Monday, December 15, 2008

Momma's Got Your Back...

Have you ever had one of those moments at work where something occurs and you are rendered speechless by the audacity of the situation? I think I have seen much in the world of human behavior..however last week I encountered a situation that confirmed for me as a leader what our next generation will bring to us and the work place....
It gave me pause to think about what we have created in our effort to give our children the perfect world to live in; we have created overly confident,entitlement believing, dependent children. Ahhh..the millenniums..

Don't get me wrong, I think there is great value in self confidence, but self confidence is earned, not given as a false sense..There is value in failure of self, and learning to overcome our shortcomings, dealing with the reality of life, the pecking order of life so to speak; teaches us great things about who we are, who we can become or who we won't become. Giving your child the opportunity to fail, fall down, and then pick themselves up is one of the best life lessons we can do as parents...Yet,very few parents are able to stomach watching the reality of this. Instead, we now salve our parental angst with guilt ridden support for situations that if left to their own devices and outcomes could bring maturity and growth value beyond measure.

Hence my topic. Imagine your momma calling your boss to fight for your job; that you lost on your own volition due to attendance, attitude and work ethic. That's right, momma's got your back.

Huh..never thought of my mom as my labor negotiator or muscle..especially when I was 25 years old.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Newest Fairy Tale...

Interesting times they found themselves in. Jobs were scarce, money was tight, bills were surmounting, houses were being taken; blame was being handed out like candy canes from Santa, credit was no longer, retirement savings were diminished, vacations and frivolity were cancelled..the poor were hungry, and health care became a privilege..Yet no one could account for what had happened...They walked amongst themselves mumbling and grumbling about responsibility and argued over fault and blame. Who could have allowed this to happen? Who did this to us they asked over and over...

Not I said the UAW worker, "I simply take my check, retirement and benefits and go home at night, I work hard for my pay and benefits I deserve it and am owed".

Not I said the home owner; "I bought my house with 0 percent down, and could make the payments when I was working, but now my house is worth less then when I bought it; so I shall just leave; the bank should have known better".

Not I said the credit card user; "I pay my minimum payments, so I have been late a few times, everyone else is too". The card was given to me to use; so what if I don't pay it else is either".

Not I said the auto CEO, "my company vision is what people want and crave; we must give them what they want; who cares about what they need", our product may be overpriced because of labor inputs, and outdated for fuel efficiency..but people want to buy American".

Not I said the lender; "I put people in homes who could never have afforded one, I met their need for instant gratification, it is what they wanted". They deserve their high percentage of interest..they agreed to it..

Not I said the bureaucrat, "I vote for what people tell me they want; they want more regulations and more government services", I am giving service to my country; and I deserve a full service retirement and benefits...

SO, they all pulled together and voted in a touted savior..He shall lead them to light and fix the wrongs that have been thrust upon them..and they shall follow his lead and words...blaming someone else for the problem but never themselves..And they will all live happily ever after in that place called Nirvana..

Yes this is the new American Fairy Tale..feel free to print and share..I am looking forward to reading it to my grandchildren as we sit in our box known as a home and I share stories about what once was a great nation and how we fell...blaming each other for the wrongs of our life, and looking for someone to rescue us from our own making of demise...

Monday, November 24, 2008


As I sit here in my warm pink flannel jammies..eating a great apple..I ponder the day I had; the life I am living; and the choices that I have everyday..Today was a Monday..and like any other Monday, my day was filled with a host of characters..some who amaze me, some who annoy me; and others who fill my heart with sorrow at their struggles..

I turned 41 this weekend; and as I think of the crazy year that my 40th birthday brought to me; I am grateful and thankful that it is over and I am on my new path with renewed hope, direction and by God's grace a life filled with purpose and plan.

But what am I thankful for? Beyond the cliche, my health and family..I have found a few that will perhaps delight and remind us of the simple lessons and joys that "living vs. existing" brings to us. Open your mind and your eyes will see like a blind man seeing light for the first can be an amazing thing...Jana

What I am thankful for..a list of 41 things my life has taught me to appreciate..(In no order..those who know me-know that randomness drives my mind)...

1. Warm socks when the tiled floor hits the feet in the morning..
2. The smell of fresh brewed coffee as it is delivered to me in the morning..
3. Having a man in my life who brings me hot coffee when I am getting ready for the day..

