Monday, December 30, 2013

And suddenly, we are where we are.

When did winter arrive?  When did it suddenly become the Christmas season?  And how did Christmas come and go already?  In the blink of an eye and it's all over.

The last thing I remember is admiring the lovely autumn leaves and making promises of getting ahead on an endless To Do List.  Two months later and we have celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now we are already five days past Christmas.  Seriously, are the clocks on fast forward?  Did I wake up from a drunken stupor that caused the last two months to feel like two weeks?

We decorated, shopped, baked (yes, I actually did something constructive in the kitchen), had a few winter storms, and checked off about a quarter of the things from the grand list of things to do.  Hey, some is better than none.  Celebrate the small things.  And let's face it, the To Do's will never end.  Honestly, about 90% of the things on that list are probably not that important anyway.  

The most significant thing that happened during these past weeks was the passing of our dear friend.  He was an amazing young man who spent the last two years of his life fighting and demonstrating more strength and character than anyone I have ever known in my life.  He was only 29 years old, yet even a man who lived for 99 years could learn from his example of how to live and how to love.  Talk about a person who loved life and loved others.  He was a great man and everyone who knew him loved him.  Our world certainly lost an amazing and wonderful soul.  In the words of my husband, "If we all lived our lives the way B did, this world would be one amazing place."    

In honor of our friend, this is my "To Do" list for 2014...

Smile and laugh more
Worry and complain less
Find humor in the things that drive me crazy
Send love... even to those I may not "love"
Have compassion
Have gratitude
Be patient 
Be kind
Accept what is
Learn from my mistakes
Think fondly of my past
Be hopeful for my future
Be present and be thankful for the moment I have right now.

Thank you, my dear friend, for showing us the things that are truly important.

Monday, October 28, 2013

On your mark, get set, catch up!

Although I am never happy to see a weekend go, there are some weekends that are just so lovely that I almost get teary-eyed at the thought of Monday rearing its ugly head.

This past weekend was one of those weekends...a simply beautiful and peaceful weekend. The weather was just perfect.  Cool and crisp, bright yellow sun, aqua blue sky, and gorgeous leaves of gold, red, and orange.  It was breathtaking, refreshing, and rejuvenating.  My soul felt happy.

We visited my parents over the weekend, which is always nice.  P and I went exploring on our own a bit - something we often do.  It was a weekend that I just didn't want to end.

As Monday has arrived and the week stretches before me, it feels like a good time to make my "to do" list as well as few promises to myself to help the week run smoothly with as little stress as possible (a week with little stress... Yeah right!).  I guess it's worth a shot, so here it goes...

1.  I will catch up on all my paperwork and prep work that I have over the next Tuesday!!! (Eeek...I am running out of time!!!)

2.  I will get ahead on at least two of my projects by Friday.

3.  I will catch up on my laundry (which is always that much harder to do after a weekend away).

4.  I will not allow my suitcases to sit unpacked for the entire week (something I ALWAYS do after being away).  Everything must be unpacked and put away by bedtime.

5.  Speaking of bedtime,  I will be in bed by 11 and I will be up by 6:30 (preferably earlier) from Tuesday through Thursday).  I did not meet this goal last night and this morning, which is why I am starting this tomorrow. 

6.  I will finally schedule a haircut.  I have not had my haircut since May.  Yes, you read that correctly.  And yes, it is almost November.  Seriously, I have been complaining about my eyebrows looking like Chia Pets and what did I really think was going on with the hair on my head?!?!  Do you remember the episode of Friends with Monica's hair when they were in Barbados?  If you forget or if you are unfamiliar with Friends (which if you aren't familiar with Friends we may want to part ways now), or if you just want a good laugh, check this out.  Be sure to scroll down to the picture - you can't miss out on this image.  That is me right now.  No joke.

7.  I will clean and organize my fall and winter clothes and pack away the last of my summer clothes.  This is always so hard for me.  Knowing that it won't be warm enough for shorts and sundresses for at least seven more months is a hard pill for me to swallow.

8.  I will vacuum and dust the entire house by the Saturday.  (I added this for good measure.  I really don't think I will actually do this, but I am hoping that writing it down might make it happen.)

