5 Ways My Second Pregnancy is Already Different Than My First

Angry MommyI’ve been told that no two pregnancies are the same. I believed it, but I had no idea what it meant until this time around. So, here are few differences I’ve noted:
  •  It took much longer to conceive. With my first go round we weren’t trying and at 6 weeks it was quite a surprise to get that BFP on the HPT. So, when I threw away the pill this time we expected it to go bang. We ended up trying for months. After waiting 6 years to come around to the idea of adding to our family someone somewhere decided we needed to wait longer. Even though I knew I was pregnant my first two blood tests came back negative. The third one resulted in a fight witht he nurse, but I guess number three was the charm!
  •  My symptoms are more severe. Nothing as intense as hyperemesis gravidarum, but I still had to dig back through my old pregnancy journal I kept with Phoebe. I had minimal morning sickness that went as quickly as it came. No other symptoms to speak of. Right now, there are days I have to fight back the urge to vomit while there is still food in my mouth. I have developed the nose of a blood hound. I find myself avoiding the break room at work at all costs. All I lust after is sleep. All I want to do is marry my bed and never leave. Don’t get me started on the horrendous mood swings that seem to come out of nowhere, horrifying my poor unsuspecting husband and daughter.


cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Travelers are we. All on the path with different destinations.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


  •  My boobs are bigger than before. Like so big they visibly jiggle when I laugh, but they are killing me every second of the day. Not the perk I was expecting. I did the smart thing and invested in some comfy nursing bras early, but even if I so much as brush up against one accidentally I’m cringing. My husband has also taken to sulking sometimes.
  • Family/Coworker reactions have been different. With my last baby my family wasn’t exactly over the moon (I was 23 and still in college), but my coworkers were ecstatic (which helped get me through the pregnancy blahs). This time around my boss and co-workers aren’t exactly thrilled since I will be needing to take maternity leave and my family is stoked this time, but are on the other side of the country. Being so far away from folks, it makes it difficult to share any kind of excitement about the pregnancy.
  • My maternity care/birth plan will have to be different. I had an amazing Midwife and water birth with my first baby. Upon moving to Nevada two years ago, finding a free standing birth center operated by Midwives was on the top of my Google search – to no avail. Due to the restrictive permits and guidelines within the state there are no free standing birth centers in Nevada. There are Midwives here, but most are split on either hospital only or home birth only, severely limiting my options. I’m still mapping out my birth plan with the help of an awesome local Doula.
hot mamaEven though this pregnancy is, and will continue to be, different than my first, my hubby is still right there next to me and committed to being the best birth partner that he can be. Plus Phoebe is ready to help anyway she can.
Thanks for reading,

Forget Batman! Let’s idolize Bruce

anti BatmanLet’s face it no one reading this post is going to dawn a cap and cowl and jump rooftop to rooftop fighting bad guys and protecting the innocent. It would be an amazing experience, but you would have to pursue a lifetime of training just to stay alive.

Many of us pursue a lifetime of bills just to stay alive. So, I say forget Batman. His is a mantle of justice and equality by any means necessary. It is not the cap and cowl that up holds this ideal, but the man that wears it.

So, let’s take a moment to examine Bruce Wayne. He spends his available time walking and talking amongst some of Gotham’s finer citizens. Many of them maintian the opinion that he is a spoiled spoon fed child living off of daddy and mommy’s old money.

Bruce maintains and perpeturates this opinion. Even though we know it isn’t true.  He is there for his friends when they call. He donates vast fortunres to chairties. He even maintains businesses, that only break even, just so people can have a job.

So, WHY?  Why let everyone think somethings true when it isn’t?


cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Some would call this decption or maniputlation. Something that shouldn’t be practiced in mainstream society. So, why would this be a good thing. Bruce Wayne lies, by detail omission, to every person he meets.

An ancient chinese proverb says “It is a wise man that plays the fool.”

Bruce WayneSome people look in the mirror and see what others see and believe it. While others see what others see and use it as a mask. A shield to hide behind. You know how people will react to you in given situations. You can anticipate this to either make your life easier, guide people, or do what Bruce does, extract information.

