Thursday Ten: TWO WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS edition

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1. This month has flown by – this YEAR has flown by. I find it hard to believe that in two weeks it will be Christmas. In three weeks, we’ll be staring 2015 in the eye. I’m…not sure how I feel about all of that. This year didn’t start that well, and it’s continually gotten better as tine has gone on and now we’re about to roll into a new years and I’m a little bit like, “WHOA. WAIT. WHAT JUST HAPPENED?”

2. I should probably chill out and just focus on Christmas first.

3. I had been feeling quite a lot of stress when it comes to little projects at work (and big projects, let’s be honest) – it’s something I have to work on, the fact that I let myself get SO WOUND UP over things. So – the other day I started thinking about how I need a bit of perspective. No matter what, even on my worst day at work, I’m not Brady Hoke with a legion of Michigan fans awaiting for my firing (poor Brady – I’m sure he saw it coming). I’m not any of the other people that have been in the news for screwing up royally in their jobs with huge life or death consequences. If I really do mess up (instead of just feeling like I have): No one dies. Life goes on, y’know. Is it worth the drama? Nope. Probably not. Thinking a little differently has helped.

4. Know what else has helped? Treating myself to a manicure this week. I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at my nails over the past few days – they’re still short, but I do love how clean and shiny and polished they look. It makes me happy. I go back and forth – It makes me happy, I should do this more often and I can’t fathom being that lady who spends money on her nails. I’m not fancy. I’m not frilly. But boy. I like when my nails are lovely.

5. Lest y’all think that I’ve become some weird new version of myself totally wow’d by things like my fingernails – I am also currently very excited by the purchase of a pair of leggings that feel like fuzzy socks for my legs. Of course, I can’t wear them in public because leggings as pants is a line I don’t really want to cross (nor should I) but damn those things are comfortable.

6. I am still pretty in love with my FitBit.

7. The girls and I will be baking and decorating ALL OF THE COOKIES this weekend. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions even though it’s a lot of work. A record number of kids have RSVP’d so it’s gonna be an interesting time! Messy and covered with sprinkles.

8. After a slew of bad weather and snow days, the weather here has been decidedly calm. Thank heavens. Still terrified of driving on snow and ice and so if it’s an uneventful wither, that would be a-okay with me.

9. That thing when you’re wrinkle cream has such a strong smell that you’re constantly aware that you’re so old that you need wrinkle cream.

10. I average about six hours of sleep a night – and it’s not necessarily good sleep. I have GOT to learn better sleeping. I’m tired of being tired.

 

 

Thursday Ten: Welcome to Snowvember edition

1. It’s not even winter yet but oh my god it’s winter. We’re into this year’s version of “HOW MANY SNOW DAYS WILL WE HAVE” game – and if this week is any indication, the girls will be in school until August. And y’all know I’m no fan of this weather, so it’s been just super fun. Yesterday’s morning commute? An hour and a half. UGH UGH UGH.

168 | 365 - November 19, 2014

2. So it’s not too early in the season for the people who love this garbage to point out that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if…IF I drove a truck, IF I lived somewhere else, IF IF IF. Well. I don’t have a truck – I have a Prius. And I have to live in Michigan. And la la la. Here I am. Me and my tiny fuel-efficient non-winter friendly car doing the best I can. Sorry. Can’t make me like this weather.

3. The weather was so awful on Tuesday that I worked from home while the girls were home snow-day-ing. During my three hour conference call, they put up the Christmas three. Not the ornaments, not yet (I told them they couldn’t without me!), but the tree is up. Guess if we’ve got the snow, we might as well get the holiday stuff up.

4. After months of lukewarm baths and showers and wondering why the hell I have no hot water, my dear friend offered up her husband to investigate my water heater and fortunately! It’s not broken! Apparently the temperature thingamabobber was turned way down and so voila, it’s hot was not very hot. He just adjusted the gauge and BLAMMO! I have hot water. It’s unreal. And blissfully wonderful. Just in time.

