And that’s about when my brain melted

Have you ever started filling up  your kitchen sink to wash dishes (because your dishwasher is broken and every time you think you’re going to buy a new one, well, something else comes up and then you don’t get a dishwasher and you have to keep handwashing everything even though it makes you want to punch a manatee) and then walked away, completely forgetting what you were doing until you register the sound of the still running water and you glance over at the sink, the water dangerously close to the top of the basin?

Or you were pouring flour into a glass measuring cup and the flour crashed out of the jar in a huge glump and then the cup overflows – flour everywhere.

I don’t know what’s up with the kitchen analogies but essentially what I’m saying is this: these containers have a finite capacity to hold stuff. You try to put too much stuff in, and eventually – poof – stuff everywhere.

That’s…kind of where I am. Dangerously close to being an exploding bag of flour or overflowing sink.

And it’s not a great feeling.

My grandma died on Wednesday.

My mom called me on the drive to work – and in the span of ten minutes, I was on a roller coaster: the paramedics were on their third round of CPR and no response to… they had a pulse and grandma was on her way to ER.

Sobbing, I navigated through a dismal road construction bottleneck while sobbing to my coworker on Bluetooth, telling her I would not be into work. I arrived at the hospital the same time mom did, and we were immediately ushered into a family room

Not a good sign.

We waited for everyone to arrive.

There’s not much you can do in a moment like that. You sit, and you cry and you wait. You try to get ahold of family on the phone. You scroll Twitter and feel envious of the people who haven’t had their morning go completely astray. You check your email.

A ventilator was breathing for my grandmother and I was thinking about work and the things I would have to delegate to someone to get done and a teacher was emailing me about an award my daughter was being surprised with the next day at a ceremony I would be unable to attend because I was chaperoning my other daughter’s class trip.

The glass measuring jar. The overflowing sink.

One by one family arrived. The priest arrived. The doctor disconnected the ventilator and we watched as she took her last breaths.

We cried and we hugged and then we didn’t know what to do next and so most of us just went our separate ways.

That push and the pull of all of the obligations facing me in that moment, that’s what has replayed in my mind over the past few days. The moment when I realized that no matter what I did, I couldn’t possibly do all of the things when they needed to be done, to please all of the people.

It was also the moment when I realized: there’s just too much.

If you thought that this was going to be the kind of post that tells you how to overcome that, well, you thought wrong. I had this epiphany several days ago and I’m still pretty much a mess.

I don’t sleep well. My home office is filled with laundry that needs to be folded. There is a crockpot sitting on my counter that needs to be emptied of leftovers and scrubbed clean, but it’s the first time I’ve found to write in days, so I’m typing this post, eating Dots candy and watching the Food Network Star on Netflix. I only feel a little bit bad about that.

In trying to find peace, sometimes all I can see is the clutter on my bookshelves. I stress about work projects and problems that never come to be because I’ve just created some imaginary worst case scenario and beaten myself up over it…only to have it never happen.

I am an overflowing sink.

And I don’t know how to turn the water off.

The thing is, I suspect I’m not the only one. In fact, I know I’m not. And it’s a bit sad, I think, that so many of us are operating in this mode – this gogogogogogogogogogogogogogo mode of getting things done and running-running-running-gotta-get-it-done until we are about ready to collapse.

Until we are wide awake at three a.m. imagining awful things, pulled so far in every direction, feeling like we’re not succeeding anywhere.

Things are going to change. They have to. Because I cannot function like this anymore. My sink is overflowing and I’ve got to let some of this water out. Somehow. Someway. Soon.



no need to ask me why i’m so tired.

Thursday, 10:41 p.m.

5,981 steps on the Fitbit. I give up with this day. I don’t think I’m gonna try to make it to 10,000 and I’m just going to have to be okay with that. Slather coconut oil on my face – not sure whether it will give me pimples or moisturize out my wrinkles but I’m trying it because supposedly coconut oil is supposed to solve the world’s problems and one my problems is wrinkles. Big stupid wrinkles. Attempting to read a book while internally debating whether or not I should go down to the laundry room to get the clean sheets out of the basket. I love tightly tucked in clean sheets. Laziness wins.

