Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Working

Spring Plannings

For good or bad, spring has officially sprung here in LA. While the east coast is pummeled by snow storm after raging snow storm, and spring seeps gently in other states, here, it is as if someone flipped a switch.

We went from chilly air, cool breezes, weak sun and foggy mornings to the full-blown technicolor that is California sunshine. Where in the shade it’s perfect, under direct rays, it can feel like you’re on the wrong end of a kid’s magnifying glass experiment of fried bugs.

While the heat is not my thing at all, the sudden burst of vibrant pink and white from the magnolias and jasmine plants is brilliant.

And the smell… swoon.

The internet says Leo Tolstoy wrote, in Anna Karenina, “Spring is the time of plans and projects” and that is what this week feels like to me. The past 2 weeks, I spent quite a bit of time catching up, digging out of email, and running errands – basically recovering from the first month and a half of the year.

Now that I’m caught up, Mercury’s direct, and my birthday is this week, I am ready to dive into those plans and projects – lining up with the seasonal shift, the glow of nature returning.

Busy, Simple Boston Trip

Another trip to Boston for work is in the books.

This trip was quick and dirty – flew in on Monday after the weekend in Joshua Tree and seeing Jimmy Eat World again – worked all the hours Tuesday through Thursday, and flew home Thursday night.

Glad I went to sit in on a few important meetings, connect with colleagues and bounce ideas around. It was gray, dark and chilly – it poured the last day.

Highlight was getting to meet Lindsey of A Design So Vast in person – yay for meeting people from the Internet. She was just as engaging, kind and thoughtful as her writing portrays her to be. So thankful she made the time for me.

I broke out the puffy coat for the cold, did HIIT exercises in my hotel room, tramped around in my new maroon boots, and made sure I ate a bagel with lox. I consumed many chai lattes, didn’t drink too much this time and ate seared Ahi tuna steaks at more than one meal. I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for a glazed donut and hot tea, sipped french onion soup and spoke to 5 student groups. I had dinner with one of my best friends and heard about her wedding plans and hung out with her puppy for a few minutes. I got to hug my two favorite colleagues. I had deep conversations with people I consider mentors and friends.

My flights felt long, but were as easy as flying across the country can get.

I stayed up too late and didn’t get enough sleep.

Once student event had a small number of people show up and my presentation wasn’t working – so I decided to improvise. The the fire alarm went off, forcing us to change locations. Somehow, we all reconvened and the students who stuck around said they really enjoyed the entire event. Proud of myself for going with the flow.

And lastly, when I tried to catch a cab in the rain to the airport, there were no cabs to be found. A women, my age or younger, was also waiting. She said she was going to call an Uber and that I could tag along with her. I didn’t get her name or info but I’d like to send her a thank you for that ride – which was quick, warm and got me to the airport with plenty of time.

Life is so simple and easy at times, just going with the flow.

#30daysofdresses – day 29

Ggguyyyyyyssssss – I thought I was done. I thought this was #30.

But no – I miscounted and this is only 29.

Lovely, odd, prime 29.

Fine.

I never wear this dress, but forcing myself to wear it for this challenge reminded me that it is cute and I can totally rock it. Yes, it would look better with heels, but I don’t own black heels right now (and I can’t afford them because I just bought new boots).

This was a quiet, easy day at work – thank goodness.

Dress from Express forever ago. Necklace is an arrow. Flats are Payless (thanks mom!) Blown-out, over-editing by yours truly.

#30daysofdresses – day 16

The 14 hour work day…

Last week when I pulled this dress out of my closet, I was preparing for a full day of meetings. Higher ups were in town and my colleague planned a tour of LA from breakfast to bedtime.

It was a long, long, long day.

It was productive though. Because I’m a remote employee, I don’t get to experience the conversations that pan out between other people, the information sharing, the collaboration. I learned so much just riding in the car between meetings. It was a nice professional boost to attend these appointments.

At one point, a higher-up was asking me questions, feeling me out about my career goals. I said I believed we needed more leadership and maturity – and she asked about me.

Me?

I said I didn’t feel like I had enough experience yet… again, maturity, etc… and she cut me off, and said in a very direct but gentle way, “That’s a female thing. No man your age would say that.”

Oh.

Hello imposter syndrome: a situation where someone feels like an impostor or fraud because they think that their accomplishments are nowhere near as good as those of the people around them. Usually, their accomplishments are just as good, and the person is applying an unfairly high standard to themselves (and not to others).

The whole day got me thinking about where I’m at, what I want to do next, and circling back over this topic of having the authority over my own life.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate.

Just back from a weekend in Vegas and wanted to drop a quick line to say hello.

