Refreshing and refreshed


I had a good week. Made a habit of giving myself a number of tasks to do each day. Followed through on those. Hosted a good party. Survived the first real weekend of football. Had a great time at my game to boot. Now it is time to repeat and wait.

I made it a priority last week to write down my plans every day. Write up a To Do list, and stick to those every day. Doing that really helped offset the drag of being around the house all day. Gave me something to do and focus on. I think that is a habit I really need to stick to in general, but especially during this forced time off. Good for my mind to keep thinking.

With all of that list making, I was able to really get the house ready. We hosted a nice birthday party for my Mother in Law. Today is her actual Birthday so I will interject with a

BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY CONNIE!

I got the house ready and in order. Prepared a nice meal. And from what I could tell, everyone had a good time, especially the Birthday girl. I was proud of all of that and the effort I took. I was also proud of the work the kids did when asked to help.

I watched some football on Saturday. My Alma Maters started off real well. Then I stopped watching when it began to come clear that it was only a matter of time before reality could kick in. Which is what it did. It was not as hard to turn the games off as I thought it might be, a sign of real progress. I then did not watch any of my NFL teams. I was too busy gaming to watch the games. I checked on scores from tie to time but did not let my head get into it.

I had a real good time at my game yesterday. It was cool to get out of the house, away from job thoughts, or worries about hosting anything. The game went well too.

Now, this week I have 4 days of repeating what I did last week. Making lists. coming up with projects. Giving myself things to  do. And then on Friday my High School Alumni event begins, which will keep me occupied for a couple of days. I am really looking forward to that. And it will be a continued diversion from being in a waiting pattern on a couple of job applications.

I am keeping my head up. Keeping busy. And giving myself things to do that will give me a sense of accomplishment. Life is pretty good right now.

Recognizing the dangers, moving on #mentalhealth


One of the things about being out of work is you end up with a lot of time to yourself. Time with not necessarily a lot to do. My hobbies do not take up a huge amount of time outside of the actual gatherings. That meant I had to fill up time the last couple of weeks.

I watched some TV. But even with an abundance of channels, there is not always something being broadcast that I find interesting. I also read books. And did some walking, and browsed the Internet. In the end, though, it came back to TV.

Which led me to browse the On Demand offerings. In the end,  I fell in love with a couple of shows. I caught up with one very quickly. But the other had 6 six seasons of 12 episodes each. Here is where the danger came into play. The equation was: 72 hours of good drama + time to watch + an Obsessive personality = an unhealthy amount of time spent watching a show. I could not just take my time and spread it out. I found myself making promises of ‘just one more episode and I will get up and do something else’ or gauging things I needed to do in terms of time I could take away from the show.

In short, I binge watched the show through to the end. Developing an unhealthy fixation on the show. Not doing things I needed (or wanted) to do. Not until I had to turn it off or found natural stopping points. It was not a healthy thing to do.

Gladly I am done. I can now turn to other things in my life: blogging, painting, reading, exercise. I can also work on not getting too focused on any one activity. That is an important thing for me, I have to keep my attention spread out in order to avoid getting overly focused. That is one of the things that work has always done for me, it occupied my mind with enough different things that I avoided getting obsessed with any one pursuit.

The good thing about this is that I recognized it. And it was something as relatively harmless as a TV show. No real harm was done, and I can move on. With this lesson to learn from.

Updates and thoughts from the home front #MentalHealth #Work #life


Earlier this week one of my regular readers asked how things were. It seems that my lack of posting was beginning to make her wonder. I figured it was time to post an update. And try to get back on a regular posting schedule. Starting with some thoughts and an update from the Home Front.

I was concerned when I was laid off that I might have some problems mentally. There have been a few low points. But for the most part, I have actually felt really good. I have had enough to do around the house to keep busy. Really about the only negative has been that I have not been able to get on any kind of exercise schedule. Overall, I have held together emotionally very well.

I have found it interesting how little time I have spent on the Internet. Granted, I have access to television with any number of premium shows and have done a lot of binge watching of a few shows. That has provided the majority of my entertainment over the past couple of weeks. I just have not felt the need or desire to get on the web and browse. I have been keeping up on FB with all of my friends. And I have done some browsing for jobs, but for the most part, I have not been at the computer. Which is probably a good healthy  break for me after 15 years of living with daily, constant internet access and input.

I did not wait as long as I planned before getting things together and beginning the job search. It is not required at this point. But I realize that I will begin to get stir crazy if I take too long without the routine of regular employment. I have thrown my resume out there. Turned in some applications. Gotten two rejections. But it is all just a part of the process. I am lucky that I do not have a huge hurry to choose something. It is necessary but I can do it a relaxed pace.

I plan on resuming a regular posting next week. So look here for more consistent thoughts and news.

Thankful (and a little excited) #Life


Well, time for an update on life for the past week. I made sure to emphasize that I did healthy things. I occupied my mind with constructive (and fun) things. Now, I can move on with the rest of my life.

After the layoff, I focused my efforts on things that were healthy for me and my mental health. That meant not posting about what I was doing. Just live my life quietly without telling the world what I was doing. I kept up on events in the world and among my large circle of friends, but chose to stay silent. I figured that was the wise course, in order to avoid dwelling on everything that had happened and events that were out of my control. I had not done anything wrong, it was just something that happened.

I focused on little things, like keeping up the house. Keeping the kids fed and on regular schedules. Trying not to lose my own touch with a regular schedule.