Thursday, 11:17 p.m.

Eyes are heavy. I’ve maybe read three pages of my book. At this rate, I’ll never finish it. Everyone’s telling me that they’ve read it in one day, two days. I can’t seem to read more than a page at a time. Message Chris goodnight – I have to stick a fork in this day. I’m tired.

Friday, 3:58 a.m.

Ugh. Why am I even awake?

Friday, 6:00 a.m.

The alarm on my Fitbit goes off but I’ve been awake for several minutes already. TGIF. Not sure why I can’t sleep well – I was up again between 4 a.m. and now. I know I’m going to be tired later.

Friday, 6:07 a.m.

Down the hall to wake up the kids. Holy crap, they’re both awake already? That never happens. It’s our Doughnut Day – so we have to be out the door by 6:45 or we’re gonna be late.

Friday, 6:15 a.m.

Check the weather app: 1 degree, -14 wind chill. Ugh. What do you even wear when it’s so cold? Back to the drawing board – and into the closet: LAYERS LAYERS LAYERS.

Friday, 6:27 a.m.

Ready to go and downstairs to hurry kids and to eat breakfast. I don’t like doughnuts so I get coffee when the girls and I go – this means I need to quick scarf down some breakfast. Mental note: remember to put money in Pumpkin’s hot lunch account.

Friday, 6:46 a.m.

Last night’s dishes are washed (I miss having a functioning dishwasher!) and the laundry is in the dryer. The Princess can’t find her flats that she needs to wear for her chorale festival today. I offer her mine – which she grudgingly steps into and then her eye spots her own flats tucked away. And…yep. We’re not getting out the door on time.

Friday, 7:02 a.m.

Getting out the door behind schedule means that now we’re stuck in the 7 a.m. Starbucks rush. The line in front of us is filled with teenagers ordering Frappucinos. It’s -14 out there, kids? WHY ARE YOU DRINKING MILKSHAKES? Then again, I spy a pair of cropped pants and boat shoes, so clearly if they’ve checked the weather app, they just absolutely don’t care. Teenagers. They’re not the sharpest sticks in the eye, are they?

Friday, 7:23 a.m.

Drop off the Princess at school – she’s supposed to get on a bus for festival in seven minutes so I’m not entirely late. Right? Gorgeous to watch the sun come up on the drive. Deep breath in. Snap a picture on the way. I’ll post it to Instagram once I get to work.

Friday, 7:33 a.m.

Pumpkin is back at home with my stepdad who will get her on the bus in an hour. I’m ON MY WAY. Hoping that there will be a new podcast to listen to on the drive, but all I have is 14 episodes of NPR Fresh Air, none of them catching my interest this morning.

Friday, 8:06 a.m.

Greeted this morning with an email that set me in motion and set my teeth on edge. Could well be a day of clock-watching (and not just because I’ve given myself this assignment of…watching the clock.)

Friday, 9:04 a.m.

Send Chris a good morning text. It’s one of my favorite rituals – to wish him a good morning and to message him goodnight at the end of the day. I usually say hi earlier than this. Gearing up for a 9:15 conference call – it was supposed to start at 9 but someone is stuck in traffic somewhere so… the train is now off the tracks.

Friday, 9:12 a.m.

Check email — ooh, World Market. Spanish Wine Sale. Mmmm. Wine. This DAY.

Friday, 9:59 a.m.

Quickly eat a granola bar at my desk after the conference call wraps up. Email my sister plans for tomorrow for my niece’s birthday. Next thing, next thing. Grammar check with a co-worker – subject/verb agreement can be tricky and I’m not trusting my brain anymore. Need to wrap this up so I can move on to drafting an invitation for a client event.

Friday, 10:13 a.m.

My coworker gives me a gold star. Probably because I’m not yet crying.

Friday, 11:19 a.m.

Just realized I missed a text the Princess sent 40 minutes ago. Ah, Mother of the Year. They did well at their Chorale Festival! Yay!

Friday, 11:28 a.m.

