Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It's 2:22 on Christmas Day as I write this. Christmas has so far been a lovely, laid-back day.

Chuck, Melanie and I took Nick to visit his other grandparents yesterday -- a day spent in the car for the most part, long and tiring, but worth it for what we accomplished.

I love our Christmas. Tonight, we'll go to Melanie's house to celebrate Michael's birthday. A few years ago, he offered to cook his own birthday dinner with British foods, and that quickly became a holiday tradition. We will celebrate our formal family Christmas in a couple of days. I find I can always procrastinate making the home-made gifts that are part of that celebration to the last minute, no matter when it occurs.

Gotta go -- work to do, fun to have. Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I've written a small book called "Miss Brown on Leadership: 13 Common Sense Principles to Increase your Effectiveness." (Miss Brown is the psuedonym of my dog, a Chocolate Labrador Retreiver otherwise known as Nestle)

The book is a lighthearted look at the people skills my experience tells me so many leaders don't cultivate adequately or make use of often enough. They always have reasons, usually "I'm too busy," or "That stuff is a waste of time." But my own personal belief is that businesses everywhere suffer as a result.

I hope to publish the little book using Lulu, and post it here on this blog. It's been a learning experience for me, so far, and will continue to be, I'm sure.

I continue my Right Management work seeking another job. I have two great resumes now, one focused on communication, the other on organizational development. My next task is to build a self-marketing plan, and so far, I'm procrastinating nicely!

I enjoyed dinner last week with three friends from my former work. I loved being with them, but listening to them gripe about things they experience made me glad I was no longer there.

10 inches of snow blankets the ground outside. It's been bitterly cold. Nothing is lovelier, though, than a Miscanthus Sinesis (ornamental grass) with its base covered in snow. I've enjoyed looking at mine when I go outside for a brief foray into the deep freeze.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The woes of procrastination

Winter roared in this weekend with a constantly changing storm that included sleet, ice, snow, rain, fog and wind. My huge pile of ground up leaves in my yard -- intended to be piled on beds and around shrubs and other plants for winter protection and soil enrichment -- is now frozen, making it much more difficult to work with.

Other undone jobs: hoses and tools to put away, winterizing roses, cutting back peonies and more. I'm hoping for a warm spell so I can get outside and get these things done!

It's so easy to procrastinate when it's warm and cozy inside!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

On Work

Wednesday of this week will mark my fourth full week away from DTE Energy.

It surprises me to say this, but I don't miss it. I think of it quite a lot, imagining the people I know there and recognizing all over again that I'll likely never see most of them again. I feel sad about that, but I still don't miss work itself.

I asked my husband about that. His response: "Could it be that you were doing things that were not fulfilling? Could it be that you're enjoying the things you're doing now more?"

The shape of my new life to come is still shrouded in mist. But I am willing to wait, taking one day at a time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Umm, umm good!

It's the day after Thanksgiving. We had a great holiday. Everyone contributes, and that makes it easier. I needed more cooking capacity, though.

The food was yummy. I bought a free-range unfrozen turkey for the first time in my life, and everyone liked it. "This is the best turkey I've ever eaten," said one of my sons-in law. As always, we had too much food -- but each daughter got to take home some leftovers. It all worked out.

This was Ava's first Thanksgiving, and it was a delight to have her here. Cranberry sauce was the food of choice for her, eaten after she smashed it between her fingers. One hand touching her head made a post-dinner bath necessary!

Our table is as full as it can be. The next grandchild will make a children's table impossible to postpone longer.

After dinner, we had a good time playing games -- Rummikub and Moods. Buster, our small-dog-sized cat, ended the Rummikub game when he came and lay down in the middle of the table! The high point of Moods was Jason having to say, in an angry tone, "Damn, I'm good looking!" We need a new game for Christmas. Any suggestions for good ones?

The Lions lost yesterday. Tennessee plays Kentucky tomorrow. If they win, they'll be the East SEC champions.

Time to put the Christmas tree up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday morning, early, November 17, 2007

It's been a good week. C attended a LEAD institute in Ann Arbor and so didn't have to drive to Sterling Heights except one day. A nice change for him.

I attended my Right Management orientation this week. Right Management is a service offered me by DTE Energy, my former employer. I get three months of access to career transition workshops, counseling, help with my resume and more. I also took some career assessments, which told me that I need to work in a place where creativity is valued. It classified me as a "planner." The service is a good one, and I am looking forward to future workshops and learning. My next two workshops are the first week in December.

On Wednesday, I stayed with Ava in Monroe, as she has been struggling with croup this week.

I also had an interview with a small eLearning company. I really liked the woman who runs it, Megan Torrance, but I believe I am quite overqualified for the position she's looking to fill. It would have been an interesting twist, though, to move from communication to developing eLearning modules. I'll hear something back after Thanksgiving, she said, and I believe she will contact me, no matter what. She reminded me of Irene Dimitri at DTE.

Nick is here. He came to help Chuck start on their joint Christmas project. As always, nice to have him around. We had fun on the way up choosing possible careers from a group of four, the way I did on my career assessment. Holly also spent the night, because she worked a 16-hour shift yesterday and is working 8 hours today.

Next week, I have lunch with old work friends on Monday, gardening class on Tuesday, and scrapping with my girls on Wednesday. Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving.

As Ron May, a leader at my former workplace, used to say, "Life's good."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday summary

Sunday, November 11

Yesterday was a college football Saturday. Tennessee handily defeated Arkansas, and now, despite their terrible early start, they have a chance to be the SEC East champions. That is, if they beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the weeks ahead.

Other scores of note: Michigan lost to Wisconsin, and Illinois defeated Ohio State, in a grand upset.

I can scarcely believe I've become a football fan, but I have. It's actually quite an interesting game -- and watching the athleticism of some of the players never hurts!

Otherwise we did little else -- except visit Home Depot and finally, finally get my dahlia tubers in storage. I also helped C edit an article for his company newsletter while the runners ran, the kickers kicked, and the announcers talked. Oh, and I finished reading a P.D. James mystery, Innocent Blood. Good book, about an adoptee who learns that her birth mother was a murderess.

So far, retirement has been good. I left another job once, teaching, and I felt a tremendous grief when I did. This time, I expected to feel a similar grief, but I did not. I have not shed a tear, and everyday, I think, "Thank goodness I don't have to make that long drive (33 miles) today!" Exactly what opportunities lie ahead for me remains to be seen. I do miss certain people, but not the job itself.