January Wrap Up, Bridget Jones Style

 

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I’m giving myself a solid B- for January.  Most points deducted for being less budget diligent the last week and a half. It wasn’t that it was terrible – I didn’t buy a new couch or go out every night.  I got away from tracking, and picked up more things that were not planned.  That’s not to say there weren’t significant wins in that area.  I cancelled ALL the things.  If it was a random, monthly subscription, it is now gone.  From gyms, to all kinds of Amazon products (Audible, Kindle Unlimited, 2 magazine subscriptions), to cable – gone. I went out to lunch ONE TIME in January.  My office is a very go out to lunch kind of place.  ONE TIME.  That’s amazing.  (This also allowed me to eat better, which was another part of the goal here.)

Four corners of the 2016 objectives:

Gain traction and prominence in Change Management field here in Ohio.  I was invited to speak at a Training Association meeting as a CM subject matter expert in Cincy in February.  I was asked to participate in a strategy session for another local professional organization two weeks ago.  And my local CM chapter had a 6 hour planning meeting yesterday.  Good progress!

Budget.  Listed in the above paragraph.  So much improvement was made, I really am proud.

Do something creative.  At the beginning of the month I thought the NOH8 photo shoot would fill this goal.  I didn’t end up going to Chicago.  That was the same day as the other local group’s strategy session, I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t have been able to leave Ohio until after 1pm, to get to Chicago that late, just to have to be back in my car less than 24 hours later, drive another 5 hours to come home… when I weighed the return on investment, it didn’t seem wise.  (Also, the budget part of me kicked in – that was 2 tanks of gas, the hotel, dinner there, etc!  Was it the best use of my $$?)  INSTEAD, I did something today that fulfilled the creative initiative.  I’ll share more details on what it was in a week or so.  (Sorry for the suspense.)

Also on the creative front was my trip to Disney and Universal.  It’s not that I’m more creative there, but I am really relaxed there.  And it is so nice to be relaxed.  It’s amazing what kinds of things I come up with when I’m not a little stressed out.

Look good, feel good.  8 pounds down in January.  Potentially could have been another couple, if not for the Mickey ice cream bars in Orlando.  Limiting my after work activities means I come home and go straight to the work out room to change (all the workout clothes are in that room – no stopping in my bedroom even.  There are distractions of cozy sweatpants, a book, etc there).  I’ve even been enjoying running again.  I didn’t see this coming at the beginning of the month.  I’m almost scared to write it down here.  I haven’t wanted to run in almost 2 years.  Maybe I just needed that break from it.  I also cut out most of the foods my W30 people tell me to.  It’s not that I’m doing that super strict protocol right now, but if I can keep it that way about 90% of the time, I do okay.  Yay!  The little rewards are enough to keep momentum going here – a pair of pants that is clearly too big now, looking in the mirror and only seeing one chin, and just feeling overall better.

Contributing to “look good, feel good” is also way less social media: I, like many I imagine, have a love/hate relationship with social media.  It’s all fun and games until it feels like it’s running your day.  I did a few things – turned off allllll notifications.  That little red circle with a number in it used to compel me to check it.  Not any longer.  That small change alone made a huge difference.  I don’t have the trigger to check it.  It’s very freeing.

 

Lights. Camera. Oscar updates.

I’m not seeing Mad Max.  I don’t care. You can’t make me.

I got lazy this week.  I could have caught up with some of these.  But I looked at my theatre’s showtimes, found out they were all still playing until next Friday, and decided my evenings were better spent coming home, working out, doing some more work for either ACMP OH or my actual job, and then going to sleep.  One night I did re-read a few chapters of The Fault In Our Stars, for what I can only assume are subconscious masochistic tendencies, but I digress.

Highlighted means I’ve seen them.  I have a few more before I can make some predictions/wishes.

At the top of the “To see” list are: Room, Bridge of Spies, and Carol.  I may or may not see Joy.  I like J.Law as much as the next person, but the movie didn’t get great reviews, no one I know seemed to love it…. eh….  Anomalisa is another one that is on the line.  I’ve seen the preview half a dozen times, my local indie theatre has been playing for some time.  The trailer alone makes me feel things and tear up each time – I thought I would love this move.  Then I read a review of it.  I’m not saying I don’t support stop motion animation graphic love scenes…I just wasn’t expecting that in this movie.  My cousin Anna and I made a pact that we would do it.  I can’t go back on my word.  Also, the shorts are playing next week!  Live action and animated shorts will all get knocked out one night most likely.  I’m woefully behind in Actress.  (I’m buying into the patriarchal Hollywood system – I’ve seen all the Best Actor noms.)  Room and Carol will help me there.  Then I reassess.  I do have all of February, after all.  The only nomination that I’m surprised by so far is Rachel McAdams in Spotlight.  She was fine.  I like the movie very much.  I think Mark Ruffalo was outstanding.  I think Liev Schrieber was unexpectedly attractive.  Rachel was fine.  She was not particularly Oscar worthy.  I’m also a tad sad that The End of the Tour didn’t get even an Adapted Screenplay nom.  I really liked that movie.  There was also some significant debate among friends if Star Wars deserved a Best Picture nom.  I was of the “yes it does” persuasion.  I thought it was a solid movie.  Some friends think it isn’t a stand alone solid movie.  I’m saying they can nominate up to 10 in that category.  They should have.  Stupid old white men Academy voters.

Ok. Onward. Room. Carol. Bridge of Spies. Anomalisa. Animated Shorts. Live Action Shorts. I have some work to do.

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Sliding (monorail) Doors

You’ve seen the movie Sliding Doors, yes?  What happens to the you in a parallel universe that made a different choice?  Last week I was hip deep in that question.