I’ve had to pee for about two hours now. Am I going to go? Maybe after I save this file and get it sent.

Friday, 11:44 a.m.

I give up. I can’t keep holding it. I’m going to give myself a bladder infection.

Friday, 12:23 p.m.

Drinking a chalky Special K Protein Shake while updating a client’s website. My Fitbit is showing 1,900 steps. I’ve hardly moved today. Talk through a project, vent a little. I think it may be time to walk away from my desk for awhile.

Friday, 12:34 p.m.

Coat, scarf, hat, gloves. Go for a walk. I don’t want to be outside, but I know the fresh air will help. Where on earth did the morning go? Spot a sign for my old employer and opt to not take a picture to send them for use on their social media sites – it was cool exposure. I’m sure they’re aware of it. They do get involved with some cool projects.

Friday, 1:24 p.m.

I’m at 6,608 steps. That’s more like it.I feel slightly less stubby and now I’m on the downhill slope of the day. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Friday, 1:44 p.m.

Bless the coworker who brings in cookies.

Friday, 2:31 p.m.

“No one’s greater than you.” A client tells me that as we wrap up our call – not sure whether she means it or not, truly, but I’ll take it. I really do love to do good work and I’m glad when clients are happy with what I’ve done. We’ve been busting our butt to get a lot accomplished this week – them AND me – so sometimes, we need a win.

Friday, 3:01 p.m.

A west coast vendor delivered something that was completely wrong and then went to lunch. I need them to come back, to fix it. Email. Leave a voice mail. Have a minor heart attack.

Friday, 3:38 p.m.

Seriously, folks, come back from your lunch hour. Email a second person from the same company.

Friday, 4:06 p.m.

Oh my freakin’ goodness. It’s fixed. I’m not usually one to wig out on vendors – I like to be a good client – but that one was threatening to make me grouchy. Relax, Sarah. Eat another cookie.

Friday, 4:36 p.m.

Is there a limit to how many emails I can have open at once? So far…no. Daydreaming of eating potstickers for dinner with Pumpkin. The Princess will be at a friend’s so it’ll be just me and my youngest. I look forward to breathing again.

Friday, 5:11 p.m.

Out the door – but only because I need to get my hair cut at 5:30. No way I’ll get there on time. My laptop in tow, I’m sure I’ll be working again later.

Friday, 5:45 p.m.

Of course I’m late. I made the mistake of having someone different cut my hair last time. I hate it. Lesson learned. Never stray from good hair people.

Friday, 6:25 p.m.

Get home and scramble for a picture of the day before it gets dark outside. Not a whole lot of luck. Order Chinese food. Whoooohooo! I’m up to 7,506 steps. I may just make it after all. Eat a slice of stale beer bread while logging into work laptop. I barely left an hour ago but I need to get some information to a client. This is why my hair is gray. I miss Chris. This week has been a tough one and days are better when I get to see him. Updating Inbox. Those words are scary. Will it be one message or dozens? Fortunately… just a handful.
275 | 365 - March 6, 2015

Friday, 7:11 p.m.

Home with dumplings and the shoes are FINALLY off. The dog ate Pumpkin’s Thirty-One thermal lunch tote so before we can eat, I need to resolve the tantrum AND message a friend who sells Thirty-One to see if by chance she’s got any replacement totes on hand that I could buy.

Friday, 8:25 p.m.

A friend texts from Opryland and I miss all of my bloggy friends. Logging off the work laptop for the night and would love to be sharing margaritas with them. Pumpkin is watching a movie while I work. I cave and FINALLY make my bed. Clean sheets. There’s something to look forward to at the end of this day. Sit with my kiddo on the sofa.

Friday, 8:58 p.m.

Text from The Princess. The next door neighbor is coming over to pick up her frosting piping tip. Can I go look for it? I find it.

Friday, 9:44 p.m.

Whoa. Kiddo is sleeping. Can it be…that this day is almost over? Let the dog out one last time for the night and grab my laptop and head upstairs. I fell asleep watching episode 3 of House of Cards the other night. May be time to try again.

Friday, 10:23 p.m.

