Monday, December 31, 2007

adiós 2007

I can't believe that in just a few hours, 2007 will be over. This year has been a whirlwind.

Highlight: Really coming to discover more of who I am. I started digging deeper back in March. It's definitely had it's highs and lows, but overall, something I needed to do and am happy I did. The journey will continue, not only into 2008, but until I'm no longer breathing.

Lowlight: The depression I went through when I found out I didn't get the job I had put so much hope in. I literally didn't get out of bed for two days, couldn't stop crying and was ready to end it all. It was horrible. What I've learned from it is that, as cheesy as it sounds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I ever get that low again, which I hope I don't, I know that I've made it through once which should help to get through something like that again.

The Big 3-0: I had a huge party idea in mind and bailed on it for a few reasons. I spent the two-days of festivities surrounded by friends, enjoying Madison and good food! I'm really loving being 30 and actually feel a little different. It's I'm becoming an adult or something.

Blogging: This has been a great way for me to get things out. No one was reading, which was fine with me. This was something I needed to do. However, I've made some new 'friends' through NaBloPoMo and am glad to have feedback every now and then. Blogging has also brought some new people into my life, who all seem interconnected through the 'blog world'. What a great way to meet new people.

New Opportunity: Never in a million years could I have dreamed about the opportunity that now sits in front of me. I can't wait to move to a new city, complete the conference I'm working on and get started with the organization I'll be running. I'm learning so much about myself and can't wait to learn more and put my passion into my work.

Boys: Well, here again, I've played the games and I've lost. I've put it all out there and it hasn't turned out the way I wanted. I've tried looking and haven't found it. I've tried not looking and it hasn't found me. I've wondered what's wrong with me (and the answer is NOTHING! Hello?! I'm fabulous!) and have come to be OK with being single...for the most part.

How did that happen? I've lost close to 20 pounds over the past 6 months without really trying. I've quit snacking so much, stop eating when I'm full and am working out. I'm almost the same weight I was in high school when I was dancing 15+ hours a week and metabolism ruled! Goal is to tone up and lose a little more so I look fabulous for my time in Orlando in early March.

Will wait for 'What about 2008?" for tomorrow. I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year celebration, whether you're out on the town or staying in for the night. May your 2008 bring much more than you could ever imagine!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Everyday Commitments working towards happiness

I teased a bit yesterday about the book I got and can't hold back any longer. Yes, I'm that excited about it! Book is "Everyday Commitments: Choosing a Life of Love, Realism, and Acceptance" by David Richo. Has 52 short chapters including:
  • Cultivating Loving-Kindness

  • Not taking advantage

  • A Brighter Self-Image

  • Being Authentic

  • Being Consistent

  • Life Purpose

  • Freedom from Stress

  • Egoless Intimacy

  • Healthy Sexuality

Each chapter starts with the commitment, such as this one for the chapter 'Saying Yes to Reality,' More and more, I say yes to the givens of human life. Everything changes and ends; things will not always go according to plan; life is not always fair or pain-free; and people are not always loving, honest, generous, or loyal, followed by a one to two-page commentary.

My hope is to read one of these a week, really think about it and how it could apply to my life, put it into action and record what I come to find. As I've snuck peaks at some of the guts of the book, a lot of the commitments are simple and things I realize, however, I'm taking the extra step to think more about these and make them a part of my life. =)

Friday, December 28, 2007

In the pursuit of happiness

I was just at Barnes and Noble and wandered through the self-help section, because we can all use some self-help, right? I wasn't looking for anything specific, but as I scanned the shelves, I realized there were numerous books on happiness--how to find it, where to look, what brings it, etc. I don't know if I was more disturbed at the actual number of books that have been written on happiness or that there are so many books written on it, which could interpret to the fact that no one really knows where or how to find it.

I did find one book that I bought and am excited to use it. Yep, it's not just to read, but I think is going to be very eye-opening for me. I'm going to make you wait to know more...but only a few more days. *n--it's not the one you told me to get. They didn't have it! =(

Feel free to leave me a message with your best advice on finding happiness.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's the plan?

With the new year coming to a close, it's time to start thinking about resolutions and stuff. No, this isn't my 'resolutions' post. That's coming in a few days. This is about the plans we make and how they can really screw us up.

Example 1: A few weeks ago, I heard a cool guy speak about making your passion your profession. Good stuff. He had us turn to the people around us and asked us to share what we were doing 5 years ago...then 4, 3, 2 and down to 1 year ago to the day. His point was that things change and to throw out your plan. I'm definitely not where I thought I would be if you had asked me 5 years ago.

