Cheers to a whole new year

happy new yearI do set resolutions (or goals or plans or whatever you would like to call them) every new year.  Some years they are a list of tasks (like making my bed every day) and some years they are broader, like last year’s plan to just believe it was going to be a the best year ever.  I read last year’s New Year’s post this morning.  I had almost forgotten how optimistic and blindly determined that it was going to be awesome.  And the thing is, it was.  I believed in school, took  a chance that a job offer in another state was the right one, believed Doug was just the man for me and waited for him to believe it too.  2013 was a really beautiful year for me and I go into 2014 wanting very little.  I am going to continue the idea of picking a word to prescribe the fate of the new year.  This year it is HEALTH.

health2This isn’t a resolution to be a lower number on a scale, which have dictated years of my resolutions.  This is about overall health, and in some unexpected places.  I have two overall Health goals and then some monthly task goals…

Overall Health

It’s about Financial Health.  It’s time for this gal to get her money stuff together.  I created a budget, set up a tracking system, and am working on the mindset that I don’t need to buy my loved ones off just so they know I love them.

It’s about Mental Health.  This one is embarrassing and personal – and something I’ve said before, which is really why it’s embarrassing.  My friend Claire once told me I’d struggle staying on the “crazy pill”, aka Zoloft, my whole life.  That I’d stop and restart taking it for years.  Eventually I would learn I just need to stay with it.  I thought I’ve been there before – but still spent some significant chunks of 2013 self diagnosing.  That’s done.  I’m a better person on the pills and on them I will stay.

In 2013 I also learned that you can’t throw everything at a wall and expect it to stick.  I read the book The Happiness Project last year and was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s year long plan broken out into monthly tasks.  I remember wanting to implement her plan, but needed to find a way to personalize it and not just take her initiatives.  I was struck with the idea to explore different aspects of healthy living through 2014 in different month long chunks.  Each month will have a fitness focus, a habit focus and a soul (creative & spiritual) focus.  I’ve started sketching out what the year holds…

wpid-1388105222906.jpgThe fitness column is a specific workout type activity that I want to try, want to get back to, etc.  For example, I’ve wanted to try spinning, so one month I’ll take a couple classes a week and try it out.  Jan and Feb are pre-destined to be running focused because of the 10K/Half Marathons at Disney.

The habit column picks up a healthy habit: flossing!  moisturizing!  1 hr of tv a night!

The Soul column is a strange catch all for creative and spiritual undertakings.  I want to go to Yoga, take another calligraphy class and take pretty pictures of food again.

Most of the rows aren’t in market yet.  I have post-its with ideas and want to keep the plans kind of fluid.  I would hate to commit to Spinning classes in March only to find out the group class schedule doesn’t match up with my work schedule or something.  So, I’ll have to firm some things up as the year goes on, but I also think that’s the right way to do it.  Setting a plan in stone on January 1 may not be the best way to keep this plan up all year.  Hard to plan for a whole year.  Something it’s taken years for me to be able to say.

healthSo, this is how we begin 2014 -

January
Fitness: Running – preparing for the Tink 10K and Half in just a couple weeks!

Habit: Moisturize.  That may sound funny, but I’m not getting any younger and I have so much lotion around the house.  I get super dry skin in the winter.  This was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of general 2014 resolutions in December.

Soul: Nourish self with real food.  I completed the Whole30 in November and never felt better.  Confident, energetic, rested…that’s why this went in the Soul column.  I’d like to start the year by making sure I can reach that inner Sarah stuff and I can’t if I’m mad about what I’m eating or feeling gross.  I can’t say that I’m starting the Whole30 strictly again right now because I haven’t come up with great pre-race or during race running substitutions for whole wheat tortillas, gatorade or Swedish fish candy.  So, 98% of the time I’ll be eating that way.  (Had an awesome thyme braised beef stew with mashed cauliflower tonight for dinner, courtesy of Well Fed 2!)

Be healthy, be happy, be you.

Happy 2014 blog-land.

health1

 

 

 

25 does not equal 30

Remember when I was updating you on my Whole30 progress…and then how I stopped updating you on my Whole30 progress?