4. Milk new found candy addiction.
5. When traffic moves faster then the speed limit..
6. Putting on a pair of pants or a skirt that I haven't worn in awhile and it still fits!
7. The amazing shoe collection that my ex husband unknowingly helped me amass...
8. Having a job that is fairly recession proof, and job skills that are needed in the future..thank god for health care..
9. Staff who have constant negative attitudes and ethics issues..Their behavior keeps me gainfully in need and employed..
10. A best friend who knows my secrets and loves me in spite of them..
11. My stepson for teaching me a new approach to life and the love of spontaneous thoughts and giving.
12. My I age her idle chatter and life lessons have finally fallen on open ears and mind and she has moved up in my list of wise people.
13. Really cute but effective reading glasses that I now leave everywhere..
14. A really good magnifying mirror and good tweezers..
15. That the above statement makes my husband laugh and not go ewwwh!
16. Football and NFL cable packages that make it the only show on our television for 4 months...
17. That UofM at least won a few games unlike the Lions..
18. There are approximately less then 1300 days left until I can move south!
19. Credit card bills that are paid in full.
20. Being an equal in all ways with my spouse.
21. The challenge of an intellectual mind during a heated political debate..
22. The U.S. military for their service to this country to keep my ability to be free in all choices.
23. I can wear jeans, swear, drink, marry and divorce freely, and have rights as an equal to my male counterparts without fear of death or punishment.
24. Blues music that touches my soul..
25. Anyone who can get in touch with their inner self and express it thru art
26. For my mind and the ability to get as much knowledge as i can possibly fit into it..
27. For cookies and milk at night..
28. For people who do not judge but love unconditionally..
29. For my grandfather...he is over 90 and has lived the life we should all learn from..hard work, simple foods, good humor and simple joys.
30. I love football..thanks to the years sitting in the cold watching my athletically gifted child.
31. my love of cooking, and my mom teaching me how..
32. the pulse and rhythm of the big cities and loving them all.
33. the resilience and endurance of the people of new orleans.
34. People who get my lack of filter, and the over rated belief of political correctness.
35. Trust in the majority to be correct, but enough sense to know that "following the crowd mentality" is not my buy in.
36. My dad for teaching me the value of economics, and his father teaching me the true meaning of free market enterprise.
37. When people chose the right thing without reward, publicity or recognition...
38. People who have forgiving hearts and open minds as the base of their personality.
39. my boss for leading me to personal growth and awareness...
40. my upbringing in a small town.
41. my is a place that I spend many days thinking about with endless possibilities!

Hope you all have a great holiday..peace, joy and take time to say thank you for the things in your life that have made you happy, grateful or just laugh..


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Life Is Not Fair..Teaching Life Lessons That Are Real..

Perhaps I am jaded; or perhaps I have a sick sense of reality and humor. But this past week found me perusing the children's book section of my local franchise book store with Jeff...As we wandered I searched for books to add to the "grandparent" collection we have started at the house for our newborn grandchild..Yes that is correct..I at the tender age of 40 became a step-grandma this week..yet another life change to get my head around..

But I digress..the books and subject matter were happy, politically correct, "feel good" "play fair" make it even kind of stories..take care of each other, take care of the environment, play nice, don't hit, don't fight, and make life "fair" kind of stories..Great lessons for kids..I get that...however..when do we teach them the real stuff? I too would love to live in nirvana 24/7. The reality is that someone is always going to be smarter, prettier, faster, and have more money then I. Someone sometime is going to be mean, cruel, hurtful or injure you. Some people get hurt, have illness and die. We have harsh realities in life that no matter how hard we try to protect and avoid for our children they are going to learn eventually..

I know people who home school their kids to "avoid" the realities of life in public schools. I know people who feed their children only home grown organic foods and no sugar..I know people who refuse to speak of ethnic and cultural differences in their home for fear of being "pegged" racist..I know parents who feel sexual expression is wrong and that "god" commands it happens only after marriage..

I don't know about you..but the thought of a generation of protected children puts fear in my soul. Naive is sweet..but when it comes to a nation in stress, financially, and facing challenges from third world countries where children are taught Americans are evil and how to kill at tender ages..I feel a tremor of fear that is difficult to shake..

