Archive for the ‘thankfulness’ Tag

Dang it!

Well, crap! Missed my posting goal by one day. Ugh.

I’ve had a busy 8 days since my last post. Work and house-cleaning ahead of a post-holiday visit from family took up a chunk of energy. Then a great few days spent with my family, resting and visiting and swimming and dining and watching movies. It was a blast.

Then, on Monday afternoon, I had my second oral surgery. OMG that was painful! Way worse than the first. And sooooo much drool! Yuck!

I spent Tuesday resting and taking medicine. Went back to work on Wednesday, only to find that I’m not invincible. Even though all I do is read and think and type and talk to people, it was more than I could manage. I went home and slept for 5 straight hours.

Now, I’ve worked two full days and am still farther behind in my work than if I’d been out of the office for two weeks. I haven’t been this far behind in years. I hate it! So I’ll be spending time on my laptop this weekend trying to catch up.

Well, maybe after a good night’s rest and a little quiet work tomorrow, I’ll feel caught up enough to enjoy Sunday off. And maybe the recovery will advance enough that I won’t forget to post on time next week. 🙄

I hope you have a restful weekend, friends.

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2nd Quarter Report Card

As you may recall, I have been working on a weekly posting goal all year, plus a commitment to positivity and some other personal growth goals. At the end of March, I posted my Q1 report card. As I said then, these goals and the effort to achieve them are for me, and this report card is an accountability device that helps keep me motivated. But because the objective is entirely personal, I try to be fair, yet generous, with myself when rating my performance. Last quarter I got all A’s and made the honor roll. I also set some stretch goals to keep me from resting on my laurels.

So let’s see how I did in Q2. I’ll be grading on three main topics (Weekly Posting, Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit, and Work-Life Balance) plus the stretch goals (More Substantive Blog Posts, Practice New Sand Casting Skill, and More IRL Socializing) on an A through F scale.

Q2 2018 Report Card:

Weekly Posting: A

Substantive Posts: D

I’ve kept the posting streak alive and I’m proud of that. But this quarter I had a lot of fluffy, list-y, place-holder posts. And there was the unintentional teasing of a weighty, substantive post about gender issues that mostly fizzled. While I did do a fairly substantive post on the general subject, it wasn’t the post I wanted to write. I know I can do better. So A on the main goal, but a nearly fail on the stretch goal.

Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit: A

Practice Sand Casting: F

This main goal, being a compound topic, is inherently squishy when it comes to ratings. My objective was as to encourage a bit of self-focus, self-care. That’s a struggle for me in a lot of ways, but it’s an important antidote to the stress I deal with in my job. So, the way I see it, anything that makes my heart lighter counts for this goal. And although I have not practiced sand casting even once this quarter, I did a lot to make my heart happy. The big one was getting to give an epic gift to my brother and sister in law. That was a month ago and we’re all still floating in the clouds with delight over it. Several other small gestures of kindness, both given and received, add to this tally. So I’m giving my self an A for Spirit Nurturing, but a big ol’ F for actual practice on sand casting.

Work/Life Balance: B

IRL Socializing: F

Being social is just hard. For me, anyway. I find crowds exhausting and small talk insipid. My small pool of friends are all very kind to accommodate these personality flaws and don’t demand a lot from me socially. But I really have to get better at this. I’m doing fairly well with keeping up with our monthly supper club outings and joining in when unscheduled gatherings happen. I’ve been to my family’s studio a few times to hang out, and even went out with a couple of friends this past weekend. But I’m not finding new friends and I’m not initiating the outings, usually. And my most frequent interactions with people other than family or work colleagues is still via text. So, a solid B on the main goal, but an F for the stretch goal of seeking out IRL social contact.

So, overall, I’d say I’m passing, but not honor roll this quarter. I’m going to keep the same goals and stretch goals for next quarter and see if I can’t get back on the Dean’s List. 😁

I hope your summer is full of fun and satisfying personal accomplishment. Be well, my friends.

Let’s hear it for the list!

