June 23, 2013

And back again.

I'm off to Cally in the morning. Another work trip. This one was planned in advance. Our other 2D designer is gallevanting around Europe with his family and I'm going in to cover one of the weeks that he's gone.

This trip feels harder in terms of leaving Brex. He's learning so much each day, also testing limits and trying our patience, but then giggling and cuddling to make up for it. Each day the tricks I use to motivate him seem to evolve. It's like he's a super adaptable virus and I can barely keep ahead of him to suppress the outbreaks. The current 'go to' tricks include tons of reverse psychology. "Oh, you don't want to go to bed. That's ok. You stay downstairs, I'm going up." He usually comes running. This technique often involves conversations with Muttola, "Mmmm...this snack of banana and peanut butter is SO good. Too bad Brex didn't want any." At that point I'm usually interrupted by a little voice next to me proclaiming, "Chair!" (he wants up into his chair so he can partake)

For transitions we say 'bye bye'. As in, trying to get him to leave the water table at the Science Museum, "OK, buddy, it's time to say bye bye to the water. Bye Bye boats. Bye Bye cup." He cries in protest and then tearfully begins to join in the Bye Byes as we make our exit.

To get him to let me change his pajamas into his day clothes, we say 'bye bye' to whatever is on the pj's and hello to whatever is on the clothes. "Ready to say hello doggy and bye bye dinosaur?"

Jrex has also been really busy trying to get another round of grants submitted. Each time he gets subsumed by work, Brex begins to prefer me to an extreme measure and even seem to get nervous around his Dad. All it takes are a couple play sessions and Brex is fine, but it makes it that much harder to leave. On the other hand, I'm sure it's nice for Jrex to get some time to figure things out on his own.

I've prepped Brex that I'm leaving. I made a paper chain with five rings so he can tear one off each day. I "charged up" his stuffed rhino with hugs so he can hug it any time he misses me.

In the end, it'll be a nice break to recharge a bit, but the last couple days will be tough. Flying home Friday night helps. It makes if feel less like I'm missing out.

I've only scheduled one social visit while I'm there. I anticipate a heavy work load this week and suspect I'll need the down time. I'm hoping I can get away from work early enough to catch a couple movies. I'd like to see Before Midnight, Much Ado About Nothing and possibly, This is the End. Anyone have opinions on any of those (or other suggestions?)

I'll keep you posted!

June 20, 2013

The Manifesto

I just saw a job posting for something local that is written for me. Problem? I have no website, no online portfolio, and no resume. I did buy the domain for  [My].[Name].com last year, so I have that in my favor. I'm trying to whip all this together so I can apply for it. I love my job (believe it or not), but local might be a nice change.

Either way, I should have a website up. To that end, I sat down to write out my design manifesto. What do you think:

I believe...

we are all creative
strong leadership doesn't have to be abrasive
your input is valid
working fast ≠ working sloppy
the person matters more than the task
in sophisticated boldness
in simple elegance
in tickling children and wrestling dogs
organization is beautiful
family dinners matter
it's more important to be resilient than safe
Design Divas waste all of our time
everyone has a story
strong opinions streamline the process
I'm an awesome Mom and a so-so wife
in mystery, silence and beauty
in laughter, tears and good wine
in the power of white space
mood boards matter
listening first never hurt anyone

Anything I should add? Delete? Rephrase? (see point #1)

June 17, 2013

Kindness when I needed it

Sunday morning. Sitting in the creaky wooden pew with Brex on my lap. He's playing peek-a-boo with a boy in the next pew. They're giggling as the music covers any sounds they make. I'm trying to enter into the music, the sense of God's presence, but I'm having a hard time.

In the last few weeks, I've been experiencing more stomach churning anxiety than I have my whole life. There have been times in the past when I feel things that are happening to someone else and it's a clue for me to pray. Once I kept thinking about driving my car off the road on purpose. It happened over and over and was definitely not 'me'. When I prayed, I kept thinking of one friend in particular. I asked if she were feeling suicidal. She was. The only thing that's changed in my life of late is my new Creat1ve Director. So, I've been praying for him. While I'm at it, I've prayed for my husband. Now, that all makes me sound 1) psyco/psychic or 2) holy. Neither is true! Mostly I pray just enough to get my stomach to calm down.

As I tried to pray during the worship time at church, I just felt so bad that my real motivator in life is my own comfort. I'll do just enough to get comfy again. I'm not really pursuing God, not really doing much to strengthen my marriage. Yes, working hard as a Mom, and as a designer, but letting most of the rest fall by the wayside. I paused and prayed, "What do You have to say?"

In the pause after I asked, this popped into my head, "O little fretful one, you're judging yourself much more harshly than I am. Just look to me and the selfishness will fall away." That sounds so small when I write it down, but there was a sense of being smiled at and enjoyed behind the words.

There's a verse that says, "It's Your kindness, Lord, that leads us to repentance." I cried in gratitude as the songs continued. He sees me and he loves me anyway.


This is off topic, but Brex is at the point where anything works as a "hat". He wanted this on his head and was quite proud of it for the two minutes he wore it.  His stroller is also "chair!" and he loves to just sit in it and watch us cooking in the kitchen. A prince indeed.

June 12, 2013

Checking In

When I get overwhelmed at work I lose my capacity to handle other people. Until yesterday I was juggling frantically and not wanting to call anyone, read blogs, write a blog entry or check Facebook. My social needs are based on boredom? Or more aptly, capacity I suppose.

Yesterday I woke up at 6 AM with my stomach churning and my to-do list prodding me out of bed. I did the math and realized I didn't have enough hours in my week to finish everything in front of me. I sent an email to our GenMgr and my new ExecCreativDirector. Without whining, I outlined the new jobs that had hit my inbox since Friday and estimated design hours against those jobs.

On top of that, I was spearheading an RFP response. That particular RFP was shaping up to be a trainwreck unless I intervened like Super Woman holding up the track so the RFP could be safely delivered. We had a bunch of Chiefs who weren't actually doing any thing. It felt like everyone on the team was letting me handle it. Our ECD was justifiably overwhelmed. They've been flying him around the country to let him meet the other offices. As a result, he kept not being in Creative Bra1nstorms that he was supposed to lead! Then I'd have to lead it, while not knowing what He would have done. Then talk to him on the phone to give him a recap. Total chaos, though not his fault. 

To his credit, after the Hail Mary email, he pulled in resources and now I find myself not doing much! We brought in an amazing freelancer to cover the RFP so I'm out of that. Phew! I'm waiting for access to client files on one job and waiting for approvals on another.

In good news, we've been selected as The Agency by the last three RFPs that I helped generate. I guess now we need to find people to interview and hire!

In Brex news, each day he surprises me by something new that he's absorbed. His word for any letter is "E"? Since there's usually an E, it makes him sound brilliant when he points to something and says, "E!"

He loves to point, well, poke, body parts while naming them. It's cute when it's "Mou", "Chee" and "Haih", but not so good when he wants to move my glasses to poke, "Eye".

I've learned that I can't assume he's wrong when he's saying a word. Yesterday as he sat in his car seat looking at his favorite book:

I kept hearing him say, "Cheep"...."Cheep". I was going to say, "There's no chicken!", but turned to check (at a stop light), and saw he was looking at a Jeep. So, instead, "That's right, buddy! A Jeep."

Overall, life is good. Busy, happy, content, overwhelming and tiring all at once.