Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'm Baaaack has been a few weeks? months? since I posted, and I'm back, baby.  

Let's see -- what's new with me.

Well, I started a new job in June.  Things are going great.  I am past the honeymoon high of THIS PLACE IS AWESOME every day of the week.  However, I still enjoy going to work.  I enjoy the people, and I truly believe it's a great place to work.  I love my new boss - everything great in a boss - and I can see myself being there for a long time and moving around/up the ladder of promotion.  People are positive, things happen quickly, there is a feeling of forward momentum and progress there.

My sister had a baby in July.  Kee-yoot.  I don't see him as much as one might think, living in the same city, but he is here, safe and sound.

My long-distance boyfriend came to visit in September.  I hadn't seen him in months.  We have decided to keep trying to make things work, try to see each other more often.  I think we are both sick of how things are.  He wants me to move there, but I just got this new job, so...for now, I have plans to see him on Thanksgiving.

I saw some old work friends at the bridal shower of a mutual friend.  It was awkward.  Still, not ONE person has contacted me from my old job.  The sexual harassment tattling has essentially ended my friendships with those people (the non-harassers, that is).  It's disappointing to me.  Speaking of that, I recently had to attend anti-sexual harassment/discrimination training at my new job.  I have enough distance and objectivity now to see that I am REALLY GLAD to be out of that old job situation, and that it really WAS sexual harassment.  I have looked on the EEOC website.  I am thinking of taking legal action against my old employer...yes, a complaint of discrimination, which could lead to a lawsuit.  I didn't want to do it before.  I didn't want to be bitter or invite scrutiny.  Now, it's been a while, and I really can see how wrong that situation was.  The dude still works there.  Who knows if anything has changed.  I guess there is a part of me that just wants justice.  There is a time limit on these things.  Time is running out if I'm going to do this.  It has been about 8 months since I worked in that situation.  I so far have downloaded the paperwork, have filled it out, and I'm just holding on to it, thinking about it.  Such a hassle to take legal action, and I wouldn't be doing it for the money.  I just...I'm still bothered by it all.  It makes me see that for all the people who sue, there are probably other victims who don't bother.  

Moving right along...

I am DEBT FREE!!!!!  (except for the mortgage)  I have been scrimping and throwing everything extra at my debt for about a year - I cut cable, I ate out less, I used my tax refund to pay off debt.  In doing so, I paid off a total of $6298.27 in 12 months, making between $29,000 - $39,000 (mostly on the lower side that time).  Part of the reason I have fallen off the face of the world is that I was saving up to buy a laptop.  I bought at Mac on SALE, and so I'm back in the (spoiled, Mac-loving) land of the living.

In a weird turn of events, I have gone from "new girl" at work to "Miss Involved" in everything there.  It was so easy to jump right in and volunteer for things, meet people, etc.  To that end, I find myself leading a women's Bible starts tomorrow night.  I have to confess, that - of all people - I don't know if I should LEAD anyone, much less in religious ways, much less to college students at such an important time in their lives.  However, it is happening.  I have prayed a lot about it.  We have a good book we're using with a facilitator's guide, which will really help me.  No one else has stepped up to the plate, and they need someone.  I knew the other advisor, through a friend of a friend, and basically they really needed someone right around the time I materialized (via the mutual friend).  Anyway, I'm willing to do it.  It's humbling, and it gives me a feeling that I'm giving back a little bit to the world.  At the same time, I don't want to lead anyone astray.  I'm going with the "G-d doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called."  I just remember that mostly, these girls just need someone to care about them, and point them to God for help and solace.  So be it.

Speaking of finances and G-d, I have really been convicted/convinced that I need to reach the outside world and "make a difference."  I know that we can make a difference, no matter where we are or what we do.  I am making (possibly) a small difference with this women's Bible, and of course I hope to impact the people I see in my life or work with every day.  Now that I'm debt free, I really have a desire to travel and do mission work.  Maybe for a week at a time.  I just mean that I really feel like we are so blessed, spoiled, and ignorant in America of what is going on in the world.  Rather than going back to NYC or cruising to Alaska again, I would like to go to Haiti and help an orphanage there, or any number of worthy causes that my meager means, time, and effort could help.  I don't want to sound self-righteous.  I hope to also vacation again.  I really just want to make a difference and get some perspective and help hands-on.  I don't have a ton of money, but sometimes I feel like giving money to a cause can keep you safely removed from it.  Visiting or doing something, even in my own town, can help keep things from seeming so "out there" and more real.  I followed Dave Ramsey's plan to get debt free.  One thing he says is "live like no one else, so you can give like no one else."  Now that I am debt free, I can see how much money I could throw at a worthy cause just by living frugally.  Can you imagine paying over $6000/year to a good cause, rather than just to the credit card?  Or, maybe even more money to change the world?  I'm not trying to go all Polyanna here, just to say that I can meet my own needs and give in a way that would not have been possible when I was stuck under the weight of debt.  My next big goal is to get 8 months of living expenses in the bank.  Dave Ramsey says 3-6 months of expenses, Suze Orman says 8 months.  I'm going to go with 8, just for my own feeling of security.  So, instead of throwing money at debt, I hope to throw it into saving aggressively.  I already have some savings, but I'm going to go all nuts and save.  Also, I got a pay raise at the new job.  I'm hoping to live off that, and put all of my second part-time job straight into savings for a year or so.    

Okay, well, that's a weird note to end on.  I basically write this blog for myself, so I guess that's okay.  I just want to document where I am right now - work, relationship, money, old drama, future ahead, mission in life.

Life is good.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Confessional Friday

So, I feel like I have fallen off the face of the earth for a while. Truth is, I have. I am just getting used to my new job, and used to not having a laptop.

But, I confess:

1) I have really been missing my boyfriend lately. Like, bad. We were supposed to see each other next week, but it looks like it'll be September. So by then, it'll be 6 months since I've seen him. SIX MONTHS! I can't take any time off at my new job until December, so he has to come here. Anyway, I'm feeling lonely and jealous of anyone who can see their significant other on any regular basis.

2) I have procrastinated mowing my lawn since Monday night. I could do it tonight... Or in the morning when it's not 100+ degrees. See the justification there?

3) I feel like I have alienated my friends at the old job because some of them had to make statements/answer questions to HR after I tattled about the sexual harassment thing. I didn't want to involve anyone else, but I guess that's the nature of it. I could say that if they were real friends, they wouldn't hold this against me. All I did was tell the truth. However, not one of them has contacted me in the last two weeks I've been gone. Not one. That kinda hurts, and I don't want to contact them because I don't want to bring up the incident. I suppose they will come around. I just didn't want to lose any friends over all this.