I’m determined to keep my posting streak alive. I’m also battling a bout of writers block and fatigue. So, I’ll rely on a list to keep it going. Here are some good little things I’ll share this week:

  1. Ocean’s 8 opened this week. Awesome heist flick and it’s all women power all the time. Fun and exactly what I wanted in a summer pic. Cate Blanchett is everything.
  2. 3 cheers for air conditioning! Got ours fixed this week after over two weeks without it. Can’t overstate how pleased I am to have it back.
  3. I’m obsessed with Battle Bots. It’s such geeky, aggressive, tech gore-filled fun. It’s a bucket list wish to see it in person one day. I’m thankful for my DVR, so I can binge-watch a bunch of battles at the weekend.
  4. The motor home is still a huge hit. All their friends have oohed and ahhhed over it. I’m enjoying every story about their plans and preparation for the upcoming road trip to the grandkids. This has turned out to be the funnest gift I’ve ever given because it’s been as much fun to watch my brother and sister-in-law discover the joys of it as they have had in finding them.
  5. I’m preparing for some oral surgery this summer. I’ve been really nervous about it. But the surgeon I’ve got is a great person. She took the time listen to my concerns, as well as to explain the treatment plan to help calm those fears. I’m glad I found someone who makes me feel confident about something as scary as this.

Short list of some positive little things in my life this week. I hope you’re finding lots of good things in your summer.

On Exhaustion

From the random thoughts pile: If energy is neither created nor lost, but simply transformed from one state to another, what does it take to transform enough energy from the nebulous ‘other states’ to fuel a person through a full work week such that the entirety of the weekend isn’t lost to ‘battery recharging’?

Friends, I’m tired. Seems like I get enough sleep – about 6.5 to 7 hours each night. I certainly get enough to eat and it’s mostly good, nourishing, and prepared by the hands of others. I even get leisure time to read or watch tv from time to time. But at the end of every 55-60 (average) hour work week, all I seem to be able to do is sleep in and be lazy.

Of course, the knee-jerk response I get when musing on this aloud among friends or family, is: you’re getting old, just accept it.

I reject that premise. Age doesn’t scare me and I’m not ashamed of my age. I don’t feel old or world-weary. I feel tired, not old or past usefulness. Tired, as in if I sit still for too long I fall asleep, kind of tired. As in, I seem to yawn my head off constantly, kind of tired.

But I don’t have a physically demanding job to explain the exhaustion. I use my brain, not my back, as my grandmother used to exhort me to do. I just don’t understand how thinking and reasoning and arguing positions and negotiating outcomes, all in the comfort of a climate-controlled, well appointed office can induce such deep and lasting exhaustion.

Feels bad to be this tired and not be able to explain it. Especially when others close to me do work physically and for similarly long hours. I know, intellectually, that comparison of such disparate jobs is invalid. But I can’t help thinking that exhaustion from physical work is earned, whereas intellectual labor should be invigorating rather than draining.

I still love my job, though. It’s gratifying to achieve goals and help a good company grow. It’s a blessing for which I’m thankful. I just wish I understood why it makes me so tired.

Little Things

Fast list-y post to keep the streak going. Here are a few little good things that have made me smile this week:

  1. It’s a short work week. It’s already Wednesday, y’all!
  2. My SIL’s peonies are in bloom. Cut and standing tall in a glass cylinder in my living room, their fragrance makes my house feel like a Spring garden.
  3. Light, cozy mystery stories with silly premises, but great prose, make a few stolen moments of quiet feel like a vacation.
  4. Friends, old and new, who share their joys and sorrows and join in yours – they are priceless treasures.
  5. Shade trees full of emerald green leaves standing tall over lawns of lush grass and beds of colorful blooms.

I hope your week is full of little delights that make it easier to shrug off the daily annoyances.

Epic Day!

Not only is this the first Saturday of Summer (unofficially, I guess) and it was suitably hot and sunny, but today was the culmination of a 6+ month long labor of love that ended in an incredibly awesome experience. 

This year marks my brother and sister-in-law’s 40th wedding anniversary. They are two of the most amazing people I know. Generous, kind and hard-working are words that only describe some of their best qualities. They’re not perfect, but they work hard at being good people and loving of their family and friends. 

Because they’re so dear to us all, our family (our older brother and his wife, my nephew and his wife and daughter, my niece and her son, and me)  surprised them with the gift of a motorhome. It’s been a dream of theirs for decades. We thought this a fitting gift for commemorating their forty years together and honoring their loving kindness to all of us. And it’s just in time for their summer road trip to see the grandkids.

The surprise was epic! At first they thought the RV with a bow on it parked next to our house was part of the massive graduation party going on next door. But when my brother asked if it was mine, and I said “Nope, it’s yours”, the stunned surprise on their faces was priceless! It was so fun to watch them explore it, exclaiming over all the fun little features and neat gadgets it contains. Though it is not brand new and will likely take effort to learn to operate it well, they love it!

