Monday, February 27, 2012
1) I'm in mourning over the death of my vacation. It's over and gone and I'm too upset to think about it right now.
2) I had too much fun to be able to verbalize right now. When my boss asked how the trip was, I used the words, "I can die happy." So I think I'd like to be able to use some more realistic words and currently am too in love with that trip to do so.
3) I am waiting to snag some pictures everyone else took to accompany the post since I took about 4. At some point I plan on getting better at taking pictures, but truthfully as long as I'm friends with Amy and she's around me during fun things, I don't have to be.
So until I am able to put together a post worthy enough to describe that trip I'll leave you with this. It was amazing. I loved Texas just as much as I thought I would, if not more (I'm already scheming my return trip). I dance with boys with accents in cowboy boots. I ate the best TexMex meal ever. I drank wine and beer and said y'all and didn't stand out.
I still stand firm in Texas Forever.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
February 20th marked one full year, 365 days, 525,600 minutes since the Great Break-up of 2011. More often than not, it feels like it has been far longer than just one year. Occasionally, something happens and makes it feel like not enough time has passed. However, those moments are so few and getting farther between. For the most part it feels like a closed book of life. One you've completely finished reading, forget about on a daily basis, but could turn back to any given page if you wanted and remember exactly what the words on the page will tell. The story has been wrapped up and there's nothing new left to tell. In a way this surprises me as there were many moments shortly following the break-up itself where I never thought I'd be able to say that. Times I felt haunted by him and the relationship and that I might never break free of that following me. While I'm surprised I'm able to say the book is officially closed, I do understand I did a lot of things "right" to close that book and end that story in a healthy way that allowed and provided for me to be where I am today. And I've taken many lessons from the words on the pages of that book.
In a lot of ways my life is exactly the same as it was 366 days ago. I wake up in the same bed, live in the same house, drive the same car to the same job to sit in the exact chair at the same desk I did while we were together. I wear the same clothes and have the same pets. My friends, family and coworkers all know him and of us. But it's almost laughable to me to think that so much of my life is the same because I feel like so much has changed and is different. I have changed. It almost feels like one of those movies where everything around the person is spinning and changing but the person is standing still...except the opposite. Nearly every single aspect of my life remained exactly the same and I have morphed myself into a different person.
I have grown in ways that I didn't know I could and in ways I didn't know I needed to.
I am more confident in myself. Beyond this I am more aware of what drives my confidence level and who thinks they can fuck with that level (quite frankly). I have meticulously made decisions and acted upon those decisions that make me confident in who I am. I surround myself with those who help instead of hurt this idea.
I am smarter. I have gained so much knowledge about myself over the last year. I make smarter decisions with my time and my money. I am SO MUCH smarter with my heart and my feelings. This took a while and I can't say the same for the first few months post-break up. But now, I am smart about my feelings. Who gets to hear them and share them. I am smart about my time. I say no to things. I say yes to good things. I've invested time in things that make me a better person and a happier person.
I am happier. One year ago you probably couldn't have convinced me of this. And while my intent isn't to disrespect or downplay the love that was shared in that relationship, but in many ways I was unhappy and didn't even know it. I have become far happier and am probably the happiest I've ever been in my life. I'm blessed and continue to focus on what I have over what I don't. This is progress, people.
I am dating. And not like an idiot. Shortly after the break-up I started dating. And it was good for me. It was distracting and exciting and made me move along a little faster than I probably would have on my own. I'm not dating anyone and I'm certainly not getting married any time soon. But I am SO happy with that. I have not settled for something less than what I deserve. I am holding out for something so much better than I even know of. I am not bitter or angry about dating. This is also progress (especially when you consider some of the men I've dated along the way!).
