Casual Fridays/Weekend Rewind 9/6/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.

Let’s get random…

It is another glorious lazy Sunday morning in my house. My husband is at work and my kids are currently in the playroom doing blind taste tests. With an actual blindfold. I am listening to my James David Carter youtube channel and all is right with the world.

It is Labor Day weekend which means I have a three-day weekend and I am beyond grateful. I have another vacation day the following week so that means I will have a four-day workweek two weeks in a row. It seriously couldn’t come at a better time. I actually brought work home this weekend and spent a large chunk of time doing that yesterday. I worked on my laptop while I watched Big Hero 6 with my kids. I worked on my laptop while the kids played around me. Then I worked on my laptop after the kids went to bed.

I had a meeting at work this past week regarding a presentation that I am giving at the end of the month. Luckily the presentation is a joint effort between myself and two physicians. I sat in this meeting and had an epiphany. I watched one of the physicians get so excited about the material we were covering. He actually said “I am really excited about this” several times. And I realized that I couldn’t care less. I was going through the motions. I have lost my fire. I think I am actually about a millimeter away from falling into the cavern of burnout. I’m not sure if this is why I have lost my passion or if it is more a matter of age and increasing disillusionment. Whatever the reason, it is a scary place to be. Its not like I can just walk away.  I have obligations, responsibilities to consider. So my mind has been busy analyzing all of the angles and thinking about a plan.

Enough of that mess. I will brag on my kids for a minute. I spoke to my sixth-grader’s reading teacher this week. I had called with a simple question but I got more than the simple answer that I sought. She told me that my daughter was the sweetest, kindest girl and that she was truly a delight to teach. She gushed about her. This is not new, I have heard this from many of her teachers. But as a parent, it never gets old. It touches my heart every time. My daughter loves reading class and reads way above her age level, but I am more proud of the fact that she is kind and respectful.

My second grader – the feisty and fabulous Caitlin – has been working hard at toning down the “socializing” during class. I know it is difficult for her so I am proud of her. That girl is creative, she is always coming up with elaborate and impressive stories. I see a future writer in her and it excites me. I feed it as much as possible, playing story and word games. She is going to be a force.

This weekend is hot and humid but next week promises to be cooler and more autumnal. The hot cocoa-drinking and sweater-wearing girl inside of me rejoices. During my drive home the other day I noticed a faint hint – oh so slight – of color change in the trees. It is barely there, but it is coming.

Have a great weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays ( Weekend Rewind) 8/28/15

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Its time for Casual Fridays/Weekend Rewind – my weekly chat post with no rules, no prompts, anything goes. Since it is Sunday night, I am coming in just under the wire.

Let’s get random …

This will be a short post since it is getting late. My weekend was equal parts busy and restful. Saturday we spent time getting ready for the first Girl Scout meeting of the season. The first meeting is our investiture and rededication ceremony. This is where our old scouts rededicate to another year and our new scouts are initiated into the troop. We have added several new girls this year so that is exciting.

On Saturday night, both of my daughters were invited to sleepovers. This meant that I had an evening to myself since my husband was busy raiding on World of Warcraft. So I actually had some time to write. I spent time writing other projects and unfortunately did not get any blog posts finished. But I had time to write and that’s the important thing. It felt great!

With both girls gone this morning, my husband and I were able to sleep in and enjoy a lazy Sunday morning in bed. We don’t get to do that very often so it was almost like a mini vacation. Of course, laundry and housework also called. Then this afternoon it was time for the Girl Scout ceremony.

Tonight I watched the second episode of fear the walking dead. I am really enjoying this new series.

While Mondays are always difficult, I have hope that this coming week at work will be better. My schedule is lighter and I am hoping to catch up on some things. Fingers crossed.

Have a great week, everyone!

Casual Fridays (Weekend Rewind) – 8/14/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

I am thinking about changing the name of this feature to Weekend Rewind. Thoughts?

This was a busy week in our house since school started on Thursday. Summer is officially over. Once supplies were organized, we took them to open house on Tuesday. New clothes were washed and closets were cleaned out and organized. We took the first day pictures and posted them on facebook. Lots of papers came home and our calendar is quickly filling up with events. Suddenly I am drowning in paperwork. So far so good, though. Both kids are adjusting well to their schedules – even my reluctant sixth grader is getting used to switching classes every hour. The new band parent meeting is this week for instrument rental. So by the end of the week, we will add daily flute practice to the agenda.