I went back for the Disney Intern Alumni Reunion. And it was fine.

I was really looking forward to the solo vacation aspect.  Three of the four evenings I was down there I had plans with either friends or the alumni parties, and that left plenty of time for me to just relax and do whatever I wanted.  Disney, Universal and a Cowboy Mouth concert – these might just be the three places I’m most comfortable and stress free in the world.

My dear friend Meg’s father in law is an executive with the parks.  We had dinner one night and I had lots of questions about some of the things I had seen in the parks, future plans, signage, queue theory, etc.  I can talk about this stuff all day.  I work in change management.  Lots of change is happening in the parks.  We had a semi-serious discussion about me coming to work for him.  What if this is the right time?  All those years ago when my Management Trainee job offer with Disney was rescinded because of circumstances way outside my control…is it finally coming around again?

This idea of moving again, but to go work for some of the best theme parks in the world, put me in quite a contemplative mood the next few days.  I am nothing if not a processor.  miketyson

I thought about how often we get a “do-over”.  Or a chance to do the thing we thought we wanted.  When I moved to Chicago after Ex Hubs and I separated it was in part to make something I had wanted many years before that work.  Of course, it didn’t, everything failed and I ended up back in STL with new plans.  But, at least I have no regrets.  I tried the thing – big, bold, risk everything tried.  It didn’t work, but at least I could finally really close that door.  Could this be another situation like that?  I move to Orlando, work for theme parks, it’s everything I wanted at one point.  But if I got down there, is it what I wanted for myself at 22, or what I want now?

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That conversation happened on a Thursday night and Friday I found myself on Cinderella’s Carousel having some very deep thoughts.  I thought a lot about resiliency.  It’s a topic I speak on in relation to change management, it’s what employers say they want now from a potential candidate.  Can you adapt to change – because there’s a lot of it and it’s coming faster than ever.  I thought about all the things that had to happen in my life to get me here, choices I made and things outside my control – where my only option was to accept them and make a new plan.

(I know, downside of solo vacation – no distractions from introspective overload.  Eh, I kind of can’t think of a more appropriate place to do all this processing, so, odd, but ok.)  

I can’t really describe all the trains of thoughts that happened while on the Snow White & the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.  I will say that I do like when I really take the time to think about things.  It may take days or weeks to get to a conclusion, but when I get there I feel pretty good about going forward.  Not to say it’s always a success, but I feel okay about the iterations.  Anyway, let’s all get out of my head.  Here are pictures from the parks to lighten it up in here:

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That’s a wall of wands.  Which I always think I want in the moment.  But then, you get back to Columbus and you’re just a lady with a wand.  And cats.  And I have enough help in the “I’m going to be single forever” department.

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I took this picture to send my sister – she was thrilled to learn the People Mover was still a ride.  

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It was my first visit since they’ve finished the new Fantasyland section.  This is Belle’s cottage and it couldn’t be more perfect – it’s straight out of the movie.  Magic!

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And this is me doing my best to impersonate that scene from B & the B where she sits on the fountain and reads a book in the opening number.  

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Watching the balloon vendors on main street always makes me smile. There’s just something enchanting about so many balloons swaying in the breeze.  I take pictures of them everytime I go.  

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Just having a dance party with some ducks… as one does.

Anyway, I had a great time at Universal and Disney.  The alumni events were fine.  I’m not sure I’m glad I went to them or not.  I mean, it was fun to hear other people’s stories and to remember that once upon a time this thing I did was me taking a chance as well (a semester off school?  Move to Orlando and live in an apartment at 18? Whoa!)  It’s fun to get a private showing of Festival of the Lion King (which is one of the most beautiful shows Disney does). It made me feel a little lonely too, though.  A feeling that was exacerbated Friday night when not one, but two different people approached me asking if I’d leave my sweet table that was overlooking the castle and prime fireworks viewing so they could have a magical moment with their significant other.  I wanted to punch all the people that night.  Five drinks did not make that better.  I did let couple #1 have my table 10 minutes before fireworks started, who am I to deny magical moments?  I decided I would watch them from the patio – maybe fresh air would improve my mood.  FYI, it didn’t.  High five to Ex Hubs for being on the receiving end of the torrent of text messages I sent in that particular state of crazy and taking them like a champ.

So there you have it.  What does our alternate life look like?  Are there second chances, or are some things just too late?  Do we want the same things our whole life?  Jump on your nearest carousel and figure it out, friends.

In the category of things I cannot cook

Indian Food.

I love Indian Food.  Garlic na’an.  Lamb Korma.  Chicken Tikka Masala.  Saag Paneer.  It’s all soooo good.

I’ve come across several recipes for making it at home and I just can’t get it right.  Or, if I am getting it right, these recipes have no idea what Indian food is supposed to taste like.

Last year for Christmas my cousin got me this Indian Spice Collection.  I have used the Cardamom, Coriander and Tumeric in a couple other recipes, but must make Indian for the others.  So, I tried again yesterday.

I marinated chicken thighs in a spiced coconut cream for hours.  Then threw them into the crock pot with a spiced tomato sauce.  I went to see The Revenant  at 3 and when I came home the house was warm and yummy smelling. (And thank goodness, if there’s ever a time you need to come home to a warm and welcoming place it’s after The Revenant.  Whoo doggies that was a movie.  More on that sometime soon.)     

I even got crazy and tried to make Paleo na’an.  (Spoiler: this does not end well.)  Blah.  There are a few times the perhaps-less-good-for-me version is just the only real option.  Paleo na’an shouldn’t even be a thing.  The recipe I found was simple, the three ingredients you see above.  And I just happened to have arrowroot powder on hand, which I promise is not typical.  I think it’s been in the pantry for a year.

