Posted in Inspired by Music, Post A Week Challenge

Miss Grumpy Pants No More

I’ve been in a super funk today. I think it’s a combination of complete exhaustion from lack of sleep, work stresses, life stresses, traffic , and some unnecessary laughter at my expense this morning. I won’t even go into that but I will say that it’s not okay to make jokes at someone’s expense when you aren’t really that tight and you don’t know what you are talking about. So anyway, by the time my day got rolling, I was in a foul mood.

I posted a message on twitter about my mood and was happy to see that other people also experience bouts of unexplainable grumpiness. At least I know I’m not alone and that always makes us feel better, right? Also, I felt the love from some of my real life friends and from some twitter friends I haven’t met in real life yet. This lifted my spirits considerably. I don’t know about you, but just knowing someone cares is enough to turn even the worst moods around.

I also realized, thanks to Twitter, again, that I really need some sun and retail therapy. I am a girl after all and these things always make us happy. I’m not a big sun worshipper, never have been, but I do think some time just soaking up some of God’s natural Vitamin D will lift me out of this haze. As for the retail therapy, I have a $50 Old Navy gift card just burning a hole in my pocket. As a bonus, I got a 30% off coupon in the mail today for their Give& Get event in which 5% of what I spend goes to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I get to shop AND support a good cause. How awesome is that? Just the idea of all of this made me smile and gave me something to look forward to in the next few days.

My day may have gotten off to a really bad start, but it is wrapping up on a high note. I just had a really fun conversation with our new General Manager at work. My boss was in the room but kind of hanging back just listening to us talk when he interjected and said, “I’ve really got to get out of my office more. Lee, you get to do all the fun stuff.” WHAM! Did I ever feel that ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself’ brick hit me square up side my head. What the heck do I have to be all depressed and grumpy about? I have an amazing life and have been give opportunities that others only dream about. I am so blessed and I hate that I need to be reminded of that.

I made the comment today that I was going to ‘change my mind’ and ‘just feel better’ and by golly, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to salvage the rest of this day and live it to the fullest. The rest of my evening is going to be all about music and friendship and love. I’m leaving the stresses of this day way behind me in my rear view mirror. I’m off to see the Sarah Mac Band at The Hideaway Café. We are picking up our friend Rebecca who is in town on business and I am super thrilled about this.

Getting to spend time with Rebecca tonight is such a bonus for me. Rebecca is one of the main reasons I started blogging in the first place and I’m excited to talk to her about how it is changing my life and how she’s partly responsible for that. I’m pretty sure she never set out to change anyone’s life with her blog but I’m living proof that it’s happening. I can’t wait to tell her thank you and to let her know that I count her when I count the blessings in my life.

And now I’m simply giddy with anticipation about the wonderful things this night has in store for me. I will be Miss Grumpy Pants no more!

Posted in About, Childhood Memories, Me, Post A Week Challenge

Who The Heck Is Leelee Gonzalez?

(Plinky Prompt of the Day: How Did You Get Your Name?)

I was talking with my pregnant friend Ashley this afternoon and at some point the conversation turned to baby names. Let’s just say they haven’t picked one for the soon to be new baby girl Lambert and from the conversation, it may be a while before they do agree on a name. It got me to thinking about names and how much I love names. It’s a weird fascination, but trust me, it’s not as weird as my fascination with fuzzy feline nut sacks. I’ll save that one for another day.

I love hearing the story of people’s names. To me, our names are who we are. I have always been a very devout believer that family names are important when choosing a child’s name. I know many people do not share that feeling but I feel very strongly about that. Had I been blessed with children, you can believe I would have used a family name. I always dreamed of having a baby girl and naming her Marian (after my grandfather) Elizabeth (my grandmother) and calling her Mari-Beth because all true southern women should have two word names. It’s a rule.  During my previous life, I did dream of a baby boy named Creighton Lee, after my ex-husband’s great grandfather (the Creighton part) and Lee (me, my dad and my ex-husband all share this name). I heard years later that my ex-husband did indeed have a boy with his second wife and I heard a rumor his name is Creighton.

My parents must have been reading from the same rule book when they had me because here I am, Lee Ann. You can’t get more southern that that one. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my name, but for as much as I wish I had been dubbed with a moniker like Sophia, Genevieve or Samantha, I wasn’t. However, my name does have pretty special meaning. My first name, Lee, was my father’s middle name, while my middle name, Ann, is my mother’s middle name. I would say that my parents covered all the bases here. Not only can I see glimpses of my mom and dad every time I look in the mirror, but I’m also reminded of them each time I hear my name. This often makes me smile.

