Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guilt, Fear, and Making Bad Decisions

I think it's safe to say that we've all felt guilt, fear and we've all made bad decisions in our life.  I've come to a recent conclusion related to all three of these that I'd like to share with you. They're related, by a shoe string, but related all the same.

First things first...STOP FEELING GUILTY.

Unless you've done something horrible, stop beating yourself up over things.

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend about feeling guilty about not doing things around her house. Finally, after not sleeping because of the guilt and the strain it puts on her marriage, she and her husband decided to stop it all. They gave themselves permission to NOT feel guilty over not getting everything on their list done.

And who likes house projects anyhow?

What I realized while listening to her was how quickly I feel guilt over things that are really not that big of deal, and certainly aren't worth the effort to feel guilty over.

I'm talking, of course, about making bad food decisions. Or not getting to the gym like I promised myself. Or having that cookie at 2pm instead of an apple.  Or not getting a phone call to an old friend made. The truth is, I shouldn't beat myself up over these things. It takes away some of my soul I think. I spend more time spinning over these small things, that I can't move forward.

Thankfully, I can, and do, stop myself and just let it go (who of you just started singing the Frozen song?)

The problem with "letting it go" is sometimes that's followed by fear. What if "letting it go" means I'm going to die at an earlier age because I ate that cookie AND didn't get to the gym. 

And thus starts the gerbil wheel of worry. That's an entirely different blog though.

The other element here is the worry and guilt over making bad decisions. I have known people who have paralyzed themselves into making NO decision because of fear of making a bad decision.

Here's the thing, it's been my experience that the two things I need to make a decision over are never really bad options. I usually have to choose between relatively similar or good options, so why would I concern myself that I'd make a bad decision?

Granted, you should do your research. You should make sure you know all the pros/cons of each side, but if you're already at the "decision" point, then something got you there to make that choice, and that something most likely isn't bad.

I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves one choice is good and the other is bad. I've tortured myself during planning for vacations over which local would be the "right choice". When, at the end of the day, choosing between Rome or Istanbul- I mean really how could either of those locations be bad?

So here's my plan/goal, and maybe advice to you. Stop sweating the small stuff.

I'm happy I'm getting to the gym as much as I have been. Is it perfect? Nope. Not even close. Will it be? Maybe. I have to remind myself that adding exercise to my daily life isn't going to happen over night. Losing weight isn't always going to happen instantly. Slow and steady...stay the course. That's what I remind myself often. (My goal really should be to remind myself of that BEFORE I work myself up into a guilt ridden lather).

I need to remember that guilt has no home in my heart.  Fear should only be an emotion I feel when a bee buzzes by. And bad decisions, I've made a few...but I survived them and probably turned out better because of them.

So give yourself a break. Stop the cycle. Start giving yourself permission to exist ...

Friday, December 05, 2014

I'm killing every second 'til it sees my soul

I've got brethren here...turns out there are a number of people here who suffer from the Stuck Song Syndrome like me.  Now I know I belong here.

And by "here" I mean the new job. I kinda feel like it's a new boyfriend that I can't stop talking about, but I can't stop talking about it. I keep trying to find something wrong with it, and I come up empty every time.

Even our holiday party didn't allow for anything negative.

First off, everyone gets along in this company. Sure there are some quirky folks that I've been warned about. But by and large, everyone gets along. It's kinda unnerving. Either that or I've not looked under the hood well enough to see the truth. Yet, I'm choosing to believe that it is as great as it feels.

Right, so holiday party.

I've not been to a company holiday party since I left the other company that shall not be mentioned.  Yesterday, the entire company showed up (even the developer from Boston) to partake in the holiday cheer. The party was at this miniature golf place called Flatstick (which actually made me think of hockey and not golf). And in typical Seattle way, it's an indoor course. They have a hundred some odd beers on tap, and a golf course that was wicked tough. Our team cheated a bit and didn't count the water traps as a stroke...and we STILL lost.

There was the most amazing food catered by a local company that does mostly organic. And there was an ugly sweater contest. Even their ugly sweaters were fun. The winner of the contest, I wish I had a picture of it, wore a hamburger shirt. At first glance it looks like holly, then you look closer and you're like, "Is that a beef patty?"

This job is doing my soul good. I miss the $$ of contracting, I can't lie about that. But to love what I'm doing is totally worth it.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Book Club: I'll Drink to That

It's been a couple of months since I did a book report on a book club book (Gee, I wonder how many more times I could use the word "book" in that sentence). 

