BACKGROUND

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What the Future Holds

In previous postings, I have alluded to the change of direction in my career. I can reveal my plans now since I've told the news in person to people that I wanted to tell face to face. On August 20th, I will be starting classes for my Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. I plan to use the education to open my own therapy practice.

I've always been intrigued by psychology and I've thought about pursuing it over the years, but it wasn't something I put serious effort toward achieving. There were other things I was doing that took my energy. Now is the time to move forward with this and do it. There is a season for everything and this is the season for me to pursue this. I'm really excited about this. It will allow me to have more control over my working life. I will be able to open my own practice or work for someone else if I so choose. It's all about having the choice. I can do without the drama and stress that traditional workplaces bring.

In the past 10 years, I've learned so much about myself and what's important to me, the things that really matter. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to finish college and I did that. Then I wanted to work and pay some of my school debt, and I did that. Along the way, I had some great experiences both personally and professionally. I also had some difficult experiences. They have all come together to make me the person I am today. I am proud of who I've become and I look forward to continuing to learn both academically and personally. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's All Good...Even When It's Not

I've been at my new job for three weeks now and I love it. It's a good job in a nice area of town, the commute is not too difficult, and I can listen to my iPod at work. The things that are not so pleasant about the job are those things we all find in our offices no matter where we live or what we do: difficult co-workers, unfriendly people, office politics...you all know what I mean.

I have noticed these things in my new place of work, but what I've also noticed is how indifferent I am to all of it. I am in my 30s now, have a law degree, and have worked in several different fields. I have learned to focus on what really matters. I can remember my first job out of college and subsequent jobs as I moved on and up the job ladder. I invested so much in those jobs. I cared about the office gossip, I came home at night tearing my hair out over idiot bosses or stupid co-workers. Now...I don't. I don't care about office gossip and I don't come home tearing my hair out over bosses or co-workers who have issues. Now, I let it go and I realize that none of it matters.

This is not to say I'm immune from workplace annoyances, but that is all they are: annoyances. They are no longer the big, draining, all-consuming investment I once made in the workplace goings on. Right now, I am dealing with a difficult co-worker and I vent to friends and family about her, but then I let it go. It doesn't stay with me the rest of the day and into the evening. It gets carried out of my mind on the breezes of love and happiness that make up my life.

It is so easy for us all to fall into the pattern of complaining about the issues and people at work that bother us. This afternoon I made the conscious decision to stop myself when I do fall into the venting. Even though my negative thoughts don't stay with me any longer, the fact that they show up at all means that I need to make a concerted effort to privately acknowledge them when they come to my mind and then let them go without ever giving them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them power.

For the first time in my working life, I realize how unimportant the trials and tribulations of the working world are. I have goals and plans in front of me (my future career plans will soon be revealed here) that I am excited about pursuing. I have so much to look forward to and that is what I focus on during the day. I do my work to the best of my ability, but everything else falls away as I remember that my good thoughts and positive actions may turn that difficult co-worker around, that there is nothing I can add to office gossip that won't be negative and possibly hurtful, and that everyone around me is a teacher to me as I am to them. I hope they learn something good from me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Making Memories

My best friend, Britt, arrived in Houston Wednesday afternoon from Oregon. I met Britt 13 years ago in the dorm at University of Oregon. We connected over gymnastics, cereal, and conversations about nothing…and everything.

I moved to Houston from Oregon in 2002 and we kept in touch via e-mail and phone calls. Unfortunately, after Britt was here for my wedding in July 2005, we didn’t see one another again until April 2007 when she graduated with her Master’s degree. At my wedding, she said it would probably be about two years until we saw one another again. I didn’t think so, but she was right.

It’s my goal now to see her at least twice a year whether she comes here or I go to Oregon. Two years is just too long to go without connecting face to face with my best friend in this world.

Monday morning, I dropped her off at the airport and continued on to work. I cried most of the way. I was so sad to see her go. I know I will see her again, but it’s hard because I so enjoyed spending time with her hanging out, doing nothing, and running around like crazy. No one else understands me quite the way she does.

I’m going to make do with the memories we made while she was here and look forward to our next visit, which WILL NOT be two years from now.

We had such fun this past week that I just can’t see letting a lot of time go by before we can do it again. We went to CafĂ© Adobe, my favorite Mexican restaurant, Lone Star Scrapbooking, Scrapabilities, JoAnne’s, Michael’s, and Walmart’s Scrapbook section…hmm, I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

We had BBQ and went clothes shopping. The highlight of the trip came on Friday though when we headed down to NASA. We spent the day playing with rocket ships, hanging out at Mission Control, and spending lots of money in the gift shop. Mission Control was especially poignant. It was amazing to see the site where so many historical moments took place. We learned that there is more power in our laptops today than were in all the computers in Mission Control back in the day. And yet, they were able to put a man on the moon. Astounding to think about that.

After playing Astronaut, we went to Galveston and stopped to see the brown water on the beach and collect some seashells. We also realized the beauty of pulling your hair back when you’re going to step into the blinding winds.

