Tag Archives: navel gazing

How many shades of heather does one person hold?

I mean heather as in an oyster color. I didn’t want to use “shades” and the g-word in my title as I’m already disappointing scores of Google searchers who are here due to a shoe fetish.

I am currently in the process of trying to make a HYOOGE life decision. In my head, which is a strange place, nothing can move forward (like buying a new house in a better school district or signing up for the GRE) until the decision is 100% made and zipped up in the irrevocable decision box.

I pride myself on being able to see all sides of most issues. If you need a Devil’s Advocate, I’m your woman. (Do you ever wonder if the devil really needs advocates? If yes, and it’s a high paying position, I’d like to put in my resume.) (Call me, Lucifer!)

But, if the issue is something the directly impacts me (not my kid or my family or friends), there is only black or white.

I had the opportunity to spend an hour on the phone with a Life Coach (hi Marste!) and outlined my two choices. (BTW – this is something I highly recommend. I cannot speak positively enough about how wonderful that hour was.)

After talking about what it would mean to not choose the Big Change and finding out that I am remarkably mature and insightful (paraphrase), I also found out that maybe I don’t have to make it a Big Choice all at once. I can keep on living my life as I move towards the center.

As I was talking about what I do with my time, I prefaced a lot of what I was saying with “I might be crazy” because I get told that sometimes. I’m busy. I work a pretty intense job (actually, two currently), I write (not as much as I think I should), I’m training for a half ironman, I have an almost-three-year-old, and a husband, and a few friends. I’m starting dance classes next week and I am, with the help of Rosetta Stone, teaching myself Swedish. I’m co-chairing a cookbook project for an online group I’m in. I’m working on a research project and eventual paper and maybe presentation  with someone who makes me look like a lazy slacker (love you, PSM!).

I am trying to do more things that scare me (see above re: dance class).

I am trying to travel more (see you soon, Chicago!), write more, be more. I am all about more.

I’m seldom about less, unless you’re talking about less social interaction. Then I’m all about the less.

I don’t really know how to do less and stay functional. If you gauge busy on a scale of 1-10, my preference for optimal life-satisfaction and productivity is right around an eight.

If I’m not full up, then there is room for discord and anxiety and those creeping little thoughts that are not helpful.

However, after the hour with Marste, I committed to try to find a center and to seek my balance in something different from left-braining with intensity all day and right-braining with equal intensity the rest of the time.

I am going to look for small steps and resist the go big or go home attitude.  I can be full without running full-tilt at whatever the next Big Choice is. Theoretically. (When I decided that the next Big Choice was a baby, I devised spreadsheets, created optimal timelines, charted ALL sorts of things, created a super secret blog about conception and then pregnancy, and read every book I could get my hands on. I won at pregnancy up through the positive result on the pregnancy stick. THEN the variable introduced into my planning made everything else go haywire.)

There’s only one real problem with this. I’m not sure how to look at the heather-colored spaces between. I might need a live-in life coach (note to self: add that line to the sister-wife job description currently posted) to give me more feedback on a daily basis.

My goal though, as always, is to feel good about the decisions I’ve made and completely own them. And also to be completely badass.



Brain. Dead. Send Help (and gin)

It is Friday. TFIF. (Freya is my new goddess and I will be invoking her in all things that require divine invocation. My general atheistic stance remains pretty firm, though, so don’t worry!)

I am pretty sure that no one will read this, because not only is it Friday, it is Friday before a long holiday weekend. So I am going to navel gaze.

Has anyone ever done a vision board or a declaration of clarity or some kind of exercise that helps them get to the root of who they are and what they want? I tend to be more of a “develop a problem statement, get to the root cause of the problem, brainstorm solutions, and implement” and less into the more touchy feely stuff.

But I am not thrilled with where I’m at right now and the way I see it I have two choices.

  1. Continue in current career path that is not terrible, pays decently, and is currently fairly high stress.
  2. Don’t do that.
Option 3: Just say screw it and go to a movie.

Option 3: Just say screw it and go to a movie.

If I choose #2, I know what I want to do, and due to my (checks notes) propensity to offer “inordinately long explanations” (hat tip to Cromer), so does my PSM, but that way lies dragons. And also less financial security. (Or maybe the dragons are the lowered financial security.)

I’ve never been a firm believer that everyone needs to “follow their dreams” career wise. I actually think that’s rather shit advice. I mean, my dream is to be a stay-at-home-Amy and have someone support me in the manner in which I’d like to become accustomed, and also to have a house keeper. And a pool boy. Possibly also a pool, but let’s not get carried away.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to find a career that you don’t hate and that pays money and just do it and save your passion for your life outside of work.

But what happens when you don’t have the time or energy for a life outside of work? I’m sure that eventually Bean will start sleeping again. (I’m wondering if the stress of staying dry all night is what’s interfering with his sleep? He’s really emotionally invested in it, and is NOT SLEEPING OH MY GODDESS.)

