When You’re Irritated, Go Outside

No matter how many times I try to convince myself not to care to much about my work, I keep doing it, and the way things are set up now, I really need to just roll with the changes. But, I’ll try to do that again, next time.

Goldie is rolling with the changes. Keep on rolling, keep on rolling, as REO Speedwagon advised.

So, today I made a point of going outside and enjoying a relatively cool August day with the animals. I did some excellent breathing, then went out to see how the horses were doing.

What, I’m supposed to be rolling? Usually you make me stop!

I got Drew out and tried to groom him. Oh my gosh, he, too, had been rolling. In the sand. While sweating. He was now an orange horse. He had clay-like clods in his mane that would not brush out. I got my exercise in!

I don’t know what she’s talking about. I look just fine…from a distance, backlit.

We went for a walk, which was fine until Harvey took off after him and he bolted away. Drew is very pretty when running. And he waited for me. I took a deep breath and we finished our walk. Then we went in the round pen, and Drew totally made up for running off. He has improved so much! At least I feel like I’ve taught him something. He slows down, stops, turns, and comes to me when asked.

I’m not so bad. Also, Fiona’s empty dish tastes better than mine.

Then I fetched Apache, who was much less filthy but more bothered by flies. I see why Drew was rolling in the sand. Both got fly spray, so they will be better for a few days. I put Apache in the round pen to see if he’d move better after some pain killer the night before.

Yep. He’s trotting.

He acted like normal Apache. He trotted around and around until I asked him to stop. He turned around when asked. He just kept going. I think maybe it’s just he abscess growing out.

Look, you can almost see my ribs!

We had a good walk, and when he started wanting to eat every time I stopped, I practiced starting and stopping after different numbers of steps. That made him think, and his head stayed up.

My head is up, geez.

Sara has me reading a depressing article on sugar in grass. It makes me feel doomed at slimming him down again until winter. I can’t let him out only between 9 pm and 3 am. Sigh.

I can’t help it. I was born this way. Or mismanagement. Or something. This is my bad angle!

By the time I did all this, I felt better. Keeping myself centered to work with the horses helped a lot! Animal therapy. I’d say it’s free, but horses are not cheap.

Donkeys are cute and cheap!

What I Learned at Work Today

There was a speaker at work today, part of our women’s employee resource group. She was a very interesting woman named Lisa Eggerton, who has made a name of herself by being a leader in the software industry (she’s CMO of BigCommerce). Her talk was really just a chat with the two women with the most authority in the company, which is a wonderful thing right there.

Eggerton gave a lot of good advice, such as not over-volunteering and assuming positive intent, both things of which I am very fond. But one point she made was that when she wanted to make a change in her career path that wasn’t an obvious one, she had to let someone know about it. That made so much sense!

It occurs to me that I am doing a lot with diversity and inclusion at my Austin job, but I never went out and told any company leaders where my interests lie. So, thanks to the prompt in the talk today, I did mention it, aloud, to the two company leaders who led the discussion, and made an appointment to talk to another leader about it.

I’m apparently not the only one making hay while the sun shines

What can it hurt? Nothing happens all that quickly in the corporate world, so I have plenty of time to keep doing what I’m doing (currently making great content and ramping up new folks). Maybe I can get some additional volunteer DNI work, or maybe they’ll consider me if they develop a position like so many other companies have. At least I will have offered to contribute in whatever way I can.

Why do all this brave stuff? So my family can thrive along with me.

Still trying to have some fun, be brave, and do good work. That’s pretty much a recipe for a satisfying life. I think focusing on what I can do rather than what I’m unable to do is helpful, too.

It’s time to shine like a mottled tortoise beetle! Isn’t that thing cool?

Family Business Meeting

This is just cute. We had our monthly Hearts Homes and Hands board meeting this morning, which we hold in Lee’s office/our bedroom every time. What was cute was that we had to have so many supervisors

Fascinating business plan.

Right as we started, the upstairs dogs started barking. Why? Goldie was coming upstairs for the first time! She wanted to contribute!

I was lonely.

Or, actually, I think she wanted to be with her people. I particularly enjoyed it, because she sat with me, and I like having a big ole lapdog with me.

My lapdog from earlier this morning.

Our meeting went long, so eventually the dogs started their own meeting.

I move we adjourn.

Even Vlassic was in the house, and he came up until Penney growled. That’s at least progressing! In any case, the dogs made the people meeting much more fun. Now, off to mess with livestock some more.

Corporate Life. Not for Wimps. So, Sweat It Out.

Today was by far the hardest day in the almost 10 years I’ve been at my corporate job. I know perfectly well that reorganization and layoffs are part of the standard operating procedure, especially in a company that’s growing and acquiring companies. But it’s people who are involved.