This month's pick was I'll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich.  It's the biography of Betty Halbreich. Who? You may ask yourself, cuz I sure did. She was, or is still, a legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman in NY. 

Are you still with me?

The book is essentially the story of her life. It's no rags to riches story. It's a riches to riches story.  It's about fashion, it's about helping others find themselves through clothing. 

None of which appeals to me. 

But what I've liked about book club so far is I've read some books I normally would never EVER pick up. Most I liked, some I have not. This one would fall into the "have not" column. 

For starters, I couldn't careless about fashion. I know a few name brands that everyone knows, but by and large know nothing about it, and really don't want (or need) to know more. 

The other disappointing thing about this book was she's not an overly interesting broad. Her life struggles of living on Park Ave are struggles I have a hard time understanding. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and she never really had it removed. 

I didn't finish the book. Mrs.Braspir and Seattle SIL both did and they said the last chapter really redeems the book. I wouldn't know, I didn't get past chapter 3 (oh and they're fairly long chapters). 

So if you're looking for something interesting to read, I wouldn't recommend this book.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Open Letter to BigBro...a year ago today

A year ago today...we said goodbye to you. Some days I'm ok with you leaving us. Most days I'm so angry with you! How dare you leave us?

I miss you more today than I ever thought I would. I miss your smile, the sparkle in your eye and your enormous bear hugs.

Janet and the girls are doing as well as could be expected. They're "getting by". It's hard for them. You were such a rock for them and not having you has them adjusting to not having you. They're leaning on each other. I know for myself I like living in the world of denial where your warm, charming self greats me on a regular basis. Alas, you won't hug me again.

You'd probably roll your eyes over how much fuss was made over you at the 3Day this year. William (your brother from another mother) walked all 7 and in each one wore the "Team Ric" shirt. He posted a photo from every city and every time I got chocked up and thanked my lucky stars that the world has someone like William in it.

The 3 day was hard this year. You touched so many lives there. You loss was felt and a huge hole was made in the heart of the 3Day family.

The MomUnit is doing OK too.  She waited well into the evening on Mother's Day for your call. Then remembering you wouldn't be calling, and never would again, broke her heart. I think she hopes you and the DadUnit are laughing it up.

As for me, my heart still aches over losing you.  There have been so many times I've wanted to call to share some exciting news, or just get brotherly advice, but I knew the call would go unanswered.

I try not to think of all the things you're missing. It makes the grieving harder. There were so many things that still need you to be a part of. And suddenly those things seem to dull.

I'll continue to be gentle with my heart where you're concerned. I was not prepared for the heart break to last this long. Is anyone ever prepared?

So I'll get past this "anniversary". Tomorrow I'll wake to a new day and will think about you throughout the day. I'll smile at the memories we made and frown over no new one's being made with you.

It goes without saying brother, you're missed. The lack of your presence in our lives is, not only unwanted, but leaves us with an enormous hole that cannot be filled.

I love and miss you,
Your little sister

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saying Goodbye

A year ago today...

It was the day after Thanksgiving. That day we knew that friends and family from all walks of our lives would be coming by to say their goodbyes to BigBro.

As we sat in the waiting room, each time the elevator dinged and new people came out, we'd all take a deep breath and begin again with the answer of "how are you doing?".

Many friends and family stayed with us during the day.  Some could only come to support us and couldn't take themselves back to say goodbye. Which was ok to me. Everyone deals with this differently.

At about 6pm the elevator dinged again. Out came all of Seattle SILs best girlfriends, with them was a full fledged Thanksgiving dinner. They had heard about our horrible turkey day dinner and took it upon themselves to bring us a turkey dinner.

I sat and just gaped at how amazing these women were.  They took our worst Thanksgiving ever and made it one of the best, most thankful Thanksgiving. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Post Turkey Day

And here I sit the Friday after Thanksgiving. I managed to get quite a bit done today...

1. Cleaned the scrapbook room.
2.  Scrapbooked a page - getting myself 100% caught up for 2014.
3. Read
4. Went to the gym and had the Tabata cardio kick my ass again. Followed by weights.
5. Ate a turkey Sammy for breakfast.
6. Watched some TV.
7. Kicked the cats. (Ok I didn't really, but I wanted to)
8. Did some grocery shopping so I can have tacos for dinner.
9. Thought about my brother.
10. Cried

A year ago today...we sat and gave thanks for having family. We ate a horrific meal and spent the day missing BigBro and contemplating what life would be like without him.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone

I hope you all had a great Turkey day. I spent it with the fam and tried my best to not miss the big guy.

