Monday, March 14, 2016

Radio Silence Broken

Happy Monday everyone!  I know, I know...who thinks a Monday is happy?  Maybe I should say, "Happy March 14!"  There's nothing special about March 14th you say?  Possibly so, but it's the day my brain is twirling and decided to sign on and put it down in words for you.

My last post was on October 21, 2015, and only days after my regular, full time position had been eliminated from a company that I had initially started working for almost 20 years earlier.  The word I used at the time to express my feelings was panic.  Totally appropriate panic.  At that time I had every intention of documenting my experience here, but feelings changed often and fast and I didn't really know how I wanted to express them.  I didn't know how much I really wanted people to know.

Prior to losing my job, I had been going to a chiropractor regularly for treatment of a bulging disc in my lower back.  By the end of the first week off, I could barely walk.  My injury escalated quickly and I soon couldn't drive.  I had troubles with getting into doctors and getting prescriptions filled.  Luckily, Josh still worked for the company I had been let go from and they allowed me to get on his insurance as a domestic partner.  I still experienced trouble though with long waits to get appointments.  Eventually I did get into a pain specialist and received two steroid injections and some physical therapy.

I went 3 months without working.  About 2 months in I wrote a friend who works in a tax office and asked if they were going to be hiring any additional seasonal help for tax season.  I wrote this message on the Friday before Christmas.  On Monday before Christmas I was called in to meet with her boss and I was offered the job.  I still wouldn't start work for another month, but it was nice to go into the Christmas and New Years holidays knowing that I had future work coming.

Having the steroid injections and physical therapy along with getting out of the house to work really helped my back.  It still gets tired and sore by the end of the day, but I wake up every morning functional and fairly flexible.  I can now stretch my whole body without shouting out in fact stretching feels good again.

It has now been 5 months (WOW!  I really hadn't realized that number till just now) since I lost my job and to be honest, I've ran the gamut of emotions.  Mostly I've been okay with it.  I had been worried about downsizing prior to it happening.  Not necessarily just to me, but even to my whole department so I had already starting thinking of back up plans.  This made the situation easier at times.  I was already in the habit of thinking of alternatives.  However, I was not prepared to put any of them in place, so being forced to make decisions or take action on anyone's terms but my own created occasional feelings of hatred and anger.  Some necessary changes in life style also fostered this emotion.

There is only a little over a month left of tax season, so I need to get serious again thinking about what is next.  The thought process hadn't ever stopped, but it did slow down enough for me to fully engage myself in the temporary position that I currently hold.

I am contemplating several ideas which I am ready to write about as I continue to research and pursue new opportunities.  There are two educational options that I am interested in.  It's a possibility that one or both of them could become a reality.  It is also possible that I may go in a totally different direction all together.

On the Stanley/Williamson household front...we've experienced change.  We think a little differently on our entertainment choices.  With me not being very functional in the beginning due to my back issues, the dynamic around the house has changed.  Some changes were only temporary and went back to normal as my injury healed and I became more capable.  Other changes have stuck and created compromise and different ways of sharing responsibilities.

Rizzoli has also experienced great change.  She went from having normal alone time with cuddle time with mommy and daddy on the weekends to having almost 24/7 cuddle time with mommy for 3 months and then still greater than part time cuddling for the past 2 months.  She also has had to adapt to new furniture and rooms in the house being rearranged.  Still, she is as lovable and cuddly as ever.

Our bathroom remodel did happen as scheduled and it has been soooo nice to have a bathroom that I am not embarrassed by and that the door can stay open.  I don't have to worry about Rizzoli going in and getting into dust and tiles falling onto the floor.

I hope to be posting more regularly now that the shock and panic has worn off, that I've gotten back into the working world even if my current position is only temporary, and that I have new thoughts and exciting ideas running through my head.

We can plan life out all we want.  We will do what we can to shape it into what we want it to be.  In the end, outside forces will try to propel our paths into alternative directions and we will adapt the best if we are open and flexible to what new things can lay ahead.  My new life/journey is just beginning.  I am experiencing the start of my 2nd Act.  With as much as I've learned about myself in the past couple of years and months, I am greatly looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When Your Life Changes

When I started this post, its title was "Dreams" and here is what I had written:

To be honest, as I'm starting, I don't really know where this post might lead to.  I apologize in advance if it appears as just the ramblings of some flighty dreamer.

I've mentioned before that I have lots of interests.  Having so many interests causes me to dream of other ways to be making a living.  Of course in my dreams, these other ways always seem to be more profitable than what I'm currently doing which certainly wouldn't be the case for a lot of them.  For instance, one thing that is very important to me is the advocacy for respect of ALL people.  To have a career with this as the main function, I believe it would most likely fall under social work and we all know that makes no one rich. 

