Thoughts on employee appreciation

As I wind things down with my soon to be former job, I keep hearing the word “appreciation” tossed around in its various forms. “You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.” “They didn’t appreciate you.” “Maybe now they’ll appreciate everything that you did.”

Here’s the thing, I have never said I was looking for work because I didn’t feel appreciated. I was looking for work because I need significantly more income and I need a much better career path. Administrative work is a dead end job, management is much better. So the appreciation thing didn’t come from me. However people have pointed out to me the fact that I am leaving for the reasons that I am leaving is indeed a sign of a lack of employee appreciation.

In a recent meeting, I felt as if for the first time in four and a half years my two directors were really beginning to grasp just how much I know and just how much I do. I think they always thought I did a lot of the conference work– it was, after all, my job, but I don’t think they understood I pretty much did every single aspect of the conference. It was never done like that before. The conference was a shared responsibility.

Younger generations in the workforce get a lot of crap from older generations. They say we want gold stars for everything we do. We want to be acknowledged and appreciated for the smallest thing.

Obviously, I disagree.

What we want is to be appreciated and what I am starting to understand is that maybe the generational gap is sometimes large enough between management and employee that they simply can’t appreciate the work because they don’t understand it.

At least, in this case and in prior situations that’s what I ran into. I make a lot of things really easy for people. I have really fast turnarounds. I make complex things look easy to do and because my bosses simply don’t know or care to know how to do the things that I do, they don’t fully understand what an asset it is to have someone on their team like me.

My co-workers did. My co-workers did because they knew they simply lacked the skillset I had. My co-workers knew that what would take them hours to do on Microsoft Word I could accomplish in a few minutes. My co-workers would watch me work and constantly say “Wait, how did you do that? What was that? What did you just do there?”.

My bosses simply didn’t get that invested. They asked for things and I’d give it to them. Asking me for a demographics report on the most recent conference was the same as asking their secretary to get someone on the line for them. Sometimes I’d be faster with the report than the secretary with the phone call.

I am not a computer whiz. I can’t hack anything and my coding knowledge is super basic and super rusty because I just don’t practice it. But at the end of the day, I have been in front of a computer for most of my life. And for many years I have worked on Office software. I have used the internet for so long, I remember there was a time where you would go to the Yahoo! search engine and look something up and NOT find an answer. It just wasn’t there. So I am really good at searching the internet when I’m stuck. I couldn’t afford fancy computer classes so I just taught myself to do whatever it was I needed, or wanted, to do. And because I come from an era that understands computers are meant to make life easy and fast, I always strive to learn the faster and better way to do something on it.

My co-workers aren’t like me. They are more comfortable with typewriters than with computers. One co-worker is pretty much scared of computers and hates having to learn anything on them. And because they had been doing the responsibilities I took on the old-fashioned way, they were able to really appreciate what I was bringing to the table.

Unfortunately, my co-workers don’t make decisions on things like compensation, performance reviews, or any other form of employee appreciation. That job falls to our bosses and they just don’t get it. More importantly though, the general feeling is they don’t want to get it and that’s where you sow the seeds of discontent.

A couple of years ago, things hit rock bottom in the school and my co-workers saw their friends, their fellow loyal co-workers of 20+, 30+ years pack their things and leave. If ever there was a demonstration of how little their loyalty was appeciated, that was it. It’s gone downhill since and it saddens me.

Here’s my thought– if you’re in a position where you are truly responsible for employees, make sure that you understand their function in your organization and I don’t mean what’s on paper in a job description. You should be able to review every employee you make major decisions about and consider what impact there would be on your organization if that employee was struck by a car on their lunch break. Morbid? You bet, but it works. Good luck getting anything from an unconscious employee to help you transition their responsibilities to someone else, you know?

Oh sure you hired that sophomore in college to answer the phones, no biggie, but it turns out her helpful personality and her comfort with personal computers has made her everyone’s go to person for help when they’re stuck with a computer problem. She’s the one everyone begs to help fix the copier. She’s the one people call in a panic when they accidentally deleted something important. She’s the one that knows how to install the printer on a new computer. She even knows some cool tricks with Excel and there was that one time she made the really cute PowerPoint presenation for the Holiday Party.

