Challenges and Changes and Blessings… Oh My.

One of the things that I find the most interesting about being a consultant is that you start new jobs (without being fired or quitting) pretty regularly.  Inherently the act of starting over at a new company, with a new culture, and new human counterparts is always a little stressful.  Even though it can be a stressful time, I have also found it to be a blessing.

What is the blessing in starting over?  Well, it challenges and stretches me to believe in myself.  To know that every time I’ve started somewhere new, I didn’t know the culture, the humans, the geography (if I’m traveling) or even the details of the work I’d be doing.  Those facts eventually changed and I learned, adapted and was successful in each endeavor.  I keep proving to myself that there is nothing I can’t learn, handle, or google… to meet my goals.

When I’m approaching a transition to a new client, I often end up in this cycle of stress > gratitude > acceptance > stress > gratitude… etc.  I find myself being my biggest cheerleader and critic, in a healthy way… not in a multiple personality kind of way.  I challenge myself to remember my awesomeness, but allow for some stress/apprehensiveness as well because in a managed fashion it allows me to be better prepared when I do start.

The biggest “bonus” of this cycle is that I have very little fear of ending a contract.  I have faith that everything will work out and that I will find the work I need to find (if necessary) and I hold myself capable of staying employed with the right companies, the right projects and the right people… at the right time.

The super secret bonus to flexing my “believing in myself” muscles is that it doesn’t just stop with my employment.  These exercises leak out into the other areas of my life and allow me to face uncertainty and change in my personal life with a little more calm and steadiness that otherwise.

All that to say that I appreciate the challenges that this career has sent my way and the growth I’ve experienced because of it.  I am pretty darn proud of myself and the person I’m becoming every day.



In other news…

Lately it’s seems like there is so much drama in the lbc…

No, but really. Im not immune to the emotions that are running through our country/state/community right now. From rage to elation, from depression to indifference, from desperation to determination. 

This isn’t a post to tell anyone how to feel or even share how I feel (politically/emotionally/mentally/hungrily) because there’s so much of that being shared already on social media. 

It’s just to say that I’m just over here still eating too much Nutella. Working out every day. Sipping my wine. Loving my friends and family. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Watching more of the TV show ‘Cops’ than most grown ups probably do. Taking all the pictures of my dogs. Trying to be the best wife, step mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, employee… ME… that I can be. I hope some of those efforts leak out onto the people I meet and brightens their days. 

Let’s all leak a little goodness on other people. 

And eat more Nutella. 

Engagement woes

Since I was engaged in January, I haven’t had many sleepless nights, bridezilla moments (that I’m aware of) or planning blocks.  However now that we are nearing the 6 month mark (12/27), I definitely can say that I have small moments of panic.  It’s definitely hard to be the sole planner of things.  I am understanding more and more how handy a wedding coordinator would be. 

I don’t need help making the decisions or paying (although extra moolah wouldn’t be something I shook a stick at)… but the logistics of a realistic wedding-day schedule, how many bridal showers to have, proper etiquette on hosting, invitations, gifts, rehearsal dinner, set up of reception, take down, seating charts, in-laws, out-laws and breakin’ the laws… this is where someone else could do the leg work for me. 

In my mind, I picture a slightly less famous jennifer lopez sitting down with a binder and being just as excited about all these details as me.  Maybe even thinking of a couple extra things to sparkle, glitter or lace-up in order to make the event extra memorable.

I’ve made table decorations, table numbers, table runners, invitations, bouquettes, save the dates and other stuff I can’t remember at the moment.  Sometimes I feel like I almost have enough decorations, then I look on Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes or A North Woods Wedding blog… and the ideas start swimming all over again. 

I find staying true to your style is tricky when you have a 1.5 year engagement.  It is a good amount of time in order to casually get decorations together, find the perfect venue and enjoy being engaged… however also long enough to think of many other ways to add to your idea.  A simple “muted rose/vintage” theme is definitely in style now and can be decorated in many awesome ways.

I know that at the end of the day, the fact that Jason and I are starting the rest of our lives together is the most important part of the whole shebang.  However I definitely have enough green backs, moolah, benjamins, etc… invested that I also want it to be a memorable and perfect-ish kind of day.  Honestly if I didn’t care about the whole celebration (venue, aptmosphere, sound, feel, awesomeness)… we would have just gotten married by Elvis in Vegas.  I’m quite sure it would have been cheaper.