I also served it over cauliflower rice with a bit of crushed fennel seed in it.  That part is okay.  I’m used to that taste and substitution by now, but it still isn’t the delicious white rice of real Indian food.  Also, everything is the same shade of orange-ish brown. I get a little annoyed at my food when everything on the plate is the same color.  Everything tasted ok, but I think it’s time I officially retire trying to make chicken tikka masala or butter chicken at home.

I can show you a World.

I wasn’t always a Disney person.  I went twice as a kid, once in third grade and once in eighth grade (I think).  I don’t remember much from either trip, I’m sure I had fun.  I didn’t walk away with the Disney bug.

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Sisters in a teacup, circa 1992-ish

I was mesmerized by the movies The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, as were most kids.  The beginning of the Disney animated renaissance. Beauty & the Beast is still my favorite Disney movie.  It’s perfect.  The Lion King had some influence on my decision to start college as a film major.  I was fascinated by the making of it, the actors behind the characters, etc.

One morning near the end of my Freshman year of college one of my film friends brought his roommate to breakfast, and roommate (we’ll call him A) mentioned he was going back to his summer job at Disney and College Program internships were available.  Since it was clear my life as a film major was coming to an end, I thought a summer at Disney World seemed like a pretty exciting idea. This is back in ’98 when on campus recruiting visits were still a big thing, and Disney coming to campus was an extra big thing.  I went to the presentation with a couple hundred people, signed up for a panel interview the next morning, and the day I drove back to STL from college for the summer there was a big envelope from Disney waiting from me.  I had been accepted to the Fall semester internship program.  I hadn’t thought about taking a semester off school, but when I thought about not being sure what I was going to major in when I went back, why not?

I checked in at Disney in mid-August.  Disney provided housing by way of owning two large apartment complexes.  I lived in a 3 bed room, 2 bathroom apartment with 5 other girls.

There are days of orientation with Disney.  Traditions is the first class you take, introducing you to the legacy of Disney and the heavy responsibility of making magic.  Across the room I saw a girl in these great glasses.  I decided we would probably be friends.  I saw her again the next day at the Disney Studios theme park orientation.  We became friends.  Her name is Carolyn and we are friends to this day.  (I’m telling you, I’m good at looking across a crowded room and knowing who my people are.)

I had the best job possible for me.  I worked as a hostess at Prime Time Cafe, which was a restaurant at the Studios Theme Park that was like stepping into Leave it to Beaver.  I loved it.

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One of my scrapbook pages dedicated to my co-workers.  They were all amazing fun to work with.  And Michael-Jay in the middle gave me the best advice ever.  When I thought about transferring to a school in FL after the program and staying on – he told me to go back to IL, go back to school and Disney would be there.  He said if I moved down now, I may never finish school.  It was really good advice.  Thanks, M-J.

Disney holds a lot of great events.  One I got wind of and enlisted some of my pals to was the Fantasyland 5K.  Nope, not a run.  You rode rides until you hit 3.1 miles of track.  They had the distances of the tracks and how many you’d need of one ride or a combination to hit that distance.  I decided to do the whole distance on Peter’s Pan Flight.  Still my favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom.  And I have this great picture of me and Snow White where I’m smiling so big but can’t show my teeth because I had just taken a huge bite of a Mickey Ice Cream bar.  I wonder if they still do an event like this.

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During my semester at Disney two new and significant attractions opened – the night show, Fantasmic and the most complex ride Disney had made to date, Test Track.  I got to attend the cast preview and got special pins and swag for Fantasmic.  The Test Track cast preview was a whole other story.  They opened it up overnight for three nights before it opened for cast members.  We were in line for hours because the ride would break or stop and they’d need to fix it.  It’s one of the best parties I ever went to, though, the Test Track preview.

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That’s Carolyn and I in the top left picture (she’s not that much taller than me, she was standing on something.  We wanted to get the sign above us in the picture – Seat Jounce and Squirm.  TT today is very different than it was when it opened.  Some guy that we picked up in line joined our group that Carolyn was flirting with.  And Cheesy Charlie was next to me in the bottom left picture.  Oh Charlie.  (Editor’s Note: I spent 3 hours working in my basement today and that started because I’m trying to find the Animal Kingdom sweatshirt I’m wearing in these pictures.)  

It was a life changing semester.  I had so much fun, I loved my job, my Disney friends were fantastic, and we played in the parks every day off we had.  (We were basically slave labor for Disney making no money and could get in free – it was our best option.)  I also got to:

  • Work a booth at the awesome Food & Wine Festival at Epcot that fall for a day
  • Drive down to Cape Canaveral to see John Glenn’s triumphant return to space
  • Saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time.  And the whole “experience” of watching it – where people dress up, talk back to the screen, throw toast, etc.  I had no idea, I was so naive.
  • Watching the premiere of a new Disney/Pixar movie AT the movie theatre on Disney Property is amazing.  The theatre had two balconies, everything was packed, and everyone was a Disney fan or cast member.  I re-watched A Bug’s Life earlier today.  The movie is good, but because of that opening night experience, it will always be close to my heart.
  • Date someone who was “friends with” certain characters – the green army man from Toy Story, the twirling Pagoda in the Mulan parade, and occasionally Tigger.
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That’s Cheesy Charlie underneath the costumes.  It meant that his friends were in entertainment there also, and they were all so much fun.  And could do all of the autographs.  