4) This last one is more of a confession, and with me being catholic and all, it seems fitting. I have been listening to new age speakers and authors on different podcasts and reading books that in a different time would have probably threatened my faith or left me uninterested. I am just sick of all the fighting and religious know-it-alls. I've been searching for something that affects or helps me everyday life. I have found that in some meditation and mindfulness practices. It has really helped me. I wouldn't say it conflicts with my faith (some would), but I will say that I have less and less patience for an intolerant religion and for a lack of open-mindedness. I don't believe all religious people are closed-minded, I just need to move beyond doctrinal or theological discussions into a way that makes my life better, makes me a better person. So, that being said, I still practice my faith, but I also have been doing these other spiritual exercises. There is a part of me that feels really guilty or bad or sacrilegious doing it. I know my parents would not approve. (I know I'm 31 years old, but this is nonetheless in the back of my mind). I'm not sure my priest would approve. But I don't care. I need to get something out of my spiritual practice, and this is helping at the moment.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social
(Apparently, if it weren't for Neely's blog link ups, I'd never have anything to write about.)

Favorite movie of all time?
Amelie.  It's a French movie from almost 10 years ago.  It is so heartwarming, beautiful to look at, and honestly, it is inspiring to the point of making you want to be a better person.  If you watch Amelie and DON'T like it, that kind of makes me want to question your character.  (Kidding, kidding...just a little bit.) 

Favorite movie quote?
"Nobody puts baby in a corner." (from Dirty Dancing) or
"There are two kinds of women in this world: high maintenance and low maintenance...You're the worst kind.  You're high maintenance, but you think you're low maintenance."  (from When Harry Met Sally

Best movie to watch for a girls night in? about a SATC marathon (the show, not the movies)

Best breakup movie?Along the same lines, the first SATC movie is a wonderful/awful breakup movie.  Waterworks.  Also, Bridget Jones Diary is pretty great when you're feeling single and miserable. 

Favorite celeb eye candy?
Bradley Cooper.  Those eyes. 

Which movie stars closet would you want to raid?
Sarah Jessica Parker.  I feel like a lot of my answers have related to her in this survey.  We do not have the same body type by any means, but she's a doll, kinda funky, and has style. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's okay to be thankful Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays

(Thanks for combining the link up, I did it myself last Thursday).

It's okay that this is my last Thursday at this job, with this company.  It's SOOOOO okay.  I'm looking forward to moving on and moving up.  It's funny how at the beginning of my two weeks notice, it seemed like a short time with so much to do before I was ready to go.  Now it seems like the longest two weeks ever! (plus the two weeks before that applying, interviewing, and waiting).  I'm thankful for a good opportunity right around the corner. 

It's okay that my lawn mower is finally fixed after about a month (I do my own yard work), but that I had the landscaping company come by one more time this week anyway to mow for me.  It bought me about one more week of freedom before I do it myself again.  It's been nice to have a few weeks off, but I'm sure my neighbors will be glad that the yard work will be consistent again at my house.  I'm thankful that it didn't cost too much to fix or to have yard work taken care of for a few weeks.   

It's okay that, even though I was literally trembling and shaking, I was 100% honest with the HR department on my exit interview.  The trembling and shaking part only happened when I had to tell them details of the sexual harassment.  Funny how just speaking the truth is difficult.  It's also funny to [essentially] confess another person's sins.  I tried to remain positive and honest about my other experiences here, which were mostly good.  I'm thankful for the strength of my own convictions.  I'm not a fearful person, but I was still scared to speak those things.  I'm thankful for the other good things from this job.  It was not all colored by the bad experience.   

It's okay and I'm thankful that it's mid-June, and it still doesn't feel like real summer around here. 

It's okay that we are going to be celebrating a baby by showering a mom-to-be this weekend.  I'm thankful for her health, the baby's health, and the fact that I get to see a long-lost cousin at the shower! 

It's okay that I might be knocking out one of my summer projects this weekend by painting the looong, dark, ugly bedroom hallway.  It's the only space in my house that hasn't been painted since I moved in.  I finally chose a beautiful yellow that's creamy and not like highlighter yellow.  I'm excited.  I'm thankful that my dad is an awesome painter.  He will be helping me with this.  "Happy Father's Day, dad!  I'm "giving" you the opportunity to paint my hallway!"  I need to come up with a real Father's Day/thank you gift for him.  In 2 days.   


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Broken Open

There is a book that is by the same name as my post, Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  When I heard about the book, I knew exactly what it meant.  I said to myself, "that's what happened to me last year."  She talks about being at the lowest point and broken in life, and at that moment, you have within your hands an opportunity to open yourself up to a new way of looking at things, and really, a new type of life.  Despite being broken, you're actually in a powerful position.  You have the ability to change.  It's about halfway through 2012 now, so I feel like I have a little perspective under my belt for the year of 2011, and what a year it was.  It was my broken open year.   

I know we all go through "seasons" of life,  or it seems like things generally go in one direction or another.  They say that bad things sometimes happen in threes.  I'm not a superstitious person, but it does seem that there are trends in life.  2011 (or really, starting in September of 2010) was a very difficult year for me (15-16 months, really).  I am finally not in that dark place anymore, and it gives me hope that you can get through things.  There are some things you'll never get over, and that's okay.  In fact,  when it comes to some types of grief, you don't want to get over it.  You need to acknowledge the loss.  And so, I am going to look back on an unbelievable year in my life.  A year I never would have or could have predicted.  I can say now that I was 100% broken by what happened in my life during 2011.  And, I'm not totally healed yet, but I'm in a much better space now.  I do think these experiences opened me, made me more vulnerable, more empathetic, more grateful in the end.  There were also plenty of days that all I did was navel-gaze, throw a pity party, and cry.  But, I gave myself a year to mourn.  I needed it, and it took that long to come full circle.  In the end, like the title of the book, I do feel that 2011 was my year of being broken open.  And, if navigated carefully, correctly, with enlightenment, sometimes terrible things that break you really can open you up to gifts and change and renewal. 

So, here is what I was dealing with on the "broken" side:

- Death and loss.  Between September 2011 and December 2012, 5 people in my life died.  2 of those 5 were murdered, and they were murdered by someone I also knew.  All 5 of the deaths were big losses, in and of themselves.  Just when I was able to come up for air, it seemed like someone else died. 

- Family drama.  During this time one of my sisters married a guy that was definitely a questionable choice (this was within 1 week of one of the deaths).  I don't say that out of judgment, but based on what my sister herself said about him (at one point when they were broken up), and based upon the two of them living with me for several months.  And speaking of marriage, within months of my sister marrying Creeper McCreeperson, my brother was served divorce papers (wait for it)...while serving overseas in the military.  My heart broke for him that my sister-in-law thought that things couldn't be worked out.  I imagined him coming home from a year overseas in active duty to an empty house, no one to greet him in the airport, and divorce papers.  That is indeed really what happened when he came home.  He lives too far away for any of us to be there when he returned from deployment.  16 months and a long legal battle later, they are finally divorced.   