Maybe it’s the Patriarchy, maybe it’s ego, maybe it’s just being really busy but there’s something about a receptionist or an administrative assistant that is hard to be taken seriously by upper management and in a lot of cases, what a mistake that is! In an organization, anyone can be the one who goes above and beyond the call of duty. Sure it can be the hotshot Sales Manager but it can also be the file clerk. The lower down the totem pole, the higher the risk for upper management to lose touch. When you lose touch, you simply can’t understand a person’s true role in a company. And when you can’t understand that, you are ill-equipped to make the important decisions you are tasked to make regarding promotions, transfers, annual increases, bonues, etc.

You know, I don’t think I’m alone when I say I don’t like changing jobs all the time. I would love to be able to work with the same people for years. But to do that, I need to grow. I can’t stay stagnant. I have a family to support and I have a brain that likes to run constantly. I like challenges. I like problems. I like finding solutions. I like helping.

For a while, I’ll do it anyways. I’ll help around with extra work and I’ll do things for other people. I’ll fix people’s computers and teach people tricks on the program they’re using. I will walk the office manager through the process of reserving a room on the new software every single time she needs to because I care for her and understand her frustration with a technology she just doesn’t feel comfortable with.

But, I have responsibilities. Maybe because I’m a lowly admin that doesn’t really occur to the people “up there” but it’s true. I have a young family that needs me. When the annual increases are less than the rate of inflation, you’re punishing me financially for working with you.

I sat in meetings where big decisions were made. I was there as an admin to take notes and to manage the spreadsheet. I saw in black, white, red, and green the numbers game unfold. That experience forever changed me. I saw what most people feel– at the end of the day, we are all just numbers on a big spreadsheet. There are no names. There are no stories. There are numbers. And so I have learned to look at my jobs the same way– it’s a numbers game. I am losing money staying in a position or in a department because someone who can, won’t fight for me to get the compensation I deserve most likely because they don’t really feel it’s deserved because they just don’t understand. And it’s not just me, it’s everyone.

You’ve seen the headlines about stagnant wages. This isn’t a problem I have with my bosses in this division. It’s a problem the American people have with each other. I hope that it will change. I hope that as my generation keeps ascending the corporate ladders, we will remember the sting of being reduced to a number on a spreadsheet. I hope we will re-insert humanity into significant processes and decision-making meetings. I hope we will make an effort to really understand our employees and their actual roles and contributions in our organizations that often go way beyond their job title. I really hope we take back the idea that hard work pays off and that loyalty should be rewarded so that as our children and our grandchildren enter the workforce, we know we have created something worth working hard for.

A thing I saw coming

The phone rang on Sunday and it was the kid’s father’s number which I found odd. He hardly ever has them call me, I have to ask they call me. Delighted by the surprise, I picked up the phone and found a very excited Daughter on the line bursting to share some news with you. Before she rushed into it, I knew what was coming. Call it woman’s intuition, I call it common sense and knowing someone you were with for 7 years.

“Daddy. Asked. ——–. To Marry Him!”

She was clearly excited so I said that was awesome and congrats. She told me they had spent the night at their grandmother’s house and her father and the girl came this morning for brunch and made the announcement. Then she said they were yelling at her to come eat so she had to go. She never did call me back.

It dawned on me later the night they slept at their grandmother’s house, the night he proposed, was our former wedding anniversary.

Let me go back a bit.

My marriage was stupid. It was a stupid thing to do. I felt a lot of pressure to get married because I was pregnant and felt I had to show that I dunno, I wasn’t really an irresponsible slut (I wasn’t, I just felt that way). I imagine he was under a lot of pressure to make right of the situation too so we did the thing and got married.

We were really young and really immature. Understanding forever just wasn’t possible. I remember I couldn’t actually visualize us getting old together. We treated each other badly because when you’re immature, that’s what happens. When we split, it was ok for a few months and then it stopped being ok. Right before the split, a girl he had known when he was younger started appearing regularly on his Facebook. They both started flirting with each other online, publicly. Meanwhile, my guy friend and I were getting really close as we both watched our immature marriages fall apart. The girl moved in with him pretty quickly. Our divorce was finalized two years later and my boyfriend moved in about eight months later.

Anyhow, one of the things that I knew for sure was that he would remarry. He is that kind of guy. Image is everything in his world. He has to look like he is living the life and the life includes a wife and children and a flashy car and nice clothes. As the years passed and the girl stayed by his side, I knew it’d be her. Last year after he won the motion to have child support reduced from $2200 to $400, he started  showing up at more school functions especially when his mother is in town. When he filed the motion late last year for more time I told more than one person he is trying to show he is a family man because he’s probably planning on marrying this girl and having a family with her. He has to win over her parents to do that and this is part of it.