Anyways, I realize that most times I sit and ponder all these things on my own and that only leads to more feelings of isolation and stress.  So, I’m going to try and get back to my roots and write more :)  It has always been a good release for me.

On a side note: As I was typing this Vince was reading a book to us that had to do with micro-organisms and he got to a section that talked about sperm cells.  He got two sentences in and refusted to read anymore.  His Dad asked how he was going to learn about this stuff if he didn’t read it, Vince promptly responded “school”.  End of discussion.  :)  These moments make me smile.

Reflections of a restless mind…

I’m a little restless tonight and just want to do a little word-vomitting on here.  With so much coming up in the future with work, home, life, family, friends, etc… I have been making an effort to take time to remember to be grateful.  Grateful for the people we have become as a family, grateful for the things we have (roof, jobs, love, laughter, cookies, wine, 10 fingers, 3 eyes… just kidding) and mostly just grateful to be living this life.

As a slightly deeper/awkward thought… I am always thankful I live in the time of deodorant, air conditioning, and razors.  Also I’m happy for running water and electricity.  I’m also excited about the internet, although pinterest is the devil. I’m  happy that I get to keep in touch with my family states away through social media.  I feel blessed to have walked through the coals enough time to recognize the cool relief of the “good things” when they come my way.

I’m thankful for the empathy I have for other people and even though it’s not always returned, I think it gives me enough perspective to keep a cooler head.

I’m giddy every day to have found someone to share life, laughter and ever after with.  Some days are good, some days are bad, but all days are ours, and that is pretty damn cool.  He shows endless compassion when I have small amounts, he shows me patience, I show him hot dance moves like “droppin’ it like it’s hot” and “shakin’ it like a polaroid pictures” and also have taught him a love for wine and cheese.

Mostly I’m just thankful that even though it’s been a crazy year, it’s also been a very heart warming year as well.  Life’s all about balance.

Anxiety. It’s a Bitch.

And if Anxiety is a Bitch, then Panic Attacks are the Queen B.

Have you ever been pushed off a tall building?

Watched a child step in front of a speeding car?

Had a gun pulled on you?

I haven’t.  However my body reacts (lately more frequently than I can manage) like those types of scenarios are happening. 

My stomach drops to my toes.  My nerves ignite like a fire all over my body.  My stomach instantly hurts.  My chest tightens till it is almost painful to breathe.  My breathing gets extremely shallow. My palms get sweaty.

All of that happens within seconds of some trigger.  Generally it has something to do with death or dying or other major traumatic events out of my control.  Seconds.  Imagine being a totally fine functioning (mostly rational) adult and then being reduced to tears in seconds because of the mental and extremely strong and urgent physical reaction your body has to some known or sometimes unknown trigger. 

Not only does it happen in seconds and is sometimes borderline crippling, but it is all internal.  There is no banner that rolls across your forehead, no sticker on your shirt that says, “Be nice to me, I’m having an epic panic attack right now and am either going to fart or cry”.  Kind of graphic, but totally real and honest. 

Fight or flight was a really cool instinctual response our bodies had back in the days of cavemen, tigers and dinosaurs… however now in a fairly secure home, with tame kitties and just the movie Jurassic park to threaten your peaceful dreams; fight or flight is less a necessity and more a genetic response gone haywire for some people (like me).

It is humiliating, devastating, emotionally draining and humbling to be brought to your knees and seemingly betrayed by your own body for something that your rational mind knows is not an imminent threat. 

It’s bad enough having Generalized Anxiety that keeps me on my toes most days. I watch what I eat, get enough sleep, exercise daily, and don’t drink too much alcohol.  All in a very serious attempt to keep the pool of anxiety from becoming and unmanageable ocean of worry and fear that transforms into debilitating panic attacks.

Panic and anxiety do not have boundaries.  They don’t say, “Oh hey, you’re in a SUPER important work meeting… so I’ll step outside and just wait till you’re done.”  I’ve been in the middle of sending an email before and had a full-blown snot-smearing-tear-shedding-chest-tightening panic attack.  To this day I don’t know what caused it… but I do know that I practically 007’d it (rolled, squatted, lunged and maneuvered unseen) to the bathroom in order to lose my shit in the privacy of the 3 stall ladies room.