- Work drama.  This has been alluded to in many of my other posts about work, since I recently got a new job offer.  But, in 2011, I was dealing with an obnoxious co-worker who sexually harassed me (I talked to a lawyer, and yes, it was true sexual harassment that was going on).  I had already tattled to my bosses on several occassions, documented the incidents, tried to forgive and forget.  But after one particular event, I went to a lawyer.  At one point along this journey, my bosses told me that they were going to fire this guy.  (That's probably against some HR rules.)  In the end, of course, they never fired him.  He still works there to this day.  I don't know if they intentionally lied to keep me on board for a while longer, or if they really intended to fire him when they told me so.  By the time I left that job (in February of 2012), unfortunately the dynamic at work was that the co-worker didn't talk to me.  However, my bosses began to view me and treat me like I was the problem.  I was too critical, too sensitive, difficult to work with.  He wasn't lazy, I just was over-zealous to take credit for projects I did.  He may be unprofessional or inappropriate at times, but I just didn't know how to take a joke, etc.  On bad days, I want to sue the place.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, but what he did and how they handled it were really inexcusable.  The only way to fix the problem was for me to get a new job.  Thankfully, I did.  But, dealing with this kind of work situation is exhausting in so many ways.  I worked for almost 2 years exactly with this guy.  And for a little over 1.5 of those years, the situation was as described.  (He managed to be a decent employee during his first 6 months, is all I mean by that.)

- Physical problems.  I'm not one of those people who thinks that 30 is old.  I hope to live for many, many years, so I've got a long way to go before I can claim "old."  However, right at the end of 2010, I turned 30.  I also started having some major health problems.  I stopped sleeping well, really became an insomniac or having interrupted sleep on an ongoing, regular basis.  I know a lot of this was anxiety and fear as a result of the murders.  I would be exhausted and unable to sleep, I would sleep well for one day, then terribly for 3.  Then, I was diagnosed with a blood sugar disorder.  This is going to be something I need to manage for the rest of my life.  Honestly, the diagnosis and dealing with it has made me feel better physically, but it's a constant issue (you know, we do eat 3 times a day, or more).  I also went twice to the ER that year.  And, to top it all off, I had an abnormal growth that had to be removed by my doctor, which resulted in being put on several medications.  I've never been a sickly person.  I'm not overweight.  I workout.  All of this, in my opinion, was directly related to the other things going on in my life.  My philosophy is that "it's all connected."  If my heart was broken emotionally, it's not suprising to me that I had to go to the ER for real, physical chest pain.  That might seem a little primitive, but I really do believe that the drama, stress, and emotional turmoil in my life was manifesting itself in physical ways.  I'm happy to say I'm off all medication now, and I simply manage the blood sugar by how I eat, which works most of the time.  The sleeping is touch and go.  I still have days that are bad on that front, but the fear and anxiety are gone. 

Maybe that was all TMI, but if you consider all that junk going on all at once, you can get a picture of my "broken" year.  I probably could have handled the work situation better if I hadn't been grieving some major losses/deaths.  I probably could have mourned better at the losses/deaths if I hadn't been also dealing with family drama.  I probably could have navigated the family drama if I hadn't been physically sick and exhausted.  But I couldn't put any of those things aside.  They were all happening at once.  You put that all together, and I was broken.  My friends noticed it.  They were "worried" about me.  They had little talks with me, tried to be there for me, but also told me I needed to do something about the cloud that had taken permanent residence over my head.

So, how can I look back and say that 2011 wasn't just a broken year, but an open year? 

Well, I guess that is the beauty of life, the power of the human spirit, the resilience we all have within us. That's easy to say. How do you do it? I think it's different for everyone. I used to hate sayings like "everything happens for a reason," or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." On the other hand, I grimace as I admit that there is some truth there.

I knew for myself that I had to have a full year of grief. Although there were 5 deaths I am referring to, I told myself I got a year for the people who were murdered. (Only one more death happened after that.) On the days I could barely breathe for the pain, I told myself that it was okay. Feel it. Mourn it. Grieve it. You've got a year, I said to myself. And honestly, not to add another cheesy saying to the pile, but I told myself that the only way out of this was to get through it. "Yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of death, I will fear no evil..." (Psalm 23)

Anyone's death, especially the death of wonderful people via a senseless murder brings priorities and perspective to life. It's easy to see what really matters and what really doesn't when you're reminded of life and death. It's easy to see that daily struggles and difficulties pale in comparison to the thought of your friend's last moments on earth being ones of terror and pain. I don't want to diminish the importance of the daily stuff of life. That's where most of us live, most of the time. But, I have to say that it made me more patient, kinder, and more empathetic to have a powerful reminder of life and death CONSTANTLY a thought away. It made me more present. Life really is a vapor. And, the daily, small things matter. I don't want to be detached from life, but it made me detach more quickly from the stupid stuff that can bog you down.

Having said that, I also had to move beyond the grief. And it is possible to grieve and move beyond it and learn from it all at once. This is not a science. I felt all stages of grief almost simultaneously at moments. But, in order to heal, especially from the fear I felt after the murders, I had to rephrase my story. I had to reframe my thoughts. I had to see it differently, or else I was re-traumatizing myself every time I thought of the murders, which was (and is) daily. Multiple times per day. You see, the home my friends lived in was much like mine in its layout. I mean, the only difference was a wall I have in my living room (making it 2 spaces), whereas they had one big living room. And, although their perpetrator was caught, I still carried fear after their murders. I imagined their bodies in my hallway and my kitchen because they were found in their hallway and their kitchen. In a house with a layout SO similar to mine. I know that sounds silly. But it's where my mind went. I decided that I could not just remember how they died. I had to remember how they lived. Isn't it wonderful that I knew such people during my lifetime? What could I learn from who they were? Isn't it wonderful that they were so humble, so loving, so giving? How could I be more humble, loving, and giving? Isn't it wonderful that the last words that I exchanged with this woman were literally "peace be with you." What a gift. I remember thinking how peaceful she was and how I appreciated her spirit as we exchanged the sign of peace that night. Isn't it wonderful that she had the name of a flower, and I happen to have over 13 types of that flower in my backyard? I prune the roses and think of her. As a simple dedication. As a reminder of beauty. As a tribute to her beautiful life. Isn't it wonderful that I had one of those visitation dreams after she left us? It was very simple. She was sitting, almost floating. She was wearing her favorite color (pink), and the simple smile she had. She was happy, at peace, whole. It helped me move on. It helped me not define her by her death. Yes, the murder really happened. But, I can focus on who she was to me. And that brings me much more peace. She was such a giving person. And I feel like she spent her first few hours in the afterlife visiting people in dreams to release them from the nightmare of her passing. It really helped me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Snapshots - work

I think it's interesting to look at the same set of facts/circumstances at different times in life.  It's sometimes a good checkpoint to see where you've been, where you're going, or how it's gone.  I like to call them snapshots, and I do them for different categories of my life (work, family, relationships, money, etc.)   

