Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing drives me crazy. It has followed me around my whole life; it hangs behind me like a shadow. I always have something that is The Next Big Thing: graduation, finding a new job, moving, etc. There is always- always- something on the horizon. As a military kid, this sometimes loomed around moving and almost always involved the next school break. As an adult, it started with college and continued to be the next move and the next job. I have moved cities and/or states ten times in my life, and multiple times within the state and/or city. I'm tired of that, y'all.
 
The problem with The Next Big Thing is that I never really feel like I am "living life." I generally have a feeling of being unsettled, like there is constantly something in the works or needing to be planned and budgeted. I have some friends my age that just seem to be "living life." They are working in their jobs and not looking for new ones. Living in their homes and not thinking about where to move in a year. They have friends and connections- they have roots, y'all. ROOTS.
 
I really hope we are entering a season in our lives of root-growing. I'm not sure how I will feel if I live in a place for longer than a few years because I haven't done it since 2003. Although, it does seem that my mom copes by rearranging her furntiure every six months or so. I'd really like to just live here and not move and just be connected for a nice long time. SA feels like home to me and it's great to be home. When we first got here, it felt like vacation because we are staying at my mom's house. Now that I've been here for a few weeks, it feels like the opposite- like I just got home from a long vacation, or a mission trip to a land without dishwashers, garbage disposals, and washer/dryer hookups (except for the outreach part, I didn't really do that much).
 
I am an axious person by nature and constantly having The Next Big Thing on my shoulder like fat baby wears me down. I am weary from basing so many decisions on how they will affect The Next Big Thing. I'd like to just settle in grow some roots. I haven't really considered having a baby to be The Next Big Thing because it just feels like root-growing: creating a small dimpled and sassy life to love and nurture and grow.
 
It's good to be back. I am a Happy Girl.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Un-Relocation Part 1

We're Home, Y'all! Last week was very hectic and busy and stressful and I am so glad it's done. We only have a few more hurdles to tackle before we're settled and I am really ready to knock those out soon. 

Stress 1, 2, and 3 were completing all the packing, working with the movers and cleaning, and then getting to the hotel in NY. Packing is rotten no matter what, so we just had to power through that. We had really great movers that were very fast, polite, and friendly. I'm not sure why but having the movers take care of our stuff gave me a lot of anxiety. I kept expecting them to say they could accept a box or for the bottom to fall out of one. We were treated very well and I'd recommend  that local moving company to anyone in the city. Getting to the hotel required moving all our suitcases and I could write five whole paragraphs about why that was complicated. I'll spare you the details; if you'd really like to hear about it, text me.

Stress 4 was the actual flight which was uneventful except for getting to the airport too early, having a long layover, and then a delay. Flying and being in an airport all day isn't exciting but when I consider the miracle of sitting in a tube and flying through the air, I normally don't complain too much.

Stress 5 was buying a new car. When we left SA, we knew that if we ever came back we would have to consider the cost of a new car. I really really hate buying cars. I always feel a bit swindled and unsure if I have haggled enough or if I should have looked at three dealerships or ten. I know I brag a lot but I can't even tell you what a comfort it was to have Yankee with me and know I am not alone in this kind if thing. He is so smart and makes so many choices with the welfare if our family in mind. As I did before, I'll spare you the details of buying the car unless you really want to hear them. We found a very nice Camry and I am so glad to have this stressor out of my mind.

Next up, we will be apartment shopping and waiting for our goods to be delivered. The we will have to unpack and settle in. I really feel like we have reached the peak of the stress and we are on the downswing. I do hope so.

Next time, I'll tell y'all my ideas about living life and why I am tired of counting down for the Next Big Thing. I am really looking forward to seeing our friends and getting reconnected. We just need a few days to tackle these milestones and then I'll be calling everyone for coffee and/or meals.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Very Valiente Un-Relocation

Today is our last full day in New York. We fly out tomorrow afternoon but because it's a holiday weekend and traffic is rotten in New York under ideal circumstances, we are leaving our hotel mid-morning. Yesterday the water was off in our apartment all day so I filled up cups of water very early and used them for cleaning after the movers left. Today we are going back for one quick review to make sure we didn't leave anything behind and then we're turning in the keys. 
 
This version of relocation feels very different than all my others. I have lived from top-to-bottom, left-to-right in this country, with several different versions of family. I have moved alone, I have moved with several people, I have moved with one person. This is my tenth major move; 80% of those have been military-related. Even though I watched the movers yesterday and hugged co-workers two days ago, and I am currently sitting in a hotel room, it doesn't feel real. It doesn't feel like I will actually be back in SA in less than 48 hours.
 
So here is the plan, y'all: we are going to stay with my parents for a few weeks while we car and apartment shop. If all the stars align, we will find a car, then an apartment, then our goods will be delivered by the end of September. The Yankee will start his job and I will continue doing the same thing for the same company from my own home office (my dream come true). Then we will find the *perfect* dresser, bed frame, and entertainment stand. Then we will conceive the most beautiful bi-racial , dimpled, slightly-sassy, allergy-free baby and I will have an uneventful pregnancy.
 
