Chingos of Shingles Ventures

Today I realized half the year is gone.

Today I left work basically on time and risked the flash flooding happening in San Antonio because I couldn’t bare the thought of sitting there wasting any more time with my salty thoughts.

Today I have shingles and find it impossible to RELAX. I just finished walking barefoot in my nightgown in the garage because I read it is helpful in distracting you from the uncomfortability brought on by shingles, but I was doing it more to distract me from my thoughts. Maybe that is why I couldn’t be bothered to put on proper attire, after all, they say you get shingles because of stress and for some reason, the longer I am left with my thoughts, the more stressed I get. I now have two blisters on my foot.

My initial reaction to learning I have shingles was to be pissed off. Great, this is exactly what I needed it. I pride myself in always delivering more than expected and I can’t do that when I am not feeling 100% However, if I am being honest, I have been struggling delivering the bare minimum even at 100% maybe this was the universe telling me the chill the F out. I have never been good at that. Alex always tells me I am a walking ball of stress.

What did I do with the first half of the year? I feel so disconnected from myself most of the time lately. I have no idea what I am focusing on. Trying to connect with things that don’t make sense. I can’t find a connection with who I wanted to be, who I am trying to be, and who I want to be. I have all the confidence in the world, but at the same time I have none. I can’t focus on anything. I obsess over things that are decided, things I cannot change. I’ve always been this way. I still randomly think of things I did when I was younger and immediately feel embarrassed and torment myself with all the ways I could have done them differently.

Instead of taking Monday off because I spent Sunday evening at urgent care and didn’t get much sleep because of the shingles, I showed up to work early on Monday. I had committed to conducting a Phase I ESA training session early in the morning in support of projects starting this week. Why did I feel that was more important than my health? I told my boss I had shingles and she told me she worked while she had them. Apparently, I can’t let anyone work harder than me.

I started this blog post because writing usually helps me sort through things in my head and boy my head is hopping. I feel like most of this has been a pity party, so I will end it with some highlights since my last post:

  • I signed up and got accepted to take my final Professional Geoscientist licensure exam! However, I have not told anyone because I don’t want anyone to know if I fail.
  • Alex cut off his hair, the same hair I said I would break up with him if he cut off! But he looks so good!!! It is like I have a new boyfriend/partner/not fiancé/husband!
  • I booked our vacation for next month! We are taking my nieces, one of which just graduated high school and has a full ride to TCU!!!!! I am such a proud Tia! I feel like we have made it. Breaking generational patterns left and right. She is headed to bigger better things. The world better watch out, Emily is on her way!
  • Oh yeah, we finally moved into our house!!!!

Breathing in and out….thinking happy thoughts! ❤

This is what I look like as I write this post, pretty much a reflection of how I feel. Yes, I walked in this nightgown and yes, I do wear nightgowns on occasion, especially when they have cute bears that reflet my moods and when I need loose clothing to help with shingles.
Introducing you to the new Alex! He smiles way harder now that he has fab hair!
Bunch of kickass women!
Scout enjoying her favorite spot in the new house which happens to be next to my new favorite statement cactus by the entrance.

Aventuras con mi Latinidad and Femininity

If you haven’t noticed already, I have not been making this blog a priority. I have started a few posts since the last, but haven’t seen any to the end because I’ve been working super hard at my day job and trying to keep my sanity as we enter a year not having a place of our own and having to deal with issues that pile on from my rental. I go back and forth with feelings of being an unstoppable badass and being a ball of stress.

My first almost post in March started with the questions: Do I fail as woman for missing international women’s day and not being all over women’s history month? Do I fail as a badass woman for not wanting to have it all? Am I failing for choosing to lay in bed instead of staying up and writing this blog?

I care way too much what people think. I wish I could be that unapologetic feminist or that unapologetic Latina, but that is just not me. In the spaces I frequent, I often find myself being a minority in more ways than one. At work, I am not only the one female geologist, but also the only Hispanic geologist. I am not as conservative as my peers and our backgrounds differ. I find myself in these spaces that sometimes feel like they weren’t meant for me, so I try to assimilate the best way I can by not announcing to the group how different I am, by not posting anything about women’s history month or even acknowledging international women’s day.