Example 2: I'm reading a book, "You on Top! Smart, sexy skills every woman needs to set the world on fire" by Kate White, Editor in Chief for Cosmo magazine. She talks about the traditional interview question, 'Where do you see yourself in 5 years?' She suggests to toss out your five-year plan (chapter 2). She says, 'There's a danger in being so locked into a life scheme that you miss an opportunity that's smack dab in the road in front of you or a new adventure beckons you from a mysterious side road off to the right or left.' She also goes on to say if, at the end of your 5 years, you haven't reached the goal, it can depress the hell out of you. Preach it sister!

I tossed out the idea of being married many years ago. Not that I don't want to be married someday...I'd love to, but I'm not so focused on it that I can't do other things. I'm getting ready to move to CA in a few months and leave my current job. This definitely wasn't in my original plan. If you had asked me a few years ago how long I'd be in my current job, I honestly would've said for 10-15 years. I loved what I was doing. My boss, however, started telling me 2 years ago that I shouldn't think about staying there; that I should view it as a stepping stone to another job. I thought he was crazy and was a little ticked off that he was telling me my plan wasn't right. This past June, we agreed to me committing to a non-committal 2 more years with the company. His addendum included 'unless something better comes along.' However, he was right and I'm moving on.

My five year plan in 2002 included checking into grad school to finish my master's degree and buying a house in Oklahoma. In Oct 2003, I moved to WI and it was one of the best things I've ever done. If I had followed my plan, even though work was miserable and I thought I wanted to stay in Oklahoma forever, I never would've experienced being laid off (that was an experience), finding a job that really fit me, my passion and skills, having to fend for myself in a town where I knew no one (which has included dealing with car stuff-ICK) and really, living life like I had never done it before.

I don't know that I'll ever make a long-term plan again. We can't control things that come at us and as Kate White said, if we're so focused on reaching that goal, we miss other opportunities that could take us anywhere, like Wisconsin or even California. Be more focused on the unexpected things that cross your path. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chick crush

Confession...I have a chick crush. I don't know what it is, but lately, I've been fascinated with Katie Holmes. I love the new hair, which I'm actually copying as it's the same cut I have, just straightened. Her fashion taste has really blossomed (more about this soon) and she's definitely more confident than she ever was before. I'm not completely smitten...I think she's completely weird for marrying Tom Cruise. Ick!

Who would've thought Katie would grow up from Joey into the confident woman she is today. Maybe meeting Tom wasn't so bad for her. I only hope my kids are as cute as Suri. ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Out of control

The past week and a half has been bad. Between dealing with the phone company and having my car being broken into, which had a whole chain of events brought with it (broken window-dead battery-Christmas presents stolen-stereo gone-had to get rental car and was charged 3 times for it) it's really taken a toll on me. Honestly, I'm a bit scared as to why this has been so hard on me.

This is not normal for me and I don't know if it's just the bad timing because of everything going on, but today, I wanted to give up. I mean walk away from full-time job, the new jobs, friends, Christmas (I'm not buying presents this year), everything.

I've got to shake this off and move on, but it seems that every time I get to a point of doing better, something else happens. I can't keep doing this and am trying to make a conscience effort to overcome it and what it's doing to me, but there must be something deep down that this is hitting because it just seems a lot harder than normal to move on.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What's the deal with me and guns?

**These thoughts have been bothering me the past few weeks, so I'm getting them out in hopes of being done with them.**
When I was home over Thanksgiving, my mom told me that one night, she slept with my stepdad's gun at the head of the bed. He was out of town and there were reports of break-ins very close to their area. (They have a few acres in the middle of nowhere.) I know my stepdad has guns in the house, but never thought my mom would use it.

I've had a gun pointed at me once. It was my stepdads gun. I had a guy friend over at my place and must've mentioned something about the gun and where it was. He went into my parent's bedroom and got it from the nightstand. When I walked in to see what he was doing, he turned around and pointed it at me in a joking manner. I got mad and told him to put it away. I don't know if it was loaded or not.

