Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
Take the dog on a walk
Listen to a podcast
Eat a snack
[Go to a meeting]
Make some tea
Eat early lunch
Run to the grocery store (just real fast)
Search Craigslist for various cars and pieces of furniture
Eat an apple
Search Zillow in five different cities (just in case)
[Respond to one work email]
Read neighborhood newsletter
Order replacement CrockPot piece
Think about everything I’ve done wrong in life
Research skin care brands
Learn all the words to JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Realize I now have four hours until deadline
Write list of everything I’ve done to procrastinate today
GET TO WORK
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Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
Write in the middle of it.
That’s what someone told me to do. As an introvert, my inclination is to wait until things are settled, processed, and sorted before sharing news in any kind of broad way — but I’m realizing that it might be awhile before things are settled, processed, and sorted, so OH WHAT THE HECK.
A year after moving to Minneapolis (Sunday was my Minneversary), I’ve decided to leave my job, the one I moved across the country for. There are a lot of factors that went into this decision, and it was not one that I made lightly. That said, I have a lot of peace about the decision itself, even though it leaves me staring into a future I can’t yet see.
From a job to the city in which I live, everything feels very much up for grabs right now — and while I’m experiencing a sense of possibility and potential, every idea I explore has a cost, a rub. My friend Leigh Kramer once wrote about the “jar lid click” — the moment when everything lines up — and so far, none of my ideas have led to that intuitive sense of alignment.
I don’t know what I’m going to do.
I am not the “leap and the net will appear” girl. I am a planner, a preparer, a “that’s not in the budget” pragmatist. The fact that I quit a job without a new plan in place is so out of character, it makes me question everything I thought I knew about myself. (What if I start liking board games?)
But you know what? The best stories of my life have been the things I could never have predicted or manipulated into happening — like once writing a song about a snack bar that landed me a job, or buying the first and only house I looked at (happened in both Denver and Minneapolis), or meeting people I had no idea would change my life (I’m looking at you, Keri Alexander, Kari Medina, Katie Freeze, Carin Towne, a whole slew of folks in Nashville, gal pals in Denver, my nephews, Foxy Brains, and, okay, EVERYONE).
Here is an idea I like:
I don’t know what’s coming next. But I’m going to try living frugally on surprise, the rhythm and simplicity of the unknown, and see what happens.
Or I might buy a bed & breakfast. (I’ll add it to this list.)
Some seasons can’t be wrapped up into compact little blog posts. So let’s just pretend that I haven’t not written here for a while – at least anything of substance – and catch up free-form. Like a meandering conversation – but with me talking into a megaphone (everyone’s dream).
We’ll start with the most important things, such as my sadness over Zayn leaving One Direction. Where do broken hearts go, Zayn? Things will never be the same. In light of his departure, I have reordered my ranking of best voice to worst voice to Zayn, Liam, Harry, Niall, Louis (Louis will always be last) – because what can I say? Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We didn’t know what we had when we had Zayn. Paved paradise and all that.
Now, an explanation for why I’ve been a bit MIA. In the past three weeks, I’ve been in nine different states (Foxy joining me for eight): Colorado, obviously. Then Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, and Minnesota. I am finally back home for the next two and a half weeks, reacquainting myself with my morning routine, exercise, and dry air. Each time I’ve reentered Colorado in the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a bloody nose. Love, your ideal woman.
Speaking of Foxy (not that we were, but let’s do), I thought about creating an ongoing series on this blog called Fox News – but then I remembered that it would all kind of be the same. She’s the best! I love her! We go on walks! She doesn’t eat her food! She’s scared of strangers and kids and balloons! She loves kittens! So there’s your Fox News, no Ann Coulter necessary. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, here’s a Then & Now warm fuzzy.
I’ve made a list of things I want very much, but for financial reasons will need to pace myself in the procurement thereof. In no particular order, here they are: a new bike, a Shark vacuum, a Fitbit, a new rolly suitcase, a grown-up size CrockPot (right now I just have a little one), a new Sonicare toothbrush (mine died), and an entirely new wardrobe.
I am still working from my dining room, which means that I am still living in squalor, like a natural foods Grey Gardens. One hundred square feet is simply not enough space to house all of the STUFF my job requires, so it’s all spilling out into the rest of my 500 square feet and making me twitch.
And with that, I’ll let you get back to your day. Keep going! Pink bunny with the drum.
When I left the office last night, my inbox was down to 5 messages (a record!). When I arrived this morning, I had 181 emails.
Here was the original message:
And then came the replies:
Dozens of times.
Eventually, the sender of the original message realized her mistake and attempted to remedy it:
No such luck, KATHY.