Recently, during an innocent conversation about theater arts, I mentioned that I was in a play called Real Women Have Curves. The older white male I was talking to had never heard of this and asked what the play was about. I explained it was a Latina coming of age story. He asked if I was into “La Raza.” I had no words to respond to this and my mouth vomited out no. Then I thought about it and said yes? I babbled some explanation that tried to justify caring about my background, but explained that I wasn’t over the top about it. I could kick myself. What is the correct answer to this?! I realize I am a Latina, and I am proud to be and would not let anyone treat me less than, but I try not to make that my whole identity. I am so much more than Latina. I do assimilate or “code switch” to fit into my environment and be respected and not seen as someone trying to catch a break because I have struggled, been under represented, or otherwise discriminated against. I do not want anyone to doubt for a second that I haven’t worked hard and long to get here. I do not have to shout my Latinidad or femininity, you can see it in my work ethic, attire, contributions, and in my skin when I walk through the door each day. I don’t have to announce it when I live it every day by forcing myself through spaces that weren’t meant for me. I hold myself accountable to everyone because my nieces and everyone coming after me depend on me to make these spaces welcoming for them.

I do feel guilty sometimes for making myself palatable. It is a balancing act trying to fit in all the places and its hard not to feel lost sometimes. Like a true Latina, I have to quote the Selena movie and say Edward James Olmos said it best “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!

That being said, I did kick some ass in March!

I had the pleasure of attending the AmTech Career Academy career fair in Amarillo, Texas. I created an “Ask a geologist poster” to encourage kids to ask questions about what I do. I genuinely love what I do. I have no idea how many times I said that or how many times I made the joke “It is not rocket science; it is rock science!” I had a small appearance in the Driller newscast. I got a substantial raise that I asked for at the beginning of the year, but had been working to earn since I got here.

The days leading up to this career fair, I worked long hours on the most brutal proposal to date, but getting to experience this at the end of the week was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done since starting this job. #GeologyRocks
I almost threw up when i saw this in my inbox, i still haven’t watched it.

If you are that unapologetic feminist or that unapologetic Latina that has a fire burning inside you, I see you, I support you, and I wish I didn’t complicated things for myself and could hold such passion and fearlessness.

I still have my old playbill from my acting days. I am the extra brown one in the middle.
As our reward after that hard proposal mentioned in the career fair picture, we got to do the most popular hike at Palo Duro Canyon to the lighthouse. Since we went after the career fair and because it was before spring forward, it was dark by the time we got to the lighthouse. They might not be Latina or geologists, but i do work with some badass women that make my day to day so much better with their friendship and guidance.

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Love is in the air…if not love then definably a bunch of heart shaped balloons and flowers. Sometimes I feel like I am broken. I asked Alex this weekend if he was okay being with me even if I am not “head over heels” for him. I’m sure many people would think I’m being mean or harsh talking to him that way, but I pride myself in always being genuine about my feelings with him and I know that we are both adults that can have a meaningful conversation without getting hurt and angry (most of the time).

Especially during this past year of living with his parents, it has been easy to get caught up in everyday life and neglect why we are even together. In an effort to do something nice and get us a bit of privacy and time together, Alex booked a spa day and weekend getaway for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure my reaction was not what he expected. Instead of being excited, I was immediately stressed out about the amount of money this was going to cost. I don’t like surprises. What if I was on my period that weekend? Did he consider that our car would need an oil change before we traveled, the cost of gas, the cost of food, the fact that we will need to spend quite a bit to furnish our new home in the near future?! Does he not want to get out of here and settled as soon as we can?! Long story short, I was not thrilled and excited about it. The years of issues and insecurities about money came crawling out and I did not want to go. I’ve always been uncomfortable spending money, even when I have it to spend, holding on to it just in case.

Alex has a “There is more where that came from” mentality, even if there isn’t more, he trusts that there will be. He never worries about anything. It frustrates the mess out of me because I worry about everything. After much debate, we decided to still have our weekend getaway, but opted for one less treatment at the spa and a nice, but more affordable hotel.

