Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thomas Times 2014

I realize this may be hard to read. 
If you want to see the plain text version, scroll down past the newsletter.

So, this time last year I was writing to tell you that Damon and I were once again gainfully employed. A year has gone by and we’re still with the same companies. A few years ago, it wouldn’t seem like a big deal to hold onto a full-time job for a year, but these days, we are thankful for it everyday. (Some days more than others, lol.)

It has been an adjustment. Probably more so for me than for Damon. He has had 2 different jobs since we moved back from Oregon, this is my first since we came back. It was tough transitioning back into sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day. I really loved my dog walking business, but I am a terrible salesperson, so I was never able to really get it off the ground.

I have also had some trouble learning to work with my new boss’s, shall we say, “strong personality.” I’m so quiet and try not to complain too much, she is 180 of that. I’ve had to endure yelling and slamming and constant complaining about anything and everything. She and I share a small office within the company’s larger office, so I realized, for my own sanity, I was going to have to figure some things out.

And that’s not to say she’s a terrible person. I’ve learned a lot from her and she really does have a good heart, we just have very different personalities. I probably drive her crazy with how quiet I am. She’s probably thinking, “yell, slam something down, you’re too quiet!”

But, there were days I would drive home from work crying, asking God why I was placed in these close quarters with this boisterous negativity. Then, I figured it out. This situation has made me realize I need to not take everything so personally. If she is yelling and slamming things around, I have to tell myself it’s not directed at me. That hasn’t been easy. I’ve always taken everything to heart and as a personal attack. So, for learning to let things go, I am grateful. It’s freeing.

My favorite thing I’ve found online this year is a perfect mantra (especially since I’m part Polish.)
It just isn’t my problem. My job is to do the best I can do, anything other than that is out of my hands.

In other good news of the year, Damon and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary! It’s so nice to be able to say, even with all the shit we’ve been through, that these have been the best 10 years of our lives. Because no matter how much we go through, as long as we do it together, it’s OK. We love each other more every single day.

We took a couple of days off work and went out to Palm Desert for a quiet, long weekend. I know, I know, Palm Desert? We kinda thought the same thing, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm (It was October and I wasn’t ready to give up on summer yet) and we had a great time.

First we went to the JW Marriott resort. You know, the one where Jesse’s dad got married in Saved by the Bell, lol. It was beautiful! They have tons of birds, so I thoroughly enjoyed that. Flamingos, herons, ducks, coots and egrets outside and some beautiful, tropical birds in big cages in the lobby. They also have a little man-made stream that flows around the resort and into the lobby where you can take a free gondola ride!

The next day we took the tram up the mountain in Palm Springs. I had never been up there before, it was fun. It was especially neat because since Damon used to work the Skyway at Disneyland, he was able to explain to me how it all worked. He even noticed that it was made by the same company as the Skyway. Here we are at the top.
Our final day there we drove to downtown Palm Springs and drooled over all the mid-century modern architecture and antique stores. We love anything mid-century modern, so we were in heaven! Of course it was all well out of our price range, but we still had a good time window shopping.

The other big news in our family this year was welcoming our first nibling! Yes, nibling is an actual word, even though my spell check is telling me otherwise right now. A nibling is a niece or nephew, ours happens to be a nephew! 
Damon’s brother and his wife brought little William Verne Larson into this world on October 11. He was 7 lbs. 10 oz. and 20.5 inches long. We fell in love immediately and we are already thinking about all the fun things we’ll get to do with him as he grows up. You know, all the things his mom and dad won’t let him do, hehe.

So, that’s our 2014. It’s the best year we’ve had in quite some time and we pray we can continue on this upswing in 2015 and beyond. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! 
Love and hugs, from the Thomases.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

extra! extra! read all about it!

when i was a kid, my dad worked nights for a newspaper as a pressman. every wednesday (back when people used to get paid every week) he would take me down to the paper so he could pick up his paycheck. i got to experience the giant presses, the smell of ink (oh, how i love the smell of ink!) and the comradery of working there from a young age. my dad would walk me around and show me all the different departments and i decided i, too, wanted to work there one day.

when i was 18, after i graduated from high school, my dad brought me home an application for the news paste-up department. i was so excited, that was the department i had fallen in love with during our tours. i applied and the day before my 19th birthday, i started working the swing shift in the news paste-up department at the press-enterprise newspaper.

it was all so fascinating. the big wooden banks covered with plexi-glass sheets with all the newspaper boards lined up by sections waiting to be decorated with the day's happenings was so beautiful to me. grabbing stories as they came out of typesetting machines in galley strips, running them through a melted waxer to stick them to the boards and cutting the galley strips down to size with xacto blades. there was skill, there was precision and there was artistry.

i learned everything i could, i couldn't get enough. i would even go over to other departments to learn what they did and help them out if we were slow. i loved it!

but, as much as i loved the work, what really made it was the people. some of the people i was now working with i had known since i was born and some from my dad walking me through on payday wednesdays. so, automatically, i was surrounded by not only co-workers, but family.

