Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Work Travel

I've never had a job before this that required travel. And I really like it. It makes me feel sorta important, allows me to connect with colleagues I don't get to interact with regularly, and gives me the opportunity to see new things!

However, if you haven't traveled much for work, you may not be aware of the challenges.

Personally, flying is still not my favorite, though I do pretty well compared to how I used to freak out about flying. But aside from flight anxiety, it's still pretty exhausting. Getting to Salt Lake City, Utah from Indiana is generally a full day of travel. For example, on Sunday I was traveling for more than 9 hours. That's a long day of stressful flying and navigating airports and figuring out what to eat quickly with a 20 minute layover.

Then, once you get to the hotel, you are generally stuck. I don't have a rental car, and there's not much within walking distance. It's not the worst, because I don't NEED to go anywhere... but the inability to leave can make you feel a bit claustrophobic!

Then, the all-day work meetings followed by evening dinners can be draining. Super fun with the colleagues I have, but still pretty tiring, especially for someone who usually works at home, alone.

All that said, it's still a huge blessing! I'm in beautiful Salt Lake, surrounding by snowcapped mountains. I'm treated to free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I get to hang out with some of my favorite people that live around the country.

I am also dealing with a little bit of time-zone change issues. It's 12:50 a.m. in Indiana, but here it's only 10:50, so I've only been back in my room for a bit and am still wide awake from the busy day.

All in all, I fly out here about 5 times a year, and could do it a lot more and be really happy about it. :) The only thing that could be better is if the location changed here and there to places perhaps a tad warmer in the winter months.

To conclude, I leave you with some of my favorite work travel pics.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lindsey's Home for Pregnant Cats

Dusty and Coco have been ruining my life for years. 
Back in 2009, Coco was moody, aloof, but well-behaved. Dusty was mischevious and high-energy but didn't cause a lot of problems when it was just he and Matt. 
Then, we combined households and got a dog. 

LONG story short, we spent years combatting their marking of our home with their urine. I'm convinced they really hate our guts and just want to punish us at every oportunity. Especially by peeing on stuff.

Everything you can read about cat pee, I've read. Every solution you can try, I tried. Foil-lined living room carpet, special quiet places for litter boxes to protect their privacy, complex potions and sprays... I've called cat rescues in tears just begging for their help. Noone would reply to my emails at "My Cat From Hell." 

In desperation, after several years, the cats got a new adventure and we got new carpet. They now live outside. 

In the summer it was great. They had the deck for shelter, we kept food and water full and accessible, and we hung out with them in the yard. 

Then, the cat food enticed unwelcome guests: 

Once it started to get cold, we relocated them to the garage. We have to leave the door cracked so they can get in and out. And we started adding amenities. It's become so appealing, we have new residents! We are on our second homeless cat squatting in our garage, in addition to Coco and Dusty.  I mean, who wouldn't want to live here? 
Amenities include: 
fully-insulated garage
heated water dish
electric warming pad
space heater
2 custom insulated cat houses (modeled after the below):

With record cold temps, we can't leave the garage open right now- it needs to stay closed so the heater can work and keep them warm and not dead. But my car is in there with them. And if I open the door, they scatter - which leads to a situation where Lindsey and Matt are in the -20 temps calling for cats (who never come when you want them too btw) trying to wrangle them back in the garage.  

So currently, my cats are holding me hostage.  I can't leave the garage. 

Also, the fact that we are now a homeless shelter (or luxury cat resort, who knows) makes me nervous. Our cats have shots and are spayed/neutered, but what if these other cats aren't?! What if my garage becomes Lindsey's home for pregnant cats? I already am going broke from feeding all the neighborhood cats and heating the outside with space heaters. How many more mouths can I be expected to feed? 

So at least I can sleep at night knowing that our cats are ok and not living in a cage, and some homeless and probably pregnant cat has a warm place to sleep. So I guess its worth it. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Three Words

Yesterday, all the treadmills were full when I showed up to the gym. Which is totally normal for January 2nd-- but it reminded me that I really wanted to nail down my resolutions! 

Lots of people hate resolutions and lots of people make them and don't keep them. But my sister-in-law has an approach to resolutions that I think even the resolution haters could get behind. She chooses a theme for her year rather than making specific resolutions, and throughout the year, she assesses decisions she makes to see if they fit with the theme. 

For example, should her theme be "wine and pizza" (which it wouldn't be because that's my theme from 2013, I just didn't know it at the time) then each time she started to make a salad for dinner, she'd realize that it wasn't fitting with the theme and furthering the goal, and then she'd order a pizza. 

I love this! I'm really excited to try it out. A quick google search inspired me to go with a "three words" approach. So, here's my theme for 2015! 

Be strong, be nourished, be content.

