Sweet Child O’ Mine

I’ve been on a brief hiatus. Partly because I’m working on a set of short stories for submission to a contest this fall. Partly because I’ve been nursing a sick puppy, who recently passed away. Between a lot of changes at work and taking time to enjoy my Normand, it’s been a tumultuous few months, but I am using music, writing and friends to help me get through. I’ll post an actual entry sometime, but the other project will likely take precedence since I’ve been able to break through some of my writer’s block.

In the meantime, here are some of the songs from my most recent playlist. Most remind me of Normand.

 

 

“You’ve got your ball
you’ve got your chain
tied to me tight tie me up again
who’s got their claws
in you my friend
Into your heart I’ll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
and sweet you roll
Lost for you I’m so lost for you”

 

 

“And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass”

 

 

“Oh, I thought the world of you
I thought nothing could go wrong
But I was wrong, I was wrong
If you, if you could get by
Trying not to lie
Things wouldn’t be so confused
And I wouldn’t feel so used
But you always really knew
I just want to be with you
And I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?”

 

 

“Don’t leave me high
Don’t leave me dry
Don’t leave me high
Don’t leave me dry

Drying up in conversation
You will be the one who cannot talk
All your insides fall to pieces
You just sit there wishing you could still make love”
“So long ago, I don’t remember when

That’s when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees
I seen the sun comin’ up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste, she always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place
Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight”
“So I’ll start a revolution from my bed

Cause you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside, summertime’s in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out
And so, Sally can wait
She knows it’s too late as we’re walking on by
Her soul slides away
But don’t look back in anger
I heard you say”
“Backbeat, the word was on the street

That the fire in your heart is out
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how
Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall”
“You’re falling back to me
The star that I can see
I know you’re out there somewhere out there
You’re falling out of reach
Defying gravity
I know you’re out there
Somewhere out there

You’re falling back to me
The star that I can see
I know you’re out there”

“And it’s been awhile
Since I could say
That I wasn’t addicted
It’s been awhile
Since I could say
I loved myself as well
And it’s been awhile
Since I’ve gone and
Fucked things up
Just like I always do
And it’s been awhile
But all that shit
Seems to disappear
When I’m with you”
“Here’s a toast

To all those who hear me all too well
Here’s to the nights
We felt alive
Here’s to the tears
You knew you’d cry
Here’s to goodbye
Tomorrow’s gonna come too soon”
“Moving forward using all my breath

Making love to you was never second best
I saw the world crashing all around your face
Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time
There’s nothing you and I won’t do
I’ll stop the world and melt with you”
“i try to remember a kiss
and i only get sorrow
and yesterday’s faded away
now there’s only tomorrow
and everything passes and changes
and comes to an end i know
but nothing is written but old news
again and again
i know that it’s true
there’s too many tears
but angels don’t cry”
“I miss you, I miss you

I miss you I miss you
Where are you?
And I’m so sorry
I cannot sleep I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always”
“She’s got a smile it seems to me

Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I’d stare too long
I’d probably break down and cry
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o’ mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine”
“But the space between where you’re smilin’ high
Is where you’ll find me if I get to go
The space between the bullets in our firefight
Is where I’ll be hiding, waiting for you

The rain that falls splash in your heart
Ran like sadness down the window into your room
The space between our wicked lies
Is where we hope to keep safe from pain

Take my hand ’cause we’re walking out of here
Oh, right out of here, love is all we need, dear”

Breathing Underwater

I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.
-Rumi

I got a lot done last week, learned some things at work and saw a different side to a friend (both good and bad). I also managed to work out almost every day, which is helping me sleep a lot better at night. Oh, and I’m trying to get down another pant size before September so I can get back into my favorite shorts before my Hawaii trip. That and be healthier in general. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like the last year or so it has become so much harder to lose weight. Maybe it’s my metabolism slowing down, but for the same workouts and lower calorie foods, I don’t lose weight as fast. Just means I have to work a little harder at it. It also doesn’t help that my neighborhood is not very runner-friendly, or else I’d be doing that every night. I think my next move will have to be to somewhere I can run from my house in a neighborhood or on a trail. I miss running in the mornings or right before sunset, like I used to in Atlanta. It became so much easier when it was part of my daily routine and I felt much happier with my body. But I do have my stair-climber/elliptical, which helps me remove excuses. Hard to ignore it when it’s literally right next to my bed. I’m going to try to add some weight training this week to mix it up.