I have an open mind about change, where my life could and will go. During our relationship I became extremely focused on what was happening and what needed to happen next. Where we were "at" and how that matched up to the timeline in my head. I have nearly abandoned this entire thought process. I have no idea where I am in the grand scheme of my timeline and that's okay. (I still have a color coated calendar and am obsessive about planning my day-to-day activities, but that's different.) Maybe I'll get married in a couple years, or ten years, or never. Maybe I'll get a new job in a year, maybe I'll be at this one for the next 20. I don't know what's next but more importantly I don't need to. Pushing a timeline I thought was necessary to happen nearly cost me everything. I could have ended up in a sad marriage with the wrong person. I don't know what will happen, but I believe the universe and God will interviene when necessary. And thankfully even with a control freak like me, they'll force what's meant to happen on me.
I know my people. There is a small group of very important people to me who helped me every single one of those 365 days whether they knew it or not. They pulled me up when I didn't want to get up. They encouraged me as I moved through every step of this whole process. They were there for me when I needed them and even more so when I didn't know I did. They have helped make my life as good as it is now and kept me as happy as I am.
There's little things too. I read more. I work out more. I volunteer. I've been to MPLS a TON more. I've met new people and reconnected with people from years past. I've stepped so far out of my comfort zone I nearly vomited. Sometimes I feel like a little squirrel just scrounging for bits and pieces of what I want to be my life and hoarding them. I pick up a new friend there. I find a new opportunity here. I snag an exciting new project. I try a new class. Tucking away all these new, exciting and different things in my life. And slowly but surely I'm building what my new life looks like. Making me a better me and life a better life. It's not always perfect but more often than not it's damn good.
So here's to the next 364! Bring 'em.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
But it doesn't end there my friends. Oh no, it just begins. Now that I've decided on a yellow and gray look this needs to extend beyond the bed. The room needs accents! And now that I'm not planning on moving any time soon, it could use some shit on the walls. (I haven't rehung anything since we painted since I was trying to sell. Then, for the last 10 months, it's likely I just got lazy.) So I went on the search for something to hang above my bed. I have this great canvas print from Ikea (circa 2001) that I love, but since painting the walls it has taken up residence in the Guest Bedroom and I've grown accustomed to it living there.
I wanted words. I'm in love with words printed on things. It's really that simple. Framed words? Love 'em. Wooden cut-outs of letters or words? Need 'em. Quotes on canvas? Got 4 of 'em. So I knew I needed words above my bed. But committing to something I was going to want to read every day for the next few years was intense. Much of what's designed for bedroom walls is about love, and us, and kissing each other good night. And while I still love those words, it's a little misplaced in the room of a single girl. (I love my animals but not enough to plaster the walls with "us" things when there isn't another human living there.) And what moves me now might not move me the same way in a year? Who knows where I'll be or what I'll be doing? My life has changed so much in the past 365 days (yes, it was exactly one year ago yesterday the GB of 2011 happened) it boggles my mind to think of where I'll be in another 364 days.
Off to Etsy I went. And naturally, the Avett Brothers came to my rescue. I contacted the lovely artist, asked for some custom colors and less than 24 hours later my order has been placed for this.
No matter where or when and for decisions big or small, I can always decide what to be and go be it.
Monday, February 20, 2012
As far back as I can remember that was the advice dad gave on first "big days". I think I enjoy this so much because of how literal it is. I'm not a big fan of the gray area. I have very little imagination. Seriously as a kid I asked for a briefcase for Christmas, at roughly age 4. I didn't want to play pretend, I wanted to be a grown up and act like one. I used to grab my briefcase and say I was "going to work" and then stand between the storm door and front door of the house for a while so everyone would believe I was "at work."
When I got older I asked for more practical age appropriate things, like cash registers. (Which my dad did manage to snag from a store remodel he oversaw. I was THRILLED to have a real live cash register. None of those fake ones from the toy store for me!) I "played" school like kids my age did. Except I needed things like real desks (thanks garage sales), actual Teacher's Guides and real worksheets (my favorite teachers would give me theirs at the end of the year), and a filing cabinet (also a Christmas present when I was like 8 years old).