5. One of my favorite rituals lately is watching Gilmore Girls with The Princess before she goes to bed.

6. “If you stacked a lot on top of a lot on top of a million more lots, that is how much I love you. ” Pumpkin said that to me at dinner last night and it made me very happy. It melted the layer of snow in my soul. She also loves me more than garlic bread, so you know…I’m pretty much winning at life.

7. Not sure what I’m looking forward to more – Thanksgiving dinner (YUM!) or a four day weekend.

8. I love the Health function on the iPhone 6 but because i don’t always have my phone with me, I feel like I miss out on a lot of steps “counting.” I’m in the process of trying to talk myself into getting a FitBit. I hate spending money on “big” purchases (and yeah, it’s big – it may “only” be a hundred bucks, but I just don’t really do that – spend money on myself like that). I wonder if it would motivate me to move more.

9. I am typing about health but I’m still thinking about garlic bread, so…

10. It’s been quite the month and I’m not sure why it’s been so challenging but it has been. Will December bring a change? Sure hope so! I could use a bit of a break.

There’s Something That Lingers.

163 | 365 - November 14, 2014

It’s Sunday night and my brain is twirling – twirling over work projects and anticipation over Monday and an apprehension is setting in about the week ahead of me, a feeling that has occupied me in various degrees over the past two weeks.

Nothing is really wrong. I’ve got a lot of projects and some time frames and a lot of moving pieces and a lot of people and a lot of components and as is the nature of the beast, when you have that many parts and that many people – not everything goes according to plan.

So plans have shifted and timelines have shifted and through it all I’ve done the absolute best that I can.

All of the wheels are in motion, everything is rolling. Sure, it’s not according to plan but… the general public doesn’t know our planned timeline. Only the people close enough to the project know that the time frame shifted.

Why, then, does it consume me the way it does? Why, then, when there were roadblocks beyond my control, do I take on all the negativity from a project when I have done everything I could? I can motivate, urge, prod. nag, and push to make things happen but ultimately? There are things outside of my control that interfere.

Every project is a learning experience, a chance to take away something that will give me greater experience and comfort moving forward.

I want everything to go perfectly.

I want timelines adhered to. Things to mail when scheduled. Approval processes to not get bogged down.

But.

Sometimes that’s not the way it goes.

And while I don’t want to let go of caring, while i don’t want to let go of my drive for perfection, I need to let go of the all-consuming anxiety I tend to feel about these projects.

I am not doing organ transplant surgery. I want every project that I take on to be successful, but I have to remember at the end of the day, where it fits in the overall scheme of things.

Lately, I’m losing sleep over problems real and imagined because I want so badly to please everyone.

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I am dealing, i am certain, with the after effects of having lost my job earlier in the year. At the time when I was transitioning from old job to new job, I was wary of saying too much online – I still am wary: a) because it’s tacky and unprofessional to talk smack about your employer or previous employer online and I AM A PROFESSIONAL, DARNIT and b) because i actually had to sign something stating that I would not speak negatively about them, especially online.

But I figure knowing what i endured may explain why I am how I am. I also figure that I’m not disparaging the employer – my problem was not the company but rather one person within the company, a person who has since been stripped of her managerial role and no longer has direct reports, a change that – in my opinion – was far too long in coming. (The company itself? I won’t name who they are – but emphatically believe that the professionals there are top notch and phenomenal at what they do – there’s a reason for the company’s longevity.)

I worked hard there to do well – I worked so that my contributions would better the company as a whole. I had great success with projects large and small – and then somewhere along the way, one person decided that instead of supporting my efforts, she’d criticize and disparage them at every pass. And then she started giving pieces of my job away to other people in my department. Slowly, the pieces of my job where I excelled were taken from me and little by little I was treated to more and more hostility until my job was cut to part time and then it was eliminated altogether. I have no doubt that along with budgets and reducing head counts – that not having this one person in my corner contributed to what happened.

I lost my job in the midst of getting back on my feet after my divorce. I scrambled to find work and was lucky to find work. I work in a fantastic company with great people.

So, uh… why am I freaking out all the time?

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It comes out of nowhere – that feeling of, “HEYYYY I’m doing great things!” to “We had to deviate from the timeline and is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the one that makes them change their mind about me?”

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“Be confident,” my friend says. “You need to focus on your value which is off the charts!”

