A glimmer of sunshine….

18 02 2010

Hi to all – this post is woefully overdue…

The past month has been a toughie, but I woke up this morning to sunshine, and decided it was time to share again.

I started this blog almost two months ago to the date, on my birthday, Dec 19th.  As someone who has come to embrace, love, and live social media over the past 8 months, a blog seemed like the perfect evolution.

I didn’t have a theme when I started, but I did have some topics/stories which were just screaming to get out of me (still do).  The reoccurring theme which presented itself was facing fear and walking through it; whether my fear, or appreciation of others who were walking though theirs.  I  don’t know if I was a little psychic, or maybe just trying to coach myself to handle things to come, but the past month has been filled with fear for me.

There are all kinds of fears – real and imagined; fear of what is or what may happen; fear of failure, of rejection, of loss, and of course, the biggie – FEAR of the UNKNOWN.  How do I handle a situation I have never been in before?  I don’t have the answers.  I only have limited resources of people who have answers, who have been through this same thing.  Who can I trust?  And, if I reach out for help, will people sense my fear and take advantage of me?  Will they see me as weak?  Will I be defined by my fear?

My fear(s) are real and legitimate.   I have been unemployed for over 10 months now, and there are a lot of consequences that come when you’ve been without a job for that long.  It is the fear of not having some of the basics in life:  food, heat, water, shelter.  I am not alone in this situation, especially in Ohio.(BTW,  Forbes just listed Cleveland as the Most Miserable City.  Oh joy!) http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/11/americas-most-miserable-cities-business-beltway-miserable-cities.html?boxes=Homepagelighttop

For the past month I’ve focused my energies trudging through many fearful, pressing issues.   While I don’t have answers or solutions to everything, I have become more educated.  The giant Fear Beast is not nearly as scary when I turn a bright light on it and look at it clinically – its power lies in the dark, under my bed where it grows larger and more powerful in my mind.

I wrote an affirmation and put  it above my desk:  I am Resourceful, Courageous and SAFE.  I will get through this with grace, dignity and courtesy, to a positive, plentiful and philanthropic state.

Still working on it, but that’s why you’re supposed to say these affirmations everyday, right? (BTW, I can send you a nice copy you can print out for yourself if you’d like)

I am blessed to have many good friends who have been giving me their support and help.  One in particular is  Kelly.  She has been a real rock for me.  She’s not on twitter or Facebook, (or I’d tell you all to follow her);  she is a busy young married mom of 3 kids under age 5, yet she can always make time to talk to me with a smile and remind me that this too, shall pass.  Kelly also suggested as I go through these new experiences that I can help others, too…

This brings me to my question for the blogesphere…  Have you ever done any “splinter” blogs?  What are your thoughts on that?  Since I am actively job hunting, I must be respectful of the power of public cyber exposure, and I want to put my most positive foot forward.  Therefore, I am thinking of starting an anonymous blog about my current challenges with unemployment, finances and The System, and what I learned so far, with the hopes it might help others and provide them a forum to exchange ideas and vent.

There is a fine line to be walked in this hyper-connected world and I want to share, but I don’t want to over-share where it is not appropriate.  What do you think?

And, if you know of anyone who might be looking for creative person who understands business, and a businessperson who thinks creatively, I am in search of a position in PR, Marketing, B2B Sales, and/or Social Media (or some combination of these!).  Here’s my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kaseycrabtree

Thanks, and I promise it won’t be another month between posts!





Story arc… or It’s a Wonderful Life

29 12 2009

This blogging thing requires more discipline than I thought…. I have lots of ideas in my head… some of them get down on paper, but from the paper to the laptop to the blog post can be a long walk.  Along that walk this week I kept thinking about the various story arcs that have existed and are still existing in my life.

There is a LOT of transition going on in my life now, and a lot of unknowns.  It can be scary – I’ve been out of work 9 months now, and the wolves are at the door.  Meanwhile, I am finding out more and more about myself in this time of transition, and sometimes it just makes me wonder how I fit into the world.  Where do I belong?  What is my contribution? What’s my “calling” in life?  These can be unsettling questions, which is why I was so happy I had the chance to watch one of my fav Christmas movies in the past week, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Hopefully you have seen the film.  Although it was released in 1946, and people have been watching it religiously since, I only really started watching it in the past 10 years.  I have to give credit to my ex-husband for turning me on to the film.  I think he may have gotten a completely different message from it, because for me, it has an amazing spiritual message of acceptance an affirmation.  Please watch it sometime; the story may be set at Christmas time but the message is timeless…. we just don’t know the power of what our good deeds may do over time.

In case you haven’t seen the film…

Lead character George Bailey’s life is not glamorous.  He has missed out on many of the things he thought he wanted to do with life (college, world travel, exploration) but all throughout his life, his actions have been based on what seemed like the next right thing to do, even if he may have seemingly “lost” an opportunity at the time.   His apparent reward is a wife who adores him, four loving kids and an old drafty house.   When a seemingly insurmountable business problem comes up, he thinks the world would have been better off without him, so he is ready to jump off a bridge.  It is then that “Clarence”, his guardian angel, jumps in the water before George does, knowing that George will jump in to try to save him instead.