I also realize that part of my journey is also appreciating my body as it is, but that’s always going to be something I struggle with. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. I do like my hair growing out again. It’s strange, but I’ve always felt “stronger” when I have my long hair. Same with wearing flame red. One of my old friends and I had a whole conversation about our “empowering rituals.” Those small things that you do or wear that bring you a sense of personal strength. For me, when I walk into the big meetings wearing a sharp red blouse, my black pumps and thick mascara, I feel pretty powerful. And feeling it is half the battle, right? It also helps that working out a smidge makes my clothes fit better. Aside from feeling good for myself, it’s also fun to watch guys I work with (I work with a lot of them) do a double-take versus a few months ago when I was essentially invisible. Definitely an entertaining perk. I can’t say that I always like myself, but I’m making an effort to be more forgiving towards myself, which makes it easier to like myself more often. Finding that balance between pushing myself to be better and taking a breath to enjoy what I’ve been able to do is key. I spend a lot of time loving and accepting other people, so I’m working on doing the same for myself, even if it takes time.

“You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life

Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day
No two are the same”

“Something like flying
Hard to describe it
My God, I’m breathing underwater
Something like freedom, freedom
My God, I’m breathing underwater

Every moon and every star
Knows who you are, you know
So ever if gets too dark
You never are alone”

“I don’t know why I’m scared
I’ve been here before
Every feeling, every word
I’ve imagined it all
You’ll never know if you never try
To forget your past and simply be mine

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
I promise I’m worthy
To hold in your arms
So come on and give me the chance
To prove I am the one who can walk that mile
Until the end starts

Delightful Silence

An old friend came to visit me this weekend, which was pretty awesome. It’s been great to get to catch up on about five years’ worth of stories and revelations. I also spent the last week collaborating with some good people at work, which was also a plus. I got good feedback from my new boss and I feel optimistic about my work. I have a busy June planned, but it will be a good one. I have baseball games with friends and other fun things coming up soon, including a play opening that was written by a friend from high school. I was able to go out with friends last week to see Wonder Woman. The movie and company were both good. I was able to mix friend groups–an old friend from grad school with my more recent friends from work and there was no George Costanza crisis of identity. All went well. It was satisfying on a deeper level to know that my efforts to become a less fragmented person may be paying off. My old friends and new ones seem to be seeing the same person and they think that person is still fun despite my hermetic tendencies.

The common theme this last week was working or relaxing with friends in a kind of comforting silence. At work, I had to do some menial labeling of samples and got help from a friend. It was a quiet hour or so working on it and it was kind of delightful. There were a few jokes here and there but it was mostly a good kind of quiet. I also got to spend some down time with my visiting friend at home, where there were also some lovely silences. I did enjoy our chats, too, but I realize now more than ever that some of my favorite moments with people I’m close to are those that are the non-speaking moments that fill the gaps between conversations. The looks and smiles. Those times when you don’t even have to say anything. You just know what they mean. Comforting.

This month I will get to visit with family more and see my new nephew. I can’t wait.

“I want you
To know me
To need me
Smile when I call your name

I want you
To never
Look at
Anyone else this way

So strange
This something
We have between us
And it’s not fair
If you’ve never
Loved this way”

“I am not the only traveler
Who has not repaid his debt
I’ve been searching for a trail to follow again
Take me back to the night we met

And then I can tell myself
What the hell I’m supposed to do
And then I can tell myself
Not to ride along with you
I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you
Oh, take me back to the night we met”
But I miss you
But there’s comin’ home
There’s no comin’ home
With a name like mine
I still think of you
But everyone knows
Yeah everyone knows
If you care, let it go
I’ve seen more places than I can name
And over time they all start to look the same
But it ain’t that truth we chase
No, it’s the promise of a better place

The Background

Last week was a strange one. I had an embarrassing interaction with a coworker/friend wherein I invited them to a movie and they brought a date. Another coworker was fired and basically disappeared from our office. I was able to go to movies with friends that made it more enjoyable. And I was able to go to our work’s baseball game to see The Dash. It was a nice day to be able to be outside. I was able to see both King Arthur and Alien Covenant in one week. Both were not what I expected but were entertaining.

That has become a running theme for my life these days–never what I expect or assume but entertaining. I continue to have less than good luck with the opposite sex but I think it gets easier to recover each time it happens. The turn-around time gets shorter, even though it always starts off feeling like I’ve been sucker punched. I suppose that as long as I am interested in human beings, I should expect them to be fickle and idiosyncratic. Not everyone is as comfortable with themselves as I am and I have to keep reminding myself of that. “I yam who I yam” and all. Open to new people, but definitely not holding my breath.