(I have the best friends – you should be jealous.)

I’m trying to please everyone in an industry where pleasing everyone is a rarity. I’m still learning. I’m getting on my feet. I’m working hard to turn every project into a learning opportunity. I’m working tirelessly to gain confidence from each experience.

But oh.

What do I do with myself, y’all?

How do you balance a desire to do well with a realistic expectation of what the best case scenario can be? How do you let go when something doesn’t go according to plan – you can’t go back and change it, you can’t undo it, you can only learn and move on – so how do you learn to leave it at the office at the end of the day?

Because.

I don’t know how.

***

Because I’m interested in how other people operate, feel free to leave me a comment telling me what your work style is? How do you deal when things don’t go as planned? How do you balance a desire for success with the reality? I’d love to know what the norm is for other people, how y’all cope, what you do.

Thursday Ten: I Voted on Tuesday And All I Got Was This Sticker edition

1. While I don’t talk politics much, I make no secret of the fact that I’m fairly liberal… so I’m not super enthused with the results of the election and I just have to hope for the best and continue to exercise my right to have my voice heard by voting when I can.
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2. Having said that – WHOA NELLY, PEOPLE. Did your mamas raise you to act that way? I get very discouraged reading the vitriolic comments that people spew on Facebook and in response to news articles, particularly when it comes to election-type-stuff. Having the forum to spout off on whatever the heck you want to spout off about doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Also? You look stupid when you do it. Really stupid. You can’t express your feelings and opinions and beliefs without resorting to second-grade level name calling? Phooey on you, then. How are you even allowed to vote? I just hate it. I don’t get it and I hate it.

3. This has been a tough week for me and I don’t like operating with stress levels like this. Work is busy and I’m working on a project with a lot of moving parts and I just want everything to go perfectly. And perfect is an illusion. I’m doing my best and my best is pretty darn okay.

4. Someday i’ll write about all the baggage I feel like I cary with me after my last job and how that all went down. What once might have been routine throws me into a stress spiral.  I have no accurate frame of reference anymore. To me, even a small bump in the road feels like the end of the road when it comes to things not going as planned on a project. I’ll need to find a way to get over that.

5. Our dog groomer let Pumpkin help groom our dog last night and when we were leaving, she told me, “If you ever get mad at her, bring her back here. The dog lady will keep her.” It was less weird than that sounds now that I read it back to myself. (P.S. the dog lady is the mom of someone I went to high school with and not just some random stranger who shaves dogs butts every day. She’s a really nice lady, so, totally… not weird.)

6. I accidentally triple booked my Tuesday and then did almost nothing anyway because of a migraine. Not like me to be so inept with a calendar but that was bad. Also? I never have THREE options for something to do. Weird.

7. Most people I know are having a rough week. Are the planets aligned funny?

8. Leftover Halloween candy plus a crazy schedule means that I feel like a slug. A bloated slug whose insides are coated with Baby Ruth wrappers.

9. I have read some serious books lately. Not like SERIOUS books, but a serious amount. Boom. (And book club is on a Liane Moriarty kick and I just don’t know that I feel like reading a third within such a short period of time even though her stuff is really easy to read – maybe I’ll get caught up on magazines first.

10. I probably won’t shop on Thanksgiving (because DUH, who can move after a meal like that?!) but I won’t hate on you if you do. To each their own. I can’t presume to know that the folks in the stores aren’t grateful for the overtime, and I can’t presume to know that the shoppers have left family at home for shopping. I don’t know what I don’t know. I can only deal with me. So, shop if you want or don’t shop if you don’t want. See how easy that is?

Thursday Ten: Netflix Binge Edition

1. I finally wrapped up Friday Night Lights so the obvious next step was to dive into something else immediately. The Princess and I have started watching Gilmore Girls. Given how she ridiculed me when I turned the first episode on, I find it amusing that she’s so engrossed.