Playing the fool doesn’t mean you act silly or blurt out ridiculous sentences. Playing the fool is an act full of questions that allows others to guide you to an answer.  Or in some cases the fool’s questions guide the other person to an answer. As the fool it is your part to show others what they don’t want to be or how they shouldn’t think.

We all want what we want. We even use other people to get them to achieve those actions for us. It is the over use of this common practice that gets so many of us into hot water. Without offering anything in return for the actions you are just needlessly using people.

Bruce Wayne’s sense of justice would never let him do this. There is always something better coming to the people that Bruce interacts with and he knows when enough is enough.

So, PHOOOEY to Batman. His actions serve no purpose in the real world. It is Bruce’s master use of suggestion that is a talent to be admired in this world. Knowing how to help people whether they realize they are being helped or not. It’s not manipulation if everyone benefits in the end with a smile.

tough thoughtIf we were to ask Bruce what is hardest about this his response would most likely be maintaining balance. You don’t want to let on too much, but you still want to make everything okay for everyone in the end.

Fools help people to realizations with backward means, but that doesn’t make their advice any less wise. 

Thanks for reading,

Adventures in Baby Growing

Infant Phoebe on the right.
Infant Phoebe on the right.

Seven years have passed since I found myself staring down at a solid blue plus sign. After the birth of my daughter in 2009, I suffered from a massive post-partum hemorrhage that no one saw coming. One moment we were celebrating and in the next I was goin into shock. Feeling fuzzy and listening to that distinctive ringing in my ears.

      Coming around to the idea of having another child has taken several years. I still have the a strange feeling about someone else’s blood as it courses through my body. Yet, the shock and pain from the transfusion are a foggy memory.
      I was ready to try again. And lots of trying it took. I thought, “I’m still young,” There were no troubles conceiving the first time around. (Other than we weren’t trying.) Why would this time be any different?

************************************************************************* BookCoverImage

Check out Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood featuring suspense, sci-fi, and stunning poetry.
Follow us on Twitter @Inthewoodspub or
Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 

      “Endometriosis.” It was the doctor’s offical diagnosis for my cramps in 2012. For those of you unaware that, right there, was a strike against my fertility. Even for healthy couples it can take up to a year to conceive. This was new to me. I was still under the impression that if my husband even looked at me when I wasn’t on some form of contraceptive that I would find myself knocked up.
      Worry overtook me around the third month. I’m 29. That’s awfully close to 30. This is that dreaded time when a woman’s egg count can begin to significantly decline. Obsession could only began to describe the dilligence I took when tracking my ovulation, measuring my basal temperature, & downloading every fertility app I could find. Even my dear hubby made some changes in order to protect his swimmers at all costs i.e. less drinking, less bike riding, and no hot baths.
   wtf   Nothing was working.
      Research increased, diet changes occured, and I went so far as to learn uterine massage. Finally, I gave up trying to make the optimal conditions happen. I said, “Screw it,” and tossed all my charts, tracking measures, basal thermometers out the window where they littered the streets and were swept away by the wind. (Not literally, though.)
      Family was in town for spring break at the end of March. That was reason enough to take some time off. Come April, Aunt Flo missed her visit. I didn’t think much of it because I’m not a fairly regular person and the HPTs were all negative.
       The weeks marched on and still no flo. I called my doctor, she ordered blood tests, and recieved all negative results. Concerned that something had interupted my cycle my doctor put me on Progesterone. At the end of the 12 days, my cycle was supposed to return to normal. baby buggy
     No Aunt Flo with only one pill to go. Signs had begun to balloon up in front of me as to why nothing was happening. My body wouldn’t be ignored any longer. (Hello, sore boobs!). Something told me to take another test. Less than 30 seconds later I was looking at the bright blue positive appear in that little window. I got my first BFP in seven years. Two more tests were peed on just to make sure.
 joy     The doctor’s nurse wanted to argue over my 3 positives, “But you JUST had a blood test!” she protested. After two more rounds of blood tests, it was official. We were pregnant with baby #2.
If you would like us to continue making updates. Let us know with your comments.
Thanks for reading,
Joy Wood

Concert House Rocks: An End They’ll Remember

big boomBy God they will remember me. First, for my work ethic/production and Second becasue I was the last person they were expecting an explosion  from. There were some worries with what was going to happen. When it was time to walk away from the Concert House I almost shit a brick.

