Thursday, May 23, 2019

Recital's Done!

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Recital 2019 is in the books!  This pic is actually from the Thursday night dress rehearsal.  KC is wearing his character costume.  He was Don Lino in Shark Tale and this was the first year that he auditioned for an acting role.  Elisabeth is wearing my favorite of her costumes in this picture.  She wore this for a tap number and it looked amazing!

There are lots of better pictures of my kids out there on the internet because lots of friends with mad camera skills took them. But they also have lots of other people's kids in them and it feels wrong to put that on my personal blog.  So you are stuck with this one folks!

But it really isn't about the pretty costumes anyway.  It is about how proud I am of the way these two have grown as people and dancers this year.  KC was dancing with the high school kids this year.  Much bigger expectations of him dance wise and maturity wise and he delivered in spades.  Dance is truly his passion and we are all ready experiencing the sadness of the 3 week nights that he won't be dancing.

Elisabeth also has made huge leaps in her dancing abilities.  More than that, she has deepened her friendships within the group of girls she dances with.  They all met for ice cream after the first show and it was great to see her take off with them.  My kids are social by nature but Elisabeth has had some of the "mean girls" experiences this year in other aspects of her life.  It could have caused her to isolate herself and for a while it looked like she was trying to do that. But dance and the friendships forged by years at the barre prevailed.

Both had at least 5 numbers they danced in--I kind of lost count after awhile honestly as with the acting bits added it, one or the other of them was always changing and heading to the wings.  I am grateful too that friends from all walks of their lives came to see them.  They had 8 friends and family watching on Saturday and 11 on Sunday.  The support meant everything to them.  Now, the costumes are packed away and suppers are more leisurely and life is very boring  calm!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Review Day

Today was our annual review meeting at work.  We set goals a few months back and then our managers reviewed our progress and achievements over the past year and gave us our "report cards."  I scored extremely well; the comments will be of great help as I work toward securing  a full managerial position elsewhere in the coming year or two.  I received a great deal of recognition for the improvements I made at the site during the year that we were without a property manager.  It was slightly awkward as my senior portfolio manager wanted me to have a chance at the job.  And I of course very much wanted a chance at the job.  Our new manager is a very nice person and I have spent the past few weeks teaching her the duties that I did as interim for the past year.  It is a good thing that I have an odd sense of humor because it strikes me funny that I am "not qualified" to be the manager but I can teach the new manager.  LOL

But, in the review I was also promised that my company will pay for education for the certifications that are recognized in our industry for property managers. That is a great thing and an expensive investment on their part.  I doubt very much that I will ever be a property manager for my present employer, but I'll get the certification and be in a better position to move elsewhere.  I feel that I have abundantly shown my abilities and they appreciate them but do not see me as a manager at this site. So, it will be time to move on when the classes I need to take are done.  I also got a raise and a bonus which are also very nice.  But it isn't all about them money and while that will help with bills, I have my eyes set on a goal that does not involve staying in this position till I totter off to the old folks home. LOL

I have begun to research other management companies. There are so many tools out there to help get a read on the culture of companies and since I am not in a crisis situation I am taking time to be thoughtful about this and when I make a move, it will be one that will benefit my career and my family.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

KC is 15 Late Post

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So my tech skills are still weak.  It is my youngest man-ling's 15th birthday today.  I can't quite wrap my head around this.  That middle pic?  Pretend it is the first one in the series.  That was probably when he was about 5 months old.  He was a preemie and so so tiny.  In that picture the newborn clothes were still big on him, but at least we had made it out of the doll clothes section!  I remember how utterly petrified we were bringing him home.  This young, precious life was entrusted to us and we.were.not.ready.  No one ever is.  I think you can read 50 billion books, take classes, read blogs, and baby sit your heart out, but it is not the same.  KC was not our first child, but he was our first infant and as such there were many firsts with parenting him that we had not experienced with the other kids.  Thank the goddess that he was an easy and forgiving baby!

The picture on the far right is of KC after dance recital last year.  Ever since he was 2 he has wanted to dance.  He would flit around the house waving my wives sparkly fabric bits and create shows in our front hall where he did his version of tap dancing.  It took till he was 4 to find a studio that was boy friendly and a non competition studio, but once we did, he has never left it.  He has added to his dance classes year by year, increasing in knowledge and ability. 

The first picture in the series.  That is KC today.  A strong 15 year old with goals, dreams and the drive to succeed.  He works part time at a local market. He helps teach at the dance school.  He volunteers in a classroom at church and helps at the library.  He is funny, loves word play, graceful, emotional and we are so very very blessed that he is our son.

I wanted this birthday to be special for him and in true J-E Team fashion it was special in ways we did NOT expect.  I had purchased tickets to Tap Dogs. They are a cool dance troupe he wanted to see.  They had medical issues and the night before our performance they cancelled.  Our tickets were refunded but they are not touring in our area the rest of the year.  KC took it with better grace than I did.  We've been sitting on these tix for about 2 1/2 months!  I was bursting with excitement for him.  He reminded me that such things happen with live performances, which is very mature and very true.

Then KC got sick.  Very sick.  Wound up on an antibiotic and missed a whole week of work and basically had the most low key birthday one could imagine.  He even had us cut the birthday pie he had requested without him blowing out the candles because he was coughing so much he was afraid of contaminating the rest of the family.

But for all that there were still presents and laughter, and even a birthday that went so far south from what was planned will be part of the memory montage for a son we love so dearly.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

No Promotion After All

It has been over a year since my former boss was promoted to another position within our company.  For  awhile now it has looked like i might at long last receive the chance to be the property manager.  My regional manager was very much in my corner and advocated for me.  I had a lot of extra duties which I fulfilled successfully.  I reduced our vacancy at the site and increased our collections. I held staff meetings and dealt with grumpy tenants.  And more.  I also kept my own regular work load up to date.