Oh Universe, what are you even trying to tell me? Run a bath and the water’s lukewarm. After two minutes, I just…couldn’t do it. Too cold. Sigh. Sometimes the water is scalding, sometimes, lukewarm. I give up. Pajamas on, Netflix on, and jogging in place to hit 10,000. I got there. Didn’t think I would.  I think…I give up. May just let the lull of Kevin Spacey’s lazy southern drawl put me to sleep. Crawl in bed, headphones on, House of Cards episode 3.

Friday, 11:23 p.m.

Time to wash my face. Brush my teeth. Attempt to get rid of wrinkles with a layer of coconut oil. What a day. Thinking of all I didn’t do today – I never did put lunch money in Pumpkin’s account. I forgot to call my ENT to get a copy of my medical records. The dishes from dinner are still sitting in the sink. I meant to clean off my chipped nail polish. But I made it. I made it though the day. Can’t wait to lay my head on this pillow and nestle in my clean sheet tightly-tucked burrito bed.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Aloha, 2014. Aloha, 2015.

295 | 365

I wasn’t sure what to expect last year at this time. 2013 was truly a struggle and I felt every pang of it in the core of my being by the time December rolled around. I felt so defeated – and then along comes January and my part time job was cut altogether and my job hunt, already pretty aggressive, became frenzied. I cried a lot in January. I busted my ass interviewing and applying for jobs and networking, all the while training my former coworkers… and crying a lot.

I didn’t have much hope for 2014. I didn’t.

I had my kids, I had Chris,  my family —  but I was sure that I’d be living in a cardboard box somewhere by the time the snow finally thawed in spring.

I was pretty angry at 2014 already.

(I got a new nephew in the midst of the job hunt. It was a saving grace, for sure.)

My expectations for the year were pretty low.

I don’t mind saying that – they were low. I just wanted to survive this year.

Instead, i feel like… I may be on my way to more than just getting by.

A new job, a paycheck, routine.

An unexpected need for a new car (love my Prius, hate my car payment)

It was a step forward, two back.

But here at the end of it I think – I am doing this. I can do this.

They say it takes a woman five years after a divorce to get back on her feet financially. I’m not sure who they is, but a former co-worker told me that statistic, said it was true for her when going through her divorce. It hasn’t been five years, but I’m hopeful that 2015 is the year that I wipe out any doubt that I can get back on my feet, that I will stand on my own two feet. I hope to finish paying off all that stuff that accumulated during those first few months (the debt made worse by a thousand dollar vet bill from the night that my dog barfed and barfed and barfed for so many hours, over and over, that I ended up at the emergency vet ready to give them all of my money that I didn’t have just so they could make my dog well again).

Yeah. All of that. It’s almost gone.

I did it.

Without all of the love and encouragement I received from the people who love me, I don’t know that things would have gone as they did. But I was lifted and carried and encouraged and embraced during the darkest moments and somehow along the way, I found light.

I still have a ways to go.

But now I believe I can get there.

I am grateful that 2014 was gentler on me than the previous year.

What are my hopes for 2015?

I don’t dare to have big hopes – not because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and for things to turn to crap – but because I still don’t know how to think bigger than one foot in front of the other.

Last year at this time, I was in deprivation mode – fearful of spending money, fearful of losing everything. Yesterday, I impulsively ordered three pair of yoga pants in an Old Navy athletic wear sale. I probably won’t lose sleep over the purchase, either. That’s…huge. It may not sound huge, but compared to the fear that enveloped me earlier in the year, it’s really freaking huge.

I will keep working towards those moments of smoothing out the rough edges – of finding peace where I’ve been stressed, of breathing easy when I once was filled with chaos.