He is “boss.”

He demands his authority and disregards your respect interpreting it as fear. A device he exploits long and hard for his own means.  But he’s been told by his superiors he’s supposed to be a nice guy.  So, he plasters on a fake smile and grits his teeth behind his lips.

There are somethings about the Concert House that are no different than any other work world.

The “boss” at the Concert House would spend the majority of the shows down in his office watching the various security camera screens. When he did surface during a show he had only words of criticism for anyone other than the supervisor.  If a fight were to break out he would stand idly by watching us as we dealt with the situation.

What privilegies we did have, i.e. shift drinks and hanging out after work, were taken away after a few months when he found out we were eating into his personal bonus by drinking the beer. Others would see it as a small price to pay for employee happiness.

************************************************************************** BookCoverImageLooking for a great book to relax with.  Be sure and check out Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood featuring suspense, sci-fi, and stunning poetry.       Follow us on Twitter @Inthewoodspub or Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


In the time that I worked there we only had two employee meetings and they only happened after major catastrophes, dropping a crowd surfer(future blog) and when the weapon showed up (future blog).

pissed bossInstead of trying to figure out how to be a better boss he continually blamed the crew. Even chastizing us openly in front of the other employees. So, the best way to get along with him was to fly under his radar, speaking little, and doing your best not to get caught screwing up.

Biting my tongue was difficult. There were plenty of times to be outraged, but if the boss wasn’t breathing down my neck then all I could do was shake my head at the poor slob who was getting the boss’s breath. The difficulty persisted after customers began to insult me, scream at me, kick me, punch me, and give death threats.

But after the engagment I wrote about in One vs the Many and I Lost I couldn’t hold my tongue anymore. I was not going to stand idly by after being openly assaulted, insulted, and threatened all in the same night without so much as an acknowledgement from the “boss”.

Locating a phone number for Human Resources proved more difficult than I thought.  After several fruitless hours scouring the internet the only thing I could find was the owner of the Concert House on LinkedIN.  So, being a member I sent him a message. In it I detailed, with dates, several instances that the promoter of this show had brought a violent element into the venue.  To include the most recent one where I got my ass kicked.

It took less than twenty four hours to hear a response, but it didn’t come from the bigwig. It didn’t even come from the “boss”. It came from my immediate supervisor who instructed me to call him through a text.  After a few pleasantries he informed me that he heard from the “boss” and he was told “prostitutes shouldn’t complain about being f*&^#*”.

All I had was silence for my supervisor. He asked me to come into talk about it with the “boss”. I said okay and then called Joy. She was quick to agree to my plan.

It’s funny that you can think a thought a thousand times, but when its time to deliver it comes out all weird.

The “boss” stood with TV dinner in hand when I walked through the door. He wanted to know why I hadn’t come to him directly with this problem. He said that he had always liked my work. He wanted to know why he had to have his ass chewed out by his boss? So, I told him that who he thinks he is and he who really is are two completely different people. All he had for me was a quizzical look.

I dropped my ear piece into his hand, quit on the spot, and thanked him for my time.

Did it make a difference? I don’t know. I don’t think it ever has, but at least I’m not sitting around seething with the need to tell off my old boss.  I did hear that now the “boss” holds weekly meetings before shows.

Cannon_FireLike I said, they will all remember as I shoot my cannons into the good quiet night.

So, does this mean that this is the end of the Concert House?  Certainly, not.  I maintained a very accurate journal. I have excerpts to share that needed the cases to close before I could write about them.  I still have to tell you about the best show I ever heard there. What it was like on to deal with an underage drunk who went to the hospital. All this and so much more.  Looking forward to blogging all about it.

The greatest gift is that you walk away with your head held high with no regrets. 

Thanks for reading,

The Conquered Fear

frightened PhoebeI have been homeschooling Phoebe since she was a year old. At the age of six this commitment to her education has put her at the top of her kindergarten class, has her reading on a fourth grade level, and she has begun to write her own short stories with correct spelling.  Joy and I couldn’t be more proud with her success, but that is not what this post is about.

