There’s this one scenario in my mind where everything is easy. Things are in place and moving along smoothly.

Then there’s this other scenario.

It’s called reality.

This past weekend was good really. There may have been a minor blowup about whether or not I was helpful in *Lowe’s, but aside from that, really fun.

*Short version:

Me: I was so being helpful!

John: You were the complete opposite of helpful! I will kill you.

Let’s just say we never really settled on a winner for that argument.

We did however, paint the nursery. And lament about how we’re spending too much money on everything but we’re powerless to stop it. Who knew a baby could be so expensive?

Everyone? Oh yeah I guess so.

I also got to the gym, got a massage, walked the dog a whole bunch, caught up on Thursday night TV, and got to see good friends. All in all a great weekend. Except for the Lowe’s part. I guess I feel fine about it though, because I’m pretty sure that at least one out of every two couples walking around Lowe’s or Home Depot is arguing about something or other.

Anyway, back to my scenarios. I do have these perfect scenarios of life in my mind, but it’s just not working that way somehow.

For instance, I want to write in this blog and have it be a place to chronicle my life and all my thoughts about the world. I can’t help but censor myself a little though, because I know the rents are reading. (Hi mom and dad – see, no F word anywhere in this post!)

I also want this not to become a mommy blog, but I’m kinda thinking it’s taking that turn. Sorry folks, that’s what’s going on in my life. I wish I could take beautiful photos of salted chocolate brownies, but I am too busy reading weird birthing stories from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

I want to be one of those active pregnant ladies, the ones who are still going to kickboxing and running 10ks and what not, but it turns out that I need a giant sandwich after just 30 minutes on the elliptical, so that’s just going to have to do for now.

I want to not get annoyed at that person at work who is doing that thing that I’m not going to talk about, but man it is annoying me.

I want not to be cryptic but I am.

I want to read the New Yorker like I used to and be informed about my world and not just worry about what vanity will look good in our tiny bathroom.

I want a margarita. A big giant margarita. A good one too, no sweet and sour. All lime juice and salt and tequila.

Oh did this just turn into a list about all the things I want? I guess I could go on and on.

It’s fine though, it is it’s all good. I think thinking about all of the things I want to do really makes me a better person. It makes me strive to do better. Be better. Wanting a margarita makes you a better person right?


The other day I went to pre-natal yoga and the instructor asked us to describe our pregnancy in two words. I could only think of one.


I mean of course there are a million words I could use – you know the usual, miraculous and amazing and unreal, and then also the other side of the coin, the anxious and scared outta my mind (yes I know that’s more than one word) and worried and all of that.

But really, aren’t those all of the things that pregnancy is about? Oh and I guess I forgot food and tired and peeing all the time. Those things too.

Yeah those things, but busy is it really. This pregnancy has become a big part of my life, and prepping for this baby, both physically and mentally, is taking every single brain cell I have.

My mind is constantly whirring, constantly busy. I feel like I never have time to just stop and stay with my thoughts, to just let my mind relax.

For one thing there’s work, and work is wow. My job is amazing right now, I just passed my one year anniversary, and I’m loving it. But it is a BEAST.

My task list is a mile long, and every day something new and unexpected pops up. And yes, I still wake up in the middle of the night worrying about whether or not I sent a stupid email. Honestly I’m a little concerned about how I’m going to let all of this go when I go on maternity leave, but something tells me I’m going to be slightly preoccupied so in all likelihood it will all just disappear. But you know, I guarantee I’ll still be checking in on the Facebook page and reading the media coverage. I just can’t turn that off.

So there’s always work, but now there are so many other things. I am obsessed with designing the nursery. Well obsessed with thinking about it anyway. I haven’t actually done much more than purchase a crib, but it is taking over my mind. There are so many adorable design blogs out there to make a future mom feel inadequate. Lay Baby Lay is my favorite right now. So cute. I wish she could just come design my nursery for me.

Not to mention my mind is constantly busy with the whole labor thing. It hurts real bad. Real real bad. Oh god. Scary scared.

And what to name this child once she’s here anyway? And cloth diapers or regular? A bouncy seat or a swing? A baby carrier? The sling kind or the backpack kind? And what kind of baby shampoo? And stroller? And carseat? And I need to pick a pediatrician. And I don’t think I’m stretching enough. And I think I forgot my vitamins today. And And And.

There is Just. So. Much. It’s all so overwhelming.

So yeah, I feel busy. And I’m kind scared this isn’t going to go away.