And then The Enforcer stepped in:
Because nothing commands authority like Bold Red Letters.
But the people would not be silenced.
And my personal favorite:
Because while you might be smart enough to get hired at a Fortune 500 company, it’s not a requirement that you understand how a distribution list works.
Well, hello September.
I’ve made nary a murmur in this place for over a month. You want to know why? It’s a little thing called a J-O-B. I went back to work on August 4, and that was that. Because listen, I don’t care how much you love your job – going back after 5 weeks off is rough. August was rough. August was hot. August was a slog, retraining my brain to think in terms of “way too many details” and “never-ending emails” and “calendar deadlines.”
But here we are, August behind us, and September ahead. It’s my sincere intention to write more in September – and I think that maybe that starts tomorrow. For today, let’s play catch up.
In the month of August, I walked hundreds of miles. There are times in my life where my workouts are more than mere walks, but for August, I stuck to hoofing it. As you can see, my “bike to work” days were few and far between – that’s another thing that’s going to change in September.
Something else that I’m committed to for September: sticking to using cash envelopes. I need financial accountability, and cold hard Benjamins (okay, Jacksons) seem the best method for right now.
Here’s something we need to talk about: awful TV shows. In August, I watched True Detective and House of Cards. And then I felt so hopeless about the human race that this weekend I binged on season 4 of Friday Night Lights just to renew my faith in humanity (or at least the television version thereof).
I’m realizing that I do not want to consume stories in which I hate every single character. I do not want the good guys to be bad guys. I do not want to immerse myself in narratives with no element of redemption. I don’t care if “the character development is amazing.” I don’t care if “the acting is incredible.” I really, really don’t care if “these shows are a more accurate representation of real life” – because I have to believe that real life includes a lot of good, even if it’s intermingled with the hard.
This month, I’ll be spending time in Boston, Minneapolis, and Seattle – some pretty great places.
Since I last wrote, I had a birthday and so did Foxy Brains! My tiny puppy has turned into a full grown 1-year old dog, and I couldn’t love her more.
Summer is winding down, fall is on its way, and thank goodness – because sheesh, I am in need of some newness. I hope today somehow feels new for you.
Are you stressed? Aggravated? Fed up? Worn out?
Call Annie Parsons – the Bullshit Exterminator.
This is what one of my beloved co-workers called me today – a moniker I proudly accept.
Listen, life is too much these days. I’m inordinately stressed at work. I’m in the midst of an insurance battle over my roof. I cannot for the life of me get a single lawn service company to call me back. Foxy came back from our weekend backpacking trip with a “small wound” that had to be treated at the vet. Projects just keep not getting finished. My inbox is overflowing, my patience is dwindling, and today, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Shaky rage-voice was used. Emails went flying. I put my foot down. I took action. In essence, I exterminated the bullshit.
I am *thisclose* to teetering off the edge – so it’s a good thing that I leave on the Colorado Trail in just 12 days. I am so ready – so so so so ready – to close my computer.
Am I ready to be alone in the mountains for over 4 weeks? Who knows. But it’s happening – and it’s happening soon.
To be clear, my lack of emotional bandwidth is not solely about my job. For most of us, work is stressful – I’m not unique in this regard. It’s about so much more than work.
The further I grow into being a so-called grown-up, the more I feel myself bucking against the absolute nonsense that “adulthood” tends to bring with it. Some days I feel that I’m losing the person that I once was, the person that I want to believe that I still am, the one with dreams and passions and gumption and guts. I love Annie the Risk Taker. What happened to her? She’s been bound and gagged by what others have told her is “reality”: worst case scenarios and doomsday forecasts and fiscal cliffs and snowballs of disppointment and never, ever getting your hopes up.
But I know better than that.
It’s time to steal my life back. It’s time to remember all of the things that used to make me come alive, that used to make my heart skip a beat.
Who knows if walking alone into the mountains is the way to do it? But it seems worth a shot.
This week, work has had me ping-ponging around the nation (and thus, ping-ponging around in the otherwise vacant warehouse known as “my head” – watch out for raccoons!). I needed to be in Minneapolis for meetings followed by Anaheim for a trade show, and all of that travel was going to equal 7 days.
Fine, except for Foxy.
Even for a snuggly wonder pup, 7 days is a really long time to ask someone to dog-sit – that is, unless “someone” is family. So what did I do? I left Denver last Saturday, drove east on I-70 for 600 miles, dropped the little mongrel with my champion of a mom, and arranged all of this travel out of an airport that is conveniently in the middle of the country. Way to go, Kansas City!