This post is about the fear she confronted when she competed  in the area Spelling Bee hosted by the Boys and Girls Club. She was invited after she won her school Spelling Bee for kindergaten.

We couldn’t wait to watch her show off her stuff.   Phoebe was so excited she couldn’t stop talking about what might happen.  We walked through the newly built Boys and Girls downtown location and immediately stood in line.

Phoebe had to register, but her waiting paid off when she got her shirt for participation. They even provided a light breakfast. Which we had to wolf down because by the time we were through the line the competition was beginning.

Phoebe located the classroom for the competition where sat fifteen little wooden chairs in a row at the front, and four lines of bigger chairs for the spectators.

There was a word list that was made available to us. After being asked to spell a few words Phoebe took the list, sat down in one of the little wooden chairs, and began to study.  I was amazed at her dedication.

Woodchip of Wisdom: All you can do is throw the woodchips into the air having them fall where they may. It is up to everyone else to pick them up and start a fire.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


After ten more minutes the judges entered. The show was about to begin. It started by having the rules read aloud. Then the names of all the children were read. A slight snafu occurred, to which Joy quickly rectified, when Phoebe’s name didn’t make it onto the list.

Her name was quickly penciled in.

Each of the fifteen children took their turn at spelling a word. Only four out of the first fourteen moved on for a chance at the top three spots. Phoebe watched as, one by one, more than half the field eliminated itself. Then it was her turn.

She stood up and faced the judge ready to speak. Her face became as long as she could make it as she turned beat red. Fighting tears is a hard thing to do at six.

We wanted to help her, but both Joy and I were stuck. We didn’t want anyone to accuse of us cheating, but we so desperately wanted to give her the hug she wanted. We encouraged the best we could from the sideline, but to no avail.

She had to face the judge and spell the word to him and only him. She had only ever spelled for us in the past.  She wouldn’t let herself turn around.  I was ready to move. I took a step, but the judge’s assistant was faster.

She got up from her chair, tenderly turned Phoebe around holding her hand, and pointed to the judge. “You just have to spell the word. Are you ready?” Phoebe nodded with tears in her eyes.  She was contantly trying to wipe them away with her fist.


With a shaking voice coated in tears she began to spell.

“B—-L—-U—-E.” The crowd, all thirty of us, errupted with applause.  Phoebe and the judge’s assistant both took their seats. We still couldn’t run to her as the kids were still vying for the three spots. So, her tears subsided, but didn’t disappear.

Fortunately, for her two out of the first four kids misspelled their words and Phoebe moved onto the finals without having to spell another word in the preliminaries.

Phoebe hugShe ran to us.  Joy sat down on the ground as Phoebe buried her face in Joy’s shoulder. Parents and judges alike congratulated Phoebe on her accomplishment. All she wanted to do was go home.  After a little tickling and a trip to look at the trophies Phoebe started to pull herself together.

The bee went in reverse order starting with high schoolers and moving backwards. Phoebe witnessed as kids older than her struggled for the top spot. There were quite a few wars between kids, but most ended in the C’s.  (The list of words being asked were in alphabetical order. There were some groups that didn’t get past the A’s before declaring a winner.)

Third place was quickly established in the kindergarten group, but Phoebe and her rival put on a show. There challenge pushed through the D’s, and into the F’s where Phoebe fell to her final word. Down.  She misheard the word “done”. Though she spelled it correctly it was still the wrong word. The winner won, coincidently, with the word “fun”.

Phoebe trophy

Phoebe accepted her second place trophy happily and when she was asked if it was fun. She said yes.

Fear is left behind when a challenge is met head on. Win or lose the second time around gets easier. 

Thanks for reading, and all of your online interactions.

After the Scare

Sick PhoebeThere is a multitude of scares out there in the world that result in worry.  There is the scare of an almost car crash. There is the scare of someone cheating on you.  There are also minor scares, like were you ready for that pop quiz today?

In each of these instances when you relive them with someone you only talk about the incident itself. The almost crash, or the anger that thoughts of someone cheating brought forth.  When the conversation ends you feel you should move on, but something is holding you back whether we admit it openly or not.

You may not be able to identify it, but something within yourself has begun to change for better or for worse.