Well, that’s because that’s just what happened…I made it to day 25 and felt amazing.  I was headed back to St. Louis for the weekend and throwing myself a little graduation dinner party.  I got home early on Friday, went for a run in a favorite park, went to Whole Foods and got a Whole30 compliant lunch and then couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do at dinner.  Would I have a glass of wine to celebrate?  Champagne?  Cheese?  Dessert?

The answer to all of the above is yes.

I caved.  Gave myself permission to celebrate at dinner.  And it was just that easy to never get back on the horse.  And I’m back to feeling kind of blech.

There was a warning on the Whole9 Life blog about this.  They refer to it as Day 28 syndrome, isn’t 28 days as good as 30?  They say NO.  They write that 30 days is the commitment you make to yourself.  And when you don’t keep commitments to yourself, you’re telling yourself that it’s okay that others don’t keep their commitments to you.

This is my new half marathon challenge.  That was a commitment I made to Team in Training.  My sense of responsibility is always so much stronger when I’ve made a promise to someone else.  This is a problem, actually.  Starting tomorrow the clock starts on a full Whole30.  I owe it to myself.

 

In other news…how cute is this pic of D and I from a wedding we went to last weekend…

Doug & Sarah photo booth

Apartment hunting, thy name is evil

I thought it would be fun.  The universe told me to come here.  I followed every sign that led me to Columbus.  I was clearly putting out job/career vibes to the universe.  Every part of the new job (in the three days I’ve had it) is awesome.  We’ll talk about that later.

Perhaps if I had spent as much time day dreaming about the perfect place to live as I had the perfect job, I would not be in this 6th level of hell that is apartment hunting in Columbus, OH. Who knew it had one of the hottest rental markets this side of New York City?!

It all starts on Memorial Day, aka, my first trip to Columbus ever.  I assume I’ll check out a few places and find something.  The weekend before it started – folks canceling appointments because a place had rented, not having availability at places I wanted to look at…all of a sudden there was pressure.  I was moving here.  No doubt.  I started a job in a week.  I wigged out and took the first place that hadn’t already been claimed.  (Well, I took the 2nd place that hadn’t already been claimed – the first one D walked 10 feet into and decided I couldn’t live there.  The neighborhood is still “transitional”.  Which I kind of like.  Perhaps, not so safe.)  In retrospect, I wish I had just spent those first two days in Columbus exploring with no pressure.  I wish I would have plotted a route that took us through the neighborhoods, walked around, made a progressive food plan (breakfast in one neighborhood, lunch in another, cupcake in another, drink in another, and end with dinner somewhere).  Doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to get to know a city?  I regret that was not my plan.  Instead I got all stressed and panicked.

Once calm returned to me back in St. Louis during my couple of days to pack, I realized the place I applied was not the best choice – primarily due to timing.  It’s not ready until August 1.  It’s June 5.  Temp housing is expensive, yo.  I need it sooner.  So…I decide to pass and keep looking.  I find a neighborhood that feels great to me – Clintonville.  I find a house.  Four hours before I’m supposed to see it – rented.  I find another house – after I’ve applied, seen it, fallen in love with it – they tell me they really don’t want a cat in the house.  (That one really left me heartbroken – there was a movie room in the basement!!)  And PS, owner – my cat is way less mess than the toddlers the current tenants have in your house right now.

So, last night around 11:30pm, when I get the email telling me that the cats are a deal breaker to this woman who has been emailing me for three days now (she didn’t think to tell me this until AFTER I’d see the house and fallen in love with it and the area?!) I give myself a good talking to.

“Self,” I say, “you’re going to have to settle.”

There are some things I know I don’t want: I don’t want it to be a really long drive to work.  And when I say long, I generally mean anything around 30 minutes.  I really hate to drive in traffic and such.  I also didn’t want an apartment complex.  I believe I referred to the one I did look at as “soulless”.  It’s time to pick the lesser of the two evils.  There’s a nice townhouse in a nice residential area very close to a great running/biking trail that is far from work.  OR, there is a pretty well maintained complex, slightly closer to work.  With complex, I get a pool and a 24 hour work out facility.  With complex, there are maintenance people and no yard.  So, I’m leaning towards complex.  I’m heading to see it tomorrow at lunch.  It’s available June 13.  The town house is available now.  Timewise, about the same, since I’ll be out of town this weekend.  Price wise, they are about the same.  It’s time to decide on the lesser of two evils.

