Monday, July 25, 2011

Just Playing

No doubt about it: our life experience is replete with lessons, often in the form of repeated messages of the same theme - until we "get it". For someone thick (as I most definitely am) more often than not those messages must be repeated ad nauseum - literally beating me about the head with them - before it all finally sinks in! :)

Take, for instance, the lesson of how important play is!

First lesson graciously offered to me, just a few weeks back: TED Fellow Isabel Behncke's TED talk "Evolution's Gift of Play, from Bonobo Apes to Humans".

Second lesson offered raucously spur of the moment, but also somehow graciously, by my own son just last night as he comes bursting in from outside at 8:30pm at night: "Hey, Mom - wanna go swimming with me now?" Our pool closes at 9pm!!

And then, this morning's "Monday Motivators" e-zine by Joan Burge titled "Playtime for Adults", wherein Joan shares this link "Power Play: Getting Into Goofing Off"!

I'm embarrassed to say it wasn't until this morning's e-zine read that I finally Got It! All the recent opportunities to learn about play I had been offered - and had remained stubbornly obtuse to!

I'm also embarrassed (and more than a little saddened) to admit I, of course, turned down my son's offer to swim (AKA "play")! Why? Well after all, by the time I'd change and drive down there, we'd barely have 15 minutes to swim if lucky! And besides, my knees ached, my back ached, my feet hurt... Let's be honest, I was generally determined to be "old", full of self-pity and misery and completely and resolutely incapable of spontaneity or fun!

I should have gone swimming with my son. So what if we only ended up with 15 minutes of actual swimming? So what if everything hurt? And so what if everything hurting made me move even slower than I normally do? He was willing to wait patiently. Even to help. So why wasn't I? What was I afraid of? Ending up even more exhausted than I was? Looking foolish? Looking frail? Seriously? I'm nearing 60. Do I really need to worry about what I look like to others at this late stage?

These musings got me to wondering:  when was the last time I had fun? Well, I did go to see Harry Potter with my son this weekend. We both totally loved it, and yes, we did have a good time together. But when was the last time I truly had a rip-roaring good time? You know, when I laughed so hard with a good friend, over nothing at all, till the tears were streaming down our faces? If I'm honest, that was about 2.5 years ago! When was the last time I got so into play, that I totally lost track of time - and myself? When was the last time I daydreamed? Or got into mischief? Or got lost, and enjoyed the experience? Or talked into the wee hours of the morning, because the company was just that good? I have memories of all these things. When did all that action, all that living, cease and turn into mere memories?

No doubt about it - I've become so adept at being a responsible adult I've completely forgotten how to have fun! And that is a crime. A crime I must correct immediately. Next time my son comes in with something spontaneous and completely illogical, I'm going to try my very best to resist being a "responsible adult"! God help me, please! I'm going to try my best to have FUN! Aching joints be damned!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On the Nature of Misery

I am currently coming out of a rather lengthy angry phase, and I am so relieved!   High time, I say!  
Anger is not integral to my nature. 
Some might say Life has given me more than enough reasons to be and stay forever angry - or seriously depressed, or something.  The fact that I generally am not is my strength, for which I am eternally grateful!  So yeah, when the occasional spell of anger (or sadness, or depression, or anything similar) hits, I am all too happy to celebrate its demise and help kick its butt right out the door!
I’ve never fully understood people whose integral natures are far gloomier or combative.  I have tried.  Please don’t misunderstand.  I understand fully well when a chemical imbalance or some other natural disease is the root cause.  And I have much empathy for these people as I know the huge hurdles they and their loved ones are up against:  first finding someone gifted enough to happen upon the right diagnosis, and then finding the right balance of medication / therapy - all just to regain some semblance of a balanced and peaceful spirit.  What an unimaginable yet very real nightmare for them and those who love them! 
But I am not talking about them.  It is those who seem to prefer conflict, anger, confrontation, rejection – in short, those who prefer to be miserable – that I can neither understand nor relate to.   Whenever these types pop into my life, I invariably end up walking away from them before very long.  I simply refuse to allow them in my life. 
What are some of your thoughts on this topic?  

Friday, July 08, 2011

Me and Things Electric Ain't Friends

Nearly pissed myself laughing at myself earlier tonight!

Gruelingly long Friday at the end of an equally grueling week. Son is away this weekend with friends, so all I want to do is get home, get in my pajamas, flop in front of television ...AND NOT MOVE!! 