The really amazing part is what happens after that:  George, still in his full pity party, comments that the world would be better off if he had never been born, and Clarence allows George to have that experience – to see what the world would be like if George had never been born.  Needless to say, there are all kinds of things – from the little to the big, George had done which in turn had a huge effect on others.  Because George saved his brother from drowning as a child, his brother grew up and became a war hero, saving numerous lives.  If George hadn’t saved his brother, his brother wouldn’t have been there to save these other people, and so on.

Every time I see the film it gives me faith that ALL we do; what ALL of us do; can be of significance. (Pretty existential stuff for 1946!)   What an empowering feeling!  It gets me out of my pity party.  It also reminds me that what I struggle with today, may very likely be the seeds of tomorrow’s success.  I may just be in the middle of my story arc.  Quite frankly, if I hadn’t been laid off, I never would have had the time to learn social media; and highly unlikely that I would have begun blogging.

I would like to invite you to come along with me through this current story arc, and hopefully the ones that follow.  So despite my challenges of this year, and the ones that lay ahead, I hope I can continue to look around me and enjoy the moment.  Because, after all, it may just be a Wonderful Life!





It’s one for the Bucket List

22 12 2009

Being able to go backstage at a rock concert really is cool.  I’m not going to deny it; it is one of the elite experiences that is an earned privilege.  It’s one of the things I would have everyone put on their “bucket list”.  You cannot buy a backstage pass like you can with “special vip” seating and parking at certain concert venues (a smart, albeit annoying, marketing ploy in my opinion).  So I always look forward to when Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) comes to Cleveland and I get to go backstage.

I have “earned” this privilege as WNCX (the radio station for which I am DJ) was the first station in the country to really play TSO, and my boss, Program Director Bill Louis suggested to TSO creator Paul O’Neill that he take the story and do it as a concert.  I have always been a big advocate and believer of the band, doing my best to promote and support them and the individual side projects as well.  The first two years of TSO shows were very “evolutionary” compared to the current, regulated grueling tour schedule; back then TSO would have a show in Cleveland, then 3 or 4 days off, drive to another city, then come back to Cleveland.  The band got to hang out a lot here in Cleveland, and that’s how we all got to know each other.

This past weekend marked the 11th year TSO played in Cleveland, with matinée & evening shows on both Saturday & Sunday. Yes, I was at all four shows and I stayed true to my philosophy: I want to share this fun experience with friends and family who have never seen the band and/or have never had the “backstage experience” before (so they can check it off their bucket list!)

This year my guests were:  Mary Kay Stahley, Executive Director of Malachi House, a wonderful facility which provides hospice for the dying poor www.malachihouse.org @MalachiHouse;  Adam Gercak (@acgercak), the man behind Throwing Quarters blog & podcast www.throwingquarters.com/ and his lovely wife and graphic designer, Jenn (@jmacgercak); Susie Sharp, CLE social media enthusiast and soon-to-be blogger (@SusieSharp); and a last-minute fill-in, Pat McKay, good friend of Adam and a drummer with local band The Poland Invasion http://www.myspace.com/jenpoland, who was blown away by Jeff Plate’s drum kit!  (http://www.jeffplate.com/)

I told my friends to forget about any pre-conceived notions of backstage drunken debauchery; this tour is now a well-oiled machine, with no time for shenanigans.  But there is awesome catering (sushi bar, lamb chops, prime rib & even a full cooler of Dippin Dots!) Plus it just looks cool to see everything works.

With four shows in two days, you know these peeps work hard!  To help them blow off  some steam, there was a special after-show private party Saturday night at the Q – a Karaoke party for band members, crew and friends.  There was a similar party 4 or 5 years ago (the years have begun to blur).  The last party was hilarious as professional singers mixed with, er, “non-professionals”, singing everything from Madonna to Metallica.  I’m not a singer, so I never thought to get up and “karaoke” last time.

HOWEVER, that changed THIS year!

Yup, after quite a bit of prodding from Rob Evan (who, btw, starred in the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 600 performances www.Rob-Evan.com ) I got up to sing in front of a bunch of professionals.  I didn’t have any booze for “courage”.  I had never done karaoke before.  It was all pretty scary stuff- guitarist Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) was watching too!  www.alexskolnick.com.

Sorry, there is no “and then she was discovered” story happy ending here – the fact is, I bombed!  I tried to sing “Pepper” by The Butthole Surfers.  http://www.last.fm/music/Butthole+Surfers/_/Pepper I couldn’t keep up, so I had them start the karaoke machine over again.  My mouth was so dry by the end of the first verse, I could barely swollow.  But I stuck it out all the way until the end and finished the song.

Driving home later that night, I kept replaying my “performance” in my head, berating myself for doing so badly.  Then a smile slowly came across my face.  It didn’t really matter how well I did; just that I had done it!  How many people will EVER have that opportunity in their lifetime:  to sing Karaoke in front of broadway leads, rock stars, and professional singers? I had the opportunity and I DID IT!  (I should tell you that NOT ironically, you could see the giant LeBron Nike “Witness” billboard outside the window – the one that takes up almost the entire side of a building).

Another very cool, elite, and special experience I can check off my bucket list!

I’ll leave you with this thought:  The next time something comes along that seems too scary (or potentially embarrassing) to tackle, take a pause… maybe it’s the universe giving you an “at bat” with something from your bucket list.  Think for a moment; will you walk through your fear, or live with regret?  Nike gets props for this one, “Just Do It!”