We went to a Korean spa in Katy, Texas called Spa World. Last year, Alex had seen a Tik Tok about Korean scrubbing, bought the scrub mitts, and we started scrubbing each other weekly. When we decided we wanted to get it done professionally, Spa World was the closest place we found, but we never scheduled it.

I’m so happy we finally went, 10 out of 10 would do again. We had the general admission and booked a Men’s Scrub Plus and Woman’s Scrub and Foot. The scrub was great, the numerous saunas were nice, but I think my favorite part was the bath/pool area experience. The bath area/spa pools are traditional, you must shower and be completely naked to use them. I was very uncomfortable and highly intimidated at first, covering myself and trying hard to look at anyone. Eventually I did start looking and noticing all the comfortable women around me. It became a positive experience being able to see women with bodies of every shape, size, and age be okay in their own skin in a non-sexual way. It was kind of empowering, by the end of the day I wasn’t walking around clinging to my towel. I got comfortable.

We had too many nachos and margaritas that evening at Jimmy Changas, best picadillo ever! Woke up to have Coffee Milk Tea at Long Coffee (this was so good we stopped to get it on our way back to SA too). Alex catered to my inner geology nerd by taking me to the Houston Museum of Natural Science followed by an impromptu wine picnic at Hermann Park. I remembered why I am with him. I love him and how we can just be together anywhere and have the best time, just the two of us. Cue Grover Washington, Jr.

Spa World has a cafe. Must admit this was the least impressive part of the spa, food was meh and pricey, will skip this next time we go.
I’m not sure what is going on with my face here. I guess I can’t just look happy and relaxed like Alex.
Looking refreshed leaving the spa. I think i showered like 5 times while at the spa!
Good Eats! Anytime we spot a waffle house, it is a must stop. Jalapeno butt cheeks on my nacho. Best coffee drink ever and yummy margaritas.
Favorite part of the museum was definitely energy city.
At the park watching Alex take a picture of our wine for this blog post! A cute duck posing for me 🙂
The picture Alex was taking.
Another picture of our handy carivino wine tumbler.

He even got me the perfect Valentine’s Day card this year, geology puns and all. ❤

I never get the time to make the cards I wish I could make for you each year but this one was to gneiss to pass up, I love you more each day and can only hope our love builds something as strong and eternal as the rocks that build our world. I lava you very much!

2021 Adventures

I did not do everything I planned, and I was not everything I wanted to be this year, but that’s okay. If the past two years have taught me anything, is that so much uncertainty mocks the ideas of a before and after that I have in my head when I set specific resolutions. In order to ease some of the pressure on myself, I am simply resolving to appreciate any little win and try to be better than the person I was yesterday.

This year has been so crazy, I haven’t had time to share things I would have normally shared. Here are a few pictures from some of my adventures this year:

Vegas, September 2021.

Stagedoor Casino. Hands down our favorite place to drink, super affordable and such a relax local atmosphere.
Eating at Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill inside Caesars Palace. It was alright, had way better food other places at way more affordable prices. Service was the best part, great waiter.
Ellis Island Hotel and Casino was our actual favorite place to eat. Prime Rib and inhouse brews at great prices! I wished he looked at me that way! 🙂
Meow Wolf Las Vegas @ Area1. My brother wanted to go, it was cool, especially for pictures, but i wouldnt say it is a must see.
The High Roller. Alex was pretty wasted, he fell asleep shortly after walking in. I had imagined us being like that couple in the background, oh well, maybe next time! lol The view was nice.
Broadacres Marketplace. We woke up and went to have breakfast/brunch/lunch. Such good food and they had the best live music. Not close to the strip at all, but worth the 25-minute uber ride, would go again!
Fremont. I loved being in this strip more than “the strip.” first time trying white castle.
The Golden Tiki was our favorite bar outside the strip area, great drinks, music, and overall vibes. Roulette is our game of choice.

I got to be a bridesmaid this year! It was such a fun experience. Overall, it made our friendship stronger and started new friendships with some amazing ladies.

Being asked to be a bridesmaid after a hike, picking the dress, and getting ready on the big day.

The bachelorette party was in Scottsdale, Arizona after Hurricane Ida changed our original NOLA plans. September 2021.