I’ve tried several medications and mostly I avoid them because I dislike the time it takes to ween on, get used to and ween off the medicine if it isn’t just what you need.  I have tried to steer more the direction of taking care of myself better mentally and physically and talking.  Lots and lots of talking.  With friends, families and in the case of public panic attacks… any poor soul close enough to listen to my nervous giggles and rambles as I talk about any subject that will relieve my symptoms long enough to get a grip.

I think all the recent news coverage, Facebook posts and conversations about the shooting in the Connecticut Elementary school was the straw that broke the anxiety camels back… so to speak. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress at work, getting certified in a new software, waiting on inevitable change in duties, at home with finances, trying to be the best step parent/role I can be and sometimes feeling like a failure, trying to be the best partner I can be and sometimes feeling like a failure and trying to be the best me I can be… and sometimes not knowing what the f- that means… but being pretty sure I’m failing at that too.

So, my holiday resolution (because apparently mental breakdowns do not wait for new years) is to Rise Above It.  It’s a phrase that has been following me around in my mind lately.  I need to rise above the pettiness, the unrealistic expectations, the gossip, the cruel realities of life sometimes and poke my head into those clouds and just put things into perspective and look over the horizon.

Pretty sure another resolution is to be better at reaching out for help when I’m feeling so overwhelmed and in the depths of despair… but let’s face it, everyone’s vision narrows when they are hurting so much and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s hard to remember there is a light, you’re in a tunnel or what direction you’re even going.

Anyways, I write because it makes me feel better.  I also write because I hope it makes someone else feel better, and/or makes someone else slightly more empathetic towards someone in their life who suffers from anxiety and/or panic.  We are strong people, we don’t always show how crumbled we are.  When I say, “I’m having an anxiety attack”, my voice may be calm and my body still… but inside know that a storm is raging and I’m calm and still trying to hold on and wait it out.  Give me your hand, your ear and some chocolate.

Note: M&M’s are pretty good therapy. {there is a god}

Note: Unfortunately wine (alcohol in general) really is not.  {can’t win them all}

Lastly.  Thank you to my Mother, my Boyfriend and my Dear Friends for listening, understanding and empathizing when they can.  Just having someone to talk to really helps.  It helps to put things into perspective, keeps me sane, and usually ends up in laughter and cracking jokes which honest to god is the best medicine.  I’m usually the one with the jokes and creating the laughter, but when someone else can do that for me in some of my darkest hours… that is so priceless.  That, is also why I’m grateful that the 10-year-old is in my life.  There is nothing like the honest observations and perspectives of a child that will ground you faster than that.



Life’s just moving right along.  Things are going and coming and floating and flying right on by.  November was a fleeting month and now it is practically the middle of December.  Seriously.  How does that happen?

I’ve been spending my free time and home-bound weekends crafting and gift making for a christmas that will be chalked full of sentiment, stitches and hot glue.  This news will likely be very depressing to the 10-year-old who doesn’t have 1 thing requiring stitches or hot glue on his list.

We are sooooo close to being able to refinance the house.  Set back after set back has made it a very frustrating and stressful experience.  The holiday is the worst time to be short on money and in the middle of big financial changes (refinancing, roommate moving out, internet moving in, etc, etc) so that is obviously the time it all has to happen.  We are able to get by, with lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, movie nights, and couch time on the weekends.  The good thing about this time of year is that at least the weather is conducive to couch time and crafting.

It’s hard to stay positive and be a shiny ray of light through it all.  There are definitely days when throwing in the towel and just staying in bed seems like the best idea ever.  However, that’s just not me… or us.  We are lucky to both be pretty resilient people and when I falter my guy is there to hold me, pick me up and unwrap a chocolate.  When he falters I am there to be moral support during gaming adventures not for the faint of heart. These days of struggle are the days I’m extra proud of myself for getting up, working out, going to work, doing my best and coming home to a great family.  At the end of the day I can look back and think about all the opportunities I had to let the day suck my spirit down and count me out… but I stayed positive instead and was better for it.