The suck-y part is, I like Columbus.  Which means I want to live in these vibrant, awesome neighborhoods.  I want to support local business and walk the community.  I’m kind of buggin’ that I’ll be stuck on the outskirts of town with either place, really.

But, that’s not really what this year is about, right?  It’s about the career, the experience.  It’s about paying off the credit card and finally contributing grown up amounts to the retirement plan.  It’s about getting my PROSCI Change Management certification and going to visit the boyfriend on the weekends now that we’re finally in the same state.  I can become a hip and fun city dweller next year at the ripe old age of 34.

That’s not too late, right?

Above all, I just want to stop lurking on Craigslist.  I’m so over Craigslist.

Moving.

I might be in denial.

I had to email my landlord today to tell her I was moving to Ohio.  We’re both really sad.  It’s really bittersweet to think about moving away from this apartment.

But I’m not ready to write a real goodbye coffee shop apartment post yet.  That will require pictures and poeticism and romanticism and Dadaism.

Except…Probably not that last thing.

I need to get some boxes.  I then need to put stuff in said boxes.  Without knowing exactly where I’m moving to, it’s tricky to think about what to pack.  I’m looking for smaller, loft-style apartments in Columbus – all of which will be smaller than my 3 bedroom apartment.  And that’s ok.  I use one bedroom for laundry and Christmas decorations, so it’s not that I need all this room – I just had it.  Point is, I have to pack for two destinations – my mother’s basement where the not-so-necessary items are going and my new place in Columbus.  I’ve already decided my good china doesn’t need to go to Columbus.  I don’t know that many people there – I’m probably not going to be throwing a lot of fancy dinner parties.  And maybe I only need 2 of the 12 cake plates in my collection.  It will be hard to pick, but I think it’s necessary.  (First world problems, I know.  I know.)

Looking for an apartment in a city I’ve never been to is just a little stressful.  I know I can’t do much about it until I actually GO to Columbus for my location scouting trip, but I’m scouring Craigslist and rental sites like I was scouring job posting sites not so long ago.  I miss when I was just scouring Pinterest.

I downloaded the Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Zoo apps for my phone.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  I want to start reading the news of my new city.  I think I’m really going to like Columbus.  I think I’ve memorized the layout of the area from all the virtual apartment hunting I’ve done.  I don’t have apprehension about moving to the place I’ve never been.  That part really is exciting.  I’m just going to be marginally stressed out until I know where I’ll be settling in.

Send moving motivation and good thoughts my way!

A story. In many, many parts.

I. Vacation

I was on vacation last week.  I took the opportunity to stay away from most social media while I was gone.  It was really nice.  All of it was nice.  It was a vacation in three distinct phases.  I took almost no pictures and I’m going to try and capture the highlights.  Which as I sit here seems incredibly daunting because last week was monumental.  It was a week that goes in the Sarah History book.  That sounds dramatic, but, you’ll see…

My time away started 40 minutes north of Asheville, NC at a big, beautiful cabin at the top of a mountain.  6 bedrooms, amazing kitchen, 5 classmates, 2 facilitators and an emotional experience to beat the band.  A few classmates and I chose to be part of a organizational behavior process called a T Group.  It’s an experience that focuses on feelings in the here and now.  There are only two rules – use “I” statements and you must remain in the present – if the experience, feeling, person, etc isn’t in the room then they are not in the conversation.  It’s intense and there’s a real learning curve for those rules.  I really didn’t know what to expect going in and I purposely kept myself in the dark about the expectations of the weekend so I wouldn’t create biases.

Warning: cheesy ahead.  I can’t describe the weekend.  It was every bit as intense as promised and I love these classmates and facilitators I went through it with in a very special way, as they were witness and participants to this work.  I felt overwhelmed, confused, sad, bad, mad, glad and afraid at certain parts.  I really experienced change and internalized awareness.

