Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sir, They Call Her Senator Clinton

I don't know about the rest of you HONEYS, MISSIES, DEARS, DARLINGS, SWEETHEARTS, but I was PISSED off that Senator Obama refused to address HC by her title - SENATOR CLINTON. He is 14 years her junior, not to mention 33 years less experience in the US Senate. A bad move on his part, IMHO. Bad form as they say in the Ivies - Bad form. In that moment of unasked for familiarity, after the moderators had already referred to all three candidates (and shame on NBC for blocking Kucinich's presence on the debate) by their rightful titles, and after Senator Clinton used the appropriate form of address for him, he responded with calling her Hillary. I loved that she came back and proceded to take charge and call both of them by their first names, but shame on Senator Obama for not showing the proper respect for her very publicity elected and well-earned title.

There was another moment that baffled me. It was when the candidates were asked to talk about their strengths and weaknesses. The old SWOT test, a basic of performance reviews and job interviews of the last decade. Senator Obama responded that his weakness is that he cannot be given any piece of paper at the last minute because he will lose it. He just can't hang on that kind of thing and has to have someone who can manage those piddly details for him.

WAIT A SECOND. Beyond the obvious, like what if you were the president and given a piece of paper that had an important message on it...would you lose that piece of paper? It's not like he's going to be given a piece of paper from his wife telling him to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from ending the war in Iraq. Any piece of paper that a president of the United States is going to be given is going to matter and probably end up in some presidential archive or library.
This apparent weakness reeks of believing that someone else has to be there to do the small things, the unimportant tasks like keep track of paper trails, etc. Bad form.

For my money, which since my layoff is not coming in like it once did, Senator Clinton hands down took control of the debate in tone, substance, passion, humanity and Barak and John looked like two really good VP candidates.

Go Hillary Go!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 3: Falling in love again

Today was a terrific day, so I must be getting my period. Just kidding. This getting laid off is one of the most productive things that has ever happened to me.

The day started off brilliantly, a bright orange sunrise hitting the eastern sky just as we turned onto the music teacher's street. Teacher was fresh, oldest DD were fresh, twins were occupied in a new stage of drawing objects - even I was awake. I love the musical banter between she and the teacher, who is tough and loving and expects excellence and cooperation. All great life skills learned along side music.

We skipped out the door and off to school, amidst frost that was still clinging to grass and pine trees, some fog and steam rising in between the blades. No cross town traffic, so all three were in line and ready to seize the day with five minutes to spare.

For the first time since the layoff, I had the house to myself. I made myself breakfast and did the email. Took out my pad and wrote my three goals for the day:

1. Creativity - write this blog

2. Well being - go for a runwalk.

3. Career - find the domain name I'd lost that I had registered for my consulting business. A true awakening to my self-sabotage. Not only had I not recorded the necessary information to set up the domain, but I recycled the yellow pad with all my brainstorming. A hard truth to look at today, but a necessary one.

I got dressed for my runwalk and took one look at the dog.
"Milo, wanna go for a w---"
What is it about dogs and the word 'walk'? I get no further than the letter 'w' and they are jumping and leaping with joy. I grabbed the leash and we headed off in the van. DH called and we decided to meet at the lake and go for a walk together.
For the first time in probably 12 years, we walked and talked and talked and walked without interruption. Talked about each other, ourselves, our goals and dreams. It was better than any date in any restaurant and we have made a promise to do this at three days a week. Drop the kids off at school, get the dog and head outside. Cheaper than marriage counseling and we'll both lose weight.
The twins were beyond ecstatic to see the dog at school, a real status symbol - as you can see by the photo above.
The rest of the day was spent being a mom and catching up with my kids. Falling in love all over again with my husband and my children. Glad to be out of the drab gray world I was stuck in for two months and into the fresh air.
Two consulting leads look promising, but in the meantime, I'm getting on an airplane at a way too early time in the morning and heading to LA.
It's only been three days since I was laid off. But something is a foot here, something is transforming itself in how I feel I deserve to spend my time, my days, my work -my life.
The big word being bandied about these days is "change." All the candidates are heavily peppering their speeches with it, as if just saying the word will have the impact of the word. Change, at least for this pre-flight, PLS blogging mama, is facing the unknown with a plan that is different than the one that got me into the gray cube to begin with. It's having the courage to take a walk everyday and let my mind expand as much as the Rockies that stretch out in front of me. To shape that expansion into a joy-driven, creative endeavor that shouts out - YAAWWP!
Till then -

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

PLS: Post layoff syndrome

It doesn't seem fair to get laid off at the height of one's PMS. I woke up today in a more than slight panic, a general panic about where and when another paycheck was going to arrive in my bank account. I've decided to call this form of panic PLS: Post Layoff Syndrome.