Work is exhausting

So you just hurt when it happens to people on your team who you’ve worked with a really long time. That made today hard. We’re supposed to be agile and pivot and embrace change, and I do. It’s what I signed up for and why I get paid.

At least I made someone happy today. Apache got to play under the hose spray.

But, today I was sad for the two team members/friends who moved on today. They know it’s “just business,” but it’s always a shock. So, I’m sending everyone love and get a good new job vibes. At least jobs are out there!

I’ve been dealing with the situation, which includes rearranging teams, too, by going outside and sweating. I’ve been leveling out dirt, lifting heavy objects, and helping with simple tasks on the horse pens.

Ta da. Trough.

It’s really helped me deal with my frustration and feelings of powerlessness. Of course, I hold no illusions of power. I just want to good work and support my team, whoever it happens to be.

Stalls have rails

I’ll have my horses and livestock to get me working and exercising and feeling like a contributor to the planning of an enterprise.

Other trough. Mmm.

All will be well. Opportunities abound and we will all adapt just fine. Just, today was hard. So I sweated it out.

Joy and Affirmation

This will be a quick one, but I can’t help but share how happy I am with the work we’re doing at the Pride Employee Resource Group I help run at work. We just sponsored a Q&A session with a trans woman who’s been a legislative activist for trans rights, and also works in the high tech industry. I was a little concerned, because the speaker has been a friend of mine for almost as long as I’ve lived in Texas. I didn’t want her to have a bad experience or feel unwelcome.

I’ll just share some lovely plants from around the office to separate my gushing pargraphs. Hydrangea.

Far from it! My heart is full of joy, and I feel like at least one little part of the world is becoming a better place every day. I served as moderator and asked my friend questions that we’d come up with, plus some of the 75+ attendees also asked really thoughtful questions, from which we all learned a lot, including the speaker.

Rock rose

People shared their thoughts and experiences respectfully, but we also laughed a lot as we enjoyed just being people getting to know each other. I really feel affirmed, welcome in my workplace, and and genuinely pleased at the kindness I could feel coming from all those square black Zoom boxes.

Japanese maple

My friend re-iterated what I always say, and what certainly shone through during today’s discussion, which is once you get to know someone as a person and you find things you have in common with them, things like gender expression fade into the background.

Beautyberry

Yep. The world is not all bad and people are not all afraid of anyone who’s different. I will try to keep remembering moments like this.

My companion on my stroll. He or she did not move as I walked right under the tree three times.

Who Hates Changing Email Addresses?

Um, that would be everyone, right? I’ve known I’ve needed to do it for quite a while, since we downsized our real estate work and parted (as good friends) from our Hermit Haus Redevelopment partners. Eventually all that internet stuff will get retired, though I need to figure out a way to archive our blog and photos of our work.

My reward for boring as heck work.

I’ve never liked using Gmail but it’s the best option for right now. My presence at Hearts Homes and Hands is very minimal, since I’m not beloved in all parts of our community. I’m no longer too concerned about it. Life at the ranch is good, and that’s what counts! Anyway, I’d only use that email account for business.

Speaking of the ranch, this will grow up to be the arch going over our cattle guard or second gate. It’s happening!

Still, it has boggled my mind when I realize how many logins, sign-ins and account names are tied to your email address! I spent hours this morning changing things, and I’m nowhere near finished. But, it had to be done, and I certainly don’t have many expanses of unbooked time at home!

After I at least got my major accounts and lists switched over, I tediously went through my Gmail account and deleted spam and ads from 2015 until today. 20,000 plus emails. Fun times. I didn’t want to delete them all, since there might be personal email in there. Yep, my sister, my friend Pamela, and two others had been sending me things I never saw.

I’d rather have been at the pool!

Actually, that’s what prompted moving at this exact time. My sister, who is the latest person to say they are going to the Farm in Yorktown for a weekend and not returned, texted me to “check email.” Nothing like a cryptic text to get me concerned, you know? But I couldn’t find anything on my work or personal accounts. Was something wrong? Did I mess something else up? Finally I looked at Gmail. Whew. There was a message there. I’d forgotten to send some money in our confusing travel stuff.

All, right, I said, it’s time to start using that account and phasing the other one out. Once I figured out how to delete everything from a particular sender, it was only slightly unbearable. And at least I could look out at the ocean while deleting. It was fun mass deleting email from presidential candidates who won one and l0st another election. Quite a trip through time.

I’d rather have been in the ocean. Yes I went in. No jellyfish got me.

Now I have that account organized and set up to store email right. Still, I have to figure out what stuff I get on Hermithaus I want to keep getting. And I have to figure out why the new signature I made refuses to show up. This is why I didn’t want to embark on this task. Ugh

But, I’m at the beach, in the shade, and drinking a drink out of a bucket. And my ranch family is busy planning a swimming pool.