But a dream is just that...a dream.  When hearing that, some people might take me to be saying that a dream being just a dream means that it isn't a viable career option and that isn't it at all.  I just mean that while it is a conception in our head, we can make it have all the desirable aspects we want it to have.

One of my interests for the past couple of years has been fitness.  In the beginning when I was doing a lot of reading and research on the topic, I ran across the word "intrinsic". If you are doing something that is intrinsic, you are doing something that comes natural to you.  It takes no force, effort, or outward reward to get you to do it.  For some people, working out is intrinsic.  Their body naturally craves it.  This does not mean that the workout itself takes no effort; on the contrary, it may take all the effort they can muster.  When we say no effort we are talking about to actually attempt the action.  Although there is the obvious reward of good health, positive self esteem, a good nights sleep, a person who finds working out an intrinsic activity does not need to be told, "If you workout every night this week, you can eat the birthday cake this weekend."

Although I learned about the idea of something being intrinsic through fitness, it applies to everything.  I've heard it be said that you know you love what you do for a living if you don't think of it as "going to work" but as in going to do your hobby.  If you would continue to do what you do for a living with out getting paid, your career is intrinsic to you.  

I had paused here for a couple of days to contemplate what I was going to say next...

And then I got laid off.  My position at my full time job was eliminated.

If you have ever heard those words, "your position has been eliminated," you know that feeling of pure and utter shock.  One of those moments when you think, "Did I just hear that right?" or "Is this really happening to ME?"  The feeling that your floor just really fell right out from underneath you.

If you have not experienced this, let me prepare you.  Panic.  That is what you feel.  Panic.  Especially when it happens on a Friday and you have a very necessary bathroom remodel starting on Monday.

It's only been 3 work days since it happened.  On Friday before it happened, I was frustrated because I had been setting some goals for saving money and while I'm a planner and list maker, saving money doesn't work that way.  When I set a goal, I totally enjoy working towards that goal while marking things off my list.  Or doing something every day to advance that goal. When your goal is to save money, you actually do the exact opposite.  You do NOTHING every day!  At least that is what it feels like.  Everything costs money.  When you are trying to save, you make a list of your bills, you make a list of the money you have coming in, you write a budget, and then you sit tight until its time to pay bills.  That is all you do when saving money...nothing and pay bills.

So, now I have a new fear.  And honestly its the fear of the unknown.  Maybe things won't change much in the end.  Again, it is only 3 days in.  I have no idea what is to come.  Decisions need to be made.

One thing is for sure, I have some very interesting times ahead.  And, I guess its time to really think about those dreams.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Slutty Brownies - Don't Judge Me!

Josh and I had a very productive day today.

As usual, the Saturday started with Josh making us a breakfast of bacon and eggs while I cuddled with my coffee, kitty, and kindle.  This is usually how I would have liked to spend the whole weekend, but there were things that needed to get done.

I've been putting off getting MUCH needed tires so after breakfast I went and got the back ones replaced.  The front ones need it too, but I wasn't sure how much I was going to be spending so we went with the ones that were an immediate need.  I will get the other two replaced before the weather gets bad.

Back when we got our new tv and had our DVR replaced, we also had to upgrade our internet modem.  We  had gotten it in the mail a couple of months ago, but I LIVE on the internet at home and was nervous about switching them out and causing problems with an internet service that was working so well so far.  But, we've started getting emails and phone calls saying that we MUST hook up our new modem because very soon the old one was going to be incompatible with the service.  So, I hooked that up.  It didn't go as smooth as I would like but it is hooked up and working now and we've gotten almost all of our devices hooked up to the new wireless gateway.

I try to follow a pretty paleo/whole 30 lifestyle for the most part.  For those not familiar with the lifestyle it is grain and sugar free (this is a VERY basic explanation and not even close to a full one...but these are the two aspects that I personally try to avoid).  However, occasionally there are indulgences (I've had quite a few lately unfortunately and need to get back on track).

I'm sure that everyone has seen the video of the recipe for Slutty Brownies going around.  I've also seen them called Better Than Sex Brownies.  Well, these look like something that Josh would absolutely LOVE and he has been working so hard around the house with my back being bad, the normal things he would typically do, and then also helping his parents with some remodeling of their house so I decided that I wanted to make these for him.  Oh my goodness!  They turned out so well and I am a super hero this evening.