Some of my best memories, no just of the internship – but of all time, are from Atlantic Dance.  This was fall ’98 and the swing dancing renaissance was upon us, and Orlando – full of it’s dramatic, talented, dancing cast members was such a great place to be for it.  There was a club at the Boardwalk resort called Atlantic Dance and we went once a week.  I always went with A, the roommate of the film friend who told me about the internship in the first place.   We would dress up and we had an absolute ball.  It was at Atlantic Dance that I met Cheesy Charlie (a guy I dated for about 2.5 months down there.  Sadly, once I was back in IL, the fairly dust wore off and he was just kind of this silly guy.  But, the perfect guy to date while in Orlando.)  I saw Charlie on the dance floor, he was pretty good, he saw me watching him and I swear gave me his number on a matchbook.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

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I can hardly even describe how fun and perfect these nights were.  A remains the most magical person I’ve ever met.  

Magical A had stayed at Disney that fall as well.  My roommates loved him.  My friends loved him.  And I was just always shocked that this person who was so cool was friends with me. He was just bigger than life.  A “was friends with” Aladdin.  He was so great.  I’m sure he had moments like this all the time, but one day when I was there watching there was a boy with Down’s Syndrome, and A got him to pose like Aladdin and they played for minutes.  It was really special.  (It’s the pic on the top left.) I may or may not be tearing up just thinking about – but I probably am.

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He would go on to do Chaplin at Universal for a while, also.  I know people think it’s silly, they’re just characters, but A was transformative.  It’s about suspending disbelief and having fun with characters who understand the role they’re playing.  I suppose I’m Cheesy Sarah.  

The whole experience was perfect and remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I did think I would go back.  I’m sure I’ve told that story on this corner of the interwebs before, and if not, well, another time.  All that matters for this story is that Disney became a very special place for me after these 5 months.

When Ex-Hubs asked me to move in with him, I did so on one condition.  We had to go to Disney World first.  I needed to make sure he could have fun there and appreciate it or there was no way I was taking the next step.  He passed the Disney test with flying colors. (Not the sharing chocolate milk test, but we worked through it.)  Ex Hubs knew how to play in a park, have fun with the themes, enjoy the food, go on rides, appreciate the absolutely no waiting times because this girl knows when to go to Disney.

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A shout out to Ex Hubs for finding these pics today.  I think these were pre our digital camera days and he has the photo albums.  I will always think posing with statues and mimicking them is fun.  Also, pre-instagram and filters – the sky in the top photo was that blue.  Also, I did find the sweatshirt I’m wearing in this picture.  Still no sign of Animal Kingdom.

I didn’t get back to Disney a ton after that trip with Ex Hubs.  We went to Universal a couple years later.  Then there was us splitting up, me going back to grad school and then moving to Ohio… a trip to Disney was not on the priority list.  Feb of 2014 I was there for the Princess 10K and Half Marathon.  Claire came with me and we had a great visit, albeit a non-traditional one with the hours you have to be up and moving for the races, my fractured foot, etc.

C_S at CG

Although we did cross something off my Disney bucket list which was to have dinner at the California Grill restaurant.  We had an awesome bottle of wine, celebrated the races being over, and went on the patio to see the view of Magic Kingdom at night after that.  I’m such a good date!

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Just as Claire is such a good sport!  She handled me at Disney like a champ.  This is not the only picture of me/us with princesses.  


All these Disney stories to explain how it got in my blood.  It wasn’t the movies, it was being there every day, having it be the best possible experience and really helping me find my way to my career path.

Last June when they announced they were celebrating 35 years of the Disney College program and inviting alums down for all kinds of special events, including a semi-formal, special character greetings, professional networking, family events, and more I got really excited by the idea of going back to celebrate the College Program.  I’ve been back to have fun and to love it.  I wanted to go back to recognize this very monumental experience in my life.  I’m thrilled they’re arranging the semi-formal/dinner by decade so I can meet others who did the program around my time.  Not to sound like an old fogey, but it was different.  No facebook to stay connected back then, the recruiting was different, how the stories were shared were different… I’m looking forward to it more than I thought I would be.


 

And while I’m down there, I would be remiss if I didn’t head down two days early to check in on my boy Harry Potter.  I missed my chance to see Diagon Alley before Meg’s bachelorette party (darn you Ladies 80’s night and your home at 3am, missed a flight fun!).

This is exactly how Magic 2016 should be beginning.

 

 

The Age of Aquarius…

Alternate title: Unusual and Endlessly Interesting


 

I have a list of monthly subscriptions I’ve been cancelling. (As per NYE resolution to be a better financial grown up)

One of those things is two magazine subscriptions that get delivered to my Kindle.

While on my Account page on Amazon I cancelled my Kindle Unlimited subscription (not Amazon Prime – that I’m keeping – step off, Dave Ramsey)

While I’m on the Kindle Unlimited page I look to see if the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green happens to be included. (It’s not.) But a  book called Do You Love Me by John Green pops up.  I think to myself… I’ve not heard of that book of his before….it is available to borrow for free, I click to borrow it. Turns out it’s actually a book on complex Astrology and Relationships by a John Green who is not the young adult author.  I clicked through a few pages.  Too much talking about charts and houses for me.

This reminds me to go sign up for Wine & Psychic night (I budgeted it in!).  It is already sold out.

For funsies, I Google “free astrology charts online” to take away the pain of missing out on Wine & Psychic night.

And that’s the train that got me here.