As I've gotten older I no longer have to wish for things like a brief case and filing cabinets thanks to a real job. But my imagination could still use some work. I have a hard time with things where reality and fantasy are blended. Harry Potter rocked my world and took me YEARS to get into. Wait they're magic? But they live with non-magic people? HOW DID THEY JUST RUN THROUGH THAT WALL!?!? Twilight pisses me off because HOW COULD NO ONE NOTICE THEIR VAMPIRES!? That brother and sister are dating. And they're so pale. AND THEY EXIST IN SUNLIGHT. If it's 100% fantasy I'm on board, if I don't have to pretend it could happen (like it's THAT far fetched it never possibly could) I'll probably enjoy it. But if I have to imagine what it would be like if it happened I have just the hardest time.
Besides having a very narrow imagination, I have a my own struggles with blurring reality with reality. See: my obsession with movies and TV shows about REAL LIFE THINGS. And the need for my friends to remind me Tim Riggins isn't real. Or that I can go to school to be LIKE Jerry Maguire but won't ACTUALLY be Jerry Maguire. Fantasy blended with reality blows my mind.
So I guess it's no surprise some of my favorite advice from my dad is something so incredibly literal. But I tell ya what...I've started every big day of my life on the right foot.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Last night was the second meeting of the Besties Book Club I weaseled my way into via Twitter. I already blogged about the book club itself before and how happy I was that I went to a book club full of strangers.
This time around I was far less hesitant to go as I knew it was a damn good time. We read the book How to Love an American Man (which you've also already heard about here and here). Since reading the book I had connected and kept in touch with the author, Miss Krissy Gasbarre. When I told her we'd be reading her book for this month's meeting she offered to Skype in to it! Yes, read that again because this woman is not your typical author, SHE offered to Skype into our book club meeting in Wisconsin from New York so she could chat with her readers. And chat we did! We've all already agreed there's no way to top this meeting and with it being only the second meeting of this club, we're a little screwed with how high the bar has been set. And while I'm exhausted and rocking a teeny bit of a wine hangover this morning, I'm also beyond ecstatic for a number of reasons.
First, I will reiterate a message I'm certain you've heard from me before. Social media and networking is absolutely awesome. And not just in a "really cool" kind of awesome. But in a literally striking awe within me awesome. I have found a group of women to be in a book club with. I was connected to someone in California who suggested a book to read. I reached out to the author and have kept in touch via facebook, twitter and e-mail since. We were able to have the author of my favorite book participate in our book club meeting from half way across the country. If you want to tell me "Twitter is stupid, people just tell what they had for breakfast," fine. But I'll think to myself "you're stupid and clearly have no idea what you're talking about." Then I'll say to you, "You have no idea what you're missing out on."
Secondly, I LOVE the women in this book club. They are hilarious and witty and smart and all things you want to find in girl friends to surround yourself with. We laugh and share and I can't believe how fortunate I am to have found them. Oh, and we finished the night with a relatively extensive puppet show. So there's that.
Finally, I am so thankful Jenna not only introduced me to the book but also encouraged me to reach out to Krissy. She is an exceptional woman who has a ton of knowledge and advice to share and has inspired me more than she'll likely ever know. Her messages hit me at exactly the right time in my life and I am beyond appreciative of her being so wonderful. She's crazy busy with the book and writing and being a big famous author and yet she's so quick to reach out and stay in touch.
So that's a re-cap of the second meeting of Besties Book Club. We drank wine, ate cheesecake, skyped with the author and closed with an actual puppet show. My second grade teacher is right, reading really is fun!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
At first I thought I couldn't come up with a cohesive post and planned on throwing out a lot of random thoughts. Then, right before my very eyes, an entire post was born out of my first random thought. I've read quite a bit lately about people hitting this wall with social media. Some have acknowledged they're completely addicted (while I simply consider it a "minor problem"), some feel like they've become hesitant, others feel a need to censor their messages. Whatever it may be it seems like there's a somewhat collective hesitation. Maybe it's because for so long this was all so new no one had put much thought into it before jumping into it with both feet. Maybe it's blown up so quickly we didn't anticipate it being such a big deal. Whatever the cause may be, I've found myself feeling some of the same things.