When we moved to NY, I imagined that I would be blogging regularly with photos of the Yankee and myself living a "You've Got Mail" kind of life. That didn't happen, obviously. There are so many things we really love about this city and others than we really hate. We are leaving with no regrets and considering this adventure "Mission Accomplished." We met a lot of our goals and had an absolute blast doing a lot of things here. I am so glad we moved here and so glad to have met the people we met, eaten the food we've eaten, hosted guests, visited places/cities/landmarks, and worked the jobs we had. I am very excited about connecting with my friends in SA and spending hours and hours with our families.
 
I am a Happy Girl.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Work and The Bigger Picture

I have not written a blog post in months. What have I been doing, you ask? Living in Crazy Town, that's what. In January, my role at work changes focus to include more data reporting. At that time, we started ramping up for a merger, then did a layoff, followed by the sale of a business unit. All of that requires my department to calculate costs a variety of ways, compile letters,and manage the process from start to end. My new role included doing various parts of that - and a daily ticket to Crazy Town.
 
Since January ended, there have been a string of very stressful things happening at work. In times of stress and chaos, it may be tempting to drive your focus to only that one thing. Eliminate everything else, ignore things at home, stop seeing people, and buckle down and work. Sometimes this is helpful (finals, rehearsing, giving birth, etc); other times this idea just amplifies the stress because you've eliminated everything fun and put yourself into a sensory deprivation tank. I tend to do this a lot and I have since I was in college.
 
January was such a crazy month. I worked 60-70 hours a week and worked evenings and weekends from home. I genuinely needed to work all that time because there were so many new things coming my way that is took me a long time to grasp it all. That kind of focus and intense energy is not sustainable, however. In my case, the hair around my temples started to fall out, which happens when I am under great stress. When that starts to grow out in three months, I am going to have baby wings coming off my head. FML.
 
I keep hearing at work that I don't understand The Bigger Picture. This makes me batshit crazy. Sometimes I hear this phrased as though I am ignoring The Bigger Picture. The problem with being at this point in my career is that I know enough to work with a large degree of autonomy but I don't know what I don't know- and I don't know that I didn't know it until I find out I should have known it. How do you know to ask a question if you don't know there is a question that needs asking in the first place. This is my plight lately. I don't know how to grasp The Bigger Picture when I can't see the picture itself- ya know? Is that too much imagery? Maybe...
 
This sort of piling stress makes me feel like all I do is work; thankfully, there have been some nice breaks here and there. My family came to visit, which is a chaotic kind of fun itself. I have one brother who is married with four kids. They came, along with my parents, for a week. We also went to a Yankee game and we have enjoyed some thoroughly lazy weekends while the trains in our neighborhood stopped running for four weekends in a row. There are few things as nice as just being home with my guy, being pig-lazy and in love. 
 
I don't know exactly what the summer will hold as my company prepares for ths merger. Discussing matters of work on a blog is tricky because many companies have policies saying you can't do that, as mine does. I have been really stressed this whole year and I feel like I am going to buckle if one more thing comes along. I have a tendency to enjoy being The Girl Who Can Be Counted On until one day I have a freak out and become The Girl Who Doesn't Have Her Shit Together. This morning I decided that I'd rather just have my shit together and be helpful and add value here at work. I'd rather not  be the freak out lady. For the record, I normally make this decision on a quarterly basis, usually after The Yankee and I discuss my personal appearance, which I have neglected because I am too stressed.  
 
I hope all is well where you are and thank you for reading.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eating from the Pantry is BS

Have you heard of a "No Shop Week" or an "Eat from the Pantry Week"? As the name implies, you skip doing big shopping for a week and eat the stash of food already in your panry/cupboards. The Yankee and I tried this idea this week and for us, it was a bad idea.
 
I decided to really committ to this and use all the freezer, fridge, and cupboard food we have and only buy a few fresh items to stretch. Bad. Bad idea. Bad. First, we ended up eating some boring food. That's to be expected when you're hitting up staples, I guess. It was a lot of beans and rotel and basically everything tasted the same. Yawn.
The biggest problem we're facing now is that we are totally wiped out and have to restock everything, which means buying a whole lotta meat and replacing our staples. If we only buy what we need for the week, then we won't be prepared for an emergency- which is the whole reason for keeping your pantry stocked anyway! We had a smaller grocery bill last week but now it is way higher than normal this week. It has also been snowing here since I woke up this morning and now I have to go to the grocery store and find something for dinner.
 
I think that unless you have a really big stash or are really having a financial pinch, the "eat from the pantry" idea isn't a good idea. If your cupboards have rows of cans and bags and you think foods are getting close to expiring, then this might be a good idea. Of course, if you are having an emergency (whether financial or weather-related), then this is exactly the reason your pantry is stocked. But if you aren't in either of these categories, I'm not sure how well this will work.
 
