Math!

So, I’ve really let this space go.

When I revved up the engines on this old thing I envisioned weekly updates that had readers begging for more and on the edge of their seats.

I was expecting/planning for this:

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But its more like this (if you lit this match once every three months).

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I will say that over the weekend I was reminded how much I love to write and I have my mom to thank. THANKS, MOM!

Backstory:

My mom is on a – quite literally – never ending quest to clean her house. She has a housekeeper 3 days a week (which for one person which seems a biiit excessive) but she is always organizing and going through things and closets. I never see a ton of progress but she did unearth the rarest of all gems during a recent clean out of the study – my college application essays.

For those of you who didn’t know me in high school, I was the MOST unbalanced student of all time. I was the editor of the school newspaper but so terrible at math that my school thought it best to forbid me from taking Algebra II. Like, would not let me take the course because they were that certain I would fail it. Keep in mind that this is a course that 98% of all high-school students take (and all my friends took) so that was a cool feeling.

From an early point, it was clear that math was going to be  . .  a thing for me. I cried learning to tell time (HOW CAN 60 MINUTES FIT IN THAT TINY OF A CIRCLE?), I failed 4’th grade math (long division are the devil’s numbers), and I have had a math tutor since I was in elementary school. My  finest math moment came in middle school when I got a 41 on a test and 5 minutes later my counselor physically removed me mid class and walked me to the remedial math class that took place during the same time (one t-shack over for anyone keeping track).

Ok, now that I type that, how was that even allowed? It seems very damaging.

After I got physically removed from my 8’th grade math class (like, now I’m getting mad about it), my parents were left with a choice. Force Catherine to work and work and work at something that just might never happen (math) or encourage and feed and grow the talents that she loves (everything but math). At that point, my parents started letting me decide what classes worked best for me and this gave me the confidence to fail at things.

Fast forward to senior year in high school. There I was, above average grades and a transcript free of any advanced math of any kind. My counselor was no help at all when it came to helping me plan for college (so much so that she actually sent two of my transcripts to the wrong colleges entirely) so my parents bought a giant book of colleges (you know the one) and we pored over it nightly together. I knew there were two things that would push me over the top in the rough and tumble world of college applications:

  1. An in-person interview (and weirdly a few of the schools I applied to actually preferred interviews)
  2. A kick ASSSSSS essay

In very much of a ‘hey don’t look over at those math grades, look over here!’ move, I started crafting works of written art for each of the 8 (!!) schools I applied to.

For one school (CU Boulder), the applicant was encouraged to write an essay explaining how they ‘stand out in a crowd’. Instead of writing an essay, I created a 10-question quiz where the result was ‘Accept Catherine’ – I sent a pencil and an answer key to the school in a large manila envelope. How’s that for standing out? I didn’t even write an essay, fools.

For another school (Rhodes College), the essay could be random but you had to use three things in your submission (a tomato, dental floss, and a paper clip). I wrote a (shortish) book with chapters about a crime in Italy (tomatoes) where a detective has to sneak out of a locked room (paper clip in the door) and meets up with his partner who is working undercover as a dentist (dental floss, y’all).

My parents would read draft after draft well into the night and encourage me when I thought they were dumb and give me feedback when I was stuck. Every time an acceptance letter came in the mail, the put it on the fridge. When I received my one rejection (damn you to hell, Boston College!) they made me un-crumple it and hang it up too.

Long story short, I think I had forgotten for a while how fun it is to be a little bit different. We should all write quizzes about how awesome we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WFH!

Hey look! I’m posting! Let’s talk about working from home.

Quick professional overview: I am a senior consultant for a ed tech company based out of Washington DC. Mainly, I do a lot of talking/smiling/nodding/presenting/ while smart people build fancy gadgets that I get to take credit for.

