If We Were Having Coffee… 4/9/17

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Good morning! It is so nice to see you. Please ignore the messy hair, pajamas, bleary eyes and dark circles. The theme here today is: exhausted. It is pretty warm here today so maybe we will forgo hot coffee for a cooler beverage. We could even sit outside, though it is windy today.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen? Catch me up.

I had a long week. I spent most of the week stressing about my genetics presentation (Inheritance Patterns) which took place on Friday at 7am. It was for our maternal-fetal-medicine fellows (post-residency fellowship). I get so intimidated because they are doctors. Specialists even. I worried about making the material too easy or too difficult, I aimed to make it relevant for them. What I always forget is that while they are budding MFM gurus, their genetics knowledge is pretty basic. Afterwards, they told me that my level was on point and that the presentation was very helpful. It was a hit. I have to give them another lecture in two weeks so it is time to start stressing about the next one.

Friday afternoon, I took my daughters to a women’s college three hours away for a Girl Scout STEAM event. STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. We stayed in a hotel Friday night and the event was 10am on Saturday. It was fun day with demonstrations and hands-on activities. One of their favorites was a biology lab where they got to use microscopes and touch some critters (frogs and snakes, mostly). My younger daughter even held salamander eggs (which are trapped in a big ball of jelly goo). We also did a genetics workshop so that was right up my alley! We also had perfect weather to walk around the beautiful campus. As a woman of science with two daughters it was definitely a day of girl power. I may write a separate post about it.

We drove three hours home last night, arriving here around 10pm. Combine that with the super early morning on Friday and that explains my bleary eyes and dark circles. We have another busy day today so I need to get to it.

Oh, and I wrote my Friday Fictioneers piece this morning. Check it out here.

Have a great week!

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (created by Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 4/2/17

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I know, I know… I’m late for coffee. The linkup has already closed. That’s okay, we can still grab a quick cup before Sunday fades away.

Exciting news… baseball season opened today! And my beloved Cardinals just beat the Cubs! Couldn’t have had a better team to beat for the home opener. Suck on that, Cubs.

Our girl scout troop volunteered at an Autism Awareness 5K run/walk yesterday morning. It was early and chilly, but we showed up to support this cause. These are the community events that I love to be a part of. The 5K wound up raising $3,000 for local schools/programs that provide services for individuals with autism.

We saw Beauty and the Beast this afternoon. It was everything I hoped it would be and had some visually stunning parts. Good job, Disney. We also rented Arrival last night. This one had a slow segment in the middle but at the end when I finally figured out what was going on… wow. Very timely message, that one.

Friday night, I walked into my daughter’s bedroom to find this little gem…

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That is TWO cats on the bed… side by side, content and happy! This made my heart do a happy little flip. That is Charlie the Tabby and Precious the White as Snow. Who is missing? The problem child…

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This is Gracie the Torti (also known as Doesn’t Play Well With Others). She is making progress, too but she is not as accepting as her two sisters.

If we were having our quick cup of coffee, I would lament about my busy week ahead. I have a Reproductive Endocrinology fellow starting a two week rotation with me and I have a presentation for the OB/GYN fellows on Friday. At 7am. Presentations at 7am should be illegal. My daughters have a STEAM event on Saturday at a college three hours away.  I fear that I may be late for coffee again next weekend but I will try my best to make our date.

I participated in Friday Fictioneers again this week. Check out Adrift.

So, catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (created by Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 3/12/17

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Welcome! Come on in out of the cold. Yes, our erratic weather has struck again. After some very warm spring-like days, we have hit low temperatures yet again (but luckily avoided the snow). Hopefully this will be the last bit of winter. We can enjoy some warm beverages today.

My house is quiet this morning. We have a bonus kid today (older daughter had a sleepover last night) so the kids are occupying each other. They were up quite late last night, though, so I am tired today. Add in daylight saving time (I loathe spring forward!) and it is a recipe for zombie-level fatigue today. The Walking Dead is on tonight so maybe that is perfect.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it has been an uneventful week. Uneventful is actually good. Work and school made the week pass quickly. There have been two promising changes at work. First, someone has been assigned to help me call out screening results, relieving me of some of my overwhelming workload. Second, we may have an interested candidate for the other counseling position. Yes, the counseling position that we have been recruiting for for a year and a half. I really hope she takes the job because it would help me immensely. Fingers crossed.