These three words will be applied to mind, body, and soul. Basically, I hope to accomplish a few things: 

Be strong: I plan to make good use of the healthy body I have. To challenge myself physically to overcome obstacles and acheive new things. Specifically, to build muscles, master some yoga poses, and complete the "15 5ks in 2015" goal I made with my friends. 

Be nourished: I want to fill my life with more of the things that truly FEED me. More time reading and learning and praying. More time spent strengthening my relationships with my kids, my husband, and my friends, because that love is truly soul food. Not like fried chicken and collard greens, but more satisfying, like smiles and hugs. Also, nourishing my body. I've spent too many years having a love/hate relationship with food. I want to keep focusing on eating real food that fuels and nourishes me and doesn't make me feel bad, physically or emotionally. 

Be content: If I had a dollar for every time I complained during the day... pretty soon I'd have to stop complaining about money. Yes, it sucks that I don't have enough cabinet space in the kitchen, and Rubbermaid food storage containers are overflowing the drawers and I keep serving dishes in the laundry room. But I am so lucky to have more Rubbermaid food storage containers than I need and a warm, safe, comfortable home I get to keep them in! I want to stop finding the FLAWS in everything and focus on the beauty and pleasure and happiness in all parts of life. I want to be content with what I have and appreciative of the people and things in my life as they are. 

Throughout the day, all year long, I plan to assess how I spend my time, energy, and money to make sure it is aligned with my theme, and adjust as necessary. 

I'm anxious to know what your three words are! If you are a resolution-maker, please share! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I'm over 50% successful.

In THIS POST from January of this year, I made a list of resolutions.

Honestly I realize that reading other people's resolutions does one of three things to you:
1. Bores you.
2. Makes you have feelings (probably guilt) about the resolutions YOU kept/didn't keep/need to make.
3. Reminds you that you think resolutions are dumb.

In response:
1. I'll keep this brief.
2. Prepare to be IMPRESSED.
3. Resolutions are kinda dumb. Life goals are super NOT dumb.

So here were the life goals I set in January.

1. Finish my MBA. DONE! CHECK! YESSS!

2. Improve job situation. GOT A PROMOTION IN MARCH!

3. Complete half marathon. DONE! Did my first in April! Skipped my second in September. :-/

4. Get in better shape..... work in progress....

5. Pay down credit cards. Oops. Not so much. 

6. Sleep more. Doing alright here! Been getting a fairly consistent 7-8 hours for months now.

7. Eat well. Again, work in progress, but I've definitely cleaned up my act and I continue to improve. 

So basically, I'm over 50% successful here so I'll take it. Already brainstorming the big goals of 2015!

Do you make resolutions? Do you feel bored now?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Longbourn. A book review.

 I'm a big fan of audio books. I like to listen to audiobooks while I do chores around the house, and drive to pick up my kids, or run errands. 

And everyone who knows me knows I'm also a big fan of Jane Austen novels. This book happens to be the tale of Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen's novel- from the perspective of the servants in the household. 

While discussing something completely different with my husband tonight, we ended up listening to a musical excerpt of a piano and violin combination. It was beautiful and it made me think fondly back of this particular book.  In Jane Austen's era there are two kinds of people- the privileged, and the unprivileged. 

The privileged women spend their time preparing to be a wonderful wife. They learn French, they perfect their musical abilities on piano and/or violin, and singing, and they become accomplished artists. 

All of these are apparently skills required to catch a husband with a high income. While talking about this with my husband, I expressed my desire to live in a different era-- in Jane Austen's area when I could be born into a life of privilege and spend my teen and young adult years learning to play the violin and to sing and paint.

Matt explained that if that were to really happen to travel back in time, I would not  be allowed to be born into such a family, but would create a situation where I was suddenly thrust into a society where no one knew who I was and they would probably consider me some sort of witch and behead me. 

On the contrary, my Time Machine is going to make me a fetus in the womb of a well-to-do lady. When that happens I'll be born into a life where people wait on me hand and foot, feed me bread with jam and tea, and dress me in fancy dresses so that I can go play cards and play the piano for eligible bachelors. 

This book I read,  Longbourn, does not tell that tale. It describes the life of a servant who empties bedpans and washes out the monthly linens for the ladies of the house. Spoiler alert: the happy ending is when the lady servant leaves the household to run off with her male servant lover and become basically gypsies to do migrant work, but are happy because they have each other. 

Let me say I did really enjoy this book, and even considering the somewhat unhappy happy ending, I thought it was well done. Despite some more vulgar parts that would not be included in the Jane Austen novel, I thought it was a good work of fan fiction. If you're the sort of person who likes Jane Austen novels, I highly recommend this. If you are the sort of person that wants to travel back in time to the era of Jane Austen novels please know that you might be born a servant and your happy ending my include migrant farm work and illegitimate children. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I want this to be one of those posts that I look back on in a couple weeks and think, "I was so worried about nothing!" 

I don't think this will be that kind of post. 

