Sunday, July 28, 2013

From the files of: You get to have a kid and I don't????

This "From the files of:" will be a regular feature here in that I really like to point out how unfair life can be that Aha and I didn't get to have our own children.

Let me first explain what this "From the files of" IS NOT:

* A forum for you to tell me that we should have adopted
* A forum for you to tell me that if we wanted kids badly enough we would have adopted (real life sentence said to me)
* A place (new word) for you to tell me that God only gives us what we can handle
* That "everything happens for a reason" and;
* That "if it was meant to be...."

Only when I have this kind of clear evidence do I feel like I have a right to bitch publicly about this unfairity (new word?), or unequal passing out of life events.

Don't like my rules?

Don't read the blog.

Back to the issue at hand today.
================================
Let me set the scene - I walk into Ralphs on Coldwater Canyon and Magnolia Blvd. There, the scene is set.

A little girl, no older than 3 with a pink shirt, blue shorts, flip flops, a gold tiara that says "HAPPY BIRTHDAY", brown long pony tails on either side of her head and eating a croissant bigger than her head walks right up to me and says:

"Where is my mommy?"

No kidding. That's exactly what happened.

So, I launch into action.

"Wow...where IS your mommy...hum. Well, let's find her" I said. Little croissant girl (LCG) in tow, I turn around to face the first Ralphs employee I see and say: "Hi...we have a lost Mommy here. Can you help us find her lost Mommy?".

If the story didn't get W O R S E later this would be the worst part.

The Raphs Employee (RE) turns to me and says, "Oh, she's still here. She was just here." and with a huge smile turns to walk away.

"Um, no..." I start to say and RE turns around back to face me.

"Where is her mom now?" I begin to ask. "Can we go do something to look for her Mom now?" I ask. "She's still here" RE says AGAIN! Unbelievable.

I could have walked out with this kids long long ago.

So, I give up on RE and say to LCG, "let's go find your mommy." LCG nods her head and we start off. But before we can get anywhere, before we can take step #1, Green Shirt Stupid Friend (GSSF) shows up. "Oh, she's with me. She's with us. Really." GSSF said loudly from an aisle away.

"What?" I ask. What the hell is happening here. GSSF comes to LCG and puts her adult hand on LCG's little childlike shoulder. Immediately I kneel down to LCG and say, "Do you know this woman?" thinking, I'm not leaving this kid in just anyone's hand. Surely someone is missing this child, right???

LCG doesn't respond to me but backs away from GCCF and keeps saying, "where is my mommy?".

Then GCCF says the most amazingly stupid thing I could think to say -  no I never would have thought to say this. GCCF says:

"Don't worry, If I didn't know her I wouldn't want to claim her".

My mouth must have dropped open because she followed that winner up with:

"No really, I'm her mom's friend, it's o.k."

As I kneel down to start the search for LCG's Mommy again, I said, "Um, she heard that..." which didn't seem to phase ANYONE.

LCG and I start to walk towards the produce area looking down the aisles - keep in mind please - GCCF L E T  M E  W A L K  A W A Y  W I T H  L C G - and when we get to the second isle, LCG looks down and screams, "There's my mommy!!!".

We walk down the isle towards the woman in the pink shirt (MOM) and I see that MOM clearly recognizes LCG and LCG has found MOM and is comfortable that she really is her Mommy.

I begin to walk away and muttering under my breath, "and I don't get to have children???" I stop and remember the boy in the carseat in the car by himself while Mom shopped in a store nearby in Maui.

When Aha and I joined friends in Maui this past April, while walking around this little artsy town we came across a four door car; windows open (it was hot and muggy that day) and a 2ish-3ish year old boy in a car seat - strapped in.

NO ADULTS ANYWHERE!!!

I was not walking away from this. Aha and our friends were sure Mom and/or Dad were around, but I wasn't leaving. Aha realized that we were sticking this out and that he just might have to bail me out of jail if I beat someone up over this.

We waited for 2 minutes, maybe 3 and then while my blood was totally boiling over I walked across the street into the store and said to the clerk behind the counter, "Um, do you know who that car belongs to? There's a kid in there and the windows are open and no sign of adults around."

As I finished my sentence, a youngish woman popped her head from around a body about 6 feet away from me and said, "that's my car - I'm right here, I'm watching him."

Uh Muh Gud...you are SOOOOOOO NOT watching your kid!!!! Is what I wanted to yell. Instead what I said was,

"Um, there's no one there and he's all alone...".

