Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



The mortgage industry at the end of any month is crazy.  Lots of people trying to get lots of stuff done before the new month begins.  Some programs require that.  Mostly it’s just people trying to meet deadlines, some imaginary, some not.  Add in a full moon, especially the biggest moon in months and interest rates rising quickly for the first time in years.  Do you know what you get?  You get long thankless hours and never ending emails and phone calls.  Everyone is in crisis.  Everyone has a story.  All the messages are marked urgent.  People call to tell you they left you an email and wonder if you’ve read it yet.  People email to tell you they’re going to call.  Multiple people call and email on the same problem.  Emails overlap, the problems escalate.

So is it any wonder that Friday morning I woke up thinking I had slept wrong.  A kink in the back, right between my shoulder blades.  Work Friday was excruciating. Sitting, standing, walking all hurt.  Sleeping that night was pretty impossible and all day Saturday I hobbled around trying not to move my head more than necessary, trying to keep my torso straight, my head balanced directly over my shoulders.  Getting up and down from sofa or bed was horrible.  I slept in fits all day and again all Saturday night.

This morning  the pain is still there but it has dulled.  I can get up and move around a little.  I’ve taken the dog out several times, done some chores, even bending over to empty the dishwasher.  I think I’m on the way back.  Of course.  Tomorrow it’s back to work and the cycle begins again.  But the month is over, the moon is shrinking.  Hopefully work craziness will recede as well.  You never know.

On a brighter note, Katie made me get up earlier today than I might have wished.  This is what we saw when we got outside.

Early morning at Katie's house.

Early morning at Katie’s house.

Katie tells me I should thank her more often when she gets me up early.  She says maybe she’s the reason I feel better today.  She says if she could go to work with me everyone would be happier.

And she says I can thank her later.

Let's get MOVING!

Let’s get MOVING Mama!


So tired

Have you ever been so tired that you can’t even make it to bed?  So tired your legs and feet ache, your hands tingle and your head seems to be in a fog?

That tired?

That’s where I am right now.  A long day at work followed by a long rehearsal has me sitting here wondering how I can get myself out of the chair and off to bed.  How to make myself go to sleep.

But my mind is running circles around my physical self.  Lots to do at work.  Should probably work late tomorrow night.  But have lots of music to practice too.  And the dog needs to work on heeling before class on Saturday; she can’t do that by herself.    I need to order dahlias for next summer.  I was supposed to do that in January.  Should find the order form.  We have no groceries in the house.  What will we have for dinner tomorrow?  I think I was supposed to call my college roommate last night.  Or tonight.  Can’t remember for sure.  I promised some people at work that I’d develop a self employed training unit by the end of March.  What’s today’s date?  Good I have time.  Our next concert is the end of May.  How many weeks does that give me to practice?  I really want to run another race…but I haven’t run in two (or more…how long HAS it been) years.  I should try to run one day after work this week, see how it goes.  Wonder where my running clothes are.  Haven’t seen my running watch in a long time either.  Guess I don’t really need a watch, it’s not like I’m running fast.  The guestroom needs organizing.  Probably could find my running stuff if I did that.  And I need to look for that photo of my brother and his friend as kids, I promised to send it to them.  It might even be in the guest room closet.  Should get organized.

Yep.  Should get organized.

Or go to bed.



Can you buy a new brain at Costco?

I’m having the weirdest day.  Is ‘weirdest’ a word?  Hmmm…looks sort of, well, weird.  Anyway.

This morning as I was leaving for work I wanted to change the car radio from f.m. to a.m. so that I could listen to the traffic report but I couldn’t remember how.  I pushed the wrong button several times, confused.  Darn small buttons anyway.

When I got to work I asked one of my employees to work on a problem file and she told me she would not.  I did not react well to being told no.  I felt this red hot rage rush up my body from the soles of my feet through the top of my head until it consumed me.  I hung up on her and then took a walk to calm down.  My reaction was totally out of proportion to the infraction and  my boss had to talk me down.  Darn employees anyway.

After work my husband met me for dinner before we went to the hospital to visit Aunt V.  Some little girl in the next booth was laughing a lot and loud and I wanted to crawl over the seat and strangle her.  Totally ruined the dinner.  Darn little kids anyway.