I’ll try to drink more water. Exercise consistently. Find a bit more peace with my body even though hey, I’m aging and I don’t super love the effect it’s having on my waistline. I’ll continue to love my Fitbit and strive to hit my step goal more often than not. I’ll aim to officially set aside money to travel – I don’t know that travel is in the stars for 2015 – but I want to start making plans for travel. I would love to make it a point to spend more time with friends – it’s tough – my schedule is chaos and most of my friends are moms – it’s hard to find time to connect, but I’ve realized lately that I’ve missed that – missed having time to talk with friends and maybe I need to redefine what that time looks like – perhaps it’s not, let’s go out for dinner – perhaps it’s come sit on my couch and talk awhile, you bring the wine and I’ll bake some cookies. I was able to spend time with friends this year – but… not enough. I live in a town that makes me feel isolated, and I need to push through that – because the town isn’t going to change, so I must. I want more of what was good in 2014 – so I hope 2014 has a trip to Traverse City in the stars, perhaps a new bottle of something great that we’ll bring home to share.

In 2015, I’ll turn 39.

I’m gonna have to come to grips with the age thing. Or start. Because holy hell, 40 is coming and I have a feeling I will need more than a year to steel myself against the punch in the face I’m afraid 40 is going to be.

But this is supposed to be a positive thing. So.

I have my eyes open to 2015. I have no idea what is ahead, only that I am allowing myself to feel hope again and that is encouraging to me, and that makes my heart feel better coming into a new year than I have felt in awhile.

I’m still scared of what’s ahead – I think that’s just my nature – but I also believe that I can overcome any of the bad stuff — and I’m starting to let myself believe that maybe it won’t all be bad.

There’s something good up ahead for me.

I’m going to try to let myself believe it.

Goodbye 2014.

Hello 2015. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

“In Hawaii, don’t they use aloha for like, hello and goodbye?”
“Yeah, so?”
“So if you’e on the phone with somebody and they won’t stop talking how do you get them off because you say, “Okay take care, aloha’ don’t they start over again?”

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.


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.

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?

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?”

“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?


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: Potholes or Po-tholes Edition

1. The Princess said a kid in one of her classes mispronounced the word “potholes” as “puh-tholes” and now that’s what I think when I’m driving, “Gah, I hope these poTHOLES don’t mess with my tires!” Related: holy freaking potholes, Michigan.

2. Expecting temperatures above freezing – FINALLY – soon and I am glad. I’m so tired of being cold. Also, I’d love for some of this snow to be gone.

3. Song I’m in love with this week? Sara Bareilles, “I Choose You.”

4. Nearly two weeks in to my new job and so far? I think it’s going okay. I still hate feeling like I’ve got that “new kid smell” (er, or somethin’…), but I think this is gonna be okay.

5. Glad to have my favorite lens home.
we may pass violets looking for roses

6. I’m never going to be one of those people who thinks Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong, but I admit I felt a bit of a kinship when I saw her trip over an orange traffic cone on the Oscar red carpet. I would SO do that. If they let me anywhere near the red carpet.

7. Pumpkin is working on a book report for school and she’s so excited about the project. I love when teachers can craft an assignment that makes kids genuinely enthusiastic about the project. Granted, my kids are readers – so no great challenge there – but they’ve created a cool project alongside the reading and she’s been hard at work on it already…and it’s not due for three more weeks.

8. The thing about working full time is OH MY GOD WHEN WILL I HAVE TIME TO CLEAN MY HOUSE? (I realize that there are some of you in that school of, “Your kids are only young once and let the house be messy and there will be time to clean when they’ve moved out” and yeah, that’s basically what I’m doing now, living in clutter and instead of spending time cleaning, I’m spending time with my kids but y’all? This is not gonna fly. I don’t like mess.)

9. I miss guitar lessons.

10. I have been told a few times in the past few days that I look happier than I have in awhile, and I am I am I am but whoa nelly, I’m tired. Adjusting is tough stuff. Can’t wait until life feels a bit more routine than it does right now. If you have any tips for work and life balance, lemme know in the comments.


And so a new chapter is set to begin.

263 | 365

I haven’t been sleeping well – a fact that boggles my mind because I thought that now that I had eliminated a bit of the fear, my brain could quiet – if only temporarily – and my body could just blissfully rest and recoup from the past several months of uncertainty.

Turns out, that’s not how my brain works.

And I’m not really sure what it is keeping me up these days – aside from massive gusts of wind slamming into my house – perhaps I’m going to be operating from this place until I have the first day (week, month?) under my belt and I am in a groove and not in a place of the unknown.

