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Showing posts from June, 2011

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 7 Questions

Chapter 7: Finding Your Unique Path

1. Are some job markets more secure than others? "Keep in mind the transition we have had from 'production work' to 'knowledge work'." I'm glad Miller put this into words. Sometimes it seems to me it would be so much easier to go to work on a factory line, put in your 8 hours a day, and go home. I go to work at the preschool, put in my 6.5 hours, go home, and think about the preschool while I'm home. I lesson plan; I screen story books; I brainstorm ways to help one kid enter into play while simultaneously brainstorming ways to redirect another child's too-active play. My job is emotionally exhausting. Miller writes, "[As a knowledge worker] your tools of the trade are largely between your two ears." As an early childhood educator, my tools are also in my heart. Miller goes on: "Thus your skills are much more transferable than those of production workers." My skills transferable? I'll have…

checked out

Had a rough week last, and basically checked out for a few days. Saw my doctor, who upped my antidepressant from 10mg daily to 20mg daily and I believe that's helping. Doc Sutanto also recommended I find a therapist. Working on that. I gots lotsa issues. My sister returned from her Midwestern tour and that's helping, too.

I haven't exercised in four days. It's hot. Forecast high of 113 today. It's dry and dusty and I can't remember the last time it rained. Bad conditions for outdoor exercise. Without daily activity, however, I tend to wallow even more.

I've been reading a lot lately and feeling guilty about it, though I don't know why I should. No matter what I'm doing I always think I should be doing something else. Maybe because I'm not working in the morning? I basically don't want to do anything but read, watch movies, and crochet. But then I feel guilty if that's what I'm doing.

I've thrown up my hands, given in, given up. Suc…

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 6 Questions

Chapter 6: 6 Job Offers in 10 Days

1. Do you understand your areas of competence? Not as well as I should. I pretty much feel I'm qualified for nothing, so that pigeonholes me into following the path I've forged for the past 5 years: preschool teacher. I'm making a comfy lateral move to a preschool I admire (from the one that currently sucks the lifeblood from me). I have competent people skills, with children and adults. That makes me good at teaching preschool. But that skill would transfer elsewhere, don't you think? Let's brainstorm, no censoring.
Becky's Areas of Competencereads aloud with organic enthusiasm to groups of children or adultsarrives promptlyfulfills expected dutiescommunicates effectively with peers and superiors (not necessarily in this current job, but communication is a two-way street, is it not?)voracious quest for knowledgeable to understand computer programs and file management on a Windows-based networkpossesses superior organizational …


Jack's first play date was with his friend Mason whom he met while in the young threes' class at St. Alban's. Mason and Jack were close for two years, but when they moved on to kindergarten we lost contact with their family. Saw them last night on the way in to piano lessons. Jack was always kind of scared of the dad. So am I. He's tall, good looking, and an anesthesiologist. I greeted him and the children by name, told him who I was, asked Mason if he remembered Jack. The boys didn't remember each other. Dad and I exchanged a few menial social niceties. As we parted ways, Dad concluded what should have been a superficial exchange with, "And you? How are you doing?" I replied, "Going bankrupt and getting divorced."

The blank expression on his face was priceless.

"No sense sugar coating it," I said. "Take care. Tell Amy I said hi."


Let's Call Her Ashley

I can't remember her name. She told me when she moved in, but I've forgotten. The girl who lives above me, the one who came home early one morning and apologized to me for no reason? This morning, at 6:04 am while I was outside on the patio reading, a man turned up the stairs to her apartment. He bid me good morning. He left 40 minutes later. At 7:12 am, the woman I saw leaving last week came down the stairs, followed by a giant dude with a shaved and tattooed head. I am SO curious about what goes on there, but I'm afraid I really wouldn't like to know.

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 5 Questions

Chapter 5: Am I an Eagle or an Owl?

1. In what kind of settings are you most comfortable? I prefer talking to children to talking with adults. I like reading aloud, and then the age of the audience doesn't matter. I'm comfortable selling my bottle cap creations at church craft bazaars and indie radio station fundraisers. I'm comfortable at the library, at the movie theater, on a hike, on my bike, at the Yoga studio.