I also struggle with cynicism. Well, depending on the day, I thoroughly enjoy my cynicism. I want to like and trust people, but there’s always something. Always some missed communication, some reason not to trust, some reason to hold myself back. I have had to learn when to conserve my energy when it comes to my investing in people. Not a bad thing, per se, just not how I ideally would like to function. But realistically, that’s how it goes.

Ana, one of my best friends from grad school, is coming to visit next weekend, which I am super excited about. She’s one of the people that has seen me at my worst (grad school is like that) and still manages to keep in touch. We have about four years of life to catch up on over wine. I have missed her and her perspective, so I know it will be a good time. I have been generally nostalgic this weekend during my cleaning frenzy, especially with my musical selections.

I rarely like to look back, but sometimes it does help us remember how far we’ve come.

“And I would never lie to you no
I would never lie to you no
I felt you long after we were through, we were through
The plans I make still have you in them
Cause you come swimming into view
And I’m hanging on your words
Like I always used to do
The words they use so lightly
I only feel for you
I only know because I carry you around
In the background”

“I’ve never felt alone
‘Till I met you
I’m all right on my own
And then I met you
And I’d know what to do if I just knew what’s coming
I would change myself if I could
I’d walk with my people if I could find them
And I’d say that I’m sorry to you
I’m sorry to you
And I don’t want to call you
But then I want to call you ’cause I don’t want to crush you
But I feel like crushing you”

 

Sooner or Later

I actually got out of the house last week quite a bit, so of course I spent the weekend relatively reclusive, save for a trip to the park with the dogs. I went out with friends from work on Friday for dinner, drinks, and a movie. It was a lot of fun, despite keeping me out past my bedtime (which is like 9:30pm).

I know I haven’t been writing my normal heart-wrenching updates full of meaning and intention. It’s not that I’m not thinking those things still, just that in the light of my gratefulness, many of those thoughts become tempered and softer. I enjoy my job and my coworkers, even when it has been slow making friends. For some reason, I always forget that other people need a lot more time than me to decide if they like people (me) or not. I can usually get a “feel” for people within a few minutes to hours of spending time with them. Now, wait, you say, shouldn’t we take longer when getting to know new people? Aren’t you making assumptions by assessing them too quickly?

I don’t like to think of it as making assumptions. I tend to read people pretty quickly and it has always served me well. In the same vein, despite my ability to read people quickly, I often have blind spots depending on the person. I read people, trust quickly, and then forget to re-read those people, meaning that I dole out trust at times to people who no longer have the best intentions. I like to romanticize this flaw of mine, telling myself that it is always better to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sure, it means I get burned now and then. But I feel that it is an important part of my brand of authenticity.

A candid talk with a friend at work was helpful today. For back story, in our succession planning, my bosses have been asking about what I want for my future–a managerial track or a technical track. Each has pros and cons, of course, which I’ve spent weeks going back and forth over. Meticulously writing lists and playing out possible scenarios in my head. I had a conference call this morning with several coworkers (one here and two in a remote location) that went pretty well. After the call was over, I hung up the phone and almost immediately flew into a frenzy of self-doubt about how “useful” and “efficient” the meeting had been. Reading over my notes quickly. Had everyone gotten what they needed? Did I do things the best way? Had everyone felt heard and appreciated? Did I go into enough detail? Or too much? Did I waste their time?

STOP IT. I know what you’re doing.” I looked up from my notes at my remaining colleague, a bit shocked by the tone of his statement. “You don’t need to doubt yourself so much. It was a great meeting and you’re doing what we should have been doing a long time ago. People appreciate that you care so much, but you gotta give it a break sometimes. For your own sake.” He looked over the edge of his laptop at me, smiled, and then went back to typing an email.

I was grateful that someone had broken me out of my mental spiral of self-questioning. Laughing, I shared my recent frustration with him at having to choose a track and that I was struggling between the ability to be at the bench doing science and being able to lead teams and make a bigger impact. He smirked and admitted that he also had that struggle, but that at least I’d had more opportunities to flex my leadership muscles in my team, which is true. I was grateful for the vent session and also for the wake up call that I had been grappling with a “first world problem” in the presence of someone that hadn’t really had the same advantages. “We both live in the future, so just be open to whatever it brings.” A completely whimsical statement came from a painfully analytical personality and that was comforting to me.