We are also making a schedule for the upcoming scout year. With two troops, this gets a little hairy. We strive to keep the troops active and the activities varied and interesting so it is extremely time consuming. I am thankful that I can share this experience with my girls, though, so we make it work. The girls are excited to get “back to troop.”

The first three days of the week at work were quiet. I was caught up and feeling pretty good about things in general. Things hit the fan on Thursday and Friday, throwing my little world off kilter. By the end of Friday, I felt completely buried and overwhelmed. One step forward, two steps back. We dance.

This weekend has been about relaxation. Friday night (kid-free) night was ice cream and redbox night. That is a perfect way for me to unwind. Saturday I got a lot of rest. I also had a headache so I kind of hibernated. Today we cleaned house in the morning and have been relaxing this afternoon. My husband cleaned out the garage (again, thank you, Adderall). He moved everything out and powerwashed and he will put things back in a more organized manner. We actually have a big garage so there is quite a bit in there besides the two cars.

One week from today is the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead (the companion series of the Walking Dead) on AMC. I am SO excited. It will be a six episode run and then it will be time for TWD new season to start.

I have decided that I want to make a Home Management Binder. You know, where you print sheets and keep all of your details in one binder (budget, bills, calendar, health info., accounts, passwords, to-do-lists, etc.). I have been on Pinterest lately scouting out free printables. I’m not sure why I haven’t jumped on this bandwagon before. It is the perfect thing for my little obsessive-compulsive heart. I can’t wait to get all of my sheets and pick my binder.

That’s all for me this week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 8/7/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m just getting around to Casual Fridays. But, in my defense, it has been a busy weekend. It’s the last weekend before school starts.

I actually had a pretty good week at work. Things are starting to settle in. On Wednesday, I went out to the suburban office – which is where I worked before I lost my job four years ago. It was so nice to be back there and to see all of my old coworkers. I will be going out there one day a week and I will be at my normal downtown office four days a week.

We had a girl scout recruitment event Wednesday at the pool. My girls were happy to get to swim since we haven’t been to the pool much since swim lessons ended. We may be adding some new girls to the troop which is always… interesting. The pool time was unfortunately cut short by a storm. This has been the rainiest summer ever.

Yesterday was spent shopping for back-to-school shoes and clothes. It is also tax-free weekend in my state so the stores were packed. Shoe shopping turned out to be far easier, we only had to go to one store. We were even able to find acceptable shoes for my picky sixth-grader. Clothes shopping was more strenuous as both of my girls are hard to fit. But after schlepping from store to store for hours, we were able to get enough jeans, leggings and tops to start the school year. It was a long day and I came home and had to recharge my social batteries.

To reward myself yesterday, I got a new purse. And I absolutely adore it.

Today we organized and labelled school supplies. Everything is sorted and ready to go to school on Tuesday for open house.  My sixth grader is so nervous about switching classes this year. There have been tears. We wrote out her schedule today  for A and B days and put it in her binder. We will find all of her classrooms on Tuesday and reassure her again. Growing up is so hard (on everyone). I’m really proud of her, by the way. Her favorite part of shopping day was not the clothes but wandering around Barnes and Noble browsing the books.

It was sunny this morning and my husband put our dog outside on the zipline. I was laying in bed and all of a sudden I heard rain on the roof. I looked out the window and it was sunny and pouring down rain! Even on our nice days we get rain. My daughter ran out to get Rusty, who was barking and not too happy about getting wet. Strangely, the little cloudburst only lasted a few minutes.

Have a great rest of the weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/24/15

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Happy Saturday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Saturday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

Ah, another leisurely Saturday morning. My kids are at a sleepover and my husband is at work. I got up and put on yoga pants and an old t-shirt and was about to take Rusty outside to put him on the zipline. I opened my front door and I saw that my neighbors directly across the street were having a garage sale. People here get really excited for garage sales. They will camp out in your driveway at 5am (even if you post “no early birds.” Early birds don’t care). So what do I see this morning as I step outside in my lounge-wear and bed-hair? Total strangers pulling off the road and parking half in my yard to go browse the deals across the street. I may have had an octogenarian “get off my lawn” moment. Rusty’s zipline time also had to be cut short because the activity in our yard and across the street was giving him fits.