I also felt a yearning.  Marcus Buckingham, who presents on the Strength Finders assessment and co-authored a good deal about the topic, says one should pay attention to the yearnings – those intense callings to something.  For me, it was Graphic Facilitation.  One of our facilitators also worked as a graphic facilitator – a tool to visually record and organize a meeting, process, thoughts, etc.  You can go here for some examples.  A friend of mine had recently posted on FB that she was taking a graphic recording workshop and I was really intrigued then.  Once I saw this facilitator complete some of it – I was hooked.

I’m getting off track.  (I could use a graphic recording for this post.)  That was vacation part 1 and it was great. Vacation part 2 was EVEN GREATER!

Mystery Man (actually, it’s not much of a mystery any longer – let’s call him D from here on, shall we?  I shall.) D and I left the retreat and headed to a different cabin atop a different mountain.  It was a belated birthday present – a peaceful trip off the grid and a chance for us to spend time together – no school, no hotels, no classmates, no kids, no pets – just he and I spending actual time together.  The cabin we found was right out of Sleeping Beauty – when the King and Queen send Aurora to live in the woods so the evil lady can’t find her?  It was like that.  A sweet, little, comfortable cabin for two.  We had everything we needed, including lots of dry firewood to make lots of fires while we curled up, played Scrabble and I was introduced to Duck Dynasty.  (Which I surprisingly loved.)  We hiked, and read, and talked, and napped and sat in the hot tub under the stars (more on that later).

Vacation moved on to West Virginia for the next few days, but took on a different tone.  D organized an offsite retreat for the company he works for and I was along for the ride.  I went to a few dinners with them and spent some time at the spa and managed to have breakfast at the Greenbriar with my friend Meg.

II. Boys

So, let’s talk about boys.  One boy, in particularly.  And, man is probably the more appropriate term.  D is in the master’s program with me and we’ve been seeing each other when we can – mostly school weekends.  The more I see him, know him, listen to him, understand him, learn about him, make him laugh, ask him…the more I like him.  He was always my favorite classmate and transitioning to him being my favorite guy has been really wonderful.

This week was something new for us – spending 8 consecutive days together is a first.  And not just regular days – intense retreat days, fairy tale cabin days and then work conference days.  Each of those phases brought different aspects of me to the relationship.  Sometimes I’m good, sometimes I’m a lot to take.  And I’m constantly afraid people are getting tired of me.

There were two distinct and dichotomous moments on this trip.  That shouldn’t seem like blog-worthy news.  Couples have highs and lows.  The intensity of these two moments came in such a short time span that both left me speechless in their own way.  I’m hesitant to describe either of them here because I know we have mutual acquaintances who read me blather on here – and while I opened myself up to public viewing of my thoughts – he didn’t necessarily sign up for that.  So, those are stories going in the old fashioned hand written journal.

III. Lists

If you’ve ever wandered over to the page on this blog entitled List 2.0 you’ll see my list of things to do before I die.  An oddly specific item is this:

Spend time in a cabin in Asheville, NC to recharge, hike and sit in a hot tub under the stars

I know.  Oddly specific.  I attribute it to the blog Peanut Butter Runner.  I started reading a lot of fitness and running blogs when I started training for the half and ran across this one.  Jen lives in Charlotte and gets away to Asheville, NC pretty regularly.  I was reading her Asheville posts – about the great food, funky vibe and the cabin and the hiking and I was overcome with the yearning to do this.  (Pay attention to yearnings!)  Onto The List it went and crossed off it is.  I felt incredibly recharged after just a couple of days at the fairy tale log cabin with D.  Monday night, after Scrabble, after dinner, after some more Duck Dynasty – the clouds had all gone away and there were stars.  I sat outside and tilted my head back so it was resting on the edge of the hot tub behind me and just stared at the stars.  And made lots and lots of wishes.  It was a beautiful moment, and a really romantic one at that.

IV. Wishes coming true

So, then this thing happened where I got a job.  A stars-aligned into the perfect scenario kind of job.  April 2nd I was told my position is being eliminated.  April 15 I was told I wasn’t right for this job.  April 30 – I kind of bombed a technical interview they put me through on a 2nd chance.  May 7 – I have a 20 minute interview with the actual hiring manager and I have the offer 24 hours later.  And it’s not just a job.  It’s a job that will let me do what I’ve been doing and am good at for the last 8 years and combine that with the Organizational Development tools and concepts I’ve been working on with my master’s.  It’s this perfect bridge to the other side of Organizational Change Management – which is what I want to do.  It’s a job where my title is consultant.  It’s a job that will pay me enough to start paying back the school loans I took out to get the legitimate education behind what I want to do.  It’s a job that makes me feel valued.  Like all the steps back in the last few years were worth it – because this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.  I’ll be moving to Columbus, OH in just a couple of weeks.