I have no doubt that my job will only get more complicated and trickier as I get deeper into a job role that is both exciting and nebulous, but I know I can do it. I think that every job is really about the people. Cool science is always a perk, but the people make it or break it. Though I don’t know a ton of people yet (or rather they don’t know me well enough yet), I think that I can win them over. And some I won’t. And that’s okay, too. I’m just excited to make some memories. And be around people that remind me to stop and take a deep breath once in awhile.

“Blinded by the glare
I was moving like I didn’t care
But it was more than I could bear
You know I hoped I’d see you there

Staring out the window
I could see into the soul of every passer by
So many lives
So many pairs of eyes

A pure feeling
I’m invisible and magical
If only for a moment
A pure feeling
I’m scared to control it”

“Now I’m flying and everything feels so free
Take me higher, take me
Now I’m flying, and with these broken wings, take me higher
Be free”

“Sooner or later, I swear we’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it,
Sooner or later, I swear we’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it
Milk and honey ’til we get our fill
I’ll keep chasing it, I always will
Sooner or later, I swear
We’ll make it there
Sooner than later, sooner or later

The fear inside, the hills we’ve climbed
The tears this side of heaven,
All these dreams inside of me
I swear we’re gonna get there”

Halfway, Kentucky

I made it out to Kentucky last week for a few days to meet with some colleagues there working on some fancy projects. It was a good trip, and, though I missed my dogs, I am glad I went out. It was a refreshing trip and, though it was for work, I was able to get in some sight-seeing via taking the scenic route through the mountains of NC and TN. Somehow, no matter where I’m at mentally and emotionally, driving through the mountains with the windows down and the radio on always does something for me spiritually. I especially enjoyed some of the sights. I got to see beautiful farmland and rolling hills on my drive, accompanied by the occasional nuclear tower (or NUKE-YOO-ler if you prefer).


I also enjoyed some of the town names, such as Half Way, KY. Once I made it to Owensboro, I was treated to some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. I also learned that the preferred meat for BBQ in Kentucky is mutton. Different, but delicious! They take their BBQ seriously. As well as their banana pudding.



I like my new job, so this trip was enjoyable and not really a needed “break” from the office. More of a meet and greet since I’m new. For the first time in a long time, I am excited to go to work in the mornings and I feel like I can make a positive impact again. My previous job had started that way and gradually changed as my managers changed–this has a huge impact. I went from being able to work independently with a manager that trusted me to working for someone who barely trusted himself, much less any of his reports. This made work infinitely less enjoyable. Being trusted is a huge deal, and I am hoping to continue building relationships at my new job so I can continue being trusted. Not having it makes you appreciate it even more when you’re back in a situation where you are trusted again. It’s exciting, and I definitely work best when I’m not being micromanaged. They also are investing in my development via training and getting my project management certification. Maybe even an MBA in future if I am so inclined.

I haven’t been posting as much, but it’s mostly because I’ve been working on getting my house organized and I’ve actually been enjoying it. The garage is able to contain my car now! Not just boxes! And I’ve been doing some gardening. Mostly container plants so I can take them with me next time I move. My muscadines are filling out nicely and seem to be enjoying running their tendrils over the rough back fence. My peony is going to bloom anytime soon, which is fantastic–I love the giant, bright fuchsia flowers of the Karl Rosenfield. In the future, I’d love to get some darker red varieties and some yellow ones. I also re-potted all of my succulents to give them new dirt. Love the pale green of those. So visually soothing.

I have lost about 10-15 pounds in the last few weeks, as well. It’s slow going, but I’m trying to take better care of myself. Mostly because last year was kind of a shit show for my emotional health which always makes me stress eat and gain weight. It also helps to be back in warmer weather since I am more motivated to get out when it’s not always icy. After a few months now, I know even more than ever that I made the right choice to start this new adventure. For myself and for the dogs. They love it here, too. The city is quirky and I’m still learning about the area, but everyone has been very friendly and helpful. I have met more interesting people in the past few months through work and made some new friends.

My most common emotion these days is grateful. I have a job I enjoy and I’m closer to family now. I have a new nephew as of last week. I have planned time to catch up with old friends I haven’t seen in years. I am taking a vacation this year for the first time in a long time. I also will get to travel to some interesting places for work and continue learning. Maybe after some time I’ll even contemplate dating again. Crazy, I know!