When I was a Freshman in high school, one night a girl I was hanging out with decided we should meet up with these guys. I didn't really know this girl and had no way to get out of this (no car), so I went along with it. We proceeded to meet these guys at a sketchy hotel, you the hour, kinda thing. As soon as we all walked into the room, between the two guys, there were 3 guns that were put into the top drawer of the dresser. Not only was I terrified because of the guns in the room, but I soon realized this was a 'booty call' kinda thing. I didn't sleep with the guy and am thankful I wasn't raped or hurt worse. Everytime I drive by that place back in my hometown, I get sick to my stomach. *I've never told anyone about this night.*

I remember one morning as my mom drove me to high school (before I had a license), when a car was passing us and had a shotgun out the back window. We lived in a really bad neighborhood that often had shootings, but to see a car pass you with a gun out the window was eye opening. We hunted down a police in the area (this was before cell phones) and told them about it. Not sure what happened, but we moved shortly after that.

There was a shooting in my middle school. Some kid brought a gun to school, had even bragged about it on the bus, and then during lunch, got the gun and shot another kid in the hallway. He then took off out of the building. I remember some code being called over the PA system and the teachers shutting all the doors. They made all of us lie down under the tables because the school was only one floor, which meant windows all the way around the building. They labeled this as a gang thing. Shortly after that incident, we had metal detectors we had to walk through every day and our bags searched. Didn't bother me.

I haven't thought much about these things in a few years, but I really think hearing my mom say she slept with the gun by her head really triggered something (pun intended...trying to make light of all this!) We'll see if just getting this out helps with being done with these memories. I sure hope so...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Planning for the unexpected

Confession...I like having a plan. This doesn't mean knowing what I'm going to do every minute of every day, but having an idea of what is going on is always important to me. This week, though, I've had many unexpected things happen, good and bad, and it's been exhausting.

I feel like I've gone a few rounds in the boxing ring (have I ever mentioned I wanted to be a boxer at one time?) and am beat down. After my experience with AT&T and my phone this week, I had a great meeting Wednesday and meet a fun guy. Things were starting to look up...then last night, my roommate came in to tell me my car had been broken in to while it was in our underground parking garage. Broken window and stereo's gone. Unexpected, especially since this was the 4th time it's happened in 4 years. I figured my bad luck had come to an end a while ago. I guess I was wrong.

So much has happened this week with unexpected things and it has taken a toll on me emotionally and physically. I want to give up and give in, but to what? I don't even know what I'm battling and that's so draining.

I wondered this morning what I've done to deserve this and then stopped....that's not the way it works. I'm not being 'punished' for something. So now I'm trying to be open to what God is teaching me through this. Am I putting too much faith in people and taking things for granted? Do I just need to slow down and take a break? Not sure, but I hope to have a restful night so I'm ready to take on whatever comes my way tomorrow; even if it's unplanned.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A time of reflection

So much has been going on lately that I haven't taken much time to stop and do something other than bitch and moan. This morning, as I sit on my couch, looking out over the snow covered city outside my window, I'm taking a break and stopping for a few minutes.

Life is good...even with all of the technology frustrations I've had lately. I left work late the other night and had to scrape the ice and snow off my car for a few minutes. Most people complain about doing this, but during that time, I was so thankful that I had a car to be scraping off. So I didn't mind and actually enjoyed doing it. Weird.

I have parents who love me, even if we only talk once a week...sometimes less, depending on which parent it is. They support me in my decisions, for the most part, and are always there to help, if I need it. I think I take them for granted sometimes, especially when I wonder what it might be like when they're gone.

I have work I enjoy, even if all of it combined (between the 2-3 jobs) takes up the majority of my waking hours. Because I enjoy it, I don't mind that I'm doing it all the time. I work with great people and enjoy learning from them...all of them.

I have more than I could ever need. In fact, I'm getting rid of a bunch of things soon in preparation of moving. Fun story...I have a computer desk I've been trying to sell on Craigslist. Had a few bites, but no one really interested. I got an email the other day from a woman asking if it was still available and I said yes, that I'd give it to her for free. She was very excited about this as she wants to give it to a single mother of 3 who she helps through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Someone just purchased a computer for this family, but they live in a 1 bedroom apartment and don't have much space. The woman thinks my desk will be just the right size. It makes me feel good to know it's going to someone who needs it...much more than I do.

I've met some very cool and interesting twenty-something people in my city recently. Two of them are very new and have talked about how hard it is to meet people (which it is), especially since they're in a start-up with one other person (an older woman), which limits their connections already. I'd love to invest in them and build relationships, but 1)don't have time, 2) I'm moving anyways, 3) they're much younger than I am (though that shouldn't really matter).

I just know that the next few months are going to be a whirlwind and will be over before I know it. I want to remember to take time to sit...reflect....breathe...and love the life I'm living. If you can't do that last something about it. Change it! Life's not worth living unless it's good. Enjoy today!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You call this customer service?