So there you go, he finally did the thing that I knew he’d do. And I am totally ok with it. My kids need stability. At least if they’ve gotten engaged there’s a pretty good chance that they will stay together for at least two to three years more and that’s important. Hopefully, they’ll stay together forever and the girl will let go of her crazy resentment towards me so that we can start actually co-parenting.

You see, I think everyone that gets divorced wonders if their ex will remarry and they wonder how they’ll take it. And I’m here to tell you that it’s actually something that can feel good. The less connections between the two of you the better and him remarrying feels like one less link. One less weight. I imagine the same will happen when they have children. My children will no longer be his only children and so I think that will also ease things.

For me, it’s easy to not get jealous. I know with complete certainty he and I were doomed. His values, his priorities, his dreams look very different from mine. It’s impossible to forge a life together when you can’t agree on what life should be like. Or you agree on the surface so the other person shuts up and leave you alone but you never really commit to that life.

I don’t know much about the girl. She’s been… difficult to really get to know and what I have known of her has been really unpleasant unfortunately. But I do get the sense that their values, priorities, and dreams match up more than ours did. So they have a better chance together. You see, my opinion of their idea of a life doesn’t matter– theirs does. So even if I don’t agree with the way they choose to live their life, the fact is they seem to agree with it and that’s good for them and good for my kids in that at least they will have stability.

My kids adore me. I adore my kids. I work hard to raise them with a good head on their shoulders and a loving heart in their rib cage. Will my children turn out the way I want them to? Maybe and maybe not. That’s part of raising kids and it’s an especially larger risk when you divorce the other parent.

Remember, this is my year. No matter what happens, I am determined to grow and learn and succeed this year. In the past, I have written about life sending me backwards. That is done. So we are just going to keep going forward. Life is good and it’s getting better.

 

Bang! And we’re off!

In December, I started pulling myself together and I started pulling my friends together. We talked a lot about our lives and where they were. We talked about how frustrated we were, how much of a rut our lives had fallen into. We all just felt too old for the lives we were leading.

So the conversations began to shift as I began to shift. We stopped talking about where we were and started talking about where we wanted to go. We stopped laughing at our dreams. We stopped each other from closing doors and from talking ourselves out of chances. We made plans. We made goals.

Six months, we said. Where are we going to be in six months?

Some of them are still trying to figure that out and that’s ok. Some of them are scared. Others have some pretty good ideas and have to just start doing the work.

And then there was me.

Six months? New job. In June 2015 I want to be working somewhere else making more money. The money anxiety needs to stop and I need to stop driving myself crazy in my free time to make little drops in a bucket that’s leaking everywhere. Expenses aren’t the big issue, the income is though. So, new job.

I wanted a job that gave me a raise but that also seems better suited to turn into a career. I was looking at all kinds of jobs. I was even considering sales and banking. I didn’t mind a career change at all really. I knew one thing, Administrative jobs were out. I have ridden that wave for too long and it’s gone nowhere.

And then, I found one. January 5th, I found it. January 5th I applied. And I wondered how I’d stand out among all the other applicants but somehow I did and I got the email. Monday, January 12th I had the interview and Monday, January 12th I got the offer. I’m staying with my University but I’m leaving the medical school to bluer pastures.

My new position will be with a research consortium at the marine school. The marine campus is located on Key Biscayne and is beautfiul. The team is young, eager, and exciting. The new job promises to be very busy and fast-paced which is perfect for me. The transition will be interesting as I have been in a very slow-paced environment for four years now, but it’s a welcome transition for sure.

The consortium has its kick-off meeting at the end of February and things over here are really slow right now. So, the new boss and the former bosses are agreeing to a flexible transition plan wherein instead of staying here for 30 days as required by policy, I go over there in a week or so and then can come back to help out with transitioning the conference.

Oddly enough, my bosses are not very concerned about the transition. They are sure that my co-workers will be fine because they were doing the job before I came along. That shows you how little they understand my actual job which is strange to me. My co-workers are panicking because they know how little they know about the conference now. Since I actually adore my co-workers (I am totally surprised I haven’t cried yet), I am working hard to make sure they don’t get killed during the transition. I even offered them the chance to come meet with me in Key Biscayne to go over some details because who does not want to go to Key Biscayne? It’s seriously GORGEOUS over there. They jumped at that needless to say.