I have had scares in my life, but as some of you may already know Joy and I received one of the biggest scares we’ve ever had to worry about.  Phoebe was diagnosed with punemonia. Our world and our routinues fell apart. All halted to make sure we could all get through this happy and healthy.

She has since recovered and has returned to school this past Monday after being absent for a week.

We were in such a state of panic that Joy cancelled her travel plans and I completely skipped school save for one Wednesday class. We did everything we could to make her feel better, after the penicillin shots.  I carried her in and out of the doctor’s office, and up to her room. We provided her with pillows, blanket, cough medicine, and heating pads. Even the cat and dog did their part to keep her company on the couch.

**************************************************************************Woodchip of Wisdom: The fear of the beginning is over after the first step.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily cover1Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


It was an interesting turn of events that as she got better my mood got worse. With the extra free time I could have cleaned the house, or gotten ahead on my homework, but I didn’t. In fact as the week wore on and Phoebe regained her mobility and independence I became almost listless.

The word ineffectual had begun to ring in my ears over and over and the feeling it brought affected everything I did. The notion carried over into how I had begun to view the world. I began to see there was no point in any of the dreams I was working towards.

worn outI could try and try, but the difference I wanted to make could be wiped away by a virus. Something I would never be able to see outside of a photograph.

I returned to work hoping to find some sort of impact that my thread bore on the great tapestry of life, but to my end all I could do was keep putting one foot in front of the other doing my best not to let my head hang too low.

Fragility of the mind and body. Our existence questioned at the drop of a catastrophe no matter how big or small.

Usually, I have some words to lift my spirit.  Some phrase to fall back on that brings things into persepective. That is one of the reasons for this post. My head has continued to swim with pessimism every since Phoebe was diagnosed. I have no intention of turning my back on the duties as a father, husband, and student.  I just want to find that gusto that kept my sails full of life.

Phoebe and daddy in a treeIt can be said that we are the gusto for ourselves. That no amount of praise of how great a father one is, or how great a writer, or student, brings that which we must provide for ourselves.

Praise is a poor substitute for self confidence.

No one can take away any part of yourself that you didn’t want taken.

There has never been a case where bitching has solved any problems, but I won’t stop you from spilling the words if it gets the feeling of ineffectuality out of your head.

Thanks for reading,

To P.E. or not to P.E.

Standing in lines waiting to exercise.

Endless push ups. Tiring sit ups. Repetitive jumping jacks. No, this isn’t the military it was my P.E. class. I never considered myself athletically inclined, but I was always sad when I missed P.E. I never won any of the races. I couldn’t dunk the basketball. I didn’t make a very good outfielder, but I was always a little bummed. Simply because I wasn’t sitting at a desk.

A study published by the University of Michigan in 2005 found that children who exercised had improved circulation which increased blood flow to the brain, and raised endorphin levels. This helped to reduce stress, improve mood and attitude, and calm children. Physically active students may also achieve more academically and are less likely to miss school, partake in risky behaviors, get pregnant, or attempt suicide.

Personally, I didn’t need all that put into words to let me know how flag football made me feel. I didn’t always catch the ball, but I always felt good that I could run with the varsty football players and almost do what they could do.

Well, as you may know Phoebe has begun school. It was a delight to meet her teachers and be introduced to her curriculum; computers, music, library. The possibility of advanced reading classes (which she’s in).  When I asked about P.E. I was informed that there are no public elementary schools within our county that offer P.E. due to budget constraints.

This is appereantly a growing trend according to a 2012 Tampa Bay Times report who got their facts checked with a spokesperson from the CDC. The CDC 2006 statistics stated that 69.3 percent of elementary schools, 83.9 percent of middle schools and 95.2 percent of high schools required PE in 2006.  This figure means that there is one third of the public elementary schools without any form of P.E., not even a once a week curriculum like this 69.3 percent is set up for. The CDC also reported that in 2012 18 percent of the children in the elementary age range (6-11) are obese.

I was floored to hear that my child was going to grow up without crab soccer, sharks and minnows, red light green light, or any of the other countless games there are to imporve a childs self confidence and muscles. There was no way I was going to stand by and watch that happen.

I volunteered right there on the spot for a once a week class on Fridays.

Woodchip of Wisdom: When throwing darts even a blind man can hit a bullseye, even if he didn’t mean to.

