Sunday, January 29, 2012

I have been back and forth to the blog, posting for a few minutes a picture from the summer and then dashing back to life. I also haven't had much time to read and think about the posts of other blogs I visit either. If I have the time to drop in, I read the words quickly, but my mind is off to doing something else, much as it is beginning to do as I write these few sentences.

Dinner to start getting ready, college financial aid forms to go over one more time to be able to submit them by the deadline. Trying to follow their path of asking for information then seeming to ask for the same information again but in a different way. Am I reporting the stuff twice, is it going to hurt the results?

[three days later] February 1, 2012

I have always said that if I, who deals with financial data in the tens of millions of dollars and reports that are hundreds of pages long, finds these forms bewildering then what do others think. But then I think that because I deal with this stuff so much that I am use to analyzing and perhaps over analyzing it and making it more difficult. Could very well be. But for this year, under the gun to get 3 tax filings and 2-4 financial aid forms done by the 31st of January has been bewildering.

But I met the deadline with a day to spare. I have also been struggling with getting 350 consultant earnings statements out at work, which also had a Jan 31 deadline and which were, for the past 2 years done by someone who worked for me but no longer does. The adrenaline was pumping overtime and boy just reading this makes the tasks seem even more boring than they were.

So the college things are mostly done, I have 2 more to do but have a month to finish and because they had to match for both kids, much of it is done. The first work deadline was met and now I am working on the next part of the step. Downloads of data, cutting and pasting data fields, uploading to access then downloading again then uploading to the various states. It's a mind bender that I find both frustrating and a challenge. But I 'd much rather it be a challenge for someone else.

Plus it took me longer to shake that cold than it usually does. Go figure.

Today I escaped at lunch and did 40 minutes on the treadmill with the settings set for "hills" and felt much better. Much of the excess crap burned away.

It has been in the 60s here. A strange winter it is. My oldest is studying in southern Italy this semester (didn't mention that getting that send off implemented also happened last week) and writes that a foot of snow fell and is continuing to fall.

But I also notice that it is still a little light when I leave work and getting lighter earlier in the morning. But then I look out and see that I still have a one ton pile of pellets and that is a reminder that spring is still a bit off.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This has nothing to do with today. I have and achy coughing cold and slogging through piles of year end papers and I just need some summer.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

there for but the grace of God, is me

We all have our reasons for doing something or not, of being a certain way or not, of connecting present situations and experiences, or not.

There is something that is very much to the core of me in the subject line. It frames the way I am on many days, the way I interact with people at work, the way I think spiritually and about my community and even the way I think of my politics.

I feel I can divulge some of this here because certainly this is not main stream media or a high traffic site. Sort of like, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it make a sound?

I have been blessed with many things throughout my life, a loving family and parents who were happily married 60+ years; and while we were far from well off, I knew we were also far from poor. I have had the opportunities of education and travel that it has taken my adult perspective to really appreciate. I have had employment that has provided the resources for me and my family to do things that many can't even consider. I am blessed with a life partner and exceptional children and a home life that is blessed in many ways. I work for and with people who care equally for those who it serves and and those who serve.

While we are shaped by many of the things I have mentioned, I believe we are also shaped by the hardships and bad experiences that come our way. It is not only on how we come out of them that is important, but also the lessons we carry from those experiences. Some of these experiences we can work with an some we can not.

My loss of a sibling when I was but a child had a profound effect on me in a way that I am repeated challenged to this day. But it is who I am.

I know that as a manager I am exceptionally good at working with people who are good at what they do but may need to be transitioned to another job or who are a challenge for others to manage. I know that a good amount of this is internal wiring, but another good share is from how poorly I was treated by managers who were brutal and demeaning and who had options to make more humane choices, but didn't. I vowed long ago, that this would never be me as a manager, that given the choice, retaining as much of someone's dignity as possible, was a moral responsibility.

Many years ago I had a health incident that I was truly lucky to recover from let alone go on to function at the level I have. I knew of someone who, at the same time, had a similar incident and was the same age as me and did not survive. What is physically left of that incident is only evident to me and certain specialists. It had taken me a long time to deal with these shadows of my past and how I now l have learned to deal with them is I run. Through this experience, as with others, I learned much, was also pretty dense and needed to be reminded of what I learned and have occasionally needed a self inflicted 2x4 to remind me of how lucky I was and am. And through this and in working with elderly parents with health issue, I learned to be very comfortable within the health care system. A knowledge that I freely share and has recently tapped a spiritual outlet for me.

So, as I remind myself repeatedly, we either let our past experiences shape who we are and how we come at life, or we use these experiences as tools to continually shape our lives and our perspectives and outlook. We are a work in process until the end.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We often keep the Christmas tree up through part or most of January. This year, getting it up and decorated so late it seems a shame to not let it hang around for a while.

This year seems to have been the year of the dying Christmas lights. Having started with several strings on the outside tree that were working fine until I strung them, then half of the lengths of 2 long strings just went out. Replacing those with new ones, one of the replacements did the same. No loose bulbs on any and, though I am technically pretty savvy, I don't completely get how the fuses work. Actually I haven't spent much time trying to figure it out beyond reading the small sheet of directions which doesn't include anything about part of the string lighting and part not.

So then I moved on to the inside tree and all the lights were fine when I tested them but then when I had them all strung, the same thing happened. Being so close to Christmas, I found replacements but then the same thing happened to one of the 2 replacements. Not a good Karma year for lights.

A couple of days ago it was brought to my attention that one of the strings at the top had gone dark. Again, no loose plugs or bulbs. And now a second string has died leaving the top third of the tree dark.

So I am thinking that the way this is going, we won't be storing many lights this year as, if this trend continues, in a couple of weeks the entire tree will be dark. I guess it then will be time to take it down and next year shop for a totally new batch of lights. If we make to closer to February, then it will be "burn time" and the tree will move on to it's next incarnation.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012 to all who venture here.

It's the last day of vacation. A one day reprieve brought on by the placement of the holiday on this Monday. Having the week off was good and mostly very low key. My wife does most of the cooking during the week, because I get home late, and she was also on vacation last week. So it made sense to to take that up last week. I like doing it, and do it every weekend so this was just a small change for me and gave me some structure. We did a trip to the theater with the family to see Santa Land Diaries. A great benefit of being a full time residents here is what they call the "Berkshire discount" which for a performance like this was half price. We also did a couple days travel to visit family and could hit some of the high school basketball games, which are fun and very fast to watch.

Other that that it was a very unstructured week. I had to check work emails a few times and handle some tasks that didn't have coverage and that was more than enough work exposure. I was conscious of not engaging in responding to some of the email rants and just forwarded them to others in case they "blew up" because I wasn't there. Sometimes people need constant stroking and reassurance and I realize that it is those parts of my job that are the most draining.

So as I am in this last day I am even more unstructured than usual and all over the place. A moderate run in the morning, checking the work emails for any land mines I'll hit tomorrow. (nothing more than the earlier rants). A few chores and getting ready for a meeting tonight, cleaning the fishbowl and thinking of the lists I need to make of all things going on over the next several weeks. We are in college application process for my youngest and anyone who has gone through that and knows the terms FAFSA and CSS profile and two kids in college, can relate to my angst about the to do list. But that too will get done.

So, I hear that the latest batch of bread is out of the oven and a visitor is at the door and I hear the dryer buzzer also summoning me. All amazingly routine stuff, which is great.