Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being kind IS everything

I need to go run 30 miles or something because I have a lot of pent up rage, anxiety, stress and sadness that I need to release. I really wish I could take an entire day off to clean. Man I love cleaning when I am stressed out. I want to clean the baseboards and windowsills. I want to clean under the fridge. I want to clean the garage. I just need things clean!!!
I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping. My skin is itchy and my shoulders and neck hurt. Work is crazy and I just kind of want to call everyone an asshole, because a lot of people around me are. You know what it is?? A lot of people just don't care. They don't care about anyone or anything other than the reflection in their mirror and I am not in the mood to pretend that that is OK.
Good luck, everyone. Something is shifting in the world and we all need to be a lot nicer to one another. Help someone today. Ask what you can do. Talk to your neighbor. Talk to your coworker. Be kinder than normal. Be a friend. Stop taking and start giving. Make someone smile. Clean something. Clean your thoughts. Clean your pants. Clean your car. Clean your kitchen. Clean the world.
Being kind to your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and strangers is REALLY all we need to do. We are all connected. Even that person you don't like or think is so different than you--that person is more like you than you want to admit. BE NICE!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Learning to respond to praise and criticism

I loved this article and just have to share it! I struggle with taking things personally. I struggle with feeling like I have to be "nice" even when someone doesn't deserve my nice. Don't give more criticism to women, believe me, we're already tougher on ourselves than necessary.  

Learning to Love Criticism: By TARA MOHR

A NEW study by the linguist and tech entrepreneur Kieran Snyder, done for Fortune.com, found two differences between workplace performance reviews given to men and women.

Across 248 reviews from 28 companies, managers, whether male or female, gave female employees more negative feedback than they gave male employees. Second, 76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.
The study speaks to the impossible tightrope women must walk to do their jobs competently and to make tough decisions while simultaneously coming across as nice to everyone, all the time. But the findings also point to something else:

If a woman wants to do substantive work of any kind, she’s going to be criticized — with comments not just about her work but also about herself. She must develop a way of experiencing criticism that allows her to persevere in the face of it.
And yet, many women don’t have that tool kit. In my coaching practice and training courses for women, I often encounter women who don’t voice their ideas or pursue their most important work because of dependence on praise or fears of criticism.
Many women are aware of this problem. “I know I need a thicker skin, but I have no idea how to get it,” one woman, a consultant to small businesses, said to me.
Criticism stings for all of us, but women have been socialized to not rock the boat, to be, above all else, likable. By the time a girl reaches adolescence, she’ll most likely have watched hundreds of films, television shows and advertisements in which a woman’s destiny is determined not by her own choices but by how she is perceived by others. In those hundreds of stories, we get the message: What other people think and say about us matters, a lot.

There’s another, deeper factor that informs women’s relationship to criticism and praise. For centuries, women couldn’t protect their own safety through physical, legal or financial means. We couldn’t rely on the law if our safety was threatened. We couldn’t use our own money to escape or safeguard ourselves and our children, because we could not own property. Being likable, or at least acceptable to stronger, more powerful others, was one of our primary available survival strategies. For many women around the world, this is still the reality, but all women inherit the psychological legacy of that history. Disapproval, criticism and the withdrawal of others’ approval can feel so petrifying for us at times — life-threatening even — because for millenniums, it was.
Add to this history what we see in our time: Powerful women tend to receive overreactive, shaming and inappropriately personal criticism. Kirsten E. Gillibrand’s colleagues in the Senate making comments about her weight. Christiane Amanpour being blasted for expressing even a hint of anger about the deaths of children in Syria. Hillary Rodham Clinton for not looking well rested enough while circling the globe. In our Internet age, this criticism often also becomes vulgar, sexualized and angry.
In the context of these influences, what allows women to become free of concerns about the reactions they or their work will provoke? I’ve found that the fundamental shift for women happens when we internalize the fact that all substantive work brings both praise and criticism. Many women carry the unconscious belief that good work will be met mostly — if not exclusively — with praise. Yet in our careers, the terrain is very different: Distinctive work, innovative thinking and controversial decisions garner supporters and critics, especially for women. We need to retrain our minds to expect and accept this.
There are a number of effective ways to do this.
  1. A woman can identify another woman whose response to criticism she admires.
  2. In challenging situations, she can imagine how the admired woman might respond, and thereby see some new possible responses for herself.
  3. It can be helpful to read the most negative and positive reviews of favorite female authors, to remind ourselves of the divergent reactions that powerful work inspires.
  4. Women can also benefit from interpreting feedback as providing information about the preferences and point of view of the person giving the feedback, rather than information about themselves.

