"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for August, 2020

I Still Got It

I had one of those work moments where a blinding lightening strike of my prowess pops up. One of my skill sets is negotiating. In previous roles I did a lot of it. I can negotiate just about anything for anyone (but do a lousy job for myself — typical woman).

I recently kicked ass and took names. I beat four men at their own game and they didn’t even know it. I saved the company over $80K. I took a negotiation that had been log-jammed for two weeks and wrapped it up in 24 hours. I was a complete bad ass.

However, nobody really knows what a bad ass I am because it is not something I can go running through the halls high-fiving everyone. Sigh. I am one of those people who loves a bit of public acknowledgement. Don’t worry, I took note of it and added it to my list of 2020 accomplishments.

For now, I know that I still got it and those men had absolutely no idea who they were dealing with. Silly men — I googled each and every one of you. They didn’t do their homework. That was a good day…..

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

New Etiquette

I had a fun day planned last minute with some Miami girlfriends. Long story, but they were moving, cleaning and the like. I was invited to go along for the ride and hang out by the pool. Delightful.

I planned to wear a mask in an hour long car ride with one GF and maintain my social distancing at all times otherwise. A change of scenery would be nice.

But….we had 2 more Covid cases at work. One is a person I see every day albeit only in passing. I disclosed to my GF. After sleeping on it, she cancelled with me. She was quite apologetic. I reassured her that I was 100% understanding and fully on board with her decision. I didn’t push or question her decision because I don’t want her doing something outside her comfort zone.

Am I disappointed? Of course! It would have been a fun day. Am I upset with her? Not one bit. I get it.

This pandemic has caused a shift in social norms. I have written about my own reluctance to hang out with friends. In my case, my reluctance avoided a day spent with 2 dear friends who had COVID and just didn’t know it at the time. So when my GF un-invites me, I get it. I have been in her shoes. Trust your gut.

I don’t understand people who want to push their agenda on others. I hear/read stories of people being pressured to gather at social events. It’s one thing if it’s your choice, but hopefully societal norms are shifting to allow people to speak up and step back. No more being too nice and accommodating!

Regret?

I don’t regret anything I’ve done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.” 

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Wow, I read this quote this morning in one of my newsfeeds. I looked at it all day. Regret. I think regret is a powerful, strong word. It represents things undone, unsaid, unaccomplished and so much more.

Which word is stronger – regret or fear? I think that is a conundrum for many people. As Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” I think Thoreau was talking about how fear was outweighing regret. Perhaps the confirmed desperation was partially regret.

I use to have my fair share of regrets. Actions I did not take, things I did not say. However, I have also let go of those regrets. I cannot change the past and those regrets cannot be solved today — the time has passed. It has taken me some time to let go of those regrets. I carried them around in a big, heavy sack on my shoulders. I am still tossing out some leftover regrets on occasion, and fortunately my burden is much lighter these days.

I think Trevor also speaks from a place of youth. He sees regret as coming from a place of inaction, words unspoken. I think regret can also come from impetuousness.

I have tamed my regret and my fear for now. I like to think regret has been stored away forever. Fear, well that fiend will perhaps always be with mankind. For now I have it tucked away as well.

Do you have regrets?

Let’s Talk Money

I have been saving like a mad fiend during the pandemic. There wasn’t really anything else to do. I have loosened my purse strings a little the past two weekends, but I want that to be exception. I need to remember that spending money is not a solution when I am lonely or sad. That had been my crutch when I was married. Man, did I spend some money on a whole lot of stupid stuff.

I am preparing to pay off my car which will reduce my savings but increase my monthly cash flow. I can replace the money in my savings in about the same time I would have paid off the car loan. My savings can take the hit. I prefer to have the cash flow and zero debt.

It will be the first time in my adult life that I don’t owe anyone a single penny. No car payment, all bills paid on time. Savings for retirement, my HSA and emergency fund all accumulating nicely. I have been saving over 25% of my income. Yes, it’s a tad aggressive, but I needed that catch-up. Once my son is done with school and his stipend ends, I will increase my disposable income. I got a modest 2% raise this month which I applied towards my 401K. I am thrilled to have any type of increase during these crazy times and I say a word of thanks for this job each and every day.

When that car is paid off, I will have paid off over $50,000 of debt in the past year. Yes, $50,000 between the IRS, credit cards and the car loan. Wow. Yes, half of that was my dad’s most generous Christmas gift. In my mind, it doesn’t matter so much where it came from. What matters is that I took responsibility for my situation and did what I needed to do to make it right.

