Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tigger, Eeyore & the Damn Glass

For some reason, I was dreading today.  I didn't sleep well last night, but did have a great workout this morning. So, I put on my war face and headed towards work ready to attack the day.  Some days I have to make a VERY conscious effort to be in a happy mood....I know you've been there too.  

Ever heard of the Tigger and Eeyore syndrome?  Eeyore is chronically pessimistic, always gloomy and depressing and has a low self-esteem along with an even lower expectation of life in general.  

On the other hand, Tigger has a bubbly and "bouncing" personality. When life gets him down, he strives to find the silver lining. And when he does, he "bounces for joy" while counting his blessings.

Honestly, I think we have all have natural inclinations as part of our core personality.  Therefore, I think you can be a bit of both Tigger and Eeyore.  The whole 'glass half full or empty' thing also flummoxes me - it changes for me all the time.  There are also some days where I just see the damn glass and have no earthly idea whether it's full or empty, nor could I care!  Today was an 'Eeyore, can't even see the damn glass' kind of day, so I'm really trying to add a bit of Tigger to it. So far Eeyore is winning out...but I'm still trying.

Obviously, things are really stressful here at work, what with all of the WAITING and all.  So here I am, trying to Live in the Moment, and be cheerful dammit.  One of my favorite quotes is as follows:

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”   -  Mahatma Gandhi

I actually have this quote printed out and on the wall behind my computer monitor.  I try to live this daily...sometimes it's only weekly, but I do think about it regularly.  ( Does anyone else think it's funny that I've mentioned Tigger, Eeyore and Gandhi in the same post? :o) )  Sometimes it helps, some days it doesn't.

In order to keep my thoughts positive, I've tried to appreciate a few small things that have happened to me today -

 I had to run to the dr at lunch today
and get back in time for a meeting at 11:45AM.
 - I made it!

I got my Five Year Anniversary
certificate for my job today...  (Ironic isn't it?)
AND, last but not least, I was able to eat at an IT Lunch and Learn for the first time in a long time due to my super friend who ordered me a Gluten Free pizza from Domino's!  I got busted on for having my own personal pizza, but it sure was nice to eat with the team for a change -  thanks Jennifer!  (And no, I wasn't thanking myself, she's a Jennifer too.)

I guess the overall message o' the day is this, being 'up' isn't always easy, but it matters.  Everyone around you is affected by your mood.  So even though we're allowed to have our bad days, try not to spread it around and take it out on your bike/workout instead!  If you're feeling a bit 'Eeyore-ish', try convert it to a toned down Tigger and eventually you will get through it.  Stop worrying about the glass being half full etc...and if you can't?  You can always pitch the damn glass and go buy a new one!  Happy Thursday ya'll!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Towels and China and Flowers, Oh My!

You know those towels you have in the bathroom that are 'for guests only'? Then, when the guests come, they don't use them because they don't want to mess them up?   Towels should NOT get dusty!  Come on, you know what I'm talking about!    How about only using your good china for special occasions or those special wine glasses that you 'save' for celebrations? 

My favorite is when women buy a pair of shoes that they just love and have to have, and then don't wear them because you don't want to 'ruin them.' I could go on and on - I'm fascinated by the concept that people want to save things for a later time to make them seem more special. 

I grew up in a beautiful home that had a living room filled with furniture that we weren't allowed to sit on.  (Sorry Mom).  The dog wasn't allowed in the room either, so it wasn't just us. It's a long standing family joke that you just didn't sit in my parent's living room unless you were asked.  We took pictures there for our wedding - obviously we rated that day - I would hazard a guess that we(I) sat in that living room about once/twice a year.  The room meant a lot to my Mom and in her defense, I wouldn't want 3 dirty kids and a dog running through there either...but that was then.  In my parents current home, you can sit where you want! Yay!

In fact, when we bought our little yellow house, I specifically chose a house without a living room!  I didn't want to clean a room that we never used.  We definitely lounge in our house, feet up, afghans out, comfort rules.  I use most of my good 'every day' china, but must confess, I have my grandmother's china and family silver and don't use it. (I have to work on that.)