9.    I will be kind to myself and forgive myself when things don't go the way I planned.

10.  I will be kind to P and forgive him when things don't go the way that I planned. (Yes, I try to plan for him too.  I can't help it.  I am bossy sometimes.  It is one of my many flaws.)

11.  I will set realistic expectations for myself in terms of what I can do and celebrate the things that I do well.

Because of what I said in number 11, my "to do" list will end here.  You see?  I'm off to a good start already!

P.S. I started this post this morning, but my laptop charger stopped working.  I panicked and tried to finish as much work as I could before my battery died.  I later learned that if I prop my charger just right against my dining room table and loop the wire a certain way around my computer that I can get it to charge.  

The good part is that it forced me to haul a** this morning.  The bad part is that it took me about 45 minutes to get the charger "just right" in order to charge my computer.  I have been afraid to move it all day, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a laptop.

Well, if I am going to meet my number five, I better haul a** one more time today.  I have to say, I am longing for my lovely weekend of fresh autumn air and clear blue sky right about now...

Happy Monday!!!! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My life with you.

"I love my life with you."  This will forever be my favorite thing that P has ever said to me.  Today, when he took my hand and whispered these words after a morning of sipping coffee in the park, my heart literally melted.

Of course, later that day he looked at me and said, "Let's get it in."  (Yes, it and in mean exactly what you think they mean.)  Thanks, Jersey Shore, for making this phrase a part of our lives.

I guess not all the words that come from P's mouth will melt my heart.  

But, P, with all the sweet and even the not so sweet parts... I love my life with you too.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites - Coffehouses

I love coffeehouses.  Because about 75% of my job can be done on my computer, I can complete the majority of my work from just about anywhere.  My preferred place of work?  In a coffeehouse.  I love the aroma of fresh coffee brewing.  I love the mini-breaks for people-watching.  I love that a fresh pot of coffee (or a chai latte if I really feel like living it up) is just a mere few feet away.

Working inside a coffeehouse doesn't make work feel like actual work.  It's like tricking myself into believing that what I am doing is fun because of the awesome atmosphere.  It's amazing.  Want to increase productivity in the workplace?  Design office spaces to mimic a coffeehouse.  Make the office look like it and smell like it.  Make it feel like a coffeehouse.  Provide your employees with an enjoyable space and they will be happier as they work.  If people are happy while they work, then they are more likely to get things done.  No, I don't have data to support this theory, but I am pretty sure that I am correct and that someone out there has the data to prove this. 

The only downside of a coffeehouse is the bathroom situation.  I often find myself waiting a long time for a person to come out of the bathroom...and we all know what's probably going on when a person spends more than 5 minutes in there.  Especially when we are talking about someone who is on their fourth large coffee of the day.  Today, I actually left the line because I knew that I didn't want to be the next person to use the bathroom after someone just spent their entire lunch break in there.

Sorry, I know this conversation just took an ugly turn, but anyone who goes to coffeehouses knows exactly what I am talking about.  And I am not criticizing those I am describing because this is all just a part of being human.  All I am saying is that I just want to wait a few minutes (or a few hours) to enter the bathroom after this human behavior is performed.

Anyway, I don't want to end what was supposed to be a post on a fun topic on a yucky note.  Let me go back to the original reason for my thoughts about coffeehouses.  What makes my experience in a coffeehouse even more fantastic is when I am in a new coffeehouse.  Today, my husband had a meeting in a town a few hours from our house.  Because I have the luxury of working from a location of my choice - as long as my choice includes a computer and WiFi - I packed my "office" in my bag and joined P for the road trip.  I found a charming coffeehouse about 5 minutes from P's meeting and so I was as happy as a lark for the rest of the day.  (By the way, why are larks known for being so happy anyway?)  Happy I was, as I sipped hot coffee on a chilly fall day and worked away.  I even took a little work break...



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Special

Today was a special Sunday indeed.

P and I celebrated our anniversary today.  Even though our anniversary was on Tuesday, we decided to have our dinner when we had the time to enjoy it.  The week days are like a rat race!  Today was all about relaxation and being together and so we couldn't have picked a better day. 

We made a late lunch and ate outside on this gorgeous October day.  We treated ourselves to fresh Alaskan King Crab Legs (which was a serious treat), salad, and wine (of course!).  Truth be told, the crab legs were our anniversary gift.  We aren't much gift givers, which works for me because I am terrible at giving gifts.  Not because I am greedy (I swear, I am anything but greedy), but because I am not very creative.  P and I are all about celebrating by eating delicious food and drinking good wine.