"I can see him from here" she said. At that moment, I knew that I should walk away; I was shaking and if I stayed any longer, there would need to be bailing me out of jail and that would really have ruined a nice vacation. I was shaking with anger.

Back to today. I remembered that kid and my vow to not be passive about mentioning to people that there kids were unattended.

I turned around and walked back down the isle to MOM and LCG where GSSF was joining them while presumably telling MOM the story in their native language, which I didn't understand and is not  part of the point here, and said,

"She came up to me and said, 'where is my mommy'."

'Thank you" MOM said with such disdain bail money was almost needed again. "She was with her" and points to GSSF.

"No," I began, voice steady, fists clenched, "she wasn't. She was all alone and said 'where is my mommy?' She didn't know where you were and was getting upset."

"Thank you" MOM said again - same level of disdain.

Realizing that my options were limited at this point, I turned and headed back to the produce section to get my limes.

After checking out, I decided to let the Ralphs Manager (RM) know how the RE had reacted when I told her about LCG. Here I am, thinking that this Manager is going to get lit up about this, take it seriously and be shocked by my story.

WRONG AGAIN!!!!!

RM listened to my story, nodding occasionally and finally asked if I could tell him which RE it was. I did my best, but got back to saying things like, "I would have thought that my saying 'this little girl is looking for her Mommy' would be trigger words for your employee to launch into action. I could have walked out of the store with this girl and your employee wouldn't have known."

No reaction from RM.

Morale of the story?

Don't know.

Watch your freaking kids! You had 'em, it's your job!!! MOM was so lucky that LCG came to me and not to some unbalanced person who was looking for a little girl of her/his own to not love and not take care of.

Kids come to me often and talk to me. I realize that Parents are trying to teach their kids not to talk to strangers and so I try not to encourage it unless there is a parent around. But when they walk directly up to me and say, 'Where's my mommy?" I am moving in.

I'm so very glad that this woman got to have kids. I'm sure she's so happy and cherishes them daily.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Not the Bar-B-Que I Signed Up For

I spent the weekend with a very dear and longtime friend (as everyone in my blog has a nickname to protect their "identity", this person will be called LTF [long-time-friend]) and we got to spend time catching up...really catching up. Not that "so-how-are-the-kids-what's-been-going-on" catch up. The real serious type of catch up. The one where you get into how you feel about where you are in your life, how you and your spouse (if there is one) or significant other (if there is one) is doing or how you're doing without one. Not the elevator-answer-the-phone type of how you are - which, let's face it, when someone asks you how you are when they call you, or you meet them in an elevator, they aren't asking you how you "really" are, they are mostly asking if you are vertical and not bleeding.

But this type of visit wasn't designed as a "hey, let's just goof off" visit. This was a "get down to business and really discuss how things were going for both of us" visit. It had been a long time since we were together like this and I had plans to take advantage of it.

I can hear you wondering, 'So what? Meet your friend, catch up. Not clear what the big whop is'. Here's the big whop.

Aha wasn't there. He was watching his beloved Cubbies practice for the big leagues in  Spring Training. Those of you who know him, know that most things don't come in front of the Cubbies and yes, that includes even when they are tremendously sucky (um, most of the time they are tremendously sucky, this year is shaping up the same way evidently).

So here I am with a chance to spend time with my friend.

What did we talk about?

Wow! Are we that close? That is soooooooooo none of your business.

Ha, ha, ha.....what would be the point of this post if I don't share it with you.

While I won't get into the details, this is the first time LTF and I have been able to talk at length about Aha's MS. How it impacts me, how it effects our marriage all of it. LTF said something very interesting. LTF said: "This isn't the bar-b-que you signed up for is it?"

You're probably thinking - 10 1/2 years in, now you're thinking you got a different bar-b-que?

No.

The point I want to discuss is the bar-b-que itself. Is this the bar-b-que ANYONE signed up for? Think about it for a moment. Given your life, the way it's gone, is this what you pictured when you were 12? Any of it? Not me folks - not at all.

Life throws us onto the road, the road of life, and it's our job to navigate it. But many times, as my UA says, "life doesn't go the way you plan" (John Lennon also said, "life happens when you're making other plans" but I don't know and love John Lennon and I do know and love UA so he gets the shout out).

So what happens? You adjust. Right? You look at the road you're on and think (or in my case say - out loud) "Well, fuck, this isn't the way I thought things would go" and you get on the new road, adjust your view, your seatbelt and you're off to the races.

