Posts tagged thinking
I hosted book club last Friday night, and I picked Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. As expected, the choice led to good discussion and a lot of introspection. I may post more in-depth thoughts when I have time to actually put them in writing, but it also got me thinking about all the different things I have wanted to do with my career over the years. Here’s a list of jobs I have wanted, starting at age 5 (or so) through today.
GNC systems engineer
Education program coordinator
Social media manager
Public affairs/communications rep
It’s interesting that the job I currently have is not the final item on the list — not even close. It does happen to be the job I wanted when I was picking a college and a major and a co-op job, and it is therefore the job I am most qualified to do. But I’ve wanted more jobs AFTER becoming an aerospace engineer than I did before!
Fortunately, I am very happy in my current job; in fact, as I told my friends at book club, I’m happier in my job right now than I have been at any other point in my almost 15 years at NASA. Working in the world of Safety & Mission Assurance is not something that I anticipated doing and not something that I thought I wanted — so my satisfaction here has been a HUGE and pleasant surprise.
It’s nice when things work out that way.
Today is April 3, 2013. My little girl is getting bigger by the day. In 3 days, she’ll be 8 months old.
On April 3, 2012, I had my anatomy ultrasound and we found out that Emma was a girl. I remember it very clearly — the little ultrasound room at my doctor’s office, the cold goo on my stomach, the feeling of being poked and prodded with the sensor, the bubbly personality of the tech who told us we were having a daughter. Jose and I looked at each other with big smiles on our faces, and called both of our parents before we even left the parking lot. That afternoon after work, we went to Target and bought a pack of girly onesies to celebrate.
That was a really good day.
On April 3, 2011, I was in the emergency room. I remember that very clearly too — the rough hospital gown, the random late-night Cartoon Network crap eminating from the tiny TV, the deep fatigue of finding myself still awake in the wee hours of the morning, Jose’s hand gripping mine. I remember the doctor telling me in the nicest way possible, confirming what I already knew, that I was having a miscarriage. The day before, I had been about 9 weeks pregnant. And then suddenly, I wasn’t.
That was a really bad day.
I never wrote about that first, sadly very short pregnancy. Outside our immediate families, I’ve only ever told a small handful of friends, and not even then until I made it to the relative safety of my second trimester with Emma. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through, but I chose to work through the loss in my own way, on my own terms, and I’ve never regretted that.
But I was thinking about it again today, two years later, and it occurred to me that maybe I will always think about it on or around April 3. I don’t know. But I might. I have read so many stories similar to mine on other blogs and forums, and in the months before Emma came along, it gave me comfort to realize that I wasn’t alone — that other people had experienced losses, many far worse than my own, and still gone on to have plenty of happy, healthy kids. It feels like the right time to put my own story out there.
Last year I remember thinking about the bittersweet coincidence of finding out that my baby-to-be was a healthy little girl exactly one year after losing what would have been our first child. But we still had 4 months to go before Emma arrived, and I couldn’t help but be irrationally cautious about “tempting fate.” So I did my best to put it out of my mind, because it was supposed to be a happy day — and it WAS a happy day.
But this year I’m not scared of it anymore. I’ll probably always remember that horrible day in the hospital. But I now have happy memories of leaving that same hospital with my adorable newborn daughter just over sixteen months later. And April 3 is also the day I learned that Emma was going to be Emma. And it’s the day I’ll go home from work and watch her roll around on the floor as she learns to crawl, and open her mouth wide for a bite of yogurt or oatmeal at dinnertime, and giggle when I blow raspberries on her tummy.
I can think about Emma and about the baby we never knew, and I can be a little sad but mainly happy. Mostly, I’m just struck by how much has happened in only two short years. Life is…well, it has a way of keeping you on your toes, doesn’t it?
You take the good with the bad, or the bad with the good. But either way, there’s good.
Get ready for baby? I didn’t quite finish the nursery before Emma’s arrival (it’s still not done, but oh-so-close), but all in all I think we were as ready as was reasonably possible! (Is anyone ever REALLY ready for their first baby?) Read 6.5 books? My goal is still to finish 20 for the year, but I’m going to have to do a lot of reading in the next few months to make that happen. Start training for the Houston Half Marathon? In progress! I’ve been back to running for a few weeks now and it’s going pretty well. I’ll be doing the Space City 10-Miler on October 14 as a relay, which I’m excited about even though I will be slooooow. Finish the guest room makeover? This didn’t happen, not surprisingly. Ah well.
I go back to work in 3 weeks and obviously have a small baby now, so I doubt I’ll get too much accomplished by the end of the year. Still, here are a few goals to close out 2012:
Read. I really do want to have read 20 books by the end of the year. I know it’s an arbitrary goal, but it helps me remember that I do like reading — it’s just that I too often let other things take priority when I have down time. I’ve read 9 full books (and am almost done with the 10th) and large portions of several baby-related books. I’m not quite sure how to count the baby books, since I’ve been using them more like references. I don’t read them cover-to-cover, but I do read the portions I need! There are 4 main books in my current rotation, which would put me at 14 for the year if I count those. And since 14 is closer to 20 than 9, I just decided that guess what — they count! Ha.