Hiking Camelback Mountain was probably the most memorable, but there were definitely great drinks, great friends, and great times!

Our annual National Park Road Trip was in October 2021 and included Saguaro, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley.

Saguaro was more than I expected, great, easy hikes. We camped at Catalina State Park and drove out to Saguaro. Catalina State Park was beautiful, and I wish we had time to explore there. They had nice clean restrooms and showers! SanTan PebbleHead was our favorite Arizona beer.
Had to get a Saguaro buddy to help us get around.
Joshua Tree was so windy, could not get a good picture. The day we drove in, it started storming while we tried to put up our tent. It was great times!
Easy hikes and so much to explore. One big playground.
Death Valley is my new favorite National Park! As a geologist, this has everything I could want to see! It was huge! We went hours without seeing people when we did primitive roads.
Badwater basin.
Artist Palette. These crappy pictures do it no justice. I wish i would have gotten some of the drive out, it was so impressive!
Dante’s View. Once again, these crappy pictures do it no justice! i got to see alluvial fans in all their glory!
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
A selfie after work.
My favorite of Alex and me.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

Chocobo Ventures

Lots of things have me on the verge of a mental breakdown these days, but this last news really has me feeling like I am in serious need of a mental health day. I can’t stop thinking about it, but I haven’t had the time and a safe space where I can breakdown and mourn without being questioned.

I’ve been consistently on the verge of tears since I read the news and before leaving work today, I asked my boss if I could use the office after hours to work on some things. I didn’t tell her those things are my feelings.

Santos’ middle brother passed away. Santos is the oldest of 3 brothers. I found out while nonchalantly scrolling through Instagram. I couldn’t believe it. I honestly still can’t believe it. As far as I was concerned, David was going to definitely outlast his brothers. He always had this larger than life energy about him.

For my sanity and out of respect for Santos, I cut pretty much all ties with his family on social media, my exception was David’s wife. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to see the pictures of their beautiful daughter, who called me tia in the beginning of her life. This was my family too, for a long time they were all I had in San Antonio.

He was my brother for so long, 10 years. We shared an apartment with David for the better part of our first two years of marriage. I still remember the first time I met him in person. He drove from San Antonio to Fort Worth to pick up Santos when he was moving to San Antonio to prepare for me to join him after my graduation from high school. He looked at me and smiled, that huge, big, David smile and said, “man she’s gorgeous” as he extended his arm to me and turned back to look at Santos. I knew I was going to like him from that moment I met him. All three brothers have those gorgeous smiles, but David also had this confidence and swag that made it shine just a little bit more. It breaks my heart for his wife, his kids, his brothers, his parents, and everyone that loved him that we won’t be able to see that confident smile again.

I hate that I was so blindsided by this, like I said before, I had stopped talking and following all of them because Santos had moved on and I wanted to respect that. If you have read my previous blogs, you know that on occasion I would breakdown and snoop. This never turned out well for me and so I have tried extra hard to stop doing it. I did it again after finding out and saw he had been battling cancer. I can kick myself for not staying in touch with his wife or his parents. I want them to know I’ve never stopped caring about them and loving them. They all forever hold a place in my heart.

Anytime I get in my pity potty, life throws some perspective. I’m alive and healthy and I need to be thankful every day for that. I wish I could gain that perspective without having to learn such gut-wrenching news.

There are so many stories and things that remind me of David, but the most prevalent is from the time we lived together. I can clearly picture him lying on the couch playing Final Fantasy, running around looking for what I called and ostrich, but was actually a chocobo. That TV in the living room was our only entertainment, so I often found myself sitting there watching him play. I really hope he is chillin ridding that ostrich to his next adventure right now….

Don Julio always reminds me of him too, he had good taste. When we take a shot, my brother always toasts the same thing (which I love and gets me in my feels):
“Para todos los que estamos, Para todos los que faltan, y Para todos los que lla no estan…” Meaning: “For everyone that is here, for everyone that is missing, and for everyone that is no longer with us.”

I know I need better ways of dealing with my feelings, but this one hurts. This is one is for you David.

Vehicle Shopping Ventures

I have been so off lately, juggling many things going on. I feel like today as I sit and drink my coffee with nothing in particular to do, I can finally breath. Alex and I have been together 5 years now and earlier in the year I told him if we reached 5 years and we were still living at his parents’ house, I was going to break up with him.

