Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A night out and catching fire from my husband.

So did I mention that Attractive Al loves the Hunger Games?  No.  Not the books…Seriously how long have you read this blog?

I think my husband may have experienced this during his dating life.  Don't look at me.  I know a diamond in the rough when I see one.  Some other chick didn't.  Her loss…MY GAIN.

Anyhoo, we are heading into the Holiday movie season.  When we didn't have kids (circa 2006- late 2009), we could go out every weekend.  There was a time in our marriage when this was the case.  Now, we strategically plan - like tank maneuvers - our date nights.  Who watches the kids, where do we go to see movies…you know average parenting logistics.  

My husband didn't give me a choice….

Romantic Day

I can remember a time that my husband scoffed (he scoffed) at the thought of seeing this movie and didn't know who J.Law was and now he's leaning in during the movies like "why did this chick do this?" all serious and all.  I can already foresee a diatribe

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to the shining star...

Awwww….look at her!  She has grown!  From the time she decided to get the party started with my water breaking to her bossing everyone around - this chick right here…I don't even know how to say in words how awesome she is.  

After five years - short in my opinion - we come to today.  5!  Yep.  Excuse because I really need to cry right now.  Yes, if only for today, I'm one of those moms.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pam Oliver and Workplace Disappointment

Let me caveat this and say that I"m not Pam Oliver's biggest fan.  Worse yet, I am oblivious to Erin Andrews.

A few months ago, Pam Oliver wrote an amazing essay for Essence Magazine that I wanted to highlight here.
Even before my bosses told me what was going on, there had been rumblings that my days as a sideline reporter were coming to an end. Two years earlier, Fox Sports had hired Erin Andrews, a high-profile side-line reporter from ESPN, and I knew they hadn’t brought her on just to be a benchwarmer. Colleagues, and even coaches and players, would come up to me and say things like, “Boy, you’re handling this well. You’re really a class act.” But I let the rumors roll off my back. Without official confirmation about a change in my position, I decided I was going to do my work like I always had. Still, I was humiliated...
Wow…Oliver knew Andrews was brought on to diversify the demographic and get more eyes on their product but she was still being sidelined for Andrews. 
Two weeks after meeting with my bosses, I woke up and said to myself, Okay, I’m supposed to learn something from this. My first step was to get back to my routine. Every morning I begin my day the same way: meditate, pray and affirm. I call it my “P.O. Power Hour” because it fortifies me. Through all the changes, I had abandoned the things that help me the most, and then I was wondering why I was so miserable! So I reinstated my Power Hour—I visualize what I want for my day, what I want for the big picture and what I hope for the world. Then I read the Bible until I’ve gotten the answer I need. With that, I began to feel better.
And honestly, Oliver could have put her managers on serious blast (hello - agism at the very least), she choose to be positive.  The reason why you see the article featured here is that fact that workplace politics is a real thing. From being hired and immediately reassigned upon your reporting for duty to being micromanaged by an obsessive manager, politicking is a real quality in the work place. What can you do to circumvent the issues that face you at work?

  • Assess your environment - what do you not like about it?  What do you want to change?  
    • Here don't give generic answers.  BE SPECIFIC as possible.  Why?  Because if you're not specific, you can't take adequate measures to change your environment.  Case in point, I despise the fact my husband leaves his boxers everywhere and rushes every other Monday night or worse Tuesday morning to pick them up before the cleaning woman arrives.  Lesson Learned - tell my husband Saturday before and again Sunday so that he's picking up his mess and washing clothes BEFORE Monday.
  • Have a clear line of delineation - your work is your work.  Once you leave it…you leave it.  
  • Take time to understand your manager
  • Find a lesson in every small deficiency and work to anticipate problems before they blow on you - especially if you know your manager will have the same reaction every time.
  • Keep an air of neutrality at work.  Don't bring yourself down with gossip.  Do your job and don't be seen taking sides.
  • Train.  Find training.  Create an individual development plan and present it to your supervisor in order to document your training.
  • document your successes - use a daily diary or a project management app/site/software that will assist you keep track of everything.
  • Availability and Accessibility 
  • Be willing to take on more tasks and responsibilities
  • Be that team player in a clutch for your teammates and supervisors
  • read a book/blog on success in the work place (see my review on #Girlboss and I would definitely recommend The Levo League).
While it may not alleviate your immediate problems, it shows that you are not alone.   With strategic tools and moves, you'll be seeing the change you want soon.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Coming back to your core

The Girl You Left BehindThe Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OMG! I can't describe the pull of this story which share a similar plot line/device with "The House Girl" but is much more compelling somehow.

I couldn't put this book down.

