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In which I complain about trivial things in order to avoid actual problems

I’m burned out. On work, on travel, on even routine interactions with clients. Where usually I’m a Type A perfectionist, now I’m taking shortcuts and crossing my fingers no one will notice. Some of the best professional advice I’ve received has been something my grandmother used to say, which never made sense until one of my counselors gave it a 21st century update. “A stitch in time saves nine.” Or, doing shit right the first time is actually much faster than rushing through and having to go back and re-do it.

I was supposed to be in Hawaii this week, for work. It was an all-expenses paid trip, with first class travel there and back, and when plans changed and the company sent someone else instead of me, I did a happy dance around my hotel room. My husband said I was crazy, but working in Hawaii is still work, and I’m too overwhelmed to even think about adding something else onto my plate at this point.

One of my clients, to whom I’ve sent hundreds of emails, plus met in person or spoken to on the phone upwards of 50 times, has started responding to my emails “Hi Gary”. It’s so bizarrely infuriating, because in addition to my name being part of my email address, it’s right there in my signature. One email with the wrong name I could chalk up to a simple mistake, but when we’ve gone back and forth all day and they’ve all had the incorrect name? That ish is on purpose. Rather than realizing her antics come from a place of extreme insecurity (my firm has been recommending for several months that her bosses fire her or take away the promotion – and HUGE pay raise – she received last year), I’m letting it get to me. So far I’ve managed to respond to all her emails politely, but it’s only a matter of time before I snap and respond with “Hi Joseph”.

Opening my email has become a terrifying game of “who’s crying the loudest roulette”. I’m so far behind on the work I owe to so many people, my only strategy for dealing with it has been to turn in whatever project is being demanded that day. While easiest in the extremely short run, it prevents me from actually doing the work I’m actually assigned to do, and results in me barely treading water. I had to turn off email notifications on my cell phone, because every time my email beeped I was getting heart palpitations.

And of course I typed all of that because those are the things in my life that are going wrong that I can deal with. I can handle work pressure. I can deal with being overwhelmed at the office. I can tell my overflowing inbox to fuck off.

My husband had a pretty serious health scare this morning, and that I can’t deal with. He’s with me in DC this week, thank God. I can’t type what’s actually going wrong, because that would make it too real. We can’t do anything or know anything until we get him an appointment with the doctor, back in Denver. So I’m going to continue to do what I do best. Act on what is actionable (making the doctor’s appointment) while denying (despite pretty obvious facts) that anything serious is going on.

Apologies for the super gloomy Tuesday morning post, but I needed to clear my head before I phone dive into work and count down the minutes until the doctor’s office opens in a few hours.

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Currently. April 16, 2016

This morning, when all weather reports indicate we’ll be snowed-in for the day, I’m poking my head out from under my mountain of work to catch up on the blogs I’ve missed over the past few months. Inspiration for this post comes from the Currently series I recently saw on Iowa Girl Eats.

Time and place: 7:36am, Saturday morning, in bed with a cup of coffee, watching the snow fall through my bedroom window. Since January 11th, I have spent precisely 16 nights in my own bed. Traveling for work is fun and exciting, at first, but it gets old in a hurry. I absolutely cherish mornings like these, when I can relax in my own space.

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Experiencing: the beginnings of hunger pains. I am ready for breakfast (and coffee) the second I open my eyes in the morning. It doesn’t help that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day or that my husband hates when I disturb him before 8am on weekends. I don’t blame him, but when do we get to eat?!

Craving: aside from this breakfast, a vacation. I have been working and traveling what feels like non-stop since mid-January, and I’m finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My to-do list is now simply overwhelming, rather than absolutely paralyzing. My husband says I say this every year, but this has been the worst busy season yet. My firm fired a manager, and another one quit, leaving the rest of us to pick up the slack. Thank the heavens above that I’m getting paid hourly. I know all this work I’m doing is good for our family (we funded my retirement account for the entire year after only 3 months of work), but at some point, enough is enough, ya know?