By the time we got to the hospital I could hardly wait to get away again, as if I could not stay in my own skin.  Darn noisy, smelly hospitals anyway.

I’ve been nominated to serve on an advisory committee to monitor some truck stuff and I need to send in my resume and a couple of other documents.  I needed to get that together tonight and I couldn’t find my resume on my laptop.  Eventually we found it on the desktop computer, and husband emailed it to me.  Then I couldn’t figure out how to get it to a place I could edit it.  Then I did get it edited but couldn’t figure out how to save it.  Eventually I just sent it the way it was.  Close enough.  Darn technology anyway.

While I was looking for my resume, searching through documents stored on my laptop, I came across the rough draft of a (very) short story.  I have no recollection of writing it.  It’s pretty good.  It might have been a dream I had.  Or not.  Maybe I didn’t write it.  But how else would it be there.  It’s not like me to copy something into a document.  And there are parts of it that seem like something I might write.  But I don’t remember this story at all.  Darn memory anyway.

One of my college roommates emailed me earlier today looking for the email of another college roommate.  An hour ago I sent her  the information, cc’ing the roommate she was looking for.  I thought.  But just as I hit send I realized that the cc was actually for one of our community band librarians…whose name is not remotely similar to my college roommate.  So then I had to email her and tell her to ignore the totally confusing and irrelevant email and resend the original email to the appropriate party.  Darn it all anyway.

My brain seems to belong to someone else.  A much older and extraordinarily confused someone else.   I’d like to exchange it please for the one that really belongs to me.  Or at least for a newer model.  This one seems to be wearing out.

I’m going to bed.  I hope tomorrow makes more sense.

I have my doubts.


Katie here

Hello everybody!

Hello everybody!

Hey you guys!  I bet you’ve been missing ME.  ME ME ME ME ME ME…oh wait. I get carried away sometimes but you know it’s all about me.  My Mama has been soooooo busy that I hardly ever see her.  And when she comes home from work she’s usually too tired to play.  But I make her play anyway.  She can’t ignore me….not me!  I don’t give up either.  I have an endless supply of toys to drop at her feet.  And while she’s at work I practice the BIG EYES and sharp whine so that I can make her crazy when she finally shows up.

Guess what?  It works!  And for the small fee of a few dog biscuits I can teach all of you doggies the skill set.  Oh wait.  You say you already  have that down?  Well!  Doggies rule!

So anyway….Mama and I are going to do a big dog show this weekend.  On Sunday we’re going to try to get our Advanced Rally title!  Mama says she’s stressed again.  Sigh.  I don’t know why she gets like this.  It’s just another day to spend watching people and doggies do stuff.  I like to go to these, and when we’re in the ring I watch my Mama very carefully.  If she can just read all those crazy signs correctly I promise to do what she asks.  So it’s all up to her.

Me?  I’m just having a good time with my Dad while my Mama is at work.  And I’ve been dreaming about Mama and me going camping next spring.  It’s almost spring, right?  Well it should be.  After all I’m the princess…and I decree it’s almost spring!

Cause it’s all about me.  Yes it is.



Imported Photos 01015It’s December.  Christmas is around the corner.  Everyone seems to be excited but I’ve been feeling disconnected from it all.  With no children and no special plans for the holiday, no shopping or cooking to do I haven’t felt empathetic while listening to the young mothers at work talk about sales and gifts and recipes and travel plans.

Today contained a bad commute to work in a downpour, a bad morning at work filled with big problems, a lunch hour spent with truck safety stuff and studying rally signs, a long afternoon trying and failing to get caught up, then a quick drive to band rehearsal where we started out playing terribly and irritating the director.   A typical and exhausting day.

But we’re practicing Christmas music for our concert next week.  And Christmas music is hard to resist.  As the rehearsal wore on we started to sound better.  People settled in.  The director smiled a little bit.  The muscles in my  neck relaxed.  No one minded going past 9 p.m. as we worked out a particularly difficult passage.  People stuck around afterward getting organized for the concert.

On the drive home I sang along with the radio – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”  and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer.”  I enjoyed the Christmas lights in the neighborhoods I drove through.  Coming down my street I saw that my husband had turned on our holiday lights for me.