40 Hour Blues

Can we please all just agree that we don’t work on Fridays? Just moving forward, it’s like another day of the weekend? And lo, a 4 day work week was given to them?

Oh I know the problems with this, the fact that retailers don’t close and it all trickles down and money and blah blah blah. I don’t care. I am selfish and I want to sleep in tomorrow. Kthxbai.

Now that we’ve settled that.

What is it with Americans and our undying need to work so hard? Where did this come from? I am especially guilty of this.

Even in high school I was bound to some weird code that said I had to get all of my reading done before I did anything fun. My parents didn’t make me do it. It was a personal choice. But I have to think it came from somewhere. There is some innate quality I have that makes me want to work, or feel guilty if I’m not working.

There is no in-between for me. No middle ground.

When I was unemployed I was miserable about being unemployed. Now, I’ve been re-employed for almost a year, and I’m happy at my job, but every day I’m jealous of my husband who gets to work from home and my sisters who are both in school.

I know logically all of those people, in fact people in every type of working (and non-working) situation, have their issues. The things they want to bitch about and the things that drive them crazy. But you know, grass is greener.

In all likelihood, there is absolutely nothing that would make me 100% happy. Were I suddenly give a four-day work week, I’d want it to be three days. But if I had the opportunity to only work three days a week, I might be bored. Or feel guilty. Because I would know that someone out there was working 80 hour weeks.

So what’s the ideal when it comes to work? 20 hours a week? 40? Should I just get over it? Or should we just trade the dollar in for giant stones like they have on Yap? What’s your work week philosophy?

How to Wait

Searching for a job is difficult work. It requires diligence. Perseverance. And most of all, it requires patience.

As each day turns into the next, we wait. Wait for that phone call, the email telling you yes! you have a phone interview! Or yes, you’ve made it to the in-person round! Even yes, you’ve made it to the second, third, or fourth interview. And the elusive grand-daddy of them all – yes! we want you! for this job! Please, come work for us. Join us. Be our expert in this field. (And hopefully, that comes with yes! we will pay you lots of money, but that’s just the cherry on top at this point.)

But until that call comes, it’s how you pass the time that matters. What can you during your (non)working days?

  • Rework your resume: Yes, back when you left your last job you updated your resume. But have you updated it this quarter? This month? This week? It pays to take a look at your resume as often as possible. Tweak wording, add new content. Nothing says “throw it in the pile” like an outdated resume.
  • Network: I know, sometimes it can be tedious, but networking really does help. And it doesn’t have to be just attending events as some anonymous job-seeker. Often it can be as simple as reconnecting with an ex-colleague over lunch. You don’t want to be a vampire do you? So get out there and make some friends!
  • Learn  your industry: Of course you know your industry, you’re an expert, right? But things are always changing, so it’s important to keep up with the latest news and trends while you’re out of work.
  • Follow up: Sent the resume, but haven’t heard anything? Follow up. Had the interview, but haven’t heard anything? Follow up. Always follow up. And write a nice, hand-written thank-you note while you’re at it! It’ll help you feel proactive, and it beats waiting around, that’s for sure.
  • Do something else: I know for a fact you can’t spend all of your time job-searching. And you can only cook, and clean, and do other housewife-y things for so long, so do something else. Perhaps some reading? Or taking a class? Anything you can do to stay sharp is going to help you in your search. Or, you can check this out. You know, just to pass the time.

By Color

As a book lover, I have a tendency to hoard everything I’ve ever read. Yes I loan books to my friends and reserve from the library, but for the most part we have an ever-increasing pile of books that lives in our guest room on two bookshelves that are much, much too small.

One day I intend to have a lovely library, the kind with books all the way up to the ceiling and a moving ladder and a cozy recliner with a throw I knitted myself. Maybe something like this:

Until that day comes though, I’ll have to make due with a guest room/library with ugly yellow paint the previous owners slapped on the wall, my sister’s old double bed with my crusty college bedding, and two lovely bookshelves crammed full of books.

When I walked into the guest room last week to take stock of said books, I was confronted with the following:

before books

before books2

No rhyme or reason, just piles upon piles of books crammed onto the shelves. Not to mention those sitting in piles on the floor, in boxes in the guest room closet, and in the attic. And on my coffee table. And my nightstand. And in the office.

On this day, my goal was clear. Something needed to be done about these books. I decided I could alphabetize them by author. Or I code organize them by subject or theme. Fiction vs. non-fiction. Yes, those are all classic ways of organizing a library. But why not do something bold? And something beautiful?

I chose to color code.

