You’ve Got a Book in You: Elizabeth Sims

Book style: Non-fiction

Beer style: None – I read this book off an on for over a year

There are probably a million and one books on how to write a novel, so figuring out which ones to read can be difficult. This one actually came as a gift from the hubs, which I found wonderful and sweet. He’s an analyst so he of course did a lot of research when purchasing some books for me. He told me that this was one of a few he’d bought for me that topped the list of books to read about writing.

I finally finished it in just over a year, but don’t take that as it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book ( I have a ton of spots marked with a sticky note for further reference. Which is definitely what this book feels more like: a reference book to come back to later. And although it’s completely different than Stephen King’s On Writing, it brings a good perspective. On Writing was a mix between Mr. King’s past, how he became a writer, the challenges he faced, and his style of writing. You’ve Got a Book in You is more like a helpful guide and a friendly pep talk, but not in a “Do these steps and you’ll be on the NY Best Seller’s List” kind. Real advice, about writing because you love it, and putting in the effort needed to create some great work.

Continue reading “You’ve Got a Book in You: Elizabeth Sims”

Almost, almost

My life is going through a ton of changes right now. Changes that involve Yeses, Nos, and Almosts. We sold our house in 72 hours which was a big Yes! We are now reflecting on the inspection. They either want little piddly things to be done (nail the fence post that’s loose, change the AC filter) to big things (re-do duct work, change out electrical).

Let me clarify, our house is in great shape. None of the things they are asking for are necessary for the safety of the house. Inspections are a weird thing. Some guy whose never been in your house comes in and tells you everything he thinks is wrong with it. Some things are legit, some are squabbling. At first I got really angry. I just wanted to yell, “Here’s a hammer. Fix the damn fence yourself!”, but that’s not quite advisable so we are working on compromises now. We’ll have someone out to fix some of these small things, with a few bucks for them on the table to do their own electrical if they so feel the need to rewire the house.

So with the house…we are at an Almost. Hopefully by tonight, we will have a Yes.

During the craziness of selling our house, I also was interviewing for jobs. I had three interviews in one day, so I was really hoping one would work out. One was certainly a No, I think mutually. One was a Maybe, but nothing on their side was solid, which made me nervous, but the last one felt like a Yes and ended up being so. I ended up getting a second interview with a company and they called the next day asking if I’d accept a position with them. A definite YES.

With all of the craziness, and change happening, I definitely needed to get a run in. Between sitting in a car for hours, waiting for people to be done strolling through the house, then stress eating to calm myself through all of this (breakfast tacos and chocolate shakes…mmm), I needed some exercise to make myself feel better again, and clear my mind. I remembered that WordPress was running a 5K challenge, asking people to run/walk/stroll/bike a 5K and post about it. I was hoping to get one in last night, but I didn’t quite get there. I knew time was a crunch because we had plans to meet friends for dinner, and I needed to bathe the dogs as well. I decided on one of our shorter routes in hopes that it was still a 5K. No luck. An almost.

Even though this wasn’t a full 5K, between all my walking around, I’d  hit over 10,000 steps which was around 5 miles. I felt good about that.

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My Almost 5K

 

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Almost. Almost doesn’t cut it. But Almost is what I have and I am hoping that tonight Almost becomes a Yes. Almost is better than No. I almost ran a 5K today among the worry of inspections, dogs needing to get bathed, meeting with friends, figuring out when to pack, what house to buy next, I still got a run in. I still did something for my health. That’s what matters. Getting into the habit of this is what matters.

We will be road tripping it to Omaha this weekend to house shop and hopefully buy, our next home. I’m excited and nervous and what we’ll find. All I hope is that whatever we decide on, I hope it’s a Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

Working on patience

We would like to move. We’ve been working on moving for a while now. On many occasions I’ve gotten impatient with the progress. I’ve started to focus so much on waiting for news, looking for a place to live, cleaning the house, getting it ready to list….that I’ve forgotten about everything else in life.

As important as it is to have the house looking nice for pictures, I don’t want to look back after we’ve moved (and I know it’ll eventually happen), thinking only about how much time I spent cleaning, not on any of the things we loved about Austin.

We recently made a list of a handful of restaurants we want to hit up one more time before we leave. So far we’ve hit none of them. This week and going forward, we’ll be refocusing our efforts on enjoying our time where we are before it’s gone. I’ve been in those moments of regret, looking back, thinking about how focused I was on the future, forgetting about my present. There will be plenty of time to wrap myself in those moments later.

Less dreaming and focusing on the future, and what may be, and more focusing on the here and now, while I’m still right here.

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An accidental addition

Thursdays are my volunteer days. I go to work, then drive to the library to shelve books and help people out for a couple of hours. It’s a routine. I like it.

This past Thursday rocked my routine. We’d just finished an inspection at work, so I was outside, getting some fresh air in between rain storms. A co-worker had been walking outside as well so we started talking and he said he heard a cat. I waved him off, thinking it was a bird. But the sound persisted and I started the search for this cat, or bird,  or catbird.