I smiled as walked in the door; Katie was excited to see me and husband seemed happy too.  All in all it was a good day.  It’s December, Christmas is right around the corner and the magic of music connected me to the season. Finally.

So get out there an enjoy the season everyone.  And my best advice is to turn on the radio while you’re out.  I bet you find yourself singing along.

Happy Holidays everyone.  Happy Holidays.


Contemplating too much

The sidewalk last week.

I got out of the office for about 30 minutes today at lunch.  We’ve been so busy, but it was jean day and I was already wearing running shoes…so no excuses not to get my walk in.  Most of the week I’ve been trapped in my cubicle.

As I walked (with camera of course) I noticed how much the color has faded since my walk earlier this week,and certainly since last week’s walks.

Trees reaching for the last bit of warmth.

Still, it was pretty.

I was thinking about how stressed I am at work, and how busy I am there and outside of work.   I’m headed to Washington next week for a couple of days to do a little truck safety stuff.  And I’ve registered Katie for a Rally trial near the end of the month, a couple of days before the community band’s first concert.

Small groves of trees watch me walk by.

Someone at work, learning I’d be out of the office for a couple of days next week, wanted to know how I did it…he said every time he talked to me I was off doing something else.  And a couple weeks ago Bruce’s uncle asked me if I was doing too much.  Something to think about I guess, and it’s not like I haven’t considered letting some stuff go before.

Walking and thinking.

But still.  All these extras are the joyful aspects of life.  Who could give up that moment during a concert when it all comes together and something beautiful emerges?  So few people get to experience that.

And when Katie sits at attention next to my left ankle waiting expectantly, and moves seamlessly with me as I call “HEEL!”and pivot to the right, all the while grinning at me…well…who wants to give that up?

Trees and clouds shot with the ‘dramatic’ setting.

And the opportunity to go to DC and make a tiny bit of difference, to know your efforts and those of your family and friends have saved lives.  Well.  It’s not possible to give that up.  At all.

Looking for answers.

In the end I finished my short walk with no solution.  It’s not the extras I want to walk away from.  It’s the work that consumes me for so many hours each day.  But I know I have to wait my turn for retirement.  Mom used to tell me that when I complained about work.

Ok.  I’ll wait.  But I’m making a list of stuff I want to do once I have my freedom.  And it’s getting pretty darn long.

Walking toward the future.



I rise from bed before the alarm after a restless night.  I’ve dreamed what could be the dramatic first scene in a book filled with the terror of survival.  The idea for a book if I were an author.  But I don’t like those kinds of books, call them scary and rush through the worst descriptions of fear.

No time for Katie this morning, I’m behind.  A little belly rub as I wake her from sleep.  She trots to the guest room where I have hung today’s work clothes.  She hops on the bed hoping for a little nap.  No time baby, no time.  I am behind.

I’m behind.  Behind, behind, behind pounds in my head, pounds under the conscious efforts getting ready for work.  Behind.  I remember the details of my dream as I’m in the shower.  No time to think about the dream.  No time.  I’m behind.

A quick shower, no time to linger in the warm steamy water.  I’m behind.  Katie curls up on the rug.  She has time.  Drying off I am glad my hair curls whether I mess with it or not.  No time.

Last night’s rehearsal went poorly.  I need to practice.  “You are all adults.” the conductor said.  “We don’t have time to work out the wrong notes here”   There are only four rehearsals  until our concert.  We don’t have time.  I am behind.

Work is overwhelming.  Hundreds of emails, problems.  Short staffed. Cranky people including me.  No time to stretch, relax the shoulders, take a deep breath.  I worked on Sunday and now I am behind.   I think of the problems I left on my desk as I rushed to band last night.  If I just move faster maybe I’ll be less behind.

I strap time on my wrist this morning and think that no one wears a watch anymore.   I can’t stop time.  It is streaking past me, falling into the abyss of the future.   I don’t know if I am the White Rabbit or Alice.

But I know that I’m behind.