Make Emma 1) a Halloween costume and 2) a Christmas stocking. The Halloween costume is for fun, because hey — I realize I only get 2, maaaybe 3 years before Emma will have an opinion about what she wants to be for the holiday. The Christmas stocking is because I don’t want her to have some plain store-bought stocking. My siblings and I all have beautiful cross-stitched stockings that my grandmother made for us, and I want Emma to have something similarly sentimental. Cross stitch takes forever, and stockings have a ton of stitching, so a better goal might be to have it ready for 2013 — but I can at least get started.
Train for the Houston Half Marathon. I use the word “train” very loosely here — really I just want to be ready enough to put forth a decent effort. It’s highly possible it will be my slowest half marathon ever and I’m totally ok with that. I know it will be hard to find time to run this fall, especially once I’m back at work. But I want to be able to do more than just walk the whole thing!
Get our finances in order. Now that Emma’s here, there are several things that need to be done — some small, some big. We need to review our budget now that it includes daycare and the increased premium of a family health insurance plan. We’re in the process of setting up a college fund. And now, more than ever, we need to get around to writing wills and making sure we have a reasonable amount of life insurance. There’s a little girl who needs to be taken care of!
I think that’s a pretty good list for the next 3 months!
Get ready for baby. Still in progress, but we’re in good shape to make it! As long as she doesn’t come too early…hear that, baby? Sew another quilt. Done! I made one for Erin’s baby boy and I’m finishing up another blanket for Kelly. Read 5 books. I managed 3.5. Time for some catch up! Keep exercising. We’ll call this a partial success. The hot weather has not made this easy in recent weeks. Time to pick it up for the next month. Complete my M.A. project. I don’t even know what to say on this one anymore. It may be time to just accept that I will never do this. That makes me sad, but obviously I haven’t considered this a high enough priority to make it happen in the last 3 years.
Time for goals for now through September! This will be a fairly short list:
Get ready for baby! Finish the to-do list. The biggest items still remaining are finding a pediatrician and choosing a daycare. We also need to finish the nursery, although we’re waiting on the dresser to be delivered to store all the great things we’ve been given for baby girl.
Read 6.5 books. That would get me back on track to finish 20 this year. I have no clue whether this is realistic in the next 3 months. On one hand, it seems possible that reading will be a good activity to do while feeding the baby? I’ve heard of several people who play on their phones or watch TV while feeding — and definitely while pumping. But maybe not. We’ll see, I guess. I should probably try to just read as much as possible in the next few weeks before baby arrives.
Start training for the Houston Half Marathon. I entered the lottery with a bunch of my coworkers and we got in! I get excited when I think about getting back out to the races, since I’ve really missed it this year. Realistically, I won’t be able to start running again until the beginning of October (~6 weeks postpartum if she arrives close to her due date) but I want to do what I can in the next 3 months. I hope baby likes the stroller because I plan to take her on lots of walks until I’m cleared to run!
Finish the guest room makeover. This really needs to happen in the next 2-3 weeks if I want to make sure it happens at all!
That’s it for now. I can think of several other things I’d like to accomplish, but with baby due to arrive in a mere 5-ish weeks (holy crap), the “get ready for baby” category really covers it all.
My parents are here! Hooray! And after only one night, the layout of the work-in-progress guest room I posted about on Wednesday has already changed, since one side of the bed was too close to the wall. We knew that, but the room is so small that it seemed to be the only layout that would work. We had tried putting the headboard against the wall next to the window, and it just seemed like it filled up the whole room. But my dad and Jose turned it so that the headboard is now against the same wall as the door. I didn’t think it would work, but it actually does. Don’t worry — I still teased my parents heavily about how they came into my house and started moving furniture around like they owned the place. (The nerve!)
It was kind of a strange week at work. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I spent the week getting mixed messages about what I’ve done in the past versus what I will and/or want to be doing in the future. It makes me a little confused about where I stand at the moment. The good news is that I am picking up some new work in an area that should be 1) interesting, 2) active and 3) visible both inside and outside my organization. There may or may not be bad news…I just have to wait and see.
The mosquitos have gone CRAZY in the last three days. I don’t know where they came from, but all of a sudden there are clouds of them. On top of that, they seem to love congregating around our front door, which makes it impossible to enter or leave the house without taking a swarm of bloodsuckers with you. Oh, and did I mention we had several days in a row of 100+ degree weather? Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool.
…you know. TIME.
I have been trying to post the next installment of the Hawaii vacation recap for a couple days now, but have yet to find time to sort through the photos from our drive along the road to Hana. This week has felt SO long and I’m exhausted. But I also feel like I haven’t gotten anything done!
Whether it’s the infamous “nesting instinct” or just my usual cycle of activity, my to-do list feels like it’s a million miles long. And it’s not getting any shorter.