May 25, 2011 versus May 25, 2012

May 25 of 2011, I interviewed for a different job out of state.  My job at the time was miserable.  That week, I remember that my boss had recently called a very good and capable co-worker names and ridiculed him in a staff meeting.  Meanwhile, the same boss was ignoring complaints I had about a different co-worker who had been sexually harassing me, and had openly admitted to me that he drinks on lunch break and had slept with students.  I was really, really frustrated.  I had been lied to, taken advantage of, and I had work with with a lazy jerk.  I was tired of being half of team Dumb and Dumber.  The longer I stayed, the more I felt like an idiot for staying.  I drove through some horrible storms on the way to my interview that day.  I believe 5 tornadoes touched down.  I kept thinking to myself, "Do I really want a change so bad that I'm willing to drive several hours in storms and driving rain for the chance?  If I get this job, do I really want to try to sell my house and relocate in less than a month?"  And the answer kept coming back, "Yes.  I most definitely do want a change that bad."  I didn't end up getting that job, but it was good to get another interview under my belt.  They picked an internal candidate, but I had dusted off my resume and gotten my interview skills polished again.  I was happy that I had taken concrete action to change my situation, even if it didn't pan out. 

May 25 of 2012, was another day at my current job, a job I started in February.  Because it's summer (and a Friday), I got off at noon.  I had applied for an interviewed for a job on a whim a week before this May 25.  That Friday, I was waiting on pins and needles to hear the outcome, I had interviewed just 2 days earlier.  All of my references told me they had gotten calls about me after my interview, which I took as a good sign, but I didn't want to assume that it meant I got the job.  I was cautiously optimistic, but content to stay put if that's what happened. 

Between one May 25 and another, I had left a toxic situation for a good one, and I had taken the steps to go from a good to an even better situation.  I was content (am content) at my job, but applied for this new one, nonetheless.  When I think of myself driving through storms for the chance at a change, one year ago, I'm reminded of how far I've come.  I did get the change I was looking for by getting this job, and it has proven to be a valuable training ground in a new skill set.  I never would have been qualified for my new job I'm about to have, without getting the current job I have.  Between last May 25 and this one, I had applied to at least 5 jobs, gone on 3 job interviews, and in the process got 2 new jobs.  (3 new jobs if you count my 3rd job I had this year teaching a course).  Between last May 25 and this one, I did manage to dump the toxic stuff, and I think I got stronger in the process.  The drama never died down.  In fact, it just culminated until the day I left.  Again, this post only focuses on my work life, but when you spend 40(+) hours per week doing something, it's important that it's a good situation.  That's a huge part of your life.  I can't say what a peaceful feeling it has been to work around adults who are professional, consistently do their job, and are polite/pleasant to be around.  My co-workers are definitely not my new BFFs.  They have been nothing but kind to me.  A detached, healthy relationship is pretty great for the workplace, especially compared to a very up-close, obnoxious, and hostile one.  I'll take it.

And so it goes. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

How did you come up with your blog name?
Well, my blog address comes directly from my name/nickname.  The name of the blog or subtitle, "And so it goes" is sort of the feeling I have when life happens, and I look back at everything as I move on.  It's an expression and a feeling of " there was that."  It's also the title of an older Billy Joel song I listened to growing up, and it's a phrase Kurt Vonnegut uses.  I guess it's my way of saying that sometimes life just happens, in spite of or because of us.  It can be exciting, awesome, shocking, or sad.  But, so it goes.  That's the adventure we're all on. 

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I'm really new to this blogging thing, but I unwind or deal with things by writing them down or writing down how I feel.  It helps me work through life.  Before I blogged, I wrote.  I also have really enjoyed reading others' blogs from all over the country, and it makes me realize that we're all in this together.  We share so many life experiences, even though we may not know one another, I can relate to what I see on so many other blogs about the joys and struggles of life. 

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now cant live without?
Hmm...I have liked book recommendations, recipes, etc. 

Facebook or Twitter? and why?
How about both.  I like facebook for posting pics and more in-depth catching up with long-distance friends and families.  I like twitter for just random thoughts or following celebrities.  Also, I'm friends with my boss on facebook, but not on twitter, so there's a tiny bit more freedom on twitter for me.  (I'm about to change jobs, and my boss is totally cool anyway, but it's always in the back of my mind). 

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?
I am in love with who I think Sarah Jessica Parker might be in real life.  I also adore Ellen, Tina Fey, and a few others.  I'm not sure they would get anything out of reading my blog, but they are a few celebrities that actually seem like good people. 

What is something you want people to know about your blog?
My blog is 100% honest because I remain somewhat anonymous with it.  I tell how much money I make, my pet peeves, my struggles, my sins, and all of the good things too.  I don't reveal where exactly I live or what exactly my name is.  Sometimes writing is catharsis for me, so it can seem like I'm really deep or heavy.  That's not necessarily how I am all the time in real life, it's just sometimes I write things out in order to deal with them.  By no means do I want to be Debbie Downer, but I don't always have to write out my feelings to process the good things as much as I need to do that to process the bad things.  I am an optimist in real life, and I try to stay positive.  Sometimes my posts are a really personal way of dealing with the negative. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

Its Ok Thursdays
For the last few weeks, I've been doing "it's okay" Thursdays.  Today, I think it's appropriate to do a "Thankful Thursday," and here's why: 

1)  I'm thankful that I have a job.  Actually, two jobs, to make ends meet.  Although I sometimes grumble at working seven days a week, it has allowed me to be a homeowner, pay off my debt quickly, and frankly, survive and take care of myself.  I know many who outwardly might seem like they're doing okay, but really, they're getting further and further in debt.  Sometimes I hate having to take care of myself, all by myself, without a significant other's income, but I need to remember to be grateful that I can and I do make it work.   

2)  I'm thankful that a few weeks ago (on "it's OK Thursday"), I revealed that I had applied for a job on a whim.  I was shocked when they interviewed me, and even more shocked when I got the job!!!  My first day is less than two weeks away.  It's a good pay raise and a good title/promotion for me at a new university.  I am so incredibly grateful.  Someday, as a result of this job, I might be able to quit my second job and just be a normal person who works Monday to Friday.  But for now, I'm going to sock away all my extra income into savings and just catch up for a while.  In a year from now, I will see where things are after I've been at the new job a while and have my savings in a better place.