To describe to you the relief that I am feeling is not entirely possible. I am getting a good raise. It doesn’t get me to the number that would make living here as breezy as the causeway but it does help me big time.

S.O. and I really do have to sit down and get serious with the money because between our two new jobs we are making enough money to get by alright IF we reign in the impulse shopping and dining. We need to get organized and serious as both of our jobs promise to be very, very busy this year and when you’re busy and disorganized, you lose a lot of money. We are also tired of missing out on meaningul things because we fritter cash away on little things. He loves sneakers and I love nerdy things but we also want to see the world and we want to absorb more of the booming cultural opportunities here. We make enough to do some of it, not all of it.

So yeah, 2015 is my year. And we are just getting started my darlings. We are just getting started.

Buckle Up!!

I have been saying for some time now that things have been changing for me. I have been getting stronger, and more optimistic. I have focused on gratitude and I have allowed myself to indulge in positive thoughts with little to no wallowing. I have beaten back the usual swirl of negative self-talk and have disputed it with evidence showing how silly it’s all been. It has been silly and it has been damaging and I have grown past that.

I whipped all of the powerful energy I had been harvesting and threw it at the new year. I have told my friends, my family, my co-workers– this is MY year. It’s time to start really reaping the good that I have sown.

Tomorrow I have the first hearing of the year in regards to the parenting plan and most likely child support. I have not lost a second of sleep over any of it and I won’t ever again. Hiring the lawyer was the best thing I have ever done. I feel good about it and I figure with her on my side my kids will get the best chance they can get at fair representation. And I don’t have to do anything besides what I have already done– answer her questions honestly as best as I can.

And that’s pretty much the where this year is going to go. I have a lot of confidence in myself again. I had wondered for so long what the hell happened to it. But now things are different, really different. And this is just a preview of what is to come.

From now on, it’s not about just trying to stay afloat or trying to keep my balance. It’s not about just maintaining the status quo anymore and hoping for a calm year. Nope. This time it’s about not only embracing changes but seeking them out. It started with me and it just keeps going from there. I don’t have the doubts that I used to, I just don’t. If a stranger on the street told me half what I used to say to myself I’d laugh and know they were some sort of psychopath.

And that’s really been the major crux of things.

Do you know how good it feels to be optimistic and confident? Do you have any clue? Do you know what it’s like to realize that you too are a success story in the making? I’m a magnificent story that is just getting to the good part really. And you are too, if you let yourself see it.

It feels weird at first, making the transition from pessimist to optimist. It’s not enough to just have positive thoughts. It’s about having positive thoughts but it’s also about sending the negative thoughts to a special place in hell where they belong. That’s the harder part. That’s the part that takes time. So when you first start, embracing positive thinking, hopeful thinking, confident thinking, feels sort of half-there. And that’s because it is. But as you continue to embrace positivity and hope and optimism and as you continue to dispute the negative thoughts and present the counter evidence, well, things change. The positivity feels more genuine. And it feels good. It feels good to like you again.

So here we go. We’re going on a ride this year but it’s a ride of my choosing and with my navigation skills. Ready?

A Horrible Dream?

On Wednesday night I had a really disgusting dream. So of course, I have to share it with you all because that’s what we do.

I dreamt that I had some sort of wound on my arm, like three inches long and very skinny. Something was infected and it was digsuting and painful and when I pushed it out (like popping a pimple) a worm came out!

It looked like this but much paler

It looked like this but much paler and somewhat softer.

But it turned out, it wasn’t the only one! Others kept coming up, younger and smaller and whiter. They were disgusting and I was horrified and crying. We were in someone’s home or maybe it was a daycare and people were freaking out trying to figure out what happened that I was suddenly having these worms growing in my arm. I freaked out saying I must have drunk eggs and they’d be all over my body but someone pointed out it was impossible because they were all in that one spot on my arm so one must have gotten into my arm somehow and laid eggs or something. Every time I’d scratch the wound, I’d push out another baby worm and then I woke up itching like crazy.

I finally got around the grossness of it enough to look up some possible meanings for the dream and here are some of the keywords I looked up on DreamMoods.