I learned early in my life, that you never know what tomorrow will bring - so I love to use the special stuff when I feel like it.  I carry my 'good' purse every day, use the Wedgewood & Waterford for a cook-out and buy myself flowers at Trader Joe's.  I enjoy those things and dammit, why not treat myself once in a while?

Tiffany Weave
Hexagonal vase

Don't get me wrong, I don't spend our money on lots of frivolous things but, we do use our 'special stuff;'  we appreciate it and enjoy it daily - not just on special occasions.  One of my favorite things is a vase B bought me from Tiffany's.  (Gasp.)  Yes, Tiffany's.  I so love it there. (but that's another story.)  What can I say, I'm a sucker for a basket weave and ok, so it's a little frivolous, but it called to me!

Bottom line folks, enjoy your life!  If you like flowers, buy some $5 daisies or pick some for yourself.  Use those towels with the monograms!  Wear the jewelry or shoes you've been saving and enjoy them.  Dress for yourself - wear those new boots to the grocery store and stop saving things for later. 

This living in the moment concept doesn't apply to just 'things' either!  Take the time to enjoy life and take a walk outside.  Go to the theater or listen to music you like - read a book you've wanted to read and take time for yourself.  Go play! You'll be all the better for it.

I know I've driven some of you crazy with this, but I have to share a song I've been listening to lately by Jason Mraz - here are some of the lyrics to a new song of his - Living in the Moment:
If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don't know
And I know I'll only do this by
Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
Living in the moment

I've really been affected by this song for some reason and I think it fits what I'm trying to say here - Later is here - Make some memories!  Make it fun, laugh, appreciate life and don't worry about the mess or dirtying those towels - that's what they're there for...   

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

45, Pregnant & Unemployed ♪♪♫♫

Waiting is defined by the Free Dictionary as " 1. The act of remaining inactive or stationary."  I don't know about ya'll but I absolutely hate to wait.   I was the kid who unwrapped the Christmas gifts her parents had hidden and then 'wrapped' them back up again because I HAD to know what I was getting and couldn't wait.  Ask B, I'm the worst at waiting to find out the answer to something that will impact my life; in fact, I even hate leaving messages for people because when I call, I want to talk to them at that moment, not later! 
I sat at my desk last week on a day when no one else was in the office and got a phone call with some great news!  Awesome!  I couldn't wait to share it!  Well, B was at work and couldn't take my call, my Mom was out of town and wasn't answering her phone and no on was on IM, so I had to sit still and wait to tell someone my news!  It about killed me.  No exaggeration either.  I was beside myself.

I am a doer.  That's who I am and what makes me tick.  Unfortunately, for the past 5 years, I've been forced into the role of a 'wait-er.'  Hate it.  I had health issues that after a while I knew they could fix, but I had to wait to go through their protocol to ensure I met the guidelines for the experimental treatment.  After they fixed me (see, I was right!), we dove right into trying to have a family.  Sure thing.  No waiting there.  (heavy sarcasm)

For the last 4+ years, we've been going down the unmarked path of infertility.  Nothing wrong with me at all; I'm just old.  If you've had infertility treatments, you know the whole thing is based on waiting.  And then waiting some more.  Testing, checking, verifying, mock cycling and so on....more waiting.   So yes, we're still waiting on babies.  I figure this is all part of God's plan to teach me patience and I'm just a slow learner.  Adding insult to injury, I also don't know if I'll have a job soon.  Very soon.  More waiting (and praying.)  Pretty soon I could be a really big cliche, 45, pregnant and unemployed.  What a great title for a new country song!!!   ♪♫♪♫♪♫

I think we're in very good company though.  Most friends and associates that I've spoken with in the past few months seem to be in a holding pattern in some shape or size.  Of course my co-workers are in the 'wait and see' mode like me about work - I have friends that are pregnant and are waiting for their babies to arrive, friends who are job hunting, friends who are house hunting, friends who are dealing with health issues,  friends who are soul searching, and the list goes on.