First step was to take all of the books off of the shelves and organize them by color.

floor piles

Tons of blacks and whites, but you’d be surprised at the number of blue-ish spines out there. And maroon/red was a close second. Greens and yellows and oranges lagged behind. Strangely enough, there was only one book with a purple spine. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An anomoly wrapped in an enigma. Or something.

Anyway, once the hard part of color coding had been done, it was simply a matter of cleaning off the shelves and then putting the books where they belonged. I tried to alternate between vertical and horizontal arrangements, and I even added a few display pieces and a vase to make it a little more interesting to the eye.



Yes, there are still some books on the floor and in the closet, but now that the books on the shelves are organized, I feel a sense of calm opportunity. Next step, getting rid of those yellow walls.

How Not to be a Vampire

Being unemployed, or even having the ability to work from home, or being a professional blogger, or a stay-at-home mom has its perks doesn’t it? Or that’s the perception anyway, that just because you don’t have to get up and trek into an office, you’re living a life of pure relaxation.

Want to stay in your pajamas all day? Go for it.

Have leftover cold pizza at 9:30 in the morning? No one’s watching.

Watch the Today Show while that conference call is on mute? We’ll never tell.

Yes, there are countless wonderful things about being able to stay at home all day, but not having a daily destination can often create more trouble than you might think.

For me, it’s about the lack of social interaction. Yes, I spend a lot of time interacting with people on the Web and through email and Twitter, but even with all of this technology at our fingertips, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. And if you’re cooped up inside your house all day, it’s easier than you think to get cabin fever. Here’s how I keep from going crazy:

  • Take a short walk around the neighborhood. Typically I do this under the auspices of walking Saucer, but sometimes I just go it alone.  Okay that’s not true I never go it alone.  But the dog needs his exercise, and I need my Vitamin D. Even if you are the pajama blogger type, a little fresh air and sunshine never hurt anyone. Try not to be such a vampire.
  • Space out your errands. If you are a bad-ass housewife 2.0 such as myself, you know how it important it is to have a house fully stocked with groceries so you can make some strange dessert concoctions and what not. So take a trip to the grocery store one day, and then take your clothes to the dry cleaner the next. Devise little ways to get yourself out of the house and into the world, even if it is just to make small talk with the stoner behind the deli counter.
  • Go chill at a coffee shop. If it’s got free WiFi, it’s bound to be a haven for other home bound types such as yourself. And even though you’re probably all sitting there with headphones on staring at laptop screens just like you’d be doing at home, at least you’re around other people. You don’t ACTUALLY have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to
  • Try and keep your friends. I know it’s hard to resist the desire to just hole up forever and watch reruns of 90210 on SoapNet, but it pays to make an effort. Call someone. See if they want to go to lunch. Even if they have a day job they can probably still go to lunch. If you’re trying to conserve money, invite someone over for lunch. It’ll give you an excuse to take a shower.
  • Which brings me to my final point. Take a shower. Every day. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. But it does need to happen. Because if you don’t, you won’t want to go out of the house, and one thing will lead to another, and then all of a sudden you’ll have your neighbors calling asking if a cat died in your attic.

Fall TV Yipee

So, not sure if you noticed, but over the summer, TV has been ALL reruns. I’m not a total TV junkie or anything, but I’m not going to lie, I am really looking forward to some refreshing new mind-numbing entertainment. Even daytime TV is ALL NEW! although I try to avoid watching that whenever possible. Except Oprah sometimes. And Ellen. And sometimes the View. Oh and daytime Food Network. But that is it! I swear.

This year I think I’m doubly excited because last fall we were in Singapore, meaning reruns of the Ghost Whisperer were about the closest I got to must-see TV. That’s not true actually, but most of the shows were old seasons of American TV, and even then it was only what was deemed fit by the censors that made it through. The Amazing Race was broadcast via satellite, so John and I looked forward to that every week, but aside from that my TV watching was pretty limited. I was a little obsessed with Gossip Girl, so I watched bits and pieces of that on YouTube. (aside – Did you know that you can’t access shows on network Web sites if you aren’t in the US? I almost broke down in tears the day I tried to watch the season finale of The Bachelor and found I couldn’t).

Anyway since we’ve been back in the States I’ve watched tons of reruns and the like, but now that fall is in the air and the season premiers are mere days away, I find myself getting excited.

But here’s the problem: John has decided he only wants to watch three hours of TV a week. I think this is totally commendable and I’m thrilled he’s choosing to use his time more effectively, but I will not be participating in this little experiment.