Everyone is saying my obligations can wait, so today is just Beach Day. Hope you’re doing well and handling what can be a hard weekend for some of us.

Evening Exploration

It was a long day of “working from beach” today, but it was fun doing my individual meetings on the balcony. I still have things to do, but I’m plowing through them, and some of the stuff is getting interesting.

I guess I’m relaxed

We had to leave for a while in the early afternoon, because they were going to turn the power off in the building for some test. We took that opportunity to visit the new and trendy Market Commons area, which is sort of like the Domain in Austin, but a bit prettier.

Dining spot.

Lee was not impressed, but I’d have a lot of fun with Kathleen or Anita there. The shopping looked excellent, and there were many nice places to eat. We had sushi, and it was fresh and interesting. My lemon roll was divine, and I also had a yellowtail ceviche in a ponzu sauce. The air was just right for outdoor dining, too.

Lemon roll.

Of course, Lee found numerous plants to be allergic to, especially the gorgeous plantings of jasmine. But hey, he’s not allergic to azaleas! He says if he lived a hundred years ago none of this would be bothering him, since he’d have died from some allergy in childhood. Cheery!

Lee wasn’t allergic to this palm flower.

When I finished working at 6, Lee wanted to go see small towns, so we drove on the inland road to Georgetown, SC. We passed many beautiful forests with hardwoods, Wild magnolias, and pines.

Speeding by woods

Much of it looked exactly like northern Florida from my childhood, including the many plantings of pines for harvest. All the big rivers and swamps we passed also made me feel at home.

Pine forest, thinned

As we approached Georgetown, Lee wondered if we were near the sewage plant. Nope, another memory from childhood blasted in and told me what I soon confirmed: there’s a large paper mill just outside of town. You can’t miss that smell.

Stinky but cool.

Other than that, though, Georgetown is beautiful, one of the oldest cities in South Carolina. It currently has a scary looking old steel mill as another industry.

Steel mill

But, as I read one of the information signs around the boardwalk, I recalled where I’d heard of this place. Not only was it a center for growing rice (as evidenced by the rice museum in town), but it was also an early indigo growing center! I’d read about it in the book on indigo I read last year.

And there are boats!

I must say, this is a gorgeous town, with a fixed-up downtown harbor area, a boardwalk, and many places to shop and eat. We had another outdoor meal, with a bonus of watching a Great Dane sit on a kid’s lap.

Both of these families own Great Danes, so the kid was fine with him. He just kept scratching the dog, and the dog kept smiling.

We are glad we will come back later for one of our boat rides (assuming I book them), so we can see more of the beautiful old homes and such.

This old house is a museum.

Lee and I both are excited about our upcoming adventures! We wish we had folks with us, but wow, there’s a lot going on!

Sunset in the rear-view mirror and reflected on our vehicle. Artsy.

Once again, I’m thinking of all my friends and family who have been undergoing treatments and surgeries and such. Healing wishes to you all.

News from Back at the Ranch and Seaside Sights

It’s a good thing folks back home sent me news, because I literally had meetings at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the books today. Luckily one got moved and a few of them were short, so I had time to breathe. And I snuck in some content creation, too. Go beach me.

News from the ranch ranges to worrisome to great. What’s worrisome is that Apache still isn’t 100% and Trixie the farrier/body worker isn’t sure why. Even on his extremely limited pasture, he’s managing to put on weight, too (still seems thin to me). Sara is taking good care of him, and even got to ride him. It turns out though, that Apache’s favorite object is now Sara’s back massager. Trixie used it on him, and according to Sara, he “melted.”

Happy horse time. More, Trixie, more!

We will figure out some way to get Apache’s diet right so he can feel okay again. That will be made better by the fact that I ordered a major ton of pipe yesterday, which will provide the foundations for our new world of fencing, pens, stalls, cattle working area, and expanded dog run (so the dogs can sit with us out front). This is going to be SO much work!

Look at all that pipe! And you can see dogs, too. Hi dogs!

Luckily we had the equipment for dealing with this stuff. We heard the Kubota tractor could not handle the weight of the pipe, so the front-end loader had to come to the rescue. We just knew that purchase was a good one.

I can handle anything.

We also hear that the dogs are having lots of fun “helping” out on the project. I can tell Harvey is having a good time!

I got to go for a ride.

Over here at the beach, we’d wanted to go back to Brookgreen, but I had too much work! I did get a moment to pick up a thank-you gift from Irina, the lady who helped us get more condo time. She is the first person I ever met from Moldova, and she was so impressed I’d heard of her home country, that she shared some of her wine with us. Who knew that Moldova was “the wine country?”