After the emotional chaos of a few weeks ago, work events and busyness (not to mention Mercury Retrograde) this week is quiet coming, and I am thankful for that.

The pic of above is from our hotel room early in the morning on Saturday. We stayed at The Paris and traveled in to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday and my parent’s 33rd wedding anniversary. Amazing milestones, to say the least.

As someone who is embracing being a highly-sensitive person, Vegas is.so.naht.my.place. but with those milestone celebrations, I couldn’t say no. So H and I packed up the car, drove the 6hrs each way and spent the weekend eating, drinking and gambling with my family.

And while I would rather have been out in the desert, out where those clouds touched the mountains, it’s always good to have the whole family (plus our significant others now) all together at one time.

This week is quiet as far as work / social commitments go, but we’re in for another eclipse and things pick up again for me in about 10 days, so I’m going to use this week to downshift a bit. I’m still continuing the #30daysofdresses challenge. Been wearing a dress almost every single day, just going to find some time tonight to write up the posts.

If you’re looking for something cool to listen to this week, check out the Back To work podcast where David Sparks guest appears. I loved hearing him speak about executing projects, balancing all of the things he’s into and his presentations field guide (which I plan on pick up). So yeah, dig around in that if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Have a great week xo

#30daysofdresses – day 15

Finally, a normal day.

Drove to work blasting It’s Blitz by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Listen to Zero and rock out.

Got to work early, answered emails, attended a meeting that wasn’t a complete waste of time, finished a project, had another meeting. A full day at the office and not one instance of drama.

Gosh, it’s been a while.

Maybe it was / is Mercury Retrograde or my own sensitivity… but I finally feel better (at least, I feel good as I’m writing this).

I liked the blazer over this dress, love the length and material of this dress, and overall felt super comfy all day.

Also, I’m growing my hair out some and it’s in a weird stage where I have to bobby pin it on one side.

That is all.

#30daysofdresses – day 13

Friday night I hosted an event for work and wore one of my favorite new dresses.

The little yellow belt was in play again, and I wore nude colored heels. This is also the dress I wore during the wedding weekend last month.

H picked it out for me at Forever 21 – he loves the cut of it, I love the color and texture. It feels way more expensive than a $25 dress at F21. Also, the back has an interesting opening though I don’t have a photo of that to share with you.

The event went really well – mostly b/c I made the executive decision to bump up the budget and cover everything well enough. Cutting corners is just not working for our events anymore. And I had my temp overseeing two volunteers – and the three of them rocked check-in, so I didn’t have to spend a moment dealing with the door.

It was the first time I felt like I hosted an event – instead of running around like a crazy person (but I already said that in Saturday’s post). Yay me. #levelup

Oh – and the bracelet is Alex and Ani (a trend that has yet to hit the west coast) from my awesome coworker (a thank you gift for helping her with her crazy event in June). While I’m not into super trendy things, I love that it’s from A and also that it means energy which is EXACTLY what I need when working events, and reminds me to protect my energy levels as much as possible.

Short post for a short dress 😉

Summer Nights, School Days

Evening roller-blade

Walking at 5am

Math I don’t understand

My view most nights this week

Besides it being post-vacation-blues week, it’s also back to school.

H started his 7th year of teaching. Each year I hope he’ll hit the easy groove that experienced teachers do, and then some huge opportunity/challenge presents itself. Two years ago it was a masters program. Last year it was being department chair, a masters program and 4 different classes. This year, masters program completed, it’s department chair and multivariable calculus, which happens to be the hardest class they teach.

Which he is reviewing every night, all night, after working a 12 hour day.

Which means that it’s just me and the Carter-man for long stretches of time.

I’ve learned that the shift from summer break, having H home all of the time, helping around the house and generally being there for me, to the first week of school, arguably one of the most stressful times of the year, can suck. I love my alone time, but having him around all day, everyday and then not at all puts a strain on our relationship.

Or, should I say, a strain on how I feel about our relationship.

Because in reality, we’re the same as we were last week (well, not entirely the same since last week was still Alaska). I’m just going about my day assuming it’ll be one way and it’s another, totally different yet OK, way…

Luckily, I’ve noticed this pattern, and I let things slide to compensate. So, dishes won’t get put away quickly or he won’t remember to do something (because he hasn’t had a moment to himself) or I have to take the dog on all 3 walks for the day. It’s not easy, but it’s not awful either.

It’s just life.

—–

Yesterday I was up at 5am to be on a 6hr video conference call. Apsht. Somehow I survived, and the early start time meant an early leave time.