I'm convinced AT&T sold their soul to the devil. I bought a phone from them 2 months ago. A treo 680, which is what I wanted after doing my research for a month. I got it and it was great. Then, out of nowhere, one entire row of the keyboard quit working. I was on the phone with their 'people' for over an hour, doing resets, taking batteries in and out, etc. etc. Trying to figure out what was going on. They finally decided that they'd send me another one.

I got that phone and was having problems getting my work email on it. This also meant my calendar wasn't syncing to the Treo. I asked my IS people about it and they worked on it, but couldn't figure it out. They suggested I call AT&T. So I did...after being on the phone with them for an hour, trying to install an update, doing resets, etc., they suggest I call Palm for troubleshooting. So I do...and I'm on the phone with them for an hour, doing everything I did with AT&T. Their AT&T and tell them I need a phone with a specific code on the back. So I do...but not before going through resets, downloads and the like before they decide to send me another Treo. They even overnight it to me.

Woo hoo...the new Treo arrives, so now I have 2. I pull it out of the box, get it all set up and lo and behold, the same thing. The phone is not compatible for the update everyone keeps asking me to install. So I call AT&T...again, but of course they work me through, you guessed it, resets and more downloads. IT DOESN"T WORK PEOPLE!!! So now what...they send me a new phone..a Blackberry Curve.

Not excited about switching to BB, but I'll give it a shot. I get it today (I got Treo #3 yesterday and Treo #2 on Monday) and have been on the phone with AT&T 4 times today to get this set up.

Phone call 1 was because when I opened the box, it was not the Blackberry I requested (little detail..I want the red one, they sent silver). So I call. They tell me they can't send me the red one because they show I have 3 phones right now. IF THEY WOULD SEND ME A PHONE THAT WORKS, I'D ONLY HAVE ONE! Fine...I send back Treo #2 today and keep Treo #3 in case Blackberry doesn't work.

Phone call #2 was because they needed to switch me from a treo data plan to a blackberry plan. I asked multiple times if I was getting the same plan as I had previously and was told yes.

Phone call #3 was because AT&T called me to tell me they had me on the wrong plan and needed me to call back. WTF! Called, got it switched. Good to go...not yet...

Phone call #4--Email and Internet now not working on phone. I call...their explanation is that the system is updating so they can't see my info and I need to call back in 30 minutes. SERIOUSLY!!!!??????!?!??!?!??!?!

So, it's been over 30 minutes and I'm calling back. I'm to the point of asking for a manager to bitch them out. I can't believe this.

One more NEW macbook, which I love so much, is having keyboard issues. There have been more times then I can count on one hand when my keyboard has frozen up so I can't type anything, but I can mouse around and click on things.

Why is everything I touching breaking? I don't get it???!!! =(

Friday, December 7, 2007

When the timing isn't right

Have you ever had a time in your life when the right person is there, but the timing isn't right? Last night on Grey's Anatomy, George told Izzy, "It's not our chemistry. It's our timing." Yeah, I lost it...

I've had one of those 'the timing isn't right' things. Had a great relationship with a guy back home, we talked about dating and decided it just wasn't the right timing, that maybe once we worked through some individual things, maybe. The timing definitely wasn't right as I moved away shortly after that. We remained in contact through phone calls and then one day, they just stopped. No explanation. He needed more time and I gave it to him and now feel like I've lost him forever. I haven't heard from him in over 2 years.

I don't know if I'm more upset that things didn't work out or that I don't know what happened. He and I had a special connection unlike anything I had experienced before. He was my best friend. He challenged me in my faith and could tell when I was lying to him about how I was doing...even over the phone he could tell. I didn't have to put on the facade with him and it was so refreshing to know that he'd still accept me, even with all my issues. Unconditional love is irreplaceable. He had a special nickname for me and every now and then I can still hear his voice call me that name, which brings a smile to my face and then tears to my eyes because of the ache in my heart.

I wonder if I'll ever have that again. Actually, that's not what I want. I need something better than that, which may be the only way for me to get over him and the heartache. Maybe someday, he'll track me down and show up on my doorstep, if the timing is ever right.