I know…I’m a bit dramatic, but I meant it when I said it. Mostly because I never truly imagined getting to six months living with his parents. It has been very frustrating and disturbing not being able to find peace and calm by myself in my own home. Home is where we go to reset and I feel like I haven’t been able to reset in a while. It is a big reason why I haven’t been able to sit and write anything, I feel like I can’t think in this space. Navigating my frustrations has not been easy. I would love to say that I am a patient and mature adult, pero se me sube lo Pasillas.

I feel like this has been me lately, either or, no in-between!

I hate when I don’t follow through with things I say. It always makes me feel so vulnerable, like now nothing I say will be taken seriously. If I ever give Alex a serious ultimatum, would he just think back to this and remember that I was all talk?! It makes me think of the children’s book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. If you give a mouse a cookie, he is going to ask for a glass of milk…If I let you get away with this, what else would you want to get away with?!

This actually has nothing to do with Alex and a lot to do with the defense mechanisms I built after my relationship with Santos. The biggest being my inability to forgive. Why should I forgive?! Even if I do forgive, I’m definitely not forgetting…I’m keeping track of that shit and you best believe if you are a repeat offender, you won’t even get cookie crumbs… don’t worry guys, Alex hasn’t done anything wrong and I’m not blowing this out of proportion…I’m actually just thinking of a friend and what I would do if I was in her situation.

It’s so easy for me on the outside looking in to be like “oh hell no, leave his ass!” I’m sure someone could have said the same to me when I was with Santos, but I didn’t leave. Not the first, second, third, fourth…honestly, I lost count of how many times he betrayed my trust. I forgave him so many times and he kept doing the same things because he knew I always took him back. I forgave him because I was scared of the unknown. I knew how to live life with him and it wasn’t always bad. I knew his family and he knew my family. What would I say to them?! What would they think? So many conversations that were easier to just avoid because I knew how to navigate life with him and I was sure it would be harder without him. After all, I knew Santos loved me and I loved him. What if I left and I didn’t find someone else to love me? What if I never loved again? All the thoughts and what ifs made me suck it up and deal.

The truth is that it was hard, but no harder than anything else in life, and not harder than staying and being unhappy. There was a lot of inconveniences, learning to navigate new things, and figuring out finances, but when you are in the middle of it, you just do it because you have to. I took it one day at a time, one problem at a time, and just worked through it.

The difference finally deciding to leave made in my life really makes me question why I didn’t do it sooner.

Recently, I caved and finally got a new car. I had been driving the same Tiguan for years, I loved that car. It was a money pit and there was always something wrong with it, but I did not care. I wanted to drive that car until it couldn’t go anymore. Alex thought I was crazy and didn’t understand my attachment to the vehicle. I told him that prior to the Tiguan, I drove an old Kia Sportage that made all kinds of noises and had no AC. The Tiguan was the first nice big thing I ever got for myself.

I’m mentioning my car buying experiences because it really drives the point on how life changing having the right partner can be.

The first thing to note is that when I was driving the Kia Sportage with no AC in the Texas heat, to and from work and school, Santos was driving the nicer vehicle with AC because he had a longer commute. I never really questioned this because I was happy that I was no longer taking the bus. When I told Alex this, he could not believe that a man, my husband, would put himself before me like that. Now that I live with his parents, I have personally heard his dad say that his wife is first, his son is second, and then it’s him. His dad works the hardest, makes the most money, and he drives the oldest most beat up car, while his wife and son both drive nice Mercedes. I know without a doubt that Alex would never put himself before me.

I made the decision to buy myself the Tiguan in grad school after getting enough cash back from my loans to payoff Santos’ vehicle so we no longer had that payment. I don’t really know why he wasn’t supportive when I told him I was looking for a vehicle, but he wasn’t and made me go look by myself. When I came back with the Tiguan, he was upset that it was a German car and that it was going to cost more to maintenance and upkeep. I had no idea, I knew nothing about cars, all I knew is that I needed a car with AC. He was also upset that the vehicle wasn’t manly enough, he felt self-conscious driving it. He didn’t want to help me find a car, so I’m glad I said tough shit and kept my Tiguan. Maybe this was the beginning of a shift in my mindset, good for you Nancy!