Today was a good celebration.  

And then, after dinner, one of my sweet fur-babies snuggled with me.

And you want to hear the best part about today?  All of the hand soap bottles in the house were full!  Boy, if P only knew how easy it really is to make me happy, we would probably be millionaires.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Faves

After one busy and crazy week, I want to give shout outs to some of the highlights of my week.  

1.  Fall mornings.  The beautiful crisp mornings of fall are quite spectacular.  The only problem is, they do make me want to spend an extra five minutes in my cozy bed.  This doesn't help my problem with being on time.  But when I opened my door to this....


I felt ready to start my day.  I do love fall and I know that I don't take enough time to appreciate it and all its beauty. 

2.  Crock-Pots.  This wonderful little appliance saved me twice this week when there was no time to cook and I came home starving.  Crock-Pot dinners are really the only way I can cook a decent meal.  Other things just never work for me.  The art of cooking has pretty much defeated me (unless I can throw all my ingredients in a Crock-Pot).  I know what you are thinking.  My husband is one lucky man. 

3. Body waxing.  I had body parts waxed today.  Chia Pets no longer thrive above my eyeballs (or on other places on my body).  Waxing - not the process, but the result - is awesome.

4.  The blogging world.  AKA - Blogosphere (am I using that term correctly?).  I can't believe I am only just now learning about this.  I mean, I always knew that blogs existed, but I had no idea that I would love reading blogs as much as I do.  There are so many creative, talented, and hilarious people out there.  I mean, how in the world did I not know about The Bloggess?  I am pretty sure that Jenny Lawson is my soul mate and most definitely my new favorite person on the planet.  Her post, I'm probably going to get yelled at for this, was one of the funniest things I ever read.  Her PS was hilarious, and let me tell you, truer words may have never been spoken (or written).  Yesterday I talked about personality tests, but this test is even be better.  After all, everyone should know how much of an A-hole they actually are.  Because let's face it, we are all A-holes at some point - and for most of us, we earn this title at least once a day.  

5.  My husband, P.  Happy eight years of blissful marriage!  Okay, it hasn't all been blissful, but it has been an amazing ride and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.  No matter how much I might complain or poke fun, P is such a special person and my best friend.  I am so lucky to call him my husband.  (Even if he doesn't use hand soap.)

By the way, Karma did pay me a visit today.  After making fun of P for locking himself out of the house yesterday (I really am an A-hole!), I left my office key's at home and so I was locked out of my office today.  Awesome.  

6.  The full moon.  Because I now have an excuse for all of my crazy behavior this past week. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Think - Multiple Personalities?

Two blogs that I started to follow shared personality tests recently.  I have taken tests similar to these before and I am pretty sure that I get different results almost every time.  Either I don't know myself well, I am lying to myself, or I have multiple personalities.  Let's face it, no matter what, none of those possibilities sound great.  Today, I am an INFJ.  I am going to take it again in a week to see if I get the same thing. 

Thank you, A Cup of Jo and A Life Less Frantic for sharing these!  I find human behavior and personalities fascinating.  Our personality is really the one thing about ourselves that we can't change no matter how much we wish we could change it.  

Or, if you are like me, perhaps you have more than one personality...

When I took A Life Less Frantic's Quick and Dirty Personality Test, I deemed myself an ISFP.  I am determined to get to the bottom of this discrepancy.  My concern about this makes me wonder, what does this say about my personality type?  Is there a category for Anal Retentive Lunatic (ARL)?  If not, there should be.

On a completely different note, my husband bought more hand soap today...HOORAY!!!!

On the downside, he locked himself out while running this errand.  I had to come home early from work to let him in the house.  I am not kidding.    

Well, the introvert in me is calling...I have a stack of books waiting for me next to my bed.  Crawling under the covers with a good book sounds like heaven right now.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Whines - Random Ramblings

Wednesday is a long work day for me.  My day started at about 7am and I just got home (14 hours later).  I feel physically and mentally exhausted and so I can sometimes get a little crabby.  Where there is crabbiness, whining is sure to follow.  Not the good kind...that would be wining.  Wining = Winning.  Get it?  Give me a break.  I'm tired.