I've come to the conclusion that our generation - the 40 somethings - was told by our parents to get a job and have a career, get married and have a family and basically just be loyal citizens who contribute to the gross national product.  If we didn't fit that mold or did things differently, that was ok, but the end result should still be the same.  SO, a lot of us took jobs just to have one - not because it was our calling.  We dated, some got married and had kids, and some are still looking for the 'right' person.    We made decisions based on what was expected of us and not what we wanted. 

Now, we're doing what we want.  We're switching careers, getting new homes, downsizing, up sizing and trying to have kids later in life.  We want to eat our cake.....and we don't want to wait!  We want to catch up with our peers that had a different life plan - forgetting that they didn't get there overnight either.

So, I guess I'll just have to sit tight, pray a lot, be myself, follow my heart and be patient.  I will keep waiting though, because as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.  That doesn't mean I'll stop doing either - I'll do what I have to do to move things along (being my real self) and maybe then I'll have peace, regardless of the outcome.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

In general, most Americans see Memorial Day as an extra day off from work - a freebie.  We lose sight of the fact that Memorial Day is a time to reflect and thank those that have sacrificed their lives to protect and serve our country.

Here's a brief bit of history as to how the day started:

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 197.

Over the past 10 years, I've been researching my family tree.  I've learned that I come from a long line of patriots and heroes.  Going back to the Revolutionary War, I can see the sacrifice and loss that affected my family.  The Civil War found my family fighting on both sides - and losing husbands, sons and loved ones. 

As Americans, each of us probably has a story in our past that is intertwined with our freedom.  Let's not lose site of the fact that even if we are not in the military ourselves, there are still things we can do to support our troops and honor their memory.   Just Google "Support our Troops" and you'll be amazed at how many sites are out there to help our troops!  I personally love the USO site.  It shows many different ways you can help in your local community to support our military.  The company I work for has done things like stuff boxes with toiletries and luxury items for our troops.  We've written notes and letters and sent them off as well to thank the recipients for their sacrifices.  We let them know they aren't invisible and that they matter.

While Memorial Day is an important part of our American heritage, let's not wait until we lose our military to thank and appreciate them!   Happy Memorial Day ya'll and thanks to all of our veterans for their sacrifice, dedication and heroism!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Su Su Sushi Ya'll

I'm a sushi lover.  Either you are or you aren't.  It's definitely an acquired taste.  I do have my favorites, but I've tried a few of the more gnarly choices in my time.  Those choices were made in my younger days of trying new things and experimenting.  I did stupid things like bungee jumping and eating shrimp heads and eel.  These days, while I enjoy the memories, I'm much more inclined to choose salmon and yellowtail nigiri.  Boring I know, but when you find a good thing, don't ruin it.

Dinner last night at Akahana Asian Bistro  - The Plaza

I think the thing that stands out the most with my love of sushi is my absolute distaste for cooked fish.  Yep.  Hate it when it's cooked.  It's too 'fishy' - or mushy.  Sushi is lovely, firm and fresh tasting; for the most part.  I guess it depends on where you get it.  It's not an easy task to find good sushi in Charlotte.  We're landlocked and fresh seafood is something we typically just enjoy while on vacation in New England.  We're not seafood snobs by any means.  Typically though, when you think of food that North Carolina is known for, you think of barbecue pork and hush puppies. 

Ah, the hushpuppie.  I do miss those fried little cornmeal filled dough morsels.  Gluten free hush puppies aren't common in most BBQ joints down here.  In fact, if you ask for no bun, roll or hushpuppies they immediately assume you're a Yankee who can't handle the food!  God help you if ask for un sweet tea.  They turn up their noses and walk away as if you'd told them you don't like barbecue!  I love it - really.

I've lived in the South for most of my adult life and have to say, I love the food and the people.  Growing up just south of the Mason Dixon line gave me the option of being a Yankee or a Southerner.  I didn't really choose either as a kid; as an adult though, I definitely gravitated AWAY from the snow.  Always thinking aren't I?

Of course that means I moved AWAY from lobster and all things Cape Cod, but we'll always have vacation and sushi I guess!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Joys of Gluten Free...