“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees
I never married but Ohio don’t remember me

I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
I never thought about love when I thought about home
I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
The floors are falling out from everybody I know”

“Well I want you as you are
Not some collapsing star
I’ll wait I’ll wait for good
What else can I do

I don’t want you as a ghost
I don’t want you as a fading light
I don’t want to be the weight you carry
I just want to be the man you come home to every night”

“Well I looked my demons in the eyes
Lay bare my chest
Said do your best
To destroy me

See I’ve been to hell and back
So many times
I must admit
You kinda bore me”

 

A Million Reasons

I really should update more than once a month, but really, life happens. And a lot has been happening this past month. I’ve lost over ten pounds by eating better and doing more.  I managed to successfully sell my house in Maine without too much trouble, though I took a bit of a loss on it. Frankly, I wanted to be done with it since the winter has continued into April up there and I was getting tired of paying for the maintenance on it for snow plowing. Having that done is a bit of a relief. I feel like I can focus more on my new NC life now with that piece completed. Here are some winners from Maine Memes:


I also moved my site to its own host. WordPress is great, but they limit a lot of the designs and features when you’re using their hosting. I also spent the last few weekends building bookcases and a desk so I could finish emptying out some of the boxes in my garage. I managed to get all of my books unpacked along with electronics and other debris from the past. Needless to say, I have filled several boxes to take to donate.

I’ve been making an effort to be more social, which is challenging for me. I have been to several movie nights with friends from work, went out to see a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game in Raleigh and even helped one of them pack for their upcoming move. Luckily, I had plenty of boxes and paper left over from my move, so I was able to recycle them by giving them to her to use.

In other news, I booked a trip to Hawaii with Dad for us to go see Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. It will be my first real vacation in quite awhile, so I’m very excited! I have a picture of Kauai on my desk (next to my dogs) as my work inspiration. I’d like to think that if I were any of the islands, I’d be Kauai, based on what I’ve read.  It is also the home of many film locations (Jurassic Park) and lots of wilderness, which I dig. I am also excited to see the volcanoes and observatory on the Big Island, another one of my obsessions. Here are some of my favorite wallpapers.

wallup.net

www.richard-seaman.com

wallup.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work is good and I’m learning a lot. I am glad for the change and looking forward to new challenges and making new friends. I’m also excited to meet my cousin’s new baby coming soon! April should be exciting!

“Found my heart and broke it here
Made friends and lost them through the years
And I’ve not seen the roaring fields in so long, I know I’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at ninety down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill”

My Own Light

Recently, I decided to get a Fitbit and start tracking my steps. This also synced with my work’s health program, so I saw it as a double perk–I’d be able to quantify my steps AND have it count towards points and rewards. I thought that it was a great way to get motivated, and, initially, I was right. I started walking 8,000 steps a day and gradually worked up to 10k. I found myself getting a mini-high as soon as my little Fitbit buzzed to let me know I’d met the next step goal. I would salivate and awkwardly walk in manic circles in my cube to finish off the next goal. I would check my progress on my phone and laptop constantly, the task almost becoming a reflex every few minutes. I had also been doing this with Facebook, as it served as my main social connection to lots of people and interesting news.

Then, one night I realized that I’d gotten home, fed the dogs, and spent the next 45 minutes pacing and switching back and forth between my step counter and Facebook. I hadn’t played with the dogs. I hadn’t gotten dinner. I hadn’t started my laundry or emptied another box to get closer to completing my unpacking. I hadn’t even noticed the time going by. I lost 45 minutes and hadn’t even noticed. I stopped and looked down at my dog beasts, both of whom had patiently sat down on their pillows watching me with great concern. They sighed and looked at me with big, sad eyes.

I had a small epiphany. I have felt stressed lately without really understanding why–I finished moving and I am enjoy my new job and my new coworkers. But I still felt panicky at the end of the day. My chest was always tight and sometimes I’d get heart palpitations, all well-known prequels to a panic attack (I have those once in a while). I realized as I stood there, desperately clutching my phone, that I had gotten lost in comparing my steps with friends. And constantly comparing myself with people on FB. So many of my friends have kids now and others are out conquering the world in science and the arts, making my successes pale in comparison. So, on top of my anxieties from a constant stream of stressful news stories being injected into my eyeballs every five seconds, I had added anxiety from constantly wanting to match my step-measuring buddies.

I realized that I’d taken a walk around our campus at work on a beautiful day and all I could remember was how many steps I’d done. Not the birds I saw. Not the other people out walking. Not the newly budding trees moving in the wind. Not the lovely symmetry of the long line of oak trees along the boulevard.  Not the way the sun hit the stones in the cemetery across the road, making beautiful tapestries of shadows on the hill behind. All the things I’d previously delighted in observing were now obscured by my obsession with counting and quantifying how much I’d done. How many steps. How many steps. Gotta catch em all. I’d forgotten how to enjoy my walk.