Here are some of my whines of the day: 

1.  Why does the hand soap always run out on me?  I feel like the very end of the soap is always left for me.  I am constantly slamming my hand against the pump trying to get some soap out of the bottle.  If I get anything, it splatters all over me (everywhere but my hands, of course).  Brilliant.  Just once I would love for my husband to refill the soap.  That's probably never going to happen.  I wonder if he ever actually uses hand soap?  This situation just became a lot more disturbing for me.  That's a conversation for another day.

2.  While I'm on the subject of my husband...  Yesterday was our anniversary.  I love my husband dearly and he is always great at remembering the date.  But once, just ONCE it would be so nice for him to recall a different memory other than the loss his football team experienced on the day of our wedding.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that EVERY SINGLE TIME the subject of our wedding or anniversary comes up with other people that the first thing my husband describes is "the terrible loss" of his team.  I get it.  It was an important game.  But, seriously?  That's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of our wedding?  It's probably the reason he is so good about remembering the date.

3.  Why do my eyebrows grow so darn fast?  I feel like I am growing two Chia Pets above my eyeballs.  

4.  How could I possibly be five minutes late for my meeting today...AGAIN?!?!  I mean, I just reflected on this problem yesterday.  What is my deal???  There is, however, a silver lining to this whine.  Everyone else was ten minutes late, which sort of made me five minutes EARLY!!!  I LOVE it when that happens!!! 

Okay that's enough of the bad whining for today.  Now it is time to end the day with a good wine.  If you are a red wine drinker, I am a big fan of Layer Cake.  Today I am drinking the Malbec, but the Cabernet Sauvignon is also awesome.  My favorite kind of cake, indeed.  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Truth - Time Mismanagement

A truth about me is that I am not very good with time.  I know what you are thinking.  Why on earth would you begin a blog?  Hold your horses and your judgements...I'll get to that.

First things first.  My problems with time.  I can't get enough of it.  There is just not enough time in this life to do all the things that I want to do.  But I try anyway.

A truth about me is that I often overestimate the number of things I think I can do and underestimate the amount of time it takes me to do it.  This is lethal combination.  This combo can lead to a 2-hour night's sleep, anxiety and stress accompanied with heart palpitations, massive moodiness, and house shattering tantrums.  (If you envision a two-year-old stomping her feet and screaming with a blotchy, purple face from crying when you read the word "tantrum" - well then, you just got a perfect picture of me on a typical Sunday evening.)

A truth about me is that I am perpetually running five minutes behind schedule.  This starts before I even get out of bed.  Even when I am ahead of schedule I think, "Oh wow!  I wasn't planning on leaving for another ten whole minutes.  I can do this, that, and that and this before I leave!"  And then guess what?  That's right.  Next thing I know, I am apologizing to the person I was supposed to meet five minutes ago.  I never learn my lesson.  EVER.  You know what they say about people who do the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result.  Thank you, Dr. Einstein.  I believe you saved me thousands of dollars that I would have spent in therapy to receive this same diagnosis.

A truth about me is that I am excited to try new things, get involved with projects, and attend fun social events.  It is hard for me to turn down a project proposal or social invitation.  Most of the time it's because of genuine interest, but sometimes, just sometimes, if I am truly honest with myself, it's because of my fear that I might miss out on something.  A career opportunity.  A new friendship.  An amazingly fun time.  Maybe it's the only child in me, but sometimes I say yes because I don't want to be left out of something that might be great.  I often think if I say yes, then I might contribute to that something's greatness.  And that thought thrills me.

A truth about me is that I spend a lot of time working:  composing emails, attending meetings, preparing for presentations, writing proposals, reviewing proposals, doing laundry, trying to organize my drawers and closets (trying being the operative word because my closets and drawers never actually get organized), vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, grocery shopping, paying bills, walking my dogs, working out...the list goes on and on as many of our lists do.  I know, right about now a parent is rolling his/her eyes and thinking, "Try all that with a kid!"  And you are right.  I don't know how you do it.  I am convinced that parents must have a superhuman gene because I can barely take care of myself.  You are amazing in every sense of the word.  I seriously mean that.