 

During one grad school weekend we were talking about small group and individual effectiveness.  Our professor gave us an assessment.  When we finished there was a legend, our results correlated to some letter and she handed us a piece of paper to read the analysis of our answers.  The 16 of us are all blown away by the accuracy of the analysis – “It’s like it knows my soul!”  Well, the jokes on you master’s students – every piece of paper she handed us had the exact same thing on it.  It didn’t matter what letter we got, we all got the same results and we all were SO SURE it was reading our minds.

Today in a meeting someone brought up StrengthsFinders.  It’s an assessment that tells you what your strengths are, encourages you to stop trying to build up your weaknesses because you’re only going to get marginally better at those and be miserable trying, instead capitalize on your Strengths.  I feel only medium about the whole SF thing.  It’s good direction, but people tend to stop there.  Anyway, that’s a post for another day.

I tell both of those stories to illustrate the following:

  1. I absolutely put no real stock in horoscopes.  You could probably all read my daily horoscope and find a way that it revealed itself in your life today.
  2. After I read my astrology chart, I think I’d rather give that to my work team that my SF profile.  I must say, the insights here are more interesting than Responsibility and Individualization.

To get your chart (side note: I keep wanting to put quotes around that because it sounds so stupid when I type it and hear it in my head) you enter your date of birth, time of birth and place of birth.  It all matters!  I got pages and pages of stuff back.  I’m pulling out some of my faves.

(Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I may have done it three different times on three different “chart” websites.  I will give it to the astrologers, they were very consistent.)


 

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My chart.  So much more than, “I’m a Libra.”

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There’s also….whatever the heck this is.

Ascendant in Gemini

Those born with Gemini rising see the world as a place to learn. They are curious about the people around them. Gemini is mostly interested in moving about in their social circles. These are people who love to ask questions, to move around freely, and to mingle. Definitely restless and often quick in physical expression, natives of the Gemini Ascendant exude an air of impatience even if they don’t mean it. (It’s true – I rarely mean to be a jerk.  I know I can be.  But I didn’t mean it. The sense of urgency is high with this one.)

Gemini rising people are bubbly, changeable, talkative, and a little quirky. These natives are interesting and fun. They constantly explain things, whether it’s their own behavior and opinion or those of the world around them. (It’s not lost on me that I have a blog full of me explaining the nonsense in my world.)

Rising Sign is in 11 Degrees Gemini
Extremely active by nature, you like to get around, meet people and do different things. Very restless, you just can’t seem to stay put. You need to be involved in several projects at once in order to keep your mind stimulated. You like to read books and to write letters and to talk — constantly. (Someone did once suggest I go as Chatty Cathy the doll for Halloween.  It’s not a bad idea.) Seemingly ageless, you will always appear to be much younger than you really are. (Woooooo!)  Very adaptable and inquisitive, you are always open to new ideas and experiences. A “jack-of-all-trades”, you are lively and versatile. Because of the high nervous tension that you always seem to have, athletic activity (True story: right before my 30th birthday I was at a drag show and there was a tarot card reader.  Naturally, I got a tarot card reading.  She looked at me, told me I liked to write.  Then said, “I like exercise for you.”  That I should participate in athletic endeavors came up more than I would have liked in my “chart”.) would be a good way for you to burn off energy. But be careful of a tendency to experience things only superficially — try to dig in and absorb things at a deeper level. (This is the Universe making fun of me for buying that violin years ago.  I was going to learn to play!!)

I can see now that this post is going to be a mess of me interjecting in my celestial reading.  Sorry friends.  Try to go with it.  Or, stop now.  This really isn’t that interesting to anyone but me. 

Saturn is in 19 Degrees Virgo.
Doing useful, practical things boosts your self- esteem. (See the post about me needing to do well on tests and not just talk about learning in grad school.  Give me a test! Or the post about me needing to help Meg the bride.  I wasn’t the most fun bridesmaid, but when that chick showed up at my door at 3am soaking wet and drunk?  I had that under control.)  Abstract concepts and reasoning seem frivolous and a waste of time to you. You are very critical of yourself (and others), indeed at times quite self-deprecating. (The line I’ll never forget from a performance review that I got in 2006, “Sarah has high expectations of herself and others, to the point of being judgmental.”  Well, don’t be stupid and I won’t judge you.) Try to relax a bit and allow yourself the freedom to fail once in a while. (I think we can all agree I’ve failed plenty by now.  No worries, universe.)  However, you probably won’t fail very often because you are such a perfectionist.

Mars is in 03 Degrees Leo.
You are a very proud person. Strong, bold, courageous and self-possessed, you love to be the one to initiate significant actions. When people expect a lot of you, you respond positively and will work hard in order to maintain their respect. (That is actually in line with one of my SF qualities: Responsibility.  That’s how it manifests, in responsibility to others.  i.e. I’m actually a pretty chill traveler when I’m traveling by myself.  Stuff happens, you figure it out, no big deal.  If I have a travel partner that I worry I may upset or look bad in front of?  Then I’m a stressed out nutter about plans, schedule, etc because if something goes wrong they’ll think I’m an idiot.  I can really only travel with people who I know will still like me if something goes awry, realizing that I didn’t have the power to control it.)  But when your dignity or pride is threatened, you tend to become sarcastic, arrogant and domineering. Try not to take any challenge or resistance that you meet as a personal affront. You are very stubborn about your right to live your life according to your own principles.