3)  I'm thankful that even bad things can turn out for good.  I know that really sounds all Cinderella/Polyanna/cheesy.  But, the truth of the matter about my job situation is that I left a job in February of this year because I was being sexually harassed by a co-worker.  If that guy had not been so obnoxious and unbearable (for 2 years), then I wouldn't have been looking for another job.  In February, I found one and made a move from one department to another at the same company.  It was a small pay raise, and in a slightly different area of higher education.  In the last four months, I have learned a new skill in my job.  It's a more universal skill with certain software that I can take to other universities across the country.  If it weren't for learning this new skill, I never would have been qualified for or applied for this [even newer] job I'm about to take.  So, if it weren't for the inappropriate co-worker, I never would have gotten both of these new jobs or the training it took to be qualified for the second new job by getting the first new job back in February, make sense?  It's hard to remember that bad things can work toward a good ending when you're in the middle of the pain, or when you don't know where everything is heading.  When I look back over the course that the last 2 years have taken, I can only say I'm grateful.  It wasn't easy every step of the way.  In fact, it wasn't easy at all.  There were many, many bad days.  2011 was just a horrible year (not only because of work, but other things that will have to be for another blog), but in the end, it turned out for the best, and I'm so grateful. 

4)  While I'm grateful for friends, family, and loved ones, I will leave this Thankful Thursday at that.  There is more to my life than work, but that's what's going on with me right now, and I'm overwhelmed by all that is good and all that is G-d, which brought me to this moment. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Oh my

Its Ok Thursdays

It's okay...

1) It's okay that I'm doing "it's okay Thursdays" on Friday.   

2)  It's okay that things can change in a blink of an eye.  I don't want to jinx anything, so I will just say that I'm truly grateful.

3)  It's okay that I believe in G-d.  Sometimes I'm mad at this G-d, sometimes I even yell or scream inside my head at this G-d, but I still try to believe.  I don't understand the athiests who say they're mad at G-d, and therefore don't believe.  If he/she doesn't exist, how can you be mad at them?  Be mad at people for doing evil things, be mad at society or the government for making those evil things easier (in some cases), but don't be mad at G-d.  We all have a free choice in how to live.  Anyway, referring to number 2, I am incredibly grateful to the Source of all that is good for what seems to be an unexpected opportunity right around the corner.  I still believe, even if I struggle in other ways.   

4)  It's okay that it's June 1 and 61 degrees outside.  Incredibly odd in our neck of the woods, but it's definitely okay. mix it up a bit...
It's NOT okay...

5)  It's NOT okay that I have slept like total sh*t all week.  I don't have too much caffeine, I do exercise, I don't get it.  Might be time to see a doctor, it's interfering with my life. 

6)  It's NOT okay that my parents are getting older, and I'm just now feeling like I have a good(-ish) relationship with them.  How can we make up for lost time?  How can they know I love them?  How can we make the most of it all?

7)  It's NOT okay that I still don't know what to do about the long-distance boyfriend.  He wants to get married.  I don't feel ready.  I don't want to lose him.  There are times I push him away and want space, but I still want to be loved. ugh. 

8)  It's NOT okay that I have gray hairs, a few (not bad) wrinkles, and acne all at the same time.  I'm both too young and too old for all of this!!  Blarg.  Mirrors, beware. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012


There is an article that made the rounds about 15 years ago in 1997, and it's making the rounds again. It's about turning 30 for women. And, even though I'm 3-1-derful these days, I thought it was interesting, if a little contrived.

By 30 you should have...
1.) One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you how far you've come.
check on the second one, check-ish on the first, but really most fall into the second category
2.) A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
check. however, i would like to change this to "a decent piece of furniture not previously part of your dorm/apartment living." and still, check. i hope my house doesn't look like the back-to-school/college sale at bed, bath, and beyond, although i still have some stuff from those days.
3.) Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
check, although i am always open to shopping.
4.) A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
5.) A youth you’re content to move beyond.
check. working at a college makes me realize that, no, i don't want to go back to college, and, yes, even though i still feel like i'm that age, i'm really not.
6.) A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
check. although there are some things i don't want EVERYONE knowing.
7.) The realization that you are actually going to have an old age -- and some money set aside to help fund it.
check and check. i have sadly realized that, although i save for retirement, it's in proportion to what i currently make. please, compounding interest, do your thang...or else i may need a better job.
8.) An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account -- all of which nobody has access to but you.
of course. beginning with my first email address, voice mailbox, and bank account. i've got this stuff on lockdown (who doesn't?)
9.) A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
check. it may not get me anywhere, but i have some 'xperience.
10.) One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
yes. and it's okay if that's sometimes the same person.
11.) A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
check, check, and well, isn't THAT a personal question.
12.) Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
hmm...i don't know about ridiculously expensive. i splurge sometimes, but my definition of splurge is not ridiculously expensive. maybe my alaskan cruise was a splurge, but it was fully funded and budgeted for.
13.) The belief that you deserve it.
i kind of hate the word "deserve," but at the same time, i don't feel guilty for the choices i make, even the splurge of the alaskan cruise.
14.) A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
this could use improvement in all areas. but, yes, i'm grossly aware of the effects of gravity, time, the sun, and lack of a plan.
15.) A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
yes. a start at least.

By 30, you should know ...
1.) How to fall in love without losing yourself.
check. never really had this problem, more like how to allow yourself to fall in love.
2.) How you feel about having kids.
i think so. i'm more open to kids than i ever have been. i just want to be married and be able to afford it.
3.) How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
yes. these things are all difficult. but, it is a two-way street. you can do everything you can to maintain things and the other person can still burn the bridge.
4.) When to try harder and when to walk away.
so hard. this is a case-by-case sitution. but i think i'm learning, and i think my tolerance for BS is getting smaller as i get older.
5.) How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
check. :-)
6.) The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.
yes, um...not really, and YES.
7.) How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
yes, have lived alone for years.
8.) Where to go -- be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat -- when your soul needs soothing.
not always. i wish my friends lived closer or that i had better friends in town. i rely on the phone sometimes for moments like these, or i hang out with my family.
9.) That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
check. i have learned more acceptance.
10.) That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
11.) What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
check-ish...i think this is ever-revolving
12.) That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.
ha ha. check.
13.) Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
check-ish. i think i have a good radar for people and knowing who to trust, but it's hard not to take some things personally.
14.) Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
CHECK. this is one of my pet peeves in other women. however, i probably need to learn to apologize when it IS my fault.
15.) Why they say life begins at 30

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's [still] okay

Its Ok Thursdays

IT's OKAY...

It's okay that I think I have 1,000 ideas to blog about, but all I seem to do is "it's okay Thursdays."

It's okay that it takes about 9 hours of sleep for me to feel grrrreat.   

It's okay that I am perpetually thinking I need a haircut, not necessarily shorter, but just trimmed/shaped.

It's okay that if I were a dude, I wouldn't have a 5 o'clock shadow, I'd have one by...noon.

It's okay that I get off Friday at noon AND have Monday off.  weeeeee!

It's okay that I psychotically cleaned my house Sunday only to have my house guest bring his DOG (unbeknownst to me that the dog would come).  It rained, and there was lots of mud in my backyard, and hence, I have to clean my house all over again because of some little doggie paw prints.  Plus, they'll be back in town on their way back home in two weeks.  I want to be a dog person, but maybe I'm not...

