its News Alerts haven’t been working well for a few months (something I’ve noticed as well). In related news, Google debuted Keep, but users are reluctant to adopt based on its capricious decisions on what apps stay and what apps go
  • My county library published a review on a Jane Austen book that sounds great: What Matters in Jane Austen: 20 Crucial Problems Solved.
  • You probably heard about New York Magazine’s feature “The Retro Wife.” It was…interesting.  Reductive yet informative.  The Atlantic, my hero, has had several good articles on it like this one and especially this one
  • My friend Brandy wrote a post in early March about food, research, and what her family is doing to avoid harmful foods.  I feel I need to qualify this by saying that I am not a crunchy, earthy person usually (not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing or that Brandy is!), but I feel very strongly about making sure Daniel eats as much natural food as possible.  Am I perfect?  No.  We’re a work in progress, but Brandy’s post is definitely thought-provoking. I have a major urge to buy a cow and chickens and plant a serious garden. See, I told you my survivalist tendencies weren’t far below the surface!
  • And Buzzfeed.  Buzzfeed has brought me so much laughter lately. Please visit and enjoy. The had a post on the end of Mercury Retrograde that was very appropriate as well as one on almost 40 people who need to stop using the Internet that had me in tears from laughing so hard.

How was your week?  Tell me something good!

In the Merde

Mercury Retrograde ends on March 17, and it certainly is going out with a bang this week: 5 coworkers were laid off on Tuesday, one of them in spectacular fashion.  While I had worked with most of them for many years, I was particularly close to one of them.  We started at this organization one day apart, and we joked that he was like the 14-year-old brother I never had.  You might recall that my boss left unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It really has been a shitty few weeks.

I know I talk a lot about Mercury Retrograde, but rest assured that I don’t really believe in it or astrology.  Not a lot anyway.  It’s simply nice to have something to blame or identify a cause or reason instead of the indifferent universe when something shitty happens.  I find it a bit ironic that I am currently reading Lean In when after the recent events, I want to lean back so far that I’m out of the picture.  But I have to keep it together for my team so that they won’t run screaming from the building.

Yesterday in Performance Leadership, we learned about different generations in the workplace.  I’m Gen X (bitter, jaded and cynical naturally), but I’m on the cusp of being Gen Y.  Gen Y wants to do meaningful work or find meaning in their work.  The Xer in me wants to roll my eyes and tell them to get over it because there’s a reason why it’s called “work” and not “fun.”  “Meaningful” for Gen Y is often interpreted derisively as a job that contributes to saving the planet or protesting for Tibetan freedom or something.  Meaningful work is relative to the worker, though.  For one employee, it might be work that compensates them fairly and allows them to live how they wish.  For another it might be an ethical workplace.

As a Gen X/Y cusper, I understand that quest to do work that is meaningful.  I am passionate and very proud of the work my organization does to help NC industry and how my efforts support that.  I’ve always been able to find meaning.  No matter how boring a class, I was always able to find something interesting or redeemable about it. Something that elevated it past mere drudgery. It’s a very useful mindset.  My team consists of two young Gen Yers, so I’m trying to focus on the importance of our work during this chaotic time.  It’s hard, though, because what do you do when your Gen X clashes with your Gen Y?  What happens when you are still able to find Gen Y meaning in what you do but that ol’ Gen X distrust rears its ugly head? When the bitterness outweighs the optimism?

GOMI

Last night on Twitter I had a nice conversation with Schmutzie and Bon about Get Off My Internets (GOMI).  I read GOMI.  I admit it.  If you want to stop following or shun me because of it, so be it.  I understand the criticism of GOMI, and I acknowledge that threads can deteriorate quickly into personal attacks instead of criticizing the behavior.  I also acknowledge that some of the members can be mean bitches with axes to grind.  I like the snark, but I’m really interested in the function GOMI serves as a counterweight to the blogosphere. I admit that it’s weird because bloggers are actual humans (most of them anyway), and it’s sort of weird to talk about them as if they are in the public domain like a celebrity.  But in a way they are.  And there’s some stupid shit that goes on in the blogosphere.  My bottom line is this:  if you delete comments that are mildly critical or questioning something you’ve posted about; if you allow only sycophantic fans to post glowing comments; if you do stupid shit; if you endanger your child; if you…ah screw it.  I guess it comes back to what I wrote in my post on criticism: you do not exist in a vacuum.  If you blog publicly, you put yourself out there and people will notice you.  Not everyone will like you.  People will judge your choices and opinions.  And that’s OK.  Because we’re human, and that’s what humans do. Surely there is room for a happy medium between “OMG U R the best” and “you’re a fat, jealous hater.”  Am I being ridiculous?  I’m comfortable among the gray instead of living in black or white.

