Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my heart breaks

For those who may have read my previous post about family, I am sorry to have to add this to it. The missing plane was located and sadly Ginger is now mourning her husbamd and three boys. I am absolutely heartbroken that the story would end that way. I can only hope that she will feel the love that we were and still are sending her way.
I cannot imagine the pain she is feeling right now at the loss of four of her family members in one swoop. There is no way I could put into words how much I hurt for her, a woman I never had the pleasure of meeting but nonetheless feel I know because so many of my friends know her.
I also think about my own friends who also are hurting from this loss. They in fact knew Ginger's family and to them this is a great loss too.

Last night as I lay there before going to sleep I mentioned to my husband how tough the day had been with the kids. At 12 and 14 they know how to push your buttons and they sure drove me crazy maybe more than usual yesterday. But then I also told him how much I imagine Ginger would give to have one more disagreement or fight with her boys. It really does put things in perspective doesn't it ?

So I have to learn to be grateful for even the not so fun things because after all it is better than not having them around any more. And Ginger's boys were 12 and 14. How's that for a reason for me to feel so deeply about her story ?

Monday, November 1, 2010

family and six degrees of separation

I recently have been thinking about what the meaning of family is. I know, I know, it seems pretty obvious, the ones who are related to you make up your family.
I feel though that there is so much more to family. I believe I have many families, not just the biological one or the one I married into.
For instance, when I get on Facebook, I have access to a large group pf people I have organized in what Facebook calls networks. What if indeed these were their own little family circles.

One of my networks is comprised of greyhound adoption folks. I can absolutely 100% tell you that most of these folks feel like family. I have cried with them when they lost a hound or got a devastating cancer diagnosis. I have rejoiced when they added one more to their pack. I have cried and gotten mad alongside these people when reading stories of abuse and missing greyhounds. Just like any family, we all pulled together in a crisis and helped raise money for severely neglected hounds in Texas.
Like any family, we have our disagreement and subjects we know to avoid if we do not want to start a fight. But all in all, we are one big, huge family.

One of my other networks is Best Buy. I have after all worked for this company going on three years now.
Granted I do not know every single Best Buy employee but somehow we are all linked in our passion of helping customers, living with technology and keeping this company great.
So last week a former employee's family went missing during a flight over Wyoming. I knew Ginger by name only. I knew she was friend with a lot of my friends but I had never personally met her. And yet, I felt as if she was part of my family. I had to send a request for prayers and good vibes hoping it could make a difference. Will I ever meet Ginger ? probably not. Does it matter ? not at all. She is a part of my friends' family and my Best Buy family so I will keep hoping for the best for her.

And what about that whole Six Degrees of Separation thing ?

Last week I got a request to become friends with someone. It turns out she appreciated some of the posts and comments I had made to another friend. She thought we had some things in common so now we were friends too. Then she posted a link she got from one of her friends about Male Breast Cancer. I am all about sharing that kind of information because I truly believe awareness and education are the best tools we have to fight diseases.
So I took that link and shared it. Now the friend of my new friend, the one who posted the original link, decides she want to be friends with me. So I do as always when I get a friend request...I check her out. And lo and behold, this woman who lives in Florida is originally from New Jersey. But not just from New Jersey, from very close to my husband's hometown in New Jersey. And as I talk to my husband about this he asks me her name. And then tells me that there was a family in his hometown with that name and they owned a little grocery store and he worked there as a teenager. So of course, I decide to ask her if she is related to this family. And yes she is.
So because I know Bonnie (who lives in Arizona) and posted to her wall, I became friend with Sandra (who lives in Florida) and then through Sandra I became friend with Kriss who despite living in Florida is really a Jersey girl who happens to be from a family that owned a store where my husband worked as a !
That is what you call a small world.

So now I may consider Sandra and Kriss part of my extended family. In fact, since Kriss sent me some stickers about Male Breast Cancer, I will proudly display them when I take part in the Making Stride Breast Cancer Walk. I will pass on this message that is so important to her. Because now she indeed is family :-)

I want to believe that somehow we are all truly one family, one humanity and that we are linked in more ways than we are different.

I can only hope that my family will keep growing and that I can be there for all the members of this family and maybe someday they can be there for me too if needed.

Right now, I can mostly think of Ginger and how scared she must be for her family, her husband and three kids missing and also the rest of her family that is affected by this crisis. So once again I ask the members of mine to keep her in mind as all of you are after all now related...through me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Could business and leadership be just like parenting ?