My older daughter has middle school orientation next week. She starts sixth grade. Her fifth grade was technically middle school but they were in a separate building and didn’t have all of the activities the older kids did. It was more of a transitional year. Sixth grade is full-fledged middle school. She will be in the same building with the seventh and eighth graders. She will get to start band. Sports and cheerleading start too, but she’s not into those. The band room and cafeteria are actually in a building that the middle school shares with the high school. She will change classes every period. She will have a locker. There will be more dances and socials. I am not ready for any of this.

My younger daughter starts second grade. Her new teacher is an old high school classmate of mine (who I actually like, ha ha) and I’m hoping that is a sign of a better year to come. We did find out that her “boyfriend” is not in the same class so she’s pretty upset about that.

Work continues to be busy and challenging but I am managing well. I had my first poor fetal diagnosis this week and I had forgotten how truly awful those are. My patient is distraught and she basically cries every time I talk to her. I’m not the kind of person who easily leaves work at work in these situations. I carry some of that with me, I worry about her. I wish I could lessen her pain but I know I can’t. I seem to be her go-to person to call so I guess I am helping her in some way.

Thursday (the day I gave her the diagnosis) was the most draining day of my week. I came home from work that day to two loving kiddos and a husband who had made my favorite dinner and bought me some Dove chocolate. They cast some sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day and I have no words to express my gratitude.

We have a quiet weekend on tap, just the way I like it. We may start some school shopping if I can muster the energy for it. The school supplies are easy, clothes and shoes are more difficult. My kids are both hard to fit and the new middle school dress code is ridiculous. School starts in just under three weeks so I have to decide if I want to be proactive or procrastinate. Procrastination is typically my default.

Have a wonderful weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/17/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

So instead of getting closer to Friday this week, I actually got farther away… it’s Sunday morning. Fail. I debated whether I should post at all but I thought if I skipped the post altogether it would be an even bigger fail. Then I wondered if I should change the name – after all, it is no longer Casual Friday if I am posting on Sunday. But then I decided better late than never. And it’s my blog anyway so I can do what I want. Even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

My job continues to suck my energy like a leech, but things are getting better. I think. By the end of the week, things felt like they were settling a bit. I didn’t feel quite so frazzled. I have a lot of patients next week but I have Wednesday blocked for office time so that is the beacon of hope to which I am clinging. I’m determined that next week will be a better week.

Yesterday was my younger daughter’s birthday. Seven years old. My memories of that day in 2008 are still clear and vivid. It’s hard to believe seven years have passed. Caitlin is my sweet, impish little sprite – a ball of energy and light that just goes at life full force.  She says things on a daily basis that make me laugh and warm my heart (or sometimes scare me, as I feel like the teenage years with that one are going to be a challenge). I am constantly reminding myself to learn from her and see the world the way she sees it. So a day celebrating her is always a good day.  And she did have a good day, full of love and presents and cake and ice cream.

We did something really fun this past week – a sleepover at our local zoo with both scout troops. Between the kids and parents, we had 30 people. Being an animal lover, the zoo has always been one of my favorite places. And it’s a favorite of my girls, too. There were activities for the kids through the evening and then we did a hike through the zoo after dark. It is such a pleasant place after the crowds clear out. We took a flashlight tour of the herpetarium (the reptile house). We slept outside under the stars. The only bad part of this was that it was crazy hot and humid – but after about 1am, the humidity broke and it was comfortable. It was pretty amazing gazing at the stars and listening to the sea lions bark and the lions roar. We were up by 6am and had breakfast. Then we took a morning walk through the zoo and got to pet the stingrays. It really was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I know both my girls and I will always remember.

Before the night hike, we were sitting on a balcony over a lake doing a frog watch. Basically, the guides played various frog sounds for us and then we all went silent and just listened to the sounds of nature. I sat back in my chair and looked up at the sky, lost in the vastness of it. It was mid-evening and with the humid haze there weren’t many stars out yet. But I saw one and I focused on it. Wrapped up in the sounds of the frogs and birds and insects, I had a conversation with that star in my heart, trying to glean its wisdom. I felt connected to the universe and my soul felt full. I was so thankful for that moment of peace and clarity. I have thought about that moment often during my busy week.