If we were having coffee, I would also update you on the Kitty Chronicles. Precious, the new cat, has become quite the lovebug. She is so sweet. The cats are getting along better, there have been fewer scuffles. More and more, they can be near each other with no problems. Things are not perfect, but the house is much more peaceful.

I have also made the decision to try to quit sugar. You give me that look. I know, I understand. My sugar addiction is like a level 100 critical. I am not saying it will be easy. I am going to cut out soda (goodbye daily Mountain Dew) and my beloved high-fructose-corn syrup-laden Hawaiian punch (it deeply pains me to type that). I will drink more water. I will eat better. I went to the store last night and bought fresh fruits and nuts. I will cut out the candy (this may be the hardest part). I will exercise. These healthy changes will hopefully help me to look and feel better.

I wrote a flash fiction piece for Friday Fictioneers! It has been so long since I participated. Please check it out here.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (created by Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 1/8/17

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You are such a good friend to meet me for our weekly coffee chat at odd times, on the run between activities. Life has been hectic lately with work and kiddos. 2017 has felt like a blurry mess so far.

Work has been busy not only because of patient volume but also because of my teaching duties. I had a genetics fellow in training the whole month of December. I had a fourth year medical student last week and she is with me again this week. The fellow is coming back for one more week later this month. While I enjoy training them, the extra time I invest in them takes away from my time to do my other work. I always feel like I am trying to catch up.

Sidenote: I am watching the Golden Globes and Meryl Streep… wow. What a speech. She is an amazing woman.

Girl scout cookie season is in full swing. This means that the next couple of months will be busy with orders, cookie arrival day, sorting, distributing, cookie booths, etc. It also means that thin mints are coming!

Speaking of sweets, you won’t believe what I found when I was shopping on New Year’s Eve… Cadbury mini eggs! My longtime readers know about my mini egg obsession. To be able to find my beloved Easter candy already on 12/31 made my heart do joyful cartwheels. With Easter being three full months away, though, I will have to be careful to not gain too much weight. I can eat a lot of mini eggs in three months!

It has been so cold here this past week and we got our first measurable snow of the season. It was only a couple of inches. We have had some rollercoaster weather… unseasonable warm then frigid cold then snow then unseasonable warm then frigid cold, etc. I blame that for the illnesses going around.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Diana at Part-time monster for hosting this weekly coffee chat! Join in by posting your own coffee post with the tag #weekendcoffeeshare and check out the other coffee share participants here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 10/30/16

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It is unseasonably warm today so maybe we could forgo the coffee and drink something a bit cooler. Maybe we could even sit outside on the deck. We are in for a warmer than average week, too. Of course, it will cool off a bit for next weekend… the weekend that we are going camping. For now, the air is a bit balmy but our typical Midwestern humidity is gone making it quite comfortable.

I am thankful for the warm weather since tomorrow is Halloween. I always love when it is warm enough for the kids to trick or treat without coats. My older daughter is going to be a pirate and my younger daughter is going to be Bat Girl. I’m not sure how much longer my 12 year-old with trick or treat, this year may be the last one. It is sad how those “last times” sneak up on parents.

My 12 year-old has district band auditions on Tuesday. It brings back so many memories of my band days. Luckily we both play the flute so I have been working with her at home. I don’t think she cares about auditions as much as I do, getting her to practice has been a struggle. Well, she practices for 15 minutes and thinks that is good enough. I disagree. She has a natural talent. I want her to have the drive to push herself to be better. I am not seeing it yet.

We have been preparing for the camping trip next weekend with both Girl Scout troops. We will have five cadettes going (mostly 7th graders) and seven “minis” (brownies, mostly 3rd graders…I have taken to calling my brownie troop “minis” because my guilty pleasure lately has been Dance Moms). So we have been working on menus and activities. We have a good itinerary with a mix of horseback riding, indoor games, outdoor games, crafts and flag ceremonies. We will do some dutch oven cooking (taco bake and breakfast casserole) and some campfire cooking (hot dogs) and of course, s’mores.

I have a work presentation on Wednesday afternoon and I haven’t even given it much thought. It is the same presentation that I gave last year for the same medical school class so I have slides ready to go. I am giving it with two other people and my part is the smallest part. I am still nervous, though, since I hate public speaking. I think I have avoided thinking about it so that I won’t stress about it. But now that it is only a couple of days away, I am starting to stress. Wish me luck!