The Yankee and I are back in a our food-rut and I confess that I have found myself less than prepared for a lot of things lately. I haven't been making meal plans, I haven't been making my usual life lists, and I haven't been planning my time well at all. I spent a  lot of time in 2010 trying to become more proactive and it seems like I have gotten complacent. This has been weighing on my mind a lot lately and as much as my brain is resisting the need to get a bit more organized, I know I need to do it. For me, this "eat from the pantry" business was tempting because I thought I would have to get creative to make interesting food from what we have; in the end though, you can only do so much with beans, rotel, and tomato sauce.
 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

When It Isn't Working: the desk

There are a few things I feel strongly about in my home- no, I have a lot of things I feel strongly about, but not all of them relate to this post. I prefer to declutter before I organize, I like to be prepared, and I really don't like to keep appliances plugged in unless it is critical (stove, refrigerator, cable box, etc). I unplug my coffee maker if I am not using it, we don't keep our chargers plugged in unless we are charging, and I keep my printer unplugged except for the rare occasion that I print something.

When The Yankee and I got married, we had a mish mash of office supplies that I kept in a series of tubs and bins (bad solution). The Yankee also planned to go to law school so we bought a desk. This desk sucks y'all. The top of it is shallow and it has a wierd shelf thing on the back. The drawer is really made to hold a key board and a few office supplies. Although I own very few office items, it seems like the drawer is bursting and overflowing.



This morning I had to type a letter and print it, which involved moving the printer to the top of the desk, installing the printer on my itty bitty netbook (my laptop is being repaired- don't ask)- THAT involved hooking up five cords and a dozen clicks and seriously y'all, I am done with this desk. I have received approval to get rid of the desk, which makes me beyond excited. My dream home would only include six pieces of furnture so this feels like a mighty triumph.

The question now is what to do with all the stuff in the desk. I need a good solution. I normally tend to load the items into a platic bin but the problem with that is that I have to unpack it to find things and that's just ask inconvenient if I am in a rush and just need one envelope. I don't mind keeping a small box with pens and whatnot and having a small stack of "working papers" but I just can't think of how to make it work. I am really excited about getting rid of the desk and I want to do it sooner than later. I just have to remind myself not to rush and end up with something sloppy and inconvenient.

Anyone out there have any good ideas? We will eventually replace the desk, but probably not for another year or so.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Very Valiente Confrontation

I believe that confrontation, like constructive criticism, can be good for you, within reasonable limits. One time my Friend Whom I Will Call Raw Sugar said to me, "Maybe you could try to make your actions match your words." I seriously carry those words with me everywhere my heart goes. I like to read about self-improvement, growth, minimalism, and God and from time to time I am confronted with an area in which I could use some improvement.
 
This week I started reading a new blog called Miss Minimalist and I basically devoured the blog in an afternoon and really enjoyed reading the posts. There is one that I am still thinking through and I've been experienced a bit of confrontation and discomfort (in the form of cognitive dissonance) as I mull it over. The post is about Decluttering Your Fantasy Self. Here's a lil' snippet of the post that keeps rolling around in my head: All too often, we hold on to stuff because it represents who we think we should be, rather than who we are. Sometimes our fantasy selves are meant to impress others; sometimes they’re relics of our past; sometimes they’re fantasies about our future.
 
Oh, how the concept of authenticity and intentional living eluded me in my early 20's!!
 
My fantasy self is a freakin' bad ass who has good hair, clear skin, wears classic-but-stylish outfits, has a minimally-yet-stylishly-decorated apartment on the Upper West Side, stays abreast of changes within her career field, regularly entertains and makes hand-made thank you cards, cooks a variety of delicious meals for the husband to whom she regularly submits and (enter sexual reference here, omitted in case my mom reads this). She has a well diversified 401(k) and is already planning how to pay for her kids to go to college, because she is already in her second trimester but has only gained 8 pounds so she just looks cute but not fat. Oh and my fantasy self can eat gluten and dairy and has no problem moderating a reasonable intake of dried fruit and candy bars.
 
Frump Girl,
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The real me, the authentic me, is Frump Girl. Gluten-Intolerant, takes her jokes too far every.single.time, recently found out she though "gentrified" meant the opposite of what it actually means, constantly has to apologize to her husband for going too far, just ordered burgers for dinner for the fifth time this month, could write in the dust collecting on her never-used wine glasses. The real me really really really loves her job and really wishes she could be as good at it as the excellent people she works with. And the real me is definitely not pregnant.
 
Minimalism isn't a decorating style or a long list of things you CAN'T own. Minimalism, for me, is about living intentionally and proactively. It's about eliminating all the crap and clutter- physical, emotional, and mental. It's about setting goals and pursuing them instead of waiting for the waves of live to crash over me and wash things away. For me, it's about freedom.
 
It seems to me that I own a lot of things that I don't use. Things for entertaining, for example. If my Fantasy Self entertains regularly and my "real" self doesn't, that doesn't necessarily mean that I HAVE to get rid of those items. Wouldn't it be more fun and fulfilling to just start entertaining more and actually have friends over, fill my home with company and laughter, and happily serve my guests food displayed nicely? 
 
I think this will be on my mind for awhile. Intentional living... authenticity... simplicity... wine glasses.