Oh no. I have shows I want to watch. And by “watch” I mean “tune in regularly.” We’re currently watching True Blood and Entourage on HBO as well as Top Chef and maybe Project Runway. Those seasons will end soon though. Fall shows I will definitely (unless they become totally unbearable, at which point I reserve the right to veto) watch include:

House, The Biggest Loser, 30 Rock, The Office, Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy. That’s not so bad right? Only about five hours all told.

BUT then comes the shows I may be interested and would like to check out:

Glee, Community, Private Practice, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Modern Family, CougarTown, Melrose Place (I know, stop it) and all the random CSI’s and Law and Orders just because I like cop shows.

Holy crap that is a lot of TV. Most of this will go on the DVR, but I’m sure quite a few of these shows will be watched in real time. I will pare down and figure out what I like and what makes me laugh/keeps me riveted but for now, I’m just pumped. I can already feel my eyes rolling back in my head. Oh dear.

Scheduling Motivation

My sister told me the other day that I’ve “gotten too used to being able to do whatever [I] want all the time.”

At first I thought, well isn’t that entire point of life? Just to be able to do whatever you want? That sounds awesome! So does that mean that I’m awesome? Why yes, I guess it does!

But in reality, it’s not like I can do WHATEVER I want. There’s not jetting off to France for a week of wine drinking in the world’s best vineyards. Sigh.

But it is awesome in the sense that I can create my own schedule. I CHOOSE when to do things. Anything I want (within reason of course). Whenever I want.

That doesn’t mean I’m free from all responsibility. It doesn’t mean I still don’t have to do things I don’t want to. But I do have more flexibility in choosing when to do those things.

Sometimes though, I think that flexibility can lead to stagnation. It’s hard to get motivated to do the laundry, or water the lawn, when there is always time to do it later. I could start that load of whites now, or I could start it later. I could turn on the sprinkler now, or I could do it later.

That’s why I find that even though I have what might appear to be oodles of free time, for those of us that are unemployed, it still helps to be on some sort of a schedule. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything rigid, but having a schedule will help give a sense of structure to your day, and it will help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

You might want to use a calendar to help you organize your schedule. A day timer is nice, or you can be all crazy awesome at technology like I am and use Google Calendar.

The first step is to establish a good sleeping pattern. I realize that it may be tempting to sleep in until all hours of the day and then stay up late (just because you can!) but you are a grown up, and it’s time to get on a good, normal sleeping pattern. Try to get at least 8 hours a night, because that’s going to help you be your best, and you want to be your best don’t you? For me, I find that 9 hours is optimal, and I usually sleep from about 11 or 11:30 until 8 a.m. or so. You might find you operate better sleeping from 12 to 9, or 10 to 6, or even 1 to 10. Just find what works best for you.

After you’ve established your normal sleeping pattern, try to find the periods of the day in which you are the most productive. This is no different for those of you that are employed, so perk those ears up if you’ve been nodding off during most of this post (maybe time to evaluate your sleeping habits, no?).  I find that I am most productive during my first hours of waking, so I try to schedule chores, errands, job-searching, and any other activity that requires a higher level of motivation (read: things I don’t really want to do but have to) during my morning hours, leaving the afternoon for more leisurely activities such as reading, writing, etc.

Now that you have a basic routine to your day down, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. For me, a large job search Web site that I follow here in Denver comes out every Monday, so I dedicate a good chunk of Monday to researching companies, drafting cover letters, and sending out resumes. When it comes to the more mundane tasks of daily life, I try to schedule them into my calendar so they don’t get put off and build up.

Sheets need to be washed once a week no? So let’s add that to the calendar, how about every Thursday? Floors should be vacuumed at least every two weeks, how about on Friday mornings? If it’s housework your focused on, take a look at Flylady.com, she’s got a very helpful calendar for almost any type of housework you can think of.

After I’ve scheduled necessary tasks into my week, I find time for the things I WANT to do. For me, this includes writing, which I’m trying to do on a regular basis. However, I find that if I don’t make time for my writing and actually insert it into my schedule, the stuff of daily life can often come up and trump that time I thought I might spend on it. You might not think you need to block off two hours on your calendar to do things you WANT to do, but trust me, if you don’t, something else will come up . So schedule the time to go to the gym, to work on that craft project, or even just to take that bath. Calgon anyone?Because even though you can do “whatever you want, whenever you want,” sometimes life just gets in the way.

So does unemployment mean footloose and fancy free? Sometimes, yes. But working off a calendar can help you stay motivated and productive, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after crossing those items off of your to-do list will reduce any guilt you might feel when it comes time to just veg out in front of the TV for a little while.