Arm

To see your arms as the emphasis in your dream indicate your nurturance side and your ability to reach out and care for people. Alternatively, it may represent the struggles and challenges in your life. Consider the phrase of “arming yourself” which implies that you need to protect yourself, be more aggressive and take a firmer stance on things or the pun “up in arms”, representing anger and your readiness to argue.

To dream that your arm has been injured signifies your inability to care for yourself or your helplessness in reaching out to others. You may have been feeling limited and restricted in terms of your freedom or activities. The right arm signifies your outgoing nature and is associated with masculine energy, while your left arm signifies your supportive or nurturing nature and is associated with feminine qualities.

Infection

To dream that you have an infection indicates negative thoughts and ideas that you have internalized.  Consider also where in the body is this infection for more significance.

Wound

To dream that you are wounded signifies grief, anger, or distress. You need to slow down and take time to heal. Consider the location, size and type of wound.

Worm

To see a worm in your dream represents weakness, degradation, filth and general negativity. You have a very low opinion of yourself or of someone in your life. The dream may also relate to self-esteem issues or a skewed self image. Alternatively, dreaming of a worm may be a metaphor for someone who is untrustworthy or slick.

To dream that the worm is crawling on your body indicates that you feel someone around you is taking advantage of you and feeding off your kind heartedness.

Now, the interesting thing about this to me is that I feel like in my case, the wound was healing and that’s why all of these things were coming out of it.

As a matter of fact, during dinner Wednesday night my friend and I talked a lot about self-esteem. We talked about the major changes in our self-esteem and in our confidence and how we are rebuilding it. I feel very different lately than I have in a long while. I feel a lot stronger. I feel a lot better. I feel a lot more hopeful. I feel a lot more optimistic. I feel a lot more valued. I feel a lot more worthwhile.

With all of those feelings, those good feelings, growing inside me I can’t imagine there being much room for the negative feelings the worms could represent and that’s why in my dream they were suddenly coming to the surface and coming out of me. We didn’t let the worms go free. We made sure we killed each and every one of them as they emerged to be certain they didn’t infect anyone else or that they wouldn’t come back to infect me again.

So even though the dream was horrific and left me nauseated, itchy, and in desperate need of a shower, I think it’s actually a good dream to have had. I’m getting better. It’s not always easy and pain-free but I’m getting a lot better. And yes, this is 6 years after the separation and 4 years after the final divorce– one that I wanted. It takes a lot longer than you think it will so give it the time it needs and give yourself the patience you deserve.

The Art of Hosting

Dinner last night with my friend was really, really, really nice. Just the two of us sitting down with some amazing food, a bottle of wine, music, and conversation. It’s a simple thing, inviting someone over to dinner. It’s also very powerful and important and not frequently done.

My friend was the perfect hostess. She cooked really yummy food. She had the table set nicely. She did not let me clean anything. She ate the desserts and adored the wine I bought (Educated Guess it’s called, in case you were wondering). She was talkative and curious and asked all kinds of questions and was an attentive listener. There was no television on and the phones were mostly ignored by both of us.

She was also prepared and that’s something that I don’t think most people generally pick up on but it’s something someone like me who has a history of planning events, does notice. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? How hard can it be to prepare for a dinner for two? And that’s exactly it. It’s not hard at all and because of that so many people dismiss it altogether and just wing it.

While winging it usually works, being prepared adds that little… something. That something that you just can’t put your finger on but it makes something go so much better than you anticipated. It sends a message to those you are hosting: you and your time are important to me and this is how I honor it.

I think that, because our closest friends ARE our closest friends, we feel more comfortable around them. We do not have to impress them or have everything perfect for them. And that is precisely why going out of your way to impress them is such a meaningful and important thing to do.

So tell me, when is the last time you had a friend over for dinner? What’s your favorite way to connect with someone you care about?

Power Up Dinner

I’m leaving work in a few minutes and I’m excited. I’m going to head home and change out of my work clothes. I’m going to grab a bottle of wine and then I’m going to get back into my car, pick up a treat from this piece of heaven, and then I am going to my friend’s house for what I am internally referring to as a Power Up Dinner.

In case you somehow missed it, I did a lot of reading on positivity, happiness, optimism, and success last year. I learned a lot and a lot of different things stuck out at me. One I am going to be focusing on tonight will be the importance of the social network.