2. Coming home to nice mail is a fun change of pace. Yesterday was StitchFix day. Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily have the budget to buy a bunch of clothes so fortunately there were some fit problems: I am far too long waisted for the blue dress, the denim jacket had a fit I didn’t love, and the orange top – though I loved the color – just wasn’t worth the $54 price tag to me. I’m keeping that funky cardigan on the bottom – when I pulled it out of the box, I was sure it was a sofa pillow but it’s funky and warm and will probably be ideal in the super cold Michigan months we’re about to dive into.
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3. A client visit yesterday meant that I was on the road by 6:30. In the morning. While I’m usually awake then, I’m not usually up, ready and out the door then. And then there were no convenient coffee shops on the way. And then everything was awful. Actually, it wasn’t that awful, just early mornings with PMS and no coffee don’t really bode well for my general demeanor. Sorry.

4. I finished antibiotics for a sinus infection a few weeks ago and well… I think the damn thing is back. That’s probably not really helping my mood either. This morning I woke up feeling like wet cement was poured near my sinuses and then hardening and expanding and blowing up my sinuses. Pretty picture, huh?

5. I have been on a reading frenzy lately. I went to the library a few weeks ago – picked up six books. While there, I told myself I wasn’t going to berate my choice in books and if I want to read even if they’re not rocket science. The result? I have entertaining speedy reads to pick up after a long day. It’s been nice to want to read again.

6. I actually bought Halloween candy to pass out this year instead of turning my lights out and pretending I’m not home. Actually, last year I wasn’t home – but that’s neither here nor there – usually, I avoid it like the plague – and this year I HAVE CANDY.

7. But I’m hoping no one comes so I’ll have enough candy left over to make the Leftover Halloween Candy Vanilla Bundt Cake I make every year.

8. I have no concrete plans this weekend but to get my shutters back on my house and I’m relieved and hopeful for a moment or two to breathe. Feels like life has very much been gogogogogogogogogogogo lately and I just want to stop moving and catch my breath. I want to not have to do anything or be anywhere at least for a little while.

9. I’d also like to sleep in and not be on the road at 6:30 a.m. Last weekend, i didn’t have anywhere to go and yet I was up just after 6. Ridiculous. Body clocks are absolutely ridiculous.

10. Isn’t it nice that I’m not talking about elections?

Thursday Ten: What 38 Years Has Taught Me edition

Oprah is kind of known for many things, but in recent years, she’s done a lot of the whole “What I Know For Sure” bit – she even released a book about it, which is cool and all – you can do that when you’re Oprah. But the thing is, what I know for sure is that there’s very little that I truly know for sure.

Today, I turn 38 and I find that there are far more mysteries than certainties – and I’m trying to reconcile myself to that fact. Perhaps I am not meant to have all of the answers.

But here are some things I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Plans are just that. Plans. Sometimes plans change.

“Make a plan, god laughs.” I think that’s how the saying goes. Anyway, I’m a planner – I like to have a path – I like to know that I can put one foot in front of the other confidently in the direction of my goals and that I’m going to get there. Except…sometimes you don’t. Sometimes things change, plans change, and you have to adjust your sails and change along with it. I thought that I knew where I would be at this point in my life – 38 feels dangerously close to 40 and I still feel like I’m muddling through sometimes.

The thing is, as difficult as it may be to change your course, sometimes – plans change for a reason.

Not knowing the direction you’re heading towards is scary, but it’s a lot less scary than moving in the wrong direction.

2. Priorities – you really should have some.

I am a parent – first and foremost, probably – I am a mother and so there’s an ever present realization in my mind that there are two amazing children who come before me. It means that sometimes I am at the absolute bottom of my list – but having people counting on me means that I need to be dependable, reliable and someone they can trust to be there.

Because I am a parent, because I am an employee, coworker, teammate, because I am someone that people count on, there are times that life gets complicated because I’m juggling so as to make sure things are taken care of.

And not to be all judgey (but I totally get to be all judgey because it’s my birthday and it’s my blog) but sometimes I see people acting with no real sense of obligation to anything except their own self and it boggles my mind. Ditching plans with your children, calling in sick to work because you don’t feel like it, waiting for someone else to take care of you rather than trying to find your own solutions.

I think I was born an old soul. It’s not to say I always do the right thing – but generally I know what is most important and all else falls in line behind that.

3. There’s a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. And it is possible to feel lonely, even when you’re surrounded by people.