They are super easy to make:

First you spread chocolate chip cookie dough in the bottom of a greased pan and then on top of that put a layer of Oreo cookies.  I just used the pre-made dough of chocolate chip cookies.

Then you make a brownie mix and pour it on top of the Oreos and chocolate chip cookies.  I think that you are supposed to use an ultra chocolaty brownie mix, but I just went with a milk chocolate one because this was already going to be too much chocolate for me.

A friend of mine had already made these and said they were very rich and some ice cream probably would have helped with that.  Well, who am I to say no to ice cream  :)  That is usually our dessert of choice for the weekend.

So, the slutty brownies were a big hit.

Josh also spent his day taking care of business.  First he went and got new filters for the furnace.  He mowed the lawn and took care of some out of control foliage in the backyard.  Rizzoli has been sitting in the windows in the backside of the house watching him.  I'm sure she is loving the sun coming in.  Josh came in the house just a bit ago and she went kind of nuts.  She started smelling his pant legs and then started batting at them.  He kind of shook her off and went to the fridge to get a glass of water.  Rizzoli followed him, sniffing at his legs and then started biting his pant legs.  He definitely smelled like trees to me.  But where he was cutting we often see bunnies out there.  I wonder if he got some bunny scent on him that she was smelling.  At any rate, I've never seen her act that way.

Josh is finishing picking up what he cut down and then is going to be putting steaks on the grill.  Don't know how much more time we are going to have to be grilling out.  Of course almost the middle of October you would say probably not very much longer, but with the weather as it has been, you really just can't say. 

This is how we ended our day.  A good meal (on our fine china), great dessert, cuddled up in blankets and watching How To Get Away With Murder & The Bastard Executioner.

Oh...and poor Rizzoli.  She didn't get a lot of cuddles and loving today.  Josh realized that what she was trying to get off his pants by biting at them was a purple berry of some kind off the tree.  Not knowing what it was, we didn't want her to continue getting it in her mouth.  So when she tried to sit on Josh's lap while he was eating, he shooed her away.  She seemed to get her feelings hurt. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


You know, the trendy new way to say being responsible.

I know it has been a couple of weeks since I posted.  It's because I've been adulting.  Okay, more having adulting thoughts with some adulting action.

My brain has been full with adulting thoughts and let me tell you, it's exhausting.

Because I was so overwhelmed with these thoughts, I had no idea what I wanted to blog about.  I still don't, but felt I needed to get a post out. are some topics and thoughts in general that have consumed me.  (Not all of them because I'm keeping some of the more personal or undecided thoughts to myself.)

  • I've seen a lot of aggressiveness towards people who get offended by something in social media.  Isn't this a good thing? Doesn't this mean that people care about something?  And don't we need  more people caring about something?
  • Politics - and not one side.  Everyone seems to think everything is black or white, and in reality, very little is anything but grey.
  • Learning what it is that makes you happier or what would make you happier.
  • Healthcare - the system sucks.
  • Mean people also suck.
  • Why can't I rescue all the needy cats and dogs?
  • Is there a rich family out there that would like to adopt me?  (My parents would be okay with it it at this point as long as you are REALLY rich.  LOL)
Okay, I realize that none of these are things that should consume my brain completely, but this is not the full list.  Miraculously, when I want to think of it all, most escape me.  

Here are some pictures I took while I've been gone.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Some Nerve!

We have noticed something odd about Rizzoli's cuddling habits (besides the fact that she is a cat that loves to cuddle) from the time that she came to live with us.  

She is definitely a momma's girl.  If I am sitting in the living room, she is on my lap.  She will even get off Josh's lap to sit on mine if I enter the room and sit down.  

She, for whatever reason, will rarely cuddle with me in bed.  If I go to bed she hangs out with Josh.  If Josh is also in bed, she will wake me up to let her under the covers and then crawl over to Josh's side of the bed to cuddle with him.

Only seldom does it happen any other way.  Something else we recently noticed was that when I was sleeping on the couch for an extended time due to back issues and acid reflux, she may not always sleep with me on the couch, but she wasn't sleeping with Josh at all.  Until I started sleeping in the bedroom again.  She then started her old habit of cuddling with Josh when I was in bed or had left for work.  

I have always wished she would come cuddle with me in bed, but with the exception of a handful of times, she is a daddy's girl when it comes to night time cuddles in bed.  Which is why, when THIS happens, Josh is in trouble.

Thursday night we had storms.  This always means that Rizzoli will be in the bed regardless of who else is in there.  It does not mean she will always be cuddling someone.  She usually heads straight to the bottom of the bed and sleeps by our feet.  Not this time though.  Every time she woke me up to let her under the covers she snuggled up next to me.