The other day my daughter and I were talking about the running hobby I've developed over the last two years. She said, "I know you love running but-" and I cut her off. "I don't love running." 

I explained it like this: "remember when we redecorated your room? And it took lots of work to paint and clean and organize and put everything back together- but when we were done and you felt accomplished and like everything was better?" You know, that feeling of "ahh, this feels nice. The work was worth it." She did. 

That's what running is like. The actual running sucks. It's hard and tiring, and you mostly want to be done, just like painting and cleaning. But you're in it for the "after."

So I mostly hate running. But I like the after. The feeling of accomplishing something that's hard and that I never thought I could do. 

If you've read this blog you might know I'm training for my second half marathon. It's a big one, one with a time goal, and it's in Chicago which requires a trip and lodging and stuff. It's kind of a big deal to me. My second half, in a cool place, with a big accomplishment in terms of time. And I got injured. 

I have tendonitis. I've tried resting it, icing it, physical therapy exercises, ibuprofen. And a week and a half after the symptoms came on, it's still bad. Really bad. I've bought an ankle brace and kinesiology tape.

Nothing makes it better. 

I have a running partner that will either have to bail on the race or try to do it alone which is lame because it's OUR goal together and we've trained together. And I can barely walk, let alone walk/jog a 12 min mile. 

I currently plan to walk it if I can't jog by a week from now. Which is lame because the race closing time requires you run. The course closes in three hours. And at my hobbling walk pace with a bad ankle I'm looking at 4.5-5 hours. And since I've had no relief over the last 1.5 weeks I don't expect more. And I'm sad. Really sad. 

I don't want to stand on the sidelines and watch others run the race I trained for. I don't want to walk the route long after the race is over and the medals and water stations are gone and it's back to being a regular street. And I'm tired of staying home on nights I usually went to the gym since mt ankle pain doesn't even allow me to do a yoga class because it still requires me to bear weight on my foot. 

I had planned for this to be my last distance race because my body was already revolting but it appears I won't even get that. My first half training had me down for two weeks with a different foot injury. There's clearly a theme. 

Ever set a goal and work toward it only to be stopped from accomplishing it in the eleventh hour? Tell me about it. Misery loves company you guys. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The time running almost killed us.

When it comes to running, Jessica and I break all the rules. In a bad way. 

For example, we sign up for a race and read the details (13 min max pace) later. 

Or, we go out for a 7 mile run, get ambitious, and decide to run to a park without knowing the actual distance to said park. 

Important note: anyone who has run long distances knows you slowly ramp up mileage. Our longest training run so far: 5 miles. We ended the night at 9.84. Mistake. It gets worse. 

When we started tonight, I told her I didn't think 7 miles was going to happen because I had a bad work day and was really stressed. But apparently running (which is really hard for me) was working out frustration. So we kept going.

Jessica bought a water belt, which came in really handy because it was soo humid! We ran out but luckily were running right past our friend Edie's house and stopped for a refill!

We were at mile 4, and turning back there meant 8 miles total... But we'd set the goal of making it to the reservoir at the park and were pretty close so we decided to go for it. 

By the time we made it to the park, we were almost out of water again, but feeling pretty good (but sweaty.) As we turned back, we realized it was starting to get dark-- we started our run at 7:15 p.m.  And we started at Potters Bridge Park, which is very wooded and NOT lit at all. And we would have to end our run there. In the dark. Really poor planning. 

Armed with iPhones with flashlights, we figured we'd power through... But as we approached the woods, the overcast sky hid all moonlight, and we were worried about rape, murder, and woodland creatures. I mean, there are endless bugs, birds, coyotes... 

And as we shined our lights into the dark, wooded path, and debated our choice- A BAT FLEW INTO THE STREAM OF LIGHT and right towards our faces!!

As is our style, we ran straight into each other, screamed, and turned to run. It was decided- we were NOT GOING IN THERE. 

So we headed back toward the road and took a slightly longer route that kept us closer to civilization. But the road leading to the park, for the last mile, turned out to also not be well-lit, and had no sidewalk. We walk/jogged along the road, iPhones in hand, dodging the occasional car. It's after ten at this point. 

Some of those cars slowed, making me fear kidnapping, and some came dangerously close to the edge of the road, leading Jessica to believe we'd be on the news for being hit by a texting driver. 

As we crossed a bridge with barely a shoulder, in the pitch black, we wondered why it was SO loud out there! There must be a thousand species of bugs, birds, frogs, and rodents all competing to produce the loudest, creepiest song. 

Just when I thought to myself, "yep, this is where we die" we suddenly saw the light at the entrance of the park. 

We lived. Barely, in my opinion. And my legs have turned to stone and my back feels like I've been hit by a baseball bat. But hey, almost ten miles! With an average pace of 15 min/mile so we are definitely getting picked up by the struggle bus on race day. But at least we will live.