My foray into working from home was an accident. Back in 2013, Huz accepted a job in Houston and I quickly realized that there was no office in Houston for me to transfer to. I either had to quit my job (which I loved) or grow a sack and try to work out some kind of remote situation. I explained that I didn’t want to leave the my team or the company, but I understood that my current position wasn’t remote but I would love to stay on. The next day my boss told me they were down with it and I then became the only remote employee in a department of 40 people.

My initial WFH days were spent at my mom’s house as I took client calls from her study while her elderly cat climbed on my ‘desk’ which was a forest green card table. I had to time my calls around the yard man (because George would bark non stop psycho style) and the arrival of her housekeeper (because she has been with our family forever and I HAD to speak with her everyday and watch the Steve Harvey show with her for an hour immediately when she arrived). After we moved into our current house, I was working in a little office nook off our breakfast room and I thought I had ARRIVED. Lo and behold, I had to quickly rethink my plan when George barked and harassed me all day. I realized I needed a door that closed and I needed it pronto. By then I had accepted a consulting position with the company I’m with now.

Flash forward 3 months and I had moved upstairs and taken over our third bedroom. I had convinced Huz to accompany me to Ikea where I bought the largest desk I could find.  It took me 2 years (no lie) to hang pictures and it’s still not totally perfect but it has a door and two beautiful big windows and a flat screen TV.

Everyone always tells me they are jealous I get to work from home all day and I will tell you if definitely has its advantages. That being said, its hard too.

PROS!

1.Literally the most flexible schedule ever. When I was in DC on-boarding for the job, I asked my then manager what my work hours were and she replied ‘you tell me’. I didn’t even know what to say. Essentially, I start working at 9 and finish anywhere from 4:45 to 5:30 depending on the day. I typically take a break to eat and about an hour to work out. If I need to take additional breaks for errands or an appointment, I will make up my time the next day or work at night to wrap things up. If anything it’s about being as efficient with your time as possible.

2. No annoying people up in your space. I’m no longer bothered by the co-worker who wants to talk about her dog’s ex or the guy who wears rip away pants to work. I am 100% in control of my interactions.

3. Isolation from drama. I am blissfully unaware of people butting heads or any kind of management drama. Layoffs ahead? No idea! Steve won’t stop cooking salmon in the microwave? Gross but I don’t smell anything!

4. My co workers! Maybe I love them so much because we are isolated (see #3)? My team is a great group and I love them all!!

5. Work attire. I rarely work a day in my pjs (I find that it makes me feel lazy and gross) but I could if I wanted. Unless I am onsite with a client (which happens about once a week) I am wearing yoga pants and workout clothes.

6. Saving money. I have never mastered eating out alone so if I do go out its usually to get something quick to go. I’m also a huge fan of Trader Joe’s pre-packaged salads. I stock upon the weekend and usually eat those for lunch.

7. Time to cook! I am usually able to cook a good dinner most nights because I have time to get things started nice and early.

8. Time to do ME. I may of may not have watched Bey’s Lemonade three times on Monday and I can because I can do what I want because I work from home.

CONS!

1. Things get   . . . weird sometimes. If I am working too hard and don’t actively make time to leave the house, I turn into a real weirdo. I start talking to George, I bombard Huz with questions when he gets home from work, I have no idea what is going on in the world. Working from home means you have to CREATE human interaction – and that is a weird thing to have to build into a day. Especially for someone as extroverted as me.

2. Weight gain. So this is a thing. If I had a fit bit, it would have died by now because when your office is 12 feet away from where you sleep, you aren’t really moving that much. This is why I have to build in some kind of physical activity in each and every day (and it helps with item #1). I’m either at the gym or walking George.

3. Spending money. For all the money I save on food, I spend it online shopping. Sad times.

4. Diversions from work. There are days where I just CANNOT focus until I have paid all my bills/made the bed/measured my chandelier/filled my bird feeder/cleaned the kitchen/ fluffed the pillows on the couch/cleaned out my car/made homemade salad dressing/finished my Radiolab podcast/wrote a thank you note from 2 Christmases ago/googled how often to water a fiddle leaf fig/put my tennis racket from MS in our garage.