Listen to Your Mother

Things are moving along quite nicely. Marty and I held auditions on three nights last week and heard 40 amazing readers.  Today we think we finalized our cast list.  We have also revealed our charity partner and have scored three sponsorships.  In short, there’s a lot going on, and I urge to subscribe to our LTYM site to stay in the loop!  May 8 doesn’t sound nearly as far away as it did only a few weeks ago!

Google

So long, Google Reader.  I shouldn’t be surprised that Google has made another decision that is so astonishingly bad it defies belief.  Do they understand who their users are? Do they understand that not only do people still blog but also still read blogs? Fine, Google.  Continue to put all of your resources and spend your social capital on Google Plus, something no one uses, instead of promoting and supporting the services a lot of people use.  We’ll see how that plays out in a few years.  I’ve updated my rant about Google from last Fall to include an update on the demise of Reader.

***

So that’s my week.  I’m bummed and numb and down.  I haven’t been sleeping well thanks to the time change, and I cried three times yesterday.  I’m reading and following along but seldom able to comment.

I hope you’ve had a better week.

Leaning In and Leaning Back

Next week I’ll have the chance to read Sandberg’s Lean In and review it for Liberating Working Moms.  You can’t go online anywhere without running into the book whether it is a pre-publication review (sometimes by someone who hasn’t read the book), a critique of the review, a critique of the critique and then the inevitable article about why women hate successful women. How meta.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to actually reading the book and deciding for myself what I think about it.

The Huffington Post has been publishing a series of posts by contributors on whether they chose to lean in or lean back and why.  They are often short and sometimes not very good: I don’t think some understand quite what leaning in or leaning back means because their stories confuse the terms.

I feel like I’ve chosen to “lean in,” considering that I’m still working and continue to accept more responsibility.  I like what I do and find it challenging, interesting, occasionally infuriating and fulfilling (usually).  I can’t help but feel, though, that sometimes “leaning in” feels like being “all in” to borrow a term from poker.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about “leaning back.” My intuition tells me that more time at home and with my family could be very helpful right now, but the problem is that is that it’s not easy to “lean in” and then “lean back” without serious repercussions.  Ideally, it would be a lot easier to transition between the two states, leaning in, then leaning back when necessary and then leaning in again without hits to salary, benefits and career trajectory .  A fluid motion not  unlike that of a rocking chair, rocking back and forth with ease.

Maybe the book will have some wisdom for me.

A few interesting links I came across this week:

Criticism and Relativism

I’m enrolled in a semester-long leadership development class for work.  The class meets for an entire day every other week. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the class, especially since a lot of it seemed touchy-feely.  My opinion has changed, and I’m really enjoying the content as well as trying to engage with it thoughtfully.  A major part of the class is that we were required to solicit feedback on our leadership performance from our direct reports, supervisor and peers via a 360 degree evaluation. I dutifully asked people to participate, trying to select coworkers who would give me useful, honest feedback.  Out of 12 people (including myself), I had 10 complete the survey.  We received the results last week.

To say I was nervous about the results would be an understatement.  The facilitator made us wait until the end of the day to receive the results of our survey and introduced it with a session on perception vs. reality, how to interpret results and comments, etc.  The more she talked, the higher my anxiety level became and the more my stomach churned in anticipation of my results. I suddenly was certain that the comment sections of my evaluation would be full of “KeAnne sucks” or “KeAnne is an insufferable know-it-all” comments.

The most positive thing I can say about my results is that I am decently self-aware because I correctly anticipated many of my weak areas: defensive, sensitive to criticism, etc.  I was surprised by a series of ratings and comments that I easily identified as coming from one person; one coworker has a depth of frustration and irritation with me that was a huge shock to me.  I consider myself to be a fairly observant person, but that person’s perception of me and my leadership style stunned me. On the other hand, I thought some of the comments were too nice and not honest enough.

Nevertheless, I’m taking all of the feedback and ratings seriously and humbly, vowing to improve the areas that need improving.

I’ve thought a lot about the feedback I received on that evaluation.  Some of it hurt a lot, and I had to hold back tears as I left class.  Partly because it came from coworkers whose opinions I value and partly because some of it seemed so bizarre. Was that really how people see me?