In other words, a negative reaction from five investors doesn’t tell a woman anything about the quality of her business idea or her aptitude for entrepreneurship; it just tells her something about what those investors are looking for.

And if those five investors love her pitch? That also doesn’t tell her about her merit as an entrepreneur; it tells her about what they are looking for in an investment. In other words, feedback is useful because it provides insight about the people we want to reach, influence and engage. With that reframing, women can filter which feedback they need to incorporate to achieve their aims, without the taxing emotional highs and lows.
When a woman is being held back by fear of a particular criticism or paralyzed by a harsh criticism received in the past, she can also turn inward and ask herself, “Does that criticism in some way mirror what I believe about myself? When and why did that negative self-concept arise? Does it reflect the truth?”
If a woman feels petrified of being told she’s not smart enough, for example, she may hold that doubt about herself.

If she feels horribly wounded by criticism about her appearance, she most likely carries feelings of shame about her body.

As she sees the roots of her beliefs and replaces them with a more accurate view of herself, she can free herself from the personal impact of the criticism.

Women today inhabit a transitional historical moment. We have tremendous new freedoms and new opportunities, but the legacy of a very different past is around us and inside us. Learning to respond to praise and criticism — without getting hooked by it — is for most of us, a necessary rite of passage.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Proud day for Erik!!

We've been working with Erik on riding his bike a bit each weekend. Yesterday, he told Pedar, I'm going to ride today. He didn't even wait for Pedar to put his tennis shoes on so he could run along side him. He jumped on his bike and rode circles in the driveway. Then, he took off down the street with Casey!
Beautiful day yesterday. We are moving Margery and Rita today. We are going to miss waking up with this little cutie pie. They won't be far away though, just downtown.

Friday, September 26, 2014

You only fight, when you care.

At lunch today with my friend we were talking about arguing with friends and family. She said, "You really only fight with the people you really love, because if you stop fighting, it means you don't care as much."

I never thought about it that way, but she's right. We fight with those we are intimate with, those that we have a connection. If someone cares enough to tell you how they feel and you don't reciprocate with your own feelings, then you probably don't really care about the relationship. If you don't want to do the work to make things better, you don't really care.

A lot of people say that relationships shouldn't be hard, and to a point I agree, but I think what isn't being said is that relationships shouldn't be abusive, but they might be hard. Working at a relationship just means you care. One person cannot fix a relationship, the energy and effort has to be reasonably equal or it won't get better.

I have a lot of personal baggage that I brought into my relationship with Pedar. We work hard at communicating and taking care of one another. The first few years of our relationship were damn hard. We didn't agree on a lot of things, but we loved one another enough to work REALLY hard so we both could be happy. Pedar likes to avoid conflict. I don't like to avoid anything. I know that ultimately if I stop having hard conversations, I will stop having meaningful conversations and ultimately my relationships will not mean anything. I don't want that.

Cheers to healthy LOUD conversations. Speak, even if your voice shakes. What do you have to lose? Better YET! What do you have to gain?????