I’m bursting with happiness that we were able to do something so delightful for people who have worked so hard and loved us all so well. 
Be happy, my friends! 

Accountability Quickie

Earlier this week I challenged myself to find at least two positive/good/happy thoughts or things whenever I found myself grumbling or thinking negatively. Well, it’s April 18th and still freezing and snowing. Snowing! So, yes, I’m definitely grumbling. 

But I’m committed to positivity and follow-through, so here are three positive, mildly happy things to balance it out:

  1. I’m late to the party, but I’ve recently discovered the joys of almond butter. What a great snack! Quick, easy for on the go, good protein and gives me an energy boost, deliciously tasty, and guilt-free! 
  2. Professional respect from your counterparts in negotiations is so validating. It goes a long way to resolving disputes and costs nothing. I’m always glad to give respect where it’s due, and very glad to receive it in return. Had the pleasure of having a mediator in a dispute I’m managing compliment my professionalism and acknowledge my patience, giving me a lot of hope that we’re going to be able to resolve this soon. Satisfying. 
  3. It’s been a few weeks since I started my bullet journal and I’ve been successful at keeping it up. I’m still not sure that I’m using it to it’s full potential, but I’m doing it. That’s a win for now. 

Ok, there’s my attempt at re-framing from negative to positive. I’m still not liking the snow swirling against my office window, but I do feel better about consciously choosing positivity. 

I hope your day is full of good things to keep your spirits hopeful. 

Some things 

I’m working on a substantive post (possibly with contributions from another blogger, too!), but it’s not ready yet. Yet I don’t want to break my posting streak, so here’s a quick list of some things that should tide us all over until I can get the other one written. 

  1. I’m very glad to have the first quarter behind me. After weeks of 12+ hour days and everything being an emergency (sales guys seem to think any moment that their deal isn’t my sole purpose in life is a moment of deep crisis), I was very glad to close the books on Q1 on Friday. It was supposed to be on Thursday, but of course there always has to be at least one that drags on and on. I’m hoping to have a quiet week to catch up on everything that got pushed aside in the last few weeks, but I don’t count it as likely. 
  2. Went to see Ready Player One over the weekend. I had really enjoyed the book and was hopeful that the movie wouldn’t ruin it. Glad to say that I enjoyed the movie just as much. While the movie changes a lot from the book, my personal opinion is that the story’s core is in tact and the action was fun. Definitely recommend!
  3. I started a bullet journal. It’s a new endeavor for me and I’m not entirely sure I’m doing it “right”. However, I have it set up and a week’s worth of jottings down. Time will tell if I can keep it and the blog going at the same time and whether the radically different writing style will contribute or detract from my skill and productivity as a writer. (Clearly, it hasn’t done anything so far to deter from rambling run-on sentences. 😉)
  4. Although it’s much colder today than I’d hoped, there are definite signs of spring all over the place and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so ready for new growth and a little warmth. My SIL’s tulips are beginning to emerge, my grass is beginning to green, and the songbirds are back in my trees. I love this time of year. Actually, I love the turn of all seasons. Change keeps us on our toes and reminds us that life is always moving ahead. Springtime in particular brings this message, with the renewal of leaves and grass, rebirth of flowers and wild things. I find it hard not to be hopeful in the spring. 

Happy Spring to all of you. I hope you find good things in your every day to make you feel positive and hopeful. 

First Quarter Check-Up

At the end of last year, I set a goal to post something to this blog at least once a week. At the same time, I’ve been working on a couple other personal goals that I haven’t published yet. Working on myself is something that doesn’t come naturally and I sometimes need to set milestones to keep up the motivation. So I’m borrowing a device I’ve seen it n a couple of other blogs: a self report card. 

Since I set these goals for myself, and the self-improvement I hope to achieve is for myself, I intend to rate myself fairly, but allow myself leeway or the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the close calls. You see, publishing a report card and posting about my human failings is all a means to an end: spurring myself to be a better version of myself each day. And the way I figure it, if the world witnesses my less than optimal performance as a person, I should at least get the benefit of the world as witness to my improvement. Of course, the risk is that they’ll, instead, see me fail at improving. In any event, the value is in the attempt. 
For this report card I’m rating achievement against three goals:

  1. Post something at least once a week 
  2. Do something creative, or at least something that nurtures my spirit 
  3. Strike a better balance between work and my private life 

Although I actually started working on all these things last year, I’m only rating myself from the beginning of the year. Conventional wisdom has it that the most effective goals are bound in time and objectively measurable. By measuring from the beginning of the year, I stop myself from dwelling on things too far in the past, essentially starting from a clean slate. And by focusing on specific actions (even if there isn’t an obvious numeric dimension to be counted), I give myself the best chance of making incremental progress. That should help keep me motivated. 