This is one of the more sexual positions of Mars. (hubba hubba) While they are rather easy to arouse, their passion is long-standing. Mars in Leo natives enjoy sex more than most, as long as heavy doses of love and romance are part of the package. (I just had this conversation this week.  I think we can have it all, friends.)  In partnership, they demand loyalty and admiration. Impatient with small-mindedness and disloyalty, Mars in Leo natives generally have a strong idealistic streak. They easily get fired up when they feel they’ve been humiliated, (yeah, I can take a lot of things, but embarrassment is really hard for me to get over. Not in a “ha ha I slipped and fell and that was embarrassing” way.  I can handle that.  The making a fool out of me thing…no good.) is  and they defend their high principles with ardor. Mars in Leo natives act with their heart. (Ugh. I know. We’re not even getting into this right now.) Their ego is tied up with their actions, so that most anything they do becomes a source of great pride.

Venus is in 17 Degrees Libra.
A very friendly and outgoing person, you hate to be alone. Beware of a continuing tendency to compromise yourself in order to avoid being lonely. Try to be yourself, not what others would like you to be. (The struggle is real, yo.) You have an innate desire to be in refined and elegant surroundings and will go out of your way to create a plush and comfortable atmosphere around you. You have heightened aesthetic sensibilities and are attracted to music and the arts (Also a recurring theme.).

Moon is in 02 Degrees Aquarius.
Very freedom-oriented, you must always be able to do what you wish, no matter what. You become stubborn and recalcitrant when others try to force you into a mold. (This sounds harsh. I just don’t like it when people think they know me better than myself…oh, you’ll want a baby someday – you should have it just in case.) You are a true democrat — you are not a follower, but you enjoy being with those who are like-minded. You appreciate emotional self-control — you practice it yourself and you look for it in others. You solve problems, including emotional ones, with your brains and intellect, not your feelings. Try to be tolerant of those who have powerful and obvious emotional responses — not everyone is as objective, cool, dispassionate and detached as you are. (I kind of love this description.  Because I’m a nice lady, because a lot of my job is to help others, people sometimes wrongly assume I care a lot of about everyone’s life.  I don’t.  Unless we have some kind of connection, I am going to smile, nod, and find a way to get away from you.  D once called me out on bypassing several empty chairs, only to grab a chair from another table, drag it to where my favorite friends were, and make them make room for me.  I did do that.  I wanted to sit by the fun people  I liked and was willing to overlook a polite social norm to do it.)

Sun is in 07 Degrees Libra.
Very sociable, you enjoy being with others and definitely prefer not be alone. (Enough with the “You don’t like to be alone, okay, “chart”?  I get it. You don’t need to rub it in.) Warm and affectionate, you go out of your way to make others like you. You despise ugliness, for you being surrounded by beauty and harmony is a necessity of life.  At times, you are very indecisive you waver and falter when forced to make a choice because you have the ability to see both sides of any question. (Seriously, you should see me try to choose a paint color.) The positive part of this is that you are very fair-minded and can be trusted to settle disputes. (There’s a lot of this, too.  I may look into becoming a professional mediator.)

Moon in Aquarius people are rarely flighty people, but they can be unreliable when it concerns the little things in life. Often, this is simply an assertion of their independence. In the long haul, however, they are rather constant, as Aquarius is a fixed sign. As long as they have their own space and the freedom to be themselves, however kooky that may be, (universe knows I’m a nutter) they are trustworthy and loyal. (Loyalty is my best trait, if you ask me.)  Lunar Aquarians generally make wonderful friends. (Aw, shucks, universe.  Thanks.) They’ll make a point of leaving nobody on the outside. What may be surprising is that Moon in Aquarius people have a lot of pride. In fact, when they’ve been attacked in any way (especially regarding their character), they can become very inflexible and cool. It can be difficult to know just how sensitive to criticism Lunar Aquarians are, simply because they hide it so well!  (#preach) When their character or behavior has been criticized, they tend to dig in their heels and keep right on doing it. They fully expect others to accept them exactly as they are, or they don’t have much use for them in their lives. These sometimes maddeningly unpredictable people are nevertheless quite charming. They have an unmistakable stubborn streak, but when left to be themselves, they make unusual and endlessly interesting (If I ever decide to online date again, that’s going to be my headline – “Unusual and Endlessly Interesting”.  It will beat my last headline of “I make the perfect chocolate chip cookies, but burn bacon every time.”  Perhaps these headlines are why I’m still single.) people to be around. Life just wouldn’t be the same without Lunar Aquarians’ unusual spin on the world and the people in it!

Opposition Moon – Mars

You can be precocious, animated, and passionate. You seek emotional excitement in your life. Although you often project a brave and tough image, your skin isn’t as thick as you’d have others believe. You tend to put up defenses due to your emotionally vulnerable and excitable disposition. (Yes, yes, underneath it all I’m a delicate flower.) Unrest is characteristic, as you are bored by routine and become easily frustrated when life is “too easy”. There’s a buzz of energy surrounding you.

If you can channel your excitable energy into sports (What is with the sports? Was this a missed opportunity of my youth? I hope tap dancing counts as a sport.) or some other competitive field, (Will Friends TV Trivia count?) all the better. Although you can be a decidedly amiable and interesting person, others always seem to sense your boundaries. Something is bound to get you worked up, and it’s not always clear what that something will be. (Like the last time I was in a car accident because I was too busy yelling at the idiot on NPR who wanted to pass a bill to pay retail employees 3x their pay on Thanksgiving. The amount of money and time and governing that bill took, for a measure that was never going to pass, so he could be a righteous jackass made me so mad.  Hospitality employees, medical professionals, MOVIE THEATRE employees, gas station attendants… we’ve all been working Thanksgiving Day for years.  But you decide you want to be a hero over this new travesty?  ….Maybe I’m still worked up over that.  My car had to be towed, I had to get a rental, I didn’t know anyone well enough in Columbus at this point to call for a ride, Uber wasn’t a thing yet, it’s dark and late, and the thing I was still most upset about when I was telling D all about this hours later was the idiot congressman.)  Your bluntness can be both appreciated and considered offensive, depending on your audience! (i.e. calling the Dean of my college a mockery of student leadership in an email to him the night before graduation got me a present on stage as I walked to get my diploma.  Calling my boss a mockery of HR leadership got me fired.)  (OMG – maybe I should stop calling people mockeries of leadership.) (Refer back to “Sarah has high expectations of herself and others, to the point of being judgemental.”)  You are eager to make a personal impact on those around you. It is possible that you are too eager in this sense, and you come across as self-absorbed and difficult to stomach. (I actually do know that not everyone thinks I’m adorable.) Patience is definitely not your strong point! (No duh) Your responses are quick, and your are a passionate person who is usually quite courageous although your energy is sporadic and sometimes wasted. You are sexually responsive.