2. How do you respond to management? I respond to management as authority. Because I'm a people pleaser (self-diagnosed with "caretaker personality disorder") I crave approval from others. This is rooted in my inability to gain enough of my dad's approval/acceptance as a child. In the past I've worked hard to gain the approval of my boss. When my boss was a 60 year old man that worked out pretty well in my scheme of things, because he liked that I worked so hard for him and rewarded me accordingly. The friction with my current boss forces …

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 4 Questions

Chapter 4: Wheels, Goals, and Clear Action

1. Are you a goal setter? Do you typically set goals at the first of the year? If not, why not? I rarely set goals for fear of falling short of them. Miller contends, "Considerable evidence indicates that expectations of your future do, in fact, tend to create your future." and also "Keep in mind that only about 8 percent of the general population can identify clear goals and only about 3 percent ever actually write those down." You are the Master Gardener of Your Soul: "Control your own destiny by controlling what goes into your mind. The books you read, the thoughts you think, the television you watch, the conversations you participate in, the people you associate with, and the music you listen to combine to create your future. Are you sowing the seeds for the life you want 5 years from now?" I think I am, but it's damned hard work.Where Are You Now? – Personal CheckupAm I missing anything in my life right n…

five minute free write friday 06/17

like the strangers you have met

If you've met them then they're not really strangers, are they? I live amongst familiar strangers. Above me live a man, a woman, and a small child. Next door to me lives Annie, who's hardly ever home. Sharing my back wall is Betty, whose dogs Briggy and Fred had puppies not too long after I moved in. briggy and Fred are Pomeranian mixed with something else and those puppies were incredibly cute, like pointy noised hamsters. A month ago a skinny, nervous looking woman moved into the apartment above Annie's. I've taken to sitting out on the patio of a vmorning, reading a book with the early sun. Three days ago a man came walkking downstairs around 6am. Yesterday a different man came downstairs around 6am. this morning a WOMAN came down stairs around 6am. At first I thought my new neighbor enjoyed male compaionship; now I don't know what to think. Why shoould I think anythingg at all? Why should I concoct scenarios for a person I do…

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 3 Questions

Chapter 3: Creating a Life Plan

1. In today’s rapidly changing work environment, is it realistic to expect a job to provide more than just a paycheck? If we believe a job should provide only a paycheck and nothing more, we're headed down a path of degeneration. Our society is based on economics and consumerism. You must have a paycheck to purchase the necessities of life. You spend plus-or-minus 8 hours a day at your work. You are degrading your identity of you expect your work to be nothing more than a paycheck. Not only should your work provide the money you need to live, it should provide you a sense of purpose. It's up to you to decide if that purpose is gratifying.

2. Have you ever had a sense of calling in your life? How did you hear that calling? I feel most fulfilled when I'm reading aloud: picture books to the preschool kids or Bible verses to the church congregation. I know I'm doing something right when I steal a glance at my audience of preschoolers and they&…

A Wallet Devotional

This is the beginning of a new day.God has given me this day to use as I will.I can waste it or use it for good.What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it.I want it to be a gain, not loss---good, not evil---success, not failure in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.

five minute free write friday

write about a task, job, or chore you dislike

I hate emptying the dishwasher. There's something about that used water that feels dirty, though I use the dishwasher to sanitize the dishes. I don't like talking on the phone to anyone. That's not considered a chore sometimes but to me it is. Calling the insurance company, the doctor's office, even a close friend is something I dislike doing. There's that strange otherworldly space between your phone and mine. My words get lost and I don't have the advantage of thinking about them like I do when I get to write them down.

I dislike lesson planning. i'm a big advocate of free play, believing that children learn best when they set their own goals and explore their own interests.

I dislike washing the car. I'd rather pay someone else to do it, but then I'm dissatisfied with the way it's done.

