Competition

My daughter is learning how to play soccer. Not only is she learning skills with the ball, she’s learning about teamwork and sportsmanship.soccer ball

She’s also beginning to learn how to compete well.

I think we must be born with the instinct to me. When we are little we “compete” with others for the same toy. When we grow up we sometimes “compete” with others for bigger toys. It can get ugly in either case. The toddler has a tantrum when the other toddler gets the toy. When the adult finds that someone else’s toy is bigger than his or hers, well they compensate by buying an even a bigger toy.

Competing poorly brings out the dark side in everyone.

I grew up in a generation of women where as young girls, we didn’t always know how to compete well. When it came to careers, women who were college graduates didn’t always automatically get the great sales job or entry-level management position that gave them upward mobility. It was not uncommon for these young women, including young women like me, to start out in administrative jobs so they could work their way up to an entry-level upwardly mobile job, whereas young men could bypass the admin job and could walk into the management trainee job, giving them more upward mobility. Sometimes because we women had to fight harder to get what we wanted, we would fight harder with each other. Instead of pulling each other up, there was a tendency to push each other out of the way.

I can think back on times in my life where I competed poorly. It didn’t happen often, but when was never pretty. Stomping on someone else, and going for the jugular just to get what you want, no matter what is just plain ugly. In my own experience, I never won as much when I played like that. I also didn’t like how I felt afterward, even if I did win. Everyone in the situation walks away angry or hurt, and the relationship is irreparably damaged. It’s not good.

Competing well is so much better. Competing well fosters long lasting relationships, and encourages communities to work together for the better of everyone.

Take the blogging community for example. There are a large number of mommy bloggers and food bloggers out there basically competing for the same audience. But instead of pushing each other out of the way, or berating one another to make themselves look better, bloggers work together to help support other bloggers. Anyone can have a piece of the pie. It doesn’t matter where they live, or who they are, they just have to be friendly, professional and be willing to help out. They contribute to and are happy for others successes. They compete well.

That’s why I’m glad my daughter is learning about teamwork and sportsmanship at such a young age. I hope to give her an example as she grows up of fighting for what she wants in life without pushing others out of the way. It can be tricky, and others may not always play nice, but if she stays strong and competes well, she can go far.

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The first day of the rest of my life

Today is spectacular! Today is momentous! Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Well, sort of.bird flying

I took a big leap and left my job to start a new chapter in my life. I am starting my own business.

That’s right. I left a job where I have worked for more than four and a half years, seven years all together. I’m trading my cubicle for my couch, my work clothes for my pajamas (or at least more comfortable clothes) and can make my own hours.

I’m freefalling, a little. Or maybe the best way to describe it might be a well-planned bungee jump.

I have written my business plan. I have planned, considered, discussed with my husband, planned, planned, and planned some more.

Of course it’s a risk. Of course I have moments where the nerves kick in. Nerves are good.

I have wanted to do this for years, and this is the first time that life and me, didn’t get in the way.

I could fail, I’m taking a chance at failure.And that’s okay.

I would rather take a chance and enjoy the ride. The bumpy, twisty, turn-filled ride, and deal with the failure.

But I don’t think I will fail.

People, not surprisingly, think you’re crazy when you do stuff like this. It’s understandable. Anything could happen. Bad things can happen.

But good things can happen too. I can succeed too.

And that’s what I am going to do. Succeed.

Starting again…

I started writing here for practice. A way to get used to this whole blogging thing. Well, I haven’t ussunriseed it much, have I!

I want to start again. I’ve had a lot going on, that to be perfectly honest has sort of put any sort of creativity on hold for me. I just haven’t been feeling very inspired.

I have an energetic, bouncing-off-the-walls three year old who wants my undivided attention. I also have a job that probably takes more of my time and energy than it should.

And, my father passed away recently after a long illness.

It was something that filled in most of my thoughts. I was always worried about him, about my mother who was taking care of him. I rode the emotional roller coaster along with them. Experiencing the days of hope, and then the days when things weren’t so great. I felt helpless, and knew I couldn’t fix it. While I knew things weren’t great, I was always hoping for a miracle.

I thought about writing here about that, but I didn’t feel comfortable. It wasn’t my illness, it was his. I couldn’t express how he felt, and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t have wanted me to talk about it in a public forum. It just didn’t feel right.

So here I am now, ready to start a new chapter, so to speak.

I want to talk about things that are going on in my life, the good, the bad, the wonderful, the ugly, the funny. Things that anyone who is out there who might read and relate to.

That’s what this blogging stuff is all about right?

Downtown

I really like working in the city, downtown more specifically.

