Just What I Needed

I keep opening up this blog and staring at the screen. I have several posts in draft that I either never return to or the urge or fury that compelled me to start abates, and I no longer remember what I wanted to say.  I shrug and close the browser.

Or maybe it is the busy-ness of work (constantly wild) and parenting (roller coaster) and life (never dull). Although I think I read I’m not supposed to talk about how “busy” I am? That “busy” is condescending.  One author even wrote that we aren’t as busy as we think we are, which infuriated me when I read it but not enough to come here and post a diatribe to rebut her words.

Or maybe it is the weight of things I want to say but remain unsaid or how quickly each day seems to pass until I look up and notice that the calendar is months ahead of where I feel it should be.

Or maybe it is that I don’t think I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said a million other times by a million other people. Especially when I seem to end many days feeling like I didn’t do my best and if I did, my best isn’t good enough.

***

I ran into a former coworker today when I went to get a flu shot. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries – it had been a while since we had seen each other. And then she told me how often she thought about me and how grateful she was for the help I gave her and the distraction of employment during a terrible, awful time in her family’s life.  She reads this blog on occasion, so I will be vague (Hi!).

I didn’t think I did all that much – I gave her a shoulder to cry on, a calm environment, and work in which she could lose herself. But it made a huge difference to her and for that I am grateful and honored.

Thank you for sharing that with me. It was just what I needed to hear.

 

Listen to Your Mother 2016!

Thrilled to announce that Marty and I will again be bringing Listen to Your Mother to the Raleigh-Durham area in 2016!  That show will be our 4th, and this year, Listen to Your Mother expands to 41 cities, including one in Canada!

Marty and I met for coffee last week to start planning, and we’re going to do a few things differently for the 4th year.  Shake things up a bit.  It will be fun!

Here’s the official announcement for 2016.

If you are in NC, information about the submission process will come out in January.  If you are outside NC, please look and see if there is a show close to you.  It’s been amazing being part of Listen to Your Mother, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Planned Parenthood and the Infertile

It’s late 2015 and Planned Parenthood is again under attack. The ostensible reason is because of doctored videos about selling fetal parts (they are donated but PP is allowed to recoup costs), but the real reason is because there is a group of people in this country, in 2015, who truly believe that reproductive freedom is a moral travesty.

I do not. I support Planned Parenthood and everything it does, even non-federally funded abortions. I am pro choice. I always have been and always will be.

As an infertile, this may seem odd. How can I support an organization that provides a (legal) service that seems to be at odds with what my husband and tried so long to achieve?

First of all, it’s not my business what someone legally (let’s not forget that key fact) chooses to do with her body. Secondly, it isn’t some moral equation: one less abortion means a baby for an infertile. It’s not like the lack of abortion would result in a glut of adoptable infants. That’s a repugnant thought actually, based on what we know and understand about the complexities of adoption- that the lack of reproductive freedom would somehow enable more couples to adopt. And it isn’t the 50s. Forcing women to have their babies would likely result in their parenting the child, perhaps in less than ideal situations. And darn, where is that social safety net again?

I also support Planned Parenthood because abortion and fertility treatments are facing similar attacks. The same people who want to de-fund Planned Parenthood because of abortion also have serious reservations about IVF and the embryos created. Clumps of cells in both cases. 

Consider this: my beloved, much-wanted child is the result of a transferred 8-cell embryo, the only success after 7 other embryos. It isn’t a stretch to me to see that if abortion is outlawed, IVF could be next, which is a bit ironic since it is a family-building tool. One could argue that in its own way, abortion is also a family-building tool.

The bottom line is that I support Planned Parenthood because no other group appears to care about women’s health. No other group provides necessary medical services, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with abortion. I’m also tired of legislators treating women badly and telling us what to do with our bodies, what they think is best for us. 

Stay out of my uterus. Stay out of my family-building decisions. Give me my reproductive freedom.

I stand with Planned Parenthood.

#MicroblogMondays: Fifteen

MicroblogMondaysToday marks my 15th anniversary at my organization.  Wow. When I started here in 2000, I was not yet 23. It was my second full-time job. 9/11 happened while I was here. I got married. I started and finished grad school. I struggled with infertility and celebrated D’s birth.

I’ve worked in 4 different groups and had 8 different supervisors.  I’ve changed positions pure IT and web development to my current role of knowledge management and market research. I’ve been a manager for 6 years. I’ve been through three re-orgs and two rounds of layoffs, 7 offices and three buildings. And a new name.

In 2000, I had no intention of staying 15 years or inkling that I would. I’ve gone from being one of the youngest employees to being one of the long-timers. Sometimes I feel silly when I tell people how long I’ve worked here – isn’t that passe now?

It has definitely had its ups and downs as any job does, but I like what I’m doing and the people I work with. Our mission still resonates for me, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Fifteen years. Turns out I can retire in 16 years, but who’s counting?

