Gig tip: Remember

I’ve been dreading this day; it honestly feels like the tragedy has just happened each time this day rolls around.    And it makes me feel farther away from my family and friends; here on the West Coast I’ve felt that attitudes and feelings are not as raw as they are on the East coast.  This is just my feeling, I know a large generalization.

I left this morning feeling subdued.  I did not put the radio on.   And then I passed by an overpass, literally 1/4 mile away from my house.  I pass this overpass everyday, several times a day.  And there was a parked van, and a man walking along the overpass with a flag, and the overpass completely decorated with flags.    And cars underneath honking.  And honking.  And honking.  Let me tell you, people do not normally blow their car horns in California.    But today they did as they went under those flags.

We will never forget, even out here on the West Coast.   But I miss everyone back East, more so today than ever.

I guess what I want to say is there are tragedies in this world.   The shuttle explosion, the shooting of JFK, the shooting of MLK, the war, 9/11.   But the 9/11 tragedy feels so different.   It is the blending of tragedy and workplace on such a large scale.   It is something that somehow we can personally relate to… we each go to an office each day.  We each start off our day with our own simple routines.   It almost feels like we can put ourselves in that position – if we try to use our imagination.  I do not know what it was like.   But I can imagine.  And it touched normal, American families.   This we can relate to.   Maybe this is why it hurts so much when we think back.   And scares us so much when we look forward.  For us, for our children.

And when we go to work each day, we need to be aware that our co-workers can be suffering with their own tragedies in silence.   So on this day, Remember.  And be sensitive.  And remember to be sensitive going forward to those around you who may be suffering in their own way.

– Mama K

Staying Sane: *REPOST* Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected

I usually post a “Staying Sane” piece on Sunday nights, but this previous post (link below) seemed very fitting for me to re-submit this weekend, and tonight on the eve of 9/11.

I know my outlook on life has forever been changed because of this day.   However the impact on me seems so insignificant compared to the impact to the lives that were lost and their families.   My children are still young, but I am trying my best to teach them of the significance of this day and how to be good people – at least the showing of gratitude to fire-fighters who help to protect us and the worthiness of helping others in need.   I shudder to think of the day when they will be old enough to understand the true meaning behind this day.   My heart goes out to the families of those who were lost.

I also want to recognize a special remembrance of Chris Dincuff, who was a fellow student with me years past.  I will always remember him for his smile and positive outlook on life.  We miss you Chris.

Staying Sane: Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected.

Love to all — and thinking of my friends in NYC –

– Mama K

September 9: Getting ready for the weekend…

I decided to work from home today since I worked in the office the rest of the week.  So this morning was less hectic, until we realized we were running really late for Big Bro’s school:

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red winds up in our bed at 6:30 and asks me to fix her pony-tail.   We don’t get up until after 7 for some reason.   So we start a bit late.
  • Big Bro hides under his blanket and goes into the Twins’ room to make them laugh.  They laugh hysterically, over and over again.  In fact they are jumping in their cribs laughing.
  • I diaper the Twins but both REALLY want Hubby this AM.  He takes everyone downstairs for breakfast.  I head down too – no shower, no make up.  An easy work day for me physically.
  • Everyone eats well except for Big Bro.
  • I’m not sure what I’m doing but I guess I’m talking with the kids and holding them and cutting apples and drinking coffee.  For some reason, and I don’t know why, we are suddenly extremely late.   I guess I was too relaxed thinking we had all of this time but I looked at the clock and it was 8:10!!!   That’s usually when we are dropping off Big Bro in the school yard!    OH SHIT WE ARE MAJORLY LATE BIG TIME!!!!!!!   LET’S GO!!!!!
  • I do all drop offs, Hubby takes the car for another meeting.
  • 1st drop off:   Twins.   Fast.  Easy shmeasy.
  • 2nd drop off:   Big Bro.  All of the kids are on their way from the yard (in a line up) into the classroom.  We quickly make the last of the last line in.   I dance around with Big Bro and Red that “we’re in the back of the parade, we’re in the back of the parade.”  Seriously, we’re (I’m) singing and swinging their arms and dancing around saying this over and over again.  The kids are laughing.  I think they think I’m a bit silly sometimes.   But I have so much fun with them.
  • 3rd drop off:  Red.  I like taking her into pre-school slowly.  Not rushing.  She gets set up with an activity and she is so sweet.   She makes a comment to me that “after we drop off [Twin Crazy], there are TWO girls in the car.   And then when we drop me off, there will be ONE girl in the car – but when we go in together, there will be NO girls in the car”.    How cute.   I didn’t realize she could grasp those concepts.   I feel like I’m not in tune with them as much as I should be.    How cute of her.   My little mathematician.
  • I stop by the fire-station and talk to a fireman.  I want to bring the kids over here on 9/11 and bring the firefighters “gifts” that the kids get/make for them to show our appreciation.   The kids are excited about this.   I just wanted to confirm with him that it is OK and also what kinds of things they would like to have.   I’m going with the kids today to do some shopping and will steer them towards:  playing cards, dominoes, other games, fruit, etc.   I also mentioned that the kids might pick out toys or stickers for them (cute) and he said that’s great, they could give to Toys for Tots or even take them home for their own kids.   Great!!!
  • I head home and get my space set up for work.   Coffee is on.  Phones are charged.   I turn my computer on.
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • I spent about two hours on the phone working with my colleague who is transferring over responsibilities.  There is a lot of coordination that needs to be done across 4 big events that are coming up that I will be responsible for.   I get the latest status from her and feel good about my understanding of what needs to be done.    I know this is probably a  false sense of security since one day she will be gone and I’ll suddenly have 100 questions.   🙂
  • I finished up my sales efforts for one new initiative; and coordinated with the team to get them going and organized.
  • I finished up other sales efforts for another initiative – nothing more for me to do here.
  • I prepared an invoice for a project and sent; I’m setting up a meeting with the client and our leadership to see how are firms can continue to work together
  • I did some admin-related items and then called it a day.
  • I showered and then ran to my children.  I picked up Big Bro first, and then Red.  Both were excited about the shopping we were going to do this afternoon.  We went shopping to buy “thank you” gifts for the fire-fighters in our neighborhood.  The kids picked out puzzles (princess, bears, cars) and I helped them pick out playing cards, UNO, Yahtzee, and dominos.   They had a great time shopping for what the firefighters would like.  We passed by a lot of candy and snacks and I said that kind of food is not healthy for the body so the kids did NOT want to get that for the firefighters.  How cute.
  • I am alone tonight.  Hubby is at a sporting event for work.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • I ordered a pizza on the way to pick up the Twins.  They were squealing as usual.  She mentioned that they were both singing “Happy Birthday” today.   They were excited to see their big brother and sister.
  • We were home literally for 5 minutes when the pizza man came!   Perfect timing.  He asked me if I’m a daycare provider.  Seriously.  I guess our place looks over-run with toys?  I guess we have too many children?  I guess I look like I’m 20-something and too fit to have had 4 kids?  🙂  Seriously.   I couldn’t believe it.  I never thought my life would look like this.
  • Twins were cranky so I took them up for a “cat nap”.   This really just turned into them laughing with each other in their room — squealing, singing, screaming, laughing…..  so I brought them back down after we were done eating pizza.
  • I set the Twins up with their pizza at the little table while Big Bro, Red and I were in the living room.  Friday is “movie night” and Big Bro was excited.   So we watched movies until Twins finished eating.   Then I made popcorn and everybody went nuts.
  • I really don’t know where the time went…. because by 5:30 we were fed and I started the bedtime routine at 7:30.   So I had TWO HOURS with them and I can’t remember what we did!!!   I remember lots of tickling and hugging Twin Husky.  LOTS of it.   He had so much fun.   I remember Red having an ENORMOUS poop and everyone running in the bathroom to look at it.   I remember dressing the Twins in their PJs and talking about the “balls” on Twin Husky’s pants.    I remember reading the Twins books downstairs.   And how Twin Husky is sooooooooooooooo curious about everything and asking what everything is.   I remember Twin Husky climbing on a big box (new sewing machine, I’ll explain another time) and me looking at him in the corner of my eye to make sure he was OK.  I remember Twin Husky and Twin Crazy running around and stealing toys from each other and crying/trying to bite.  I remember Big Bro asking me if I could spend some time with him watching his movie.    I was in bliss.   The time just flew by.   And I enjoyed so much of it with them.
Red "reading" to Twin Husky