My credit score is now over 800 for the first time in my life. I never dreamed getting it up there so quickly. Yes, it will take a hit when the car is paid off, but I don’t give a rat’s ass. I pay off my credit card in full each month and use it only as a convenience and to keep it active. Sometimes I make two payments in a month so it doesn’t get away from me.

I will have a little more disposable income with the car loan paid off because I won’t send the entire payment amount off to savings. I am in the midst of renewing my apartment lease. They foolishly asked for a 6% increase. Yeah, ask all you want, but that’s not reasonable in today’s economy. I have already countered. They have no idea of my negotiating skills, but they are about to find out.

Life is good. I am feeling peaceful. The next big audacious undertaking is to get the weight loss program back underway. I can do this. I just need to make better choices. At the end of the day perhaps that has been my biggest lesson over the past several years — make better choices….

Hypocrites

The Reverend Jerry Falwell, Jr. has dirty laundry that all the public is seeing right now.  Normally I would say that this is nobody’s business, however, since he makes a living as an educator of the Southern Baptist faith, it opens the door for some commentary.

I am a very sex-positive person with the belief that if the participants are consenting adults, have at it.  If you like to watch your spouse with someone else, good for you so long as all participants are on board and willing.  However, when you are being hypocritical and publicly espousing one belief and not living by those values, shame on you.  

I have no doubt that Falwell and his wife have a healthy, robust sex life that involves others at times. Kudos because keeping things sexy in a long-term relationship requires creativity and openness. But I find Falwell to be cowardly for throwing his wife under the double-decker bus by his characterization of the events. Also they went a bit too young for their partner. Hooking up with a 20-year-old is legal, but the power dynamics are definitely skewed. But who knows what the truth is? Just the three people at the heart of the allegations.

However, where there is smoke, there is fire and I guarantee you that there are some other third-parties out there who either will not or cannot speak up due to certain non-closure agreements.

I chuckled at his Instagram photo with the other woman where they were both “in costume” because to me, this is a guy having a good time.  Not a leader of the Southern Baptist community, but a regular guy being silly.  However, once again, his defense was hypocritical and not truthful.  That was alcohol in that glass and his familiarity with the woman was palpable.  He wants to live a life of “Do as I say, not as I do.”  I really don’t like folks like that.  

Perhaps this is the opportunity for Falwell to leave his father’s legacy and live his life on his own terms. He has a law degree and enough white privilege to segue way to perhaps more of a non-secular conservative profession. The question is whether he can stop the hypocrisy and acknowledge who he really is – an alcohol-drinking swinger. LOL.

But seriously, it takes a lot of courage to live life honestly and let people see you for who you really are. I question his courage.

As for his wife, I wish for her the gift of courage. The courage to stand up and tell her truth. The courage to not let her husband hide behind her or blame her. The courage to look people in the eye and be true to herself. And peace, I hope that at the end of all this she finds peace.

Update: 8/30/2020 – yep, more smoke.

Let’s pray for them.

Family Tree Connection

I don’t have much to report. What is going on? Same stuff different day. I feel like I have my shit together which is such a relief. I need to move into my own personal Phase 2 and start getting back to a limited out and about.

My biggest push is to make some damn girlfriends. I need to have a social circle up here. One unexpected and potential is a first cousin once removed who lives 15 minutes away from me. My aunt suggested we connect, so after several months I finally picked up my courage and the phone.

This cousin’s father is my grandmother’s brother – make sense? She is only 10 years older than me and has 3 grown kids that live in the area. Her oldest is 46. Cuz is only 10 years older than me and surprisingly we have very similar jobs. We hit it off in our call and had a lovely 10 minute chat.

Her family is being very careful with social distancing, but we made plans to connect in October when the weather cools off. I have enticed her with the idea of sharing some of those old photos I have discovered. She is excited to see them and I am looking forward to meeting her and her sister — yes, more family. My fingers are crossed that we have some type of connection because it would be nice to have “family” of some form around. If it is limited, that’s understandable. I don’t expect to get gathered into the bosom of their family instantly, but …… easy girl, manage those expectations.

OK, secretly I am hopeful because the damn holidays are a couple of months away and I know that the odds of spending it my kids or my dad are very limited. Time will tell and once again I must be patient. Yes, patience which is never one of my top traits.