It's okay that there's a lady at work for whom I feel incredibly sorry, and yet, she gets on my last nerve...mouth noises, southern accent, apologizes all over herself, not terribly competent...sorry.

It's okay that I don't like one of my brothers in law.  He is just not a good person, and I still can't believe my sister married him.  (Man, I sound like a hater today.)

It's okay that I'm still single (as in, un-married).  Some days I think I will always be that way, and I'm totally okay with that.  Some days I long to have a life companion.  IN TOWN.

It's okay that everyone on f@cebook seems to be married, getting engaged, having baby #1 or #2, to the point I can hardly keep track anymore. 

That's all I got.  Happy long weekend, folks. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's OK Thursdays

Its Ok Thursdays


1) It's okay that I have no idea where this week went.  I just was writing about what was okay last Thursday.

2) It's okay that the only reason my house will be in decently presentable/normal shape is that my parents are coming in town tonight.  (I have done 3-4 loads of laundry and NOT put them away this week.)

3) It's okay that I applied for a job on a whim yesterday, even though I've only been at this new one for 3-4 months.  Why not, right?

4)  It's okay that I have made progress on some of my summer projects already, although I am a long way from finishing them.  Baby steps, I suppose.

5)  It's okay that not getting a phone call for just one day from my long distance boyfriend can throw me into a tail spin.  When you never see someone in person and rely on communication, then one day without it seems drastic.  It makes me question everything. 

6)  It's okay that I don't think I have any real plans this weekend.  I'm looking forward to relaxing. 

7)  It's okay to procrastinate.  Yes,  I regret it later and have to make up for lost time.  But, it's really not the end of the world.

8)  It's okay that I'm 31, and I still feel like I don't have my sh*t together about some things.  (There are days that I feel like I don't have my sh*t together about anything.)   

9)  It's okay that I look at my nieces and nephews and hope they don't make some of the same mistakes I did.  Do as I say, not as I do. 

10)  It's okay that while I'm still pretty liberal and open-minded, I feel more cautious and conservative as the years go by.  More is at stake. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

dumping debt

So, I turned 30 last year, and it just hit me that it's about time I got my life in order...specifically my finances.  Now, I'm not particularly bad with money.  I own a home, I have no car payments, I have no school loans, I contribute to my retirement, and I have some money invested.  But, like many Americans I found myself in credit card debt with very little in savings.  In fact, more in credit card debt than in savings.  In some ways, I was cash poor and house poor.   

I guess I started to panic and think, if I had to pay off all of my credit cards tomorrow, could I do it? And, besides the small amount I had in savings, could I sustain a major disaster or emergency at home?  What if I lost my job, how long could I survive? 

I felt like I didn't know what I was doing financially speaking.  I know the common sense like, "Save more, spend less."  But, how do you put it into practice?  I would sometimes have extra income, and throw it into savings, only to take it out for an unexpected expense the next month.  I have no school or car debt, but if I did have those expenses, it seemed liked I could never make ends meet.  I consistently contributed to my retirement since working, but I wondered if my money could be better used least temporarily.  I felt like I was taking two steps forward and one step back, and getting nowhere.  A few emergencies did happen (roommate moved out, water heater needed replacing, etc.), and I was able to handle them by going into more credit card debt than I intended to.  Now, along the way, I refinanced my mortgage to a lower rate, yet another smart decision among other stupid ones.  I was on a hamster wheel.  I felt like I was cancelling myself out.  I knew I needed to save, to pay extra on my mortgage, to set aside money for the next car I needed, to pay off the credit card debt...but how?  How could I do that all at once?  There wasn't enough money in the bank to do all that...or so I thought.     

So, I took a financial class by Dave Ramsey.  (This isn't a commercial for him, although I really did like him and the on.)  I had read some of his books, I listened to Suzi Orman and Jean Chatzy occasionally, but signing up to take the Financial Peace University class really helped me get serious consistently.  It wasn't enough for me personally to learn about the concepts from reading a book at home on my couch.  I needed to be more proactive for a longer period of time to set up some new habits and learn about finances from an expert.  For me, it took the concepts from theory to practice in my life.  Just by attending the class and thinking about my financial situation once a week helped.  Also, I have shifted my paradigm after 13 weeks of this experience.  I think about money differently.

It was a 13 week course, designed with DVD at the beginning for about an hour, then group discussion.  The group discussion is not supposed to be over-share or spend-aholics anonymous or anything like that.  The group discussion questions are meant to get you thinking, not necessarily sharing with strangers about your particular financial situation, but more about reviewing the concepts learnged.  You also read a book on your own each week to correspond with the DVD lesson.  The class leaders would share very personal stories about their financial journey.  Very inspiring - they dumped over $75,000 in debt through these methods in less than 3 years.  They've been living Dave Ramsey's way for about 5 years now.  It gave me hope that I could do it too.  Statistically speaking, most who take Financial Peace University are not in dire straits.  I was not either, but I wanted to be doing better, and I felt like I was only 2-3 emergencies away from virtual homelessness.  There were several couples in the class, and people who just felt like they were living from paycheck to paycheck who wanted to know how to change.  There were a few parents who dragged their teenaged children there, and few recently divorced people trying to pick up the pieces.  And then there were a few like me. is my experience.  From the time class started in January until it ended in April, my financial situation changed - all for the better.  First, I got a new job that pays a little bit more (that's another story).  Secondly, my supplemental/surprise income (third job, if you will, I already work two jobs) this year was boosted for the spring semester, which resulted in a temporary pay raise from February to May.  Third, I was gifted with a car from my parents.  (I know this makes me sound like a spoiled brat, but that's really not the case, that can be another post.)  Fourth, I went to an accountant who helped me with my taxes, rather than doing them myself.  This resulted in a better plan for paying 2012 taxes in advance (one of my jobs is contract work, meaning they do not take out tax, and I'm considered self-employed).  Also, the accountant helped me amend my taxes from last year, which resulted in a tax return (aka, more supplemental/surprise income). 

To break it down with the numbers, it looks like this (I try to remain quasi-anonymous with my blog, so I don't care if you know how much I make, etc.)

Total debt when starting FPU (JAN 2012): $6300
Total debt today (MAY 2012): $2880
Debt paid off: $3420
Estimated debt payoff: DEC 2012 (or sooner)
Yearly Household Income: fluctuated between $26,000 and $30,000 (after taxes)

I have one more paycheck from my third job, which I will be throwing all toward my debt.  On June 1, I should only have $1900 left in debt.  After that, I will be back to only two jobs, and only able to pay about $300/month toward the credit card debt.  At that rate, I should be out of debt by Christmas, if not sooner.  Even though it's $1900 (almost $2000), just seeing a 1 as the first digit, instead of a 6, makes me feel great.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.   

