Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Closing For Business...

No, this blog is not closing for business. But my uterus is.

Has anyone else noticed the recent inundation of shows and movies about Snow White? We have Once Upon a Time on ABC, which takes Snow White and brings her into modern day. And then there is not one but TWO movies coming out based on the Snow White story, one with Julie Roberts as the evil queen and the other with Charlize Theron in the same role. I am not sure what is up with this renewed interest in this fairy tale, but I have a new take on it myself.

Snow White and the Seven Malicious Dwarfs of Menopause. There is our heroine, Snow White, (that's me) and we have as our seven little leading men: Cranky, Sweaty, Chubby, Itchy, Fitful the Unsleepy, Puffy and Forgetful.

I am currently becoming really good friends with six out of the seven of these little devils. My friend, Flo, has been missing in action for months. The last time she didn't visit for that length of time I THOUGHT it was Lady Perimenopause knocking on the door. But it was her cousin, Madame Midlife Baby. This time the Lady really has come for tea.

I recently saw my doctor to discuss the fact that I am on uncomfortably good terms with a few of these guys, and I would like to fire them from my crew. I have been working really hard to eat right, and working out 4 or so times a week. I have been enduring Lady Wii's mocking. Did you know it makes this little "Oooooh" sound when you step on and you haven't lost any weight but in fact GAINED it? Yes. It does. It is rude. I have been racking up the miles on the treadmill, even getting myself up to a light jog, on an INCLINE, for most of the 30 minutes. I hate running. And still, NOTHING. Or worse, the opposite of what I am supposed to see happening, I gain weight instead of lose it.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am also itchy. I think I looked just insane enough because of all the itchiness at my appointment that the doc was like "Weeeeeell OKAAAAY, let's check your thyroid" and PRAISE BE it was finally decided I might benefit from some supplementation. It is my fondest and dearest hope that the itching will subside if not disappear, and that maybe it will help with a few other things. Time will tell.

In the meantime, while I am not experiencing night hot flashes, I am surprised that snow doesn't melt in my path just from how hot my face gets. It is both uncomfortable and uncomfortable. Yes, I said it twice. Food doesn't seem to trigger it as much as adrenalin. Like when I work out. So YAY! I work out, get all hot faced, and I don't lose weight. And when I sing. Here I am doing something I love, and I am positive that if I look in the mirror I am going to see this staring back at me:
Studies on global warming are going to have my picture in the sidebar.
(This is really Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider, new movie coming out in February. Check out the trailer here)

As for the other dwarfs, I am consciously trying not to let Cranky rule the day but by the GODS if my dog Poncho doesn't stop knocking at the doggy door and just COME IN ALREADY he may find himself stuffed and mounted over the fireplace. No not really, but I do get cranky.

I am trying to mitigate Puffy by drinking plenty of green tea and water, but that means the fact that the bathroom outside my office is lacking essential equipment like a toilet and sink becomes even more of an inconvenience. But hey! BONUS! I have to go downstairs to use the bathroom, which means extra exercise! That isn't doing anything!

My favorite dwarf is Forgetful. Much like Bashful in the original saga, Forgetful is cute, cuddly, and thanks to Sweaty is also rosy cheeked. But he is also freaking annoying. I hate making lists, but my iPhone and whiteboard have become my newest tools in the fight against missing deadlines and forgetting to buy milk at the store. I have been reduced to writing down we need milk. We use it ALL THE TIME, and yet I need to remind myself to buy it.

The universe finds me amusing. This is the only explanation I have for my life sometimes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lessons in ego, humility and simplification...

Recently I had to change offices, as did my associate director. We moved from the first floor of our building, which is a house converted to office space, to the second floor.

I had been in the old office for 10 years. It was quite spacious, and had recently been painted a lovely color of blue that I picked out. Nantucket Fog to be precise, by Benjamin Moore. It had once been a porch and possibly sunroom of the house. It had pretty high ceilings, lovely windows and a back door that allowed both for easy access as well great cross breezes on a spring or fall day.

The two offices that we moved into are significantly different in size from each other. One was probably the master bedroom of the home back when it was used as a personal home. It is VAST. The second room is connected to it by a door, with a closet in between. The second room is smaller by more than half of the other office, and probably was used as a nursery or other kind of bedroom. There is a bathroom right outside this office.