Find more encouragement in our coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood. cover1


Now, I do not have an early childhood education degree, nor do I even have a degree in physical education. What I do have is a desire to sweat. Exercise is a part of life and the sooner a person understands that the longer their health will last. I called on one my oldest educations, my black belt. As much as I wanted to dedicate the whole class to martial arts my students were only six and health risks were a concern as they lacked control over their hands and feet.

But what I had done is teach. I spent two years teaching children from the age of 6 to 16 right after achieving my black belt. So, I was famliar with how to wrangle in the kids and explain things on a level they could comprehend. The next step was to find a curriculum. As of standing I have found no standardized curriculum for P.E. So, I just kept the metaphorical “lights” off and plunged into the unknown.

I began by using all the games I remembered playing in school as a kid. I couldn’t really do organized sports so those were out(maybe I’ll introduce them in the first or second grade). So, I only had four weeks of games. I began researching games on the internet and found several useful sites  theschoolbell.com and sparkpe.org just to name a couple. I came up with games like crackers and crumbs, two pin bowling, frisbee server, and many more.

One for everyday I have volunteeered.
One for everyday I have volunteeered.

The games were fun, but they weren’t using up the entire half hour I had been allocating for P.E. It was then that I realized the thing that Coach Waters and Coach Perry had always had me do during P.E., Work Out. I was going to show the kids how to do jumping jacks, streches, push ups, sit ups, and mountain climbing. They grumbled in the beginning. They whined about their stomachs hurting, but now six months later they are trying to do twice as many sits ups that I ask and jump twice as high as each other.

Honestly, I don’t think any of the kids realize all the benefits that the studies put forth by the University of Michigan.  All they know is that there is a window of time where you don’t have to sit at a desk. I know they look forward to it because when I show up their smiles light up and their bottoms can hardly stay in their seats.

Hopefully, your children already have a P.E. program that you get to hear about, but if their school is in the unfortunate one third then I hope this post helped you find a little light.

You don’t have to know everything to teach, just make sure you’re at least a step ahead of your students.
(To be honest I’m not even sure what game we’re playing this Friday. I’ll figure it out Thursday night.)

Thanks for reading,

Inside the Cube: Emotions in the cube…It’s Nothing Personal

alfI handle deadlines. I handle minute details. I handle digging through massive amounts of data. I do not handle the emotions of others well, period. Put a sobbing blubbery mess in my cube – I completely shut down. How am I supposed to respond to that? What could I possibly say to make this person feel any better about their situation?

Or what about the snickering snide comments coming from the cube behind me? I’m sorry I’m too busy demolishing deadlines to care. Oh, but wait half the people sitting around that person is offended by the snickering. *SIGH* I don’t like mixing emotions with work unless their 100% genuine.  From what I could tell this employee was being 100% genuine about being completely miserable. It hit me as extremely unprofessional to be so out of control with ones emotions. Last time I checked we employed adults, not high school kids.

**************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: When throwing darts even a blind man can hit a bullseye, even if he didn’t mean to.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


When I moved out to Reno in 2013 I really took it as an opportunity to start over, totally new. I only had to worry about where the bathroom was and point me in the direction of the coffee pot I was good to go. I have no problems feeling my own way through situations. I was a happy worker bee in my hive accomplishing my goals. Toss a few other employees in the mix, suddenly I had to worry about other people’s feelings. Or at least I thought so. But what do you do when that employee is OVERLY sensitive to the point where you can hear them sigh with discontent from across a warehouse floor full of whirring conveyer belts?

You make it explicitly clear that it is not your job to manage their emotions. As much as you want to be 110% honest, albeit borderline cruel, because let’s face it this person taxes your nerves mercilessly from 9-5 p.m., you still have to be polite about it.

#1. Emotions are indicators. There’s always another reason behind that weepy reaction. When I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture, I realized that this person was on high emotion overload because they were floundering at their job, but didn’t want to admit it. They were also feeling threatened by high performing co-workers. They were in defense mode – every little eye flick, hand gesture, tone inflection, is pain staking scrutinized for any hidden meaning. “Did that throat clearing mean I’m getting the ax?” Basically, it’s not you, it’s them. Your managerial actions are just sending them over the tipping point. Make sure your communications are crystal clear, well documented, and don’t be afraid to do your job. Not everyone will get along with your style.


