Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I'm alive

Greetings from India! I arrived early (EARLY) Monday morning—12:15 AM to be precise—and got to my hotel about 2 AM. After a short four hour nap, I was up and heading out to work. So far things are going well, and I’m nearly over jet lag. In fact, I think after tonight’s sleep, I’ll be pretty much acclimated. Just for reference, India is 10 ½ hours ahead of Kansas City so it’s a big swing in time. But yesterday I was pretty tired.

I’m getting to have lots of yummy, spicy food and I think my new team members are a little surprised how much I like spicy food. We had a lunch brought in yesterday and most of them found one of the dishes too hot. I found it delicious and had seconds ::burp::

Last night, our head of international operations took us to dinner at an amazing place (do check the link, the pictures are worth it). We shared about five or six different appetizers and entrees and oh my goodness what a great dinner. I used to say my favorite place to get Indian food was in London but now I’ll have to say Bangalore.

No pictures yet, but perhaps this weekend I can get some.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Random catch up post

Whew—the last two weeks have just flown by. I have been buried at work, getting presentations ready for India (I leave Saturday), and also working on a spreadsheet so I can forecast the work pipeline. And our India agenda has shifted several times. Never mind the details, as Inigo Montoya would say, “Let me explain . . . No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

The other manager who is supposed to be there with me for the first week had a hiccup with her visa application—India requires a visa for entry into the country—so there’s a slight, OK more than slight but not huge, chance that her visa won’t get here in time for her to leave on Saturday also. So she and I have been developing two agendas: one that includes both of us and one that’s a solo agenda. While I can present everything alone, it would be much better for both me and our new associates if we were both there. So stay tuned on that.

In other news, my granddaughter has written a play and enlisted the help of her brothers and mom to put it on. When I read that blog post, I had to smile because I did that all the time when I was a little girl. I’m sure I drove everyone nuts around me putting on all these plays—some were musicals, some were dramatic and all were at least to me, very complex and of course important. I loved theater and for a long time, I was convinced I’d be an actress when I grew up.

My step sister used to put on beauty pageants. She wanted to be Miss America in the worst way and so she held these pageants in the back yard. I can remember her swanning around with a book on her head (for better posture), and then arranging us in dress up clothes for the evening gown competition. She was around eight and I was five the year I sang a really long, involved song (“Just wait until I comb my hair”) for the talent competition. Turns out one of our next door neighbors has passed that story down to her own children which just cracks me up.

It’s been hot here, really hot. Oddly enough, it’s been a bit hotter here than it is in Bangalore (where I’ll be). Although the air quality is better here—which is a little alarming for me and my lungs. I won’t be running in India, that’s for sure.

And I think I’ve pulled together clothes that will suit in India and still be things I can wear here. Did you know that flowy pants are a thing again this year? Normally I’d pass on a trend like that but with my need for less form fitting clothes, I got a pair from Loft. And I picked up what’s called a boyfriend shirt from Old Navy, plus a couple of other flowy-esque tops elsewhere, and I think I’m good. I don’t need to blend it, I just need to not offend.

I’m planning on not checking a bag. In addition to just preferring to travel that way, I have a tight connection on the return trip—I have to change airlines and terminals in Frankfort which means I would have to get my bag from baggage claim before clearing security again. I’d rather not add that kind of time to my trip.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcome to the jungle

The jungle in my yard, that is.

May was an incredibly wet month for us here in Leawood. Normally we get about five and a half inches of rain, but this May we had a whopping 10.60 inches. We had just three days with zero rain. And June is off to a soggy start as well. Just a week into the month and we’re up by almost an inch over our normal amounts.

The rain kept us from any kind of yard work but didn’t stop things from growing. We spent just two and a half hours weeding yesterday and filled seven yard waste bags. Seven! We’re only allowed to have 10 each week, but as it turns out we ran out of bags before we hit our limit. Which is a shame, since we have still more rain on tap this week.

Kent's cleaning out the gutters;
yes, we are getting gutter guards.

Massively overgrown :(

More overgrowing stuff. It's overwhelming!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Words matter

Warning: very serious and personal post ahead.

I don’t really watch TV (my husband would go further and say I never watch TV and he’d be right). But I do stay aware of current shows and trends. Kent has a subscription to Entertainment Weekly, which I like to call People magazine only because Kent will immediately correct me, so I know about television shows, movies, etc.