One year ago today our family sat around, numb, in a cold hospital waiting room. We'd all taken turns going down and chatting with BigBro.  I had ordered a Thanksgiving meal from Fred Meyer's only to find out that it wasn't cooked. So Bobarissa and I bought other makings. And well, it fell very short of anything resembling a turkey dinner. But you do what you can in those situations.

For me that day, I walked down and said my goodbyes to BigBro. We knew by then that we'd certainly be losing him and Seattle SIL had decided on Saturday for when we'd take him off life support.

My conversation with him was short. I told him that he'd be missed and that he was the best brother a girl could have. I cried. I held his hand and I waited for any recognition. Almost begging him to squeeze my hand. Nothing. Just the lonely beeping of the monitors.

I had made a couple of phone calls the day before to let a couple of friends know what was going on and if they wanted to come say goodbye they should.  All of them felt like I had given them a gift to say goodbye. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

That night while driving home all I could think about was the loss the world was soon going to have. So unfair.

And here we are a year later...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reinventing Traditions

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about traditions. And, like with everything, time has changed some of our traditions, and I'm not all on board with it just yet.

Today I received an email from a magazine I used to subscribe to called Experience Life. One of their main articles was about reinventing traditions.  It's a great, and timely, read.

This week is all about "a year ago today" for me. So you may see in my blogs a little less "happy" Jenn.

To start things off, a year ago today, I got that call that no one ever wants to get.  There was a complication with the surgery BigBro was having.

I can remember it today as it if just happened. Funny how the memory works isn't it. The more traumatic the experience, the more it seems to be burned in your brain.


I was sitting on the couch finishing my cup of coffee, answering emails. My cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number so ignored it. I do that you see.

Then it rang again. And something in my said, "answer it."

The voice on the other end was a kind, gentlemanly, doctor voice telling me that during the surgery to put tubes in BigBro's lungs, he went into cardiac arrest. They lost him for 3 minutes, but brought him back. And he finished with, you should come right away.

I hung up and for a moment just sat there. Wondering if I had heard it correctly. "Lost him" - how's that possible? It's BigBro and he's not going anywhere. He's fighting this and he's going to win.

And then it hit me like a sledgehammer to the gut...I HAD to get to the hospital ASAP.

I called Blueberry and filled her in. There was much discussion about coming to get me and taking me to the hospital. I declined and said I'd meet her there.

I often think about that 30 minute drive to the hospital. The ENTIRE way I kept telling myself,

"Keep it together."

"You have to get there in one piece."

"Don't think! Drive!"

This mantra I repeated all the way to North Seattle.

Screeching into a parking lot, I "jogged" up to where they were. Noting ever so briefly that there was a Starbucks in the lobby.

It really is funny how your mind works when you're in a situation you really don't want to be in. It's like it takes over.

I got upstairs, the MomUnit and Seattle SIL were in the room with the doctor. Two chairs sat outside. The MomUnit came out and I folded myself into a chair and cried. Sobbed really.

As I sat and cried, I suddenly stopped. Looked up at the MomUnit and announced, "I've gotta cancel Thanksgiving."

I was all business. Suddenly, and without much warning, I had something I had to do.

Talk about denial.

The MomUnit, bless her, was all, "We can take care of that...just breath."

The next several days seemed to drag by, though now it seems like they flew by so quickly. God I miss that guy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What has been the hardest part about blogging daily?

I somehow got on the topic of blogging daily for the month of November and someone posed this question to me.

It's not really hard one to answer, but first I think I have to answer WHY I want to blog every day for November?

For me it's a test. My annual goal is to blog 3-4 times a week. Some weeks I'm spot on, most week's I'm not. Deciding to blog every day in November gives me a chance to stretch the writing muscle.

The hardest part for me is coming up with enough topics.  I have a list of blog topics that I want to write about "some day" and yet when November comes around none of them seem overly interesting. Or, more likely, I don't have the time to put into doing them justice.

My plan this year was to write several topics ahead of time, and post them during November. That lasted for all of a month. So as November approached I started writing and holding on to topics. The first couple of weeks ate those topics up.

And so here I sit, a week away for completing and I struggle with what to write. So lucky you get lists, like what I did yesterday.

The next couple of days are going to be challenging.  It's been a year since with lost BigBro (I know! I can't believe it either.) and something tells me I'm going to have a hard time this week. I was na├»ve in thinking I'd feel better at this point, more accepting maybe, and yet I sometimes think I feel worse. I still think, "OH I gotta tell BigBro XYZ..." then remember that I can't physically tell him.  I tell him, but I get no response - which if you knew my BigBro you'd know never EVER happened in real life.