I spent a few days in Minneapolis immersed in meetings, the kind that are engaging and interesting and important but leave your brain feeling like a deflated pufferfish, depleted after all of that, well, puffing. Yesterday, I hopped a flight to California, and today I’m in Anaheim for National Products Expo West. After the craziness of the last week, I’m ill prepared for the extroversion it’s going to take me to get through the next 3 days – but it’s time to gird up my loins (any excuse to use that phrase, really).
It’s been an exhausting time, and the trip isn’t over yet – I still need to fly to Kansas City on Sunday night, and then drive 9 hours back to Denver on Monday. But the cause is noble – because like Schmidt says, “I’m in marketing, the backbone of capitalism. Without it, you’d be dead in two days.” Also known as my new professional motto.
(Also, if you are at the Anaheim Hilton and heard an alarm go off this morning, that was me accidentally opening a door to the roof. I’m sorry, and I hope I don’t get arrested.)
There are seasons when life feels overwhelming, like my brain has too many tabs open. I jump from one page to the next trying to figure out what to focus on, and with each change in visual, I forget what I was looking at before.
Last night, I walked Foxy to the dog park in the dark. About halfway there, I slipped on a patch of ice and landed nose-first on the sidewalk, which totally hurt my feelings. The blood was minimal, and so far my face doesn’t look any different – but even just sitting still today, I am very aware of my schnoz and the throbbing therein.
I own a shotgun house that’s the end of four units. None of the other owners live in theirs – they rent them out – but I email with them about shared things, like water bills and yard work. On January 17, the owner of Unit B went missing in Texas – vanished into thin air. I’ve been tracking with the story, and although I’ve never met Leanne, I feel a strong connection to her. I hurt for her family. The unknown has to be worse than news, good or bad.
I was in California last week for work to attend the Biggest Loser finale (I witnessed the shock in person), and this week I’m heading out on another business trip. I’m packing a yoga mat, snowshoes, and high heels, because always be prepared.
You may wonder what happens to Foxy when I’m gallivanting around the country. I am lucky to have a tag-team of friends and a sister who have been pitching in, trading off, and helping out. This dog is getting big – she’s close to 30 lbs. now – and when strangers meet her, now they sometimes have to ask, “Is she a puppy?” because from the look of her, it isn’t entirely clear anymore. But then she helicopters around and ties me up with her leash, or jumps on someone, or decides that a piece of trash from the sidewalk is the greatest thing she’s ever discovered, and her puppy-ness is all too clear.
I only have one wedding to attend in 2014, which is obviously a huge change from years past. What on earth will I do with all of this vacation time, time that has typically been spoken for? I have a mega-plan, but it deserves its own post. I’ll tell you about it soon.
I still daydream about “one day” when life will feel good and right, but then I realize that this is it. This is what I’ve got. And I have a sneaking suspicion that just like other imperfect seasons of my life, one day in the not-so-distant future I’ll look back on this one and think, “Those were some great days.” I’m living an utter gift, replete with friendship, experiences, provision, and freedom. And cheese. There’s a lot of cheese.
Anyone who knows me knows that a professional publication would be an unlikely place to find me. I wear yoga pants to work. I tell my manager about my feelings. I’ve never had a career path or a 5-year plan. My degree is in music, for crying out loud.
But somehow (you know how), I wound up employed by one of this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For – and wonder of wonders, I was recently contacted by Fortune Magazine to chat about how I got my job.
The interview is here – check it out for a glimpse of me being hashtag totes profesh. Maybe that music degree came in handy after all?
I got a bike and a puppy within a week of each other, and this is what it looks like: wake up (in the dark) to take dog on walk, ride to work at natural foods company, ride home at lunch to take dog on walk, ride back to work at natural foods company, ride home at dinner (in the dark) to take dog on walk, rinse, lather, repeat. My days have been full, even when there are no real markers of “accomplishment” – besides, you know, burning a bunch of calories, keeping Foxy alive, and not crashing on my bike.
I’m in love with this little pup, though. True to my prediction, she is ruining my life (so far she’s chewed on the legs of the dining room table, pooped on the rug, woken me up at 3am, 4am, 5am, and barked incessantly at my bedside when I try to go back to sleep) – but somehow, she’s still won me over. I’m a fan.
(Ready for the segue?) Guess what else I’m a fan of?
Epicurean Black Truffle Butter
A variety of Frye boots
This interview with Gretchen Peters (she is fascinating and inspiring)
This interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber (again: fascinating and inspiring)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the day dreaming of owning a Winnebago and driving around West Virginia without a care in the world.