Now back to me....  (There's the only child in me again.)  My point is that I spend so much time working that even when I'm not working, I am thinking and planning about working.  I realized that I do not take the time to pause, take a deep breath, and think about me.  Not think about my work.  Not think about what I need to do or what I should be doing.  But think about me.  Where I am.  What I am doing right now.  How I am feeling.  How damn good this moment actually is.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop and admire the blue sky, the pretty flower, the changing leaves.  That moment, that image, that feeling will be gone before you know it.  Stop and take it in.  

And so that is my main reason for writing a blog.  Not to add to my "To Do List."  Not to make money.  Not to gain recognition.  Not to become famous.  This is for me - to help me take in life.  To help me take in my life.  I want to really see things, feel things, marvel at things.  As my yoga teacher says, "It's time to reconnect and recollect."  She's right.  And when all else fails, sometimes we just need to reboot. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Manic Monday

One thing that hasn't changed about my pre and post 30 life is how I feel about Mondays.  Mondays make my belly ache.  No, the thought of Mondays makes my belly ache, which means I usually start to feel Monday's effects around 6pm on Sunday.  (Okay, sometimes that feeling may be from all the wine we drank, but that's a post for another day.)

Once Monday arrives, the day is usually so busy that I don't really have time to think about what day it is.  Except for those initial moments when my alarm goes off and all I want to do is throw the covers over my head and snuggle next to my husband.  Which I did this morning - minus the snuggling part.  I was too tired to snuggle.  All I wanted was sleep.  Waking up before the sun rises doesn't help much.  I love fall, but I don't care for the dark mornings.

When I was a kid, I thought this Monday dread was only felt by students about school.  Wrong. Adults feel it.  It may even be worse now.  I think about all the emails that need answered, all the papers that need reviewed, all the writing that needs completed, and the meetings that need planned.  Oh yes, going back to bed sounds like a wonderful plan.

Being a grown up stinks sometimes.  With a capital S.

What can snap me out of this and get me going?  Oh yes... you know.   I know that you know.

And there it is.  I am talking about the cup of coffee, not all the wine corks, by the way.  Wine snaps me out of my evening funk and, yes, sometimes my afternoon funk.  Again, we'll save that conversation for another day.  Coffee and red wine are two of the greatest loves in my life.  Dark chocolate would make the trifecta complete.

If I ever get pregnant, I'm screwed.  With a capital S.  Just kidding. (Sort of.)

So, now is the time I need to focus myself.  The coffee is poured.  The house is quiet (except for my Pandora playing my jams).  Time to work so that I can play outside and enjoy this fall day later.  You see?  Your pre and post 30 self isn't always that different.

P.S. Thank you Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles for inspiring this post.  Manic Monday is still one of my all time favorites.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hello Blog. It's Me, Beth.

Welcome to My Post 30 Life.  When someone asks you how old you are, do you ever pause and think, "WaitHold on.  Oh shoot.  How did that happen?"  When you look in the mirror, are you ever taken aback by a new line (aka wrinkle), sunspot (I despise the term "liver spot"), or gray hair (or any hair, for that matter, that sprouts from a new place)?  If so, then you and I will be lifelong friends.

My name is Beth and I am 33 (will soon be 34).  I feel like I am at that in-between stage of my life.  Twenty-somethings see me as "kind of old" and definitely "too old to be cool."  Or, if I am lucky, I might get "pretty cool for someone my age," which never really seems like a compliment, but oh well.  On the flip side, those who are older than me roll their eyes and take offense when I make the slightest reference of getting old, feeling old, looking old, etc.  

And so I float in this in-between place.  I'm still figuring things outAnd by "things" I mean friendships, family, life, me, EVERYthing.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my life.  Where I have been and where I want to go.  What I want my life after 30 to be like, and more importantly, who I want to be.  This all sounds very deep, so you should know that I also spend quite a bit of time pondering things like what I want to eat for dinner tomorrow night, whether I should have another glass of wine, why I have no matching socks in my drawer, and when I should schedule my next eyebrow wax.  

Life can get pretty damn heavy and I am one of those people who can easily be smothered by its weight.  That's not what this blog is about.  It is not my purpose to enlighten you or advise you.  My purpose is to find the humor, and sometimes even the beauty, in life's imperfections. 

And so this is My Post 30 Life.  Take one.