I realize it’s not for everyone. It’s busy and noisy, sometimes very busy and noisy.

You have to pay attention to where you are going and who is around you. There are people everywhere and cars everywhere going up and down the one-way streets. And in the case of downtown San SD TrolleyDiego, there are trolleys and trains too. There are business people and non-business people. There are some people you want to avoid if you are walking by yourself.

There is rarely a week that goes by where you don’t hear or see some kind of emergency vehicle. Police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks are a common occurrence. It is very rarely boring.

You can get almost any kind of food you want for lunch within walking distance. Sometimes the smells of that food as you walk down the street can be wonderful. Sometimes other smells kill the wonderful food smells. The not-so-great smells are especially bad in the summer. I’ll leave it at that. But if you work downtown in any major city, you know what I mean.

But despite some of the craziness, the smells, the traffic, and some questionable street inhabitants, I still really like it.

I have worked in business parks a few times over the years. They are quiet, peaceful, have lots of trees, usually ample and free parking, and a few sandwich shops within walking distance of the office. There’s nothing wrong with sandwich shops, it’s just that office building delis limit your lunchtime choices a bit when that’s all you have within walking distance.

Sure, there aren’t as many trees downtown. It is definitely not quiet and there are still a lot of sandwich shops. But I like the how busy it is. I like the hustle and bustle. I like the variety of people you see walking the streets. I like that if I want to do something as simple as take a Starbucks break at two in the afternoon I can walk a block, get my coffee, and be back at my desk in 10 minutes.

That could never happen when I was a business park dweller. Getting a Frappuccino at two in the afternoon would have meant getting in my car, driving two miles, finding parking, ordering and waiting for my coffee drink and driving back to the office. This maneuver could easily take at least a half hour, which would never have been acceptable at two in the afternoon where I worked.

I know that there are people who don’t like the idea of working in the middle of a big city because I worked with some of them. In fact, when I left my last business park located job over nine years ago, several people told me that they would never work downtown and that they didn’t really understand why I was excited about it.

That’s fine. To each his or her own. I would most definitely work in a business park again if I needed to, but given a choice, I would work SD Skyscrapersdowntown every time.

I pretty much consider myself a city girl. I grew up in the suburbs of what I think, at the moment, is somewhere around the 8th largest city in the U.S. (It seems to usually fluctuate between being the 6th largest city and 8th largest city, depending on what’s going on around here.) San Diego and downtown in particular, has changed drastically since I was a kid. I have worked in downtown San Diego for about 18 years of my working adult life, and it continues to grow, change, and mature. I’m so glad I have been here to see it.

My brilliant idea

Brilliant Light BulbI had this brilliant idea. I was going to start this blog, relaunch another blog, contributing posts to both at least once a week. I was going to build not one, but two websites in WordPress (the WordPress.org version), a platform I am still learning so much about.

And I was going to get all of this up and running in about a month.Ha.Ha.Ha.

So far, I am trying to learn as much as I can about building custom websites on WordPress, but neither website is complete.

For this blog, I have only posted three times in a little over a month, and I am nowhere near relaunching the other blog.

It’s not that I don’t want to do any of these things. I do. I planned on getting up at 4:30 in the morning to give myself time to work on these things. But the 4:30 thing does not always happen. In fact, lately 4:30 isn’t happening much at all.

Here are my reasons, and or excuses, for not being farther along:

  • I have a three year old.
  • I’m working my “day job” in the office and from home about 20 -30 hours a week.
  • We are dealing with a serious family illness right now.

Now for anyone who has or has had small children in their lives, I don’t have to say much about how much fun they are when they are little. But I had no idea, before I became a mother, just how tired I would be at the end of the day.

I still work at the job, so I will refrain from saying much about it, except to say that it sometimes provides me with some stressful last-minute deadlines to deal with.

My father is the one with the serious illness. I am always worried. I worry about him,and I worry about my mother (who is taking care of him). I grind my teeth, I lose sleep.

So a month ago when I was on fire and I thought I could get all of these things done in a month, I was obviously being naive, fooling myself.

But that is okay. I’m not giving up on my plan. I will post on this blog, I will build my websites and I will restart the other blog, but I’m not going to put any unrealistic expectations on myself.

It’s just going to take longer than a month.

Pipe Dreams, Part II

A few weeks ago, I posted this lovely p2014-07-27 14.56.53hoto of my “cabinets”, or at least where they used to be. I did not bother changing the photo because, well, it doesn’t look any different than it did the last time I posted this photo.

While I know that blog posts work best when accompanied by beautiful imagery, there is no way this photo will ever be beautiful. I don’t think it should be beautiful, because it tells the story; that my kitchen is still a wreck.