When I first joined Twitter I had a public account, then went private for the last couple years. And while I approved strangers all the time, I still felt like I controlled who saw what I said. (Including forbidding almost all coworkers who requested to see my tweets.) Plus, then I could freely tweet about ex-boyfriends full knowing they weren't reading it. For the most part Twitter was like a new world for me. Most of the people I engaged with were strangers. The majority of my close friends aren't big on it. So it felt like a clean slate. A fresh place to post whatever I was thinking and felt very free of judgement (strange, but true. Probably because I didn't care if anyone judged, I hardly knew them.)
I started a blog but didn't tell ANYONE about it. I told myself it was for me and if people asked or found it on their own, so be it. But I wouldn't openly promote it or tell people about it. I like knowing that my friends all over can be updated (and hopefully sometimes entertained) by my blog. That strangers who stop by might engage in conversation and I can meet someone new. That my mom checks in daily to read what she already knows about. So I became a little more open with it. Posted the link on my Twitter profile, occasionally tweeted about a post, etc.
Slowly over the course of the last year I realized that was kind of defeating the purpose. I had experienced so many great opportunities via social media. I found a book club, signed up for a half marathon, talked to the author of my favorite book, all because of it. Why not fully embrace it?
Yesterday in a meeting my team asked what my Twitter handle was and for some reason I felt really strange telling them. It's not like I'm saying horrible things or crazy off the wall shit I wouldn't say in front of them, but I felt a little exposed. And lately because of this not knowing who's reading what I find myself somewhat reluctant to be as actively engaged with it. I'm having a hard time figuring out what my revised voice is. I absolutely refuse to be one of those people who just tweets safe, self-promoting, or work-promoting things (or heaven forbid only tweets about what they think people want to hear). That's not my style, I have a very hard time being someone I'm not. I want to do as I have done and say what I think. Sometimes that'll be safe, sometimes it'll be funny. Other times it might downright piss people off. But I like that that is what social media has been for me.
On one hand it's a little silly - this whole train of thought. By no means do I live any sort of double life and I'm almost exactly the same person at work as I am at play. Realistically, there's no one I can think of who would read anything I've put "out there" and be shocked by it. They've probably heard a similar version of it all already. While I'm really good at not saying fuck in front of parents and grandparents (not mine, but other people's) it slips out literally every where else. I've got pictures of my dog dressed up like a Bumble Bee on my desk at work so it's not like my craziness about her is a big secret. Fairly certain everyone and their mother has heard me talk about Friday Night Lights so I'm not doing all that well at keeping that under wraps...
I think I've just talked myself full circle into realizing as long as I'm true to who I am those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter. Oh, writing. Sometimes you just make everything easier to understand.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog
First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
So now you all get to be included in the madness. Or as I've taken to calling it, you get to be a part of the Focus Group. See after the Great Breakup of 2011 I sort of renovated my bedroom. Decided to make it my space. (Which led me to a greater understanding of how the guy who owned it before me landed upon all the renovating he did after a broken engagement.) So I painted the walls (well, my dad painted the walls, I'm not to be trusted with paint and brushes, which is fair) and got new bedding. I knew when I bought the bedding it wouldn't be the final result but it was a "in the mean time" band-aid to prevent me from having a room that clashed. So there wasn't the pressure last time of finding THE perfect bedding.
I've been casually looking at various places for the perfect duvet cover for nearly a year. Sometimes thinking I had found it but it was the wrong color, a gross texture, too expensive, etc. I've learned from my current bedding that with two dark haired furkids having anything lighter than their fur means I'll be washing the bedding at least once a week to keep from feeling filthy. (Which, if you're following along at home, really just means to keep from LOOKING filthy as I'm really just saying I need a duvet cover that doesn't SHOW all the pet hair. I KNOW, I already said, this whole thing is ridiculous.)