I have a busy evening with The Walking Dead (which will hopefully be less depressing than last week) and game 5 of the World Series. Go Indians!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Part Time Monster for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. Join in by creating your own coffee share post with the tag weekendcoffeeshare and/or add to the linkup here.

Day 5: Stepping Stones

There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them – Friedrich Nietzsche

In 2011, I was working as a clinical counselor,  happy in my career and providing a comfortable life for my family. One day, unexpectedly, I was told that my job was being eliminated due to downsizing. I had one month to find a new position. In my field, that is quite difficult. Even if I had been willing to relocate – which I wasn’t – thirty days was not enough time.

To keep my benefits and keep a roof over my kids’ heads, I stayed at the university and took a position in the genetics laboratory. A significant demotion in all respects. It was a financial blow and it also did wicked things to my self-esteem. I struggled for a long time, harboring anger and resentment and battling depression. I internalized all of that. The only person who saw the effects was my husband. Behind closed doors. Outwardly, I tried to stay as positive as possible.

I spent a lot of time treating this detour as a stumbling block. I was convinced my life and career were ruined and my education wasted. I failed to see the bigger picture. I failed to see anything beyond the moment I was in.

It took time, but I did begin to see the positives. I learned a whole new aspect of genetics about which I was short-sighted before. The lab was a supportive environment full of people who taught me and encouraged me. My coworkers were the coolest group of people that I have ever worked with. It was a fun place to work (most of the time). We had potlucks, parties, lab olympics and a devoted Walking Dead group. I made some very good friends and broke out of my shell a bit. I worked in a team but also had a lot of solo work, when I could just put in my earbuds and stay in my own headspace. What the job lacked in compensation, it made up for with flexibility. I could change my hours as needed and take vacation days more easily, allowing more time with my family. The lower stress and path of inner discovery put me in the proper mind-frame to reconnect with my love for writing. Staying at the university kept me proximal and well-aligned to take back my current position when the opportunity arose.

The four years I spent in the lab were definitely a branch in my path that I did not expect. While it was not always easy, it was a stepping stone. The lab was a soft place for me to land in my time of need. I gained knowledge there that I am using clinically now and it has made me a better counselor. I miss my old coworkers, though I do talk to them regularly since I send them specimens. On particularly hectic days, I sometimes long for the relaxed pace of the lab. I wish that I hadn’t taken so long to see the rocks for what they really were.

Weekend Rewind 9/27/15

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It’s Sunday and time for the latest installment of Weekend Rewind, my weekly casual chat post – no prompts, no rules, anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Once again, I did not update my graphic for this feature. Readers who have been around here for any length of time are not surprised (and new readers are wondering why a feature called Weekend Rewind has an image that says Casual Fridays. Welcome to my quirky world). Anyone want to start taking bets on how long this task will take me to complete? I did actually pick a new image and then I fell into the time-sucking vortex known as Pic Monkey. Result: nothing got accomplished. Stay tuned.

The big news of my week is that I was in a car accident Friday morning. Correction: I caused a car accident Friday morning, which is something that I have never done before. It happened in front of the hospital where I work, in a large intersection as I was turning onto the street that leads to my parking garage. I was turning left through that intersection, yielding to the oncoming traffic. When my light turned yellow, I thought the oncoming drivers also had a yellow and they appeared to be slowing down. So I turned left to beat the red light only to get T-boned by a BMW. I spun completely around and came to rest on the street perpendicular to where I started. Before my car had even come to a complete stop, I was cursing myself for making such a stupid mistake that was going to have implications not just for myself but for the other driver as well.

Chaos ensued as this happened in a high-traffic area. Police and security officers showed up immediately and went through the protocol of making sure no one was hurt, moving the cars out of the way, directing traffic around the wreckage.  Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. The BMW has all front-end damage. I was hit on the passenger side, rear panel. I must have been jarred to the right on impact because all of my bruises are on my right side. My right elbow is swollen and covered in a large, nasty purple bruise. I also have bruises on my right upper arm and my right hip. Otherwise, I am fine. I stood on the sidewalk and called my husband. Then I called my insurance company to start a claim, get a tow truck, reserve a rental car and pick the repair shop that would restore my car to its pre-accident glory. I did all of this while the police gathered our information and took statements. I felt so guilty as all of the activity went on around me. I just kept thinking that all of said activity – the hassle and inconvenience – was all because of me. It took close to two hours to get it all cleared up.

