Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Blessings is a word I don't use very often.  Mostly because it smacks of religion, and I'm not religious in the traditional (or really any) sense of the word.  It always feels hypocritical for me to use it.

However, as I navigated through today, one of those crazy up and down days, that was the word that kept coming back to me.

First, I woke up under a cloud of gloom for no apparent reason.  Within moments of rising from bed, my dog had figured out that I'd best be left alone.  I had to turn around at the end of my street because I'd forgotten my makeup, and heaven forbid I go to a meeting without makeup.

As I headed through the spitting rain toward the first traffic light on my route to work, grumbling about the returning college students and how they screw up the traffic...what should appear but a rainbow, with the shadow of a double, staring me smack in the face as if to say "quit bitching, Jodi."  Blessing.

At a business meeting that morning, I had a moment of weakness and confessed to the roomful of women that I was having a gloomy morning, and I got to witness what only women can truly understand; the whole room tried to cheer me up, en masse, with a quick word or thought, and then we got down to business.  No fuss, just some support, and then we were on our way.  Blessing.

Next came an awards luncheon.  These make me uncomfortable, because while I confess that I enjoy being recognized I also can't help but feel that humility should be more important than recognition.  Still, I got to spend about an hour with 2 business leaders who have decades of experience being innovators, and their advice was smart and wise and funny and perfectly timed for me.  I needed to stop worrying about management for a few minutes and think about leadership, and that's what I did. Blessing.

I arrived back at the office and was greeted by a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a card that read "Jodi Bad-Assnoska", prepared by my staff in congratulations.  Blessing.

Messages of congratulations poured in all day via facebook, email and text.  Blessing.

There was an earthquake in the Mid-Atlantic where friends and family live.  Everyone is fine.  Blessing. 

Then came a chance to tell a stranger why what we do at Walton Arts Center is exciting and important.  Blessing.

Despite all of the good, by this point in the day, exhaustion was setting in.  I skipped an event and headed home to my dog and my streaming Hulu, thinking vaguely that I was being lazy and should do something more productive.  I ordered pizza to be delivered, despite knowing that I should be eating nothing but veggies for dinner. And I slumped on my bed feeling tired and overwhelmed by the thoughts in my head, big thoughts about my life, the direction I want to take it, and what my future holds.

But then facebook started to liven up, so much so that I had to turn off the streaming Hulu.  More congratulatory messages came through.  A friend and I booked flights for a weekend getaway to the Colorado Rockies.  A bunch of friends wanted to chat.  Tentative plans were laid for a trip with another friend. I realized how wide and varied my network of friends is, and how awesome that is. Many blessings.

Feeling re-energized once again, I headed out with Sadie (to attempt to walk off the pizza) in the humid sunset, and rediscovered my "walking" IPod mix.  We had a great walk, the longest we've been on in a while, and it felt amazing.  I had a moment of clarity as I strode through the 'hood, my dog at my side, music in my ears.  I may not be as skinny as I want to be, but I am blessed to be able to walk quickly, run if I choose (no thanks) and keep going for as long as I want to. 

All those big life questions still linger.  They haven't gone away.  But putting them in perspective is the legacy of today's blessings, I think.  When you have friends, family, two legs that work, an IPod, employment and an awesome dog, you are blessed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thinking small

I hate politics.  I really do. 

It brings out the contrary side of my nature; you know, that teenager-like side that refuses to agree with your parents no matter what they say? 

It gives the undeserving far more than their alloted 15 minutes of fame.   Oooh, here's a new rule that will solve our budget issues in a few months - politicians (and pundits) who get more than 15 minutes of fame should be taxed for the excess. 

It forces us to distill hugely complex problems into tweets/soundbites, which are decidedly not helpful.  For example, from the right: Obama sucks.  From the left: Republicans suck.  From the middle: WTF is going on?

I spend a lot of time (too much) thinking about these issues on a macro level, worrying about lofty things like "society" and "our culture."  (Especially when egged on by my dad, who delights in forwarding me emails that he knows will get my blood pressure up.  :)  ) I'm not sure why I do this.  I'm not a politician, academic, journalist or celebrity foster mom.  I'm just a gal from rural NH with delusions of grandeur.  Clearly, I am blessed to have the time for this kind of thought; after all, I'm not out hunting boar or building a shack from pine needles. 

Today in a meeting, I was expressing that I simply could not figure out how to take a large map of available parking and shrink it down to a business card size.  I have been trying for weeks and can't seem to make it work in my head.  It's a mental block, and it's ridiculous.  I can whip out a 34 page brochure like nobody's business, but this little project is confounding me.  One of my staff sweetly and jokingly said "You just can't think small."  We all laughed, but I think she's on to something. 

Here are the facts:

I have one vote.

I am not a lobbyist.

I am not a lawmaker.  

I am not a thought leader.  There are probably 8 people who read this blog.  (and I love each and every one of you!)

These facts clearly illustrate that I will not change the world anytime soon.  I think it's time to go back to striving for smaller victories.  Time to use the brains and skills I've acquired to do some fruitful and useful work, instead of obsessing over faulty forwarded emails and the infuriating genius of Fox News. Time to focus in on what I actually have the power to change. 

And unfortunately, time to realize that changing my dad's mind about politics is a bigger job than I can handle, one that might require lobbyists.  Love ya, Dad, even if you are misguided.  :)

(addendum: while search for a funny photo/image to post with this entry, I came across these two books, which brightened my mood considerably.  I think I know what I'm getting my Dad for Christmas. Both are available on Amazon.com