If you get the reference in the title of this post, well then, I like you just a little bit more than everyone else reading this. If you don’t know the reference it is to Les Miserables. I would love to say I remember the storyline vividly from the book, but I would be lying. I know it only because of the musical. It’s a pivotal point in the musical and the book too for that matter. The main character Jean Valjean has to decide who he is… his former self as a criminal and escaped convict or the reformed and respected man he has been living as for 20 years. valjeanHe sings this riveting song in the musical and it is seriously incredible. At the end of the song, in a bold, dramatic, and emotive rendition that challenges the very best of Broadway, Jean Valjean sings the line “Who am I…. Who am I… I’m Jean Valjean… 24601!” 24601 is his prisoner number.

You can totally watch it here.  In fact, I keep watching it and I keep getting goosebumps.  Seriously, watch it.

The Broadway version is the best but Hugh Jackman does a pretty decent performance of it in the movie version too. Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Because this week, this first week of my “sabbatical” I’ve been asking myself this very question… Who Am I?

In fact, I’ve kind of been singing the song in my head and maybe out loud a little bit to Boone. He loves my singing voice. It’s a deep question and while I don’t have to decide if I need to own up to my criminal past or escape the student uprising in Paris like ole Jean did, I’ve still found myself with more questions than answers this week. I’ve been asking myself a lot of whys about being laid off and whats about what I could have or should have done differently. The answer I’ve come up with was… nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. I really wouldn’t change a thing. I’m proud of the work I did and the way I managed a difficult relationship. While part of me knows some of the reason I was chosen was personal, I’ve actually decided that I like that reason better than being randomly selected or being a non-performer. What I mean by that is … I’d rather it be about not connecting with my personality or even being threatened by me than it be about my work being less than great. Because not everyone is going to like me, not everyone is going to appreciate my style but I know that no one can say I didn’t work my hardest and put forth my very best effort. Once I accepted that fact I started to ask other questions about myself. You see, you absolutely cannot stay interested in back to back to back to back 510df993545e3_o_510b8067e5e97_the-ellen-degeneres-show-254episodes of Law and Order: SVU for five days straight. You just can’t… your mind starts to wonder.

However, I don’t do any soul searching from 3 pm-4 pm because that’s when Ellen comes on and she has my undivided attention.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of things I’ve come to realize this week with my adoring public. Here, in no particular order is what I now know:

  1. I have missed writing. I may never write the great American novel or an Oscar winning screenplay, but I like to write. I like to tell stories and share my thoughts with the people who are interested. And hell, who knows, maybe I’ll write something so intriguing one day that Ellen will ask me to be on her show. But maybe not. For now, at the very least for this sabbatical, I am going to write. I’m going to write something everyday and I may not publish it on this blog but know this… I will write. I don’t know what my future holds so I won’t make promises beyond my time-off but I really hope this becomes a habit for me and continues for a good long while even after I am gainfully employed again.
  2. IMG_9558That my dog, my new, precious, cute puppy, Boone, is amazing. He is cute and he is funny and he hops around behind me all day long. And while he is amazing… he is always a biter. Not a chewer… though he is that, too. He’s a teeth-dug-in, grab-a-hold and growl biter. His favorite things to bite are and in this order: my arm, my hand, my nose and my hair. I jerk away and he thinks I’m playing. While you may think, oh that’s kind of funny and he’ll grow out of it. I’m scared. He does this for HOURS out of the day. HOURS I tell you. I’m scared that I’m going to have the “kid at daycare that is a biter” and won’t be able to take him to Bo’s Bunkhouse for Doggie Daycare or let him be around small children. So far he hasn’t bitten the twins but I can’t leave him alone with them for a second, not even to pee. Sadly, no amount of the Dog Whiserper’s blogs or book chapters on biting are helping me solve this problem. The only thing that works is for me to lay on the sofa with a blanket over my head, tucked under each arm and under my feet while I troll Facebook on my phone. Boone will then walk up and down on top of the blanket trying to bite me. Sometimes he finds my nose or a hand, but mostly he just gets frustrated and eventually lies down at my feet or on top of my head. If he choses the later, I’m stuck under the blanket for a good long while. If choses my feet, I eventually remove the blanket from my head and have about four and half minutes before he notices and does his cute little puppy hop back to my bite my face. Right now, I am more worried about raising a biter than finding work; cause I can revive my mad waitressing skills if need be, but biting is forever. Pray for Boone. Pray for me.
  3. That Aaron Hernandez is totally guilty and I’m disturbed that I still think he is kind of cute… I mean for an angry serial killer/gang member.
  4. I have confirmed my previous belief that I am, indeed, a night owl. I’m not really sleeping in late as I have to get up with Boone but I don’t have a productive thought until about 11:30 am. I get up and read Facebook and watch Jimmy Fallon clips on You Tube, maybe I do a dish or two… but nothing good comes from me until afternoon. But from noon until about 2 am… I am a mad woman. I clean, I make lists, I post for jobs, I read more on Facebook, I organize things… so for now my mornings are dedicated to Boone’s bowel movements, visiting the twins and Jimmy Fallon. Just in case you were curious, here’s the link to my top Jimmy Fallon clip of the moment: http://youtu.be/FRKVQcbIByo. Although the twins prefer the clip of Jimmy, the Roots and the Muppets singing “Sesame Street” mostly because it features Elmo, Abby and Cookie Monster.
  5. I have learned by the soda cans on my coffee table that I have a sad, sad addiction to Dr Pepper and Pepsi. Today I had to consciously make myself have water instead. And I asked myself the tough question …. “Why is it so hard for you to get up and throw these cans in the trash can?” For real, my coffee table looked like a college frat house table covered in beer cans… except my table is a nice, scraped wood table from World Market.
  6. That there is way more to the Bobbi Kristina story than is being told. Way more.
  1. I have learned that 800 pound gorillas live above me and apparently don’t have jobs either because they are home all day and I think they are perpetually jumping around on pogo sticks.
  1. That Bruce Jenner actually makes a decent looking woman and that he wasn’t texting during the wreck, but that his “cigarette” totally looks like a joint. He always was my favorite Kardashian.
  2. But the most important thing I learned this week was that though my working relationship with Ericsson is done, my relationship with the people I loved, respected and admired is not. I realized that I have been given the gift of friends whom their friendship is not contingent on sharing cubicle space or shared key performance indicators. That they are friends with me, not work-me. I realized that I am truly blessed in that regard. While it is not as easy to chat with them now that it is not over a half cubicle wall… I’m still chatting with them. Kindly, their number one concern is how and what I am doing. Not questions about where a file is or where information is… but curiosity over how I am spending my days or how they can help or when we can have lunch.

So when I ask myself, who am I?

…. after this week I can say that I am a writer, Boone the Biter’s mom, a night owl, a soft-drink addict and most importantly I am more friend than co-worker. I very much like who I am.

More to come….so stay tuned…