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Post Review Notes:
A great Armistice Day or America, Veteran's Day.  This book is a page turner which chronicles two stories - one about a woman in WWI Occupied France and another woman living in 21st Century London.  Both have experienced great loss and the heart of both stories is a painting so beautiful and haunting that it becomes an obsession for a man whose association could kill a family and an inquiry that could break a woman's heart and checkbook.  

2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Great War which in fact was Chapter 1 of 2 of the Great War.   I watched a great documentary series in May called "The World Wars" which argued that World Wars 1 and 2 were just one gigantic war 30 years apart.  I tell you to watch it if you can.  Today I would rather you leave with the remembrance of the millions lost in first chapter.  Recently, The Tower of London, bastion of English monarchy and torture alike, chose to take on a literal and quite visual remembrance of World War I.  

Photos taken from google from coverage of the art installation.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar Movie Review

Did I mention we love movies?

Of course we did! Like several times.  When Attractive Al found out that Christopher Nolan had a new movie out, he jumped up and down like the Beggin Dog like this:

So we finally saw the trailer

And I was on the fence.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!  I mean Love him. I love "The Presitge", "Inception", and the "Batman" Trilogy.  I honestly will judge you if you don't at least give any of these films a chance and see their meaning beyond the screen - especially "Inception". Plus these films gave us Joseph Gordon Levitt and if you don't at least sigh at those dimples, you are not human.

Sorry.  I was as usual, lost in dimples.  That's what I should refer to him as "Dimples"…I digress.  So the movie, I had already called the storyline in September - the movie begins on a single track with a singular problem:  How do we as a species survive as our planet dissolves around us?  The movies toward a dual track - one group surviving the elements of dissolution while the other group attempts survival of evolution and continuation.  

What I will say with all his original content (in other words - Not Batman), you have to watch and listen because with all CN's work (even Batman especially with "The Dark Knight Rises"), you can expect the ultimate hat trick - the magian Christian Bale played; was the ending a dream?; the possible continuation of the Batman saga.  Always a question left for the viewer to answer - a choose your ending if you will.  

We decided to see the movie early, again thank you CN and movie studios alike.  We head back to the Angelika in Fairfax and have dinner there.  Fashion wise, I chose fall tweed and merlot and jeans.  I didn't have a meeting with senior leadership so going super casual on a Thursday was okay for me.  I got to really test drive my new bag.  

Interstellar Date Night

Verdict:  Go.  Watch well.  You won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Maryland

Dear Maryland,

Hey! It's one the millions of people that live west of you.

I know. I know. I'm from that other state where we elect our governors in odd years. We don't call ourselves a state but a Commonwealth. I just think you have identity issues, let me brag on your high points:

First Catholic Colony
Origin of the national anthem
Good beaches
Filming location of House of Cards and VEEP
Home of Fall Out Boy, Jason Mraz, and Ginsberg from Mad Men.

With all that (and more. I know), what's not to love about your? Not much but I have some questions:

Why are your elections so damn gritty? What's with blue crab? Is old bay that great?

Never mind all that - that's hyperbole compared to my real grievance with you...your roads.

They kinda suck. Your drivers, as a whole, are worse. I get sweat in places I would rather not talk about when driving your roads either because I'm afraid of their decrepit nature or I'm afraid I drove into the Maryland Grandprix at which point I have automatic butt clenching responses.

I noticed a random sign on the beltway in PG County stating that the area in the zone was part of a "DUI Enforcement Zone". I mean WHAT????? Is the only a zone that enforces DUIs? Just asking so I'll avoid when getting hammered in Maryland (just kidding - I'll take Uber. Promise!)

Anyhoo- can we work on the reckless driving? Again just asking.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints and The Giver

The Giver (The Giver #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Today is All Saints Day.  The day we collectively celebrate all the souls that have entered The Kingdom of Heaven.  I choose to celebrate this Holy Day of Obligation to discuss the book, The Giver.  The book describes a dystopian society in which no one has feelings - everything has is superficial.  There is no color, parents "receive" their children at age one.  Death is clinical.  Life is sterile.

The opposite of the people we celebrate today.  Today we celebrate the richness of color and diversity that makes up the litany of Saints.  People like Josephine Bakhita, my patron saint, who told those around her that she would thank her captors for the pain and horror they put her through because it introduced her to Jesus.  

Amazing.  I can't forgive the woman who told me that "I looked tired" like a day after I delivered Ladybug (that was five years ago).  More recently, Saint John Paul II who told millions "Don't be afraid to be holy".  Today reminds us that we can live a holy life, a Christian life, if…and I mean IF we desire it.  If we come to realization that we can fulfill the life journey (ups and downs, twists and turns) and still seek the power and light of the Holy Cross.