Category Archives: Female Empowerment

Gems In The Workplace

You might recall in this post that my definition of a “Gem” is a highly prized and well beloved female human who has, in no particular order, inspired me, loved me, liked me, taught me, cried with me, laughed with me, challenged me, accepted me, shared with me, and cared with me.

In my adult work life, which spans from around 1987 to the current, I’ve been fortunate to know several “Gems”.

I concur, Victoria

Sam was the first great friend I made in a work setting: I didn’t know her name at the time; I only knew that she had been there longer than me and carried herself with confidence. She waltzed over to me as I was sitting at my desk and asked if I had any lipstick on me. She was heading to a meeting and wanted to look her best. I was able to provide the requested lipstick and she thanked me.

She remains one of my very best friends.

Sam and two other “Gems” shared an over-sized office with me for about 5 years. All of these gals were younger than me by 8-10 years. Looking back, I think their youthful ambition and passion for the work we were doing (case managers serving intellectually and physically disabled adults) was great motivation for me. We were a fabulous team, the four of us, ready to cover for each other when needed and brainstorming for solutions to challenges we faced with our participants or fellow co-workers.

We still connect via Facebook and once in a while in person (despite living in three different states).

Another “Gem” at work was a nurse whose cubicle was near enough to mine that she could overhear my phone conversations with my members. One time I had a particularly challenging phone call where the client was yelling and using all kinds of cuss words to express his displeasure at whatever I said “no” to funding for him. Later that day, this nurse slipped me a note with a smiley face on it and wrote “You are a Saint” on it.

That same nurse, months later, called me out when she overheard me with yet another challenging client. She asked me to come over to her cube where she directly and gently told me that she could hear the frustration in my voice during that call. She suggested going forward I ought to be mindful of how I was coming across on the phone. While embarrassed, I took that suggestion to heart. From then on, I paid more attention to my tone when on phone calls with people who were jumping on my last nerve.

So in the end, I appreciated her constructive criticism. Sometimes you have to hear hard things about yourself and let that fuel you to be better.

A more recent “Gem” at work for me was the gal who drove me to pick up food for the food bank I was running. On those trips, we talked about our life ambitions and sometimes shared our favorite songs. One time, we returned to my food bank to find the large sheet cake we had placed on the tippy-top of the food pyramid had flipped over, landing frosting side first onto the floor of the truck. We couldn’t bear to let the entire cake go to waste, so we laughed our heads off while scarfing down the unsoiled part of the cake with our bare hands.

My hope is that you all have enjoyed the blessings of some “Gems” at work during the course of your life. I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Let’s lift each other up!!

Alphabet Soup Challenge: G is for Gems

In the summer of 2009, Hubs and I took our two kids on a trip to Washington, DC.

In my mind, it was the best family trip we ever took. I think it had to do with the timing. Our eldest was about to begin her senior year of high school. Her sibling was a year behind her. It was a “seize this moment” kind of attitude we all bought into it which led it to be a memorable and amazing experience.

Part of the planning of this trip was discussing what “one thing” each of us wanted to be sure to see while in our Nation’s capital. Eldest chose the Ford Theater where President Lincoln was shot. The other kid chose the Shakespeare museum. If I recall correctly, Hubs chose Arlington Cemetery. I’m pretty sure I went generic, choosing the Smithsonian (not necessarily one specific museum there, because they are all fantastic).

Something that unexpectedly struck me while touring the Smithsonian Museum of National History was how in absolute awe the kids and I were of the Gems Gallery. Unlike Bonnie (my mom), I’ve never really been the kind of woman who felt a great need to have dazzling rocks adorning my fingers, neck, or ears. Sure, I love jewelry, but honestly I’m good with the costume variety.

I can just think of so many more wonderful things the money spent on fancy jewels could buy. And the experiences the money spent on fancy jewels could fund. The number of mouths it could feed. The amount of school supplies it could fund for under-privileged students. The number of shoes it could buy for the homeless.

We found ourselves gazing at these precious gemstones, “oohing and awing” all the while, deciding which ones we’d most like to wear if we could.

The Hope Diamond was my favorite. Stunning, shimmery deep blue and simply gorgeous.

As magnificent as these gems are, all of them together pale in comparison to all the other “Gems” in my life.

