Category Archives: work

Finding the Plan Me in Retirement

Song Lyric of the Day:

I might fear I go and my heart is white / And we race right out on the desert plains all night / So honey I am now, some broken thing / I do not lay in the dark waiting for day here / Now my heart is gold, my feet are right / And I’m racing out on the desert plains all night

Phosphorescent / “Song for Zula

Last year, amid all the fun of the pandemic lockdown, I went through a major life change: I retired. Retired from Discovery, anyway. I got an offer that was too good to refuse, and after countless discussions with the spouse, he encouraged me to go for it. So I’ve now officially been retired since November 6, 2020.

It wasn’t the easiest decision to make, and certainly not during a pandemic. But after almost 14 1/2 years with the company (née Scripps), this opportunity was the chance to make a leap I’ve been too scared — and far too comfortable — to make on my own. To say Discovery spoiled me is an understatement; I loved working there and can’t rule out going back someday. I mean, where else can I get Brady Bunch swag and play with puppies every spring? Not to mention the flexibility of working from home one day a week, and when needed due to illness, whether mine or the kids’, school cancellations, etc. I really loved and will miss the perks of working there. But mostly I miss my boss, work team, and my friends. And because of the pandemic, we didn’t even get to say goodbye in person, which was hard and probably why it didn’t *quite* feel like I’d separated from the company. Also, having worked from home since March didn’t help — there wasn’t a physical change of scenery, as it were. I went from working from home to not working from home. At least my wardrobe stayed the same.

I’ve never not worked. I’ve worked steadily since I was 16. So the first few days of retirement were weird. Rich would laugh at me since it was obvious I had NO idea what to do with myself. I found my footing pretty quickly, though, and am in a good routine now. I switch off with Rich in taking Sebastian to and picking him up from preschool. I run errands I used to only be able to do on weekends. I cook a LOT more. I enjoy daily lunches with Coraline; we’re currently bingeing Leverage. I’ve taken over most of our AirBNB management. I work on home improvement projects. I’ve started writing a lot more. And I never, ever, miss my morning nap with Capone.

Now that I have the gift of time, the list of things I want to get done and learn grows every day. My (now former) colleague Sandi coined the term Plan Me, and that’s exactly what I’ve started outlining in a journal. I want to learn how to edit videos, finish tracing my family tree, earn money from my photography, read ALL THE BOOKS, start new house projects, finish writing at least one of my novels, find freelance writing and editing jobs, and do so much more. The list grows by the day.

Here’s to the next chapter.

Discovery exterior

Discovery sign

Cube nameplate

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Back to Work

Song Lyric of the Day:

You’re always clickin’ and pointin’ / Pointin’ and clickin’ / And clickin’ that thing forever

Today was my first day back at work since I’m no longer on bedrest. After 13 days of not working (not including weekends), I am exhausted. Having lived on the couch (or Command Central as I was calling it) for the last two weeks, getting back into the daily grind wore me out. The workday itself wasn’t too stressful, which was great, although it being a Monday my laptop was disagreeable, to say the least. I think it got used to not working, too.

My workday was almost a half day as I had a doctor’s appointment — yes, another one — this afternoon. Coraline was sleepy during the non-stress test, so they gave me ice-cold water and crackers to try to wake her up. She responded by trying to kick the sensors off my stomach. Kid does not like having her sleep disturbed, just like her mother. And yet another ultrasound technician commented on Cora’s full head of dark hair. At this point, I expect to be able to braid her hair as soon as she comes out.

I’ll keep this short as I am (1) very tired and (2) need to do something productive so I don’t fall asleep too early. I’ll try to get back into regular posts this week. And by regular I mean before dinnertime.

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Life Going On

Song Lyric of the Day:

The rain is fallin’ on my window pane / But we are hidin’ in a safer place / Under covers stayin’ dry and warm / You give me feelins that I adore

Colbie Caillat / “Bubbly

It rained all day today. It was one of those days where I just wanted to stay in bed, alternating between sleeping and reading*. Alas, that was not to be since I have to make a living. Work’s good, although it’s been kicking my butt again. But I’m really fortunate in that I’ve gotten to learn and dabble in a bunch of different things the last few weeks: country music news, HTML coding, travel guides, cocktails. Keeps everything interesting.