Strange title maybe but there are definitely some things in common between the two.
I hope to some day be considered a leader and I know that at that point I will have to be more or less like a parent to my team. No I don't mean nagging and pleading like a mom, even though I am sure there will be days where it will feel that way. No what I mean is learning to let go.
In fact you always hear that you have to give your children wings and teach them how to fly and then learn to let them go. Of course, this is what a leader has to do too.
The sad thing about this is that when your team members try to fly away, you want them to succeed but you know you will be missing them like crazy. It's the dilemma of being happy for their success but selfishly wishing they could stay put a little longer.
In some cases, the business world makes you feel that way about the ones who are in charge too. They were your teachers and they took you under their wings and helped you grow. They may have been the ones fighting for you or defending you when things were rough. They may have been the ones who disciplined you or chided you when it was needed. But overall they were the one who made a difference in your job, made it easier or better or more fulfilling.
I have had to say goodbye to someone who worked with me before because he was moving on to more satisfying pursuits. And I was thrilled for him. But he stayed close.
Now I have to say goodbye to someone who meant a lot in the last few months for being there and helping me grow. And I am thrilled that he is getting to grow and I am excited that someday he will be a big kahuna, the one in charge. But dang it, I selfishly am hating that he will no longer be in my store. I know we will run across each other at times, this is after all a small business world. And yes his leaving gives me an opportunity to go after his job...yep that's the bright side because sadly I always feel I have to try and find one. It sure doesn't mean I will get his job but I will try to.
Maybe in the next few weeks there will be someone else to guide me. And maybe not. For now, I only know that I am going into the unknown and that is scary.
So I can only hope I can learn to let go of the ones who matter and learn from them so some day I can be in a position to give others wings and teach them how to fly until they leave me. And maybe some day I will be more happy than sad when that happens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

you walked into my life...on all fours.

6 years ago tomorrow, I was granted a greyt gift. No I didn't misspell. I really mean a GREYT gift. Most of my friends will know what I am talking about.
For those who don't, here is an explanation.
Six years ago I was in a depression cause by my mother's passing the year before. I was trying to keep it all together, you know - family, marriage... At that point I had quit my job because I no longer enjoyed it and there is not much worse than getting up in the morning and wishing you didn't have to go to work. I truly believe that you should quit or switch jobs when you get to that point because you are doing no one a favor by showing up for work without the passion necessary to do your job well.
So after I decided to stay home, I thought I might finally do something I had always wanted to do but never had been able to: get a dog. Mind you it wouldn't be just any dog. No for 6 years I had been wanting a greyhound. I had been waiting for the right time, for my kids to be old enough, for my life to allow it. And now that I would be home, I could feel good that I wouldn't have to leave the poor dog alone for 10 hours a day.
In comes this big goofy dark brindle boy. He was chosen for us and so very well I can say.
I will never be able to explain how much the retired racer formerly known as Onyx Star has changed my life.
I can no longer go on vacation anywhere anytime. I can only be gone for so many hours before I worry about having to let him out. I somewhat worry about when the next seizure will happen and I have spent many nights up with him because of seizures. I have to pay some pretty hefty vet bills that always happen at the most inconvenient times. I have had to invest in a carpet cleaning machine for these very occasional problems he has had. Poor pup takes medications that sometimes irritate his stomach. I have to let him out when I get home from work even if he has already been out with the kids just because I am home and he feels I owe him that even if I only want to get off my feet after an 8 hour shift walking around the store.
That's the bad stuff...
If I had to write the list of good stuff, I would be here for days typing.
Most of all, I love the love he gives me. I love that I am the only one he seems thrilled to see every day. I love that he is becoming cuddlier as he gets older. I love that he has to sleep in the room where I am. I love that he looks for me to help him through a seizure and he needs me to pet him and calm him down. I love that he pouts when I have left him with someone else for a few days because that means he cares. I love that all I have to do to feel better is hug him and ask for some kisses.
The last 6 years have been such a blessing for all he brought to me: this incredible love, the sense of belonging to a community - the crazy and so caring Greyhound world.
So to my wonderful Onyx, happy Gotcha Day. Thank you for rescuing me six years ago when all my loved ones couldn't no matter how hard they tried.
I dread the day I lose you but I cannot focus on that. I choose to live in the moment and enjoy every minute of our life together.

