Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wherein I Attempt to Break the Sound Barrier... (Update)

For Christmas I opened a silver sharpie. C cheered as if it were an X-box. I looked at it, set it down, and grabbed the next present for him to open. We were almost finished when he pulled out a huge package from behind the couch. It looked like a painting. We have gifted fine art in the past, but I could not think of a specific piece I had requested all year. I unwrapped the paper to find one of my photographs blown up larger than life and framed beautifully. I just stared. I didn't know what to say.

"Do you like it?" C asked, eager to know if his offering was acceptable. He had framed one of my poems when we were engaged, but it was a small frame and a poem that had never crawled out from under the rock beneath which I kept it hid. It was so near and dear to my heart, that it was difficult to let it go. It's one thing to put a photo on a blog, and quite another to hang it as art in your home.

My mom has always hailed my ability to efficiently manage and organize, so every time my mother needed something organized, I was the person for the job. My meticulous nature also meant that I was the person least likely to damage her stemware or other precious items. One day while tidying the basement storage room, I came across some watercolors she had painted. I esteemed them rather highly, and knowing that she was such a perfectionist that she would never allow it, I stashed the painting in my room and later secreted it out of the home and into a framing shop. They framed it, matted it, and enclosed the back with paper.

Her reaction to this gift was not unlike mine with the huge photo of the winter cattails in the morning mist. She did not think it ready for display, but wanted to get it just right. That painting hung reluctantly in her entry for years, but it became the motivating factor for her to return to school and later become the owner of her own children's art school and portrait studio.

C knew the story of my mother's motivation, and was eager to help me take that next step as well. I have been so incredibly fearless, and yet I freeze up on this issue of sharing things with others that I get invested in. I just need to move past the fear and dare boldly, even if that means rewriting a lifetime.

Oh, and as for the silver sharpie, it was to write a note on a blown up version of the 11 year anniversary of our Admiralty Point lighthouse first kiss, also beautifully framed. How did I get so lucky to marry such a thoughtful guy?

Thursday, December 23, 2010


After working for 30 hours between Monday (12 hours) and Tuesday (18 hours), it only took ONE of my days off to get work off of my mind. We went to the temple in the morning which was so refreshing, after which I visited a friend, had an interview, and after our regular work-outs, we went to see True Grit.

While C was picking up dinner last night before the movie, I opted to take a nap. Kawi is a bonified, credentialed napping buddy. He fluffs up as close as possible to your face, tucks his head, and esteems himself in heaven to be so close to his beloved peeps. Penny, on the other hand, misses the mark entirely. She climbs up onto your head, clings to your hair with her strong little feet, and then bends over until she can just reach your eyelids and gives them a little tug. If you weren't aware, eyelids weren't really made for this purpose. This type of exercise is far from conducive to remedy a deficient soul who has clocked only 14 hours of sleep in three nights. 

That being ineffective in getting me to play with her, she ventured into Kawi's personal space for some of his attention. Kawi stood quietly on my left shoulder. Penny's opinion of personal space being much varied from Kawi's, she wandered over to say hello. Soon both birds were squabbling right in front of my face. 

Needless to say, Penny soon found herself sitting on the dresser with a dish of food. Deprived of my eyelids, she spent the remainder of my naptime fiddling with the glass doors of my jewelry box, because how rude to make her look at all of those pretties without being able to chew them into mangled pieces of metal!

True Grit was memorable. It was so beautifully written, I must confess, and so beautifully directed, you wouldn't think from my description that you really see horrible deaths throughout the film. It made me want to be a better writer and to get the book!

Finally freed from my pestering thoughts surrounding the conference, I woke to yet another day off! This morning was perfect. We slept in (even if we were both awake by 7AM), and I started the morning with a lengthy back scratch. This is a very important point. When we were first married, I offered to rub C's feet every night. He was so ticklish that I found myself leaping back to avoid the involuntary, lightening-fast plantar punches in my direction.

We came to the mutual conclusion that in order to dodge any suspicions about civil disputes, foot massages were best avoided altogether. In lieu of my offered masseuse services, I noticed that he frequently asked for back scratches. Not tickles, mind you, but full-on, bear-necessities, back scratches. He got his fill of them today (if that is humanly possible).

It wasn't long before both birds were awake. Soon they joined us, Penny making delightful noises because she discovered a pillow cave to explore, and Kawi just so happy to be fluffed up on C's chest for some loving head scratches. I whipped up some fluffy whole wheat pancakes for breakfast to go with the real maple syrup I bought C for Christmas.

We doodled around for a while and then C settled back down for a long winter's nap with Kawi on his chest while I readied for a shopping excursion. C woke around the time I was ready to go and offered to join me. We went rock climbing first, followed by lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, and then a trip to the mall. We broke the sound barrier of fashion and walked away with some excellent wardrobe items for my most beloved, as well as a few items for yours truly.

We shared a diet lemonade en route to our home where we found two sleepy birds. I insisted that C get in his daily workout, but as for me and my house, my sleep deprivation finally caught up with me. It is true that this year I am actually LOSING weight for the holidays {YEAH!}, but sometimes rest really does override a run. 

I have loved spending all of this time with C. I just received a call from him and he played me one of my favorite songs, so I will now share it with you! (sorry, no embed allowed).

Merry Christmas to all! Perhaps tomorrow I will post some vids of Penny for those who have expressed an interest in her...

Friday, December 17, 2010

In other news...