I’ve never been to Columbus, OH before.  I really need to figure this out.

When I think about the roller coaster of the last 6 weeks, it’s nothing compared to the roller coaster of these 6 days!  Leaving the school retreat content to start thinking about what comes next and focus on what I’m good at and two days later have that job in hand.  I had no idea what the week would bring when it started – but I almost like that it all happened so close together.  We never know when the biggest days (or week) of our life is going to be – and this was absolutely one of the biggest weeks of my life.

I can say this next sentence without it being scary…

I don’t know what happens next!

I don’t know where in Columbus I’m moving, I don’t know what happens next with D, I don’t know who I’ll work with, I don’t know exactly what the work will turn out to be…and I can hardly wait to find out!

A few of my favorite things

Claire said my last post kind of bummed her out.

So, I’m going to share some things I did today that cheer me up.

1. Coming Attractions: I found out that I can get a channel that is all movie previews on my Roku!  Movie previews are sometimes the best part of the movie and I spent about 30 minutes watching summer movie previews.  I had no idea a new Superman movie was coming out this summer.  This is what happens when you stop subscribing to Entertainment Weekly.  Movies I’m excited about are Before Midnight, Gatsby, The English Teacher and the Joss Whedon adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.  The last adaptation of that movie I saw remains one of my top 5 favorite movies.  It was the reason I wanted to visit Tuscany (and was thrilled beyond belief when I found out I was having dinner in the castle they shot the film at when I was visited years ago!!!).  It’s using the Shakespeare language and Joss at the helm – it’s going to be amazing.  It will be hard to top the amazing cast of the 1993 version (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel, Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale and Keanu) but I am so looking forward to the modern twist on the tale.  It’s such a sharp Shakespeare comedy – very witty.

MAAN

2. I window shop, sort of.  When I’m feeling sad and lonely, I internet window shop.  Amazingly, I don’t buy, I just look.  Today I checked out Kate Spade bags on ebay, vintage sapphire rings from a local jewelry store and apartment hunted.  That last one isn’t really like shopping, but oh well.  With the looming position elimination (I have a few more weeks until I’m out) I’m thinking of making a move – perhaps, Columbus, OH?  So, I look for apartments.

Isn't this stunning?!

Isn’t this stunning?!

3. I work from the coffee shop.  I worked from home today and instead of sitting on my couch all wallow-y, I make myself get up, put actual clothes on and work from downstairs.  And maybe I eat a chocolate chip cookie and get an iced coffee.  Maybe.

4. Music.  I download a new tune.  Today’s pick me up song brought to you by Smash.  The NBC show about a broadway musical (or two) is doomed to cancellation and I am very sad to see it go.  One of the musicals within the show had a really snappy number and I downloaded it this morning.  It’s The Goodbye Song, if you’re interested.

“Right here forever, ever, ever, ever!”

That Katherine McPhee is just gorgeous.

So.  That’s how I pick myself up.  Of course I’ll recover from my awful interview.  I just need a minute.  And some internet window shopping.  And some broadway show tunes.

I peaked too soon

Ah, yes.  What goes up, must come down.

Nothing is more humbling than absolutely bombing an interview.  I’ve never done that before.  Ever.  I interview well.  I once had an interviewer tell me, “You’re not at all what we thought we were looking for, but I like you.  We’re going to give you the job.”   The job I was interviewing for is part change management/part project manager/part learning and development.  These are things I thought I would be comfortable with.  Except project management has a language allllll of it’s own.  And while I’m sure I could speak to aspects of project management, there were absolutely questions I couldn’t answer because I didn’t use the terms he was using the same way he did.