We then headed to our favorite eatery in Houston: Crescent City Beignets. Ahhhh…nothing like some red beans and rice, and nice, hot beignets to soothe the soul. We headed home after that and spent the evening hanging out and playing on the internet.

On Saturday, we slept in. My dad arrived around 11:30ish and we chatted with him and then headed over to Teacher Heaven, a local teacher supply store. Britt is a newly minted teacher, having received her Master’s in Teaching in April. Of course, as the designated best friend and cheerleader, I have to brag to everyone that she got her Master’s and did it summa cum laude too! Yup, I embarrass her, but I’m so danged proud of her so she’ll just have to live with it. Where was I? Oh yeah, so we scoured the bookshelves at Teacher Heaven and then headed over to Old Town Spring.

Old Town Spring is a bunch of cute little shops in old houses that have been turned into businesses. We hit the toy store and Connie’s Bath Shack. We stopped by the Amish furniture place, which had some BEAUTIFUL pieces. They were getting ready to close so we sat in the back in rocking chairs and just talked about stuff. It was nice to relax.

Saturday night, we headed over to Sizzler’s with my dad. It was crowded as they had just opened a couple of weeks ago. The food and the service was so-so. We plan to try it again in a few weeks when it is, hopefully, more organized.

Sunday found us at Buffalo Wild Wings, where we celebrated Dear Husband’s birthday with his friend Terry and my dad. It was good food, but a lot of fried stuff and left us both stuffed. We had cake and ice cream for Dear Husband’s birthday and then left the restaurant to head over to The 39er, a bargain store similar to the Dollar Store. We looked around and then made our way home where we played on the internet, watched Little Miss Sunshine, and went to bed late.

Monday came too soon and it was a real bummer. As I mentioned above, I was SO sad to see Britt go. I miss her so much already, but I am definitely looking forward to the next trip. Thank you Britt for being you and being my kindred spirit. My life would not be as full or as fun without you in it.

Here’s to great memories made and more to come!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Walled Off

It occurred to me today that in every single job I've ever had since graduating college, I've never had a work area with a window. There was a window in the newsroom I worked in as a reporter, but my desk was the furthest from the window so that doesn't really count. Plus, it was the type of window that could not be opened. My co-workers and I used to joke that they did that so we wouldn't jump to our deaths.

So anyway, this new job I have continues the trend of windowless work spaces. Sometimes, I wonder if I was a phalaenopsis in a previous life. I can't wait until my other career plan finishes cooking because then I will have all the windows I want.

In other news, my best friend Britt, who brings lots of sunshine to my life, is coming to visit me on Wednesday. She is coming all the way from Hillsboro, Oregon, to hang out with me. We're going to visit NASA and we'll do some other things in Houston. We have no concrete plans except to have fun. And we can definitely do that together. We always do. This is the first time we've been together in the last two years that we haven't had something to plan around: a wedding, a graduation. This time, it's just a matter of waking up and saying "What do we want to do today?" I'm SO looking forward to that.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Out of Sorts

I got a new job this week. I started it yesterday and I like it. It's not at all difficult and will allow me to do that "other thing" I am going to do career wise. I promise to reveal all as soon as my plan is done cooking. In the meantime, just know that those of you who are dying to know are the ones I would tell in person and not through the blog because I care about and love you all.

The new job entails reading magazines and marking articles for possible reprints. The company I'm working for is a reprinting company. They reprint articles for every magazine you can think of and they sell reprints to the subjects of the article. Those huge framed posters of magazine covers and articles you see in the offices of attorneys, doctors, and so on...yeah, my company does those.

So the main question everyone is asking me these days is whether or not I am leaving the legal profession for good. The answer to that right now is no. I am still doing a small number of cases. I enjoy doing a few cases here and there, but I do not enjoy it as a full-time gig. The stress and pressure of a heavy docket is not something I care for. I like helping a few individuals as opposed to racing around, keeping straight the cases of 50+ clients. That is not the sort of job environment I want to have.

In any case, things are coming together for me. The new job pays pretty well, I've got my other career path cooking and I am excited about it. Now, I need to get some other things in my life straight such as my weight. I did such a great job of losing 60 pounds and then I gained a bunch of it back. I take small comfort in the fact that this is not unusual from what I've read on the topic. However, I feel so out of sorts because I'm just not feeling like myself at this weight. I also feel sore and tired more than I should at this point.

SO...I am exploring some options of new ways of eating to solve this problem. There are several things out there, beyond the usual weight loss plans we all have heard about. I'm less interested in diets and more interested in learning to eat nutritionally. To that end, I've decided to make it a daily habit to eat fruits and vegetables, drink at least 96 ounces of water, and cut out sodas. I've done those things before so I know I can do it. I just need to continue it. I feel so much better when I'm eating right the majority of the time. Losing weight is always nice, but the feeling of being healthy was better than any of the other benefits.

It will help me to chronicle my progress on healthy eating and exercise in this blog. I'm not going to turn it into one of those food diary blogs and become obsessive like some people do. Instead, I'll just update my progress every week or so. Stay tuned for the progress of week one!