And each and every time, Josh would reach over in his sleep and scoop her away from me to cuddle with him.  And away she would go!  I finally get the bed cuddles that I always want (especially since I'm the one she woke up to let her in) and he poaches her from me!

I don't steal her from him on the off chances she chooses his lap in the living room over night.  I even tell her to go give her daddy some lovin.  But nooooo, Josh has to steal all the bedroom cuddles.  

I will need to think of payback.  (He will think that simply having this blog post written about him is enough payback.)

(He did watch like 4 or 5 hours of One Tree Hill with me last night as I was wrapping up some Netflix binge watching.  I know that was pretty rough on him.  He may have already paid his debt.  I'll have to think about it.)

I have to include this picture simply because I was contemplating cropping it and using it above, but decided I liked the recent photo I took of our date 2 weeks ago.  But this picture always makes me giggle.  It was the first time we were using the camera function on my Kindle Fire.  

Okay, I decided with just including the series because they were pretty damn funny.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bathroom Issues

If you have been reading my blog and are still with me, this may end up being the point where you say, "This girl is just too quirky for me."  (Also, if you have been reading my blog and are still with me, thank you for that!).

As mentioned in the last post, I kind of have some issues when it comes to using the bathroom, mostly in public, but somewhat at home too.  This has been the case for as long as I can remember.  I have what some would call a "shy bladder".  My mom used to say that she didn't know what I would do when it came to getting my first drug test for my first job.  And sure enough, it was a problem.

All I remember about the very first time is that it was difficult.  I don't remember the details which only tells me that it was so traumatic I felt the need to forget it.  Totally black it out from my memory.  The second time I went for an employment drug test my ordeal was so hilarious to me I can't help but remember it.

I showed up like normal and it turned out that the person that was going to be in the room with me while I "went" was the mother of someone I went to high school with.  I don't know if this made it better or worse.  Well, I couldn't go.  I sat there...and sat there...and sat there until finally she suggested that I go out into the lobby and drink some water out of the fountain and then let her know when I was ready.  I did this, but also got a soda out of the machine and chugged that.  I waited in the lobby thinking any minute I should feel like I had to go.  Nope.

I finally asked if I could go home and come back when I needed to use the restroom.  I know this is out of the ordinary for a drug test so I don't know if the reason that they let me do this was because I knew the person administering the test or what but they said that was okay and that it was their lunch time anyway.

Well...I didn't get even half way home and the water and soda HIT ME!!!  And hit me hard. I did a quick u-turn and headed back to the doctor's office.  I took the elevator because my bladder was so full and about to burst that I did not think I could lift my legs for every step.  And the elevator took forever!!!  I got into the doctor's office and the receptionist said that it would be a few minutes till they were back from lunch.  I have visions of my slamming my hand on the counter top in a very excited manner, although that doesn't sound like something I would do.  If I did, the "slamming of the hand" was not out of anger but nervousness that I was about to wet my pants while trying to get approved to start a new job.  Anyway, I told her, "I can not hold it any longer!  I either need to go in here or go out to the restroom in the lobby!"  She took me back, handed me a cup, and at this point it did not matter that she was in the room.  Test taken.

People always joke about how girls go to the bathroom together and gossip.  Not me!  I don't want anyone going to the bathroom with me and I most certainly don't want to gab while I'm in there.  At least not before I go.  This has always been a joke at work about me.  Most everyone knows about my issues.  One of my co-workers left this cartoon on my desk saying it made him think of me.

But actually, this isn't me at all.  You know what would have happened if this was me?  It would be over in the first block.  This is how the conversation would have gone had this been me:

Person in other stall: Hi!  How are you?

I'm dead serious.  I yell this at people when they start to talk to me from another stall.  And it doesn't matter who it is.  My mother once was talking to me while I was in a stall and I started yelling this.  She responded, "BUT I'M YOUR MOTHER!"  You know what my bladder has to say to that?


Once I'm out of the stall, although I'm not really fond of it, I can carry on a conversation if I have to.  But really, what is it about these mini rooms inside bigger rooms that make people feel like it is a place to be social?  Is it because we are sitting?  Does it feel like sitting around the table to people?  I really don't get it.

And don't get me started on porta potties!

So, do you think after this you will be sticking with me?  I certainly hope so.  If you've started reading my blog and would like to hear more from me, please feel free to post a comment below.  Tell me about your own quirky bathroom experiences...or anything else you would like to share.  Or just shout out a hello to let me know you are here.  I would love to hear from you!  And, to make sure that you don't miss any future posts, don't forget to click follow up in the right hand corner next to my picture so that you'll get alerts when I've posted.