Ch Ch Ch Changes

When I walk into work tomorrow, my org will officially have a new name. My org is 60 years old, and this will be its 3rd name but I have only known it by its former name for 15 years. I’m anticipating taking cheat sheets to meetings so I get it right.

Tomorrow we also officially launch our new website. This is the first website in 15 years that I have not managed or overseen. 

And in mid-September, we will transition from our home-grown reporting system to a more robust CRM platform.  I didn’t build the home-grown system, but I was responsible for nurturing it over the last 15 years.

I could make all of these changes about me and how it feels a tiny bit like I’m being erased, but that is foolish and myopic. Change happens. It comes whether we want it or not. And it is often bittersweet.

That’s what I leave you with: change is bittersweet, yet inevitable. Maybe it is its inevitability that makes it bittersweet. Change and the march of progress don’t care about feelings or length of time served. They are unsympathetic forces that just happen.

I think that is supposed to make me feel better?

Who Gets to Play with the Purple Legos?

This week is the last week of summer camp before D starts 1st grade next week.  He was supposed to end the summer as he started it with a week at Lego camp; instead, D is attending camp at our local YMCA this week.

These Lego camps are put on by a franchise that uses theme-based plans and kits with Legos for educational play. Blah, blah, blah…basically, the franchise running these camps is not sponsored by Lego, and these camps are not official Lego camps. These camps are being offered at one of the city parks and rec locations, so we signed up for the camp via the parks and rec summer camp registration site.

A little over a week ago, I received an email from the local franchise owner telling me that D could attend the afternoon session but not the morning session.  The afternoon session was on space.  The morning session was building and crafting with Lego Friends, including making jewelry and origami. I knew D would enjoy the space session in the afternoon, and I knew that he would enjoy the morning session with the Lego Friends theme (he has one or two small Lego Friends pieces). Yes, it was being marketed to girls but did not specifically indicate girls only (at least in the description I read on the parks and rec site). Needing coverage for most of the day since I work full time, I had signed him up for both sessions.

The session the franchise owner told me D could not attend was the Lego Friends-themed session.  He said that it was marketed to and restricted to girls only. I emailed back and forth with the franchise owner to be absolutely certain that he would not let D attend.  The answer was an emphatic no.  I was initially irritated because damn it, now we needed to figure out something for that final week of camp and we were getting ready to go out of town.  But I was also irritated because I have mixed feelings about the Lego Friends sets.  I get that the sets are a (misguided in my opinion) attempt to make Legos attractive to girls, but why do girls need cutesy Legos?  Why does Lego assume that the ordinary primary-colored bricks are uninteresting to girls? I played with regular Legos as a child, and I even had a Lego space set. And it does seem a bit insulting to have sessions on space, pirate ships, minecraft, catapults, etc. for the entire summer and then have one “girls only” session to introduce girls to Lego’s girl-themed sets.

Also, the other Lego sessions were open to any gender, and girls had attended the sessions D was in the first week of camp. Why couldn’t a 6-year-old boy whose favorite color is purple not attend the Lego Friends camp?

We decided to withdraw from both sessions, and I emailed both the franchise owner and the parks and rec representative about our decision and why we were so disappointed. A few days later I received a polite email from the parks and rec representative telling us that they had decided that in the future, the only Lego sessions they would hold would be those open to both genders. Victory? or screw up?

I have mixed feelings about the situation. I feel like I was trying to game the system a bit because really, I needed some place for D to go for the entire day and I knew the Lego Friends session was focused on girls. However, I really dislike the message it sends that girls need cutesy pink and purple Legos in order to be interested in building and engineering, and that boys can’t like cute stuff and girls can’t like kick-ass catapults. And it really struck me since this happened around the same time Target decided to remove gender labels in the toy section.  But this article makes good points that Lego Friends aren’t dumbed-down sets and how Lego’s traditional sets have clearly been targeted to boys.  If girls enjoy the Lego Friends sets, isn’t that OK? Does it have to mean anything more? What is a gender-neutral toy anyway? If we applaud little girls playing with the supposedly “gender-neutral” traditional Lego sets, why can’t a little boy enjoy playing with Lego Friends?

What do you think?

At least D is enjoying YMCA camp and in a few days, all of this summer camp mess will be over.

 

Trip or Vacation?

It’s almost the end of summer and we’re at the beach for our second week of the summer. Daniel starts first grade in two weeks, and I’m at a loss for where the summer went.

It’s been a good week…mostly. We’ve had good weather except for yesterday, allowing us to visit the aquarium. Awesome fish, yet Daniel was mostly interested in the gift shop. We’ve had good food although it has been takeout because we don’t feel like battling the crowds, waiting, noise etc.  I was bitten again by noseeums, and my left arm and feet look like I have some flesh-eating disease. And today we dealt with the surliest 6-year-old; you’d think it was torture being at the beach.

Have you read the HuffPo post on Vacation or Trip? That pretty much sums it up.

But the view isn’t bad and it could be worse: we could be at work!