I have no idea.

What I know is that a year ago, I was told my job would be cut to part time. It was then I really started looking for new work.

Last July, my hours were cut to 24 hours a week.

Just a few short weeks ago, I was told my job would be eliminated altogether.

And even as little as a week ago I had no idea just how long I could possibly be without a paycheck.

It’s been hard the past several months.

Chris told me yesterday how well I had done keeping my head up and remaining positive – and part of me (a big part) was incredulous because I don’t feel I did well with that at all. I felt like I was constantly on the verge of completely falling apart. To interview and interview and interview and have nothing happen. To want to work and do good work and have your job eliminated in a budget meeting. It has been HARD.

That it came down to having two offers presented to me on one day is absolutely mind boggling and I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that washed over me just getting that first phone call letting me know that an offer would be forthcoming. I knew then, no matter what happened at that next interview – I still had a reasonable solution. And when the second offer rolled in, I was absolutely gobsmacked.

I still am.

I know I know my stuff. I know I have value and worth. But a year of job hunting does some not so nice things to one’s psyche. You can start to feel unhireable. Worthless. Like a fraud. It’s awful.

And to be battling those negative feelings of worthlessness on top of wondering just how you are going to support two kids when you DO NOT HAVE A JOB…well, that kind of sleeplessness makes sense. Why am I not sleeping now?

I chose a job. I start Monday.

I am still amazed when I think about it – that everything that’s been hanging over my head will soon be shaken free. I will have a very nearly clean slate. It’s both a huge relief and it’s tremendously shocking at the same time. During a time when I’ve struggled so much for so long, I now get to let some of that go. It was feeling like I would never be able to.

I don’t even know what to do with myself.

Brene Brown has this concept she talks about, foreboding joy.

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience,” Brown says. “And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”

Dress rehearsing tragedy, she explains, is imagining something bad is going to happen when in reality, nothing is wrong.

I caught myself doing just that today.

And because I now have a job and I have no immediate need to worry about all of the things I was worrying about, instead, my brain leapt to some virtually impossible catastrophic scenario, not unlike some crappy save-the-world action movie starring Bruce Willis. I mean, what is that even about?!

I have been on high-alert for so long that I’m not really sure what to do with myself now that the immediate worry is gone. It’s my hope that I will adjust to what is a new normal, and I’ll be able to get myself on track, enjoy my clean slate and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop…but it turns out that it may just take me a bit of time.

On Monday morning, less than two weeks after walking out of one office for the very last time as an employee, I’ll walk into a new office and I’ll begin. Hopefully as I adjust, I’ll be able to sleep again. I am hopeful that my new normal is one of getting by, and maybe even doing better than just getting by.

I’ll stop being afraid and start enjoying the moment I’m in.

I can’t wait.

I may not have any money but at least my butt will look better in jeans.

160 | 365

It’s been at least a week since I’ve had to resist cookie temptation at an office birthday party. Nearly a week since I’ve been held captive at a desk, chained to my chair all day. A week tomorrow, actually. A week since it was too cold to go outside during lunch so I stayed in AGAIN at my desk or reading in a chair tucked away in a corner.

I hate hate hate not having a job, not having a paycheck.

But y’all? I’m so busy.

Granted, I haven’t relaxed hardly at all this week. I haven’t truly relaxed since Chris and I went out of town for a few days and there was wine (see that picture?) and Game of Thrones and all of the napping (who knew I was so tired?).

But even though I’m hanging around the house, I find my days full.

Perhaps they are so full because idle time scares me a bit – I don’t want to think about things. And so to avoid stress I make these lists of things for myself to do.

Laundry, menu planning, grocery shopping, shovel snow, touch up paint on a mirror.

Chris mentioned running a 10K this spring and so the past few days, I’ve started to incorporate some running on the treadmill into my routine. I forgot how much running makes my muscles sing. It makes me absolutely miserable while I’m doing it, for sure, but I feel the fatigue in my legs – nearly every muscle, I feel it in my abs. I’d forgotten. And with these hours stretching long each day, I have time to spend a bit more quality time with my treadmill than I might have before.