I believe in parent choices..but as a parent I also feel it is my responsibility to fully educate my give them both sides of the equation and then my opinion and why I feel that way..I would love for the world to be peaceful and loving..but in my 40 years of life, and reading chapter after chapter of history I have yet to see human beings ever being able to capture this for all..We are after all humans..

The first lesson I would teach...that life is not fair..get over it..In my 10 years of leadership it is the reality of many employees that fairness is something they demand..but as defined by their rights..If it is "good for them" then it is fair...human nature to define it that way isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I strive for fair and equal treatment of employees..but as a leader, we have the right to discretion to weigh and balance that fairness. In situations of peer to peer confrontation it is not always possible to get the win/win..sometimes there is the perception of "unfair".

I often wonder where is it written that life is supposed to be fair? I ask that question of every person who shows up in my office demanding fairness be part of the equation..I ask it nicely..and I ask them where did you learn that fairness is part of life? out of curiosity..

In my own life of experiences, I learned very early life was not fair..If it were, I would have been born with two functional eyes, would not have spent my childhood in glasses, with a patched eye, unable to catch a ball..I would not have had allergies or asthma..I would have been thin, blond, smart and beautiful.. In retrospect if my mom had home schooled, I would never have learned coping mechanisms for taunting..i would have not learned to use humor and verbal skills to the level I have in my life..I would not have been taught that libraries are full of the world at my fingertips; and that escaping my small town existence could be done in an hour of reading..

Life lessons have merit..we need to recognize them for what they are to children...protect them, but teach them...allow them to learn from experience and discussion at a young age..not at 20 when they naively see the real world for the first time..

This grandma is going to make sure her grandchildren learn realities of life, along with the nirvana we wish it to be...but also..that life is what you make of it..use the skills you have to overcome the skills and gifts you have not been given..

Perhaps I shall write a book...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A New View...

"It seems to me...that external circumstances often serve as occasions for a new attitude to life and the world, long prepared in the unconscious, to become manifest." Carl G. Jung..

So the circumstances of my my life are once again being altered. 7 days after our wedding, my husband came home from a weekend training with the Army National Guard and announced that he will be "sourced" in the next 15-21 months.. As a newbie to the Army thing, he had to explain to me that it meant he would be deployed, as in over seas to an undisclosed location for a period of 12 months. Not exactly the honeymoon we had envisioned..Not exactly the circumstances I had in mind to start my new married life with...

I have had about a month to get my head and heart around this bit of information. A constant flow of thoughts come and go in to my mind, so much so that I have started a mental list of things that I need to be ready to deal with.. I have spent time thinking about the practical; bills getting paid, home repairs that will have to be done, dealing with decision making power for the stepson; thinking about his children being without their dad for a year, the grandson missing his grandfather for a whole year.

The bulk of my thinking is very self centered.. Will he be safe? Worst case scenarios seem to come into my head and at times take my breath away. What if something happens here, who will help me deal with it? I don't want to be alone for a year..the thought of being all alone; far from my family supports, working full time, dealing with a senior year and the needs of his children and my own son, but who will be here for me? I am somewhat angry about the circumstances, but I knew this going into the relationship that it was a possibility, I just thought we would continue to beat the odds..

I also think about him..He has trained for this, and dedicated years of his life to service to his country..This is the culmination of that training, and honestly it is something he wants to do. I understand that part of his psyche completely. I think about him there, alone, in constant crisis situation mode for 12 months..How will this change him? What will it do to him and how will that affect the "us" we have just started to create? I have jokingly told him that our "seven year itch" will be postponed as we will probably go through a second or extended honeymoon phase when he comes home..yet part of me gets that the horror of war could change his "attitude" and persona to something I don't know..It is the unknown and total lack of control that has me feeling so very overwhelmed by it all..

I liken this experience to what families feel when the reality of a serious illness, or injury comes into a life and alters the circumstances of their lives. I share this as I think about the families who I encounter, dazed, overwhelmed, not knowing how the change in their life could happen, and dealing with the unknown of it all comes crashing down around them as they deal with the choice of placing a loved one in a permanent long term care setting, or they deal with the choices of care giving..In a moments notice the path,the course the expected becomes null and void; replaced by so many questions, unknowns and what ifs...

As a caregiver leader, I can give lip service to the feeling, I can talk about the knowns from my side of the desk..But until one is faced with a set of life altering circumstances; we cannot begin to understand the emotion, the loss of control,the thoughts and anxiety that comes with it..