After work, a coworker gave me a ride to Hertz to get my rental. I drove the rental across the street to the body shop. I met a really nice mechanic named Brian. He asked me if I was okay before he even mentioned my car. He gave me the hefty estimate of the damages, assuring me that it was all cosmetic and amazingly, the frame and structure of the car appear to be good. He even told me that I might be sore the next day and recommended taking some advil. Brian thinks my repairs will take three weeks. Until he is finished working automotive magic, I will be driving my rental with Texas plates… a Toyota Yaris (insert the 😐  emoji face here).

So here are some things that I am thankful for this week:

  • good auto insurance
  • while two cars have significant damage, the people involved do not
  • the accident happened when I was alone and not when my kids were in the backseat
  • people who treated me with kindness and didn’t make me feel like a total idiot

In other random news, I had parent-teacher conferences this past week. My kids rock. I have a presentation in three days and I finally got to work on the slides this weekend. I cannot wait until that presentation is over. I am counting the minutes. The eclipse/blood moon thing has made my cat and dog lose their minds. It is almost October!

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Weekend Rewind 9/13/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Weekend Rewind, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.

Let’s get random…

So I realize that if I am going to change the name of my weekly feature to Weekend Rewind, then I need to develop a new graphic. That’s my new project for this week.

Let me just mention work and get it out of the way. I actually had a great week. It was not as busy and I actually caught up with all of my paperwork. That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to jinx it.

The worst part of the workweek was my morning commute on Friday morning. I was in fairly thick traffic moving along at a good clip when an 18-wheeler jack-knifed about 3 cars in front of me. I saw the truck’s cab swerve toward the median and hit the guardrail and then all I saw was brake lights and cars coming to a screeching halt. Blind panic took over for a few seconds (amazing how things like that seem to happen in a split second but somehow also seem to move in slow motion). Amazingly, no one hit the truck. I managed not to get hit though the car next to me in the right lane got rear-ended. As the chaos settled, people slowly started to get out of their cars and check on each other. We made sure the truck driver was okay and began to mill around and survey the damage. After I came down from my adrenaline high, I started to think about how lucky we all were that things didn’t turn out much, much worse. I am so thankful that there were no serious injuries.

We had a glorious fall weather weekend. It was crisp and cool with beautiful blue cloudless skies. It was a promise of what is to come. It was a perfect weekend to break out our firepit and roast hot dogs and s’mores. I know some people move to Florida or California or Hawaii to live in perpetual summer but if I could I would move somewhere where I could bask in perpetual sweater and football weather.

In our first football weekend, the Rams managed to beat the Seahawks. Color me surprised.

The school year is plugging along. Our first parent-teacher conferences are already in just under two weeks. We spent some time this weekend working on science with my sixth grader. She is studying the scientific method and creating hypotheses (and independent variables and dependent variables). She is a straight-A student and she loves science but she has been slow to warm to these concepts. I think we made some progress, though. Caitlin, my second grader, is looking forward to the fall field trip about a month from now. I already have the day off work so that I can go. She also went all week without a checkmark for talking!

We had a housecleaner come to our home on Saturday morning to give us an estimate on her services. I am hesitant to hire someone to clean my house. She used to work for my dad cleaning at the school and she is the mother of my husband’s homecare client. She has a great reputation so I am not worried about that. And she is very affordable so that is not my problem. Hiring a cleaning lady is admitting I need help and that, to me, is a fail. I feel like I should be able to be superworker and superwife and supermom and get it all done. But with my work hours and my dwindling energy level, I have a hard time keeping up with the cleaning. After all, I live with two small humans and a man (therefore the equivalent of three children), none of which are very good at cleaning up after themselves. Oh, and then there’s the hair machine dog. The amount of hair in my house borders on insane. So I am considering hiring this woman. It would let me spend more time enjoying my family. That is how I rationalize it anyway.

I have another short workweek this week because I am off work Friday for a dentist appointment. But guess what came up for Saturday? A bake sale for Girl Scouts. So guess what I will likely spend my day off doing? Baking. Packaging. Pricing. Is it worth it? Yes, definitely. We are raising money for our camping trip next month. This is the same camp that I went to as a scout eons ago. The girls will get to do archery and horseback riding. They will get to hike and sleep in cabins and eat s’mores around the campfire. So I will bake my little heart out.

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

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) – 8/14/15

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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!