It feels…good.

The past few months, and this past month in particular, have been brutal for me, stress wise. And it’s manifesting itself in weird stupid ways, one of them being my inability to resist an office birthday party cookie and my decreased likelihood of getting my ass out of my cubicle for 8.5 hours a day and so…

This movement, this productivity, feels like something even if that something isn’t going to keep a roof over my head.

I was able to run an extra tenth of a mile in my allotted time today – just a tiny bit more than Saturday but still, it’s progress.

The exertion feels good. The muscle ache feels good.

I hope that this period of unemployment is short lived. Interviews are lined up and I keep applying for work (OY DO I KEEP APPLYING FOR WORK). I hope that something comes of all of this soon.

And I hope when it does, I remember how good it feels to move like this, to challenge myself.

I hope I get to the point where I can actually run 10K.

Silver linings. How do they work? But that’s what I’m calling this, these fabulously sore muscles. A silver lining. Because otherwise, I dunno, I’d have to focus on that whole not having a job thing.

And now from the land of limbo

158 | 365

It has been a chaotic and emotional ride these last few weeks and now that I’m in the home stretch, I feel a bit of relief mixed in with a great deal of WTF-ness.

It’s strange.

I drove in to the office for the last time today and I sit at my desk flipping through tabs on my internet browsers, hoping something will catch my eye. A note to potential future employers – usually I’m very much a “get things done” kinda person. But I did. I got things done and now there’s nothing left and so I wait for my exit interview this afternoon, after which I can walk out the door and figure out what the next phase in my life might bring.

I really have no clue.

What I know is this:

I have gotten through 100% of everything life has thrown my way thus far. None of it has killed me. All of it, I’ve made it through. This won’t be any different.

I keep reminding myself of this because right now it doesn’t feel that way at all. I feel hopeless and terrified and oh the uncertainty keeps me awake at night, and really that’s just an awful way to live. But I will. Live, that is.

I am bigger than all of this.

There will be new opportunities.

I am going to find a place where my awesome matches their need for awesome.

The other night, my daughter spelled out “Be Okay” in soup noodles on the counter, a nod to one of our favorite Ingrid Michaelson songs. It was a reminder, and a bit of hope, and a cheer from my kid on the sidelines letting me know that I would be. Maybe not today. Today, I sit at my desk eating delicious flaky pan au chocolat that a co-worker brought in to the office, I have shuffled paper around and I am clock watching. Today, what I want is to get home, put on my workout clothes and mock Jillian Michaels while doing the Shred (and thus fooling myself into believing I’ve worked off this pastry), “Why do we work small muscles with the big ones? Because they don’t burn enough calories on their own.” (Raise your hand if you’ve got all Jillian’s Shred banter memorized.)

I chose to make today my last day because the longer I sit here, the longer I remain in limbo. I’m ready for the next phase. I’d like the next phase to start now, please.

This economy is such that my case isn’t an oddity. This kind of stuff happens to people all the time. I wish it didn’t because it sucks. But here I sit.

Watching the clock.

Waiting for my new beginning.

Oh no! We’ve got to go through it.

152 | 365

I am coming up to my last days in the office and I am getting through as best I can – digging deep to find what I need to get through it all. A little patience, a little hope, a little something.

These are the times when I want to give up, tell them they’re on their own, turn my back. Ride out the days, not help them along, not train my coworkers to do my jobs after I go.

I want to leave them hanging but I can’t.

I don’t have to like this, and I don’t, however, I’m trying to rise above and maintain grace.

It means that I came home and sat in the dark for awhile. It means that sometimes I want to cry or break stuff. It means that I dropped the f-bomb in the office today at random times more than I have over the past few years.

But I will do what needs to be done.

I will leave with my head held high.

I was sent a chain letter email thing from a friend this evening and while I usually ignore them, I stuck to it this time because its point was to send the next person on the list an uplifting quote or poem. After some thought, I sent a line from the children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.”

We can’t get over it,
We can’t get under it,
Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

So that’s what I’m doing.