Forget the internet for a few minutes. Networks have been in place from the dawn of humanity. They were vital for survival in the earliest of our times and I am pretty convinced they are as vital today. For a million reasons, not one of which is important, I’ve done a piss poor job building my network. It mostly consists of my family and a very small group of people. While this sounds ideal in some ways, when you really get down to things, it just doesn’t cut the mustard.

When you think of safety nets you always think of strength. So for a physical safety net that can catch a falling trapeeze artist, it needs to be big and flexible and strong as hell. And when you think of financial safety nets, size again matters and the higher the numbers the stronger and more flexible the net. When it comes to a human safety net though, I think what is required is a good amount of strength and a good number.

Too many people in a human safety net can cause problems. It’s hard to keep many connections strong especially during our really busy family-raising years. BUT I do think that it gets easier as you work on it one by one and as you start connecthing the links together.

So that’s what I am doing. I am making it a point to be more present at functions I am invited to– physically and mentally. I am also making it a point to host more functions. And I am making it a point to string together the connections I am working on so that the nets can start to come together.

So tonight, I am powering up my net. I am meeting with a friend from high school I have not actually physically seen in about two years. I have stayed in touch with her via Instagram and random text messages and even more random phone calls and I find her to be a very positive and happy and warm energy. I want that energy right now. I want to be surrounded by it because it makes it easy to reflect it right back you know?

What I want is positivity and warmth and happiness. I want comfort and confidence and strength. I am looking for hope and optimism and vision. These are the things I am trying to envelop myself in. So tonight, I’m looking to power that up by having dinner with a friend. I’m really looking forward to it and that’s half the magic right there.

Try it some time and tell me how it goes!

 

2014 in Books

For the past several years, I’ve set a reading goal on Goodreads. I don’t really do much to actively hit this goal, but I like numbers and I like accomplishments and I like reading so I dunno, it comes together nicely I guess.

Last year I picked 45 as the lucky number. I read 41 books. I picked 40 for 2015 and now I’m thinking I should have picked 42 because, you know (but if you don’t, buy this book, read it, and send me a thank you note).

OK so the 41 books I did read… Here they are in categories I just made up.

The Author That Followed Me From 2013

In 2013 I read a lot of books by Jaqueline Carey and so when 2014 started, I kept the party going with The Sundering Series– Banewreaker and Godslayer which were really fun fantasy stories that examined the idea of evil and how that can be fuzzy depending on what side you’re on. Also, they make great heavy metal band names and that’s always a plus.

The Series I Keep Trying to Quit But I Can’t Except Maybe I Did This Time

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I started reading this series in March 2011. In 2014, I read The Fiery Cross in January and A Breath of Snow and Ashes in February and that was it. I got super excited about the TV and never got to actually watch it because cable is too freaking expensive. My review of Snow and Ashes pretty much summed up my back and forth with this series. It’s like a really messy relationship and I can only handle it a couple times a year. It just leaves me really confused about who I am on the inside you guys. But I only have two left to get caught up (An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood) and I do have a Kindle now so… maybe… this year…

The Series That I Stopped Reading For No Reason Whatsoever

Song of Ice and Fire. I read Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows in seven months and then I never read A Dance with Dragons. I honestly don’t even know why. I just didn’t get the next one. That makes no sense at all because things were just getting good. Going to have to add that to the wishlist

The Author I Became Borderline Obssessed With

Gail Simone. So, I have been reading comic books since the 1990s and somehow I never heard of Gail Simone. Ok so I stopped reading them in the early 2000’s but I’m still not sure how I managed to go so many years without registering her on my radar. Needless to say, I fixed that whole thing plowing through 14 volumes of Gail Simone goodness in 2014. I didn’t even do that on purpose. Batgirl, Birds of Prey, All-New Atom, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, Red Sonja, and The Movement all took turns on my night stand and in my purse. Batgirl, Birds of Prey, and Secret Six were my favorites in case you were wondering.

The Author I Will Most Likely Become Borderline Obssessed With In 2015

Brian K. Vaughn. I read Saga volume 1 last year and was just freaking out everywhere. Saga is more like the comics I used to read in the 90’s. I liked the indie stuff, the dark stuff, the not about superheroes type. I definitely intend on snagging up the rest of the volumes for this one and will own these, for sure. I already lent the first one out to my best friend because it is so damn good.