Red "reading" to Twin Husky

  • 7:30 – time to go up!    I went up with the Twins and I asked Red and Big Bro to come up in a few minutes.  I also asked Red to straighten up the toys and seriously – when I came down EVERYTHING was put away and organized.   It’s like she had OCD.   Everything was perfectly lined up and there was not a toy out of place.  She was very proud of herself and I hugged her and wouldn’t let go.
  • I told a story for Big Bro and Red with all 3 of us laying in his bed.   It was a story about my travels in the past.  A time when I was in Morocco and I had to take a long bus-ride to the outskirts of the Sahara desert and we rode camels for hours and had a picnic in the Sahara.  I told them that my butt hurt after the camel ride.
I’m feeling REALLY good about today; I had a later morning with the kids, got a lot of work done, and had an amazing evening with all of them.  So relaxed, the kids were so good.   It just feels so right.   All I need now is maybe a glass of wine and maybe some adults to share a drink with.  In the meantime, I’m gearing up for a big weekend, a likely emotional weekend.   It’s days like this when I want to hold my children closer, hug them a bit longer, and caress them a bit gentler.   I don’t know what I’d ever do without them.   I can’t bear to think about it.
Great weekend to all –  particularly this Sunday.    So much has changed since then.
Til next week –
– Mama K

September 8: Mommy!!!! I ate all my lunch today!!!!

This was a pretty good morning. Good mix of fun and tears.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red winds up in our bed at 6:30 AM as usual. She is completely dressed for pre-school.
  • Hubby takes shower while I grab the Twins. Each are up, laughing, while Big Bro is in their room hiding under his blanket. He loves entertaining them. I diaper the twins and they are busy talking to me while I do this. So cute.
  • Big Bro hangs out with me while I shower; the rest are downstairs eating breakfast with Hubby.
  • When I get downstairs, Big Bro has already headed to the train set and set up some tracks. BIG NO NO. NO TOYS BEFORE BREAKFAST AND GETTING DRESSED!!!! He should know better than this. I am not happy. We need these kids “on” for food and clothes in the AM or else we really run the risk of being late.
  • Twins want up out of their seats. Twin Crazy is clingy. Wants to be held so she can see what’s going on. I have Red help me make my instant coffee and we talk about each step with Twin Crazy. She loves that.
  • I get bag ready. Wow. We are early. All kids are getting their shoes on and getting ready for the van but it is only 7:30.
  • We decide to do all 3 drop offs together since we have time on our side. While I’m upstairs getting my jacket, I hear MASSIVE screaming from multiple kids downstairs… even Big Bro is calling up for me to come downstairs QUICK. Apparently Red and Twin Crazy were both in the double stroller (probably standing up) and the thing tipped over. They were both fine but very scared. Poor things. I sat there hugging them for awhile and saying it was OK but it was probably really scary for them. I gathered all kids out of the garage until we were REALLY ready to leave.
  • OK! 7:45!!! Time to go!
  • 1st drop off: REd. Big Bro wants to go too so we tell them it has to be QUICK. Twins are talking on the way over there. “Boat.” I am starting to put on my make up (9 AM meeting that I will be late for.. .so need to be ready in advance). Drop off is fast, but we are there so early that the routine is a little different – all kids are dropped off in the middle of the center until 8 AM when their “real” teachers arrive. REd is hesitant at first but doesn’t skip a beat. She does fine playing with pegs as Big Bro and I leave.
  • 2nd drop off: Twins. No problem. We tell her that Twin Crazy has had a hard morning.
  • 3rd drop off: Big Bro. We all get out of the car and play in the playground until 8:10 when the kids line up with their teachers. In the meantime I push Big Bro on a swing REAL high and he (and I) have a blast.
  • Hubby drops me off at Ferry station – plenty of time. Our entire drop off routine lasted 35 minutes this morning. He has another meeting so will not be taking the ferry today.