Nestled under a small bush, I spotted small flecks of white and brown. Then the eyes found me. “Jeff, it is a cat!” I said to him. He went in to grab a box and towel and I kept an eye on her. Rain started to come down, and soon enough, Jeff came with a box. I’m not sure what happen to mom, or any of her siblings, (another co-worker said she saw this cat alone in the early morning hours as well), but mom taught her some good survival skills before they were separated. She darted around me when I tried to pick her up and bolted towards the parking garage. Luckily, she’s so young she ended up cornering herself. Jeff tried to grab her but she hissed, which made him recoil, leaving her to run past him. I quickly darted in front of her before she could head out into the main road, and Jeff was able to pick her up. At this point, she was tired and scared. She smooshed herself into the corner of the box as much as she could and gave a couple more hisses.

Luckily, this happened to be right around quitting time, so I was able to take her home at that moment.

Fast forward to Friday – we luckily also already had an appointment with the vet for our dogs so we took the crew over and got her squeezed in for an appointment as well. The vet thought her to be around five weeks old, she weighed around 450 grams (less than a pound), and was slightly dehydrated but healthy otherwise. They were able to help her go to the bathroom and eat, and all the vet techs paraded her around the building.

She’s now back home and doing wonderfully. She’s already figured out how to jump out of a large box, so her home is now our office, until she gets a bit bigger (and is formally introduced to our other cat). Our dogs are smitten with her and I believe they already think of her as a little sister.

Things rarely turn out how you have them planned, and usually things come at the worst timing. We are working on putting our house up for sale, which means a few projects to finish and tons of packing and cleaning. This is not the easiest time to raise a kitten, but I wouldn’t ever give her up for convenience.

So without further ado, here is little Edith:

 

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And it wouldn’t be fair to post pics of only the new kitty. Frasier is our other cat. He’s mostly a backyard cat, no matter the conditions, as you can see. When we had more cats, he loved to be around them, so I’m hoping he’ll take to little Edith well. Here’s hoping.

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Crossroads

When life starts pulling you apart, what do you do? Until today, we were at a crossroads. Both of us had job offers come our way. Sounds great at first, but the jobs are not in the same place. One is out of state. The out of state job would have been much more of a challenge up front because moving takes a lot of time, effort and money, but it would have brought us closer to our family and friends, and most likely would have lent to a less chaotic life a large city provides. The other offer would keep us here where we are, and give a good pay boost (not as good as the other one), but would help out, and possibly help enough so that we can at least fly home every once in a while instead of driving 19+ hours. Continue reading “Crossroads”

Changes, changes

I’m not good with changes to be honest. Not fast ones anyway. My personality requires me to take an idea and play with it. Give me time, some internet, coffee, and good music and I’ll probably be willing to hop on board with whatever comes my way. But when changes start shooting at me with records speeds, my brain goes into overdrive, then shutdown mode.

INTJ
My personality dislikes chaos and untimely changes

I was just informed I have to be gone for a month for training starting way too soon. I thought I wasn’t going to go to this school so it was quite the surprise when I got the message. My brain starts to immediately make lists upon lists to try to drain all the traffic going on inside . One list for what I need to do at home before I leave, one list to prep for the course, one list for packing, etc. Then I start to think about how this is going to work with my job, and the fact that I’d just put out some job feelers. I guess those prospects are probably gone if they try to communicate with me in the next few weeks.

I’m trying to reprogram my brain to stay calm with these quick changes. It’s part of being in the military family, whether part-time or full, you have to expect short notice. I wrote down a couple of my lists with plenty of room to add more, and stepped away from my work desk for a while. I made a couple of phone calls to let people know what was going on, then went back to working like nothing had changed. I needed some normalcy mixed in with the crazy. So far it seems to be working. Stay calm, work it out, it’ll be fine. *Breathe*. Embrace the change, embrace the suck. You help steer the outcome and your attitude.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it- Chuck Swindoll (2)

Like Chucky boy says, some things I can’t change, but I can change how I react. I took some aspirin, downed some iced green tea, I’m writing in WordPress, then I’m on to the next box to check off. One at a time.

Encouragement & a Hedgehog

This last week or so has been trying. It seems like everyone has been on edge and people have had a problem with just about everything I did at work. Well last week, I said Enough! And I still believe that now. The week ended badly but the weekend was good and I intend for this week to go well too. Besides getting outside in the beautiful Texas weather, we got the house cleaned up, I sold a couple of items hanging around the house, we worked out, tried a new restaurant, and I applied for a job, and am 90% done with another application (I forgot how time consuming they were). It’s going to be a short week in the office (which is always a good thing), and then we fly out to see some friends in Phoenix!