So the circumstances presented to us have left me with a new attitude and appreciation for so many things..Simple time spent as a family, recognizing the daily gifts I have been given, how great my life has been blessed, and that happiness is a self dependent emotion that I chose to put in my life everyday..

I shall keep you posted on the circumstances of my life as they progress..for right now the attitude is about getting through the day with a smile, focus and a renewed recognition of what families feel when they deal with me as a caregiver...I get it...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The back seat of the cab..

I love traveling..If you open yourself to new people and experiences, life is fulfilling and you can learn so much...

This trip was not very different. Jeff learned about what a coonass is; I learned that networking pays off; we both learned about how above ground tombs work in the south and that categorizing people based on race, class, and culture is not an effective tool to determine political opinions..

It was about 87 degrees, sunny and humid as only new orleans can be in early September..We flagged down a cab to take us back to the airport..Not to stereotype, but the typical southern cabbie pulled up..A larger,black man driver..(I use the term black, because it was his preferred self definition of who he was to us..).

He asked us where we were from; we told him Michigan..For the next 20 minutes he held us captivated, (or captive if you were not of our political leanings) as he shared with us of his opinion of Detroit and Michigan..He shared a story about how he and a buddy both raced motorcycles for a well known company; and that during Katrina, they ended up on their racing bikes headed north to avoid the storm..They had nothing other then their bikes, and the clothes on their backs..

You need to picture this story being told by this man with not only a southern accent but some coon ass thrown in with a little hispanic slant..(this language combination thing is fairly indigenous to new orleans).

He referred to Jeff as boss; and the picture he portrayed is one of being very frightened by the bums, scalywaygs and "jerry springers" he met in Detroit. He said you could see in the eyes of those he met; that they had nothing good in their life and that despite his problems of being homeless, jobless and not knowing what he would find upon his return; that these people had it worse then he..

He said he knew the problem with Detroit. We had bad government, he could tell by the condition of the city and the people he met.(Ironically, he pegged the Kwamie situation without even knowing it..)

The next 15 minutes were spent listening to his version of why we should vote for McCain; and that what Obama was presenting was nothing short of socialism..and that Obama's plan would do only one thing; hurt the working man who paid taxes.

Trust me when I say; this man, in his less then eloquent, less then intellectual mastery of the language captured the complete notion of free enterprise and why taxes/big government hurt the working class like himself..

He then told us that he was sharing his opinion with anyone who would listen to him; his coworkers and buddies..those he raced and drank with the Carlos and Abdul's who viewed that white men are evil..His comment to that? White rich men own corporations and they all work for those corporations; and if they get taxed, they are gonna bend over and take his terms.." I told them they had better go to walmart and buy some ky jelly, cause they are gonna need it if Obama gets to be President."

I sat in the back seat just absorbing and thinking..How many individuals out there have similar thoughts? The level of his understanding of economics and political outcomes on the working class was beyond that of most college educated self reported politically correct/righteous individuals. This man understood and accepted not only who he was; but what the realities of life are..where he was socioeconomically and what his life was about..

The political musings of a self professed black man who referred to my white husband as boss; and spoke of the political dismantling of good cities because of overtaxation and crime....funny...not what I expected to learn while riding in the back seat of a cab out of New Orleans...

Reflections of Culture...

Wow...again..apologies for the time between posts..Funny how my life has taken me from having empty downtime to write and contemplate to the busy/happy life I am currently enjoying..

Today finds Jeff and I sitting in the Atlanta airport awaiting our flight home..We are returning from a fun crazy filled four days spent honeymooning in the Big Easy..Amazing, but not surprisingly we travel well and very similarily..both kind of ready to get home and gear up for the busy work week..

For the curious; he and I enjoyed way too much, drink, music...again a huge thank you to the locals we met while in NOLA, your culture and city continues to surprise and intrigue me. We ate at three different locally known venues; one located deep in the poverty laden neighborhoods that we viewed during the Katrina footage; one in the eclectic, intellectual, artsy inspired neighborhoods around the garden district, and one in the upper french quarter that is world reknown for it's decadent and great food...None failed us-each surprised and delighted us with a culture only found in this great city...Despite the drastic differences of each venue; the service, and experience left us wanting to take it home with us...