Hope everyone has an awesome week!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Home Alone

Rizzoli and I were on our own last night.  After a family get together celebrating Josh and my mom's birthday, Josh went to an engagement party. I was also invited, but had decided to stay home. Partially because of my back and partially because it was at someone's house.  I get anxiety thinking of going to other people's houses, even people I'm close to.  This party was at the house of someone I have never met.

I do not not know what has caused this level of anxiety when I think of going to other people's homes.  It could be the way my mom drilled into my head as a kid that while playing in the neighborhood, if I had to go to the bathroom I should come home to do so, but I don't think that is it. I'm using that as the reason I have bathroom issues in public (which is its own blog post all on its own).

It could be because the family of an ex-boyfriend was so horrible to me every time I came over.  True story.  My ex-boyfriend ate dinner at his parents house every night that they were home, despite being in his 30s.  This was a night where his parents had been expected to not be home so I had brought Avanti's gondolas.  I brought enough for the two of us plus some for the next day for my lunch at work.

Right before dinner, his parents called to say they were home.  So the ex said, "Great!  We have gondola.  We'll be right over."  We took both the planned dinner plus my lunch for the next day over to share.  We got there and put the sandwiches in the fridge and hung out in the kitchen waiting for his parents to come in.  After a while his mom came in slamming cabinet doors around and grabbing the salt and pepper and her drink and then went back into their TV room.  Didn't say a word to either of us.

His dad came into the kitchen and said he was going to go get them Taco Bell.  When my ex said something about the food we brought he was told his mother didn't want to eat it.  He went into the TV room to talk to her.  Turned out she was furious because I had not personally asked her to eat the sandwiches.  We ended up leaving so I grabbed the sandwiches from the fridge and we went home.  When we got there, his mother called mad that I had taken the sandwiches with me. Apparently I had given and then taken back, even though the original grievance was that I had not technically "given".  It became a huge fight between me and my ex. (I'm sure at this point you aren't surprised he became an ex.)

It could also be that I still have a picture of "house parties" in my head straight out of my early drinking days.  The college kind where no good comes of them and sometimes police show up.  The house parties I get invited to these days are no where near this kind, but hey, anxiety is not rational. Anyway, I have a very serious fear of getting arrested.  For obvious reasons, but also because of an online publication called the Commitment Report.  I don't know if this exists every where, but in Peoria County, when you get arrested your mugshot and details of your offense are on this report and published everyday at 7am.  And almost everyone I work with looks at this report daily.  So you can't keep an arrest secret.  This has made me a pretty cautious person and I was pretty cautious to begin with.

So, I don't really know what it is that causes me to have anxiety over hanging out at other people's homes, other than I feel like I don't know how to act.  I don't offer to help with anything because what if I do it different.  The decision to take shoes off...ugh....At some houses this is obvious and others don't care.  And then what if I DO have to go to the bathroom? I really do have the bathroom issues mentioned above.

Any way, Josh is pretty understanding that regardless of the reason, more than likely I am not going to attend parties at other people's homes.

Besides family.  Yesterday's birthday party was at my mom's and she has a really small house so parties at her house are usually primarily outsize (but we can use the bathroom indoors).  Of course, the day we decide to hang out at her house we have the coolest day of the summer/fall.  I was really cold sitting at home waiting to leave.  I wore a hoodie and Josh wore long underwear.  Mom had a bonfire going.

Before we left home, I was outside taking these pictures by our front door.

Rizzoli didn't like me being on that side of the door so she was yelling at me from inside.  I was so caught up looking for the spider when it had crawled away that the first time Rizzoli meowed at me I screamed because she was loud and scared me.  It was pretty funny.

Anyway, the reason I tell you this is because my sister is very afraid of spiders.  So, I show her the picture and she has a small freak out.  A little while later she has another small freak out when there is a spider on the front of her shirt.  My mom laughs and says, "My word!  That is the size of a flea," and my sister responds by saying, " I killed it myself!"

This statement caught my dad as particularly funny and he started cracking up laughing.  I didn't get the camera ready in time to get the full on laugh, so here is the end of it.  He was very tickled.  He cried.

As the weekend is coming to a close, my household is mourning the loss of the first Chicago BEARS regular season game which also happened to be our first match up against our biggest rivals, the Green Bay Packers.  Don't ask us what we think of our quarterback.  My feelings for him are similar to my feelings for my ex's mother.