But until then, I have to go to work, be productive, deal with some nasty attitudes, and work on the final stages of my guard training. Fortunately, no more tests, I’ve passed them all, but now I have writing to do. Not fun writing, like, If You Could Be Any Animal in the World, What Would You Be? (An Eagle or a Hawk), but more like, Write your Biography and Talk about Yourself. Ugh.

But I can make it through this week. I won’t let negative people affect me with their cancerous attitudes and I’ll press on with this writing so I have the free time while I’m on vacation. For some encouragement, I found this great picture.

Enjoy!

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Do something today

We are usually pretty healthy people. We exercise, we eat good foods, we make most of our own meals from scratch, but we’re human. We like beer, we go out to eat, and I have a horrid sweet tooth. But the last few days have felt like I didn’t just slide off the wagon, I was pitched forward and landed face first. It feels like I’ve been eating and drinking horribly for weeks when it’s only been days, but my exercise routine has dwindled to maybe one workout a week. This can’t keep happening.

I know for some people, they work out when they need to lose weight, or only think about how they will look after a workout. For me, that’s a secondary effect. Working out on a regular basis makes me feel better overall; I become less lethargic and have more consistent energy. I’m in a better mood, and I don’t guilt myself into shame if I do go have a doughnut for breakfast. When I stop working out, I tend to eat worse for some reason ( I think I just give up), I stop being active at all, I’m tired, more likely to get cranky and just feel uncomfortable in my own skin and clothes.

I’ve seen too many people with diseases and health issues because they weren’t active and were bad to their bodies. I don’t want to regret my choices later in life and think, ” why didn’t I just workout every once in a while. What’s a few hours a week?” So we’re getting back on the fitness wagon today. I want to integrate fitness, whether it’s runs, walks, rock climbing, hiking, whatever, more into my daily ritual. I want it to become habit, not something I “have to do”. I know that I’ll probably fall off here and there, but I don’t want to beat myself up about it. That doesn’t help. It’s time to get up and get moving again.

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The struggle is your story

struggle

My memory stinks most of the time. I need a lot of reminders. I have a paper calendar organizer (remember those?) and I also use google calendar for everything.

I also need reminders about life.

Life can bring you down if you’re not in the right mindset. For the last eight months or so, I dealt with a lot of anxiety, anger and depression. I’d been away from home for training for six months and dealt with a lot of pressure. And as much as I’d like to think of myself as being strong, I fell weak to anxiety and the pressures involved in constantly having to perform well or face the possibility of failing and being in training longer, never mind having to tell people you failed something. The onslaught of pressure turned my anxiety up and depression kicked in. I started questioning myself; who I was, what I was doing there, was I smart enough or strong enough to handle all of this? It was tough. I had some really bad times when I came back. I had a hard time caring about anything. I had to get myself out of it.
And I have been. Little by little. There were ups and downs. But I learned to let positivity enter my life and push negativity out. I learned to not let negative people, news, attitudes, all of that, affect me the way it used to. One bad encounter could ruin me for the whole day.

“The struggle is part of the story” – Unknown

I’m still working on it daily, but I’ve learned to take every day at a time, reminding myself to appreciate the things I can do even though it’s not perfect,and be patient about everything. Sometimes I focus on wanting something so badly (a different job, a vacation, a different car), that I start to hate and under appreciate what I have and who I am. I can’t let that happen. Where I am now, is where I am supposed to be, and if changes are to come, I’ll let them come, in due time.

I’m learning to reflect on my experiences, exist in the present while enjoying all the things I have, and look forward to the future. Why be anxious about the future when I don’t know what it holds?

Comparison

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This is a vice of mine. I’m constantly comparing where I am to others. And I think it’s so much easier to do these days with facebook and instagram and other social media outlets. Sometimes, it seems that these methods are only to try to one-up the next person. Look at my new car! Look, I’m on vacation! Look at me! Look at me! These devices can be great with keeping in touch with others, but they shouldn’t be used as a bragging piece or as a complete replacement for keeping up with friends and family, and they certainly shouldn’t be used as a comparison piece for yourself.

Comparison to others is devastating to our mental health. Be happy for that friend who’s on vacation. They deserve it. Be happy for the person with the new car. The last one they had might have been a complete nightmare. It doesn’t matter how your car compares, or where you last went on vacation. Be happy for them and be happy for yourself. We are all individuals. We all have our ups and downs.

Comparison can also create isolationism. We see someone else’s successes, compare them to where we are, only seeing the negative aspects and not the positives, and many times, fail to acknowledge them with a congrats, or a good job. We feel jealous and therefore don’t feel like telling them we’re proud of their accomplishments. It hurts too much when we compare ourselves.

As advice to myself and to others: be happy where you are and where you are heading. If you want changes, make reasonable goals for yourself and don’t expect an overnight change. Congratulate your friends on their accomplishments. And be grateful for yours. We are all on this long, exciting and many times frustrating journey of life. Take the positive and humble road whenever you can.