Category Archives: life

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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One Day Post at a Time

Song Lyric of the Day:

So, bless my heart and bless my mind / I got so much to do, I ain’t got much time

Alabama Shakes / “Hold On

I’ve made my peace with not being able to update here every day. I work outside the home most days, and it’s hard to find the time to write on a good day, nearly impossible on a bad/busy/interrupted day. I can always go the nocturnal-blogging route again, but I’ve been working hard to get to bed at a decent time on weeknights. I had lights out at 10:45 the other night — that’s a recent record. If I have lights out by 11:45 on most nights, I’m ahead of the game.

It’s OK that I haven’t posted a lot lately as not much is going on, other than life getting a bit overwhelming here and there (more on that another day). We drop the kids off at camp or Abuela’s house and day care, go to work, pick up the kids, and have family time in the evenings. We take care of household chores as time permits once the kids are in bed and based on what else we need to do, like cleaning up the trail of destruction I routinely leave in the kitchen when I cook. I am not a neat cook by any means; Rich once commented that when I cook it looks like the kitchen blew up. He’s not that far off with that assessment. On weekends we bust our asses catching up on housework and errands we can’t get done during the work week, because once I’m home from work and the pants have come off, I’m not going out again.

There’s a reason that the big bloggers I read post daily or at least with regular, scheduled frequency — they work from/at home and their blogs are their source of income. Which is obviously not the case for me. If I did have those 40 hours (plus commute time) at home every week, and didn’t have to work? Oh, the things I could get done:

I’d have the house looking like a show home, gleaming like the top of the Chrysler building (ha).

I’d actually — heaven forbid — plan meals and cook on a semi-regular basis. Well, at least more than I do now, anyway.

I’d get laundry done in a timely manner instead of a crap-the-kids-don’t-have-any-clean-shorts-left manner.

I’d be able to run errands at my own pace sans children.

Things would be more organized than they currently are, with things in the proper place instead of carefully controlled chaos.

I could work on landscaping projects early in the day before it heats up too much for me to be outside.

I could update my blog with some regularity.

I could work on my book and maybe even finish it someday.

Toys wouldn’t always be scattered all over upstairs in Hurricane Sebastian’s wake.

This is all also assuming that we would still have Sebastian in day care most days, but if I didn’t work outside the home he would not spend as many hours per day there as he does now.

I would be killing it as a mom and wife, instead of feeling like I fail in a million different little ways every day.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Nervous Breakdown …

Song Lyric of the Day:

My head is a box filled with nothing / And that’s the way I like it / My garden’s a secret compartment / And that’s the way I like it / And that’s the way I like it

Ben Lee / “Catch My Disease

Things have been beyond crazy lately. Like I-went-hiking-on-the-Appalachian-Trail-only-to-end-up-in-Argentina crazy. Why exactly have things been so crazy? First, work has been busybusybusy — site redesigns are always fun (cough). But it’s been good — days fly by when you’re busy and when you work with a great team.

The primary reason I’m freaking out these days is that, while this will be my seventh year participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and my fourth as a team captain, it’s my first as a committee member. I’m in charge of the Luminaria ceremony, so I’ve been busy writing the speech, meeting with the pastor, securing the bagpipers, and lots of other little things. Yesterday I was even interviewed on WVLT (channel 8 here) alongside the ACS’s amazing Ashley, who has been an invaluable support throughout the last few crazy months. Tonight, though, I’ve been trying to decide on songs to play after the bagpipers finish playing “Amazing Grace.” I chose a preliminary set of songs based on their lyrics, and not only how they affect me personally and emotionally, but also how they can be interpreted by and affect fellow Relay participants. My playlist so far:

“Keep Me in Your Heart” by Warren Zevon

“I Will Love You” by Fisher

“I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

“I’ll Be There” by Escape Club

“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche

In between work craziness and Relay prep, I’ve seen my awesome little nephews as often as possible. My best days are now the ones where I get to see either Elliott or Stephen, ideally both — they’re my special little guys.

I’ve also managed to motivate my lazy, stressed, and expanding ass to start semi-regular full workouts again, although I took tonight off. (I’ve learned the hard way to listen to my body when it’s achier than normal.)

I’ve found the time (thank you, TiVo) to enjoy some great TV, too: The Closer, Leverage, True Blood — squee! — and Better Off Ted to name a few shows, about which I will write more once I’m done with the Relay. I’m also really enjoying the 10 little Indians concept of Harper’s Island (and, boy, will I be pissed if Jimmy is the other killer).