I think that the step trackers work well for a lot of people, but I decided, in that moment, that my addictions both to being constantly connected (FB) and to quantifying (obsessive step-counting) were too much. I needed to disconnect to reconnect, so to speak. I thought about how much time I could get back by removing some of the noise from my daily life. Time to work on writing I’ve been desperate to get back to. Time to spend with my dogs and  friends. Time to finally unpack and get my house in order. Time to focus on getting healthier while still being able to enjoy, truly enjoy a walk in the park. Being aware and present so I can focus on all the blessings in my life. That is what I desire most.

I think technology is ultimately a good thing, but I am disconnecting from FB and social media for a while (other than this blog). I still check the news once or twice a day via the interwebs, but I’ve turned off all notifications on my phone and uninstalled most apps. Suddenly, I can breathe again. I can focus. Just since Tuesday, my last day on FB and Fitbit, I’ve spent more time with the dogs, more time enjoying my walks and more time connecting with friends. I’ve also managed to unpack more boxes and finish my taxes. Most importantly, I have slept better. I no longer have a knot in my chest throughout the day. No more pacing or forgetting dinner. More music. More love. Less noise.

This isn’t to say I won’t try it again sometime. Or that I’ll be off FB indefinitely. But, in future, I will use it with intention and not as a time-killer. Cause we don’t get much of that on this big rock, so we gotta be thoughtful about our souls’ investments.

As I write this, I’m sitting on my back patio watching the willow tree fronds rise and fall in the crisp breeze, dogs all akimbo in my lap and I’m happy. This is it.

 

“Yes I be speaking my peace up in my seventies
Ain’t worry bout ya threatening me, I’m just being honest
I ain’t buying fear just because it’s all you got left
We just want to make love ’til we wake up
I believe whoever made us envisioned greatness
And you know they want to paint us with the same brush
Wanna enterchain us ’til we fill our grave up
Alright okay but when it’s all said and it’s all done
And I look back at the trophies I won
I will only count one
I’m using my heart for what hearts are for

“You’re the only one that I want
I wanna be around
I wanna be around you girl
I wanna be around
Ooh I wanna be around”

“I know it’s hard
Only you and I
Is it all for me?
Because I know it’s all for you
And I guess, I guess
It is only, you are the only thing I’ve ever truly known
So, I hesitate, if I can act the same for you
And my darlin’, I’ll be rooting for you
And my darlin’, I’ll be rooting for you

“Love, what did you do to me?
My only hope is to let life stretch out before me
And break me on this lonely road
I’m made of many things, but I’m not what you are made of

Only now do I see the big picture
But I swear that these scars are fine
Only you could’ve hurt me in this perfect way tonight
I might be blind, but you’ve told me the difference
Between mistakes and what you just meant for me”

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Soooo…in the past few weeks, there’s been a flurry of activity in my life, some of it stressful, but most of it good. I have only recently been able to slow down a bit, rest and reflect on all the past few months. Here are just a few of those events/realizations.

I learned to steel myself against unhelpful criticism and find my value. My previous job was in an industry that I knew about and I’d been there long enough to feel comfortable. After some re-orgs, I wasn’t necessarily appreciated as much by my new chain of command, mostly due to their newness to my job function. Despite multiple conversations where I voiced my desire to make changes or improve myself or processes, I met with a great deal of resistance and sometimes even avoidance. I gave it time, thinking that they’d come around. Well, sometimes they don’t. And, despite my eternal optimism about people, I had to admit to myself that the only thing I could change was myself. In talking with others and getting feedback, I realized that I wasn’t just overreacting–I wasn’t being heard. So, what next? I thought. What do I have to offer? It’s a scary question to have to think through, but it is a valuable one. In revamping my résumé, I had a chance to see what new skills I’d learned and how I had grown. With a strong network of friends and family, I was able to recognize where I needed work still and, at the same time, how much I’d accomplished in the last four years.

I had to figure out how to go confidently into job interviews in entirely new industries where I know nothing. Along with the self-examination that had to happen, I was immediately terrified about having to go “out there” and knew that my next steps would involve a huge investment in social niceties and public speaking. Those are not my strong suit, but I can make it work when I need to. The previous step was necessary before I slung myself head first into the world of job applications, awkward phone screenings and talking myself up (again, something I don’t like doing). I prefer to be out of the spotlight, quietly providing massive support and strategy for my teams from backstage. When in the “hot seat” I am most effective when arguing on the behalf of others, but sometimes struggle when I am in a position to fight for myself. Again, it was a good experience that forced me to face both my social anxiety and develop some salesmanship on the fly. I did survive several months of no replies, replies with rejections (primarily because the companies couldn’t do out of region hires), and some phone interviews that ended in rejection. I recognized fast that while I had gotten comfortable in my current job, I had to stress my ability to learn quickly to get call backs from pharma, manufacturers and other industries. And, in the end, my experience with manufacturing and my adaptability were what helped get me my best job offers.