Well, I have to get on with my Sunday. Cleaning and laundry, so exciting. I am also going to take my girls to see Minions this afternoon. Have a wonderful weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/10/15

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Happy Saturday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Saturday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

This Friday-post-on-Saturday may become a thing. Stay tuned.

What a week. I scratched and clawed my way through the last five days, a little beat up and bruised. I haven’t been so glad for Friday in a long time, welcomed it like a long-lost friend with a great big bear hug. You know that feeling of elation when you feel hopeless and lost and then you see the light, a beacon calling you home? That was me yesterday at 5:30 pm.

So, my first week at the new job is over. Thank the heavens and stars and the Force and God and all of the rest of the dieties. To say that it has been a stressful week is a gross understatement. It was physically and emotionally draining. #overwhelmed. My first two days were fraught with complications. Nothing about my transfer went right. Well, one thing went right. My parking transfer went smoothly. So, yes, the highlight of the first two days was that I was able to swipe in/out and didn’t get trapped in a parking garage. It was all downhill from there.

Getting my computer access to programs vital to my work was nothing short of a nightmare. I spent an obscene amount of time on hold with IT. When you work for a large university and you are on a first name basis with the IT guys, you know you have problems. Ed and Adam are my new besties. Ed got to the point where he would answer my call and say “hey girl!,” his smile evident in his voice. Fortunately the major computer issues were solved on Wednesday. I missed my besties after that.

My new job is incredibly busy. Since I am the only genetic specialist in my very large department/division, my phone rings constantly. I have a lot of patient calls to make and also patients to see in my office. There were several snafu’s this week, complicated problems that were dropped in my lap because of misinformation or poor scheduling practices in the department. I am proud to say that 1) I handled them and 2) I handled them with grace. Mostly. I came home exhausted every night and fell into bed in a useless heap but I made it through. I survived. Things will get better. Things will settle. I am meeting with my office manager next week. There is much education and organization to be done but I am up for the challenge.

In other news, we have seen a ridiculous amount of rain this week. I have also been besties with my umbrella.

We have also been dealing with the sickies this week at home. My younger daughter has had a bad allergy flare up. So we switched from maintenance medication protocol to all-hands-on-deck medication protocol in a war against the mucus. My older daughter had some kind of virus that resulted in two days of fever and general yuckiness. By week’s end, both were feeling better. Add Walgreens to my list of besties.

I still turned words, stories, plots, characters, etc. in my head during my commute time (which was really the only quiet time I had all week). But sadly, I got no actual words to paper or computer screen this week. I was just too exhausted. While this makes me sad, I am trying not to feel hopeless. My challenge is to figure out how to make it work, how to carve out the time, how to find the balance. I mentioned I love challenges, right?

We have a busy weekend ahead so it’s time for me to get to it. Have a great weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/3/2015

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It’s Friday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It has been an emotional week for me. It was my last week working at the lab. Having been there for four years, I got quite comfortable and made wonderful friendships. Even though I am excited about my new job, it was hard to leave. My farewell party was Wednesday but I spent the whole week saying goodbyes and preparing for the separation.

I also spent the week preparing for my new role in the clinical realm, perusing medical literature to update myself on new prenatal tests and planning out my counseling techniques. Old dogs can, in fact, learn new tricks.

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, today was a work holiday. It was a dry, sunny day – one of our first in a while. My husband worked so I spent the day with my daughters. This is always a treat. They have hit that point of the summer where they are using the dreaded “B word”…. bored. Swim lessons are over, they miss their school friends, the novelty of summer is wearing off. Today we had some outdoor time, some creative time and some reading time. Reading time is my favorite.

My eleven year-old daughter is anxiously awaiting the release of the next (and last, I believe) book in The Land of Stories series (by Chris Colfer) on July 7. She is completely captivated by these books and it warms my heart to see that.

Both of my daughters are anxiously awaiting the release of the Minions movie. Confession: so am I.

I want to wish everyone a fun and safe 4th of July weekend. Be especially careful if you use fireworks at home with your children. Also, please be mindful of your furry family members. More pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year because they are scared of fireworks.

Have a great week!