The many branches of a family tree,
Photo by Brandon Green on Unsplash

6-Year Anniversary

I have been writing this blog for six years. Wow. I blew past the anniversary last month, but I want to make note of this milestone. Six years of putting my innermost thoughts and feelings up for the world to see.

I have been reading my posts and unlocked a few more. The most tawdry may stay locked, but if you wander through some comments last year the password can easily be found.

What words of wisdom do I have? None. I haven’t been consistent about writing. I sometimes vomit up my thoughts and when I later read them, I wince. It does help me understand myself a bit better. I see my impetuousness nature and difficulty saying “no” as impediments, but once I have recognized them, I have also been able to tap the brakes on occasion.

I have learned a lot by reading the blogs of others. Some are no longer blogging and I miss them. I see the transient nature of the blogging community as a reflection of life in general.

Blogging helps me put words to my thoughts and feelings. It helps me process what is rattling around in my brain. The weight loss coach I occasionally listen to (until her nagging, yelling self annoys me) is a huge fan of journaling. I agree. When I flick back through my posts, I see my immaturity at times, my pain, my confusion, my happiness, my struggle, but most importantly my growth. Damn I have grown a lot over these past six years. Let’s see what happens in the next six years.

Always my happy place.
Photo by Corryne Wooten on Unsplash

A Little Anxious


I have not heard my internal drumbeat for quite some time. I had heard it in March and April, but then it thankfully faded. Now, this week, it started again, albeit softly. My drumbeat is my sign that I am anxious. I don’t feel too much in control and I like to be in control.

Perhaps this is a lingering PTSD effect of Isaias swinging past and we haven’t even hit active storm season. Perhaps it is a discussion board on a professional site about the gloomy future of business. Perhaps it is the hard conversation I had with my son about school expenses, my thought that his dad is struggling to meet his obligations, so my son needs to talk to the financial aid office about more money. Maybe it is a combination of all three and more.

One thing I know is that I am a trifle weary about my utter lack of social life. I am trying to dig deep into focusing on things I can control: diet, exercise, sleep and finances. I am holding back on my spending. That is always a false stress-reliever for me so when I want to buy shit, I now stop and ask why? My cozy apartment can’t hold much, so any purchase needs to be carefully analyzed. I am focused on saving, saving, saving and frugal living, but honestly, that’s boring. No razzle dazzle there, but I do like seeing my savings grow, so I need to savor that.

I need to focus on what does bring me joy these days. I need to embrace the simple pleasures. My Beachbody on Demand (BOD) has been a surprising happiness builder for me. Yesterday was rainy so I couldn’t go outside for my nightly walk. Instead I did 30 minutes of Country Western dancing. This was in addition to my morning 30-minute Barre Blend, which combines barre and Pilates. To know me is to know that I have 2 left feet, no flexibility or rhythm. BOD has been introducing me to my hips and teaching me about coordination, stretching and footwork. Plus I get to look ridiculous in the comfort of my home with no one judging me. I also get to do these workouts repeatedly on my schedule and I advance when I feel comfortable moving on. I really like that. Look out Shakira – when I find my hips, they won’t be lying!

The other thing bringing me joy these days is the simple pleasure of being able to go to an office and be around people. This week is a trifle boring because I am in a lull with most of my projects. I have a few interesting things to do and some not so interesting, but I am around pleasant people all day without pressure.

I am reading a good book. Finished another last night. I have listened to some interesting podcasts. I have a weekly Zoom Toastmasters and this week I have a Zoom bingo night with another professional group. I am sleeping well. I just wish I could go to dinner or brunch with some girlfriends. I wish I had some girlfriends up here. The pandemic quashed all my plans of developing a social network up here.

Part of my internal drumbeat of anxiety is what I am seeing and hearing out of my professional networks. A tsunami of more layoffs and shutdowns is coming. Companies are distributing boxes to employees so they can pack up and work from home permanently, however, as those employees drive off the company knows most will never return. Lots of companies are closing up offices as of the end of September to coincide with the end of the third quarter. More will close up in December so horrific write-offs can be done for 2020. This will enable companies to potentially salvage 2021 after shedding everything possible.

Add to that mess the fact that as a woman over 55 years old, if I am laid off, I will be the last hired. Age and gender discrimination ratchet up during times such as these. Don’t believe me? Go read the studies. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/bye-boomer-the-coming-cull-of-workers-over-50-2020-07-29

For now let me be thankful for what I have. I am thankful for my job, my work colleagues, my cozy apartment, my growing savings, my health and much more. I am very lucky to have what I have.

