Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pollyanna Day 30

This is it.  Day 30.  The final installment of Pollyanna.  I've enjoyed doing this, mostly as a way to use my writing muscles and keep them active.  I'm already trying to figure out a new writing project.  Stuff I hate, maybe?  The anti-Pollyanna?  We'll see.

The thing I'm feeling especially grateful for today is my workplace.

Great co-workers and the best boss ever.  Today I sat in a two-hour long meeting.  Most people that I work with, including my boss, know how I feel about meetings.  BLECH.  Can someone say "root canal with no anesthetic?"   But even as I'm sitting there longing to be...well...anywhere else...I can't help but look around the room and be oh so grateful for the people I get to work with every day.  When I first started there over a year and a half ago, they pretty much scared the tar out of me.  I had the highly presumptuous notion that they were all going to be very stuffy and hoity toity and--because they're all professors and PhD types, at a church-owned university, no less--I was sure they were all going to look down their noses at me (the divorced mom with a crapload of kids who wasn't smart enough to keep her butt in college in her twenties).

I don't usually delight in my own wrongness, but I'll happily eat my hat on this one.

I believe that I am blessed to work with some of the finest people I could ever hope to meet.  I love how genuinely kind and funny and hard working they are.  I mostly love how all of their little imperfections have made me feel right at home.  I'm thankful for a boss who has the patience of Job.  He's thrown me to the wolves, all the while letting me work out the kinks and have my learning experiences at his expense!  Every time I'm sure I'm going to be told I need to do better, I instead hear how grateful he is for my contributions and how I'm doing such a great job.  HUH?  I'm really glad he thinks so.  He must be off his meds.   He's been forgiving and understanding of my weaknesses, while acknowledging my strengths and helping me to find ways that I can put them to use in my job.  Who does that?  Certainly not anybody I've worked for in the past.

p.s.  I don't think he usually reads these, so to those of you who think this is a suck-up post, think again.   That stuff is much more effective in person anyway.   (Oh by the way, Dr. R, did you enjoy the cold, fizzy beverage I brought you earlier today?  Good!)

So I end the Pollyanna experiment on this note:  I have an awful lot of little things to be thankful for every day.  There really are a bunch more than I even got the chance to name here.  But for now, I'm done.  At least until soccer's over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pollyanna Day 29

Today I came home, changed into grubby clothes, pulled my hair back in a ponytail, and started on laundry, dishes, and picking up messes.  Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Makeup.   Ever seen those pictures that sometimes get sent around via viral emails?  The ones of celebrities without their makeup?  It's hard to believe that people can look so incredibly different with just a little foundation and mascara.

Believe it.

One time, many years ago, I was sitting in the living room putting on my makeup.  I did this every morning, because I had three sisters, and there was a delicate schedule to which we had to adhere.  It involved rotating through the showering, blow drying, and makeup application processes.  By the time I was ready to put on makeup, I had to be OUT.

So I'm sitting on the couch with my handheld mirror, completing the final steps of the transformation process, when I move the mirror to one side and see my kid brother on the other side, chin resting on hand, staring at me.  He was observing this process rather intently.  I gave him the wide-eyed, jerk of the head, non-verbal, "WHAT???!"  He says to me, "Wow.  You look really different with your makeup on."  I say, "Yeah, I know," then continue primping.  He continues, "No, I mean, you look REEEEEEALLY different with your makeup on.  Bethany and Jenna and Alyssa (my sisters), they look KINDA different with theirs on, but you look REEEEALLY different."   Translation:  "Lucky for you somebody invented makeup."

Baby brothers are such jerks.

But not really.  He's right.  I am VERY thankful for makeup.  I'd like to be able to say that the unaltered me looks just like Ms. Locklear up there on the left, but that would be a bit on the generous side.   Were it not for the wonder of Maybelline and Cover Girl products, I'd walk around looking more like this guy:

Sadly, sometimes I do.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pollyanna Day 28

After a bit of an emotionally stressful day today--or maybe more like an ok day with some emotionally stressful moments--it felt good to come home and throw on these babies:

My Nikes.   Look at these ugly things.  They are dirty and dingy and worn out.  I bought them just under a year ago, I think.  They have been my companions through morning after morning of stinky, sweaty workouts.  They've been filled with sand and drenched with icy cold stream water and covered in mud as I've hiked my way around the Wasatch.  There is nothing cute or girly about them.   And I heart them.

I have a foot injury that nags me continuously.  These are the only shoes I can put on and wear morning til night and still be comfortable.  And I WOULD, if they weren't so hideous. One of these days they're going to give up the ghost and I'm going to be sad.  Really, really sad.  

But for now, they're my BFF's.  They're on my feet as we speak.  I worked out in them after work, wore them to the park, played badminton with the kids, then chased a few ducks around a pond.  I'll probably be wearing them till I crawl into bed tonight.   NOTE:  I put the "bad" in "badminton."  

