Friday, August 31, 2012

Workplace reflections

This may sound completely cheesy, but I have to admit, one of the fun parts of working in a retail/sales job is seeing the excitement you can bring to someone's face. Sometimes people say to us who work in sales, "Oh my gosh, how do you do it? How can you handle upset customers all day?" It is always upset customers... Although at times that may feel like a big portion of it!  However, some days you just get those customers you really enjoyed working with, and when I get the moment of handing over their new phone, the look on their face is priceless.  The first customer I helped today purchased an iPhone, and when all was said and done, the minute I handed him his new phone, his eyes lit up. I mean, I can't blame him... Going from a crummy Android to an iPhone, who wouldn't be excited?! Haha, sorry Android lovers.  In moments like that, you can't help but smile and feel proud of yourself for assisting someone and making their day.  Those moments help me get through the crummy, frustrating moments.  After working in sales for so long, I think we can get a bit jaded by helping customers, but seeing that moment of excitement in someones face can really light up my own day.

One thing in retail I've noticed, nothing is ever really the same.  Each person who comes through your store is different and has their own story.  Each day you get a glimpse at the world outside yourself.  We hear stories of sadness, excitement, craziness, and of course the unfortunate anger. While the angry people may just completely throw your day for a loop, the good ones (usually) outweigh the bad. Maybe it is that social interaction you see with everyone day in and day out.  You have a product they need, and they chose to come to your store instead of using some online robot. Despite all the technology out there, even in a cell phone store, there is that moment you have to reach out and rely on each other to communicate your needs. Putting aside the occasional crazies that pass through, when you just think about the positive interaction you just experienced with someone one may realize how much we all still need each other to survive.  Granted buying a cell phone isn't survival, but that precious moment of exchange between humans, the laughter you each enjoyed, the smiles shared, there is a deep human need for those things.  If we just step back for a moment and think of those little things we experience in our jobs, those smiles of satisfaction, it makes a seemingly typical job suddenly a bit more important.

I know, some people are probably looking over this going, "Are you kidding me? It's sales, get over yourself!" Shoot, I know I even have my days that I may reread this and think "Oh shut up," but come on, in order to keep things interesting in your life and in work, you have to think outside the box, outside the negative, and look beyond the basic interaction.  At times we all need to take a step back and reflect upon our seemingly mundane day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, AJ!

My little baby turned four yesterday! Doesn't that just sound so much older? Not as bad as when my Elijah turned 5, but still... It makes me realize my lil babies are growing up! He's such a character now too... He is a total ham for the camera and just full of life.  I forsee him being the class clown in the future.

It's so interesting to see how two children, from the same parents, same gene pool, are so different! Of course they have some similarities between them, but also some great differences too. Elijah has a tendency to be more serious and so much more focused, whereas AJ just loves to make people laugh and will do anything goofy to get the laugh out of you.

As for his birthday, we had a wonderful weekend.  He had a blast and of course got spoiled rotten with toys!  He loved his dino theme... And brag moment, I'm so proud of the way the dinosaur cake turned out.  I made a chocolate cake and icing, followed by crushing Chips Ahoy cookies in the food processor to make "dirt."  Then I placed some dinosaur skeletons/fossils under the dirt and dinosaurs on top. Whoohoo for a successful party!

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AJ put on his own four.. that's why it is backwards. We fixed it before we sang to him. Haha!

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gender stereotypes

I've started a sort of game with myself lately... Test the gender stereotypes is what I like to call it. The more I tell people my son is in dance, the more I get the question, "What does your husband think of that?"

Perhaps because I have grown up with dance and more of the fine arts, it never phased me to question what men think of dancers.  Of course I've seen Billy Elliot and figured there are still some "cave men" out there living under a rock, but do people really question males in dance?  Yesterday I told a couple people about my son in dance, and how he just loves it. Patrick doesn't think anything of it. In fact, he loves that his son dances.  Maybe it is that both he and I are more in touch with the arts. He used to break dance, he is in artist; I danced, did some theatre, and lived for the stage.  Also, we both had some time of playing musical instruments.  It's fairly obvious we are both more inclined to the fine arts.  So in January this year when Elijah expressed his interest in dance after seeing his mama do a little living room performance on new laminate floors, we were both thrilled.