Why do we find it so difficult and downright unpleasant to receive criticism?  The definition of criticism is the practice of finding fault or merit in an articulate way.  Of course, the criticism that stings the most is the negative criticism. I think a lot of my less-than-stellar behaviors stem from my desire to be perfect.  I’ve always wanted to be perfect even though I understand that it is impossible.  I want to do the best job.  I want to be above reproach.  Again, these are all impossible, ridiculous outcomes.  No one is perfect.  We’re always going to be liked by some and disliked by others on factors both within and outside our control. Yet, that desire for perfection, of pleasing remains. And any questioning of me or my thought process makes me defensive.  It also doesn’t help that I can be snarky (who, me?) and a bit aggressive and strident at times.

The older I become, the more I believe that everything and everyone is relative.  We’re all individual galaxies spinning next to each other but ultimately self-contained and doing our own thing.  I don’t like that.  I always believed somewhat Platonically that there were some absolutes governing our world and existence.

Perhaps criticism is poorly received because as an act of evaluation, it reminds us that we aren’t alone, that others are free to observe us, evaluate what we do and say and comment negatively or positively. Criticism ties us to each other and dispels some of the relativism we may feel.

The blogosphere highlights just how much we despise criticism.  We blithely set up blogs to share our lives with the world.  We often refer to our blogs as our little worlds.  We say we want dialogue and interaction with readers, yet recent kerfuffles over GOMI and blow ups in comment sections in several blogs I read demonstrate that most of the time, we have very thin skin.  I’m not talking about comments like “you suck” or “you’re a fat cow who never showers.  I bet you smell.”  Those comments are just mean. I’m talking about comments that dissent or question what we’ve shared.

Psychologists recommend the following for offering criticism:

Respect the individual, focus the criticism on the behaviour that needs changing – on what people actually do or actually say.

The problem is that too often we associate criticism of our behavior or words as an attack on us as individuals. As a result, comment sections are shut down and critical comments are deleted.  What comments remain are either affirming  or the lukewarm, “you have to do what works for you.” We even indignantly reply that those sort of comments are not allowed in our space, in our part of the blogosphere. Relativism is upheld, and our little worlds keep spinning as we create our own truths and never question them.

More Blather: Post-Thanksgiving Shock Syndrome

Five more posts for NaBloPoMo.  Five.  In the words of one of the most annoying of Daniel’s favorite books: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Isn’t it funny the books that get on our nerves?  I am immune, apparently, to the charms of Goodnight, Moon but Daniel loves it.   Thinking all Eric Carle books were as adorable as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we bought a few more, including The Grouchy Ladybug which soon made us very grouchy when we had to read it although there was a period in which Daniel was fascinated with the skunk in it and pronounced “skunk” adorably.  That ladybug was a grouchy shrew!  Jamberry, so innocuous and sweet with its odd rhymes, was an early favorite of all of ours.  It made it on to the “Do Not Read” list recently when Daniel had to read it for himself, which meant that every.page.took.forever. I confess that I have hidden books, hoping their absence would go unnoticed.

I feel a little churlish griping about books that Daniel loves and our attempts to subvert the reading of them.  Books are awesome!  I love books!  Of course I love that he loves books.  The reality, however, is that the quest for independence is frustrating for all concerned.  Daniel’s frustrated because he wants to do everything for himself, gosh darn it.  We’re frustrated because we want to enjoy story time without a battle of wills as well as still manage to get him into bed at a decent hour without also wanting to run screaming from the house.  Three-year-olds, man.  They are rough.

***

Last night I was listening to the nightly chat between Daniel and Jimmy.  I swear I heard Daniel say, “Talk to me about Plato” and wondered whether Jimmy would launch into an explanation of the Allegory of the Cave, Plato’s relationship with Socrates and influence on Aristotle, and Aristotle’s tutelage of Alexander the Great.  Western Civilization: the Greco-Roman years was happening down the hall!

Then I realized Daniel had said, “Talk to me about play doh.”  Ohhhhh.  Yeah, just a little different than Plato.  Jimmy went on to discuss the delights offered by the fun factory, leading Daniel to request it for Christmas.

Small children are so funny, though.  It honestly didn’t phase me to think that the same child who flung boogers at the wall and who protested eating his vegetables could turn around and say something intelligent about Plato and his theory of Forms. Why not?

***

Today was my first day back at work after Thanksgiving.  Working at a university, this time of year is usually fairly slow.  I have 14 working days left this year.  It doesn’t sound like much time at all, and I know it will go by both insanely fast and painfully slowly.  2012 has been a frustrating year because I feel like most of it has been spent marching in place, never really making any progress.

I’m unlikely to be able to change that outcome in the next 14 days, so I’ll just focus on tying up loose ends and getting done what I can, trying not to regret how little I feel I’ve accomplished this year.

How was your Monday?  Do you like Plato or do you prefer Aristotle?  What amusing things have your children done lately?