#2. Set & Maintain Boundaries. If you prefer to be called Ms. Asskicker, don’t allow the overly sensitive person pull you in by calling you Imma. Watch out for little “tokens of affection” peppered all over your desk as well. These are other attempts of the overly sensitive person trying to get too personal. Its one thing to be nice and share treats, it’s another to lavish a boss with crazy gifts i.e. clothes, stuffed animals, or any non office related gifts.

Let’s get real here too, the day you take a job in management is the day you can no longer be personal friends with your staff. Trust me those relationships breakdown when you’ve got to enforce company policies, i.e. be the bad guy. It sucks when you’ve got to start making sure you’re not being “too friendly” or “playing favorites” with your staff. It’s always safer to err on the side of professionalism. It does not mean, never care about your employees or don’t be polite, keep it short and sweet. It just means don’t let them think or feel they’re best friends with the boss lady. That’s the day you can kiss their respect for you good-bye.

I like to call this Wednesday.

#3. Over-communicate. This one may be a little time consuming but it’s always worth it in the long run. It kills two birds with one stone. Over communicating allows the overly sensitive person to know exactly where they stand with you and what you expect out of them.

Bonus points with HR for it being in writing. If the problem persists, you’ve got the documentation to back up any future actions and it keeps you from becoming a broken record. If you feel you’re becoming a broken record, it’s time to get HR involved. Yes, you can have a casual conversations with HR and the employee. This allows you to have an advocate on your side backing you up while hopefully getting the message across in a non-threatening way.

Never be afraid to call a rebel, a rebel.

#4. Set the expectation – they need to do their job. It is what you get paid for, right? Emotions can run high even in boring office environments, but if you remember points #1-3, there is no reason the overly sensitive person can’t meet their job expectations. Stay calm and document.


Thanks for checking Inside the Cube once again,

Ode to the Clean House

man-cleaning-houseAfter weeks of not hearing from us here at In the Woods Publishing I can understand why you would be scratching your head at this post’s given topic. But I must confess this is a topic that has weighed on my mind for quite some time.

Dirt is a constant. Whether you walk in and out of your house, it’s there. Even if you sit perfectly still and do nothing for all eternity dust will continue to accumulate. You yourself add to the dust. It is a never ending cycle of clean and dirty. If you have kids the process seems to repeat itself more frequently then if you don’t.

It is a process that I know intimately. As the stay at home parent it has generally fallen to me to do the majority of the house cleaning. I spent most of the day with Phoebe making the mess. It seems only fit that I clean them up. I also feel it my part as providing for the family. Things have changed recently with my schooling and Joy has begun to do more on a regular basis.

But that’s not what this post is about. I have often neglected my duties. I am not as dilligent a housekeeper as I could be. There have been times when I have sluffed down in my recliner to watch T.V., drink in head, ready to relax, only to find I can’t make room for my drink because there is already to many plates, glasses, and bottles covering up the end table.

I am then stuck with the dilemma: clean up the mess, or hold onto the drink in my lap. Most of you, myself included, who grew up with parents would have their training kick in. It would tell you to clean up the mess. I don’t always choose this course of action.

Then as I watch my show, or movie, I am reminded through the entire thing that there is a looming cloud of work directly over me. It starts to invade my head. Slowly creeping in over a short period of time until it’s virtually impossible to relax.

Woodchip of Wisdom: When throwing darts even a blind man can hit a bullseye, even if he didn’t mean to.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Anthony Bourdain brought in a similar concept in his book Kitchen Confidential when he was yelled at for having a dirty station. It wasn’t dirty, per se, but cluttered with mushroom and onion ends, and bell pepper seeds. His chef at the time looked at his station and said, “See that. That’s what the inside of your head looks like. Clean it up.” From then on his station remained emaculate and he found it easier to concentrate on the task at hand.

Taiga and ISo, you can see how difficult it is to maintain a stress free head when you come home to a dirty litter box, a mountain of dishes, and laundry for as far as the eye can see. The process of cleaning the house not only supplies for a stress free enviornment, but it provides something much more important satisfaction.