According to Merriam Webster, the “non jewel” definition of “gems” is: a highly prized or well beloved person.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to expand on this definition : a “Gem” is a highly prized and well beloved female human who has, in no particular order, inspired me, loved me, liked me, taught me, cried with me, laughed with me, challenged me, accepted me, shared with me, and cared with me.

Been waiting for a chance to include this pic from my last trip to Washington, DC in a blog post-here it is!

I’m going to be honest here. I have too much to say about the “Gems” in my life to properly capture it in this one little post. That is how blessed I feel for the “Gems” in my life.

So, for now, I’m just going to highlight my blogger Gems. There is more to come as this blog proceeds.

I’ve mentioned them before, primarily when I was accepting a nomination for a blogging award (I know, they are cheesy and silly and to my knowledge there are no official prizes or awards ceremonies-but they are such fun) and having to nominate other bloggers as part of the deal.

But this is not that.

These are the blogging broads that never fail to encourage me. To introduce me to new ideas, new music, new recipes, new perspectives. The broads that also put themselves out there with their thoughts and feelings, opinions and grievances in such a way that make me feel less alone in the blogosphere.

I hope to connect with more blogging broads as I continue down this path I’ve put myself on, but for now, I just gotta say…I adore these 4 women and their creative writing abilities so much.

They are:

Christi, who lives in the wonderful state (my home state) of Minnesota and happens to be a very thoughtful, clever, intelligent and lovely human being with a knack for creative writing.

Nicole, who is quite a dynamo. Works full time with a husband and two small kids at home but still manages to pull off regular heartfelt posts about life.

Mona, who has been such a cheerleader for me. She’s brave, funny, sarcastic and surprising with her writing on her blog. And Geez Louise, she’s got some fantastic taste in music.

And then there’s Crystal. I’ve always loved that name. Crystal was the name of a girl I grew up with. She was one of those sort of rare birds in that she was pretty and popular (she was Homecoming Queen for Pete’s Sake), but she was also nice. Not a snot. Liked by everyone. My blogging friend Crystal is like that as well. She has a deep soul and a sharp intellect. I really admire her.

Now onto the question of the day: who are the “Gems” in your life, blogging or otherwise? I would be tickled to hear all about them.

What don’t you do?

A few weeks ago, I joined a new Facebook group. I’m not calling it out by name because many of the things said in this group are quite personal and I want to respect that. I’m even going to avoid giving the basic stats of who is in this group, as a matter of fact.
So in this group, there was a thread I found really interesting. It was prompted by this post. I enjoyed following the thread that ensued and started thinking about the specific things I myself don’t do. It was a challenge for me, as I’ve been so focused these days about what I “do” do (and writing blog posts about that). So I decided to mix things up a bit for today’s post.
Here’s what I came up with:
Things I don’t do (that I’m probably supposed to, according to societal norms of white Gen X ish middle aged females, with a few random “dont’s”mixed in for shits and giggles):
  • I don’t exercise on purpose.
  • I don’t get manicures.
  • I don’t clip coupons.
  • I don’t sew. That’s Hubs’ forte.
  • I don’t clean up dog puke. Again, Hubs’ forte.
  • I don’t have my work email linked to my cell phone.
  • I don’t have my very own car to drive. Hubs and I share one and I’m cool with that.
  • I don’t put a strict limit on my daily carb intake.
  • I don’t scrapbook.
  • I don’t wear Spanx.
  • I don’t drink decaf. Fully loaded, dark roasted coffee is my jam.
  • I don’t cook foods for my loved ones that I don’t like to eat.
  • I don’t poop in the presence of Hubs.
  • I don’t (and won’t) throw my family members or friends “under the bus” with my blog posts. They deserve my loyalty and respect.

Now, you may have noticed that there is little explaining on my above list. That’s because I think it’s a shame that we, as women in this world, due to largely manufactured societal pressures which are reinforced in a bajillion ways on the daily (the “perfect” photos of your Facebook friends, commercials on t.v., magazine articles, etc.), feel guilty for not doing the things we’re “supposed” to do. I think we need to cut that shit out. Who’s with me?

For the love of God, people, please add a few of your “dont’s” in the comments!