I wrote this on a scrap of paper for this post and then had a conversation with a friend who basically said to me these very words. It is possible to feel lonely when you are surrounded by people. What I’ll add to that is that loneliness is one of the worst possible feelings in the world.

I’m all about my alone time – I am every bit an introvert – and being around people nonstop eventually wears me out. That alone time to recharge, recoup – it is as essential to me as air some days.

But lonely is different. Lonely doesn’t feel like a choice. Lonely is feeling like someone chooses not to see you. Lonely is an ache that seems to build in the pit of your stomach and leaves you hunched against the wall wrapped in sadness.

I’ve been alone and I’ve been lonely and I’ll take being alone over being lonely – any day of the week.

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4. Bacon and maple syrup. Grilled chocolate sandwiches. Dipping fries in milkshakes. Warm french bread. Deprivation = bad. Moderation = good.

When the South Beach diet was the rage, there was nothing that sounded quite as miserable to me as a life where carbs were a no-no. And now there’s paleo and whole 30 and voluntarily going gluten-free {Hey y’all with legit gluten sensitivities – chill out, I’m not talking about you}. I’ve had my days of counting fat grams and calories but ultimately, every time I hear the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” I just feel sad for those poor lost souls who have never had a decent piece of cheesecake.

I cannot imagine my life without warm cinnamon rolls, or garlic bread. Without margaritas in a salt-rimmed glass. Chips so fresh that they’re warm and a spicy salsa.

I don’t want to imagine my life without them – so I don’t. I just eat them. Maybe not as much as I want, or as often – but at least I don’t have to live without. (I haven’t yet worked out how to not feel guilty about it yet. Ask me again next year.)

5. Break a sweat daily.

Maybe this is why I can say with such certainty that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the yummy stuff – because you should also be moving. Not only is it better for you health wise if you are active – but if you’re anything like me, you’re probably less of a jerk face when you’re exercising regularly.

6. You are not responsible for other people’s emotions.

When it comes to emotions, it may not always be easy to understand but essentially what you feel is what you feel. No, someone didn’t “hurt you” – your hurt stemmed from your reaction. Someone didn’t “make you sad” – you just WERE.

If you are one who avoids conflict then you’re familiar with the feeling of trying to not upset people – but this is the glorious thing: YOU CAN’T. If you could control the emotions of other people, MY GOD! Imagine the power you would have. But… you can’t. You can’t and I can’t and he can’t and she can’t. We just…can’t. Feelings are what they are and you can’t go through life trying to protect people from their negative feelings or expecting them to protect you from yours. Sometimes you will be sad. You’ll hurt. You’ll also be okay because everything will get better. Feel what you need to feel for as long as you need to feel it and then find a way to move onward. Sometimes other people will be sad or mad or whatever they happen to feel.

Feelings don’t always make sense, but it’s up to each of us to own our own feelings.

7. Sleep isn’t as easy as it should be.

All the science says that there are big time benefits to getting enough sleep and huge detriments to your health and well being when you don’t accumulate enough zzzzz’s and yet so many people I know (and myself!) struggle with insomnia, at least occasionally. You would think that for how lovely and enjoyable and good it feels, it would be far easier to do. It’s not.

When the girls were born, I thought I was done with insomnia – I was just so worn out at the end of the day that I slept HARD. These days? I fall asleep easily… I just often end up waking in the middle of the night and then an hour before my alarm in the morning. I’m tired. I shouldn’t be mad at sleep but I am more than a little bit mad at sleep.

 

8. Sometimes you just gotta go through the yucky stuff.

As much as you want to avoid anything negative, sometimes you can’t. And as much as you want out once you’re in, sometimes there’s no way out but to slog right through it. It’s this yucky stuff that builds our character and all that stuff. It’s the badge of honor, the sense of pride, the “lo hicimos! We did it!” Dora-The-Explorer moment. Sucks when you’re in the midst of it but life doesn’t let us move in reverse. Onward.

9. Money can’t buy you happiness but a lot relies on that stupid green stuff. There’s nothing wrong with you if you think about money. A lot.

Yes, money can’t buy happiness.

The best things in life are free.