Feeling completely burnt from the meeting, I settled on yoga, made green juice, and took the dog to the park to run around a very dry, very hot baseball field. I straightened up and vacuumed. I ate turkey chili cold from the Tupperware. I perused Instagram, cleaned up DropBox and worked on a small project taking photos of our possessions in case we ever have an insurance issue. I cooked zucchini and heated up left-over pizza. I went out with Carter again, this time on roller-blades.

I wrote this sitting across from H as he went through calc problems and muttered things like “oh shit, I found the area instead of the arc length” which may as well be German to me.

We kept the front door propped open so a breeze came through the apartment while it went from twilight to pitch dark outside in what seemed like an instant.

I couldn’t fall asleep the other night and stayed up past 1am.

Carter mopes around looking for H, patiently waiting for him to finish his work so they can play.

It’s a transient time of summer nights, school days, 5am alarms, evenings solo even though H is home, and hot weather. The last of it seems to throw me off the most. Autumn feels like the natural signal for us all to hunker down, do our work, spend more time indoors. We don’t get that here in Southern California, the season or the natural transition.

I miss it.

 

Piqued

This week I felt back on track.

I did work, hung out at home, watched season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, went running and ate healthier. I took Monday off, which was much needed. We went to the climbing gym & guys, Kal Drogo aka Jason Momoa works out at my climbing gym! (What a beautiful, beautiful man. Even H was staring.) I co-worked with my friend Billye and swam in her pool. Overall, it was a good week – quiet, productive, and pretty drama free.

I am looking for book recommendations, always. While chatting with my friend Chelsea (a big reader like me) she suggested I check out your summer reading list on the TedBlog. If YOU have suggestions for ME – would love to hear about them in the comments!

You can’t do your job well if your job is all do, from the Artifact Uprising blog. Love this blog. And can I just say, with T-10 days to go until our epic Alaska trip, I am already pinning over the AU book(s) I plan to make from our vacation photos.

But I didn’t pay for beans and water. I paid for the experience, the story, the instagram photo and to satiate my curiosity.

Pricing + marketing by Ari: $12 cup of coffee experience.

Saw Wish I Was Here last weekend. I loved Garden State, and while this movie wasn’t that good, I did enjoy it. And Zach Braff isn’t hard to look out, mmhhh. And yay for movies that have soundtracks, especially ones that include the Bon Iver song in the video below. Which, by the way, was filmed in Iceland but I like to pretend this song is on my mind right now b/c ALASKA.

Oh gosh, and this video made me tear up with how magical it is: Roadtrippers’ time-lapse of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

And to continue on the teary-eyes: This little story of a guy racing his dad’s ghost in the machine of his Xbox hit me pretty hard.

If you missed it, my post about Support got a lot of shares last week. And THANK YOU x10 for reading. I’m writing for you. xo

Flow: Month Six

Ah, June.

I have to say, this entire year has felt like a whirlwind – at times I feel like I’m cruising along, other times I feel like I’m drowning. Up & down. It’s only in the past few days I’m surfacing again.

June saw me travel for work (again), family visiting (again), work drama (again), and not feeling so hot (again). But there was good too – I hired a life coach, climbed outdoors in gorgeous New Hampshire, renewed my Year of Ocean commitment, napped in the late afternoons, killed it at my annual review, spent quality time with friends and had a week with family in Newport Beach.

So much life is coming at me head on and I don’t have a reference point to deal with it all. And even though it’s all good things, it’s a lot.

I need a break.

I’m realizing that flow, like anything else, is actually a negative thing if taken too far.

I am moving at the whim of everything and there is no time to catch my breath. It’s like I’m a boat taking on water, and what I really need to be asking myself is “Do I have to carry this right now?” Because I take on a lot. Probably too much.

This, of course, is the on-going struggle I have. To prioritize my own life over that of everyone else in it. To say “No”.

While I have the perspective to know that everything is not a crisis, I still feel responsible for it all.

What I’m thinking is that I could use some structure for my flow. Some perspective. Some scheduling and processes. Nothing crazy, since I already know that creating structure and abiding by it are two different skill sets, but I’ve got to figure out something.

Life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.

It occurred to me this morning that there is a level of fear and hard work that I’m not willing to face. That doing everyone else’s bidding is exhausting, but I receive immediate positive feedback from it, so it feels like a win. Doing my own thing could result in too many variables: things not working, getting in trouble by someone else, having to say no / disappoint people, not reaching the goal.

But I’m seeing that to live a deeply nourishing existence, I need to not just carve out my own time, but to structure my time around me. There is a difference.

I feel like I’m sinking, when I want to be swimming. Diving deep. That requires energy and focus. And so that is where my heart is after 6 months of flow. Here’s to another 6 more.

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.