I was very lucky. Kim has a good job and was able to get the benefits moved into her name rather quickly. I received a very generous severance package, one that allows me some time to look for what I want, not just hustle out and grab whatever I could get.

I also want to thank all of the people that have reached out to me. Your phone calls, hugs, emails, messages, were all very good and helpful for me.

I did some fun stuff. Watched a lot of TV. Enjoyed some new shows. Took walks and advanced my Pokemon.

Now I can move on. With a week to reflect, the reality is that I was not exactly happy at my job. I was content, but not excited by it. I was not challenged or mentally awake much of the time. I was mostly going through the motions. To be honest, I was aware of that and had thoughts about looking elsewhere. I just did not want to take that leap and shake things up. It was a conflict. And that conflict was settled for me. Now I am free to do that looking elsewhere with an open mind.

Now I am looking at options. Getting things done around the house. And coming out of my self-imposed social cocoon. With a fresh mind and some real excitement.

It is an opportunity, disguised as a setback #life


Lost my job, it’s a new opportunity

More free time for my awesome community

In a little over a month I will be celebrating my 50th birthday. Today I went to work as normal. Had a busy morning, took several calls, solving a few customer issues. Then around 10 one of the managers came to my desk and asked me to come with him. He walked me back to a small office where I sat down. He then told me that the company was making some changes and I was being let go. 

Just like that, 15 years of loyalty and work came to an end. I will admit to being a little surprised but not overly so. I had survived several rounds of layoffs over the years. We had a new CEO hired in January. He was in town a few weeks ago and spoke of changes in the company with no specifics. I had a new role in the company but I wouldn’t say my work load had changed a lot. Anyway, it happened, and no regrets about how it went. I worked hard for the company for many years, and now I have to move on. 

To be honest I am kind of relieved. I am confident in my abilities to find work. And I get the opportunity to do something different. And on top of that I get a couple of weeks to do some things I need done around the house. I am not saying it is easy street, there might be some budgetary belt tightening around the house. 

But recent events in my life keep things in perspective. The unexpected and tragic death of a friend. The arrival of a new life in the extended family. This makes an unexpected potential career change small change. One I am ready to deal with. 

A common thread to bring a smile #Kids #Parenting


Kim & I have very different backgrounds. I am older than her as well. That means that often when we are at larger social gatherings one of us will feel out of place. The people we are with will either be closer to my age and background or vice versa. But one thing that I remember pointing out to her when she commented on this once was that we were parents and therefore we would almost always have that in common with people we did not know, we could talk about our kids.

One of the fun things I have noticed is how people will post pictures on FB of their kids on the first day of school. It is fun to see all those bright faces on the first day of the year. It also brings home that common connection I have with all these people through the bond of parenting.

Even more fun is the friends who have kids the same age or close to the same age as Jimmy. Because we can all post moments and share our thoughts on the ‘joys’ of having a teenager. One of my college friends posted a picture of her teenager giving her dad the ultimate ‘I know Dad’ teen face. And we all know that feeling, that moment when our teenager decides that they no longer have any use for parental tips and advice (no matter how it is imparted.)

It really is an interesting moment when you realize that there is that common ground. When you can be in a store, or a line anywhere and a child does something and you and the other parents in the vicinity can lock eyes and give that nod of ‘yeah, I get it, kids.’

With the reunion coming up I am looking forward to doing a lot of catching up with many friends. But one thing that will be interesting is bonding with those of my classmates who do not have kids. Because that is such a huge part of my life and the life of any other parent. It can be a struggle when talking to people who do not have that in their lives.

For now, though, I will take solace and enjoyment in the bonds that I do have with fellow parents. Look forward to sharing those moments. And be glad when it comes to the reunion that I have such deep bonds with those who will not have that in common.

A variety keeps life interesting #Life


Completed a weekend full of variety and amusement. From watching a movie with the kids. To a fun game of D&D. To a fun family birthday party. And ended with a combination of amusement park and Pathfinder. Overall I had a really good weekend, and now the school year, and all of its issues begins in earnest.

Friday night Kim went out, while I stayed home with the kids. We had some pizza. I rented Batman Vs. Superman. And had a nice evening, with about an hour intermission caused by a power outage from a tremendous rain storm. We enjoyed the movie. It had its drawbacks of course. I am beginning to think that the problem with some of these movies is that they are drawing in far too much plot. When they try to edit it down to a decent size it becomes hard to follow.

Saturday I did some cleaning and picking up. Followed by the return of the boys D&D game. That went very well I thought. I enjoyed it, and the kids all seemed to as well. After the game finished the kids were able to play some more before we all went over to my cousin’s house for his birthday party. I enjoyed the party and catching up with various people I don’t see all that much.

Sunday was a fun day. Even with the addition of more than a little chaos. I had my game in Denver. I suggested that Kim could use our season pass for Elitch Gardens at the same time. She told the kids that they could bring friends. That is where things became complex. I ended up taking the teenagers in my car and dropping them off, while Kim had the younger kids. After my game, I came back and spent a little time at the park and then switched out and brought the younger ones home. I had a good time, but it exhausted Kim (so maybe not the best idea I ever had.)

We got home, got the kids bathed and into bed at their bedtimes. I then had some time to try to refocus. I did okay for the most part until my brain began to ponder options for my Pathfinder game, which made it a little tough to get to sleep.

This morning was the first Monday of the school year. It went well for the most part I thought. Now it is time to get to work on some other projects around the house. But I think we are ready for it all.