Now, the PMP Certification is something I want to get after the Master’s.  (Along with the PROSCI Change Management certification, a graphic facilitation certification and maybe my SPHR…)  I do know that actual project management is made up of 42 distinct processes.  I did not know this interview would be a pre-test on those topics.

Yikes.

I don’t know exactly how it came to be, but my best friend in high school and I used to quote this line from Sunset Boulevard.  Somehow, I think my dad was involved too, maybe he started it?  I don’t remember.  Regardless….”Aren’t you Norma Desmond?  You used to be in pictures.  You used to be big.”  “I still am big, darling, it’s the pictures that got smaller.”

That’s me.  I’m Sarah and I used to be big.  I used to be this rising star.  At 26 I was doing really well…I used to be unstoppable.  A bad interview is a hard stop, friends.  I’m going to do some ego licking this morning and make a new plan.  I really believed that job was the next thing.  It wasn’t even an option in my head.  This was just going to work out.

Okay.  Have a good day friends.

We do it to ourselves.

I try to not use this blog as a soap box.  It’s all really self involved, really.  I have a few friends that keep up with me through it, and I’ve made a few friends by blogging and it’s all fun and games.

Except today, when it’s going to get a little soap-box-y up in here.  This is the tale of two things that happened today that made me sad for women.  I don’t think anyone would classify me as a crazy feminist.  I want equal rights and all, but I’ve never been a particularly “power to the sisterhood” kind of gal.  I’m more like Ainsley Hayes, from West Wing.  And if you’re not one of my two readers who are Sorkin freaks like I am – here’s a clip to bring you in the loop:

Back to my soap box…

As someone who blogs, it should go without saying that I also read a fair amount of blogs.  I have stumbled across blogs that have inspired me to run, cook something healthy, try a new recipe, try a new lip gloss, look into foster kids, create great date nights, read a new book, travel to a new place and sometimes, most important, make me feel not so alone.  There are a host of blogs written by women about my age going through about the same stuff as me.  And sometimes I read one for a while, I decide I’m over that person, or find them annoying, or disagree with them – and you know what I do then – I stop reading that blog.  I do not call them vicious names.  I was appalled to find this behavior in the comments of one of my regular reads: Carrots ‘n Cake.  The author of that blog is Tina, she’s into Cross Fit big time, has an adorable pug named Murphy, eats a mostly Paleo diet, lives in Boston, has run several races of which I’ve found her recaps very helpful, redecorates rooms in her house occasionally and has a super cute husband named Mal – who also does Cross Fit. This week Tina and her super cute husband are in Ireland on vacation.  She has talked about packing for the trip, her favorite sweater from her last visit there and how excited she is to have a blog free vacation with her husband.  She stated that she had several pre-written posts that would go up all week in her absence, but she was mostly out of touch to enjoy her vacation.  She could not have known that on Monday two bombs would have gone off in her hometown at one of her favorite annual events.  So one of her pre-written, already schedule posts goes up and it’s about shoes or cookies or something.  It doesn’t even matter – the hate comments on her blog have been out of this world.  I’m shocked that people find the need to say such hurtful things.  If you had read Tina’s blog for a second you know that she is a huge supporter of Boston and running.   Why were these commenters so quick to spend their time spewing such awful-ness – ESPECIALLY in the light of what happened.

I’ve often wished I had more readers.  Thought about taking a more active approach to soliciting site views.  Putting myself out there in a bigger social media way.  Taking on food blogging legitimately.  Why would I choose to pursue that after seeing the responses from the “community” today?

It’s been said – and oftentimes to me – that if you can’t improve the silence, don’t say anything at all.  These women who commented just turned on this blogger who is out of the country, probably grieving in her own way, and certainly the news would have put a damper on her time away.  She didn’t cause it, and she can’t fix it, and she’s suffering in her own way not being there to support the city and sport that she loves.  Why do we do this to each other?

The answer is: because we do it to ourselves.