Awaiting: my first shipment from Trunk Club. After reading a review on one of my favorite blogs, I decided to give Trunk Club a try. At face value, it’s just another personalized shopping service (which seem to be a dime-a-dozen these days), but it’s different in that it’s not a subscription service, i.e. you request clothes (“trunks) only when you want. I also spoke to my stylist directly over the phone, which I liked. I hate shopping in person, but frequently feel overwhelmed and indecisive when shopping online. I was able to preview my trunk before it shipped, and it looks like my stylist made good selections, so I have high hopes.

Reading: Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. I read Born to Run by the same author last year, and it inspired me to sign up for my first half-marathon. I’m only a few chapters in to Natural Born Heroes, but already I love it. It’s vaguely centered around the heroic Crete resistance forces during World War II, but also ties in other stories of unlikely heroes. It’s inspiring and helps me focus on the big picture.

I leave tomorrow for Pittsburg (weather permitting), followed by two weeks in Washington, D.C, followed by a week in Chicago. I’m not out of the woods yet by any means, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hello, it’s me

Since I deleted the Facebook app from my phone as part of my goals for 2016, I’ve become so out of touch with popular culture. We don’t have cable (nor do we miss it), so I’m pretty oblivious as far as celebrities are concerned. But every once in a while, my husband, who is much cooler than I am, shows me an internet video that makes me smile.

I’m no Adele superfan, but I do enjoy her music and think she has an amazing voice. On top of that, she seems to actually be a nice person. (How rare.) If you haven’t seen her Carpool Karaoke with The Late Late Show host James Corden, I seriously recommend you take 15 minutes out of your day to watch. It. is. HILARIOUS. If you do nothing else, skip to minute 10:15. You won’t regret it.

Yesterday, (Saturday) I received 7 work emails from my boss. After working long hours every day last week, I needed one day to recharge, so I ignored his emails, and Adam and I, rather than being responsible adults and doing things like laundry or dishes, went downtown and accidentally got drunk at 5pm. I can take down a bottle of wine with the best of them, but give me a whiskey cocktail (ok, two), and I’m done for. The advantage of afternoon drinking is that I was in bed by 9 and awake by 6, without any traces of a hangover. That’s a victory in my book.

Saturday was my “play day” and today will be strictly business. I have a mountain of laundry to tackle, a suitcase to unpack, and a house to clean. I’d also like to get a jump-start on food prep for the upcoming week.

Lately, I’ve been really trying to convert some of our favorite dishes to vegan. I’m not a strict vegetarian, but I do feel better when I eat a mostly plant-based diet, and truly don’t miss the meat all that often. When I feel like having a steak or some chicken wings, I go for it, but I also actually like vegetarian protein staples like tofu, beans, lentils, etc.. Although Adam protests whenever I use the term, if I don’t tell him something is vegan, he dives right in. Basically, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

A few weeks ago, I made a huge pot of Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and froze it in batches for easy reheat meals when there’s nothing in the fridge or I don’t feel like cooking. I tweaked it slightly (adding smoked paprika and cayenne for some spice, decreasing the amount of lemon, and throwing in kale that needed to be used up), and Adam hasn’t stopped raving about it since.

Other vegan successes have included cashew cream sauce (which freezes well) served over regular (vegan) pasta noodles for Adam and sweet potato noodles (à la this recipe) for me, and vegan parmesan cheese (which I told Adam was a “cashew topping” and he devoured).

Up on the vegan menu this week is more soup (can’t stop, won’t stop) and Coconut Curried Kale and Sweet Potato. This will be my last week at home before I start traveling for work again, and I want to take advantage of being able to cook my own meals as much as possible. If you have any favorite soup recipes, please send them my way! I can’t seem to get enough.

 

A short introduction

Hey there!  Introductions aren’t my strong point, so I’ll keep this brief.

This blog is a way for me, a twenty-something accountant living and working in the District of Columbia, to show and share my creative side.  I love to cook and travel, and I’ve recently gotten into photography.  I’ll share restaurants I visit, places I explore, recipes I try, dinners I create, and things that help me make it through Mondays.

My heart and soul will always belong to the South, where I was born and raised, but in the meantime, I’m making the most out of this adventure.

Until next time,

E.