i'm not going to pretend it was all peaches. like any job it had it's not so good moments and like friends and family we didn't all always get along like happiness and rainbows and remember, i started when i was 19, i still had a lot of rebellion to go through. but, all in all, my memories are the good ones.

today, i got to see a lot of those people again. since we are all so close, we do keep in touch on facebook and we've seen each other at a few funerals, but today was different. today was to celebrate something we all had in common. a love of the newspaper business. the old newspaper business and the people that made it all happen.

we laughed, we cried, we fell back into old times. we all know so much about each other and each other's families, it was great to catch up with everyone and to be in a room full of familiar faces, laughter and love.

i just keep thinking about that line from the movie stand by me...
"i never had any friends later like the ones i had when i was 12. geez, does anyone?"
but for me, it's coworkers and i was 19-30 years old.

when i left the newspaper, i didn't realize what a great thing we all had. since i was so young when i started, i guess i thought every job would be like that. it's just not. we had something special and i'll always cherish those years and the relationships i was able to form because of them.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

love. give it, get it, spread it, share it. be it.

so, i haven't had a blog post in quite some time. since christmas to be precise. i've been in a bit of a slump. i last wrote about getting a new job, which at the time i was so happy about. in the following months i had some real struggles with how i felt about it. i had such a bad experience in oregon, i kind of felt like i had sold myself out and landed right back where i was. i was having a hard time conforming again. after all, i had just been unemployed for over 2 years and could do what i wanted, when i wanted. i had a dog walking business which i absolutely loved, but i'm just not a self-marketer, so my client base was tiny. loyal, but tiny. all i thought about all day while feeling like i was chained to a desk again was, i could have made my business work, i just needed more time. i talked to my husband about wanting to leave my job and try my business again, but being the sensible one who lives by logic rather than feelings, he gently persuaded me to stay with the full-time gig. so, i would get teary-eyed on the way to work, and then take a cry break at noon in my car while i ate lunch and listened to comedy podcasts to try and get my mind right to get through the rest of the day.

i was also having terrible feelings of self-doubt in my field. i don't have a college degree. i have been in this industry for over 20 years and have taught myself everything i know, but i don't have the paper to back it up, so i was feeling inferior. my boss never hesitated to mention her college degree and in my way of turning all things into negativity toward myself, i took it as a jab at my lack of one.

since then, i have enrolled in school (i got an A in my first class!) and am working really hard to not take it all so personally and seriously. i've decided not to be a shrinking violet and speak my opinions, in a kind and flexible way of course, and i'm finding people respond to it. it's kind of cool.

i have also recently turned 40 and although no birthday number has ever bothered me before, this one got to me. it hurt because i felt like i'd wasted and screwed up a lot of my years. my mom talked about how she was ok with 40 as it was around the time i was graduating from high school and she and my dad were getting settled into 2 incomes after my mom taking time off to raise my brother and i and feeling comfortable in where they were in life. i had none of that. i do have a wonderful husband whom i thank God for every single day, but what else did i have? no degree, no children, no house, no long-term employment where i was making a decent amount of money to feel comfortable in where i was in life. what had i done with it all?

well, i had tried things. granted a lot (or even most) of those things didn't work out as i'd hoped, but at least i tried. i never wanted to be the person to live in one place my whole life and raise kids. it wasn't in me, so to look back now and feel like i missed out was ridiculous. i didn't miss out, i chose to go a different route. i can't have it both ways. i chose to get out of town and live and i did. it may not have turned out exactly as i thought it should, but really what do i have to complain about? in the grand scheme of things what is it that matters? is it money? no. possessions? no. a piece of paper saying i have a proper education? no. in the end, all that matters is how much love you have given away. "and now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love - 1 corinthians 13:13" that's it. that's the only thing that matters. it is the only thing that will live on after you die. it is the only thing that fulfills those empty places in your heart. that's it. and as soon as i figured that out. i was ok with turning 40 because i really think there are more people in this world that would call me kind and generous than people that would call me an uptight bitch. and to the people who would call me an uptight bitch (because i'm sure they're out there) well, you know what? that's their problem.

here's an example: my brother and sister-in-law and my husband knew 40 was weighing heavy on me, so they all decided to give me the most epic weekend i could imagine. my brother and sister-in-law drove all the way down from san francisco and my husband got us all tickets to a comedy show for friday night and tickets to disneyland for saturday. i was surrounded by love and support. were they all talking about what a fuck-up i was and how they couldn't believe i didn't have a degree, a house or a pile of money? no. we talked about how much we all loved and missed spending time with each other and how lucky we were to be such a close-knit family who would do anything for each other. that's where i'm rich. i'm rich in love. i've seen a quote online that sums it up. it says, "some people are so poor that all they have is money" it's the truth. you can't buy love. you have to make it and earn it. your job every single day is to live simply and try to help others in any way you can. once you figure that out, everything else has a way of sorting itself out.

so, go out and love without hesitation. hug someone and feel the hug back. there's electricity there. it mends and heals and grows. that's when you'll realize just how rich you really are. i know i did.