Boring is Good

This week I have felt bored. Life is ho hum. Then Taz gave me a wake up call. We had a long chat and she was filling me in on news from friends and my Ex’s family. Wow – talk about drama.

This friend’s mom had two heart attacks. The friend is trying to finish school and her fiancé was transferred to an out of state job. Another friend’s grandparent passed leaving behind an autistic son with metastatic lung cancer. The friend’s mom is now nursing her brother while he battles pneumonia and lung cancer. The same friend is dealing with a boyfriend who has accepted a job promotion and transfer.

Then my Ex had some serious drama with his fiancée’s daughters. Long story, I won’t go into it, but I felt bad for the guy. Really bad.

It was just drama, drama, drama. Wow. I have never been so grateful to be ordinary and dull. Thank you, Karma. You won’t hear a peep of complaint from me. Not a single peep. I am ever so grateful for all I have. Now let me drag my ordinary self to bed in my cozy, simple apartment.

Reset Once Again

For some reason weight loss has been a conundrum for me this go round. When I separated from my husband, I melted off 40 pounds effortlessly. I guess it is that revenge body situation. I have been trying to remember what I did and what I need to do know.

I have been reading Chasing Cupcakes by Elizabeth Benton. It is a good book and says what needs to be said. I am not quite ready to hear her lessons. Plus last week I listened to her podcast Primal Potential and she broke my heart. She lost her 12-day-old baby in April. Enough said. She is soldiering on and applying her grief to her coaching. It tore me apart to listen to one episode of her podcast where she talked about it. Particularly because I thought of Taz.

I decided that for August I am going to focus on three habits. Very simple: 30 minutes of daily exercise, 15 minutes organizing my damn photos (I only need to do this 20x in the month), bedtime at 10:00 with 7 hours of sleep. I have a habit tracker on my frig and off we go.

However, as I sat on my patio this morning enjoying the tropical storm breeze of Isasias, I knew that this isn’t enough for the weight loss. I need more tweaks. I have been doing my daily 30 minutes of Barre Blend from Beachbody on Demand (BOD). It is awesome and I feel my flexibility and balance increasing tremendously. I sweat, it’s hard and challenging, but it’s not enough. Sorry, Elise, but I think I need more pure cardio.

I was losing about 1-1/2 – 2 pounds on another BOD program, 21 Day Fix. Instead of switching back (because I do like the benefits of Barre Blend), I am going to add in another 1/2 hour 5x a week of cardio. Back to None2Run. Ugh. Maybe not the whole program, but at least get into some steady running intervals. The cardio really helps. Step 1 – increase my exercise to an hour a day/5x a week and 30 minutes on my off days. I won’t bore you with the schedule, but my off days will be midweek and those days will only be the Barre Blend.

Next, I need to focus on the food intake. Actually, I need to take my focus away from food. I have enjoyed meal prepping, having various meal options throughout the week and all that stuff. Too much focus on food. I need to downplay it. I am not a fan of intermittent fasting. Done it, meh. I guess my plan is a form of IF, but it harkens back to my previous weight loss success.

I will continue with 3 meals a day, but dinner will be extra light. Some Greek yogurt, a sandwich – very light. Lunch will be plant-based. Breakfast will be the main meal and it will still be reasonable. I need to recognize my hunger cues and stopping cues better. One weight loss coach recommends eating half of your meal, stopping for 20 minutes and then deciding if you eat more. I agree. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to realize if it is full.

I am convinced my scale is broken, but I know it is not. It hasn’t moved in two weeks and I am so frustrated with it, but really the frustration is with me. I am being impatient. Impatient with my body both through exercise and weight loss. I am not helping my body. I am not giving it the time it needs to change. I am not providing nutrition at the levels that maximize weight loss. I am not recognizing it’s strength in certain areas or appreciating where it is gaining balance and flexibility. I love my body and need to be kinder to it. I need to appreciate all it has done (birthed and nursed 2 healthy, beautiful babies, been strong and healthy, etc.), what it is doing now (exercising, staying healthy) and what it can do (get stronger, leaner). My body can do a lot, but I just need to allow her to have the time and the right fuel to do so. Patience. Dammit, it is always a lack of patience with me. Deep breath, reset and let’s try again.

Time to change the middle part, albeit patiently…

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