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lead with compassion

It is SOO easy to talk about how others should be living, working and being. Do I really think I have it all figured it out? Do I really know WHY someone made the choices they made? Do I really know what's happening inside their heads or hearts? Shouldn't I stop my righteous ways and place myself in their shoes before I jump to a conclusion? Can I not be more compassionate? Even if I disagree that they maybe/should of/or could have chosen differently? 
Yeah, I'm speaking from experience. And yeah, this past month has been hard. Have you lived as an adult with your sibling? Can you imagine all the shit that has come up?  
Being a twin is really hard. We were compared to one another, and still are, endlessly. "She's prettier, smarter, taller, kinder, funnier, cooks better, etc." Every time we meet people for the first time, something like the above is said. People say the screwiest things to twins and about twins. No fucking wonder we fight. Because we are more alike than anyone else on this earth, I think when we make different choices, it is even harder to accept.  In a sick way, I think we want to be more like one another--and we are very different women. But we are both wonderful and kind women. My way, is only right for me. Even if we think we know someone, we really don't. We really only know ourselves. Being loving and compassionate means putting my agenda down. I just want my sister to know she is loved. I love you, Margery. We're going to be OK. We started this fun ride together, let's just keep on trucking.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mt. Lassen

Casey and Pedar are having a great time!
They hiked a ton today! Hope the kids are so tired they fall fast asleep!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let's do this!

After school on Thursday, Erik went to his and Casey's room, locked the door and went to sleep. Margie had picked up the boys with Rita and was alarmed at his behavior so she unlocked the door and found him fast asleep. He slept for over three hours. When he woke up he had a fever and was nauseous. I stayed home Friday with him, and to help distract us from this bug, we made a quick trip to one of my favorite places, POW nursery. I quickly filled a cart with some perennials and loaded the kids back in the car.
I think it has been over a year since I've been back. We also stopped at Sloughhouse and got some pumpkins and fresh fruit and veggies. There is still so much cleaning to be done to our yard, that planting is still really far away. We also need to put in some pipe, we have no sprinklers, which means we have no drip system, not good for DRY Sacramento.
I planted everything on Friday night before dinner. Nana and Papa brought over Liam and Lila over to play and dinner. They had those two over for a sleepover. We took all five kids on a walk and let them play around the neighborhood for awhile.
The next morning, I took the kids to the Heart Walk for WHA at William Land Park and Pedar painted houses in Oak Park for Wells Fargo.
Over 100 people came out to Oak Park to paint eight houses and landscape and repair fencing for Neighborworks.
Pedar came home covered in paint, but thrilled with how much they got done. Later that evening, we went to the Autumn Equinox at Soil Born Farm. It was a beautiful event.

This morning I ran 8 miles. I am preparing for the Urban Cow half marathon on October 5. I can't say I've really prepared for this run. I have had so much going on lately with work and Margie and Rita living with us--but being as slow as I am, I can do it. I can finish this damn race. I will do it for Bob. If he is running, than lord knows I'm running! 
Pedar and Casey leave in the morning for a camping trip to Mount Lassen with Casey's fourth grade class. They are staying two nights/three days. We got them all prepared this afternoon for their trip!! Erik and I will miss them but I know they will have a blast! Hope everyone has a great week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Work it out Wednesday

I know I am not alone with feeling stressed from lack of time at both home and work. I LOVE knowing that a lot of my friends are enduring a similar path. I am not special. Some have it a A LOT worse than me and I am sending prayers of encouragement out to them. Some may have figured things out a bit better than I have, and I look to them for guidance. I just need to stay as positive as possible. I have to keep moving and keep working on what I need to work on. My wish for you and for me is that we are able to work through a lot of stuff today. Work it out. Work it out. We can do it!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Monday!

Took Erik to Kovar's on Friday for a field trip. It was really cool. Better than expected and the teachers were awesome.
Casey is going to start in band this week! He chose the trombone!! He is so excited.
Casey went to a sleepover on Saturday night. First the kids played lasertag--nothing like a 104 degree day to play in a hot box--yeah! Casey slept for maybe five hours-- he was a wreck on Sunday. 

Now I remember why sleepovers are dumb.

Erik and Casey chose their Halloween costumes and we are decorating this weekend!! Oh yeah!!
Erik is going to knock on the door and say, "I like warm hugs!" Me too, little buddy!!
We closed the weekend by celebrating my Dad's birthday.
The cousins had a GREAT time together.