So now that I had a little surplus income in the form of my first income tax return in 6 years, I got down to business. The business of finding the perfect duvet cover. One that would conceal pet fur (so I could at least get a couple weeks out of it before needing to wash it), not give me the risk of cardiac arrest at the cost, and that would compliment both my gray walls and affinity for all things gray & yellow. And after hours (literally) of research and consulting with my focus group (Thanks Mom, Gina, Sae, Kyle, Sukie and the Twitter!) I picked one. And I loved it.
Then, because all talent I previously had when it comes to spending money I've since lost, I panicked. Too expensive? Not the right color? Too hard to match sheets with? What if I want purple? What if they change their return policy in the next week? Is that yellow to light? Is the gray too brown? And so on and so forth. Until this morning when my mother told me to put on my big girl pants and buy the damn duvet cover (I'm pretty sure she was over being a part of the focus group.) And so I did. I bought it. Only after I told myself if I didn't like it I could always return it. And that realistically, it's just bedding. I can change it next week if I decide to. And the world will keep spinning.
So without further ado*, I give you the newest addition to my space.
Thank you focus group for your participation. In return if you come and visit my house I'll let you roll around on the new purchase. It is 820 count...so it could be worth it.
*Because seriously, it's already been far too much ado about nothing. Really.
Monday, February 6, 2012
So when I learned that two of the most inspiring women I have met through Twitter were not only participating but also attending as a coach and a mentor, I knew this time was THE time for me to sign up. I am officially a registered member of the Southeastern Wisconsin chapter of Team Challenge. I will complete the 13.1-mile Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 15, 2012, to raise funds and awareness for research leading to improved treatment options and a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
As a member of Team Challenge, I have a coach, a mentor (Hi Nicole!!), a training program, and teammates to support me. I have committed to a training schedule with additional trainings with my team on the weekends, and I’ve promised to raise $3,900 in donations to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
I have never done anything like this. I'm excited and scared and nervous and bouncing up and down from all of it. I want to scream from a mountain top that I'm doing this...and then pee my pants a little because, well, I'm DOING this. It's a HUGE goal to raise and it's going to be work. And after I raise that money, it's a LARGE amount of miles to move. I haven't yet decided if I'll be running or walking, I'm planning on figuring that out with my coaches. Either way, I'll be moving my body 13.1 miles on July 15th after raising $3,900 (hopefully more!). It's a big undertaking but I'm thrilled to have such a good cause to be working for.
Should you be interested in supporting me on this journey, you can do so directly at my Donations Page. However, support will be appreciated in all forms including reminding me when I think I've gone officially crazy half way through what a great idea this is. :)
Friday, February 3, 2012
See, during the summer months we get every other Friday for free. Then in the Winter various organizations sell stickers for $5, and the donations go to whatever non-profit is sponsoring the Jeans Day. So when the occasional (and rare) FREE jeans day shows up? It's a pretty big ordeal.
But I have a theory about why it is that way. At my last job, we were able to wear jeans every day. But if we had a big meeting or visitors to the office, we dressed up. And I remember those days always feeling a little more powerful, a little more successful. Dressing up became equated with a "big day." So now I'm noticing the opposite here. We dress up every day, so when we get to wear jeans you can actually feel it in the office. Everyone is just a little more laid back, a little more casual. I think that's why people love Jeans day, it's a more casual feeling all around. So I'm not sure which is better, the dress up = big day feeling or the dress down = laid back workplace. Hard to decide which is better as the rare occasion.
It's an interesting concept though. I know they always say, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." There is some truth to the fact that what you're wearing affects how you carry yourself and your overall demeanor. This may sound a little ridiculous, but I've been making a concentrated effort to actually put some effort into what I'm wearing when I could wear sweatpants. I LOVE my yoga pants and typically spend every spare moment I can in them on the weekends. But I know I feel better in a nice outfit, maybe even with non-tennis shoes and jewelery. (gasp!)
What do you wear when you want to feel great about yourself? Do you prefer dressing up at work or sticking to a casual setting? Are you too addicted to your black yoga pants?