When people started asking me, "What does your husand think? My husband would not go for it!" I tell them he loves that his son dances.  It's a beautifull art, a wonderful skill, hard work, much discipline, and a wonderful form of expression.  What surprises me more is when some women tell me their husbands would never go for that.  I wonder, how is it okay that a young girl can play soccer and that is perfectly acceptable, but if a young boy wants to dance ballet, suddenly it is strange?  You know, back in the day it was primarily men who performed anyway.    During Shakespeare's plays, it was unheard of for women to act in the plays, even for the women's roles!! Yet somehow this gender shift took place where men can only dance hip hop/pop? Who is going to play Romeo or Prince Siegfried or Prince Charming for the classic ballet performances?  Who has ever looked at Gregory Hines or Sammy Davis Jr and thought they were somehow less of a man because they dance? Does anyone hear the name Balanchine and think, "What a fool." Heck no! You probably hear these names and think of great success.

Yesterday I told Patrick about my new "game," and he found it so comical.  He asked me, "Are some men still thinking it is the 19th century?"  Gosh even back then, ballet was probably more acceptable for men than some guys think now! To me, anyone who has to question the manhood of a male dancer has obviously never danced themselves.  I can guarantee you the male dancers you find on stage are twice as strong as Joe-Schmo on the street. I find it amazing, how far society can come with gender stereotypes, and yet how stagnant some are. Is it acceptable for girls to pick up a baseball bat but unacceptable for a boy to pick up a doll? Some embrace the girl who can play sports, they give her the high fives and the "Girl power!" roar, but where are the props for the boy who helps cook, or feeds the baby doll?  Really, as far as gender stereotypes have come for women, where is the progress for men?

I'm just incredibly grateful I have a man to help raise my sons without these silly gender stereotypes.  I see no problem with a boy who has the passion for dance, just like his parents.  I think the problem lies in other men who are insecure with their own manhood, and they are the ones who need to be questioning their masculinity.


P.S. On a side note, this is my first time trying a blog post on my tablet with a bluetooth keyboard... So if this post is full of errors, please forgive me! ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

She's alive!!!

That's what most of my friends told me when I suddenly made a post on Facebook a couple weeks ago.  I've been MIA for quite some time.

Seriously, I have got to get better at this whole time management thing. OK, I'm not horrible with it, but I'm not great.  The things that are crucial I can handle, you know, like getting to work or appointments on time!  The rest of life though... I'm sort of clueless.  Where does a working mom find time to do other things?  Where do you find time to work out, or to write, or to craft?  I haven't blogged since May. MAY!  That's just unheard of for me. I'm struggling to find this balance of work, family, friends, fun, life.

Perhaps I should be more specific.  I find time to do a lot of things.  Thank goodness for supportive family next door, it is easy for Patrick and I to head out with friends for happy hour or just to hang out (thanks Mom & Dad!).  I have my days off so I can take Elijah to dance class, which I love. What I am constantly struggling is finding time to write, exercise, or cook!  I go in waves with my little menu planning.  I'll be good about it for a week or two, then something comes up and I completely run out of time!  I suppose this is the story of our lives, right?  I need to set some goals and a plan of action to get these things done when I'm not exhausted.  For instance, I found out a gym right up the street from my work is opening up in October.  If you sign up now, you get discounted prices.  I can get an unlimited gym membership for $9 and an extra $5 will get me unlimited classes. $14 for unlimited membership? Yes, please!  I realized a huge struggle of finding time to work out at home is by the time I drive the 30-40 minutes home, I'm already relaxed and exhausted. Come on, after you have been sitting in a car for 30+ minutes after being at work for 9 hours, do you really want to work out at 9:30 at night?  Not really.  My body is all relaxed by that point!  So, gym membership it is.  I'm pretty excited about it!

Oh and of course my great dilemma of finding the balance to write... here is my (hopeful) solution: invest in a Bluetooth keyboard.  Carrying my laptop back and forth is cumbersome. However, if I can carry my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard, that should work.  My other idea is to start taking some time at Starbucks before or after work, or even during my lunch.  What is it about coffee shops and creative inspiration?  Maybe it's all the java that gets our minds working.

Maybe there's an app that will remind me or help me schedule times for all these things?  You know, there seems to be an app for everything!

Now I have my alarm clock app telling me it's time to get ready for work!