I dislike making the bed. I've given that up completely, actually. Used to be I couldn't sleep in a bed that…

file under s for strange (or skin tag)

Ever since he discovered them during a wrestling match a month or so ago, Jack has been fascinated by the two skin tags clinging to the outside periphery of my right armpit. The other night I agreed to let him cut them off. What? Why would he want to anyway? At my direction he got the cuticle scissors and a Kleenex to stop whatever bleeding there might be. After two unsuccessful and painful tries, I bade him turn the scissors over so the blade curved against my skin, rather than away from it. He cut off the little one first, then the big one. The big one he rolled between his fingers like a booger, than deposited it in a carefully crafted paper towel envelope. The next morning I threw it away, but then fished it out of the trash when he threw a fit.

What's up with that? I mean, I'm glad to be rid of those freaky little blemishes without paying a doctor to do the surgery, but why was Jack so interested? And why did he insist on saving the big one?

Last night I threw it away again…


Enrollment at the preschool has been down over the past year and this summer it's pretty dismal. In the past we've had 4 full classes; this summer we have 2 full classes. Most of the kids go home at 1:00 but 11 or so stay, slowly leaving the group between 2:00 and 6:00. By 4:00 we usually have but 5 children or less; by 5:00 we're usually down to one kid. School policy stipulates that a teacher is never alone on campus with children (or a child, as the case may be). That's a difficult ratio to work with: two teachers to one child. So I spent Tuesday afternoon in raking the playground, sweeping the patios, straightening the clutter. I did this by choice. I could have sat on my butt drawing pictures or reading a book with the one kid left, but my coteacher was doing that.

I left work Tuesday feeling good about the way I'd spent my time. The playground looked better than it had in months.

I came to work Wednesday to a note from my boss that read, "Please turn off …


Jack fills his time in a techie way. When he's bored playing a video game, he watches walk throughs on YouTube. When he's bored watching walk throughs, he records his own walk through. When he's bored recording, he watches Smosh on YouTube. When he's bored with that, he might watch the Nintendo Channel on the Wii.

That's how, on Sunday afternoon, he discovered Chrono Trigger, an RPG created by the Final Fantasy team and released in 1995. It's now downloadable for 500 Wii points ($5).

After discovering Chrono Trigger, Jack researched it on YouTube. He watched several walk throughs. He decided he wanted it.

He had 300 Wii points.

He brainstormed ways he could earn more Wii points. He emphatically stated that practicing piano wasn't something he should do to earn Wii points, because it's something he should do anyway. But he resists practicing. He doesn't want to practice, which is precisely why consistent piano practice could earn him Wii points.

We had a …

Write Your Life

Two weeks ago I attended an all-day Write Your Life workshop facilitated by a friend. The invitation read something like this:
What would your life look like if you felt empowered to manifest your dreams?
How are you using your gifts and talents to reach your highest potential?
Are you ready to explore your choices?
This interactive workshop will take you on a transformative exploration to help you to articulate, visualize and identify ways to practice the art of creative living.

That workshop challenged me to acknowledge my Bankruptcy and Subsequent Divorce to a group of relative strangers. Somehow that was much more difficult for me than acknowledging the BASD to people who already know me. Why is that? My friends already love me and understand who I am. These new people... well, they're amongst the first to know me in my new persona: poverty-stricken divorcee. What does that look like to them? How do I define myself when I've renounced a role I've held for 17 years? I'…

48 Days to the Work You Love: Chapter 2 Questions

Chapter 2: The Challenge of Change. This should be an easy one, right? considering all the change I've been through so far this year? But I find it's very hard and because of that challenge, I'm avoiding it. Issuing this disclaimer: I'm freewriting.

1. Respond to the statement, “All progress requires change, but not all change is progress.” Change: Eleven years ago Dave and I moved from Urbana, Illinois, to Tucson, Arizona, because we felt our lives needed a change and we weren't ready to start a family. That was change, not progress. Progress would have been separation. I knew this, subconsciously?, even that long ago. Ten years ago we decided to start a family. That was change but not necessarily progress. Don't get me wrong: my son's existence has given my life definition, but starting a family was NOT the progress my marriage needed. Last year we decided (I decided) to seek separation. That was change AND progress. For me, anyway.

2. What statement descr…