So I heard all about Honey Boo Boo, I knew who Kimmy Schmidt was when a co-worker’s daughter brought up the show and yes, I was aware of the Duggars and their enormous family. Frankly I didn’t care how many kids they had or really about anything in their lives, until I heard about the allegations against Josh Duggar. Even then, I didn’t pay much attention until some politicians started saying stupid things about this story somehow being sensationalized, or that no purpose is served by those who are supposedly trying to discredit Josh or his family.

I see a purpose.

I am an abuse survivor and can tell you from first hand, very painful experience that there’s a whole lot of disbelief out there about sexual abuse.

There’s a whole lot of blame shifting where the victim becomes the one at fault.

There’s a whole lot of little to no accountability going on where abusers get a pass and quick forgiveness and let’s not talk about it anymore, while the victim gets at best nothing and at worst, scorn, judgment, no help and advice to just forgive and forget.

Listen. I’m one of the biggest do-it-yourself people you’ll ever meet. If there’s a way to pull myself up by my bootstraps, to pray my way out of anger or pain or awful circumstances, I’ll do it. But there are events that are so incredibly damaging that the healing process may take years, if in fact it ever really happens. To tell me I should just forgive and forget is incredibly insulting and infantilizing.

What I have is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. I know this, and I’ve learned to live with it. I have emerged out of victimhood and I am fully a survivor. But it’s not because I so blithely shrugged everything off. I lost three years of my life getting to a place of mental, emotional and spiritual health. I occasionally have relapses that are directly tied to what happened to me—that these relapses occur are a fact, I am not excusing myself or giving myself an easy out. You won't hear oh poor me, I’m a victim. No, I stay diligent and aware and 100% accountable about where I am with all of this pretty much every day.

So yes, there’s a purpose to this publicity.

Those victims who haven’t yet found the courage to talk about what happened to them need this publicity. They need to know they are not the only ones to have gone through sexual abuse. They need to know that yes, what happened to them was and is truly awful, and yes, going through the healing process  is incredibly hard (it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done), and most of all they need to know that it’s possible to come out the other side, that the other side really does exist.

This publicity is essential because we have got to stop with the minimizing language. Look, Duggar family, it wasn’t a “touching problem,” it was abuse. Name it, call it what it was. Stop saying that it was “only a couple of seconds.” Does the length of time something inappropriate and utterly unacceptable occurs really matter? Wrong is wrong.

I cannot remain silent about this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The next big trip

Well, I’m going to India—this is a work trip, and I’ll be gone nearly two weeks this time. I’m picking up some new direct reports and the plan is for twice yearly visits.

I’ve been reading up on everything I can find about doing business in India: manners, business customs and clothing. Everything I’ve read stresses how important it is to dress modestly and the guidelines are spelled out: for example, no shorts. Yoga pants are a huge no-no as are any tight pants (of course what’s popular right now for pants in the US? Skinny pants . . . ). Bare arms are out, as are short skirts or dresses. In fact, below the knee is the skirt or dress length most commonly mentioned in everything I’m reading. Tights won’t solve the length issue either, because they are form fitting. These guidelines pose a bit of a problem for me because India is quite hot and the idea of being covered nearly head to toe makes me sweat just thinking about it. Jeans are OK, but not for me at work (that’s a personal preference to be honest but also I can’t imagine wearing jeans in a Bangalore summer).

While I’m respectful of local customs anywhere I travel, I think it’s especially important when I’m traveling for work. I want my new associates to focus on the information I’m sharing with them, not my hemline or arms or what have you. So I’ve been scouting for clothing that will be acceptable, not overly hot and also not uni-clothing.

Uni-clothing is like a uni-task tool—a garlic press is a uni-tasker, as is a toaster that only lets you put slices of bread it the slots. For clothing, some clothes by design must be and should be uni-taskers too.  Think of bathing suits or wedding dresses—those are uni-clothing and of course you’d expect them to serve just the one purpose. But when I consider how I need to dress in India, what with the coverage and length requirements, I may end up with clothes that fit a specific location and won’t work anywhere else. So it’s a challenge.

Right now I’ve found a pair of linen pants, a flowy, longer top, and I’m examining the rest of my closet. My normal, go-to travel skirts are just above the knee and I suspect I’m going to need to find one tea length skirt that goes with everything—so probably black or charcoal. I have some light sweaters that come to my elbow which will help with the bare arms, and can also be buttoned over my chest.

Work outs will have to be in my room. I didn’t plan on running in Bangalore anyway—I have some reactive airway issues and air pollution is a problem there so running doesn’t seem like a good idea. And since workout clothing is specifically called out as being problematic (too tight, too short, too much skin), it will just be easier to skip the gym and do room work outs.

Have you ever made adjustments like this? I’d love to hear your story.