We have fallen into some happy winter routines around the house involving favorite tv shows, movie nights and dinners together.  Surprisingly it isn’t the Little C taking up most of the Playstation time, it’s the Big C.  It does annoy me some days.  There are definitely times when i have visions of snapping the game in half and doing a dance over its broken pieces… then I remember how hard he works for all of us and it soothes that desire (a little).

On this evening Big C is playing his game and I’m a little miserable due to a tetanus shot with a booster in it for whooping-cough that I got along with my flu shot.  Apparently, having a 10-year-old in the house makes you more susceptible to it.  Figures.  So, I’m in a lot of discomfort and remember why you only get these shots every 10 years… or when you step on a nail.  They are not fun.  Also, just being run down and exhausted in general has me feeling a little achy tonight too.  Maybe a side effect of the flu shot, but I don’t give much stock in that theory.  I’m in the middle of my last training for my last certification I can get and I’m not going to let it keep me from finishing that up.  I’ll just have to go to sleep and I’mOld:30 tonight and get some much-needed sleep.

Over and out.

The only constant… is change.

Our work hosted a lunch and learn today on this very topic.  While I’m familiar to this idea and a bit of a cheerleader on change most of the time (so new, exciting…. oooohhh), I was still looking forward to going and listening in on what the speaker had to say.

As it usually goes with some of the best speakers, they tell you the stuff you already know but since it comes packaged with different words, from a different source (sorry parents) or just a different environment…. It might actually resonate on a deeper level.

There were several things that I took away from the lunch and learn and juggled in my mind throughout the day and night.

One of these things was the idea of spending your time with the right people at work.  You surround yourself in your personal life (hopefully) with bright, energetic, optimistic people that you respect, admire and/or look up to.  You should do the same thing at work.  Hanging out with someone who incessantly worries over every meeting, new concept, old coworker, the weather, the location of the sun in relation to their chair… will not rain sunshine and happiness on your day.  More likely it will rain smelly sludge and gloom down upon you and ruin your favorite shoes.  Choose wisely.

Another idea worthy of note was the idea that you should allow time for worrying when it is necessary.  Instead of trying so hard not to worry about things, make time in your day to do it.  Give yourself time to write a pro/con list, stab a voodoo doll or make ex lax brownies… however you worry… allow yourself to do it in a controlled amount of time and then move on with your day.

An idea that I am very familiar with and yet still struggle with is that people can’t MAKE you feel a certain way. If you are angry, bitter, sad, happy, or mad it is because you allowed yourself to feel that way.  You control you own happiness and choosing to allow your perfect day to be ruined by the jack-o-tard in traffic next to you is not the best/stress free choice you can make.

Be proud.  Be proud of yourself, of your family, and even coworkers.  Recognize achievements.  Give high fives, low fives, and NO you’re too slows (those are rude and douchy). Be forgiving, understanding and non judging.  Judging and blame are very easy things to do, very natural reactions to some situations for some people.  Being the bigger person and choosing to be kinder to yourself and everyone around might be harder to put into action, but is so much more rewarding at the end that is totally worth the effort (much like baking cookies for a non-baker like myself).

I truly enjoyed the chance to sit back and reflect during my lunch hour at work about my choices and my abilities to cope with stress.  I’ll continue coping in the best ways I know how:

  • Exercise (zumba)
  • Talking (doctors orders)
  • Taking care of your body (sleep, eat, and treat my body right)
  • Do something I truly enjoy every day (wine, cheese, read, study, love, be loved, craft, talk with friends, learn new things about people, walk, nap, cheese, coffee, peanut butter, cheese)

On a side-ish note: I am proud of the fact that I have had 2 Aunts and 1 Uncle go through cancer over the last couple years and recover.  Some journeys were smoother than others.  One involved my mom going through a full bone marrow transplant. I am proud of my sister for being the best mom she can be to two little girls, no matter what life throws at her.  I am proud of my friends for constantly striving to be better people, learn new things, grow, shine and for being so kind.  I am proud of myself for working hard to be a role model and parent-figure to a very cool little man. Working hard to be the best other half to a man I respect and admire and love more deeply than I ever thought would be possible without ecstasy or a million dollars. I am proud to call myself Ingrid and everything that goes with it.

This guy sits at my desk and cheers me up.  Stress relief, check.

This guy sits at my desk and cheers me up. Stress relief, check.