And with that...I'm going to post this and check today off the list.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday's Doings

Today I...

1. Got up.

2. Listened to hypnosis

3. Dressed and made coffee

4.  Did my grocery shopping

5. Ate Pho

6. Made Mexicali leftover soup

7. Did Laundry

8. Paid myself for 52 weeks of savings

9. Read

10. Watched some TV

The End.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trans Siberian Orchestra

OH my goodness, what a fantastic concert.  You have to like rock music to really appreciate them, but wow...so good.

This show was called Christmas in the Attic. They had a story teller in between songs tell a story about a little girl who goes into her attic on Christmas eve and she finds this old chest. In the chest are several items, and a bunch of old letters. She starts reading the letters. Then each song had something to do with the story of the letter.

It was really well put together.

Of course they did their famous Beethoven's Fifth and the other song who's name is escaping me.  Ohhh Carol of the Bells.

It was truly a great concert. Seattle SIL and Blueberry enjoyed it too. Blueberry had some reservations about it, but admitted that she thought it was great.

Here are some photos of the show.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Just barely...

I was headed to bed and then remembered I hadn't blogged yet today. Phew. I almost blew it. I'm so close to finishing the 30 days of blogging that it'd be sad.

You do realize once the 30 days is done you probably won't hear from for a bit, right?


How about a list?

1. Work is great. I'm getting slammed in the best sort of way. When today started I had 16 projects. All in different phases of effort. Two closed down today and two more new ones showed up. It's like a revolving door.  The boss spent about 15 minutes this afternoon expressing that he felt I was doing a great job and should continue what I'm doing. So that's good.

2. The cold is trying so very hard to bring me down. I think I'm winning the battle though. I felt better today and the stuffy head part of a cold hasn't even begun. Oh crap, I probably shouldn't have said that...I might have just jinxed myself.

3. This weekend Seattle SIL, Blueberry and I are going to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  If you've never seen or heard them, what the hell is wrong with you? Go here immediately. Or even here. The last one there is the one that got me completely hooked on them.

And I think 3 is a good number to leave you with tonight.

JW - over and out

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm a WEEEner

Its been a tough day. Not tough in that anything difficult happened, just that it was a long day.

So, I may have mentioned (I'm kidding. I know I've mentioned) that I love my new job. Well, today I loved it just a little bit more.

The company has a month all company meeting. It's a quick little meeting for an update from the executives and a few other house keeping things.

The also do this thing called Thanks Unlimited. Basically during the month if you've felt someone has gone above and beyond and want to thank them, you send an email to that person and copy the alias for Thanks Unlimited. Then at the meeting, 5 are pulled at random and read. Those 5 win a gift card or gift certificate to something.

Well, guess who got thanked and won a gift card?

That's right...

This girl!

And apparently a new employee has never won within the first 2 weeks of employment.  Hah.

I was thrilled to have won, but also felt a bit awkward in that I don't like being the center of attention...Still, I'll take my $5 gold star and go buy some coffee with it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Minimums blog requirement day.

I've got this cold that had been lingering and finally hit. Which means I've got nothing in my noggin to write about.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cardinal rule #1 - broken

I did it. I made my first mistake at the new job. I knew it was just a matter of time. While I’m a perfectionist at heart, I do realize that mistakes are part of the game. I try to avoid them at all costs, but ESPECIALLY in a new job, you know they’re going to happen.

Mistakes are different than failure to me. Failure is a whole other topic I may broach soon. 

I made the number one cardinal mistake for project managers.  I didn’t check the outgoing deliverable against the scope doc! And guess what, the client found some discrepancies. 

Turns out that the dev made some very useful design decisions, but didn’t tell me. And because I didn’t check the scope doc against the deliverable, the client found the discrepancies. That’s the LAST thing you want to happen. This company, in particular, really prides itself on quality and no mistakes. 

I see this as a learning opportunity. I think within your first month you get a few free passes. This should certainly be the exception and not the rule. 

Another fun fact about this company…

Monthly they do this company meeting called Thanks Unlimited. Essentially throughout the month peers send “thank you” notes to managers for a job well done, or something they’ve gone above and beyond with. Then those names are all pulled out and the thank you read. Prizes are to be had…

I bring this up because your’s truly got nominated by a couple folks with respect to my introducing them to Quick Parts in Outlook.