When considering the needs of our office, and the fact that we were losing an outside space where we kept four large filing cabinets, it made sense that the filing cabinets go into the large office. That meant that whomever had that office would a) be looking at those cabinets all the time and b) would have to tolerate other people coming and going from the office as files were needed and then re-filed. Note: We are moving toward document imaging, SLOWLY, as a campus and someday may not need these cabinets, but for now we hold all 1500 awarded financial aid recipient's files in them.

As the director I got to decide, with my boss's approval of course, where to put whom. I decided that I could not be in the office with the file cabinets. I had spent the last 10 years in a space that was lovely, but I was constantly being interrupted because I was too close to the files, too accessible to the work study students, and the first stop most people made on the first floor when looking for our offices. Plus the small fridge for our office was in my office.

So I decided to take the smaller office, and put the associate director in the big office. I did offer him the option of swapping offices with our other staff member, who has an even smaller office, so he would be more secluded, but he made the choice to be in the big office.

My desk and the accompanying credenza/bookshelf thing was WAY too big to go into what was going to be my new office, so I decided to give it to my associate director. Anyone who is friends with me on FB or follows me on Twitter knows the drama I went through getting my new desk last week. But we are all moved in and settled. And the process of coming to terms with the move was interesting.

I don't like change much. Never have. I found I was sad to leave my old office, and was kind of grieving the loss of it. Add to that the fact that when you walk into my associate director's office, with the grand space and the big furniture, well, he looks like the director.

I will admit my ego struggled with this. My head said this set up is the right one for the use of the space and the needs of the office. I am more secluded, which will afford me more uninterrupted time to get my work done. But there is this weird thing that our society does to us, this thing that says we should have the biggest, best, shiniest, whatever thing it is we are talking about. And my brain went there at first. I found myself thinking "I should be in the big office, with the big furniture, looking important."

Then I slapped myself across the face, figuratively speaking, and said stop being an idiot. It makes sense for us to be set up this way. And you don't NEED the big desk, the big office. You ARE the director. The big office doesn't make you the director. You like the small office and it's cozy space. The big office has better window space for your plants, but you will work it out.

That is the one thing I have had to really come to terms with, the light in the new space. I really loved the light in the old office, and even in the big office. The light in my new space is like what you would expect in a smallish bedroom. But there ARE windows, which is more than some people can say about their offices, and I can open them, which is key.

But all in all I really had to have a talk with myself about what is important, check my ego at the door and be grateful for what I do have, which is a lovely, quiet, green space to spend 8+ hours a day in. It is better than a cubicle, that is FOR SURE. And if people think that my associate director is actually the director, maybe they will stop asking to speak to the director and take his answer as the final answer. I need to be grateful for what I do have, and not worry about status symbols and appearances. Because in the end, none of it really makes a difference.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just call me Miss Marvel...

In case you missed it the 12000 times I have mentioned it here, I have a 5 year old son. Honestly, most days it STILL takes me by surprise. I wake up, pull on some work out clothes and then BAM remember I am someone's mom. And despite my complete lack of training in this area (OK, I did my share of babysitting, but really, my own mom was only a block away most of the time, so I always had back up) the boy seems to be growing. The Bob has more experience in this area than I, since he managed to grow two other boys to almost adult hood. The funny thing about that is if I ask him something like "What age does XYZ happen?" he will be all "Uuuummmm, dude, I have no idea. Can't remember when that happened."

I added the dude. He never calls me that.

Anyway, I have been reminded recently, because I have this kid in my life, that other kids are mean and I already did all of this growing up myself I don't want to go through it all again but I really DO have to have a discussion about best friends, not leaving other kids out, and why sometimes Charlie doesn't want to do exactly what you are doing. Sigh.

There are times when being this mom person is so AWESOME. Like when I go in to wake him up in the morning and he is all cuddly and warm and I get to kiss his head and snuggle with him for a few minutes before the rocket ship we call life takes off for the next 12 hours. Or when I look in the rear view mirror and he catches my eye, and gives me the ol' wink and says "I LOVE YOU MOMMY."