5. Lonely times and too much time to think. Any problem in your life will be 190% overexamined if you work from home. Fight with your spouse? They get to go to work but you get you sit around all day and stew in it. Worried about something? Feel free to doom-loop all day as you sit in your home office and try to get some work done. The struggle is real here and that is why therapy is real too.

Long story short, I’m mostly happy with the setup now but I do sometimes wonder about what it would be like to work in an office again. I DID have a dream last week that I took a new job in an office and I woke up crying so that might be a clue as to how I really feel about it. Working from home will be really amazing when I have a baby so I look forward to having flexibility in that situation. What I DO know is that I will probably watch Lemonade again tomorrow and for that I’m not sorry.

 

 

 

Self Work!

I know I’m over month late on this, but I still can’t believe its 2016! 2015 was a pretty good year. I spent time in Honduras and Anguilla, I got a promotion that I had been coveting at work, my sister got married. I also spent a lot of time in 2015 (cliche alert) working on myself!

Some people already know this about me but I am a worrier. I will worry about any and every situation and then make my husband pep talk me back into reality. I can doom loop (when you take one bad thing that happens and create a full scenario of terrible awful things that are going to happen as a result) for hours. I get anxiety, I overthink situations, I am not good with change, and sometimes its very hard for me to see the many good things in my life. I think everyone struggles with these feelings from time to time but for me, it can be a moment-ruiner if I don’t take some time to do a little self work.

If there is one thing I have learned about myself in the past few years its that I have to have a therapeutic outlet in my life. Its best for me, definitely best for my husband, and best for my emotional well being. Plus, I really enjoy having a dedicated time with a trusted person for me to work through a few of the bigger things on my emotional plate. My therapist recently moved to Portland and after I cried for an hour when she told me I realized it was a great time to take stock of what I need/what I get from therapy. I also just really love talkin’ about myself.

Along with going to therapy, I also use meditations and exercise to keep myself sane. I used to think about meditating and envisioned someone humming sitting crossed legged on a mountain top – but meditation can be practiced wherever you feel most comfortable. I am very hard on myself and meditating allows me to give myself a little break. It’s also an amazing way to keep things in perspective by realizing that a feeling is not a reality. This site has a lot of great meditations that take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to complete. Mindful self-compassion for everyone!

Because I’ve been killing it in the self work front, my marriage has been changing a lot as well. Historically, Eric has been the sane to my crazy (see aforementioned ‘pep talks’) and I’ve realized that isn’t really fair to me or to him. He needs to feel like he can be stressed or sad or mad – and know he can count on me and I won’t fly off the handle. I also need to trust that he can work through any issues without me meddling and trying to manage situations and his reactions. 2015 was very much a reset year for our marriage – and we did a ton of amazing work that we would have been harder to do if we put it off or did it after we had kids.

As we all know, working on yourself is a long term project to say the least. I have more work to do and I am definitely still crazy, but I think understanding the crazy is more than half the battle.

Next time on the blog: all about working from home and how its the worst and best thing ever!

 

Christmas Branches

Hey look at this new blog design! Since I’m going to be blogging regularly now, I thought it might be nice to look at a template that I really enjoy. Let these smooth colors lure you in.

This weekend was a good one. I spent a lot of it catching up with friends, getting things done around the house, and running a few last-minute holiday errands. My most favorite part of my weekend was a long ass walk I took on a nature path near my house.

There are really two things that relax me – writing and being outside. I have been neglecting the writing for a while but I really try to get outside at least once a day to stretch my legs and clear my mind. Typically, I will walk/jog around my neighborhood but today I decided to do something a little different. There is a nature trail right near my house and today I decided to change it up and walk there.