Of course, my crap isn't as easy as that. Right? It should have been a hint earlier in life....many signs I now see - in retro-freaking-spect.

What I explained to LTF is that my life isn't just "not the road I thought I'd be on" but I'm not even looking at a road any longer. Aha and I are sailing along, hitting turbulence and looking for the road to land on.

We've landed on something that I think might be a road - someday - but for today, it's not even a cleared path that Pa from Little House on the Prairie would drive his cart on. Aha and I are clearing the path.

How do you deal with being thrown into the air to land on something that isn't the road you thought you'd be on?

In real terms, what do you do when your job isn't what you thought it should be, you had kids/didn't have kids as you planned on,  you married/didn't marry, your spouse/significant other turns out to have a disease and you are thrown into the role of caregiver for 30 years.

I don't know. You just do it. "When you've got a job to do, you do it well" as Paul McCartney said in Live and Let Die. I'm just doing it. I don't know any other way. I don't see any other option (look for different post on suicide thoughts). What I DO know is that I married the right guy. I married the guy I loved then and that I love now. I married the right guy at the right time in my life. I married the one that I jumped off the cliff with holding hands on our wedding day and we're still falling - but most importantly, we're still holding hands. I'd be married to him in a dumpster. No matter what I think of other people or how I feel when I see other people (even people who are in the good looking realm of Kevin Bacon - hey, don't judge, get your own crush) , even on really really really really really really really bad days, he's still the dude. He's still the one I want to wake up with and see and the one I want to go to sleep with and see last every day. He's the one I want to share my successes with and cry over my failures with. He's the one who will love me no matter what I do - succeed or not. He and I are in this together. THIS is the "for worse" part....remember that part of vows? The "for better or for worse" part? It's all fun and games during the "for better" part. What makes your marriage succeed is when you survive the "for worse" parts. And this is the "for-fucking-worse" part for sure.

But - what does that mean for my road? For my bar-b-que?

I don't really know...Aha and I are on the Little House on the Prairie 'non-road' road, looking for a bar-b-que to go to.

But the most important part? I'm with him and we're holding hands and that means it will be o.k.

As for the rest of my conversations with LTF? Sorry...what happens in the dog park, the back yard, the restaurant and the Starbucks stays in the dog park, the back yard, the restaurant and the Starbucks - rules of the LTF and me.

Hope your bar-b-que is fun.
denarena

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Acronym for the Day.....

is HCM.

HCM.

Human

Capital

Management.


When did I become cattle? Human Capital Management? Does that mean that what I do is Human Capital Education?

Ew.

This sounds very 1984 to me (the George Orwell kind, not the 'like totally, fur sure' kind).

More later, but know this......


I work with people - not Human Capital Management.


I leave you to create training materials for people, real people to use next week in SF.

Be a person, not just human...
d.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guilt....of what now?

I've got a good one...

Guilt.

Is it really guilt or is it feeling badly about yourself?

I thought about this today because I failed (key word) to get out of bed for a spin class at 6:30 AM. I know some of you are thinking, "Um, why on earth would you want to take a class in the middle of the night?" For me and Aha, 6:30 AM is practically the middle of the morning. I've always been a morning exerciser. Think about it, school during the day - exercise in the morning. Work, during the day, exercise in the morning.

I know you're all thinking, "No, school/work in the daytime - exercise in the evening!" Not for me. Two reasons: 1. I am beat in the evenings. My teeny tiny brain can't handle the thinking all day and then exercising in the evening thing; it's just not happening and; 2. This is how I was raised. Dinner happens in the evening - with Aha or without, but it happens in the evening. Blame the royalty, I tell you.

Anyway, back to guilt. So, I lousy about myself for not getting up for this spin class. A few questions for myself to see if I can work this out:

1. Did you sleep well? - Um, not really this time - bad dreams about people I know (2nd night in a row).

2. Would you have felt less badly if Aha hadn't gotten up and went to the gym? - At first, yes, but upon further thought? No.

3. Whom (yes this is the correct usage of whom) have you let down? - Upon first reflection, I thought I may have disappointed Aha, but when asked, he said "Of course not. You do so much how could I be disappointed?" (that was a direct quote, so I've got that going for me, which is nice). So I'm going to have to go with only me. I'm the only one I let down.

4. Can you do something about it? Yes. There is a yoga class at 10:30 at Rising Lotus Yoga that I can go to. It's a level 2-3 class, way above my skill level, but I took it once and they didn't throw me out. Though this time, I'll be in the back and not the front. Those people are AWESOME, and I need them not watching my level 1 behind. O.K. so going to extra hard yoga. That's a plus.