Now, as much as I love my parents for sharing their names with me, I’ve also been pretty bitter about the simplicity of my name.  I can remember the first time I realized my name was lacking some flair. It was during my sixth grade graduation ceremony as the principal announced each name and each one flowed with this beautiful multi-syllabic harmony.  That is until they called out my name. Lee.Ann.Roney. Bor-Ring! I remember thinking how odd it sounded after hearing names like Loren Micheal, Julia Dell and Kerry Dawn. It was almost like something was missing. Like there should have been something else, another name, another syllable. Something. But nope, it was just Lee…Ann, and thus began my utter aversion for my name.

Now, throw a very thick southern accent into the mix. This is where the ridicule began. “What’s your name?” “Lee Auunnnn Roneeeeey.” Go ahead, sound it out. Say it out loud. See what I mean.  I was as country as they came as a child and my accent was as thick as syrup, so every time I said my name, it would be repeated by the adult listener with such a drawl that it would take them about 45 seconds to get those three little words out. Seriously.  Of course, it would be followed up with an “Ain’t that cute” comment that I think was supposed to make me feel better, but never really did.

As I got older, my favorite game was to change up my name when I met new people. Sometimes, I would be just Ann, in an attempt to keep it real, and sometimes I would pick something completely different like Sabrina or Catherine. Lord only knows where those came from but they were names that made a statement and I liked that. At some point I created my bar name of Angel and then Angelee, which I’ve always kind of liked. It was my beloved nephew who created my current persona of Leelee, which I would make my legal name in a heartbeat.

When I got divorced from my first husband, I elected to keep my married name, Sullivan, because that had been my name my entire adult life. It just made sense at the young age of 32. My work history was based on that name and it just seemed like it would be too complicated to explain a name change at that point in my life.  Besides, Sullivan was so much less likely to be misspelled AND it gave me some street cred on St. Patrick’s Day. I also dropped the Ann when I left Alabama, so at 32 years of age, I had officially become Lee Sullivan and Lee Ann Roney was never to be again. Ever.

Now, let’s flash forward to June, 2009. I’m about to get married for the second time. For a year a battle was fought inside me over what to do with my name. My deeply rooted traditional heart was telling me I should take my husband’s name. It would be an honor to share my husband’s name. I WANTED to become Mrs. Lee Gonzalez.  And then I said that out loud. I really didn’t like the sound of it. At.All. But, take my vanity out of the picture and my reasonable, rational head was telling me to keep the name I had been using for almost 18 ½ years. I thought about the years of history in both my personal relationships and my career that I would have to basically change. There would be credit cards, bank accounts, student load accounts, work emails, and the list goes on and on. When I was 22 it was no big deal, there was like one thing that required a name change so the idea of not changing my name back then never crossed my mind. Now, combine all of this with the fact that my marriage documents are all in Spanish and I can tell you right now, all of this is more work than it’s worth. Way more work than I’m willing to put in to it. Oh, and let’s not forget that my wonderful, progressive thinking, new husband adamantly opposes the idea of me giving up my identity (my name) for some old-fashioned tradition. So, the decision was made to keep it simple and keep my name.

Now, here’s where I have a problem with all of this. I am currently married to the man of my dreams, building a life together in our happy, little, blended family and I am wearing my ex-husband’s name like a scarlet letter. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I sometimes feel like I’m cheating, like I’m betraying my marriage with the constant reminder of a man who has been out of my life for over a decade. I need to resolve this in my mind but it still really weighs me down at times. I wish I didn’t think about it and that when I do think about it, that I didn’t feel so bad about it. Gil doesn’t care. His kids don’t care. Why do I care?

I keep threatening that I’m going to have my name officially changed to Leelee Gonzalez. THIS would be my perfect name. It’s got panache, it flows in perfect syllabic harmony AND it would allow me to take my husband’s name. If I decide to change my name and deal with all the hassles associated with that, I’m going to do it right! Hey, go big or go home! Right? Gil does not find this joke funny. At.All.

Posted in Post A Week Challenge

24 Hours

So, where was I?