It’s been a crazy busy few weeks at work with no end in sight.  There’s been even more stress lately as we’re short staffed.  People are are sick, on vacation and loaned to another department.  Yet the volume continues.  I need to find a way to get through the day without being overwhelmed.  Without getting angry.  Without getting kink in  my neck.

Message to the young lady in the blue Ford tailgating me on my commute to band practice tonight:  There are four lanes of traffic.  We’re all going the same speed.  There’s a car in front of me, one on either side of me.  Where did you want me to go?  When I could I moved one lane to the right, just to get out from in front of you.  You zoomed up behind the next car.  We were all going 75.  Why do you need to go faster?  I had a really bad day at work but just because you’ve got some sort of death wish doesn’t mean I want to go with you.

Rehearsal tonight was grueling.  We’re still sight reading pieces while we figure out what we’ll play for the Halloween concert.  Some pretty strange stuff.  Some really difficult stuff.  Some strange and difficult stuff.  Two hours nonstop.  At 8:50 p.m. the conductor stopped and started talking about the season concert dates.  We figured we were done and began to relax.  Then with only a few minutes left she asked us to read one more piece.  And as we were sighing and pulling the piece out of our folders she said “You may  have noticed that this arrangement is written a half step lower than the original composition.”  My stand mate and I both said sarcastically and at the exact same time – “Yea, we noticed that.” and then we both looked at each other and burst out laughing.  We laughed so hard that we were crying.  We laughed so hard that we missed the first 16 bars of the piece of music.  We giggled through the whole thing.  It wasn’t even that funny.  Guess you had to be there.

After a long day and a bad commute, a exhausting rehearsal, it was good to end the day with laughter.

Yes it was.


Went for a walk

The smell of leaves, simultaneously dry and damp, takes me back to my walks to grade school almost fifty years ago.

Robins pull dry fruit from the crab apple trees.

Children are playing across the street in the school yard.  Girl in Pink, obviously the leader of all Girls in Pink points finger at girl in Not Pink:  “We won’t play with you if you keep doing that!

House wrens swarm up from goldenrod seeds along the bank of a rain swollen creek.

The sky toward the city is glowing as if the sun is setting in mid afternoon.

The clouds ahead are low, gray and in waves, as if the ocean has turned upside down and frozen solid.

The sidewalk at my turning point beckons for me to continue on, but there is too much to do back in my beige cubicle so I turn around.

Past the playground again.  The girl in Not Pink is sitting near the teachers.  The whistle blows and all the children run toward the school.

A worn out orange basketball sits on the sidewalk just ahead of me.  I lob it back over the fence into the playground.

Back past the woods where lots of golds and reds are still glowing deep in the protected interior.

Something runs along the leave covered floor beneath the trees sounding larger than it actually is.

A runner dressed in purple approaches from behind, flat footed feet slapping the sidewalk.

Ears are cold.

I climb up the three flights of stairs to my beige cubicle.



Lucky to be working

Last night I worked at a job fair my company was sponsoring.  We’re so busy that we’re desperate for more employees.  And, as I remember from going to job fairs during my year of unemployment, there are plenty of people that are desperate for work.  Especially full time permanent work.  Paying a decent wage and providing benefits.

As I sat at my table watching a steady stream of people coming in, clutching their resumes with hope in their eyes, I remembered the job fair I attended last summer.  It was for people over 50 and there were hundreds of us waiting in line before it opened.   Last night my eyes gravitated to those people my age, over 50, those hoping against hope that they had the skills we needed.  Those with years of experience but trying to look youthful, technical, engaged and relevant.

As I interviewed people, I was looking for specific skills because we’re too busy to spend much time training.  We need people that can jump right in and produce.  Sadly what I heard too often was vague descriptions of generic skill sets.  These were people that certainly could learn the job, but didn’t know it right now.  Or worked in the industry long ago before times changed.

Which made me realize, totally realize right down to my toes, how lucky I am that the bank welcomed me back.  Because once upon a time, not so long ago, I was that over 50 person who worked in the industry a long time ago before times changed.  They were willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, and I’m doing my best every day to give them back everything they expected.  And more.

Last night?  I found two people that might fit into our group.  One was older, one was younger.  We’ll see how it all turns out.

I hope the rest of them find their permanent jobs soon.  I wish I could have adopted them all.