Now I’m on the ferry, with make up on and a coffee. The sky looks hazy and it looks colder today. Today at work we have a 3 hour strategy session for our team; I will be presenting on two topics. I’ve been there for 7 years now and am viewed as a valued contributor, which makes me feel good. We tend to hear the same things over and over through the years at these meetings, but our team now looks so different than we had in the past. We are poised for change and may actually have an appetite to do things differently than we have before. I’m excited to hear if that will be the attitude and direction that we take….

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Had a 4 hour strategy meeting with our team; gave two presentations on areas to grow our revenues
  • did follow up sales efforts for a meeting in October
  • did other miscellaneous admin work, including setting up final meetings with the colleague who is transferring her responsibilities to me

I’m on the ferry home now. I remembered to bring the fruit I bought yesterday. I will likely work from home tomorrow so I also have my work computer. I have a heavy load today.

I’m also carrying a heavy load in my heart. I’ve been trying to advocate change for my family for over a year and it feels like we’re still in status quo. This is so unacceptable and frustrating for me. I feel helpless and trapped and I’m so tired of having the same one-way conversations over and over and over and over again. My throat hurts I’ve been talking so much. My head hurts. Sometimes I just want to go to sleep to keep from thinking. So, I guess I’m not in a good mood. I’m not sure if seeing my kids will swing me out of it either.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I am surprised to get picked up by our mini-van while I’m walking home from the ferry.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • We put together an EASY quick dinner – mac-n-cheese and hot dogs. Hubby makes dinner while I play with kids. Today Big Bro and Red are interested in cars so Red takes out the “car mat” with all of the roads where they can pretend to drive.
  • The Twins are interested in the trains and also the cars, going back and forth, and Twin Crazy is even sitting on the car mat with her choo-choo train tracks and trains.
  • We eat quickly. Fruit for dessert (I almost broke an arm carrying it all back). I wind up with 3 kids on my lap and then at one point all of the kids are laughing and babbling at full throttle, on purpose. It was really funny. I wish I grabbed a movie of it.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • I talk to Big Bro and REd about doing something nice for the fire-fighters this Sunday (9/11). We think about what would be nice to get them ask presents — card games, cross word puzzles, snacks. Big Bro goes to our cabinet and picks out a pudding box. He wants to wrap it NOW to be part of the basket. He is excited about this project. I mention that I will pick Big Bro and Red up early tomorrow and we can go shopping together for other things for the basket – and on Sunday we can walk over to the fire station and deliver it to them, and say thank-you to them. This is something that I would like to do each year, and Hubby agrees that it would be nice to do. Once Big Bro gets a bit older and he loses his innocence the tone of the tradition will obviously change – I can wait for that.
  • OK! Time to go up! We are moving bedtime up a bit these days since Big Bro is always so tired. I change the Twins into PJs – I love doing this with them. That’s when I get to focus on them.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • Upstairs singing and reading to the Twins is just so sweet. Twin Husky is focused on colors in a book. Twin Crazy loves singing and using her hands for Twinkle, Twinkle, etc. They are so sweet. Their worlds are opening up in front of my eyes.
  • Big Bro and Red are already brushed, peed, and changed by the time we get to them. They are making it easier and easier for us each night. We pick out their clothes for tomorrow. Books went great.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.