Things are just things.

And all of those little platitudes would have me believe that any emphasis I put on money or my lack of it is superficial or wrong, or that my focus is in the wrong place and I’m not truly appreciating all of the blessings ahead of me to which I say: Uh. Whatever, bub. Like it or not, money is what keeps the roof over your head, the food on the table, the clothes on your back, the lights on above you. It is what fills your gas tank so you can drive to work so you can earn money for said roof and all that other jazz.

And really most of us are just getting by. Or so it seems.

I can’t begin to recount the number of conversations I’ve had with friends and family – and there’s probably not a single one of us who would turn away from a money tree in our front yard. But trust me, there’s also not a single one of us who doesn’t see how blessed we are in other ways. You can feel blessed AND stressed.

Trust me. I know.

10. I’m not done learning.

Think I’m done learning? Think again. I’m learning new things all the time – about myself, about my kids, about the people in my life, the world around me. I joke that I am older than dirt, but I’m still at the beginning. There’s so much more to learn, so much more to see, and so much yet still in front of me.

I’m a spring-mother-clucking-chicken. (I cringed as I typed that, I hope you know)

I’m not done yet.

Here’s to another year.

Here’s to love and learning and hope and slogging through the yucky stuff. Here’s to saving my pennies and bitching over the energy bill. Here’s to margaritas and cookies. To alone time without loneliness. To birthday cake and wrinkle cream.

Alright, 38. Let’s do this…

Thursday Ten: Okay, You Saw the Art Now Go Home edition

1. I’m at the point of Art Prize where I’m tired of it. I’ve seen all the pieces I want to see. I’ve voted. The jurors have told us what pieces they think we should care about. And now I’m tired of all the people crowding the sidewalk with their slow walking, art gawking, pausing in the middle of a cross walk as if suddenly confused about where they’re going. I’m tired of the cars with drivers who think that looking for pedestrians is an optional activity. Basically – I’m just annoyed with it. I get to this point every year – and so now that I’m here, it can be all over please.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am | Salvador Jimenez-Flores

2. The weekends seem to fill with STUFF and I am getting nothing done around my house. I painted my shutters ages ago but they’re still propped up in my garage. Everything is a mess and I CANNOT STAND IT. I have vacation time to burn before this year is up and I’m thinking about how lame it will make me to take a week off to un-mess my house. I’m also wondering how much it costs to rent a dumpster so I can haul this crap away. TOO. MUCH. JUNK.

3. So. GONE GIRL. Saw it Saturday night. It was amazingly well done and left me so tense I was jittery in the dark parking lot afterwards. I read the book so I wasn’t really surprised, but kinda sorta, I was surprised.

4. The Princess called me to the window yesterday morning to watch the eclipse. It was pretty awesome and I am glad she knows about these things so she can tell me and I can start my morning with the amazing things that the world can do instead of just a cup of coffee.

5. That thing where you have zero traveling budget but scope out airfare anyway. As if. We’ve already established I need to use my vacation time cleaning my house.

6. So, I’m thinking I may finally take the plunge and CANCEL CABLE. So tired of paying for it. Plus, they just put Rehab Addict on Netflix so it may just satisfy my HGTV-addiction.

7. Not that I have time to watch anything else while I’m still in the midst of binge watching Friday Night Lights.

8. We’re getting into gymnastics season. As much as I love watching my kid compete, I hate meet fees. October’s meet fees are kicking my ass. Is gymnastics season over yet? (It hasn’t even started. Only the paying for it has started.)

9. I really should watch less Netflix and START READING AGAIN. Or, y’know… cleaning.

10. One week until my birthday. Just so y’all know. A week until I’m Even Older Than I Already Am. That’s old.

Thursday Ten: That Thing Where You’re Tired And Can’t Sleep edition

1. I used to get insomnia quite a bit when I was in high school and college- I’d have these nights where I just couldn’t sleep. Once i had kids, that sleeplessness completely went away. Until recently. For the past month, I’ve been struggling to stay asleep once asleep. Those last few hours before the alarm goes off, in particular. I’m so tired. I. Am. SO. Tired.