Christmas was essentially non-existent save for some gifts from my folks, but I was genuinely excited about the New Year for the first time in a while. Due to all of my job chaos, I gave notice in mid-December and then spent most of the month dealing with the aftermath of that. I also did a lot of paperwork and coordinating for the relocation.  So, I’ll just celebrate Christmas THIS year. On the up side, I was actually excited about everything happening, even with the chaos and “unknown-ness” of it all.

I had to leave my friends in Maine (along with my comfort zone). This goes along with the excitement–the sadness and uncertainty of leaving my cozy network of good friends and coworkers in Maine. Leaving my best friend and her new baby was the hardest by far, especially since I know it might be awhile before I can get up to see them again. I spent my last week or so meeting with as many people as I could and, ultimately, had two or three going away parties. I was greatly surprised at the people who came forward to tell me they would miss me–people with whom I had only brief interactions came to tell me how I’d made such a positive impact on them at one time or another. I was moved by their stories and genuinely surprised that I’d affected that many people in a short time, especially considering my general reclusiveness. It was a great boost and I left on good terms with a really grateful feeling.

Moving is always stressful. Moving 1300 miles away is more stressful. Full pack and move services help to lower stress. As generally adaptable as I am, I hate change. Well, change over a short period. I didn’t hear back about my relocation plans until the second week of January and needed to start the new job in the third week of January, soooo…that was stressful. What helped was the relocation package included both monetary help and a full pack and move service to make sure I had minimal manual labor to deal with myself. Fantastic. I’m considering it for all of my future moves. All I had to do was do coordinating via the phone and email and then just get in the car and drive south with my dogs.

For less rent than my 2br/1ba small townhouse apartment in Maine, I now live in a 3br/2ba house with a fenced back yard. The dogs were ecstatic to have their own space to play. The low-cost of living in NC was a huge reverse sticker-shock for me. But in a good way.

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I’ve had to start all over at my new job. I went from being the expert to knowing pretty much nothing. Luckily for me, it’s a feeling I enjoy. For an introvert, I’ve seriously forced myself to be social since my move. And that’s not a bad thing. I am learning so much every day and meeting so many new, interesting people it makes it worthwhile. I know that any social investments I make now will always pay off. I am trying to stay open and to say yes to things, no matter how mundane. It has worked for me before in the past and I’m having good luck with it here, too. Getting past the “I know nothing” phase usually goes faster when you’re willing to put ego aside.

Paying for snow plowing at the old house (for the realtor to show it) while enjoying 60F weather here is the emotional equivalent of taking out a $100 bill every few days, setting it on fire and watching it burn. This is just a given until I get it sold. Fingers crossed that it will happen in the next few months. I can feel my cheapo nerve get set off every time I see the weather forecast for the Northeast.

Mom and Dad can visit me now. With the entire set of dogs! Oh boy! It’s nuts, but great fun! So many dogs!

Trips with Mom to Charleston are now a doable thing. It’s a lot of fun and I’m hoping to be able to plan some trips around the Southeast this year.

Falling asleep after yoga or movie night with new friends in a new bed in a new house with my tired, happy dogs = the best. I have so much to be grateful for these days.

 

“But in times of trouble
I can turn to my mother
And I know that she gon’ understand
So at age 18
I cried to my mother
And she told me, “young man”

“There are moments when you fall to the ground
But you are stronger than you feel you are now
You don’t always have to speak so loud, no
Just be as you are
Life is not always a comfortable ride
Everybody’s got scars that they hide
And everybody plays the fool sometimes, yeah
Just be as you are

 

“My soul, is in Africa with you boy
Looking at the stars
On this diamond sky
Giving you my smile
So you can keep it on your mind
Floating on your blazing eyes”

 

Unapologetic

So, I recently got offered a job in North Carolina. Moving may be happening by the end of the month depending on timing. The next few weeks will likely be a bit chaotic, but also exciting. It’s a great opportunity that will also be closer to family. I’ll write a more detailed post later. 🙂

No there ain’t nothing that I gotta prove
You think your words will make me black and blue
But I, I think I’m pretty with these old boots on
I think its funny when I drink too much, hey
You try and change me you can go to hell
‘Cause I don’t want to be nobody else
I like the chip I got in my front teeth
And I got bad tattoos you won’t believe

 

“I was up in New York City,
Just the other week.
You shoulda seen the waitress face
When I ordered sweet tea.
She said “we don’t have that here”
And I apologized, I said “Please forgive me,
I’m in a southern state of mind.