I wonder what we will pack for lunch tomorrow…. the pressure is on.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected

My life as a working mom is hectic, presents itself with various logistical challenges, causes great tension, confusion, and anxiety in my day to day life. I am absolutely amazed at how quickly and easily I can get completely immersed in my own world, with blinders on separating me from everything else going on around me.   Sometimes it takes days or weeks for me to call back a family member or friend.   Looking at things globally, of course I know we are at war but it is difficult for me to talk intelligently about the specific combat tensions that are currently going on or even worse, the number of lives that have been lost.   I am also like this with politics. I know that the Speaker of the House cries a lot, but I’m not really sure why exactly he is crying or if he is particularly effective at what he does.

I am also acutely aware that when I DO succesfully peel the blinders back, there is of course an impact but honestly it fades over time. Situations can be etched in my memory, but my day to day continues.   On a light note, I’ve certainly experienced this resulting from travels to far away places – for example, I was able to see, smell, and witness different ways of living in Cambodia, Laos, India, Africa…. children in streets, villages and huts, harvesting rice fields…. but then these memories fade several weeks if not days after my return back to Western civilization.  The impact of 9/11 has forever shaped my outlook on life but I no longer dwell on it day to day.  The deaths of my friends that I have already experienced, particularly young people who have died ENTIRELY too young, do haunt me from time to time but the pain and intensity of emotion have subsided — now I think back on them happily instead of with a heavy heart or demanding an answer the question “Why?!!?!?!?!?“.


World Trade Center, post 9/11

World Trade Center, post 9/11

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

I would like to change this. I believe that if I peek outside of my “normal”, and make a conscious effort to build this into my thinking, I will be able to better appreciate what I DO have despite my perceived craziness of my life.  The incident in Oslo, Norway is one example. The devestation, starvation, death and flight in Somalia is too intense for me to really wrap my head around. I just can’t believe that so many people can be living and dying in such conditions yet so many people in the world do not even know the true extent of the tragedy (including myself until a few days ago). This overall lack of awareness is sad – but I am part of it too.   Is it that people just cannot mentally process too much pain? Disbelief? Is it easier just to turn away?

I am happy to report that consciously peeling back my own blinders and opening up my own awareness has really helped me to recognize the good in my life. I’m able to better appreciate what I have in my life even though it is so crazy and crushing at times. I have four wonderful, beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband who loves me. I have a job where people look to me for my opinion. I have a house that keeps my children safe and warm. I have two refrigerators. I have lots of shoes in my closet. I think I look good for my age. I am finally beyond the baby stage. My kids make me laugh. I’m wearing something comfortable right now. There is cold beer waiting for me at home right now.

I’ve also decided to try to make a difference where I think I can.

For one, I am going to work at making more of a difference to those around me…. to be a better friend and family member, to connect and reach out when I see people in need. I’ve learned that everyone has their own “worlds and issues” and I may have a small way making a difference. Like how friends of mine reached out to me when I started having a difficult time several months ago (THANK YOU by the way!!!).  It makes me feel better when I let go of my blinders and connect with others on a deeper, personal level. The other day an acquaitence from the ferry reached out to me and I could see so clearly the pain in her own face… the rat race and juggling with kids – “You are not alone” is all I had to say to her, along with a hug, and we were both feeling better.

Second, I am going to try to stay abreast of world events even though most of what you hear these days is terribly disturbing. I’ve been absolutely haunted about Somalia. It did not take much… one photograph. I then I researched more, and saw more, and then got more and more upset about what was happening and why I have not opened myself up to become aware of how bad the situation is. No food, no water, people fleeing their homes. And suffering. There are many reputable organizations focusing on these issues and I want to do my part. If you would like to join me in this effort, please consider donating to Unicef or Doctors without Borders.

These are just some thoughts for now. I’ll let you know the progress. But also keep me honest!!!!!! I’d appreciate feedback and also reminders from time to time. And if you get a random email or phone call from me just to see how you’re doing, then you know that I’m trying to stay connected, keeping perspective, and am working to do it!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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