2. The weekend trip to Traverse City helped a bit, but now I’m back. Hard to not feel peace when you’re looking’ at beauty like this. Also? Delicious wine.
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3. Sometimes you see things on the internet and you’re like, “WHOA. I have to do that.” I imagine it’s how my daughter feels when she’s scrolling through Pinterest. Anyway, last week I kept seeing posts of tator tots cooked in the waffle iron as a waffle/hashbrown thingamabobber and yep, I have to report: Darn. Good.

4. Second week of antibiotics for a sinus infection and I still don’t feel 100% yet. I hate taking antibiotics.

5. YAY! October. It’s now my birthday month.

6. I was supposed to go to New York this month. Yesterday as I was scrolling through pictures of New York in the fall, my heart broke a little. I hate that I can’t go. I know it’s life an life happens – between finding the funds to go and the fact that there is unavoidable work stuff during that time – well, it just wouldn’t work. But I really really wanted to go.

7. Why do I even have cable anymore? All I need is to be able to watch Food Network HGTV and Project Runway. For that privilege – for the use of THREE channels I pay an absurd amount of money each month. Ridic. Wish cable companies could come up with an a la carte business model that made money for them and saved money for me.

8. On television shows, people are always going to college visits and college interviews and is that really a thing because… I didn’t do that?

9. Gone Girl hits the theaters this weekend. I don’t love Ben Affleck but I’m looking forward to this one.

10. I was never a Gilmore Girls watcher but apparently it’s on Netflix now. Can’t start that one until I’m done with Friday Night Lights. I’m not sure how many seasons I have left of FNL but I don’t want it to be over. I’ll be sad when I’m done.

Thursday Ten: Slow Like Molasses Edition

1. I’m typing this while I’m on hold with the internet server provider people to talk to them about my INSANELY SLOW AND SOMEWHAT UNSTABLE internet connection. It’s kind of become a huge pain in the ass to have my internet essentially stop functioning for an hour and a half every evening around 8:30.

2. This is the kind of thing I can do while I work from home this morning because my iPhone is still full of peanut butter and so I can only use it when I’m on speaker on have headphones in. And I can’t find my headphones (or I’m lazy – I have a pair in my purse, a pair in my camera bag…). [Update: Booyah! A technician is coming out!]

3. I have to go to the dentist today. I haven’t been in ages because of that whole not having insurance for a long time thing. I hate the part where they floss my teeth. My dentist uses cheap, hurty floss.

4. It’s beginning to look a lot like ArtPrize! Pieces are starting to appear around the city – like this one spotted in front of the Grand Rapids Public Museum yesterday.
105 | 365 - September 17, 2014

5. I’ve been having an epic battle with a gross head cold since Saturday evening. While I’m up and around now (Sunday I was like a bump on a log), I’m still feeling less than a hundred percent and I’m very underwhelmed by how absolutely miserable I am. I do NOT like being sick.

6. One of my favorite things about Friday Night Lights binge watching is finding all the people from the show Parenthood in the cast.

7. I have not yet updated to iOS 8 because I learned a few years ago that updating my operating system on the first day of its release is a quick way to temporarily brick my phone. Maybe I am getting more patient with age.

8. Or maybe it’s just that I’m too busy trying to restore normal breathing through my nose.

9. How is it even Thursday already? Crazy how some weeks fly and some move so slowly. This one is flying – it’s been busy and productive and well, I’ve been sick for most of it, but still. Flying.

10. It’s getting chillier. The chill in the air makes me want to bake. Lemon squares, anyone?

Twenty

There’s something about realizing that twenty years ago right around now, I was just beginning my freshman year of college. I got a flash of memory lane over the past weekend when Chris and I made it to Ann Arbor for a Michigan football game (Go Blue!) – because twenty years ago, right about now, I was attending my first game at the Big House as a student there.

And I have a flash of that all being twenty years ago because my 20-year high school reunion is in two weeks and the invitation is sitting on the bookshelf in my bedroom and as of today I haven’t RSVP’d nor have I declined the invite.

They all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they’ve all made themselves a part of something and they can talk about what they do. What am I gonna say? “I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How’ve you been?”