As a side line..we spent very little time on bourbon st. If you think that is the appeal you are sadly mistaken..The true culture of New Orleans can be found outside of the street it is most famous for..The best food, the best music and the best drinks can be found in the districts, and parishes that surround the entire city. It is a culture of uniqueness that cannot be matched by any other urban U.S. city.

I reflect on the cultural uniqueness as something that inspires my work in long term care..It is my vision of what we should be developing as we evolve into the world of caring for the next generations..As a leader of care; I need to be the director and motivator of not only culture change but also culture recognition. As I sat down to brunch today at a white clothed table, eating an incredible 3 course brunch; the thought occurred to me that some of my elders would enjoy such a meal; and others; would have found comfort sitting at the rickety kitchen table, eating green beans and fried chicken served on 30 year old kitchen ware. It is such differences that make our job challenging to meet the coming generational needs..

I shared with Jeff my thoughts; and we concurred that the successful facilities of the future would be like small cities..with very different neighborhoods; each meeting the needs of those who live there short term; or permanently...the ideal...ah yes..something to think about and work toward..

Monday, July 7, 2008

Putting my money where my mouth is..

As an advocate for personal responsibility; I have finally put my money where my mouth; or in the blog world, where my thoughts have guided my fingers to type...I purchased a long term care policy for myself and significant other this week.

As a cynic of the state of American health care; I do not for one moment believe that our government, society or culture will be able to sustain care at the current level on the tax dollar as the supporter of such services. Quite frankly with over 25 years left until I can actually "collect" my portion of the social security pie; I am going to be left pretty hungry for a few years..

Taking that perspective; I decided it was time to be responsible, something more of us need to decide to do. I have traded up the two pair of designer shoes per month habit; for a sensible long term care package that will provide me and my signifcant other with care for up to 8 years. I guess turning 40 shed new light for me on thinking beyond how great my toes look in the red spike anne kleins...oh my the signs of aging...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Grandma's Dirty Little Secret

Mabel and Joe were observed holding hands as they walked down the hall..The staff commented on how cute they looked together and thought nothing of seeing the two of them benignly holding hands and smiling..Later that night, the C.N.A. calls the nurse to Mabel's room...Mabel and Joe are sound asleep in the nude, snuggled under Mabels blankets...both elders suffer from mild dementia; and Mabel is not Joe's wife..his wife Mary is at home...Is this a crime, an incident that bears reporting to regulatory agencies, or a lawsuit waiting to be filed? or is it simply part of our human/animal existance that has us seek out the comfort of pleasure in it's most raw form when we are stressed, confused and alone?

Ah yes..the dirty laundry of dementia and adults; yes folks we still want,seek and need the comfort of sexual release when we are old, gray, and even at the end stage of our dementia and aging processes..Social acceptable? good heavens no, at least for the current generation of elders being cared for in any setting outside of home. Will the next generation finally break the code of puritan values and norms that are currently in place that restrict and make normal human desire and comfort a social deviant behavior? I hope so..

This topic was brought to light this week on MSN. For the first time someone outside of our industry has brought to light the skewed value system in place for elders who desire sexual intimacy and comfort. The article; a reprint/connection from focuses on a situation of two real elders who resided in an assisted living facility. Both suffered from mild dementia; both sought each other out for sexual release and intimacy. Their families; who due to power of attorney and legal authority; requested that the facility separate the two and keep them from "having relations". The result? depression and weight loss for the female, and rapid decline and sudden death for the male partner.

As squirmy as this topic may make you; it is the harsh reality of aging..Are we, or will you be willing to give up control of the intense pleasure associated with sexual release when you are an elder? Do you want your patient advocate, or power of attorney to determine with who; how often or where you are allowed to express yourself sexually?

I wonder why as a society we freely accept sexual expression in our music, art, advertising and filtered in our daily lives; yet, when we get down to the base act we apply a rigid value system of what is acceptable and not...elder sex is a taboo subject and one that most of find very uncomfortable to think about; or discuss..In fact, when we do talk about being "old" and having sex; we bring up things about body image issues; functionality; and whether or not we will need pharmacological support to make it happen..It is the epitomy of joke fodder for most comedians..

Yet when faced with the reality of it happening to Grandma; we become highly agitated and desire to control Grandma's frisky behavior with outrage and disdain that it "was allowed" to occur...