So I walk thru the door like a woman possessed:  shoes off, dogs quickly taken care of, pajamas thrown on.  I think the shirt is on backwards and the shorts are inside-out, but who the hell cares, right?  I make a quick sandwich, flop down in my favorite chair with remote in hand, hit the On button and .... Nothing!!  I check the satellite box, no power light!  I press the button, still no light.  I look around, don't see anything glaringly wrong. 

By now I'm muttering under my breath, automatically assuming son is the culprit.  He loves to wire it up to his Xbox, Wii, what-have-you - knowing full well I've no freaking clue how to work around it all!  I spend a few more irritating minutes looking at everything, fiddling with the remote, and muttering under my breath.  Nothing!

So guess what I did? You got it!  I called my son just so's I could be all pissy at him and make him as irritated as I was! 

Fortunately, my son is a much bigger person than I am.  He tried walking me, calmly, through a few logical options, and when that failed - he suggested I call a neighbor or call the satellite company.  I pissily thanked him for nothing, hung up, muttered ... and then did as he suggested!  After an irritating 10 mins listening to an inane and infuriating automated menu I finally ended up screaming "I want to TALK to someone!!" into the receiver. 

Amazingly, the menu understood and connected me to a human being! 

As calmly as I could (which really wasn't anywhere near calmly at all), I explained that I had no TV. That there was no light on the receiver.  Much more calmly than I had managed, the human voice on the other end asked me, "Please check the power cord on the back of the satellite box."  What?  What power cord?? There was a "satellite in" cord, and a "TV out" cord (at least I think that's what they said - who can read print that tiny?), but no power cord!  To which she asked (again, calmly and not at all condescendingly - I've no idea how she managed it!!), "Do you see where the power cord should be?"  Uh-huh. Yup, sure do.  And it's empty as empty can be!  Somehow managing to not laugh at me (again - no clue how she managed it), she asked me to look around for the power cord - she'd be happy to wait.  I put the phone down to do as she asked, but also to put some distance between her and myself so she wouldn't hear me start to crack up! 

Well waddyaknow!!  Shore enuf, I found the blasted thing laying all forlorn-like on the floor!  Shaking from laughter, I plugged it back in, and in less than a minute - voila!!  TV!! 

I apologized as humbly and coherently as I could to the saintly voice on the other end of the phone, hung up ... and then proceeded to practically piss myself laughing!  And y'all will be happy to know that I texted my son to let him off the hook, and to give him and all his friends a good laugh as well!  O.O

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Why Do We Disrespect Those Who Have So Much Respect for Us

Our veterans respect and love us so much that they are willing to die for our right to disagree with them, even to protest them and all that they hold dear.

So why then, do we disrespect them in ever increasing numbers?

I just saw this article, about Director Arleen Ocasio of the Houston National Cemetery banning the use of the words "God" and "Jesus" during veteran funerals at the cemetery. Completely ignoring and disallowing the last wishes of not only the veterans, but of their families.

Then, I get an email about the near non-event that was the passing of "Shifty" this past January. You say you don't know Shifty? Well, if you have watched "Band of Heroes", you know Shifty. Following is the picture and email I received on this sad near-non-event. The question posed at the very end is, I think, a good one.

By Chuck Yeager [Major General, retired]

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle," the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly he said, "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 ..." at which point my heart skipped.

At that point again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped. I told him "Yes, I know exactly where Normandy is, and I know what D-Day was." At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem."

I was standing with a genuine war hero ... and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes... and it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in coach while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and who still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it.

And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on Jan. l7 2011, after fighting cancer.
An incredible American Hero - May God rest his soul.
There was no parade.
No big event in Staples Center
No wall-to-wall, back-to-back, 24x7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.

And that's just not right!

Why do we allow the media to choose our "heroes" for us these days?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Teens and Near 60 Year Olds

OK - you're probably tired of hearing this by now, but one more time: I recently blew up our electric lawn mower! Long story - and though quite hilarious, let's not go there again, 'kay?  This was several weeks ago.  So yeah, several weeks worth of growth (fueled by lots of rain) since the lawn was last touched!  You guessed it, beyond knee-high in July!!  This week I was finally able to replace the mower ... with an old fashioned, non-motorized, push-type, 14" mower! 