I’m pretty sure I’m not going. I mean, originally, I was all, “Oh yeah, I’ll be there!” but now, I don’t think I’m going and the reason I’m pretty sure I’m not going is that the RSVP deadline passed two weeks ago and I’ve also ignored a text asking if I was going and I am filled with this…weirdness about it all. A weirdness that I am not even really sure comes from any reasonable place that I know, but I’m choosing to listen to it and to not ignore it, because I do know myself.

And I know from knowing myself the way that I know myself – whether my sense seems to have any rhyme or reason (or not), it is what it is.

Everybody’s coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.

I actually didn’t mind high school. I wasn’t a popular kid. I wasn’t bullied. I was a nice middle-of-the-road kid, good grades, nice to most. I’m guessing I didn’t register with enough people to be much disliked, though I guess I could be wrong. When I look back on those years, I am not filled with the dread or loathing that some have when they remember high school. It was…okay. I wasn’t tormented. I wasn’t miserable. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t wishing the years away.

Oh but how I couldn’t wait to fly away when it was all over – couldn’t wait to find my wings – couldn’t wait for life to start. While I was there, while I was in it – I enjoyed myself.

I passed notes in class. I made legendary index note cards for chemistry exams. I played the flute badly in band. I wore a scratchy peach dress in our high school’s performance of “Oklahoma!” It was a fate worse than death to be home on a Friday night. I went places. We drove around town, yelling “Beer!” if we passed a car with a headlight out (I later learned that most people say “pediddle”? I have no idea. It was what they did so I did). High school dances. Slipping notes in locker vents. At lunch eating square pizza seated at round tables.

I just find it amusing that you came from somewhere.

In the age of Facebook, I know how most everyone is doing. I know what they do for a living. I know if they’re married or not. How many kids they have. What sports teams they root for. What side they prefer when they’re taking their facebook profile selfie shot. If they have pets or not. If they like pumpkin spice or not. I know what sports their kids play. I know their political affiliation. I know who has heard of Snopes and who hasn’t.

In short? I know more about these people now than I ever did.

And many of us didn’t go far – I don’t mean that in the metaphorical “What have you done with your life?” way, but geographically? Most of us are STILL. FREAKING. HERE.

I went to my kids’ open houses – and ran into a good portion of my graduating class. And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing – but it seems to me that it used to be that reunions were to bring people together that lost touch and now? You can’t lose touch. Social media has you so extensively IN TOUCH that good luck trying to cut yourself off from the world.

Not that I mind. Because I like knowing what they’re up to and what they’re doing. I do.

But. Sigh.

Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater. Hey Jenny Slater.

And you would think, “You know these people. You went to school with them. You’re connected with them on Facebook! This should be fun!” But.

I’m still an introvert. I’m still socially awkward. I’m still me.

I am the me that – while I cannot imagine that there is anyone who harbors any lingering hatred towards me – also cannot fathom that there is anyone who would cross a room to speak to me. I have this vision of sitting at a table eating my overpriced plate of rubber chicken and not talking to anyone. And – that’s somewhat humiliating to admit. I’m not the type to cross a room to start conversations.

And say someone did approach me – how do I want to explain the years since I saw them last at our ten year reunion? Stabbing the President of Paraguay with a fork would be infinitely more amusing than the reality which is that life has happened since I saw them last – life with its ups and downs and divorce and job hunts and finding my way and finding a job and finally finding a little peace again and that’s awfully deep for a conversation over rubber chicken and it’s not a conversation I want to have with anyone. And I don’t want to talk about the weather.

Some people say forgive and forget. Nah, I don’t know. I say forget about forgiving and just accept. And… get the hell out of town.

I wish them all well. I do.

And maybe I’d feel differently if I hadn’t just seen over half of the expected attendees three weeks ago. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had a big personality and was less of a wallflower. Maybe I’d feel differently if I truly believed my glory days ended twenty years ago.

And so it goes.

I’m making other plans, plans that don’t involve rubber chicken and a cash bar. Plans that don’t involve sucking in my gut and forcing myself to stand up straighter for hours on end.

Maybe in ten more years I’ll feel up to it. Right now, I’ll just plan to get the hell out of town.