I recently returned from a trip to Chicago, where we did some research for a non-profit organization.
The room was lovely, and it was a good thing, because I got to see a lot of it.
It came complete with a rain showerhead (upper-left)...

Lots of space for doing work,

Yummy, cozy robes, and nothing says classy like....
...a painting of a tree covered in Pikachus???

Tonight we went to see TRON. The storyline is better than the original TRON movie. Let's just say that if you go, you are there to be entertained by special effects, not by a compelling storyline.

Speaking about compelling, someone approached me about a job today. I look forward to the weekend to chew on it.


If I don't go back to bed and snuggle up to my best buddy, I will not only feel sleep deprived tomorrow, I will also feel like my emotional cup is empty. Snuggles are like battery rechargers for the heart. Don't leave home without one.

I worked yesterday for 11 or 12 hours. Actually, that's not true. I worked for 13 hours: starting at 8:00 AM and ending at 9:00 PM. I know it's bad when the entire building goes dark because everyone is gone, and then the cleaning crew comes through.

Fortunately I had a stash of 3 Trio bars in my office, otherwise I would have starved. I ate a very healthy but light breakfast of an egg atop a bed of fresh spinach with salsa on top, some celery and PB for a snack, and a light salad for lunch. I went to bed hungry, but I couldn't give in to those fist-size chocolates on the counter. Still, 970 calories left me wanting a huge, naughty hamburger, and I finally made C turn off Man vs. Food because I kept saying, "Del Taco. Hmmm. I want some nachos. How about Wingers?"

 I am beginning to think that my job is the Rx for a workaholic. I am also beginning to realize as this conference gets closer that exercise is no longer an option, it's a necessity to remove enough tension so that I can sleep at night. Obviously I did not work out yesterday, but then I would be REALLY hungry now.

Well, I need to go cuddle back up to my sleeping recharger. I hope you manage to get more sleep than me!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Few Words on Productivity

I woke around 4:30 this morning and by 6:00AM I was sitting at my desk. It was the most productive morning I have had in months. It came with its rewards, too. Around 7AM, I looked up and, well, read on to see what I saw.

Today I walked across the hall to visit one of my favorite co-workers. He has cancer and is currently undergoing intense chemical treatment. It's been a couple of weeks since we last spoke. His brother-in-law greeted me and informed me that he was gone. I thought of our last conversation and I understood. He'd moved on to something else that was important and inspirational, but we lost a great team player. Photobucket

Our CEO recently called me in to his office to give me some feedback. He said some very nice things and commented on my great contributions and potential in the organization. I looked him in the eye and said, "This organization focuses on deliverables. If you want to develop people, they need to be on the list of top priorities for the organization." He mentioned that he'd heard that I was considering leaving the organization. I explained that I was stuck in an endless cycle; that home-grown talent was not valued within the organization, and that in order to move forward, I needed experience, but without that experience, I could not move forward. Even the lowest men with the organizational positions I am working toward were formerly Senior managers or higher in organizations like Microsoft, Novell, or Apple. How can I compete with that kind of experience without leaving the organization? Yadayadayada.

But here's something really great. Really. Did you know? I have a habit. It's a good habit. It wasn't always mine. In fact, I know it has previously belonged to at least two people. I don't remember exactly where I heard about it, but it's so SIMPLE. The second person with this habit asked the first person with this habit how she always got so much done, seeing that she was such a busy woman. Her response went something like this,
"When I move from one place to another, I look around to see if there's something out of place that needs to come with me."

Easy. So, when I get out of the car to go into the store, I look for garbage that I can throw out. When I go downstairs, I look for a pile of papers or something that came from my office and take it with me. Sometimes it only makes it half-way there, like when I put a food storage item next to the basement door. It's no problem because the next time I go into the basement, I will pick up that item and carry it down with me. 

Isn't that a splendid little trick? I have been doing this for several years now, and although I am not perfect, this little habit has helped me from getting overwhelmed with too many things to do. If a pile has formed on the counter, I take one or two items each time I pass by, and soon it's gone. It is endlessly helpful in reducing stress.

Today I ran. I was sick over the weekend, but bounced back quite nicely. I only ran for about 20 minutes because I am still finishing my antibiotic regimen. I have a tendency to get a little optimistic and attempt to pull off more mileage than I should.

Last week I got up to six miles. I love to run since my foot has healed! It's still tender, but this is the first time in over a year that I have been able to run pain-free. That little growth that I had removed wasn't just making it hard to walk, it was causing my plantar fasciitis to flare up each time I got up around three miles. I am sure that the foot strengthening exercises have helped significantly as well. I try to do them before I run, or while I watch TV at night. So far so good. Who knows, I just might try a marathon in the next couple of years.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I think this conference may be stifling my creativity. We are now just a couple of months away and while everything is coming together, it is at huge cost, including quantities of stress, time, and money. I have been fighting to take back my life from work, and had finally achieved it, but then the conference took over. As hard as I try, it is difficult to truly leave work at work right now, given the severely limited deadlines.

Thursday is the day when my workweek finally spots land in sight. I feel a sense of relief. Friday is the day to wrap things up, tie the boat to the dock, and get ready to refuel for the following week. Thursday is the day that gives me that last boost of adrenaline to keep rowing the last leg to shore. Thursday is the day when I feel motivated to finish as much as possible so that Monday will somehow feel lighter.

Today is Thursday, and today I will get so much done. I like my hair, I like my whole house, I like my pajamas, I can do anything good, I can do anything good...


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