At the time I thought it would be good for son (a teen), as he's been saying he wants to start working out and getting in better shape.  For those of us who remember, what better way to get in shape than with a push-type mower, right?  And a small one to boot, to do a rather large and difficult yard!

What I had forgotten about, of course, is that talk is cheap!  And when it comes to teen talk, rarely followed through with actual action!

So guess who's been getting in shape and getting that workout -- aching joints and all!?!!  I'm nearing 60, the house is usually filled with teen boys, especially on the weekends.  What's wrong with this picture?  :)

OK, I am exagerating and poking a bit of fun.  Son did (grudgingly) come to my rescue today when I was only able to do half the yard.  When it's cooler later this evening, we next need to figure out how to do the week whacking without a weed whacker!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Purple Squirrels

Are You Willing to Become One, or Will One Replace You?
By Pat Barber

The term “Purple Squirrel” recently caught my attention. As I must do when my curiosity is peaked, I investigated! gives this definition: “The elusive candidate with exactly the right qualifications to match a business’s needs.” Then I ran across an October 11th 2010 article describing it this way: “Businesses are looking to do more and more with fewer people, so they want people who are able to take on a wide range of duties.”

But wait! Aren’t “exactly the right qualifications” and “wide range of duties” conflicting terms? Perhaps – perhaps not. Here’s the thing. The term “Purple Squirrel” has been around for a number of years now, mostly familiar to HR and recruiting professionals who coined the term to describe businesses whose candidate expectations were, in their opinion, impossibly unrealistic.

The recent global recession, however, forced business expectations to change. In short the age of “It’s not in my job description!”, or “I haven’t been trained in that!”, or “I have seniority - I shouldn’t have to work so hard!” can no longer be tolerated. And in fact, it does not have to be! Realistic or not, impossible or not, in a job market saturated with thousands upon thousands of job seekers, businesses hold the upper hand and their demands are being met! Progressive and college prep high schools, college career counselors, HR representatives, and even recruiters – all are scrambling to make the impossible possible. The formerly elusive and near-extinct Purple Squirrel is not only alive and well, it is fast becoming prolific!

Businesses need their people, at all levels, to be willing (and able) to wear many hats. They need extremely flexible people, willing to ignore stereotypical job descriptions or inflexible work hours. They want (and are getting) employees consistently willing to go where none in their profession have gone before! Employees who, regardless of seniority, are willing to continually learn and grow, willing to consistently push themselves (and others) past comfort zones! They want and need employees who hold an ever present and unshakeable conviction that nothing is beyond them or their ability to learn, or is “bigger” than them, or beneath them, or is “someone else’s job”.

They want and need Purple Squirrels!

And if their existing staff cannot or will not become the Purple Squirrels they need, they will simply go elsewhere for them! And so I respectfully submit that the question for every employee today - no matter where, in what profession, or at what level - truly does become:

“Are you willing to become a Purple Squirrel … or will one replace you?”

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Guest Blogged on Joan Burge's Blog!

I was honored to be asked to do a guest post on Joan Burge's blog (Joan is CEO of Office Dynamics), about creating an admin. community. It published this morning. Please feel free to share and to comment (either here or on Joan's blog; you'll need to register to comment directly on Joan's blog)!!

How To Create An Admin Community Office Dynamics
(If the link doesn't work, go directly to, then click on the "Blogs" tab)

Monday, January 31, 2011

What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

If I could, what would I tell my younger self? Have you ever thought about this? I have, every now and again. Just never put thoughts to writing. Until now.

I would tell myself, first and foremost, that life is very, VERY much worth living. I had strong doubts about this when I was young. So I'd want the young me to know there are reasons to hang on.

Next, I would tell the young me that though worth living, living won't be easy. Or fair. The young me already suspects this.

I'd explain that yes, marriages will happen. Plural. And so of course divorces (plural) will also happen. Cancer will happen, and so will a child and step children. And dogs. My faith will deepen and strengthen, my alcohol abuse will end of its own accord because I will simply no longer need the escape or the crutch.

I would explain that yes, I am different from most in my birth family. It is a difference that will last my entire lifetime, and it is a difference most in my birth family will never be able to understand or get past. I would lovingly but emphatically explain to my younger self that this is their issue. Not mine. And I should never allow them to make it mine.

I would ask my younger self to try and stop resenting my life's events conspiring to make me a woman of strength. It is inevitable, and once I can relax into it, I'll actually be happier being strong and independent. Equal partnerships will work for me, but being dependent on others never will.