226 Sextile Venus – Neptune (I have no idea where this is represented on the chart)

Her professional life is unstable. (Compared to my friends at the N-Dubs it sure is.  I only have five co-workers in my immediate department.  Next month, one is celebrating her 35 year anniversary there, another is celebrating her 25th.  The other three have all been there for an average of 17 years.  I can’t even fathom this.) She has a taste for the Arts, is a dreamer, is easily influenced and romantic. She is emotional and very sensitive.

Romantic, creative, gentle, and adaptable, you naturally express the finer qualities of mysterious and dreamy Neptune in your love relationships. Your imagination is rich and your fantasy world well-developed.  (I almost didn’t share this paragraph, but I like the call out to my well-developed imaginary world.  I like it there. Everyone knows me.  Plus, I’ve got all this lonely to deal with…”what do you mean you can’t see all my imaginary friends?”) You are turned off by rudeness and crudeness, and are drawn to beauty in its many forms. You are very giving and generous.

Venus in V

She wants to succeed in her love life. She meets pleasant people and has very good friends, usually without too much conflict. She likes amusements, parties.

Interest in the opposite sex for you started young. Playful, sensual, and amorous, you are in love with love! (I know, Claire! OK? Gosh!) You thrive on romantic attention, and it is easy and natural for you to always have a crush or romantic interest. (There are at least three TV character crushes happening at ALL TIMES.)  There is a romantic, playful side to you that is unmistakable. It keeps you young at heart! You are sensuous and enjoy indulging in the pleasurable senses to the fullest possible extent. (Actually where my head went first with this is my regular attendance at historically accurate themed cocktail parties the Historical Society here hosts which are called “Pleasures of the Cup”.)  You enjoy surrounding yourself with beautiful art and music, and these may play a role in your ideal date scenario. There is a touch of the dramatic  (WHAT? Me? Dramatic? Why, I’ve never!)  (Kidding!) in you when it comes to love and sex. You are generally quite loyal to your partner, and you are both charming and easily charmed. It’s also easy to turn your head. You are a warm, fun and playful date. (I am actually a pretty good date. Unfortunately, see that part about me thinking everyone is stupid and being judgmental.) 

The heart has its reasons which Reason knows nothing of… Your balance is based on the richness of your affective life. Without love, the Venusian is resourceless, lost, and deprived of any reason for living. (Laying it on a little thick, “chart”.  Jumbo lump crab meat on top of a medium rare filet is also a pretty good reason for living.  Also, Downton Abbey.) You have an obvious and strong will to charm and to arouse the attachments without which you cannot properly function. Every area of your life is thus marked by your affectivity. The danger is that you may “be taken in” by charm. (100% I am. “Hey Sarah – what do you find most attractive in a guy?” “Charming arrogance.”  What can I say – I like them charming and confident.  Hot.)  In such cases, you would prefer to keep your emotions under better control. (Easier said than done, “chart”!)  Thus, hyper-sensitivity has its own inconveniences. Nevertheless, better than anyone else, you know how to play with feelings and attractions. Although you are sometimes caught in the traps of an over sensitive emotionalism, feelings remain your best assets in many circumstances. There is another aspect to the Venusian dominant. According to the Tradition, this planet rules the Arts, and you are endowed with some degree of artistic dispositions, ranging from good (dancing it out) to excellent (painting).

Mercury Conjunct Venus
You have a love affair going with the mind and you value all of its offspring: words, ideas, thoughts, and such. In particular you appreciate good conversation, and you feel that stimulating mental adventures (either alone or with others) are among the most exciting experiences life offers. You have a built-in sense of discrimination when it comes to the intellect — all mental activities.  (Sigh.  I am a sucker for clever and witty banter.)

Mercury Conjunct Pluto
Anyone who tries to get you to play with words is in for a big surprise. Your mind cuts right through all the window dressing and gets right down to the quick. (Yes.  Let’s just get to it.)  Before anyone knows it, you have the heart of the matter out front for everyone to see. You would make a great investigator, either in scientific research or undercover work. It makes no difference. Your ability to get to the point is all but phenomenal. You can talk and put into words areas of the psychological that others wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  (I like that we’re wrapping up with a boost to the ego.)  

Saturn Sextile Uranus
You are very skilled at implementing change and improving existing circumstances. (Thank goodness, because this is what I’ve chosen to do with my life.) You seek to understand and improve situations, finding new but secure ways to better conditions. Inventions and discoveries, in particular in communications, computers, and electronics, may be possible. You bring order and organization to areas where new development is taking place, also emergency situations (Like the drunk, soaking wet bride at 3am I mentioned above.). You can teach and help others to understand this as well.