Even though I’m exhausted most nights, I’ve stepped up my exercise routine. Have to lose a few more pounds so I feel Uruguay-ready (vacation is only weeks away!), specifically Uruguay beach-ready. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve lost 5.6 pounds in the last month or so, starting with when I got sick. That was a 3-pound handicap right there.)

So other than work and exercise, not a whole lot’s going on right now. Which is just fine by me — more time to write, read, and relax.

*I’m currently reading False Memory by Dean Koontz, Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster, and The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde.


Filed under books, vacation, work

Stress in the City

Song Lyric of the Day:

Are you happy now? / Where do you go when you’re lonely / Where do you go when you’re blue / Where do you go when you’re lonely / I’ll follow you / When the stars go blue, blue

The Corrs featuring Bono / “When the Stars Go Blue”


Things at work are ramping up again, meaning that today kicked my ass. The holidays can’t get here soon enough. Tonight I have to go through my official girly grooming ritual (shape the brows, file and polish the nails, etc.). I say have to since I have an audition tomorrow evening, my second in about 10 days (including a huge cattle call). I was also submitted for a TV commercial last week, for which I was not picked, sending me into an “I’m a hideous uggo” spiral for about a day. But que sera sera, right? Besides, after receiving my photo with Carter Oosterhouse (taken on Monday) this morning, how can I not be in a good mood?

Photo taken by the awesome Caren.

*Blog post title suggested by (and accepted from) the handsome, talented spouse.


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The Best Thing About Work Today

Song Lyric of the Day:

I’d buy you Rogaine if you start losing all your hair / Sew on patches to all you tear

Ingrid Michaelson / “The Way I Am

Aside from job security, one of the best things about work is the perks we get to enjoy. Sometimes we get swag. We have TVs on our desks. Every now and then we get to enjoy an ice cream social or a breakfast. A few months ago we got to meet Clive Pearse, host of Design Star and a really nice guy. Today, however, took the cake in that we got to meet the fantabulously head-suited Carter Oosterhouse, host of HGTV’s Carter Can.

Nary a male was in sight when I arrived at the building along with two co-workers. Which was not remotely surprising. I mean, look at the man. He’s gorgeous and, it turns out, tall as a tree. When it was my turn to meet Carter, I started to get a bit nervous, but quickly got back on track when he shook my hand, asked me how I was, thanked me for coming out, and asked me what I do. I’m pretty sure I was momentarily hypnotized. He autographed a photo for me, after which I asked him if he’d also sign one for my mom, to which he replied that he’d be glad to (gotta look out for Ma).

As he was autographing the second photo, he looked at me again and asked, “Can I ask what your background is?”

“You mean like my ethnicity?”


“I’m Puerto Rican and Mexican.”

“Neat. My mother’s Mexican. Her maiden name is Lopez.”

“Carter, you just made my mother’s day.”

He then wrapped an arm around me and we smiled for the camera*, posing in front of the large Christmas tree behind us. Then I floated away, giddy and ready to finish working for the day. Exactly like every other woman that met him today.

*I hope to receive my photo tomorrow.

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Song Lyric of the Day:

Music is my boyfriend / Music is my girlfriend / Music is my dead end / Music’s my imaginary friend

Wow. Been a while since I’ve updated, although I have managed to Twitter more lately. In a nutshell, life’s been kicking my ass lately, both personally and professionally. The personal stuff is causing all kinds of off-the-charts stress. So is work in its own way, but it’s job security and I’m learning new stuff, so I won’t complain. What the hell have I been up to? The rundown:

Hi, My Name Is Pam
I dressed as Pamela Voorhees to celebrate Halloween at work; my coworkers and friends Ron and Jeremy went as Jason from Friday the 13th Part II (burlap sack) and Jason From Friday the 13th Part III on (hockey mask), respectively. It was basically My Two Homicidal Sons. And me in my short blond wig? Not a good thing. So not my color. It also turns out I’m pretty clumsy wielding a plastic machete. Although I’m quite skilled with an actual machete (don’t ask).

Two Down, Two to Go
I paid off two credit cards. Yay me! I’ll attack the remaining two once the holidays are over.

Back on Track
Rich and I are once again doing the healthy eating and exercise thing. It may sound futile in the face of Thanksgiving, but we realized we were essentially still on the eating binge that started last Thanksgiving. We’re tired of feeling blah and looking just as blah, so we’re working on it. I’ve cut back significantly on my soda intake, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I completely give it up.