The trail was great but it was a bit cloudy and gray. After a while, I got a little bored of walking so I decided to go on an adventure. I walked down to the bayou (not INTO it, don’t worry) and then took a quick spin through a neighborhood that runs along the trail (and that I hope to one day live in). I creeped on some open houses, saw a house with a horse living in the backyard, and saw this awesome random Christmas tree/bush/branch in the middle of a thicket!

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I’m sure the other people on this trail thought I was nuts because I was definitely not following the trail in any appropriate way – but I had a grand time.

Now time to watch The Affair and try and figure out what the HELLLLL is going on there.

Until next time . . .

 

I should!

So this is crazy. Back on the old blog, y’all! I’ve been feeling kind of off lately and realized this place is something I need in my life. Writing has always been something that makes me really happy (and is a great outlet) and I’ve totally neglected it for oh, the past 3 ish something years.

I know I’ve already talked about how this is not a fancy blog, but I want to remind yall that I will regularly judge people for now knowing how to spell correctly and the misspell the same words over and over again (reccomend or recommend?). I don’t have a photographer and I’m pretty sure I will never have sponsors. There will never be a giveaway here.

There was a point in time where I felt a little too sad to continue with this blog but I never took it down. I knew that eventually, I would come back. So here I am. Again.

 

 

 

Should I?

Dare I say I’m ready to blog again? I’ve definitely been pondering it but I don’t know if I will pull the trigger. The reason I stopped blogging was because I was starting to feel pressure to make my blog interesting, relevant, and fresh. That and I also started having a really hard time thinking up blog post titles.

The blog started as a way for me to not go mental during my fun-employment days and it turned into something really therapeutic and healthy for me. Shiz got stressful when I started thinking I needed to be on point for trends and culture and the embracing the cool thing. For those who know me, a trend maker I am not. And we all know there is nothing more awesome that putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself.

In reality my life is boring, slightly disorganized, and just exactly what I want it to be for me right now. But I also feel like something is missing. Is it this?

A Year as A Minute

This past Saturday marked one year since my Dad passed away. As with every milestone in the last year, I was completely dreading this day. I wanted it over with and I wanted to move in to the “year ago” time frame. I felt that after I hit a year, I would no longer think, “this time last year he was . . .” We marked the day with graveside service for our family  – we remembered him and we celebrated both his life and our strength with champagne. It was one of the most emotional events of my life but also the most cathartic. He was there – and he was having an awesome time.

When Saturday arrived,  I started remembering every single thing I did on August 17, 2012. From the now poignant moment I watched from the kitchen window as Huz and my Dad back out of our driveway to leave for the mountains – to the mundane when my mom and I walked George at the park and went to Neiman Marcus to buy makeup.  I remember the phone call (and thank god that I never have to get that phone call again) and I remember in the days after thinking that we would never be able to take a walk in the park again. How would I get out of bed? How would I go to work? How would I do anything ever? I figured I would just cry for the rest of my life.

When talking about the passing of my dad, its impossible not to talk about how its affected me and will affect me moving forward. Truth be told, the day my dad died, a large part of me died too. I’m still the same person, but I lost a lot of my carelessness and innocence. I have a totally new understanding of what it means to live life to the fullest and I feel deeper and see more than I ever have before. This is one of the reasons Huz and I have made so many changes in the past year. Life is so painfully short to not be the best version of yourself and this is something I strive to do every day.  

Whenever I was stressed out or facing challenges my dad used to tell me that every setback just “tempers the steel” – it makes us infinitely stronger. Well Dad, I’m getting pretty strong – but it doesn’t mean I’m done. There are days when I think of what my family has accomplished in the last year and I’m amazed. New cities, new jobs, new lives. Next week we move into our new house – just a year after my life was put into a tailspin and 6 months after leaving our lives in Colorado. The only thing that would make my life better now is having my Dad around to share it with us. But, even though he’s not here – he is. And, he has never been more proud.

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