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Pitches and Badass Bitches

I’ve been re-thinking my “About” page these days (yes, again).  I read somewhere on the blogosphere not long ago that readers check out the “About” pages on blogs more than one would think, and their impression of them may either turn them on or turn them off. I for one, do peruse the “About” pages after reading a post or two I like on another blogger’s site.  Suffice it to say, I think it’s time to give my “About” page a makeover.

At the very least, it needs some flair. 37 might be over the top when it comes to my blog though.

Image result for meme from office space about flair

I do not have a salesperson personality. I do not want to come across as a salesperson on this blog. Yuck. Just yuck. In fact, I freaking detest being approached by salespeople in a clothing store, or whatever store (or any other setting for that matter). It seriously turns me off. I want to make my own, informed, personal decision when I’m considering a purchase. I don’t tolerate it well when I’m being bombarded with information I didn’t ask for just so I can earn someone a sale. Or a follow.

That being said, I also accept and understand the role of the “pitch”. In my job, I’ve been put in the position of having to attend “speed networking” meetings. These meetings are typically held in assisted living facilities and all attendees are professionals who work for companies and non-profits that serve our aging population. A good chunk of the attendees are marketing folks. So I have learned how to “market” my organization in the span of 3 minutes at a time, because I’ve had to.

So that’s how I’m going to approach making over my “About” page. It’s a pitch, right? I’ve got a lot of overthinking pondering to do on this. Stay tuned.

That brings me to the “Badass Bitch” part of this post. Because truthfully, I’m striving to be one. With my blog of course-but I will not limit my pursuit of personal badassiness to just that.

But enough about me.

Let me tell you about the women I find to be particularly badass, and I strongly encourage you to share yours.

Image result for memes for join me

First, there’s Lizzo: You’ve certainly heard of her at least, right? She’s the hip-hop, rap, music-maker of funky/catchy tunes who I am certain will be winning Grammys left and right before long. My favorite badass artist turned me on to her (that would be Spawn #2).

Interesting facts/what makes Lizzo seriously badass:

She was mentored by Prince. If you are a Prince fan, you will hear his influences in her songs.

She is a flutist. She actually planned on being a professional flutist in fact.  When she pulls that flute out, it’s unexpected and truly magical.

She’s an actress! Triple threat, right there. She will soon be seen in the movie “Hustlers” (she pulls out the flute in one of two short scenes she is in), and provided her voice talent to the movie “Ugly Dolls” (which I totally need to see ASAP).

I thoroughly enjoyed Lizzo’s “tiny desk” concert on NPR. I think you will too. She is charasmatic, funny, and just so stinkin’ talented. Check it out!

Another badass bitch you likely have never heard of is this lady, California Congresswoman Katie Porter.

Interesting facts/what makes Katie a badass:

She turned Orange County California from red to blue as the first Democrat to be elected in her district. 

She is a single mother of 3, after having gone through domestic violence in her marriage.

She has a wicked sense of humor (see below clip).

She grew up in Iowa which has given her an understanding and appreciation of farmers and other Americans who break their backs to earn a meager living.

Watch her go toe-to-toe here with Bill Maher. I am so paying attention to where she goes politically. I like to think she’ll reside in the White House some day.

 

 

The HighWomen. They are a new “supergroup” of badass country/Americana singer/songwriters comprised of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. Their song “Redesigning Women” has been a constant earworm for me as of late. To me, it’s the modern day woman’s version of  Dolly Parton’s  “9 to 5”. Like if they ever did a remake of that movie, this would need to be the theme song. I can really relate to the lyrics, as I imagine any American middle aged woman would.

I love, love, love, this video!!!

Greta Thunberg is the youngest badass that I’d like to feature. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a teenager from Sweden who is determined to do all she can to turn the tide on climate change. She fell into depression when she learned about climate change in school a few years back. Once the depression lifted, she became hyper-focused (she is on the Autism spectrum and embraces it, as one should) on doing every single thing she can to ensure world leaders start acting now to combat climate change. She started by doing a school strike and now she’s traveling the world (by train and not air, as to not compound the problem) to protest and bear witness to this crisis for her generation.

Image result for meme of greta thunberg

I think we need more Greta Thunberg’s in this world, don’t you?