See, my job involves a lot of meetings and telecons. Inevitably, there will be a topic or two that aren’t of interest to me and my mind starts to wander. If this type of thing coincides with an already slow week at work like the ones I’ve had recently, I get in daydreamy moods where I have idea after idea after idea — “oh, I should do that!” and “oh, what about this?” and “oh, that would be really neat and fun” and “I’ll start on that tonight!” I make notes to myself about all the cool things I am going to accomplish. I get excited.
And then, every night, I get home from work and park myself on the couch and do nothing but make dinner, watch TV, and surf the internet. I am great at MAKING lists and plans, and not always so successful at following them through to completion.
This cycle is why I now have, for example, a bolt of fabric sitting in the living room meant to be made into curtains for the guest room. Because I want to fancy up the guest room before the baby arrives. Because, you know, putting together a nursery wasn’t enough home decor for the next couple months!
Will this project actually get done? Will any of the other projects on my list get done?
I want to say yes, but really, it’s a toss up.
A few years ago, I had dozens of friends who kept blogs online. These days, there are only a few. A month or two ago, another friend who blogged posted that she was retiring from it after going several months without a post. She doesn’t have the time anymore, and Facebook has kind of taken over. And then my sister posted some thoughts about blogs and the internet in general in her first post in more than 10 months.
It got me thinking about my own little site here.
A quick look at my dashboard shows that I have written 3,284 posts (!) since July 2001 (!!). That’s an average of almost 6 posts per week overall, although that number is certainly boosted enhanced by the early years where I posted multiple times per day. I’d be close to 3,500 if I included the posts I wrote on the 2-3 self-coded “online diaries” that I started in 1998 and maintained until I started using third party blogging systems in mid-2001.
I’ve never been able to really explain the blog thing, because I can’t really claim that I love to write. I enjoy it, but I’ve never had fantasies about becoming a writer or anything like that. I’ve tried many times over the years to keep a written diary, and it’s never lasted for more than a few months at a time. (A few years ago I bought a 5-year diary where you only have room to write a sentence or two each day, and I can’t even keep up with that!)
So I don’t really know why I blog, but I guess there are a lot of little reasons. I like having a place to write down my random thoughts. I like having a place to share photos. I like having a place where people can keep up with what I’m doing if they choose. And yes, something about the public nature of a blog appeals to me. I guess I have a bit of an exhibitionist somewhere in there.
Although I still average 2-4 posts per week most of the time, my own blogging has decreased in recent years. (Not to mention that while I used to love redesigning my template from time to time, I’ve now been saying “oh I need to make something better than this default WordPress template” for a year, at least, and probably longer.) I think life has a tendency to settle down as one gets older — either that, or I am just far less angst-ridden at 34 than I was at 22 or even 26 (um, definitely true). Still, I can’t really imagine abandoning my little internet home. After 11+ years, it’s kinda become a habit!
Lately, I read a combination of mommy blogs, craft blogs, cooking blogs, and home decor/DIY blogs. As you have probably noticed, they make me want to start posting more of that type of stuff myself. Many of them also treat it like a job (which makes sense, I suppose, since many of the blogs are income sources for them) and stick to “blogging schedules” where they write about certain things on certain days. I don’t have any intention of starting to schedule things, and I don’t have any illusions of ever making money from my blog. I’ve given some thought to signing up with Google ads or BlogHer or something like that, but I don’t really draw the traffic necessary to make that worthwhile.
But we’ll see. I have no idea what will happen after baby girl is born. Maybe I’ll blog less because I’ll have less free time. Maybe I’ll blog more — after all, I’ll have a cute baby to write about!
That’s how I feel these days. Like yesterday’s clouds. Scattered.
I love this time of year, as the weather cools off and the world seems to curl up and seek out somewhere warm and cozy. I love pulling out my sweaters and tights and boots. I love drinking hot chocolate in the evenings. I look forward to the holidays, and spending time with family and friends.
Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt like you were just waiting on things to happen? That’s where I am right now. It’s going to be an interesting winter. I’m not good at waiting and I’m far too impatient, but sometimes there’s no other choice because the decisions are out of my control. I can cook, sew, read, work on projects and watch bad TV to my heart’s content to distract myself, but in the end, I just have to wait.
(I’m being intentionally vague, and I apologize for that. If you’ve talked to me in real life recently, you probably know what’s going on.)
Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day so we’ve got a three-day weekend. A few girlfriends are taking a weekend trip to Arizona and I’m regretting that I didn’t join them; not because I didn’t want to, but because I just procrastinated and never bought a ticket. (How lame is that?) Fortunately there are fun things to be done here as well. I’m going to the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market tomorrow for the first time, and I’m excited to see what kind of goodies I can find there! And last night I had my best run in ages, so I’m hoping the cool weather will continue through the weekend and allow me some more enjoyable runs.
I saw this on Facebook today and it made an impression because I struggle with this a lot. I’m enough of a perfectionist that I rarely give myself time to really learn something — and as a result, I have about 10 million projects in the hopper all the time, and none of them ever really get finished. I guess I just need to do them and not worry about whether they suck.