5. Who the F cares? In the end, who am I trying to impress? No one really. Mostly I'm trying to take off the 11 pounds I put back on (I lost 46 pounds 4.5 years ago and I am determined to not put them back on. How I did it and have them off is the fodder for another blog). One of my BFFs is really good at keeping things like this in perspective. I try to think WWBFFD (what would BFF do?). BFF would not feel guilty, but would get up, put on my big girl yoga panties and get moving.

And that's what I'm going to do.

Guilt? Not any more. I wish you guilt free days.

d.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My brain hurts....

Ever have days like this? Days where your brain hurts? Usually, these types of days come after long study periods, problem solving sessions, watching "Bridge Over the River Kwai" (we watched this movie with very close friends and found ourselves scratching our heads at the end).

Well, the days I'm talking about are days where I have too much spinning around in my teeny tiny brain and it won't shut off. Here are some of the topics you an look forward to (or not) in coming posts:

*  Why I need to blog more
*  How cool it is to be told you are perfect, and how really strange it is because don't even know what perfect is...
*  Mental illness, my Grandpa and me
*  Stupidity of Government (and it's not what you think it will be)
*  Why I need to speak in front of Congress (see above topic)
*  Blood types and why we should honor them
*  High School thoughts...still couldn't pay me to go back, even knowing what I know now. No amount of money at all
*  How weird it is to dream about people you know
*  My good juju I give to women who want to get pregnant - all of you who already have kids - you're welcome

That's it for now...

Stay tuned and drink the good wine - or whatever you drink that makes you happy.

denarena

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sound.

Let's think about sound for a while. There's all kinds of sounds, noise mostly. What's the best sound? I still think my favorite sound is the sound of Aha playing the piano - the regular piano - not plugged into anything. Why is that my favorite?

Partly because he is a most spectacular piano player - yep.
Partly because his playing always makes me think of happy times with him.
Partly because if he's playing the piano, I can assume a few things: 1. he is feeling well enough physically to play the piano; 2. he's feeling well enough mentally to play the piano; and 3. that he's in that musical mood (that's kind of a lame one, but I really don't have a third and two things seemed too little - oh wait! I've got it!) and 3. For a few minutes at least, I don't have to worry about how he feels. (Caregiver is a sucky place to as a spouse, no matter what age you and your spouse are, but when you're both under 60? Extra sucky.)

Other sounds I love - when any of my nieces or nephews calls me Auntie - that really means a lot. And I don't mean just the ones I'm related to by marriage or blood - I've got lots of friends whose kids call me Auntie. A good, well meaning, from the heart "Auntie" is always wonderful. And yes, the younger the voice, the more my heart melts. #38 gives a good Auntie these days. (order of birth - out of 41 - yes you read that right. I am Auntie and Great Auntie to 41 - 2 are from my brother and his wife and the remaining 39 are on Aha's side.)

The ocean - I could sit an listen to the ocean for the rest of my days. There is something calming and peaceful about the waves crashing on the beach. The Pacific Ocean sounds different than the Atlantic. Can't explain it, but it does. There is something amazing about the Pacific Ocean here in CA. Different than in Hawaii (yeah - will retest that theory in April!!!). I love the sound. There used to be a radio station in the late 80's that played the sound of the ocean for 4 or 5 hours every night; I loved falling asleep to it.

Laughter - especially laughter in my house. Laughter in my house means that people are there (probably eating) and having a good time. One of the few dreams I have been able to live is that I can entertain my friends and family. I grew up in a home where my parents entertained frequently and that's where I probably got the bug. I found ways to entertain my friends long before I had a house to do it in. I brought pizza to our 9th grade lawn lunches at John Burroughs Junior High in the early 80's; I seem to make people laugh pretty regularly (some more than others - Mom is the best audience); and so on.

I think that's it for now... oh, wait...one more sound that I love - my Dad singing - randomly (though singing to me at my wedding was AWESOME!!!). My Dad would sing all weekend long when I was growing up - anything, mostly show tunes and anything by Barbra Streisand. There are a few songs that when I hear them today all I can hear is my Dad singing them: Anything from A Chorus Line, Sh-Boom and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Sound is very powerful - it can make us smile, laugh, cry and remember.