Focusing on the sarcasm here....I HATE being Gluten Free.  Let me reiterate...having to eat Gluten Free is so frustrating that I want to stomp my feet and whine about the general unfairness of it.  I miss so much - GOOD pizza, bread in general - how good is a nice soft potato roll????  Gluten Free flour, while a mental placebo, does little for the palette.  I've started to venture in Gluten Free baking and let me tell you, it's not for the feint of heart.  I graduated near the top of my class in culinary school and baking is my passion; also known as my zen time.  Gluten Free baking is nothing but a stressful undertaking.  It's not instinctive for me yet and that is frustrating.   I think it will be a while before I just decide to head into the kitchen and throw together a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread - right now, that recipe is about 23 ingredients.  The least of them being the yeast. 

I just need to take a month and immerse myself with the 8 different flours I need to use and just experiment.  I swear to God above and all of the Gluten Free victims out there that I will find a way to make GF baking fun and enjoyable with the results both decadent and familiar.

Until then, I will have to rely on Betty Crocker - yeah, baking out of a box.  (Sigh.) Their brownies actually kick some easy butt - add some cream cheese butter cream icing and you have a tiny bite of normal. 

I'd love to hear any Gluten Free gems you've found - I've been GF for about 8 months now, and obviously I'm still learning!  Happy Baking and I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

What to do, What to do?!

Today is my first day of vacation!  Yipee!  Nothing better than waking up when I'm ready.  There's something said for that isn't there?  Next up, working out, taking a nice long bath with a good book and just having free, lazy time!   I'm taking a day off here and there to use up some vacation time.   What better time to use it then now - did I mention the company where I work is being bought out/acquired by a large conglomerate?  No stress there.  B is in graduate school full-time so I'm the only full-time paycheck for the family.  SO, obviously having a good job is really important to me right now.  The question of "What to Do?" is around my net steps career-wise. 

I really love the company I work for; my co-workers keep me coming back for more.  I just celebrated my 5 year anniversary too.  Sadly, that's all changing in the very near future.  I don't know if I will have a job, let alone a job I want.  Do I really want to work for the 'new' company at all?  A co-worker made a very smart comment a few months back, "We should stop worrying about whether or not we have jobs.  Instead we should worry about whether or not we want to work for the company."

I don't think I do.  To quote Diane Keaton in Baby Boom"I think the rat race could use one less rat."  Maybe I choose a job just for the sake of the job, not where it could take me.  Maybe I try telecommuting instead of rush hour traffic day in and day out.   Maybe I focus more on our personal lives instead of my stress at work. 

These are the questions 'o the day - I think I'll go make some granola.  I always think better when I bake....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where to begin....

The time has come.  I think I'm ready to begin documenting our crazy life, the ups and downs in the life of J - B and the Bubs.  I'm J, my loving husband is B and our two sweet dogs, Seamus (pronounced Shaymus) and Paxton are the Bubs.  Nice to meet you.

Today is the day before a 4 day break for Memorial Day and I think I'm ready to chill and do nothing for a few days!   Our lives have been pretty boring lately- not that I'm complaining.  Excitement comes in the little things - the lawn mowed and gorgeous for a few days - gluten free pizza at Dominos! - a clean house - Jason Mraz' new CD blaring in my car - like I said, it's the small things that make up a good week.

I'd rather be going to the Cape for the holiday and having a wee bit of Chatham, MA and lobster rolls- but hey, the Domino's GF pizza was pretty darned good!  Weak I know, but in a pinch, I'll take it.
Chatham Lighthouse Beach
Lobster's Good....
Our Bubbies - also known as the bubs, the mutts, Sea (Shay), Paxie, name it...are spoiled to the nth degree of rotten.  Since we don't have kids yet (quite a long story), all of our attention, extra funds and focus goes on them.  I'm sure it's quite annoying to non-dog lovers, but we love our bubs!

My B - well, he's a sweetie and loves his sports and his newspapers.  I can't touch the stupid things myself, YUCK, but the man lives for his papers every day; I swear we've recycled so much of it that we could  make enough toilet paper to supply our whole neighborhood for a week.  B loves Cape Cod too and I'm sorry we couldn't swing a brief blitz for the Mem holiday, but we'll put on our sound machine tonight and pretend we're listening to the I said, it's the little things!  Happy Memorial Day ya'll!