A few weeks ago we received a call from our insurance company regarding our plumbing issue and the claim we are trying to make to help pay for repairing the damage to our sink, cabinets, floor and wall.

He confirmed one thing that we already knew. That our insurance would not cover the pipes. Insurance companies consider that homeowner maintenance, so it’s usually never covered. (FYI for anyone who did not know that.)

What the nice man at the insurance company also told us was that the only information from the insurance adjuster that he had received so far was to replace our flooring, and minus our deductable he was happy to report that he was going to send us a check for $157.

Meanwhile, we have had two companies come to the house to give us a quote on what it will cost to fix this mess. Company #1 took over a week to give us a quote and company #2 took two weeks to give us a quote to do the work. Ugh.

Company #2 is supposed to come two days this week to close up the hole in our wall and replace the missing sub-flooring under and around the sink. They are supposed to plug up the hole where the pipe goes down under the house too. That should at least keep the bugs from coming up through the hole into my kitchen. Ugh again.

We have been living like this for over a month now. Hopefully next month I won’t be posting the same high quality image of the blue tape, plastic sheeting, and hollow cabinetry. Wish me luck.

Pipe Dreams, Part I

2014-07-27 14.56.53About a month ago, before I decided to start writing this blog, we realized the pipes in our kitchen were leaking. Wait, maybe not a month ago, more like two weeks ago. It just seems like a month ago.

Our house was built in 1957and has those pesky cast iron pipes. Over the years that we have lived in the house, we occasionally have had to have those pipes snaked. We got used to the fact that somewhere between every 2-4 years we were going to have to call the plumber. It became a fact of life for us. Then one day I was opening our cabinet next to the sink to put some dishes away, and this icky smell of musty swamp permeated out from the cabinet. Not good.

When my beloved husband came home that evening, I mentioned to him that when I opened the cabinet, it smelled like a bayou. Not that there’s anything wrong with bayous and swamps. They have their place in the great outdoors. They just don’t have a place in my kitchen cabinet.

When I told the big guy about the problem, I think he went into a state of denial. Having a cabinet next to your sink smell like a swamp meant only one thing, and it wasn’t good. We were going to have to call the plumber. What we were both afraid of, and what became true, was that this was going to go beyond the average pipe snaking visit. This was going to be a big expensive plumber visit. He didn’t want to think about it, and neither did I. But we had to.

So a few days later, the plumber came. As expected, things were not good. The pipe under our sink had apparently been leaking for awhile and had caused water damage to the cabinets, the wall behind the sink and our floor and sub-flooring. The pipe in the kitchen had to be completely replaced and all of the wood in the wall, the floor, and most of the two cabinets had to be taken out.

We experienced the joy of having a large and extremely noisy dehumidifier in our house for about four days. When I say noisy, it was the we-had-to-turn-the-volume-up-on-the-t.v.-to-hear-it-kind of noisy. The dehumidifier ran for 24 hours a day. I know it worked, because not only did it dry out all the moisture under the sink, it dried out my skin too. My lips were starting to get chapped.

So here we are two weeks later. The pipe has been fixed and the wood that wasn’t removed has dried out. We are living without two cabinets, a hole in the wall, and the floor is still torn up. We put plastic sheeting on the floor to cover the parts where we could see down into our crawl space.

I just keep telling myself, it could have been worse.

 

 

What this “Life” is about (I think)

Stuff of Life Word Cloud

Word Cloud Courtesy of Wordle.net

When I was thinking about what to call this blog “the stuff of life” popped into my head. I was thinking about life in all its forms, the good and the bad. I was thinking about the fact that “the stuff of life” is a familiar term that people have heard before. Maybe too often. I’m still not sure.

With that in mind I Googled the term and discovered a small handful of references. There is a book called “The Stuff of Life – A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA.”. A description of the book reads as follows:

“Let’s face it: From adenines to zygotes, from cytokinesis to parthenogenesis, even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all?”

Hmm. So the author of the book about human genetics is an alien? I’m not sure what to think about that.

I found another book called “The Stuff of Life” that was written by an interior designer. It  emphasizes how to properly display your stuff. In your home. That could come in handy sometime.

Another science book was “The Stuff of Life – Profiles of the Molecules That Make us Tick.”

There is also an article that was in the LA Times that is about how much Americans love to own stuff. It is true. We do love to own stuff. Then we need to buy a book to tell us how to display all of our stuff.

I’m not talking about zygotes or genetics or molecules here. I’m talking about the everyday experiences in life. Maybe great, maybe not so great, maybe sad or maybe funny. Let’s see where this goes.