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!