Casual Fridays 6/26/2015

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Happy Saturday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Saturday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

Last night was a typical Friday night at our house. My husband and I rented a redbox movie and had a quiet evening. He picked the movie this week and graciously selected a “chick flick”. He reserved it in the afternoon and so when the redbox email appeared on my phone revealing the movie title, I was excited. After work, filled with anticipation, I made popcorn and we settled in. It was a love story – a good story – and I was invested in it… until the end. What a disappointment. I actually yelled “Are you kidding me?” at the screen. There may have been an expletive thrown in there too. Ever followed a story through it’s highs and lows and gotten attached to characters and then watched, horrified, as the author steers the story off in a direction you don’t want it go? Like right off a cliff? Frustrating.

Lazy Saturday mornings are the best. I’ve downloaded some songs that I’ve been crushing on lately. I’ve perused the kindle store on my app. I visited facebook and watched a hilarious buzzfeed video – the one about the guy who wears high heels for a day (because he obviously thinks that women are just whiny complainers and finds out that high heels are the devil). I’ve given belly rubs to my cat, Gracie, who is curled up next to me. A good morning, all in all.

Things are all set for my transition at work. My new coworkers are excited that I am coming back. My soon-to-be old coworkers are sad but wishing me well. They have planned a farewell party on Wednesday. It’s all a little exhausting for this introvert, to be honest. And while I am excited about my new position, I am also scared and nervous. Change always breeds anxiety. A crafty demon, anxiety. It robs me of sleep, good humor and creativity and makes me focus on negatives. So my goal for the upcoming weeks is to focus on positives.

On that note, the kids and I tried something new this past week: Geocaching. Any geocachers out there? It is basically a real-life treasure hunt, the caches are hidden everywhere. Though this official website, the caches are registered and assigned GPS coordinates. You can find caches near you and then log your finds on your profile page. Some caches are quite small and just consist of a log to sign. Other caches are larger and contain little items to swap (take an item, leave an item). We started doing this because my older daughter found a lost cache item (quite by accident) at camp recently. It was a little eagle statue and it was a trackable (travel bug). That means that it has a code that you can enter on the website so that it’s location can be tracked. The purpose is to keep the item moving to see how far it can go. So when we found this little lost guy, we felt obligated to get him back in the game so he could keep traveling. Complete muggles (what geocachers call non-geocachers), we went online and figured out how to set up an account and locate a cache near us where we could place the trackable. This is a long and kind of funny story, maybe fodder for another post. Anyway, the trackable is back in a cache and waiting for the next person to find him and send him further on his journey. Now the kids want to find other caches in our town.

What have been the highlights of your week? Did you try anything new?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Casual Fridays 6/19/15

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It’s Friday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

First, my thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Senseless tragedies like this always break my heart. I just can’t imagine what the victims’ families are going through. I went to grad school in SC and spent a lot of time in Charleston for both personal and professional reasons. It is a wonderful, beautiful city full of diversity and history. I send all of my love to the people of Charleston as they heal and move forward from this terrible incident.

My big news for the week is that I got a new job! I am going to stay at the same university but move back to the OB/GYN department as a clinical genetic counselor (read more here). I worked at that same position for six years before it was eliminated (budget reasons) in 2011. I have been in the genetics lab since. I was a little hesitant to go back to this OB position, given what happened in the past. However, it is a good move for me professionally. I have a lot of experience and training in clinical counseling and that is where my heart is. I am excited to get back to serving patients. There have also been staffing changes in OB that make me believe that there will be a more positive environment. Most of my old coworkers are still there so I am hoping for a smooth transition. I will be starting there right after the 4th of July holiday.

I just officially accepted the position yesterday. I had to give my notice at my current position, which was stressful. My supervisor was so kind and understanding. The rest of the day was spent fielding a flurry of emails about my offer and various transfer details that I must take care of.

This morning I had to perform a drug test. It was a hair drug test. I have never done that before. A lab worker actually sectioned my hair and pinned it up on my head like a hairdresser. Then she snipped off little clumps from the underneath. I have a lot of hair but it makes me wonder how they perform this test on people with very short hair!

I am not sure how my new job will affect my writing time (which is quite limited as it is). My daily schedule won’t change much except for getting to work earlier and leaving earlier. I still have a long commute and my evenings will still be devoted to my kids. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

That’s all of the news for me this week. Have a good Friday, everyone, and a great weekend!