 

Well.  There you have it.  Hours of my life sucked into trying to understand the plan the universe has all laid out for me.  While I do know this is all just for funsies, I’m okay making connections to the things I laid out as goals for myself this year – which were in line with my core values.  It’s impossible to miss the themes of social recognition, creativity and having people feel drawn to me and comfortable around me.  Magic 2016 continues…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 days is as good as forever, yes?

I am killing it with New Year’s Resolutions.

Yes, I know.  Four whole days.

My lovely colleague Sue, who in a previous life has done some executive coaching and such, gave me the Christmas present of a goal planning session.  It was great.  We met at a coffee shop a couple Saturday’s ago, she had some assessments that I had not done in the past and away we went.  We started with a Values exercise, because my objectives should be in line with my values or I won’t get far at all.  Values can be interpreted differently by each person taking it and that’s how you would tailor your objectives.


 

VALUES

Going into this year, and according to this values assessment, I need to tackle objectives in line with:

  •  Achieving social recognition
  • Leading a prosperous life
  • Contributing to a world full of beauty
  • Harmony with inner/outer conflict

 

OBJECTIVES

It made perfect sense to me when I saw the results. On to objective setting, and they had to line up, right –

  1. Create an active ACMP OH Chapter: involved members, meaningful events, sustainable structure.
  2. Create an actual financial plan.
  3. Do something more creative this year.
  4. Find a way to reconcile my own perceptions of me with what the world sees.

I have 2 years as President now that we’re “officially affiliated” after spending the last year as founder.  I do want to be seen as a leader in the change management profession – that’s the social recognition aspect for me.  I want it in a professional way.

I love to throw money at a problem.  Love it.  I love to throw money at vacations, dinner with my friends, a new grill and lots of other stuff too.  It’s pretty safe to say that I spend a fair penny on non-essentials.  It’s time to be a grown up and have a plan.

I am kind of aching to tap back into my creative side.  Now that I’m settled down here I miss the months I’d spend after work late into the night in a theatre building sets, painting backdrops or stage managing.  I miss dance lessons.  I miss painting.  I painted this quote on my bedroom wall and had to stop myself from doing this huge mural.  I had it all sketched out.  I like to express myself in big ways.

The last one could be interpreted a lot of ways, but I know exactly what that value was telling me – and it’s the most embarrassing. (So, naturally, let’s put it on the internet!)    I gained a metric crap ton of weight since I  moved to Ohio in 2013.  In 2015 I lost 22 lbs.  The weight is one thing, but the inner/outer harmony thing is about believing people won’t take me seriously or think I add value until I think I look like myself again.  I told Sue I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be the one to present at our ACMP kick off because they’d discount the whole group because the President is a chubs.  Ugh.  There.  That’s good honesty.


ACTIVITIES

The last step to solid resolution/goal setting for 2016 is what actions do I take to make 2016 the magical year I’ve already decided it’s going to be.

  1. Clarify roles for the board members early and often as ACMP OH is still forming.
  2. Network and accept invitations to speak on change management.
  3. Stay relevant on change management practices so I can continue to have intelligent conversations in the industry.
  4. Follow the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover plan to be the boss of my dollars.
  5. Find a creative outlet, options include: teaching myself calligraphy/brush stroke lettering from a number of web tutorials, finding adult tap dancing lessons, get out my watercolors and paint, designate a wall in my house to go crazy and paint, find a pottery class, join a theatre group.  (Editor’s Note: This is my least specific activity so far, the real activity is to research some options in town and decide what creative endeavor I want to take on.)
  6. Happily admit what works for me to lose weight, instead of seeing it as a burden.  I know that cutting out dairy, sugar and alcohol works for me.  I know that I really love spending a month or two each year cutting out meat and eating a vegan diet – usually later in summer or early fall when there are sooo many vegetables.  Perception is everything in this one, and I think that finally hit in the Whole30 I did last Oct/Nov.  If I tell myself that I love eating this way and see all the options and see the results, I really am happy to cut out pizza and ice cream.  And that’s saying a lot because ice cream practically runs in my veins.  January and February (with the exception that my 4.5 days in Orlando may not be perfect) are following my super strict paleo outline.
  7. Use dance as a workout as much as possible.  ( I just found my friend Shaun T and his hip hopping abs – most fun workout ever.)
  8. Listen to podcasts on walks – I walk longer and learn something!

 

RESULTS SO FAR

Maybe results is too strong of a word.  But there is already movement on the activities.  I did borrow the Dave Ramsey book from a friend and spent last night creating a list of where every dollar I spend in January is going.  And that’s it.  If it’s not on the list, it’s not getting spent.  I built in Wine & Psychic night (I need my 2016 reading, yo) and the necessities (food and rental car) for Florida.  I did not budget in buying Disney College Program Alumni souvenirs, so if you see me with those – I fail.  So far I feel more unburdened than burdened thinking about the Dave Ramsey approach – off to a good start!

The Cincinnati Association of Training & Development asked me to present to their group on the topic of Change Management.  First Ohio, then the world!

I decided to drive over to Chicago for the NOH8 photo shoot.  It’s a cool thing to do, somehow it’s feeding my creative side, and everyone looks like a supermodel in this guy’s work, so looking forward to that.  That may also help with the internal/external looks battle I have going on.

Even 4 days on super clean eating makes me feel better, so I’m excited about that.  I managed not to gain any weight back during December (which is cool when you consider that one night I made the most amazing chocolate chip cookie dough ever with the exclusive intention of eating it for dinner.  True Story.  I do not regret it.)

Mindset is just a huge thing.  I don’t know why I have such positive feelings about 2016, but I do.  I’ve decided to believe that only amazing things will happen this year.  And so, they shall.

Happy new year, friends.