One of Dave's methods is the 7 Baby Steps approach.  You set aside $1000 for an emergency, then pay off all debt, then set aside 4-6 months living expenses.  Those are the first three baby steps, then there are 4 more steps.  At first, I kind of balked at all that.  I was like, why should I take money out of savings to put toward credit card debt?  Having savings is a good thing.  Why should I stop contributing to my retirement in order to pay off credit card debt?  That's something I should be giving money to.  (By the way, I sort of disobeyed that one, and I didn't stop contributing to my retirement in this process).  Anyway, but the reason Dave's method works is that you do one thing at a time with intensity.  When you're paying off debt, ALL extra income pays off the debt.  You don't put some in savings, some toward debt, some toward retirement.  You focus everything on the debt, and it goes away faster.  You stop being on the hamster wheel I was on, you stop taking two steps forward and one step back.  It really hurt to take out money from my savings account and throw it at debt, but it helped make a dent.  My tax return made another dent.  My third job/unexpected income was really the most significant dent in all of this.  I lived off my regular income and applied all of the extra to the debt snowball.

Compared to the others in my class, I found out that I had way less debt than most.  (We shared anonymously how much debt we had aside from mortgage.  The average for my class was $30,000!!!!!)  I was definitely lower than the average American's amount of credit card debt also (that's around $10,000).  As good as this made me feel, like I was fixing the problem before it got worse, it also wasn't too reassuring because I have a relatively low salary, well below the national average ($48,000).  So, while my debt wasn't inconceivably high, proportional to my salary, I wasn't really winning with money (about 20-25% of my income, I owed in credit card debt).  At the rate things are going, I will probably complete baby step 2 by the end of this year (pay off all debt except for the mortgage).  Then, I will probably complete baby step 3 (4-6 months living expenses in the bank) in about 4 years, by age 35.  That's if my income doesn't increase or decrease, and if I pay off all debt this year and get started on the next goal right away.  That seems like a long way off, but once I get the debt off my back, I will feel better about things.  I am actually excited to see my savings grow, and I know 2015 will be here before I know it. 

How things have changed - I have always been a pretty frugal adult... or so I thought.  I don't have cable, I don't splurge, I don't eat out all the time, I buy generic or used.  But, I have to say, since intentionally setting out to destroy debt from my life,  I have realized that I'm not as frugal as I thought.  I really did many of the wrong things, maybe with more guilt than the next person, because I knew it was wrong.  I ate out more than I realized, I shopped more than I realized for clothes or things I didn't really need, and I had a mindset that it was okay to charge something today and pay it off tomorrow or next month, or that it was okay to use a credit card for an emergency.  The problem was, I didn't pay it off the next day or month.  I look at the $6300 of credit card debt I had, and I don't know how I got there.  Sure, some of the things I charged were necessities that I didn't save enough cash to cover when the time came (like new tires for the car or taxes for my self-employment income - and yes, I realize how awfully stupid that all sounds.  I just didn't have a plan).  But, out of the $6300, I would say 75-80% was just stuff.  As Dave calls it, I had "Stuff-itis."  Most of that debt was clothing, stuff for the house, and possibly some eating out.  I mean SERIOUSLY.  I can't believe I did this to myself sometimes.  That is what has changed the most.  Good, old-fashoined, delayed gratification is back in my life.  I have stopped shopping "for fun" or when I'm bored.  I had charged my way to $6300 on cute shirts that were only $20 or a trinket here and there for the house at $50 a pop.  Sure, that's not a lot of money all by itself, but I guess I did that more than I thought...for years on end. 

Just last Sunday night, I had some free time.  I had to resist the urge to go shopping.  I just wanted a cute little maxi dress for summer, or I was sick of my wardrobe.  Shopping itself isn't bad, and $20 isn't a lot of money, but for the situation I am in now, it's completely off limits.  So, I mowed the lawn and did laundry instead.  Also, I no longer have a computer to use at home.  I had to give back the one work gave me (for the third job that's over now), and I'm (lap)topless.  Instead of charging my Best Buy credit card or trying to earn a bunch of points on my Southwest credit card by buying a new computer, I'm going to save up.  I may put the purchase on credit cards for the rewards when the time comes, but I will be paying it off immediately with the cash I will have saved for it, essentially paying in cash.  (That's another thing I didn't do 100% Dave's way - I kept credit cards that give me rewards.  He says it's like playing with fire - and I agree.  But for now, I am going to try using them just for the rewards and paying them off immediately.  I closed 3 credit cards.)

So, this has been a journey, and a long process.  Once I decided to dump debt, I wanted to be out of debt right then.  But, I didn't get here overnight, and I can't fix this overnight.  Slow and steady wins the race, I keep telling myself.  I will slowly get out of debt, slowly save for my future, and begin to pay for things I want by saving money and setting aside for things I need/want.  This all sounds really simple, and like adulthood.  For as grown up and "good with money" as I thought I was, I really wasn't, and I am getting better.  For a long time, I thought that if I just made more money, I could pay off credit cards, and I wouldn't need to charge things at all...I would have the money.  But, you have to deal with what is, not with if only.  The fact of the matter is that I make around $2200-$2500/month.  I have to get out of the debt I put myself in on this salary...not on the salary I'd like to make someday or think I deserve or wish I made.  More money won't fix the problem (okay, there's a small part of me that thinks it still could fix the problem...), but regardless, the money I have right now will have to fix the problem.  It's about budgeting, planning, and delayed gratificiation, not about getting more and spending more.              

Although Dave's program is somewhat faith-based/Christian-based, he is NOT the type that tells you to do stupid things and just "have faith" that it'll all work out, or to not plan or not discipline yourself for your future and just pray and "have faith." However, I do believe in God, and I do think that sometimes when you do your part, God can help get the ball rolling in unexpected way. You do the natural, and God will put in the super. In my case, getting a new job and getting that third job were both an answer to prayer, and it just so happened to occur when I had made some very intentional steps toward getting out of debt and being a better steward of my money.  So, all that to say, that I'm in a better place thanks to Dave Ramsey.  Don't get me wrong, if I quit now, I'm still screwed, with more in credit card debt than I have in savings.  I could easily fall off the wagon again in one spending spree today if I felt like it.  But, I do feel at peace, like the title of the course - "Financial Peace University."  I feel at peace because I have a plan, a plan that will work and can work.  It's not easy, but the light is at the end of the tunnel, and I hope to set in place really good habits for the years to come.  I feel hopeful and peaceful, which is a definite change for the better.  I am making up for past mistakes, making more money, and I feel equipped to continue to work with money intentionally and do the best with what I have.  That's my personal story and experience with Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  It's exciting to me how much change has happened in my life in the last 5 months, and I'm optimistic about what can happen from here.

Monday, May 14, 2012


So, GCB has been cancelled.  I absolutely love and adore Kristin Chenoweth.  I think she and Annie Potts stole the show. 

Now, as someone who lives in a similar setting as GCB, I related to the show in the sense that it's the bible belt around here some times.  People with money AND bible thumpers go together in a strange, captivating way.