And now I am off to give my big goofy dog a greYt big hug.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An immigrant's point of view

So those who know me well know I am a stubborn and as someone said recently fiery French woman. That is true. I came to this country 21 years ago this month and I am proud to say that this is now my home country.
Of course, being myself an "immigrant", I have some opinions on the whole SB 1070 issue here in Arizona. But before I say any more, I have to tell a story.
I took my children to a McDonald's the other day for breakfast. While there my girl and I went to wash our hands and as I got ready to leave the restrooms I noticed a small sign on the door. It was in Spanish and said "Vandalism is a crime. If you are caught, you will be prosecuted". So the meaning of the sign I didn't have a problem with. I did however look around for an English version of said sign and didn't see any. Now I do realize that most customers probably wouldn't know what this sign meant. After all, unless you are Spanish speaking, who would pay attention to it, right ?
Well it just so happens that my three years of high school Spanish are enough for me to still read a silly little sign. And I got very much offended by the fact that it was there all by itself, without an English version. Why ? because I thought about all that it implied - that only Hispanics should be told about vandalism being a crime, as if they were the only ones who could possibly commit such a crime.
So after I got my kids taken care of, I asked to see a manager and told her how offensive I thought this was to both her Hispanic employees and all of her customers who could understand this stupid little sign. And who would notice as I did that there was no English version of it.
She acted all surprised and told me there usually was an English version and she was going right in there to see what happened to it.
So next time I get to that part of the Valley of the Sun, I will go use that restroom and I will check it out again. If there is still only that little Spanish sign, I guess I will have to contact McDonald's and see how they would feel if people picketed their restaurant for promoting intolerance and racism. Because to me, singling out one race like that is offensive and I know all about people judging you because of your ethnicity or nationality and I do not like it one bit. To tell you the truth I think it sucks !
And the best reward I got that day for that small action of speaking my mind was the Thumbs Up I got from my 12 year-old daughter. I can only hope that she will grow up unafraid to let her voice be heard.
So back to SB 1070...I have a Green Card and I had to go through the whole torturous process of getting one and then getting it renewed and every time I have to deal with Immigration my blood pressure shoots through the roof. But this is what I have had to do to stay in this country I love and where I have established roots so it was and still is worth it.
I will never have a problem with a police officer asking me to show my papers. But then again my face doesn't scream "I'm an immigrant". A lot of my friends however could be pulled over just because they are a bit darker skinned that I am. And a lot of them are second or third generation Americans. That is what I would hate to see happen. They do not deserve to be treated that way.
On the other hand, am I for illegal immigration ? no way in heck. But if you know how hard it is to get a green card and how incredibly expensive it is, I can understand why so few try to get there.
And do I condone the fact that so many steal identities so they can work here ? Hell no. These people are criminals and need to go to jail, just like an American who commits the same crime should. Ruining someone's good name and credit is horrible and indeed a crime.
And here comes my biggest pet peeve about what I see every day in Arizona: people who ask for us to speak Spanish to them. So here is the disclaimer I need to put into this - this is my opinion and my opinion only, not that of any one I live with, work for or consider my friends.
I have to ask this: when I moved to the US, if I had walked in and asked (in French no less) if there was a French speaking person at the grocery store, I can imagine I would have been laughed at. Because that would probably have appeared obnoxious for me to expect that someone would cater to my needs when after all I was the one who had come into this country. I probably would get some kind of comments such as "why can't you learn English if you live here".
Instead I chose to perfect my English so I could live as an American (with French roots of course) and I chose to try as hard as possible to lose my accent so it would be easier for people to understand me. I know not every one can do this but I truly believe it is a sign of respect for me to speak in such a way that my adoptive countrymen and women can truly get what I am telling them. I will however ask forgiveness for the occasional slip up and mispronunciation. And I know my friends will laugh and can probably think of a few words I butcher on occasion LOL

So I do want immigration reforms and I do want for illegal immigration to stop. I think if we take away the jobs the illegals are getting by penalizing the employers, we will solve half the problem. Then the rest could possibly take care of itself eventually. But I also think we all need to understand that until all of us living in this country are willing to do some of the jobs that the immigrants are filling, we may never be able to control immigration. Because after all we will otherwise always need these people to come and take care of those jobs. I only wish there was a way it could be done legally...

Feel free to comment but I do ask that all be respectful of each other's opinion.