The completion of a job to the best of your ability is one of the most important things any of us can do. Saying “I’m done and I couldn’t have done it any better.” is as statement we all like to make. It makes us feel like we can conquer anything.

The home is where a lot of us spend our time. It is our sancutary away from the rest of the world’s problems.  When those troubles feel out of control, as if they are indeed beating the very front door of your house down, know that there are some things in this world well within your control. They are how you react to those negative situations and what you do in the wake of that reaction.

Taking control of things in your life can simply start by cleaning the clutter out of your own house. 

Thanks for taking the time to read. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Concert House Rocks: Hero Worship

meeting your idolOver the last year I’ve shared with you quite a few oddities as they have strolled through the door here at the Concert House. I’ve gotten into fights, met celebrities, and scratched my head wondering how they could call THAT music. So, on this time of reflection the one anomaly that continues to throw mystery in my face has been hero worship.

The displays have ranged from screaming a hero’s catch phrase as everyone waits in line only to have it chanted back by the crowd. Other times the hero/celebrity has come walking outside to see the line and the line has erupted in chants of “Love you!” or “Holler!” or something to that effect. Each one vying for his, or her, attention only to be drowned out by everyone else attempting the same thing. But, no hero worship compares to the hyperventilating.

It was a pair of girls, maybe fourteen years old.  They approached the podium doing everything in their power to catch their breaths. They couldn’t speak. Their hands shook as they handed over the tickets. I asked if they were going to enjoy themselves and they ecstatically nodded thier heads. Their mouths still beyond speech.

Woodchip of Wisdom: When throwing darts even a blind man can hit a bullseye, even if he didn’t mean to.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


It was baffling to me.  In this line of work I have met many celebrities, minor and medium. No movie super stars, but people that are nationally recognized. I’ve gotten hugs, held conversations, and even received instructions about the show. Before that I had been exposed to other celebrities. I told myself that they are just people who put their pants on one leg at a time. That was until I met my hero.

Bruce CampbellMy ticket was to meet Bruce Campbell and it cost $200. It was a VIP picture and autograph combo package. Not only did I get a speical edition badge, lithograph, and comic, I also got to skip the lines at the Comic book convention. So, I waltzed into the covention. I had never been to one on this size with so many people costume playing. I walked right up to the line and they sped me right to the front. As I stood there, feeling the contempt ooze out of the rest of the line, I began to get misty. My face flushed red and I was trying desperately to fight tears. I had a thousand questions for Bruce, but they all jumped out of my head as I stood there. Joy and Phoebe came to the front of the line with me and quickly calmed me down.  When Bruce did come out to sign autographs I could say little more than “Hi” and “Thank you”. Fortunately he interacted with Phoebe more than myself.

Again I was baffled. I had finally felt the nerdgasm for a hero. Yet, I had no idea why it happened.  Until I started to think about the first time I met Bruce Campbell on T.V. I spent the better part of my childhood, and tweens, scared of horror movies. I could look at the picture on the front, but I couldn’t make it through movies on T.V. I left the room when they were rented, and I never paid to see one in the theaters. So, when my dad rented The Army of Darkness I got through ten minutes and then left the room. As I am reading a book I suddenly hear my brother roaring with laughter.   I poke my head into the room to see Bruce battling deadites in such a ludacris fashion I can’t help but watch. Seeing the absuridity of this “horror movie” helped me see the absurdity in other horror movies.

I began to tackle other horror moives and soon, I may not have liked them, but I was familiar with horror movie monsters. Upon this recollection it was then that I realized why I had been so awestruck with my hero. He helped me overcome something I thought to be insurmountable. A fear I had harbored that no longer plagued my life.

So, when I think back to those two hyperventilating girls I wonder what their hero’s did for them. Did he put into words feeling they were having troubles expressing? Did he explain something poignantly to them in a song? Did he just make them laugh when they needed to laugh? I’ll never know, but now that I have found myself in the throws of hero worshipping I don’t have to wonder why people lose themselves with excitement upon seeing, or meeting, them.

Heroes are made by those that believe them to be heroes.

Thanks for reading,

Ellen Brock

Professional Freelance Novel Editor

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