I'm thankful for my tried and true companions.  They're with me through thick and...well...thick.  But I'm working on that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pollyanna Day 27

We didn't make it to church today, thanks to some conniving little children.

NOTE:  There's a lot of mormon-speak in this post.  If you're confused as you read, it's probably because you haven't been baptized...yet.  

Forgiving children.  Most Sundays, I dread going to church.  There, I said it.  Sitting for over an hour with four kids who know I can't beat them in public can be challenging, to say the least.  It takes every ounce of patience I have to get through the first half of church.  I rather enjoy the second half, since my children become the responsibility of others, and I get to sit quietly and learn about all my spiritual shortcomings in peace.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, "I just don't know how you do it."  My response is usually something like, "Uh, you don't want to know."   I won't lie.  It's not easy.  It's exhausting most Sundays.  But I don't go to be entertained or even comfortable.  I go because I need it and my kids need it.  And I'm clinging to the hope that one day, it's going to pay off.

So today, when I woke up and my oldest child was complaining of not feeling well, I nodded my disbelieving nod and urged her to continue getting ready for church.  Next thing I knew, my  next oldest child was on the couch saying she did not feel well.  After that, the oldest child was on the couch under a blanket complaining that she felt nauseous every time she stood up.  I wasn't happy about it, but I resigned myself to the fact that we were probably missing church today.

Sure enough, as soon as we were close to the church-is-almost-over mark, suddenly everyone was off the couch and dancing around the house...and hungry.   I made sure they knew how displeased I was at their trickery and how I didn't appreciate having to miss church for kids who were pretending to be sick.   Did I mention that I expressed my displeasure quite LOUDLY?  

A few minutes later, as I was working on a post for my other blog, I see my kids standing in the kitchen, whispering and busily doing something with small plastic cups and water and bread.   When I asked what they were doing, they told me they wanted to make it up to me, so they had planned to hold church at home to make me feel better.

Man, is their mommy a jerk.

They were even wearing Sunday clothes (see pic above) and had dressed Lucas in HIS Sunday clothes.  They told me they wanted to have "sacrament" (don't worry, we didn't do anything sacreligious or irreverent here).  They were going to have testimony meeting and have opening and closing prayers and songs.  They asked me to be their primary teacher and we had a short little lesson from the scriptures.

This was one of those moments that made me cry a little.  I'm thankful for good little kids who redeem themselves every now and then, even when it's really MOMMY who needs the redemption!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pollyanna Days 25 and 26

I'm still catching up from "missing" day 24.  So here's 25 and 26.

radKids.  I'm sure my friend Jen with one N will tell me that I'm writing the program name incorrectly, but I can live with it.  

Today my feisty little daughters graduated from a child safety/awareness program called radKids, which happens to be taught by my good friend, Jen with one N.   Graduation day consisted of each of the students using their newly acquired self-defense skills on a poor, poor man in a padded suit.   Nineteen kids total took their turn--twice--pummeling the "bad guy" as he tried to grab them.  The parents sat by and watched...and clapped...and he took hammer strikes and elbows to the face, knees to the groin, sweep kicks to the shins, and stomps to the feet.  He's gonna need a massage and a bubble bath tonight.  I'd be willing to bet he's soaking as you're reading this.

This program rocks.  It sounds really, REALLY silly, but each time those kids would get into their radKids defensive stance and scream at the top of their lungs, " STAY BACK!!!!,"  I would get goosebumps.  What a powerful thing to hear from a group of 5-12 year old kids.  I thought the roof was gonna raise a few times.  If you haven't put your kids through this program yet, DO IT.  If you don't have this program yet where you live, find one like it, or get your police/sheriff's department to start one.  Your child's safety and empowerment are more than worth it.   Thanks, Jen with one N.  You did a fantastic job.

Old friends.  I got a call from a former co-worker/friend of mine today.   I worked with him back in my Prudential days in Phoenix, which has been nearly 15 years or so now.  I guess maybe what I'm really thankful for is the wonder of Facebook and other social media that make it possible for people to reconnect where they otherwise may not have been able to do so.    When you have friendships in junior high, high school, even college and into your twenties, you don't realize how superficial those connections often are, simply because of lack of maturity and life experience on the part of one or both persons.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with some of my old friends and discovering what it's like to have mature, meaningful interactions with them.  We're not chit-chatting about cute boys or the band we went to see the other night, or those shoes we simply MUST have (well, not ALL the time, anyway).   We relate to one another on completely new levels because of all the growing up and real-life stuff we've done over the years.

Thanks so much for calling me today, Ims!  It was great to hear your voice!  And thank YOU, Facebook, for making it possible!