Now you know where I’ve been. It’s not too late to donate to the Relay for Life, either. You can donate to my team as a whole (or pick a random team member) or make a donation on my personal page. Oh, and I have some fun news to share about my upcoming big vacation. It can’t get here soon enough.

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Life AFK

Song Lyric of the Day:

Save me, I’m lost / Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you / I’ll pay any cost / Just save me from being confused

Carolina Liar / “Show Me What I’m Looking For

I’ve decided to blog only when I have something worth saying. OK, worth saying in my opinion, anyway. So I’ll only be posting when I feel I have something to say, want to share my interest in something, want to express my opinion about things, want to document events in my life, feel like sharing something fun and so on. Basically, I’ll be maintaining my status quo and will be posting as infrequently/intermittently as I always do. This is just my way of letting myself off the hook. I’m never going to be a prolific daily blogger. At least, I don’t think I ever will be. This is a hobby for me, one I enjoy, but one I’m giving myself permission not to obsess over. To wit, I’ve been enjoying my real life lately, the one I don’t live online; trying to manage my stress level has been key. For instance:

  • I’ve made time to work on my book and even started a new one.
  • I hosted my sister’s baby shower this past weekend (little dude is due in the very near future).
  • I celebrated my puppy’s 1st birthday by buying him a cake from River Dog Bakery. He was thrilled (and so was big brother Caleb).
  • I’ve been catching up on TiVoed shows (Damages has been great this season — of course — and Castle is light but a lot of fun).
  • I’ve continued on my organizational bender in my neverending quest to bring more order to our house.
  • I stopped following certain bloggers and Twitterers because their negativity and hypocrisy was bringing me down. I feel much better for it, too.
  • I updated my wish list. Why? Because I have Borders gift cards burning a hole in my wallet and I want to be prepared next time I’m in the store. I’m that senile already.
  • I went to our friends’ charity basketball game (which I actually Twittered about).
  • I’ve spent less time on Facebook and Twitter (despite the previous basketball-related Twitter mention).
  • I swore off curse words for Lent. Why’d I do that? Because as a non-practicing Catholic I still like to exercise willpower every now and then. (Typing curse words doesn’t count, right? Only spoken ones do, right?

And that’s what’s going on in my world these days. Now it’s time to go write.

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My Life’s in Turnaround

Song Lyric of the Day:

Whenever I look back / On the best days of my life / I think I saw them all on T.V. / I am so homesick now for / Someone that I never knew / I am so homesick for / Someplace I will never be

The Bravery / “Time Won’t Let Me Go”

In addition to losing Yum Yum and Snoops this summer, my first boss recently passed away, too. He was a really great man, the kind of person you’re fortunate to have as your first boss at your first job. I’m glad I got to see him not too long ago; I only wish I’d talked to him a bit longer.
Still, not everything of late has been doom and gloom. To wit:

  • I celebrated yet another birthday recently (September 17)
  • Our two new sofas were finally delivered (Frankencouch© was happily accepted by our dog nephew, Moose). And it only took nine weeks (two to five weeks my ass)
  • Several home improvement projects are coming to completion
  • My dream closet is 75% (if you ask Rich, 80% if you ask me) complete — I could sleep in there, there’s so much room!
  • Satan has not yet reclaimed Troubadour as his puppy
  • I’m reconnecting with old friends
  • We now have two dual-tuner HD DVRs, so I’m on TV overload

One of the best things to happen of late was that my husband reminded me why I married him: he’s an awesome, kickass guy. Sneaky, too. He organized a surprise birthday party for me the Sunday before my birthday. The kicker? He got everyone to chip in and buy me my Pottery Barn desk as my present. (I kept putting off buying it since I’m making headway with my last remaining credit card. Being practical can be a real drag.) My new desk is awesome — and huge! I can invite a few friends over, and we can play Fort under it, it’s so big. So thanks again to Rich for being the best husband in the world, and thanks also to my family and friends who chipped in and made my birthday far better than I expected, or deserved, for it to be this year.

Hands-down, though, the best thing to happen lately is that my nephew, Elliott, was born healthy and happy on September 2. He inadvertently stole my sister, Samantha’s, birthday thunder, but she’s OK about that — she gets to be the “cool” aunt with whom he’ll always share the big day. I, however, will always have gum. Here’s the first picture I took of him; I had to use my camera phone since Vanessa ended up having an emergency C-section and it’s all I had with me.

He’s now 27 days old and the newest love of my life. He’s happy and healthy, and Vanessa and Ken have taken very naturally, and admirably, to parenthood. I can’t wait to see the personality the little guy develops.

El Burrito Elliott


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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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