However at the end of the day, someone else will become manager on the 29th of this month.  I could tell how upset my regional was at having to impart this to me.  But it was not unexpected.  The thing I do not have is a certification in property management.  I have a number of other work related certifications but am not a certified property manager.It was my hope that because I fulfilled all additional duties beyond expectations and sought out other things to do, that I would perhaps be promoted and given a time frame to obtain the ARM designation.    I will get that designation too. And all the things I did?  They are just new skills.  They are things that now go on my resume as things I can do for the lucky company that will hire me away.  But I will get the certifications first.  My company pays for education.  (insert wry chuckle there)

My coworkers have been very sweet about it all. They all thought that I had been promoted because a memo went out of available positions and our site was no longer on it.  It has been obvious that i was doing things that were outside the regular scope of my job, so they thought there would soon be a big cool announcement.  I appreciate that vote of support too, as I have had to push our team in some new directions this past year and growing pains are not always comfortable.

So am I sad? I'd lie if I said no. But am I devasted?  Nope.  My job is one facet of who I am and while I love affordable housing and am passionate about it, it is not all that I am.  And I also think there is something great out there waiting. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Youth Group Sunday

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So proud of this guy this morning!  He read two prayers that he wrote during Youth Sunday service at church.  KC is a deep thinker and his words were beautiful.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  In only a few weeks he will be 15.  This momma can't quite grasp that.  But I am in awe watching him flower and grow and stretch himself trying new things.

This was the first time he has participated in a Youth Sunday service and the parts he took were very important ones.  Around his neck in this picture is his grandfathers wedding ring on a chain.  His grandfather was a Unitarian Universalist minister.   My mom gave KC that ring a few years ago when she felt he was old enough to appreciate it and care for it.  It means a great deal to him and when he chooses to wear it, it is always a sign of something deeply personal going on. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A hairy Matter

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So this is my KC.  He is 14, well, nearly 15 now.  A sweeter, kinder and more hardworking kid you would be hard pressed to find. Yes, I am his mom, but it is truly not blind parental love here.  He has been working at a local grocery store since the fall.  The store is the only employer in the area who will employ 14 year olds.  Everything else is pretty much 16 or older, or only seasonal.  At the store, he has consistantly worked 9 to 10 hours weekly. 

See the hair?   KC loves his hair.  It is part of who he is.  It is also against the dress code of the store.  The handbook states that males can not have dyed hair.  It is hard to see in the picture but KC's hair is tipped blond.  Because of  his "non traditional" hair color he has to wear a store ball cap when he works.  He despises the ball cap.

Last week he decided to have the blond trimmed out of his hair.  I was happy as it was  kind of damaged from the bleaching and it is healthier for the hair to trim it out.  But his impetus was so that he did not have to wear the ball cap when at work. Off he went to work, sans cap.

When I picked him up after his shift I could tell something was wrong.  He said that his manager told him his hair was "too wild" and he still had to wear the ball cap.  Let's be clear, there is no definition of "wild" or "tame" hair in the employee handbook.   Let us also be clear that although I have seen a number of black employees in the store, they are typically  female cashiers, not 14 year old male baggers.

I have worked since I was 14 too.  I know companies have the right to decide how their brand is represented by their employees. My employer  only allows female employees to have one ear piercing.  I also believe that there is a significant level of inherant racial bias in the matter in question.  However at present, the law appears to side with the employer.  Witness this recent court ruling regarding dread locks.  KC's hair is tall but was clean and neatly picked and shaped. 

We talked all the way home about the situation.  I was clear that I do believe it is unfair and that it may have inherant racial bias in the policy>  He is justifiably hurt and angry, but also sees that in other aspects the company has been good to him and to other co-workers.(he gets hours consistantly, he is in other aspects treated politely, a co-worker friend who had an incident of sexual harrassment had it immediately and appropriately handled.)  We spoke of how he basically had two options, he could keep his hair style and continue to wear the ball cap, or he could look on line for some more traditional styles that he might like and show them to a supervisor for approval before he committed to a change.  He is deciding what course of action he wants to take.  He gave me a big hug when we got home and said "I just hope my kids don't have to go through this too someday."  Me too, son

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fiona's yearly meeting

Tuesday I attended Fiona's annual ISP meeting at her group home.  It has been harder for she and i to visit the past few months. She works on Saturdays now and Sundays we are typically at church till noon and then KC is back there for youth group about 5ish.  So we have been talking a lot on the phone and keeping in touch that way.  But nothing beats face to face so I got her a coffee and got there early enough that we had time to just chat.  Her cousin had said she was going to attend the meeting as well but did not come after all.  I worried that this disappointment would impact Fiona's ability to participate in her meeting but she carried on with aplomb.

And the meeting went so well.  Fiona struggles often to stay regulated and to express herself in ways that do not involve physical outbursts.  But over the past year she has made steady and consistant progress in this regard. She has also been able to save for several big ticket items--the first saving up over $700 to go and do a wardrobe re-do. The second paying for a new bedroom set on layaway which involved 6 months of steady saving--and also forgoing the more immediate and transient pleasures that she would otherwise use her money for.

She has a job, two shifts a week at a local college doing food service work in the cafeteria.  Best of all, she is more open about sharing what her dreams and goals are, what she does or does not want to do, and does not show a lot of the body signs that  previously signalled severe anxiety.

I know there are likely to be inevitable setbacks but overall, my girl is rocking it!!  I am so very very proud of her.