This video has been making the viral rounds and you may have already seen it.  I saw a few friends post the new Dove ad online but had not watched it until this afternoon.  This afternoon I had a quick session with a woman I went to grade school with who is now a professional photographer.  I need new head shots since LinkedIn and websites are the way the world works now in relation to job hunting and she offered me a great price on a quick half hour session.  Taking self photos of myself and the cats with my laptop or digital camera and being asked to look into a camera and smile by a professional are two very different things.  I was anxious and kept making excuses for my big hair (so much humidity today!) and my lack of ability to sit naturally, and so on and so on.  Finally she said -You look great.  You need to watch the video I just posted on Facebook.  So I did…

We do it to ourselves.  I would describe myself as chubby with tiny eyes and big hair.  That my forehead is always pinched because I’m trying to open my eyes as big as I can all the time.  That I like my shoulders but I have an ass that won’t quit – and not in a good way.  My teeth aren’t white enough and my feet are way too big.  Nothing about me is lady like or dainty.  I even walk loudly.  This kind of self talk is so harmful and so much worse as I’m in need of the dose of confidence to get me through this next phase – job hunting comes with plenty of rejection from outside sources.  I need to work on accepting myself.

Immediately following my mini photo shoot I went to get a hair cut, where no less than 4 people told me I have the most amazing hair and they would kill for it.  That they’re jealous of how tall I am.  That I can pull off red hair.

If only we saw us the way others do.  If only we treated ourselves and each other with an ounce of grace and kindness.

** clambers off box**

The End.

The universe is messy

That is what a friend said to me tonight about the last few weeks and I have to agree.

Today was rotten.

The queen of the Mouseketeers died.

M-I-C...See you real soon!  K-E-Y...Why, because we like you!

M-I-C…See you real soon! K-E-Y…Why, because we like you!

Margaret Thatcher died.

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

This next one is strange, but I’m sad the CEO of JCPenney was fired today.  I’ve been following the story of Ron Johnson since he left Apple to turn JCP around and thought some of his strategies would resonate with shoppers.  They didn’t.  JCP has been in a tailspin of lost revenue and confused patrons.  This bums me out.

jcpAnd then, it stuff in my own small world as well.  My best friend Claire had to put her cat down and that is devastating to her and hard for me to console her at all because I don’t know what anyone could say to make me feel better if the situation were reversed.  The day I found out I just burst into tears every time I’d hear one of my own cats purr.

I saw my ex-husbands niece and nephew today.  My ex-brother in law was giving me some software and I stopped by to pick it up and I haven’t seen those kids in years.  As friendly as Ex Hubs and I are, there are still some boundary lines and I would never want to confuse the kids or create more awkward conversations, so I don’t see his family anymore really.  But once I left, I was overwhelmed with how much I’ve missed those kids.  They were my family for a minute too.  And my ex-brother in law and I get along better now than we ever did (not that we didn’t get along, I think I’m just older and less pain in the ass-y).  And I know that I don’t want to have kids, so people think I hate kids, but that’s not true.  I appreciate kids more once they get to the age those two are now – I just need a kid who can have an actual conversation and is potty trained.  The kids told me about camps and running and friends and school and it was just nice.

And lastly, I think the shock of something finally wore off today and I’m feeling it.  My company has been in trouble for a while (Google Supervalu – you’ll see) and those troubles finally reached the banner I work for under that parent company.  Last Tuesday I was told my position is being eliminated as of June 1.  I got laid off.  It’s the 2nd time in as many years that I’ve lost a job.  The thing is – I know it was the right move.  My company was overstaffed at headquarters.  I even wrote a paper about it for grad school.  It wasn’t wrong to eliminate jobs.  We had a hunch it was coming.  I never saw it being my position.  I didn’t love this job, I didn’t love this company, so I’m not devastated that it’s all over.  I’m suffering a wounded ego and today it started to sink in that this is scary all over again.  I have to find something new.  I have to support myself.  I have to do so while finishing my last semester of grad school.

I don’t want to make a hasty decision.  I’ve been thinking about moving out of St. Louis for a while now.  I have a short list of cities that are interesting to me.  Do I just move and then figure things out?  Do I stay in St. Louis where I have a stronger network?  I just don’t want to take another “job”.  I want to take something that feels like a next step.  This whole past year was just a “job”, but it allowed me to concentrate on school so it was okay.  I accepted this stagnant feeling.  I am bursting at the seams now.  I am antsy for what’s next.  I want to feel somewhat settled.  I think that has something to do with why I was overwhelmed after seeing my ex-niece and nephew.  I don’t for a second think I’ve started to hear any kind of “biological clock” but I do want some stability.  I want this family unit of my own.  And for a split second I saw my alternate life with a brother in law and a niece (I have nephews on my side – Ex Hubs had the only niece – and I seriously do not know what to do with boys – but I can be a princess with the best of the 2nd grade girls) and I felt extra lonely.  And jobless.