Reality check...Grandma probably had sex figured out at some point in her life; or you wouldn't be here to shout outrage....and Grandma has stored that wonderful pleasure feeling in her basic animal instinct portion of her brain; and she knows what she likes and how to make it happen over and is not rocket science; it is pure pleasure and comfort..two things all humans need to survive. Do you want to face aging alone, demented, and devoid of the most basic form of pleasure and release?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Show Me the Money...

Interesting..Sitting and reflecting in Reagan National airport after a two day lobbying junket...I love the democratic process. It was a great opportunity to actually feel the process at work. A special thanks to my state rep Mike Rogers and his staff for hosting our visit. We actually got to "meet" on the house floor after a vote was finishing. First hand experiencing the democratic process was outstanding and uplifting..

As a non-baby boomer; I have watched the coming storm with such trepidation and anxiety..How are "we" the future generations going to pay for our health care? How are "we" going to survive financially? It has become the hot topic for domestic policy and the upcoming elected President's first agenda issue.

As an observation; it is interesting to note that the previous generations attitude regarding aging and entitlement, ie: "I have worked hard all my life" the government should take care of me now", has come full circle. My generation, cynical realist that we are; have started a new mantra..."personal responsibility" is our adage..we will seek/push/fight for government programs that are incentive based/tax lowering in structure that reward our financial frugalness and saving of our own money for our elder care and services.. In fact I predict that my generation will not only change the IRS code, we will fix it to be fair and equitable via a flat tax that is bipartisan supported.

I predict that we also will figure out how to fix the hemorrhage known as our national debt and deficit..Or we will learn Japanese...(little known fact, we owe them significant payment on loans that we yes we the U.S. citizentry via our government; has borrowed). How will we fix this financial problem? Taxes...and decreased domestic spending.. We will fix the tax code to be fair and equitable; capture the internet commerce, home based cash businesses, and large corporate over seas avoidance tactics...

In exchange for higher taxes, we will demand better infrastructure, and a clear tax code that rewards us for saving for our future health care, and the education of our children..

My theory is that not only will my generation change this, we will understand and educate the government to recognize that those of us in the "middle class" that bracket of families earning 75,000 to 250,000 per year; will no longer stand for being the highest taxed/under rewarded group of individuals in this country..We will demand and demand loudly a fair and equitable system for all..We want to help those in need; we want to eliminate poverty and the literacy issues..but not at the expense of getting our children educated or taking care of our needs when we age...

If we are to survive not only as a country and world power, but as a culture and generation; we must speak loudly about the "show me the money" attitude of the government...I am willing to show them the money, when they show me a realistic and practical plan that the majority of Americans agree upon..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Finding Sanity in the Chaos..

So..wonder where I have been? I have too...It has been a personal journey of chaos..The words written here tonight are of a very personal nature; not at all the typical musings I write about professional angst and change...but for those scratching their head, wondering, or saying "I don't understand", or simply "why"? perhaps this will enlighten you..thank god I have had preceptors of a strong nature to guide me..Tackling personal growth and change is something advisable and recommended..but I don't think we can every predict or anticipate the end result of that journey...

In our intellect we think we know and can predict the outcomes of our personal growth plan with a sane rational perspective.. but even the best sense of intellect cannot predict the emotional result of growth..Until we have gone through the growth, the pain, the agony, we never truly know the cost and change personal growth will bring into not only our lives; but the lives whom we touch...Planning for the end result with precision execution; will still net results unknown..We are after all humans...

So my journey into personal growth...some of you have watched and wondered..some have cheered, others have watched in trepidation...Let me assure you that while the pain is still fresh in some areas; and I am feeling very vulnerable about many things; the end result has been beyond life has clarity..I know what I want...I know what I need...and I am now capable of working on both, knowing that life is worth living and I have purpose...

Curious about how this happened?

About 4 years ago I was given two opportunities..One to become a member of a group of women on a personal growth/learning journey..(I call in group awakening, or personal development and learning in a shared female spirit based journey). The other was a job taken at a facility far from the comfort of my small town roots; away from my friends and supportive cocoon of people who I loved and trusted..

About 6 months into the group development I had a moment of clarity...It happened over a sinkful of dirty dishes...I was learning about who I was as a female leader..what motivated me; what drove me to do the things I did..Who I was as a person to my staff and peers...not all good, but an open honest learning/critical analysis of what kind of leader/peer I was...and what in my personal life/development had gotten me to that point in my personality and life..As I stood and washed those dishes, I realized that while my professional side was developing, my personal life was not fulfilling and supportive of the professional side..would it ever fill the tool box necessary to keep up the pace of what I saw as my future and who I really wanted to become in the next 25 years of my life?