My life seems to have blown up over the past couple of weeks and I’m so bummed that this blog has been the one thing I’ve let go of completely. I miss writing and I feel like right now, with all that’s going on, I should be writing more and more. I feel like I’m neglecting myself, my authentic self, by not putting my thoughts and feelings in black and white. I’ve actually written a couple of partial blogs but none of them are worthy of sharing just yet. I will share them because the messages are important, but I need to gather more of my thoughts and organize them better for you first.

There have been a few things that have occupied much of my time during the last couple of weeks, not the least of which is my job. March is traditionally a very hectic and busy month for us at work because it’s the month our contract with the government rolls over to a new contract year. This usually means that we have upwards of 75 proposals to be turned in and once awarded, entered into our system. Without going into the boring details, this means that our typical everyday workload is increased tenfold, at least.

As busy as a normal March is for us, this March is special. Our current contract ends after nine years. Well, at least it was supposed to and still is for some parts of it. Our current contract has a value of about $1,500,000,000. Yes, that is 1.5 Billion dollars over a nine year period. Yes, that is huge. This also affects about 1,300 people who directly support the contract and then many more like me who indirectly support the contract. To say that my coworkers and I are a little uneasy these days is somewhat of an understatement. And it’s not just my coworkers at L-3 but also the many hundreds of subcontractors that support the contract right alongside us.

To make all of this even more complicated is that the work must go on, without a gap, without a hitch and without us in some cases. In an effort to reduce the size and scope of this contract, the government made the decision to break up the work into several smaller contracts and with some limitations as to how the new contracts are awarded. In a perfect world, all of these new contracts would have been awarded by now and we would be in some stage of transition, either with us as the new contract holders or with us transitioning out to a new contract holder. But, this is not a perfect world. Some of the work has been awarded, protested, put on hold, and some of it has just been delayed altogether.

What does this mean for me? Chaos. And not just for me. But, for now it’s a good kind of chaos. What it ultimately means for me is job security for a little while longer. Because of my current position, I do not run the risk of an immediate end to my job. Also, because of my current position, I have the skills and training to support other contracts within my company. The good news for me is that I will not be unemployed on April 1. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for hundreds of people supporting this contract. There are so many factors and unknowns right now that no one can say anything for certain about when jobs will end or if we are going to continue to provide support under the new contract structure.

Some of the new contracts have been awarded and L3 did not win those, this we know for sure. What it means for the people currently doing the work, we don’t know. Some will be picked up by the new companies and some will not. I know that L3 is working very hard to ensure the L3 employees who are not picked up will have other opportunities within the company. But for now, life is full of uncertainly. And it’s heartbreaking. I am completely helpless and unable to do anything to positively impact these men and women. I know it’s not my responsibility but no one wants to see people without a job.  And even though my job is relatively safe for now, I’m definitely not doing any happy dances knowing that so many others may not be as fortunate as me. As a matter of fact, I am trying to remain as low-key and off the radar as I can right now.

Gil and I have always known that March 31, 2011 would be a significant date for the reasons listed above, but this past Tuesday, we had one more reason to circle this date in black on our calendar. For 24 hours last week, we thought March 31 would be Gil’s last day with Verizon. For 24 hours last week, we believed that Gil was on the ‘reduction in force’ list and would be laid off after 13 years of service. For 24 hours last week, our world was turned upside down with uncertainly. For 24 hours last week, I knew exactly how the spouses of the 1,300 plus L3 employees and subcontractors feel right now.

And then, as suddenly as the news came that he was going to be out of a job, 24 hours later he was told he had been placed somewhere within the company. And that’s all we know. No official notification has been made but he still has a job. For now.  What a whirlwind week we’ve had. In a single 24 hour period, we’ve experienced fear and uncertainly one minute and relief and exuberant happiness the next. We have certainly been on one hell of a roller coaster ride this week but for now, we seem to have survived. I will ask that if prayer is your thing, we could use some mentions to the Big Guy. And if it’s not asking too much, could you also mention the men and women I work with that are also facing an unknown future right now?  There is strength in numbers and we sure would appreciate it.

We put our complete faith in God and know that whatever path he has planned for us, we will find our way just fine with His help. I shared the Serenity Prayer on my Wordless Wednesday post a few days ago. There was one particular phrase that really stood out to me in the middle of that 24 hour period and that was “accepting hardship as a pathway to peace”. As soon as I read that I knew that everything would be ok. In that instance, I found peace in my faith. The uncertainly of our future was no longer a scary looming nightmare scenario but a possible path to new opportunities for Gil and for our family. In that instance, I completely trusted the Lord and there is no greater peace than that.