Finally, I would tell my younger self that before I die I will experience (and enjoy) love in all of its many forms. But I must strive to recognize and accept that true love is a gift to give, not a gift to receive. And until I can - I will never truly know love. So the ultimate quest is not to experience love, but to know love.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reflections On Being A Mom

This may or may not become a series of short reflection posts - haven't made up my mind yet. Anyway, here's the 1st one:

One reflection: I learned all the things NOT to do from my stepmother, who was exceedingly cruel. Sadly, the way she treated me was a HUGE improvement over the way she herself was treated as a child. But what I could not protect my son from was having to experience my cancer with me. I knew he was scared. So was I. We worked at being totally open and honest with each other. We both came to realize that being scared together was far better than being scared alone.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Journey

I am an elderly single working mom to a teenage boy. It was my choice that I am single & I do not regret my choice. I needed to protect myself & my son. Still in all single-mom hood to a teenage boy is challenging and tough. And rewarding. My son and I are yet again at a transition point. My son is teaching me how to let go, loosen the reigns and let him go fully into his own life, his own identity. It is at once awesome and scary, for both of us. We are both thankful we have wonderful friends willing to journey with us!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Sad Obituary

When I got this as an email "pass-around", it was proclaimed an obituary to have appeared in The London Times. I have no idea if that's true or not ... but I liked it enough to share it here:


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and - maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but were prohibited from informing parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, by his daughter Responsibility, and by his son Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Would Have Loved You, Mom ... I Think

I have been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook lately. Beautiful, touching posts about loving and missing mothers who have passed on.

Remembering our mothers is not merely beautiful, it is right and it sooths the soul. But I humbly offer this: if you have memories of your mother - no matter the nature of those memories, whether good or otherwise - be eternally grateful for them! Be grateful you have memories - yes, even if they be unpleasant ones.

Good, bad or indifferent - you were blessed. You were given the opportunity to know your mother. Some of us were not so blessed. Some of us yearn for a memory of sitting at a kitchen table sharing endless cups of coffee and hours upon hours of conversation with our mothers.

I do not say this to make anyone feel guilty or bad. Nor do I want anyone to feel badly for me. My birth mother has always been with me, near me, guiding me. Her love, her presence, is very real to me. I just never knew her. Not in this lifetime.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Executive Chef, or Something Else?

I've often wondered why I've always been so attracted to the food industry, when my chosen field is Administrative Assistant. What could the two worlds possibly have in common?

Well Nancy Fraze, CEAP and Field Reporter for Joan Burge, Adminology (must set up your free account to access) and Office Dynamics, answered my question just this morning in her Monday Motivators ezine article entitled, "The Administrative Profession: We Can Stand the Heat AND Stay in the Kitchen!" I've copied the article in its entirety below since there isn't a way to link to it, but anyone can sign up here to receive these once-weekly motivators via email; you can also bookmark Joan's blog for timely advice and inspiration ...


The Administrative Profession: We Can Stand the Heat & Stay in the Kitchen!
January 10, 2011
By Nancy Fraze for Joan Burge

Recently I dined at Pasta Primavera, my neighborhood café. It was busy, so my husband and I opted to wait for a better table. The lone Chef working in the café's open kitchen caught my attention.

The Chef was amazing! He simultaneously prepared 13 meals in large sauté pans on a huge double sided gas stove. Constantly moving, he kept a close eye on his 13 sauté pans, shaking this one, jostling that one, adding olive oil, plating a third one onto a pile of rich pasta with a flourish of spices, before starting another round of proteins cooking in clean sauté pans.

Watching him work was like watching a ballet or a finely tuned orchestra (of one!). The owner saw my interest in Chef's work and came over to chat. The owner told me that Second Chef was out that night, but Chef and the owner had determined Chef's working the grill solo that night would best ensure menu quality control. That really caught my interest, so I began to look for the lesson in this.

I never saw Chef look up or around, even at the diners. Chef focused only on his sauté pans. Having initially prepped his workstation sauces, oils and proteins, he managed his work station with quality and responsibility. I also noticed he didn't offer suggestions or chat with the Sous Chef or garnish station worker. Chef had a single purpose: high-quality entrees.

It interested me that none of his finished products were less than spectacular. Then I saw why: Chef had pre-set the gas burners, in pairs, to different flame heights. He cooked by moving pans from higher heat over to lower heat as things progressed.