Panic attack aside, the reality of what my life looked like thru the new lens I had placed on it scared the hell out of me...I was a then 36 year old female with a great career ahead of her; but at home my life was a very different scenario..I was married; dealing with the empty nest at an age when my peers were becoming parents; a husband whose career was a rigid patterned choice; and not alterable from my view..and the marital relationship lacked any sense of good communication or support for either of us..we both lacked the tools or experience necessary to be a team.. Knowing the wall I was up against at home I had to make choices..should I stay and try to make my career needs work with the marital needs? If so how would that work and look? Could I stop my passive/aggressive form of communication in the marriage and if so how?

Looking back, I realize that my strength of character was only strong enough to work on the professional side of growth..The personal relationship side had eroded into a scenario that I felt was hopeless and given the fact that I felt very alone and not supported in the need to find growth for the relationship, I avoided doing the work alone.. Believe me when I say, I did place several well positioned warning shots across the bow of the marital boat to say "hey, we need to work on this", "it is not good"...the warning shots went unheard and ignored...

Fast forward to the climax of the story...(always the best part..) About two years into my growth journey I was given the opportunity to return to my previous job setting..back to my friends and community! The building was in a storming of transition..people who were key players were jumping ship, chaos, negativity and blame were being placed..people were crazily team was falling apart..and I too was falling apart at home...Professionally I was growing, I had started to gain some self confidence, my insight into the behavior of others was developing and I was starting to get the rhythm..but my people needed me; and I needed to be close to home..I felt the need to give it one more go by...Looking forward I felt the need to do right by this group of people..getting them to channel energy forward facing would put them in a position no other facility could touch..they got it..they made the job easy, they just needed a kick in the butt, and some tlc...I got a do over...this time with open communication and learning for me, and for them...

I loved the year I spent was a transition and opportunity to learn/guide and give like no other..Opening communication to them and taking it from them taught me so much..but it also gave me the insight and clarity to realize that while I loved the opportunity; that this journey would be a short one.

My personal life was disintegrating..I take blame for my more, no less..My personal growth, and self awareness had opened me to realize that my marital relationship would not grow beyond where it was stuck...despite any effort of work, the issues were beyond repair, and my personal goals no longer fit into the mold of the rigid vision my spouse had of his life...So, I told him...pivotal point in any story..the telling...the hurt, the anger... Just post the "I want out" conversation, an opportunity arises..I can move jobs..change...try out the wings on a new challenge...So I leave...thinking perhaps we can try to make it work...Spent one week working away from home, living in a suitcase...The reality of my emotion and making peace with what I felt hit me..I needed to move my life beyond my past..What had been given to me was an opportunity of completeness..Those who know me know that completing a project from start to finish is a struggle..I revel in the change, the idea and the thoughts..but the finishing sucks the life out of me at times...I sat in my hotel room; recognizing that completing the end...getting the relationship to the ending point was in my hands, and I had to finish this task...So, I did...hence where my head and heart have been for the past 6 months..

It has been a has hurt. I have lost friends and family. The negative, hateful words we both spewed...oh so not good...trying to maintain a professional level of work, while dealing with the personal angst in my life...has pushed my sanity envelope at times...shredded any sense of self right to the very core of my being...I have put 10 years of living into 6 months..trying to figure out who I was and what I really needed personally to support the professional need..

But I now know what I am about..who I am...I am me...professionally, I know my strengths and weaknesses. I can now recognize what I have to offer...what I have to give, and what I can expect from those whom I serve and work with..I get the tasks...I get the vision...and to achieve and complete both, I have come to recognize who and what I need from my personal life to fill that tool basket. It has occurred to me that to be truly successful as a leader, it is not as simple as having the skills alone; it is the support and nurturing of those you surround yourself with that make you feel complete and right in your role as leader.. Simply put it is having that person or persons in your corner who get what you need on a personal level to make the professional side that much better..