So here’s my report card for the first quarter of 2018:

Weekly Posting: A

There are one or two close calls, but I’ve essentially posted at least one article a week since the beginning of the year. While there is at least one that’s little more than a place holder to avoid a miss, I’ve been intentional and thoughtful about writing, which are habits I really want to cultivate in myself. This is a win. 

Being Creative/Nurturing the Spirit: A

This one is a double win. I’ve been looking up at the sky and intentionally taking advantage of any sunshine that happens in my vicinity. For example, when I was in San Diego in January, I took at least 10 minutes to sit in the sun every day. It was heaven. And every day that the sky is clear, wherever I am, spending a few minutes to watch the sky, whether to see birds soaring or contemplate interesting cloud formations, I physically feel my spirit lift. 

On top of that, I have completed a short, three-week course in silver sand casting through the local community college. My sister-in-law and I took it together. We had a good time doing something fun together. And we’ve learned the basic techniques that we can use to try it at home. But, honestly, the class wasn’t very successful. The instructor was unprepared and disorganized and there were way too many people in the class. But I did it and have a determination to practice it until I get at least one successful casting. This sparks my creativity and I’m excited to feel that again. 

Work/Life Balance: A

I work hard. My job is often challenging and sometimes requires long hours. And, truth be told, I enjoy the challenge and the recognition when I succeed. But I also know that my job isn’t everything. I’ve felt rather isolated for quite a while, because most of my non-work interactions have been remote, through social media and texts. But I’m working on it. 
Since January I’ve had more in-person social interactions than nearly all of last year. Between separate visits with three friends I first met online, monthly supper club dinners with some art friends, and a few game nights with a couple of friends I met through a continuing legal education seminar a couple years ago, I feel I’ve done pretty well with in-person socializing. And I’ve even had some really pleasant conversations with some new acquaintances entirely unrelated to any of my other social circles. All without puking or becoming completely withdrawn for days on end. I count this as a big success. 

So I’ve got straight A’s for the first quarter. Look at me, hitting the honor roll 30+ years after graduating from high school. That’s awesome.  

I can do better. Actually going out with someone for a purely social occasion, for instance. I can also try to deepen the substance and thoughtfulness of my blog posts. And following up with practice on the silver casting class is a must. We’ll see how I do next quarter. 

I hope you all are finding satisfaction in your own personal growth. Keep at it, my friends. 

Monday-ish Monday Positives

This is a very Monday-ish Monday. It’s a dark, gloomy, rainy, cold day. Started with a 6am conference call full of sales guys asking for exceptions to process because they left doing their job too late for Q1 close – ugh. One of our internal risk guys raised a false alarm on a contract because he was working from old information, and now my team gets to spend half a day fielding panicked calls and filling out forms to say there was never anything wrong – joy.  And I’m still spending way too much of my time managing outside counsel requests for information on litigation matters that should never have occurred if our customer (in one) or partner (in the other) had acted reasonably and with the integrity you’d expect from even a random teenager – fun times. 

Needless to say, I’m a little on the grumbly side today. 

But, I’m determined not to let the Mondays ruin my positivity streak. Here are a couple good things, even if they are weaker than I’d care to acknowledge right now:

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing. Even though I’ve hit my weekly posting target all of this year, so far, it’s still not the regular, ingrained habit I’d like it to be. So I’m going to try bullet journaling. After reading quite a bit about the technique, I think it’ll kickstart a habit of writing that is distinct from my writing here. My theory is that if I have a habit of recording my thoughts in a couple of different media, the mental ‘muscle memory’ should fuel the habit of creative writing that I want to develop. We’ll see. If nothing else, I’ll have a fun time doodling in a new notebook. 😅
  2. I’m struggling with my taxes this year and don’t know why. I’ve been doing them online for eons without issue. I haven’t changed anything about my life or finances that would affect how I file. So I’m at a loss. However, instead of panicking, I used my reasoning brain and did what adults do and made an appointment with a tax preparer. I feel very grown-up with this decision (which is good, considering my age) and proud of myself for not stressing out over it. 
  3. I have successfully made it through half of Monday without strangling any sales reps. I count that as a win! 😉

I hope you have a great Monday and week, and find a few good things to balance all the annoyances you encounter along the way. 

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