He never re-adjusted the stove or the burners, but boy, did he move his pans!

Later, while seated at our table and spinning my fork around piccata seafood linguine, I realized the administrative profession is quite similar to Chef's expertise that night:

* We need to prepare our workstation before we begin work;

* We need to strategize with the owner (our leader or executive) about how to best ensure quality control;

* We need to evaluate our work, set our burners accordingly and then work it without fidgeting or constantly changing what we've already set;

* We need to keep a close watch, letting no details slide;

* We need to keep our pans moving!

* And last, but certainly not least: we need to be responsible for our results and let others be responsible for theirs.

The administrative profession is a career of choice. While it can sometimes get "hot" we have what it takes to stay (and succeed!) in the kitchen.


So what's my point of this post? Namely this and applicable to Executive and Assistant alike: Which do you choose for yourself? An Executive Chef, or something else? Know that the choice is yours, freely. You only have to be "OK" with your choice, as well as responsible for it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Picture Frame

Once you become a mom you stop being the Picture and start being the Frame. Leastways, that's the way it should work out...

Recognition for Doing Good?

If one does good ... is it necessary to be recognized for it?
If recognition is necessary, is it still "good" ...
Or has it become something else?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Another Reason Not To Mess With Old Folks!

An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas leading an old tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat. He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.

As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying,

"Hey old man, have you ever danced?"

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said,

"No, I never did dance... Never really wanted to.."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said,

"Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin 10 gauge barrels. The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said,

"Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said ...

"No sir...... But.... I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:
1. Never be arrogant.
2. Don't waste ammunition.
3. Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
4. Always, always make sure you know who has the real power.
5. Don't mess with old folks ... they didn't get old by being stupid!!

Nope, this is not my story.
I just liked it a lot when I heard it!

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Monday, January 03, 2011

My Morning Necessity(ies)

It goes without saying that each and every morning I need coffee. Lots, and lots, and lots, and LOTS of coffee!! My one addiction - freely admitted, and much adored!!

I thought that was my one and only necessity every morning, but upon closer and more careful reflection it seems I also need ... my morning routine. All of it! Each and every step of it.

Unchanged, unaltered, and completely unremarkable as it may be:

Sit up in bed, take note of what does or doesn't hurt. Take care of personal and oral hygiene. Let dogs out, fill their water and food bowls, let dogs back in and giggle watching them trip over themselves in their mad rush to get to their food. Make my coffee, turn on TV to catch the news and weather while going through my email and Facebook news feeds. Sip - nay, GUZZLE - coffee, and then pour myself some more!

I allow anywhere from 15 mins to 1/2 hour for the TV/email/FB/coffee segment, then get dressed for work and out the door I go. If it isn't a work day then I simply get on with the rest of my day.

Work day or otherwise, the routine is the same. And it is the routine, as much as the coffee, that I need each and every morning for the rest of my day to be "OK" - even if it turns out to be a totally NOT OK day!

Make any sense at all? Right, then. Not to me either!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What Do I Want to Accomplish in 2011?

So the daily blogging continues - day 2 (so far so good!).

For those days when we come up blank for something to write about, there is a daily suggestion list. Since I'm blank most days, I'm taking advantage of that for today's entry!

Today's topic is "My 2011 To-Do List" - what would I like to accomplish this year? What are the places I want to visit in 2011? What do I hope to check off my bucket list in 2011?

2009 was all about major mouth and bone reconstruction surgeries (and accompanying pain and financial chaos) for me. While still working full time (little to no time off) and raising my (now) teen-aged son -- and carrying on with the myriad other day-to-day activities of maintaining a household and a life.

The year and half before that was all about seeing my son through corneal transplant surgery and a full year of healing and battling multiple rejection threats.

My son and I haven't had a proper vacation since (I believe) 2006 or 2007. So I'd like to make a proper, full-out, vacation for my son and me a top priority in 2011. Since all financial resources are totally maxed out for the next 3 years due to the surgeries - this will indeed be a feat of distinction if I can pull it off!

Next: all my "newspaper" horoscopes keep telling me things in my professional life are about to take off BIG time. Major changes, increased responsibility and visibility, increased leadership opportunities, and most important at all, greatly increased earnings. Fingers crossed, but I have to admit to some skepticism when I look at the economic situation we all are (and have been) in. Nonetheless, hopeful!

As to a bucket list - I don't have one! Maybe time to start one? Hmmmm.....!