It’s A Different World

A few weeks ago, my job was expanded to include another plant under my human resources umbrella. I introduced myself to the General Manager and the office and production employees. I started with the personal.

“My partner and I have two children. They are 14 years old. We adopted them from Guatemala as infants.”

I shared my philosophy of human resources. I view my human resources department as a service to employees. I explained how they would see me on the manufacturing floor. I welcomed them to stop me and ask for a W2 form, address change form, vacation slip, etc.

Their eyes lit up when they understood that I would come to them instead of them having to come to me.

I marveled that I could bring me to them. The all of me. Specifically, having a partner.

It wasn’t that long ago that I never mentioned the word ‘partner’ at work. I kept the personal to myself. I wanted people to judge my human resources style not my personal life.

What changed for me was that same sex marriage became legal in Minnesota on August 1, 2013.

I am legitimate. I don’t need to hide behind unspoken words. I don’t need to say anything about my personal life. Or, I can.

This past January, Jody accompanied me to a work outing. I introduced her to the President, Vice President and others as my partner.

It’s been 4 years of living in a different world.

It’s a good thing for all of us.

Change is Certain

Crystel - Age 6. 2008

Crystel – Age 6. 2008

Whether it’s our kids growing up right before our eyes, the seasons changing, snow needing to be shoveled, or Christmas coming. It’s happening whether we embrace it or not.

Change is certain in all that surrounds us. Work people coming and going. A new job, or a new assignment. People moving in or out of the neighborhood.

I’ve decided to embrace change. It doesn’t mean that it is without tears.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned that my boss was leaving for a new assignment within our corporation and would be returning to his home in Texas. Later that evening I cried. I was still crying in bed when Crystel ran upstairs to jump up and down on me. I explained to her that I was having a personal moment. That didn’t deter her exuberance. It gave her more fuel.

I was crying because this boss was so healing for me. The company I worked with prior to this one was nothing short of terrible. It was a challenge to make it through each work day. I started laughing during the day because it was the best way to get through the hours. I became an observer of what was going on around me. For many reasons, I chose not to quit the job but to see how long I could last.

Crystel - Age 14. 2016.

Crystel – Age 14. 2016

My goal became to keep my dignity, my truth, and to be proud of my actions, regardless of what was happening.

It almost seemed like the company wanted me to quit. What I said to myself was, you people don’t know who you’re dealing with. Where I’ve been. Where I’ve gone. You could never make my work environment as bad as what I have lived through.

My current job is all that that job wasn’t.

By the time Crystel got done jumping up and down on me, I had decided to be thankful for the 1 ½ years I had with this boss. With that decision, I felt lighter, happy, and joyful. I went to work with a bounce in my step, and a smile on my face.

If nothing else, change is certain.

Welcome to WordSisters!

We are Elizabeth and Ellen—sisters in writing—in it together from inspiration to publication. We’ve been part of the same Twin Cities writers’ group for close to 10 years and admire each other’s work. We love to write, and we both have memoir manuscripts that we want to publish. Although our lives have taken different paths, we share similar values.


Elizabeth recently experienced the Mudder—10+ miles of mud, freezing cold water, climbing walls, and electric shocks. She was team captain until being fired for bringing two left running shoes to the race. She ended up running the hilly muddy obstacle course in her Sketchers. The Mudder is a team race, which is not Elizabeth’s forte. She is mostly known for getting in fights with the “real” captain on a team. “I just kind of always disagree with the leader,” Elizabeth explains. She is not known for following rules either. Her team “We Be Slow,” would have started before their assigned start time but fortunately, a team member’s father hadn’t arrived, so the team had to abide by the rules.

Elizabeth continues to evolve. She started the race with four teammates and ended the race with the same people . . . though it took her the first two miles to understand there is no “I” in team. Her spiritual growth was assisted by the real possibility that the 67-year-old member of the team might go into cardiac arrest. Plus, another team member threatened bodily harm if Elizabeth didn’t stick with the group. Most days, she can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. Always liking the heat, the unknown, the adventurous, she hopes she’ll grab your attention and keep it.


Ellen is decidedly NOT adventurous and certainly not athletic. The only reason she’d ever be running is if someone were chasing her. And even then, she’d probably try to talk the thug into giving up the chase and getting something good to eat instead. Cooking and eating good food are a big focus in her life. That’s why both her 20-something sons are into food (they’re downstairs making Cuban pork right now, while her husband John is making strawberry shortcake from scratch).

Her version of “mudder” involves dirt. And flowers. Lots of them. She haunts the St. Paul Farmers’ market and garden stores this time of year, dreaming of wonderful color combinations—the red marguerite daisy. No, the yellow one. No, the orange zinnias. She’ll calm down by August. But until then, a knockout garden still seems possible.

The rest of the time, she writes marketing communications for a small children’s hospital and does the occasional freelance copywriting project. After having her own copywriting business for 18 years, she still likes working with a handful of fun clients.

WordSisters will appear weekly and focus on topics such as work and motherhood. Ellen’s blogs may also include observations about politics, women’s rights, and middle age. Elizabeth’s may include her outlook on spirituality, adoption, Tae Kwon Do sparring, Guatemala, being part of a two-Mom partnership, and being in a relationship with that same woman. Occasionally, other members of our six-person writers’ group may also contribute.  Ellen & Elizabeth