I, personally wasn't offended by the show.  As KC said, there is a difference between making fun of religion and having fun with religion.  I can see how some would find it offensive, but it's comedy.  It was exagerrating to make a point, and I think it was funny at times.

But, I gotta say, the show wasn't as funny as the season wore on.  I mean, really...the 'kidnapping' in Juarez was so unrealistic.  Throw in an appearance by Sandra Bernhart...  It made no sense, and it wasn't really acted well.  I suppose if that particular scene were acted well, then it would have seemed ridiculously over-acted and over-dramatic.

So, yes, I'm sad to see GBC go.  But, at the same time, after the turn the season took, I don't blame the network.  What started as a cute, good idea (with plenty of material), turned into patheticly unrealistic story lines and not-so-stellar acting. 

Have you gotten your tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth's concert tour?  Now that would be worth it.  I've seen her sing live once, and it was phenomenal.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's OK

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK Thursdays:

1)  It's okay that I'm wearing leggings today because I didn't shave my legs.  (Gross, sorry.)
2)  It's okay that I have already picked out the wedding rings I like, even though my boyfriend and I aren't engaged yet.
3)  It's okay that I have gay friends I love, yet I still feel torn about the issue of gay marriage.  Am I ignorant?  Is it Catholic guilt?  Am I a terrible person for not whole-heartedly supporting it?  I relate to President Obama who said his position was evolving, although I suppose his ideas have stopped evolving and arrived at acceptance. 
4)  It's okay that the extra hour we are working Monday-Thursday this summer is killing me because I know I am going to love my Friday afternoons off.
5)  It's okay that I have naturally curly hair, and I can put some gel in wet hair, scrunch it, and go.  (see numbers 1 and 4).  Running behind.
6)  It's okay that no matter what time I seem to go to bed, the morning always comes too soon, and I push snooze, and feel rushed.
7)  It's okay that I have finally gotten my blood sugar problems under control by changing what I eat.  In the meantime, I have neglected working out, which will throw things off again.  One thing at a time...
8)  It's okay that coffee without sweetener of any kind doesn't taste as good as coffee with sweetener. (see number 7) 
9)  It's okay that within the next week, I will be (lap)topless until I have saved up for a new computer.  Here's to being (and staying) debt free.

Friday, April 13, 2012


i might sound like a hater, but there are some things i'm really sick of.  they were maybe cute the first time, but... SO over it.

1) vintage, journalistic photoshoots for families, engagements, weddings, etc.  yes, we all know that you and your loved ones like the vintage look of making out on a railroad track.  yes, nothing sums up you and your suburban family more than walking away from the camera in a sunny field of wildflowers wearing cowboy boots that you'll never wear again that you probably bought just for that day.  sure, your diamond rings look great on that flower petal, just there by accident, sparkling in the sun like they do.  and finally, i know all of my friends and i jump on the count of three at any given time, or walk ponderously across a city sidewalk in our sunday best.  i dunno.  they were cool when they were new, but now that EVERYONE'S pictures look like this, it's a little forced and cliche.  what ever happened to good ole' olan mills?  or, isn't there a happy medium between casual and posed?  like, it's okay to look at the camera and smile, even IF you're in the middle of an abandoned train station canoodling.  and my biggest pet peeve within this photo-genre - i hate it when you can only see the chick's face of an engagment/wedding photo.  i get that you're capturing her emotion of being all IN LOVE.  but, who's the dude whose shoulder she is draped upon?  i like both faces, smiling, hopefully facing the camera.  i guess i'm old-fashioned.   

2) dogs or cats as children.  okay.  you may hate me for this one.  i don't have kids OR pets.  i've even thought of getting a dog.  and while we're on the topic, i've thought of having children too.  HOWEVER.  i hate it when people treat their animals like their children.  or even refer to them as their children.  i mean, animal cruelty is bad.  a crime, even.  but, there is really no equivalent to human interaction.  and if you think having a dog is anything like a child, think again.  you can train a dog and kind of be done with it.  a child takes at least 18 years of interactive "training" to help them grow into the way they should be.  that's like once saying a kid is potty-trained, you're done.  there's no comparison.  and, i know a dog keeps you warm at night, but a child can carry on your legacy, your name, your heritage... for generations.  make decisions, inherit your wealth, and a whole HOST of other things that are obvious when considering the difference between humans and animals.  i know people who have taken off work to attend to their dogs post-surgery.  that's fine.  i know people who don't have anyone but a furry loved one to love them.  that's fine too.  but, seriously, they are not people or children.  they are pets.  and as a side note... PLEASE don't bring them to work unless it's a medical, working animal.  some of us have allergies and are a little annoyed that you're feeding your dog bottled water, throwing them a lavish birthday party, and getting them a diamond studded collar.  meanwhile, there are children starving or being abused probably within your own city.  i mean, where is the love?  (of humans)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

About Me...Welcome

- I grew up as the daughter of a Protestant minister, and I converted to Catholicism in 2006.

- My upbringing was extremely unhealthy, sometimes abusive, and shares the traits of fundamentalist Christian cults.  While we were not a full-blown religious cult, there were definitely some very bad things that happened, and I'm still working through that, especially as it relates to my family relationships and my current religious practice.  It's one of the main reasons I blog with anonymity.
(Spoiler Alert: Ari Mack is not my real name.)  

- My husband and I are both classically trained musicians, and we met in music school.  He still works in the fine arts.  I used to work in the fine arts, but in recent years, I have risen through the ranks in higher education and work as a database administrator/code writer for a specific software program in higher education.  As a magnet on our refrigerator explains, "I used to be an artist, but I couldn't handle the 'starving' part."

- We live in one of the largest cities in the US, which has more residents than my entire home state has.

- We have zero children at the moment and practice NFP.  Between the two of us, there are 8 nieces and nephews, 4 in-laws, and 5 siblings.  I love the feeling of a big and loving family.  We hope to have children of our own someday.  

- I'm an INTJ to the max (although I have a few traits of the INFJ personality).  When I first read the Meyers-Briggs assessment of my personality, it was as if someone spied on the contents of my brain and then wrote it down for the world to see.  My husband is an ENFP (sometimes he crosses into INFP territory also).  Our union is sometimes described as a "perfect match" by some Meyers-Briggs practitioners.  We were really amused to find this description of an INTJ/ENFP love match: "An INTJ will get into a relationship when a hell-bent ENFP follows you around for a long enough period of time that you eventually just accept that you're dating," and "An ENFP will get into a relationship when you find someone just unattainable enough to intrigue you for a significant period of time."

- Between 2012 and 2013, I worked 4 different full-time jobs, 2 different part-time jobs, moved across the country, sold a house, and began sexual harassment proceedings against a former employer.  It was a year full of change, both expected and unexpected, wanted and unwanted.

- I credit therapy, the Catholic practice of confession, and the 12-step program as the beginning of my healing from childhood wounds.  It is very much an ongoing process.