Even though Alex wanted me to get a new car a long time ago, he didn’t push me because it was my money and he wasn’t going to tell me what to do with it. He was constantly having to bail me out of car trouble and on numerous occasions I had to drive his vehicle while my Tiguan was getting repaired. You should have seen him when I finally said I was ready to give up my Tiguan, he had a whole list of vehicles to show me before I could finish my sentence. I learned way more than I wanted to about cars while looking because he wanted me to know exactly what I was getting into. He happily drove me to Dallas to pick up the best value for my money vehicle we found. There simply is no comparison. I can’t believe I settled for so long simply because I was scared of the unknown.

FYI, I actually did remind him that I told him I was going to leave him, but honestly, it would be the stupidest thing I could possibly do. Too many things out of our control have caused the house to take longer than expected and I know this has been just as hard on him. I’m so blessed to have someone that lets me express my sometimes-wild feelings and helps bring me back to sanity.

One perk of living with his parents is that we have been able to travel without having to worry about the cats and Scout. Since my last post we have been to Las Vegas and also did our annual National Parks vacation, this year to Saguaro, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley. Stay tuned for that blog and pictures.

Alex and I in Joshua Tree being silly.

Reminiscing Ventures

The pandemic has been going on for over a year now and for the most part, I have just gone about my life as normal while following whatever protocol is out at the time. It is simple, do what you have to do for yourself and do what you have to do for society.

Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough that no one close to me has been severely affected by the pandemic. No one that I love has lost a job or a life. I know people have been dying, I hear the news, but it has never really sat with me pulling at my heartstrings until recently. At the beginning of August, the death of a former classmate really had me in disbelief. We went to high school together, she was my age, appeared generally healthy, lived a happy life, was pregnant when she got COVID and before she passed, she had just given birth to a baby girl that she never got to hold. When I found out the news, I could not stop thinking about it. It felt so wrong for life to just go on after something like that.

Then yesterday morning as I was getting ready for the day, I received a text from my friend letting me know that his sister, my former assistant manager and friend had passed away. I had recently found out that she was in the hospital due to COVID and reached out to him for updates. This is definitely not the update and outcome I pictured. I cried.

Valerie was a trip to be around, she was usually very happy and when she wasn’t, it was very hard to tell because she didn’t get angry like the rest of us. Valerie had her own way of dealing with things, involving stuff like smoking fake cigarettes and eating peanut m&ms. Valerie gave no fucks about what anyone thought of her, she marched to the beat of her own drum and that’s what was so great about her. You couldn’t help but smile at how she really didn’t let much bring her down. I always envied that about her because I care too much what people think.

I first met Valerie when her brother was my manager at Handy Andy and she would come in to buy groceries. She loved going to Handy Andy because she had also worked there. We often reminisced about the simple days of scanning groceries, listening to oldies, trying to see who could remember the most fruit codes, and fighting over who balanced the office the fastest. When Handy Andy closed its doors, Valerie recommended I apply to bank. I got the job and stayed for just short of 10 years. I picked a tent as my 5-year gift and as I browsed through the catalog, I wondered who would pick the bank engraved jewelry. Valerie always wanted to be a banker, she lived for the bank and wore her gold bank ring with 3 stones (one for every 5-year milestone) with pride.

You never know the impact you have in someone’s life. Valerie is the reason I got the job working in banking that gave me the tools to manage my finances properly and the professionalism that eventually landed me my dream job in environmental. I hope I can be remembered the way I know everyone is remembering Valerie right now.