**This post brought to you by the movie and soundtrack for "A Lot Like Love" starring Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher. Storyline...these people meet on their flight and end up chasing each other, running into each other, showing up on each other's doorsteps over the next 6 years. There are other relationships going on throughout that time, including a divorce and an engagement, yet they feel the need to be with each other. **btw--hot scene in the movie where they pose for a time-lapsed photo in the nude and have to stand still, hugging each other, for a few minutes. Yeah...they can't stand still and well, you can figure out the rest.**

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What a way to end the day

It was one of those days. I got in to work this morning and the next thing I knew, it was noon and I hadn't done much work. (This really is a lie as I had an hour long conversation with the hotel I've been having some problems with for an upcoming conference, I answered emails, and set up some meetings for people with an out-of-town visitor). When it came time to crack down and get to work, I couldn't sit still. I was very antsy and ended up leaving to get a Starbucks drink. I finally got productive around 2:30pm, but still didn't get much done.

So now on to the end of the department has been down one full-time person since Sept. 1. My boss offered the position to someone late last week and today...she declined. Great! Now we're back to square one, during our busiest time of the season, with way too much to do. Thankfully, for me, I have other projects that allow me to stop my full-time job because the other things need attention. If I didn't have other projects, I'd be working 60+ hours a week on the same things. Not fun.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Someone tell me to stop!

I've been on the computer since 7am this morning...I've only been away from it to get and eat lunch (away from my desk, even), to get more coffee, to get some questions answered in person, oh...and to go to the bathroom. Now, I'm home and am back on the computer. You've probably already guessed this, but it's not just the computer, but really the internet is the problem.

What did we do before the internet? before email? before facebook? before blogs? I know that I'm coming into my busy season due to the conferences and events I'm planning, which means more time at work, on email and the computer. Even before taking on a new job or two, I was still working 12+ hours a day. Now, I'm doing at least that, but it's split up between day work and night work, which at least gives me a bit of variety and excitement.

I need a break...I think I'm going crosseyed from it all! I'm at least planning some meetings throughout the week which gets me out of the office for a break. I figure if I'm working in the office until 7pm each evening and eating my lunch at my desk (when I eat), I'm allowed to take a break in the afternoon. Besides, my boss would gladly kick me out for a break if he was around.

With that being said...I'm shutting the computer down and giving my eyes, as well as my sanity, a break.

Before I go...I've been thinking about getting another tattoo. Small, less than an inch, on my right wrist. Thoughts?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

I love playing board games and card games and video games and trivia games, but I can't stand playing mind games. I feel like I've been doing this a lot lately and I really don't like it. It's not me. It's not how I work, but I feel like I need to do this right now.

I've been in negotiations for a contract for the new job. We've been going back and forth about this for 2 months and just a few weeks ago, what was offered to me was quite insulting and really pissed me off. I've already told my current boss that I'm leaving, I'm planning a move and want to start preparing for this new job which would start in May, but there was no way I was accepting the last, and lowest, offer. Someone asked me why I wanted to do this job. I answered that it sounds like an amazing experience, I'd be moving to a new area, which is exciting, it'd be doing something I'd enjoy, and the guy I'm working with is pretty cool. This person responded with, "That whole package could happen with any job." Wow...she's right. I hadn't thought about that.

So now I'm playing the game that I've been avoiding until a new contract is offered for the new job. Do I like doing this? No, but the alternative is to walk away, which I was ready to do before my eyes were opened to other options. Honestly, the opportunity excites me too much to just do that. I'd wonder for the rest of my life 'what would've happened if...' That's worse than playing mind games to me.

Why can't people just be honest and open about what they are thinking or feeling? I'm pretty open, especially with this job, yet don't know that it's been super beneficial. Yes, he and I have great communication, which is the only way this will ever work as he drives me nuts sometimes (I've told him this...but don't think he's ever told me how much I annoy/bother/irk him, and I'm sure I do). We've worked through some rough patches, which really makes me think that this will all work out.

Because of this last round of contracts, I don't know that I fully trust him the way I have in the past. I'm scared it's going to come time for us to get the contract finalized and me plan a move and it's not going to happen. Has he done anything to make me think he would do this? Nothing more than offering a laughable contract to me. So why is it so hard to jump back into trusting him? Why can't I let that piece go and trust him fully again? Should you ever have 100% trust in the people you work with? My head says, "Yes, why wouldn't you?" and my gut says, "that's a risky move in business." Is there a happy medium?

So when do you know when to walk away and know when to run? I just want to give up sometimes. Fighting the fight can be too draining and not rewarding, which makes giving up seem like the better option. Does that mean I give up as in quit or I give in to whatever he wants? Why is it so much harder to play the games than to just walk away?