Can’t wait to try this, though I’d like to share it with friends and family.

I also got a tiny walk in between meetings, where I saw that workers were testing out some of the fancy new rides being set up near our condos. It looks like it will be a permanent installation amusement park, not a roving carnival. I will tell you this: I will not be getting on that roller coaster with a section that goes around and around in it.

Nope, not getting on that thing, ever.

It was really windy today, so we probably didn’t miss much not going anywhere to look at nature. Of course, I continued my hunt for natural beauty on Myrtle Beach, because I can’t help it. I found a rock with rainbow bubbles and a fresh little fish, soon to be seagull food.

But, the best thing we found were these jellyfish that washed up. They are just the most interesting creatures. It’s hard to believe they’re real when you look at them up close!

And now, it’s on to another evening of ocean watching, wine drinking, and eating delicious food (I made a huge piece of salmon last night, and seasoned it with crushed Doritos, since I’d forgotten to get any seasonings, and it was surprisingly tasty!).

We got to so many families enjoying themselves playing games together, got to watch a dog who couldn’t believe how lucky he was to find so much dirt to dig holes in, and even met a woman walking on the beach alone, wearing a tiara. It was her birthday, and she was rejoining her family in our building. I hope you are having fun enjoying the simple things, wherever you are.

From the Pit to the Pinnacle

Whew. This has been a weird-ass week. I was really pessimistic about work over the weekend, and Monday I found out some changes were happening, right when I was supposed to be gearing up to contribute to an initiative.

But, I wrote myself that perky pushback post, read some of my other messages to myself, and by gosh, I pushed back. I figured out a way to empower one part of my team, make their work more visible, and engage other folks to share their value.

I only had three half days to do this, and I required help, but it happened. One of my colleagues really stepped up to help, and between the two of us, we went from feeling defeated to feeling renewed. We could have just sat there in Eyore mode and moped, but no, we did something.

I was a little worried about the amount of initiative I took, but after enduring me excitedly outline my plans, my boss was impressed, not upset. I felt supported and validated. All it took was leadershipping, as we call it.

Knowing that I’ve developed the skills to pick myself up and start again validates the hard work I’ve put into becoming the person I’d always hoped I could be. You really do have to slog through the pits if you want to reach the pinnacle of your personal growth goals.

On to the next challenge.

By the way, we stayed at a hotel near Tyler, Texas last night. It’s known for its roses, so I had to take some pictures for the blog readers. The white ones even smelled good.

You Can Choose to Do Nothing or You Can Push Back

One of my activist friends, Jonathan K. Horstman, had a social action campaign a few years ago, focused on not just sitting around and watching our communities deteriorate. It was called [PUSHBACK] and I liked the idea and what his team was doing. While he’s off doing other great things in the community (as well as acting, doing music, and raising two precious children), I’ve been thinking about my own tendency to retreat when faced with pressure, setbacks, and lack of respect. What’s that gotten me so far? A big ole bag of seething resentment. That’s not helpful at all. I no longer want to retreat in a corner, because as Jonathan said:

So, yesterday, I took a bit of a blow, and decided that rather than sit around and stew about it, I’d put my energy into creating something good, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. That is not a new analogy. I did this once before when my team at La Leche League was deemed to be not embracing the new ways of working well enough. We just worked our asses off until we were told we were redundant. While I was sad, I was also proud of how hard we fought, how well we organized, and how respectfully we treated each other.

Nice shirt!

THAT is how I plan to treat my coworkers as we regroup and move forward. We will come up with a plan, do good work, and feel proud of ourselves, whether it’s acknowledged or not. I went from wanting to run and hide yesterday, to wanting to proudly push back and say we’re here, we are good at what we do, and we’re going to contribute!

I’ll be busy as a happy bee

There’s always more than one way to get things done, and it really helps to bear that in mind when you’re surprised by changes, re-prioritization, and such. It’s normal for that to happen, especially in the workplace, so you may as well, jump in, see where you can be of use, and find your fulfilment in doing work you’re proud of. That’s my goal! No more seething resentment when I don’t like how I’ve been treated. I’ll take it as an opportunity to find ways to win respect, at least within myself, because after all, other people’s opinions don’t define you, now do they?

Yes, I’ve been lecturing myself on Facebook, where there are cute graphics.
My coworker today was this beetle.

I hope my latest lecture to myself has been helpful. I enjoyed how Barbara said in a recent comment that she often needs to hear these things, too. Just like I need to periodically re-read Brene Brown, I need to periodically repeat things I thought I’d learned a long time ago. And that’s just fine!

What do you have to tell yourself frequently? I’d love some more pithy aphorisms!