I’m just having a moment of self pity.  I haven’t really felt this since I got the news last week.  I stayed pretty busy, I concentrated on reading and watching a Hoarders marathon.  (Come to think of it, that may have been the beginning of the self pity taking shape… I may have texted Claire with “How come a hoarder can get a husband and I can’t!?”  Claire responded with 1) Hoarders aren’t picky and I am and 2) Have I seen my spare bedroom because I might actually be a hoarder and I shouldn’t sell myself short.)  It’s what friends are for.

So, thanks for indulging my pity party.  Just a bad day.  Deep down I know losing this job isn’t the end of the world, that it really is an invitation to find a new opportunity.  New city.  New job.  New direction.  I just have to figure out what those things are.

30? I can do it in 5.

Welcome to my 5 minute meal.

 

Start with a whole wheat tortilla I warmed up in the microwave.  Add "salsa chicken" that has been in the crockpot all day.

Start with a whole wheat tortilla I warmed up in the microwave. Add “salsa chicken” that has been in the crockpot all day.

Add a vegetable.  I had romaine, I had spinach, but I chose to slice up some raw brussel sprouts.  More crunch, more nutrients, more better!

Add a vegetable. I had romaine, I had spinach, but I chose to slice up some raw brussel sprouts. More crunch, more nutrients, more better!

Add dollop of greek yogurt.  I think I covered all four food groups, yes?

Add dollop of greek yogurt. I think I covered all four food groups, yes?

I read a blog where the author has made “salsa chicken” a few times in her crock pot.  It’s as easy as adding chicken and a jar of salsa to your crock pot.  Come home to yummy chicken that shreds apart and can be used in a variety of ways.  I finally got around to getting that in my crock yesterday morning.  I knew I’d have a tight turn last night and was already planning on needing dinner fast.  I always have tortillas around.  I grocery shopped Tuesday night and had no shortage of “lettuce” options (kale, spinach and romaine are in the fridge right now) but I chose my new favorite – shaved brussel sprouts.  Then I added just a bit of greek yogurt from the container I had on hand.

The reason for my tight turnaround was a coffee meeting that ran longer than I expected.  I was meeting a woman I met at a local Organization Development Network meeting and just a bit stressed out about it.  I’m always a little stressed meeting people who appear super put together.  This is a woman who is a couple years younger than me, is lovely, has a PhD, a ginormous diamond engagement ring and every hair was in place.  (Sometimes I’m intimidated by people with perfect hair because my curly hair is perpetually messy.)  But, she had reached out after we met and asked if I wanted to grab coffee sometime and chat some more and of course, I said yes.  It turned out to be a great time and we had some really productive conversation.  I feel like I woke up yesterday with questions and somehow she answered them.  Maybe that’s a little extreme, but I left the cafe with a clearer picture of my OD point of view, a few prospects for other contacts, and a great vacation idea!

I ran home from that meeting, which went longer than I anticipated, and had about 40 minutes before I needed to jump on a call for a school project.  That’s when I threw together my 5 minute meal and pretty much inhaled it.  I ran downstairs for a cup of coffee to sip on during the call (I was expecting it to be a long one) and got a crazy nice compliment from one of the coffee shop guys.  It turns out there was a rumor going through the coffee shop that I was moving and so I walked in and he shouted across the shop “Tell me it’s not true!”  I assured him that at this moment it was not true, and then he proceeded to tell me I’m awesome, that I deserve everything great, it’s time I settle down with a nice man, etc.  It was almost overwhelming how happy he was that I wasn’t leaving and the outpouring of nice things that relief led him to say.  It’s the kind of thing that just makes your day.

It’s important to recognize the good days.  Two of my favorite people had really bad days yesterday.  You don’t ever wake up knowing when the biggest days are going to be – for better or worse.  There were a lot of reminders of that yesterday.