Monday, November 24, 2008

On Our Own

My husband is on an extended trip, a mix of business and personal. In the meantime, I'm in "single mom mode," holding down the fort. I start by alerting everyone at work that I'm leaving promptly every day, cannot come onsite over the weekend, etc. Family and friends extend warm invitations to come over and call if I need anything. However, she and I are better off with our daily straight forward routine.

After this weekend, I'm exhausted. People think that my chores and household duties must've lessened with my husband away. In fact, they haven't. I have my daughter's lessons and social calendar to attend to on weekends. Then, I try to sneak my errands in between her activities, since I've pretty much lost my lunch hour these days due to workload. So, now I'm driving all over town. I also have the usual managing the household activities, maintaining the same level of effort, if not more. Work is demanding as well, and I often need to work at night. Plus, we're leaving on vacation so I'm shopping, packing and booking.

I had a few thoughts about women who are truly single mothers, not a temporary state like myself. First of all, people should realize that women won't call for help - unless the house is truly or potentially on fire. When you're working towards being self-sufficient, you won't think to sway and you may not have time or want to impose. If someone else comes to you first, you may welcome it.

Having a support network would be the most important. On a day like today, I needed to be in two places at the same time. This would've been an instance where I would've asked my husband to do the drop off and I could do a pick up.

The key to managing on your own is managing your priorities and maintaining a routine. Once the routine is interrupted, it's difficult to get back on track.

I've been watching "Real Housewives of Atlanta," and I'm jelaous. No, not of the diamonds, the designer shoes, clothes and boobs. I'm jealous of the women with a house staff - personal chef, household managers! That's divine.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Soundtrack to Life

I've already talked about how much I love my iPhone, but here's one more reason:

Pandora is an internet radio site, which allows you to customize your music. I used to listen to Yahoo music, but it was annoying with the commercials and the pleas to pay to join. I came across this and really enjoyed the selections and voting functions. Since my office has a firewall against streaming audio, I can't use it at work. This is where the iPhone comes in, since it's a free App I can download to my phone. I don't have any songs downloaded on my phone; it's all on Pandora.

I typically listen to NPR all day at work. Now, I've been turning on the music on my phone (what an odd sentence?).

It's actually been emotionally uplifting. I've been entwined in a lot of stressful situations at work for the past few months. I realized that just turning on Dido or Sarah helps me so much. My favorite now is Suzanne Vega.

When I was in college, I had a Suzanne Vega cassette that a friend made for me. I listened to this cassette continuously, and I remember lying down with my headphones and listening to her soothing voice. It cleared my head of the stress I was feeling.

All of sudden, I hear "Undertow" or "Marlene on the Wall" and I'm pulled back almost 20 years. For a minute or two, I turn away from my laptop. I smile at memories, sing a few lines softly, just being true to myself. And, in the whirl of a day filled with conference calls, dodging culpabilities, putting out fires and handholding clients, it's refreshing to remember who I am. For about two minutes, I'm the girl who used to wear hats and fell into the dreamy words of Suzanne Vega's poetry and mellow voice.

By the way, I've mentioned one of Vega's songs on my blog before, The Queen and the Soldier. The other cool part about Pandora is that I'm exposed to new artists and songs. Check out these lyrics to Vega's song "(If You Were) In My Movie" and New York is a Woman (Launch the player on the site to hear it). I love the line that "she'll make you cry And to her you're just another guy." Very poignant and precise.

So, now my colleagues know that I have my music on my phone, and I do get requests from the adjacent cubicle. We do 80's Day (hear the best of Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran), Michael Buble Big Band Day or go flamenco with Gipsy Kings.

By the time I drive to work in the morning at 9 am, I've already 2 hours of hectic activity and I'm trying to get myself mentally ready for work. The best thing for me to listen to is a good Bollywood song. Come on, nothing can beat a bit of "Mauja Mauja" from Jab We Met. The other day traffic was backed up and rather than being frustrated, I was bopping. I actually feel a bit sorry for my American colleagues who don't have Bollywood music in their lives. I'm sure many of our stress levels could be reduced if we played Bollywood songs in the background. I can create a bizarre visual of all my colleagues singing the ensemble song from "Om Shanti Om"!

It's such a small thing to play music during the workday, but the impact is so great.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Someone asked me today about what we're expecting from Obama, why are we so excited.
I know the troops won't come home in six months and Iraq will still have suicide bombers. My IT team can't get a new server stood up in six months, how is a country going to stand up? This war is going to stretch out for ten more years.
I'm excited for the administration that ruled the last 8 years to step down. This country really lost its face in the global arena. Lies, secrets, conspiracies became the norm. The basic values of the Constitution and individual freedoms were compromised and up for interpretation. The country was spoon fed fear and performed dances of knee-jerk reactions. Diplomacy was mocked, and military might was the "only" option. Words like "liberty", "democracy", and "freedom" lost their value.
I want a president who is composed, thoughtful and willing to sit at the table with the world leaders. And, the most refreshing part about President-Elect Obama (!!) is that he's not afraid to call something what it is - we saw that in the debates. He really is going to escort the US back to global forefront, and he's going to revive this country!
We do need to recognize that this victory was very close, so there is still a large population that strongly supported McCain. It is definitely a tough road to bridge this country. However, there are many people who do believe.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Blog Site

As an FYI, I've created a new blog site extracting my poetry and writing-centric blogs from this one. You'll still find everything on "Indigo Bubbles", but now you have "Dancing Leaves."