But despite this, I rallied and kept to a schedule and so, for what it is worth, here is my promised posting for today, day #2 of my PLS + PMS...

1. Woke up at 6:00 am sandwiched between the twins and at least one animal. I spent the next hour checking the mattress to see if there is a crease that causes their little bodies to roll into mine, essentially turning my king sized bed into a toothpick.
2. Undetermined amount of coffee. The combination of PMS and PLS means there is not enough coffee in the world today.
3. Made lunch and expressed silent gratitude to the packaging gods for yogurt in tubes, juice boxes and other edibles that didn't have me trying to figure out which container to put things in
4. 6:10am - oldest DH wakes up with wonderfully tussled curly hair and flushed cheeks. Scrumptious. She immediately slumps down at the kitchen table and tears apart two newspapers in search of the comics.
5. 6:20am - first attempt at waking the twins, who have magically found all that room that they robbed from my precious PLS sleep.
6. Accompany oldest to get dressed and check email.
7. 6:30am - next attempt at waking the twins. This goes on until blankets are pulled off and screaming ensues, around 7 am. They spend the next 30 minutes arguing over a striped turtleneck sweater and who will be the first to wet their hair. It is going to be one of those days.
8. Somehow a shower happens (for me) and we get out the door by 8:07 am with plenty of time for my 1 millionth lecture on making it too hard to get out the door. They feign interest, but I know they are laughing at me. Can't wait until adolescence.
9. 9am - coffee with a friend in Boulder. A key to surviving PLS is meeting friends from other jobs you have left and realizing that it was the right thing to do.
10. 9:05am - friend is late, so I jot down something I told DH we should do every single day - make a list of three things I will do for my career, my creativity and my well-being. It isn't real until it is written down, so here is my list for today:
a. Call hotels and caterers to set up meetings for DH's photography business. Since I've spent most of my professional career as a marketing and pr genius, albeit underpaid, I have to do something with the ridiculous amount of energy I have until something else is figured out.
b. Apply for position saw posted at former graduate school.
c. Create a PLS budget - put this off until tomorrow - too depressed to look at numbers right now.
d. Start attending a class that could change my life.
I recently came across an article about an organization dedicated to women supporting women launch businesses, ideas, projects, etc. I knew the faciliator, Ricki Booker as the creator of an amazing collection of books for children on helping them with change, as well as a Boulder JCC preshool mom. Our kids had played together at summer camp last year. I called her and we talked about the class and I thought that it would be an excellent group to join to help jump start my goal of creating a live performance of "Boobies and Other Bodily Functions" in honor of an imporant landmark birthday, aka turning 50.
11. 11am - pick up the twins and take them to music. We all get an education with this process, including a mini-lecture on the importance of my children expressing gratitude not only to the teacher, but to the parent. I like this idea. Another mini-lecture on not putting on one of the twins shoes, which results in lots of tears on the way to the car. I think this teacher thinks I am just the softest parent who exists. If she only knew the truth. Meanest mama on the planet.
12. Home for the first stretch of time to eat and check email. No job offers, but some of my PLS feelers are coming back at me with messages of concern and a few job leads.
13. Answer emails and then realize I really just want to be with the twins, helping them with their homework and reading to them. They are starting to recognize two and three letter words on their own and the whole thing is thrilling. We cuddle on the couch and read book after book and DH understands to not interrupt and slides out the front door to pick up our oldest.
14. Oldest arrives home and we do music. She plays the violin, has since before she turned 4. I'm awed by her playing and feeling of Bach's Minuet III and when I tell her how lucky she is to play such a beautiful piece of music. She nods her head and says, "It's really hard work."
15. Dinner is an inspiration of roasted chicken with onions, garlic and just the right amount of dill, homemade gravy and real sweet potatoes. Oldest sets the table like the artist she is and we all sit down to a relatively relaxed dinner with only one rejection of the inspired dinner in exchange for cold turkey slices.
16. 6:30 pm - I kiss the girls and DH and head off to class.

The class is an eye opener for what it informs me on day 2 of my PLS. I realize that I want to run my own ship and I want the ship to be one that runs for a really long time. I articulated to 11 women I have never seen before my desire to reach beyond the scope of freelancer to expert media relations/marketing consultant and trainer for companies, people and organizations dedicated to a better world. I sat in that room with 11 women I would be proud to work for and with and I think I have the beginnings of my PLS plan:

1. Creativity begets creativity. I don't like working in isolation. I love to write and then come out and collaborate, brainstorm and percolate with other creatives.
2. I want to work with women doing creative things that have purpose, passion and that give something back.
3. I need to create better business practices. At least two women in the group can help me do this. This is essential to my bridging the gap between freelancer (aka free-faller) and consultant.
4. I want to create a business that supports my family and my having a family.
5. I want DH and I to make enough money for both of us retire at 70 and still be healthy enough to write, travel and grow old enough to enjoy being a bubbe and zayde, also known as grandparents.