It is the banter and communication of far fetched ideas and outlandish venting without judgment or sarcasm...It is the simplicity of having a true ear that listens, absorbs and supports...It is the shoulder rub and dinner served on a crazy, horrific day...It is the giving back when spontaneous support comes your way unexpectedly..It is appreciating the gifts of self others give you..It is recognizing that simple gestures and kind words repair and heal better then any purchased superficiality..

So my journey has taken me thus far..I am on the healing side of change..both personally and professionally. I am seeking sanity amidst the chaos of the change I instituted..knowing that the future holds a very different picture..but one where I have the ability to fill my tool basket with the emotional support and nurturing necessary to lead and create change..

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I look good in orange...

Busy..can you say it like a four letter word? My life has been a ball of chaos, but the storm is in full force now and the momentum of change is taking is grand..right where I enjoy it the most....on that note..I am a tad fired up about a bit of information that was given to me last week, and the more I have had time to digest,dwell and ponder, the more irritated and angry I have become. So, in typical fashion I am going to vent. Enjoy..Jana

I wonder how many of my esteemed collegues, like I; wake up mid night drenched in a panic/nightmare sweat of being arrested for something that happened while their building was under their watch? Yes America, we have criminalized care and you all have not only allowed it but condone and encourage it. I have decided that if something bad is going to happen, a mistake getting made, a rule broken, and I am ultimately responsible for anothers actions, my only saving grace is that orange is a good color for me. No longer is it just my personal actions that come under scrutiny, it is any action, mistake,regulation not followed that could lead me to hand cuffs and the orange jumpsuit..and quite frankly I have asked myself after every nightmare why do you do this to yourself? What is worth this personal torture? I have decided that either I am a glutton for punishment, or I am a fighter and am willing to put myself out there for what is right and worthy; damned be the consequences....

Up until last week, fighting against a known entitiy, unneccesary regulations that are subjectively imposed; and attorney generals who enjoy using nursing homes as a back bone for campaign strategy...Those were my two known potential handcuff wielders..Now? Our own physicians have entered into the "punishment" arena as a means of obtaining notice for their agendas. Apparently, we, nursing home administrators make nice targets for public scrutiny and out cry. Yes we are a criminal bunch; the whole lot of us.

Currently in Michigan there is legislation proposed that will offer up some form of "punishment" for nursing home administrators of homes that have too many patient/elder discharges back to hospitals. Confused? So am I. As an administrator, I do not wield the pen/phone/fax that sends people to the hospital; the Dr. does. So how does criminalizing me, (by the way, I have been told that the original legislative proposal has been watered down to eliminate criminal action against my type, it is now simply fines and money penalties to be levied against us/our buildings.) make this stop residents from going to the hospital uneccessarily? As an elder advocate, this legislation frightens me on several accounts..

First, as an elder I should have the right to demand hospitalization when I feel it is needed...It is my right as a patient/resident. Second; the Dr. should retain his medical judgment to determine the need/necessity of hospitalization. Third, few administrators are clinical based individuals, why would you want them to determine who goes and who doesn't?

I understand somewhat the need to stop unneccessary hospital admissions and discharges from nursing homes. It is costly; it can be cumbersome. But companies who benefit from keeping residents in care facilities, (check with your managed care/HMO provider..they tout this as a selling point) are pushing this agenda, as it benefits them in the long run..My uneducated but rational mind tends to wonder if this legislation isn't a tad self serving to these companies that make money by keeping people in the nursing home; and avoiding hospital stays? It is their reward/payment system set up by our government.

So in my mind, by using us, Administrators; they are hoping to put fear in our hearts to keep residents in our building, and money in their pockets. Nice..and it should scare you that the HMO/Managed care organizations behind this proposed legislation has partnerships with physicians who provide services in many Michigan nursing homes. Do the pieces of this puzzle fit for you now? They certainly do for me..and the entire story is leaving me more then a tad ill. To think that the very Dr.'s who provide services in many of our homes; would bite this hand that feeds them; to gain a tad more in the other hand.

Huh, and we wonder why american's are apathetic about their government really representing the best interests of all.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Goals Realized...

Just a short congratulations to my previous building..WAY TO GO! I am incredibly proud of every member of the team at are a highly successful, highly trained and most importantly great people who get customer service and the impact it has on each other, your company and the people you serve..

I hope each of you wear this honor with pride..Your abilities and dedication continue to amaze and impress...I am so very proud to have been your leader for a brief but incredibly fun moment in time...

Awesome job!