However, my calendar at work is getting fuller and fuller, and soon I’m not sure I’ll have any time to actually get any work done, which means I’m start bringing home more than just email answering. (On a typical workday, I receive between 100-200 emails. I am wicked popular. Today, however, I’ve only received about 30 by 11 am. Friday before a holiday weekend is good.)

If I do go with Option Two above, I have approximately two and a half years before I make that change. Two point five years of planning. And scheming. There are five things that I need to get done in that time.

(Five is such a random number that I just pulled out of my ass. Let’s see what I actually come up with.)

  1. Build up a substantial savings
  2. Publish something academically
  3. Become proficient at Swedish
  4. Write like a crazy person and edit like a sane one (I have four readers who are (I assume) eagerly awaiting the first draft of my first novel
  5. Polish my lady balls (definitely grasping at straws for number five)

I am doing a big sportsing this year, too. I am eagerly awaiting my training plan from my coach. Training starts in one month. I’m probably supposed to be doing some pre-training that doesn’t involve self-centered whinging, deep coughs, and qualifying for the wine Olympics.

Blah Blah Blah

tl;dr – I am crazy and tonight I’m drinking a French 75.

I Esteem Colossal Lexemes and I Cannot Prevaricate

When I was younger, I delighted in words, in the turns of phrase that make a story worth reading or hearing. The way the right author could take individual pieces with independent meanings, and make them mean something that grabs at your soul and yanks it into a different world.

I loved being smart. I loved sounding smart. I may have loved that last bit a little too much and crossed the line into pedantry. I also learned – although I’m not sure who the teacher was – that an impressive vocabulary was not the way to win friends and influence people.

So I let go of my love of learning and utilizing the biggest of words and didn’t bother to seek out and incorporate new phrases any more. My vocabulary didn’t suffer in any way, but it didn’t improve, either. I didn’t much think on it, and seldom lately has anyone asked me what a word I used meant.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I did myself a disservice. Surely, any person that I would care to be associated with wouldn’t look down on me for having a prodigious vocabulary, would they? Would I really want to spend time with someone who’d refuse to hang out with me if I used a word or two they didn’t know? And do I really want to assume that the people I enjoy hanging out with wouldn’t understand me if I went back to my previous mode of speech and continually strove to improve myself, words-wise?

The answer to the above questions is an emphatic no, of course.

I started thinking on this more in the last couple of weeks because of the delightful Cat, whose vocabulary and overall intelligence and education make me both a wee bit jealous anda little bit turned on. I pretty much want to have the same effect on people and since I’m not a gorgeous, ten-foot tall glamour queen like she is, and I’m not likely to ever be those things, my brains are all I’ve got going for me. (Well, if I’m honest, it’s brains and boobs. I’m generously racked.)




Channeling Chicago* via Portland and Oakland

You know how sometimes, there’s that one person who always manages to say what you need to hear when you need to hear it? That person at whom you kind of want to karaoke “You’re my inspiration.”*

There’s this blogger. Her name is Carla. I’ve never met her, but I feel like I know her. She’s one of those bloggers who, when she comments on my blog, makes me feel exceptionally fancy.

Today, she had an extraordinary post. Go read it. Seriously. I’ll wait. The rest of my post won’t make sense until you do.



Are you back?


So – lately I’ve been struggling with something. My life has changed a lot in the last 2 to 2.5 years. I got pregnant. My father died. I had a baby. I finished grad school. I got a promotion. I have a lot more responsibilities than I ever could’ve thought I wanted. I lost some friends.

Yesterday was ridiculously craptastic.

I got my period and with it some of the worst cramps I’ve had in as long as I can remember (and I remember some pretty bad ones). [Redacted statement about bad work experience]. I lost my work ID badge which left me with no way to access certain parts of work without assistance. A work project I spearheaded & championed is doing very poorly and today I have to report to my boss’s boss on it. After getting groceries, I found that our pantry was infested with disgusting little bug-things living in all of our floury substances. And then my child pooped on me.

The combo of 2.5 years of life changes weighing on my mind + one Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day + the extra feels I have due to this being that euphemistic time of the month = very cranky gazelle.

And then I read that post. (You remember, the one I just told you to read.)

And I left this comment:

As you know, I love shoes. (But not flip flops. They kinda creep me out. Actually, toes creep me out, so any shoes that involve acknowledging that there are toes in there REALLY REALLY creep me out.)

My shoe closet: 40% cute yet moderately comfortable dress shoes (wedges, pumps, boots, dressy things); 40% sneakers (I own so many running shoes I could probably open my own store – if you could have a store where all the shoes are the same size) and other comfy shoes; 8% stilettos; and 2% flip-flops (hey! I swim a lot).