Just trying to get through it.

One step in front of the other and work my way through until it’s over. I’m ready for this to be over.

Rage Against the (Snow Removal) Machine

Sometimes I wonder if it will ever stop snowing.

This winter has been relentless – both emotionally and weather-wise.

I am still reeling from finding out on Wednesday that my job is being eliminated due to budget cuts. My boss and the director of human resources sat me down, they complimented me on my sweater, how it made me a ray of sunshine or some such, and then told me that sorry but this is how it goes sometimes and la la la la la it was hard to focus after that because as much as I’d love to go completely stoic, I’m just not built that way. My eyes flooded with tears and my brain was instantly slammed by what I was hearing.

I was handed a bottle of water. “Take a sip, it’ll help.” I couldn’t see then, and still can’t, for that matter – how on earth water was going to help me? What could it possibly do to fix anything? I awkwardly took the water after being urged once more, “Be sure you drink some of that.”

It’s been a crazy few days since. I’ve been hoping, actually, to have time to truly process it – to truly just stop and just BE and pout a little if I want to, cry a little if I want to, bury myself under the covers if I need to. One thing after another has conspired to keep me from having a proper mope – a false alarm with my sister at the hospital, the kids not having school Friday, and then a weekend of mom’ing.

And Saturday morning, I woke up to this.

147 | 365

In the midst of winter storm warnings, we had blizzard like weather – with not much new accumulation (I don’t think) but a lot of blowing and drifting snow. When I opened my garage on Saturday morning this is the sight I was met with – a drift that was at least a foot tall, probably closer to two (And oh, how I wish I’d measured it).

I scooped a pile of snow and the shovel was heavy with the weight of the wet snow. I turned around and went inside.

I can’t do this, I said.

I bitched about winter on Facebook a little.

“You need a snowblower,” some genius commented on my status.

Admittedly, my hackles were immediately raised.

Oh really? So, that’s how you get rid of snow? A snow blower? Is that what I need?

I don’t need a snow blower. I need a job.

Disposable income? What’s that?

OH. A SNOW BLOWER. I hear they’re giving those away with Happy Meals now.

As if you could understand.

I don’t want to be angry and I don’t want to be bitter, but I am a little angry and I am sort of bitter and frankly I found the comment to be so irritating that I bundled up in two pairs of pants, my grandpa’s flannel, boots, hat, scarf and gloves and I went back outside and I pushed through it until my whole damn driveway was nearly clear. And when my brother-in-law arrived as the local road crews were burying the end of my driveway in sludge, I graciously accepted his help and we finished the shoveling.

I don’t need a snow blower.

I am strong. And I’m capable.

I may hate the cold. I may hate the snow. I may hate shoveling. I may be recovering from being sick.


And I did it thinking of that smug woman and her “You need a snowblower” sitting in her home while her husband undoubtedly took care of her driveway and I finished it proud of myself.

(Still angry, though)

This morning, I cleared out the three new inches of fresh powdery snow in a -8° windchill. By the time I made it back inside, my body was numb. Despite my gloves, I couldn’t feel my hands. “I hurt, I hurt, I hurt, I hurt…” I kept repeating over and over until I was able to regain feeling in my fingers.

I hate winter.

This Polar Vortex garbage is lurking on the horizon again and we’re looking at another week with bone-chilling temperatures. I cannot take it anymore. Every winter makes me want to move to California again – this winter more than most.

I want to escape the cold. I want to escape the snow.

I want to escape the helplessness I feel – helpless because I’m losing my job, helpless because finding a new one is proving to be dang near impossible, helpless because I can’t run away from it all. I’m here. And I have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other.

“You need a snowblower,” was just one more thing.

As though problems are so easily solved. As though one can know what any one else is enduring. As though the answer is to always take the easy way, the way that is the least work, the one that allows you to push through without the back-breaking, muscle-aching, sweat-dripping, snow-slinging WORK.

I’d love to take the easy way.

Who wouldn’t?

But since I can’t, I’ve got my shovel out. May take me awhile to get it all cleared out…but I’m told that I will and I’ll just have to believe it.