And those girls out in California,
They don’t understand.
They don’t like it when I hold the door,
When I say yes ma’am.
They act like I’ve done something wrong,
And they give me the evil eye.
I say “honey, I’m sorry,
I’m in a southern state of mind.”

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind

 

Heading down south to the land of the pines
I’m thumbing my way into North Caroline
Staring up the road and pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Picking me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I’m a-hopin’ for Raleigh, I can see my baby tonight

So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me
Rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey, momma rock me
I’m running from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band
My baby plays a guitar, I pick a banjo now
Oh, north country winters keep a-getting me down
Lost my money playing poker so I had to leave town
But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more”

“Oh I’ve been waiting up so long
I’ve been sleeping out so long in the rain
Rain been falling down
I’ve been stressing all the time
And I can’t seem to find
A little piece of mind

I guess I’ll just vaporize
Everything that’s inside
I guess I’ll just vaporize
I, I, I
I guess I’ll just vaporize
Everything that’s inside
I’m gonna get
high, high, high, high, high, high”

 

“And I know that I won’t be the same without you
Don’t let this moment slip away

I’ll take you for a drive
Kiss me on the corner with your hand in mine
Ooh, say you love me too”

 

I know I haven’t been perfect, but give it some time
There’s not a single day goes by where you don’t cross my mind
And we spend our lives looking for things we can’t find
Oh, but not a single day goes by where you don’t cross my mind

All the days spent on my mind
All the times that I’d say that we’ll be together, we’ll be together, oh
All the ways to see through my heart
I know the good intentions, they won’t be lost forever, won’t be lost forever”

 

“How imperfect a person am I?
Go through your purse and put on your disguise
You see the stars, but they just see the skies
And you see my scars, what do they see?

If I was the question, would you be my answer?
If I was the music, would you be the dancer?
If I was the student, would you be the teacher?
If I was the sinner, would you be the preacher?
Would you be my
N’ dun d-dun dun
I still got a lot of shit to learn, I’ll admit it
N’ dun d-dun dun
I still got a lot of shit to learn, I’ll admit it

 

“When you’re here it feels so hard
Thirsty eyes and hungry heart
Working for the sweet oasis
And all that’s left is on the rocks

Now I’m standing in a wasteland
Of us
bones and dried up places
We lost
Don’t pretend you wanna change
When you don’t
Oh you know you did me wrong
Oh you turn me stone cold
Stone cold
Oh you turn me stone cold
Stone cold”

 

“I know you remember
How the leaves fell in November
The cold wind of December
And how we just fell apart
I know you could hear me
But you pretend you don’t have a heart
Then you took my halo
And you left me in the dark”

 

“We got problems in the streets again
Drowning in the violence, it’s getting pretty tense
A lot of hunger in the faces I see
A lot of bitterness, communal emptiness

Don’t trust the water, friend
Chemicals hide with the skeletons
Don’t trust that false pretense
Counterfeit lies are your best defense
I said, you’ve got to, got to, got to go whole heart
Darling, darling, darling, go whole heart
You’ve got to, got to, got to go whole heart
Yeah, darling, darling, darling, go whole heart

 

 

“The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts, some figures and instructions for dancing

But I,
I love it when you read to me.
And you,
You can read me anything.

The book of love has music in it,
In fact that’s where music comes from.
Some of it is just transcendental,
Some of it is just really dumb.

But I,
I love it when you sing to me.
And you,
You can sing me anything.

 

 

“Fighting flames of fire
Hang onto burning wires
We don’t care anymore
Are we fading lovers?
We keep wasting colors
Maybe we should let this go

We’re falling apart, still we hold together
We’ve passed the end, so we chase forever
‘Cause this is all we know
This feeling’s all we know”

 

 

“I pick up my smile put it in my pocket
Hold it for a while try not to have to drop it
Men are not to cry so how am I to stop it
Keep it all inside don’t show how much she rocked ya

Ooh can you feel the same
Ooh you gotta love the pain
Ooh it looks like rain again
Ooh I feel it comin’ in
The mountains win again
The mountains win again”