In the last two years, I’ve really moved from a much higher percentage of cute but impractical shoes to the 80% cute/comfy and functional/comfy ratio I currently have. Strangely enough, I’ve also lost (it was involuntary on my part) a huge percentage of my high-maintenance friends (those people that were fun to hang out with but when I look at our interactions, I find that there was no sincere closeness there). I’m still looking to refill that gap in my shoe-friend closet, but if my actual shoe closet trend is a good predictor, I’m going to have some awesome people come into my life.

And just like that, I feel better.

Yeah – things have changed. My life has changed. My friendships have changed. But with that hindsight, it’s easy to see that what I’ve lost was worth losing.

Life’s too short for uncomfortable friends shoes.

(And Carla, even if you are a flip-flop afficianado, I’m still glad you’re my bloggy friend.)


*You know you want it.

Neener neener – you can’t make me!

I think I’ve had an epiphany! It would’ve been awesome if I’d had it on Monday, but I did not. I had it yesterday instead. My timing was a bit off.

In addition to realizing that I do not like mixed berries in my smoothies (too many seeds), I realized that I do not like to do things that I have to do.

I start every morning looking at my calendar, which is often quite full. This week has been light with only nine meetings (eight total hours), but there are weeks that most of my working hours are spent in meetings, preparing for meetings, or going to and from meetings.

So, I look at all the things I have to do.  The meetings. The meeting prep. The work on my to do list. Oh, and today I have to run.

And often I resent that stuff. I delight in a canceled meeting. I willfully and deliberately skip my run. I make fitness goals and then BREAK THEM. And then I get mad at myself and say mean things (to myself).

Over the week and a half I was off work, I didn’t have to do anything. I ran a lot (for me) – 25.66 miles in 10 days. Now that running is in my schedule (something I am skipping AS I TYPE THIS), I don’t do it.


I am not spending the requisite time on my top priorities, and am, instead, letting high priorities (ie exercise) fall by the wayside.

Investigatory Methods:

I decided it would be an interesting exercise to list my activities in priority order. So I did:

  1. I want to give my sweet baby hugs and kisses when he wakes up in the morning.
  2. I want to spend more time w/ my husband (we don’t have a lot of time together because of divergent schedules (I’m a 5-9 awake person, he’s a 7-12 person).
  3. I want to get up and write.
  4. I want to read/relax/sip wine/eat
  5. I want to exercise.
  6. I want to sleep (loooove sleep)
  7. I want to go to my job so they don’t fire me and keep giving me money.

Then I put them all in a spreadsheet and assigned the amount of time in a typical workweek that I spend on each activity (of course there were going to be spreadsheets, you had to have seen that coming). I totalled everything up and got:

  1. Sleep (as it should be, really) (51.5 hrs/week)
  2. Work (48.5 hrs/week – includes commute)
  3. Baby time – (36 hrs/week; ~an hour in the morning & 3 hrs at night on weekdays, double that time on the weekends)
  4. Solo Architect time – (11 hrs/week, about an hour a day on weekdays)
  5. Writing – (7 hrs/week – I write for an hour every morning)
  6. Read/relax/eat – (7 hrs/week – 30 minutes for lunch/30 minutes between hopping into bed and turning off the light)
  7. Exercise – (5.75 hours/week, mostly on the weekends)

(Bonus: I have an extra unaccounted for hour and 15 minutes each week free! PARTY!)

My analysis:

My priorities, with the exception of work and sleep, totally match how I’m spending my time. Unfortunately Obviously, I need to keep my job. They pay me a decent salary which allows me to keep the Bean in childcare and diapers, and the architect & I housed and warm and fed. And insured.  (However, if you want to pay me a lot of money to work less, let me know. I have a pretty diverse skill set.)

Also, sleep is pretty important. If you take work & sleep out, my priorities and time commitments totally match up! So, I guess I’m doing something right? And, writing, reading/relaxing, and exercising are all gazelle-centered priorities, so it’s good that I’m spending almost 20 hours a week on awake me.

Conclusions/further questions:

I am not exercising more because it is not a high priority. I am exercising almost an hour/day, which is not too shabby. I should take this as my proof that I’m not nearly as screwed up as I think I am, and stop beating myself up for skipping a workout. What happens if I don’t meet my fitness goals? NOTHING. As long as it has a place on my priority list and I’m giving it a certain amount of time, I think I’ll be fine.

Handy dandy mantra:

What I Can, When I Can (I totally made this up ALL BY MYSELF and did not steal it from anyone else on the interwebs. I swear it! Please note that 33% of the words in my mantra are different than Carla’s.)

Bonus mantra: Be nice to me, I’m the only me I’ve got!

tl;dr – just go read MizFit’s post linked above, and you’ll see what I’m planning on remembering going forward.