Todays post was composed while watching the surf and listening to Sirius Satellite Radio - 1st Wave. - Madison. Hey, that's John Taylor from Duran Duran with you in the studio! Oh thank goodness, Richard Blade arrived.
BlondieHuman LeagueDuran DuranDavid BowieNew OrderOMDThe AlarmSplit EndzU2Modern EnglishGene Loves JezebelThe ClashHoward JonesPublic Image Ltd. and Pet Shop Boys.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Betty Friedan. It's Betty Friedan you IDIOT!

Betty Friedan.

Raise your hand if you know who she is.

Well now, that's not so good.

See, I'm imagining that the number of you that raised your hands is the same percentage of people that raised their hands when my Mom and I were in Washington DC, stood in the Portrait Gallery in front of a picture of Betty, and we were the only two out of 15 who knew who she was.

I know that sentence was super long, but I just couldn't shorten it.

The portrait episode happened a few years ago, but it was brought back to mind when I read this blog post: How I Derailed My Career and Discovered My Life by Valerie Latona.

I may be confused, but in the 70's, wasn't the point of fighting for Women's Rights so that women could have the choice about whether to have kids and stay home as a full time mom (a full time job I might add) or to have a full time career - OR BOTH.

I was born at the end of the sixties. Whomever "they" are say that I'm Generation X. But, I don't feel like a Gen Xer, I think more like whatever the "children-born-of-Baby-Boomers-but-not-exactly-Gen-Xers" do. I don't feel entitled to a job; I know I have to work to make my own way. I don't think that everyone should do for me...that kind of thing.

I did get to experience part of Women's Liberation though. I marched with my Mom to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment: Section 1 stated: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." I must tell you, this seemed like a slam dunk idea to me. Why we needed (and apparently still need) to put it in writing baffles me. Evidently, given the fact that it was written in 1923 by Alice Stokes Paul, passed in both houses of Congress in 1972 and was sent to the state legislators for ratification. The deadline to ratify it was June 30, 1982 and it wasn't ratified.

What? Seriously? Not ratified? Why?

Well, now, that's a very interesting question. Why not?

Ask fifty people and you will get fifty answers ranging from male bashing to female bashing (the ONE thing we're equal about in this country is bashing EVERYONE); from who deserves what to no one deserves anything.

I'm nauseous just thinking about the whole thing and that's not good because I'm eating lunch right now.

Why in 2012 are we STILL discussing the fact that women are paid less than men; according to the fine folks at Catalyst "The median annual income for full-time, year-round women workers in 2009 was $36,278 compared to men’s $47,127." (I didn't do a whole lot of research, but this is pretty close even though it's older data than I'd like).

Did you read that right? "...full-time, year-round women workers..." and "...compared to men's..." Not 'men's full-time year round workers'. Sheesh.

O.K. I know I've strayed a bit...and this is not going to be a diatribe about Equal Rights, Women's rights and who has the right to decide what happens to my body or your body for that matter! (Though it should!!! The political scene seems to need a boot, no a pointy-steel-tip boot to the head regarding that! Maybe another day.)

BUT! What I want to get out is this...many women still feel that they have to make a choice about career versus parenthood. It looked to me like Valerie (the blogger who I referenced at the beginning of this post) had a fabulous career in an organization (thankfully I don't know which one) that did NOT embrace the idea that she could be successful in her job AND be a parent. (NB: I do not know what was going on at home with her spouse; if there was one and/or if they discussed the possibility of him/her being a part-time/full-time parent) Every job I've ever had (except my current one which I LOVE) did not leave the door 0pen to the idea of my remaining in my role AND being a part-time parent. Yes, I'd have to augment my role but with a husband who was willing to do that as well, it could have worked. Not only did my former jobs not open the door to the idea, they didn't even HAVE a door, much less a knob with which to open it.

What am I getting at?

Not company bashing, not people bashing and not gender bashing.

This: All that fighting that Betty Friedan, Gloria Stienem, and men and women like my Mother did was to give the girls and women of the coming generations the OPTION, the CHOICE as to what they want to do with their lives. Guess who it also was for? It was for the men and the boys to have the OPTION, the CHOICE as to what THEY wanted to do with their lives too.

What happened to people actually getting the opportunity to have the choice? To make the choice? We were supposed to move forward, to evolve as a being. I would have hoped that 30 years after the ERA failed to be ratified, we as a society would see the errors of our ways and make it so on our own.

From where I sit and watch the Politicians babble, fight and look generally foolish (the men AND the women btw), it would seem to me that we're no closer. I'm really disappointed in us. Really disappointed.