There are times when it is challenging but in a fun or interesting way. We had to spend time at Children's Hospital recently finding out that Cooper MIGHT have some sort of miniscus blahbittyblahblah thing that makes his knee pop and sometimes dislocates slightly, causing it to lock and cause pain. The short version of the visit is that we wouldn't know for sure if that is the problem without an MRI and well, that involves sedation for a 5 year old. Really? I said to the beautiful Benton Hayworth, sports orthopedic specialist with skin so perfect I questioned if he even has pores or grows a beard, as Cooper walked back and forth in the room discussing super heroes. Sedation to get that kid to lay still for an MRI you say. Shocking. No, we will not be doing that right now. It is not interfering with his life or otherwise causing problems. If it does in the future, we will make a different decision.

But that is not what was challenging. Cooper likes for me to make up stories about super heroes. We had time to kill and the power was running low on my phone, so I made up two stories about the Avengers for him. I was particularly proud of the one, which involved a bad guy I called The Weeper. His power was that he cried, and when he cried he made everyone around him so sad and depressed that all they could do was sit down right where they were and cry. While they were incapacitated by the crying, The Weeper's henchmen would rob them. When the Avengers showed up they all started crying too, which interfered with the whole defeating the bad guys thing. The Hulk cried so much he was creating puddles, Thor had no idea what was happening because he is a god, gods don't cry. Iron Man solved the problem by turning off the sound to his armor so he couldn't hear The Weeper, and then sprayed him with laughing gas, which is the only way to defeat The Weeper.

Cooper was so enamored of this story he immediately began telling the story to Dr. Handsome and the nurse when they came in. And as much fun as it is to create these stories, I find it also a little exhausting. Being creative like that on the spot is HARD man. But maybe if this college administrator gig doesn't pan out I can find a new career writing story lines for Marvel.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Happy 2012, the Year of the Dragon, or as I like to call it, The Year of MidLyfeMama. I am a Wood Dragon in the Chinese horoscope world. There are 12 zodiac signs, and rather than assign one to a month, they assign one to the year of your birth.

Characteristics of a person born in the year of the Dragon include being passionate, opinionated, caring, don't mind taking risks, and while others are drawn to the colorful personality of the Dragon, Dragons tend to like to be alone.

All of which could apply to a lot of people, but I like to pretend that they apply to me ever so specifically. Because I AM SPECIAL.

They break the signs down further into four of the elemental signs, Water, Wood, Metal and Fire. I happen to be a Wood Dragon, which makes me less prickly than other Dragons. We will actually entertain the opinions of others (although if you ask The Bob those opinions are not necessarily USED in any actual manner) and we get along with others really well, but still like to be in charge. Really. I hadn't noticed.

My mother, the great and wise Dee, is also a Dragon, a Metal Dragon to be exact. My poor father and brother just stood no chance whatsoever in our household.

I don't do resolutions. I find that just sets me up for failure. Instead I would like to put hopes out there for the year.

I hope this is a year of financial recovery for The Bob and I.

I hope this is a successful year for the Coop at school - he finishes pre school and begins kindergarten in the fall.

I hope for continued health for all of my family.

I hope for continued emotional well being for all of my family.

I hope to get back to spending quality time with my friends, who I have neglected during the last few years of being a mom among other things.

I hope to lose at least 20lbs. On that point, The Bob got us a Wii for Christmas, and Wii Fit for MLM. The first time you step onto Lady Wii, she evaluates you, mocks you, tells you how out of shape you are and asks you for your fitness goals. She also tells you your "Wii Age" which is based on you having performed some of the evaluation exercises. The first day I used it, my Wii age was 40, which is 7 years younger than I am. Excellent. I have great balance (thank you yoga classes) but I definitely need to lose weight.

The second day I got on it, roughly at the same time of day as the day before, and it told me I had GAINED 5lbs. What the WHAT. I hadn't even gone NEAR the Christmas cookies. But! After performing the body evaluation again, after working out on it for 40 minutes, Lady Wii told me I was in great condition and my Wii age was 31. YAZTEE! I gained weight but lost years. At this rate I will be the youngest, fittest fat person you ever met.

I will not be deterred. I will get back on that Wii, and I will continue to work out on the treadmill and work toward my goal of losing 20lbs. I will also roll the shaggy rug back before using it, because I think it confounds Lady Wii's ability to register my movements and possibly contributed to my 5lb "weight gain."

Finally, I hope for all of you a happy, healthy, and successful however you measure that 2012.