For now, I'm pretty tired and a 7:30am violin lessons will come too soon. Off to bed for this PMS/PLS mama.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hillary's Got Voice and I Am Ready To Hear What She Has to Say

Hand's down the one of the best line I have heard in a long time:

“Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice.”

Holy moley, the chills just came down my arms and I've got goosebumps all over again.

Thank you for saying to the country what so many women hold in their hearts and never get to say. What they, meaning the guys, don't understand is that you just don't get what happens when a powerful woman's back is against the wall. We are built for the long run, so step aside and let us through.

What I love about Hillary, what emerged this last week and is something I never thought I would come to say about her is this - She is very openly a human being whose team has kept bottled up too long. I love her humanness that isn't couched over in oratory skills that overwork to 'create history.' Don't be so focused on making history, just help me get my bills paid and reasonable health insurance for my family. Help us to become a humane place to live, work, do business and enjoy our lives. Set the example of responsibility, public service and human rights that HC has done her entire career. What I saw tonight in Hillary's eyes were these three things: intention, action and experience. I don't care if it doesn't sound like it is coming from a pulpit or a bima. I don't go to my voting booth for that sound, if I want that, I go to my shul.

I also love that she is a hard and tireless worker. Her work ethic inspires me and has me looking forward to getting up tomorrow to start creating my new life.

What I would tell Hillary, if I was able to sit and share a cup of tea is this. Treat your speeches like foreplay. Make every moment count. Keep the pronouns to 'I' and 'we.' Start off with a big BANG like you did tonight, an honest and heartfelt BANG and then spend the next however many minutes reaching for the next one and the next one. The great thing about us women is that we have so much that unfolds and it all unfolds all at once. Let it unfold and take your time. And then give it with all the lustiness and heart you have.

Bravo, Hillary for you shedding the shackles of your script and stepping into your voice. A voice that is loud and clear and well thought out and intelligent and angry and funny and kind and motherly and a voice that is singularly yours.

And while I'm at it, check out Gloria Steinem's fantastic
OpEd piece in today's New York Times. Think she will consider being HC's running mate?

Hillary, thanks for finding your voice in New Hampshire. You just made it much easier to hear you all over the country.

My Pretend Job Just Got Eliminated

Today I did the following for my newest and what I hope is my last career venture. I am stepping into: "My Real Life after Being Laid Off from My Pretend Job"

I was laid off yesterday from a job that didn't really exist, but existed enough to be laid off from. It's a bit of a tale how I came to have a pretend job, and hopefully you will be reading about it one of the fabulous magazines I trust will pick it up. But as part of my unemployment insurance agreement (see #9), I'm supposed to keep track of my daily activities that will hopefully lead to future and sustained employment. So here goes:

Day 1
1. Woke up @ 6:15am - gotta keep those job habits going.
2. Drank two cups of coffee.
3. Wet the girls hair before school.
4. Made lunch for oldest DH.
5. Changed out of my pjs - essential to wear real clothes when working from home. That was one of the most depressing things about freelancing from a home office - the wardrobe which mostly consisted of paint-spotted sweats, non-descript long sleeve or short sleeve t-shirts, fleece jacket and slippers. I swear most of take jobs we don't want because we just like to have the money for some new clothes and people to see us in them.
6. Dropped off kids at school. Stayed to chat with other parents for the first time in two months.
7. Drove home.
8. Made myself breakfast.
9. Applied online for Unemployment Insurance.
10. Wrote my first piece about my pretend job and getting laid off.
11. Took a shower.
12. Picked up the twins from school.
13. Spent $177 at Vitamin Cottage. Healthy snacks that should last us for the next century. Or until Friday.
14. Deposit vacation pay into the bank and resisted buying a ticket to Mexico.
15. Wrote some more.
16. Did two music lessons, one with lots of fuss, but we got it done.
17. Did two loads of laundry.
18. Picked up oldest DH, playdate friend with twins, DH and dog Milo.
19. Did music lesson with oldest DH.
20. Wrote a query for pretend job piece and submitted it to the Life section of Salon.com.
21. Didn't miss my pretend job one single bit.

And it's only 6pm! I plan on keeping this list going until I am gainfully employed with a real job in a real company, or get paid incredibly well for my writing, whichever comes first.