Home, ImprovementsNothing major, but it’s amazing what our pretty new curtains and fancy new little trash cans have done for our bedroom. The dark, copper-colored trash cans really pop against the pale birch furniture, while our chocolate-colored curtains do the same; added bonus: they transform our bedroom into the completely lightless cave we dreamed of. I no longer have raccoon face in the mornings since I no longer need to put my sleep mask on to block out the morning sun’s evil, evil rays. Add in fancy new doorknobs, and our room is really shaping up.

421 Words
The last progress I was able to make on my book. Not. Enough. Time. So far, this month has been more like NoNoWriMo (my friend came up with that) than either NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo.

Rich and I finally applied for our passports. The catalyst? A trip next year to Uruguay with our faboo friends Richard and Donna. Of course, every time I talk about it, I remember that Simpsons episode where Homer points at Uruguay on a globe and laughs “Hehehe. U are gay.”

…And Scene!
This weekend will mark my third week of acting class. I’m taking it through the Actors Coop and my instructor is the very talented Sara Schwabe. Turns out it’s a lot of fun practicing soft focus, finding your center, and running lines with total strangers.

And now back to work. I’m working from home each night this week, because, as I mentioned earlier, work is kicking my ass.

*This is the song used in that cool new iPod Touch commercial. Not to be confused with a song that is actually named “Music Is My Boyfriend” by Skye Sweetnam. Which is also a perfectly good song.

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Song Lyric of the Day:


I’ve / Become so numb / I can’t feel you there / Become so tired / So much more aware / I’m becoming this / All I want to do / Is be more like me / And be less like you

Linkin Park / “Numb”

Last month I celebrated a milestone birthday. The epiphany that has been gestating for a few months crystallized. I am no longer satisfied just working for a living. I want a career that challenges me, fulfills me, and interests me. For almost a year I had that as a Technical Writer at my company’s corporate office in Virginia Beach. I was given the opportunity to learn different graphics programs, including Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and ClearEdge. I not only enjoyed learning these programs, I enjoyed using what I learned to finalize technical manuals for delivery to our client. Not only did I have a fun job that I loved, I worked closely with three great people with whom I am still good friends.

Now I work in our Hampton office. I am still a Technical Writer, but I do not actually get to write anything. Or edit anything, for that matter. I certainly don’t work with any graphics programs. Transferring to this office was not something I wanted to do, but had to do. In government contracting, there are no guarantees. You go where the contracts take you. In my case, that’s a 52-mile round trip drive every day.

If I could go back in time, I’d find my college advisor and beat the sh!t out of him for encouraging me to pursue my English degree in Technical Writing. If I could have seen into the future and known this kind of professional malaise and ennui was what my degree would get me, I would have studied something else.

Granted, I am not living in an area known as a hotbed of magazine or book publishing. Moving to New York City or Chicago to pursue that is out of the question at this time. So I make do with this.

What would I go back and study instead of Technical Writing?

Forensics, maybe. I’ve been interested in forensics since high school, long before The New Detectives and CSI became a part of our pop culture.

Drama, maybe. In the past year I have acted in a couple of locally filmed TV shows filmed at New Dominion Pictures in Suffolk. Turns out that pretending to be a Medical Examiner’s Clerk and a Bad Guy’s Girlfriend is infinitely more interesting than being in a cube all day.

Maybe I’d just do what I’d wanted to do in the first place and major in Creative Writing. Again, a pox on my advisor for advising me to switch to Technical Writing. “No one will hire you if they see ‘B.A. in Creative Writing’ listed on your resume,” he said. Sigh.

Some people feel a calling to help others and become teachers, cops, nurses, doctors. Others want to serve our judicial system and become lawyers or judges. Still others find work to suit their mechanical skills and abilities.

Me, I can tell you who directed, wrote, starred in, and produced a movie or TV show. More often than not, I can even tell you what year it was released or aired.

What am I supposed to do with that? Other than play lots of trivia games and visit a lot.

That is my big dilemma: what to be when I grow up.

Hopefully, I’ll figure that out soon enough.

Fear not. I will not use this blog solely to whine about my lot in my professional life.

I have plenty of other stuff to talk about. Really.


Filed under personal, technical writing, work, writing