The Books That Made Me Wish I Was Not An Adult Again

I read a decent amount of young adult books last year. John Green prominently figured in my reading with An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking for Alaska. My least favorite was Paper Towns. I still don’t understand how THAT one got the ok for a movie. So You Want to be a Wizard, Divergent, and Insurgent (hey there I go not finishing a series again) were the other young adult books I read.

The Books That Helped Make Sense of Adulthood

Towards the end of the year, I binged on non-fiction. Actually, I specifically binged on postive emotions which makes sense given the fact I was a mess for most of 2014. But I am a lot better thanks to books like The Happiness Advantage, Authentic Happiness, and Learned Optimism.

A Possible Reason I Don’t Like To Finish Series of Books

Gail Carriger’s Timeless was the final book of the Parasol Protectorate and it got my lowest rating in the whole series. I put off reading it for four months after finishing the 4th book in late 2013. Maybe I should have just put it off forever. Then again, I wouldn’t have started the Finishing School series this year without wrapping that whole thing up and she does have a new series coming out

The Book Club Books

This year some friends and I finally finally finally got around to starting a Book Club. We had two meetings. The first one was for Big Little Lies which was good but it did have some disturbing violence against women as a major plot point which I know is a no-no for some people. I have mixed feelings about it. The other was for Wicked Girls which was very readable but was also a touch too close to real life for me and left me feeling a bit too sad.

Possibly The Prettiest Book I Read In 2014

Neil Gaiman’s Black Orchid reminded me so much of David Mack’s Kabuki but with nature. That cover alone is to die for.

The Books My Best Friend Lent Me

Ok so now I remember why I didn’t finish the Song of Ice and Fire series. My best friend lent me those and she hadn’t bought the fifth book yet so there you go. But guess what? Those weren’t the only books my best friend lent me. She also lent me I Am The Messenger, Anansi Boys, and Witches of East End. My best friend loves to read and I love her for it.

And so, there you go. My year in books which by the way are linked via Amazon Affiliate links which work by sending some measely pennies to my Amazon Affiliate account if you buy something on Amazon after you click one of my links and every once in a blue moon I make ten whole dollars and they send me an Amazon gift card whcih I use for more books or Christmas presents depending on the time of year.

What books stood out to you in 2014?

Trying to Organize

I had been planning to devote some time to my home while on vacation. The past year I really just let it all go and I was mostly ok with it but now that I am looking at things a little brighter, I want my house to match if that makes sense.

Anyways, vacation came and vacation is pretty much gone as I return to the daily duty tomorrow. And I did get some organization in but not as much as I would have liked and mostly I find it’s because I just don’t know how to really organize. Also, I am really short on attention span when it comes to projects like this and I jump from thing to thing without totally completing anything and that leaves loose ends that always form the basis for the next disaster area.

So I am open to some tips. I would like mostly to focus on solutions that don’t involve significant purchases. Yes, I would love to buy a nice cabinet from IKEA but the vintage dresser in my grandmother’s garage will have to do just fine. I mean, really I think I just need some basics. I picked up a few baskets from the dollar section at Target about three or four months ago and still have a couple unused ones that I know can be put to work, I just don’t really know how or what the heck to throw in there.

The main areas I think need work are:

  • The Play/Laundry/Craft Room
  • My bedroom
  • The kids’ bedrooms

I would love to hear some tips from you guys and if I find some good ones, I just might come back and share them. Of course, you can find me pulling together some knowledge on this subject on Pinterest.

 

It’s Christmas Eve Eve!

Christmas Eve is the big deal in my family. Actually it’s called Noche Buena. We actually never really did anything formally on Christmas Day until I had kids and invited people to come over because I didn’t feel like going anywhere else that day and everyone wanted to see the kids on Christmas.

But anyways, back to Noche Buena. We do the classic Cuban thing and we do the pig caja china style (it’s a box with coal in it and the pig gets thrown on top and it roasts to perfection). I am in charge of making the white rice. I don’t really know how that happened. I suck at making rice. So my mother is giving me her rice cooker and maybe that way I won’t screw up the rice.

My kids won’t be with me this time. I get them on Chritmas Day at noon. And so my whole family will be joining us at 3PM on Christmas Day. I totally didn’t realize I had to plan anything for that until last night when my mom showed me the ham she bought for the house. So yeah that happened. Now I’m trying to muster together some sort of energy to plan and prepare Christmas Day while wrapping things up for Noche Buena AND I am having my friends over on Saturday for an After Christmas party. Because I like to party.

What are you up to this week?