There are many vivid memories I have with Valerie, but I am going to share the one I always give when someone asks for my most embarrassing moment at work. When I first worked with Valerie, we worked in a very dated office space that was bipolar when it came to the temperature in the office (kind of like the Hot N Cold Katy Perry song). I often had Freebirds for lunch because it was the closest somewhat healthy option. My Freebirds order is a salad with, chicken, black beans, and all the veggies and salsa I can fit. On this particular day, when I returned from lunch Valerie called me into her office for my check-in. We were talking business, but the door was closed and it was getting kind of warm in the room, so I decided to take off the scarf I had been wearing in the cold teller line. As I removed the scarf all I see is a single black bean falling from my scarf and rolling down the desk, turning slowly, and stopping just short of Valerie’s keyboard. I was mortified (still am). Valerie just went on with my referral goals. I love telling this story because that’s the kind of thing that I feel only happens to me and yes, they did call me beaner after that. Thinking back on that moment now, I’m so glad my bean rolled onto Valerie’s desk because I tell that story atleast once a year and every time I tell it, I will smile and think of her.

I can’t imagine the hurt my friend and his family are feeling right now, hug your loved ones because you never know. I have been overwhelmed with a helplessness feeling and even though I know death is a fact of life, it scares me. Please stay safe out there.

This was the last day I worked with Valerie as my Assistant Manager.
Bank silliness, apparently Valerie and I both liked to wear our badges on a lanyard. We totally look like an episode of The Office in this picture.
Old Team Isom kicking it on Panda’s last day.

Sour Adventures

I just keep lying to myself when I say I am going to try to be better about this blog. If Olivia Rodrigo thinks its brutal out here at 17, just wait until 31! Life really just gets a bit more hectic. I guess that means I’m truly living right? If living just means not wasting away being a potato (although I wouldn’t mind being a potato right now). For anyone who hasn’t heard the SOUR album, it’s actually not bad, I would say she is this generation’s Avril Lavigne. The album genuinely took me back to my younger years, even though I could not really relate to heartbreak in those days, there was zero dating for me until my senior year which ended with marriage to Santos. A lot of those songs did remind me of him. He too said forever and I wondered how he was okay with me being gone. Thankfully, I am not alone, its actually quite the opposite these days.

 I ended my last blog stating to stay tuned to for the excitement that is living with Alex’s parents. There are so many things that have made the stay with Alex’s parents a bit of a challenge. I’ve mentioned several times that I am a selfish person and by nature I think we are all kind of partial to want to get what we want right?! I want to be able to get home, kick off my shoes, take off my bra, and be a potato. Instead, I get home and have to say hello, answer questions about my day, ask about other people’s day, and I can never walk to the kitchen to get water without my bra on. The whole having to wear a bra thing is really making me cranky. Who invented these things anyway?!

There was a day when I got home and took of my bra in the room and so desperately did not want to put one back on to go downstairs that I didn’t, but then I felt guilty because it looks like I’m being rude just locked up upstairs. I could hear Alex’s parents asking him about me.  I know, I feel like this is a very “first world problem,” but there is nothing like having a place to call your own where you don’t have to answer to anyone. Isn’t that why I bought a house to begin with? I really hope those guys are enjoying my house. I have nothing but love and great memories when I think about my little casita, she was the coziest and I couldn’t have left her looking any better.

I promise I am not a horrible person. I really appreciate Alex’s parents and everything they are doing for us. I know their hearts are always in the right place, they just don’t always understand things. Like they try to be nice and keep the fridge and pantry stocked with things they think we would like, but I keep telling them I am following a particular diet and they still can’t understand when I tell them I can’t eat the jumbo bag of chips or chocolates. I keep being told that a little bit isn’t going to hurt me. Having to repeat myself to no avail is a common occurrence these days.

One thing that I didn’t think was going to bother me as much as it does it how much they have grown to love Scout. I don’t even mind the jokes about her possibly staying when we leave (obviously there is no way, she is our dog). What I do mind is all the habits we had formed that I literally cried about and almost broke up with Alex about that have been broken. Starting with the fact that they won’t stop feeding her, not for lack of me saying not to feed her of course. Every time I catch them giving her something I make a comment and I’m sure they think I’m a total bitch that hates her dog, but it precisely because I have grown to truly love Scout that I care that they are feeding her half a tub of Cheeto puffs. It got so bad she no longer eats the dog food she used to run laps for before. Their version of not feeding her is giving her two puppuccinos a day instead of 4. A handful of cheerios instead of a full bowl. Alex and I are gone most of the day, there really was no stopping his parents from getting her into these habits and when we leave, Scout is going to be the one hurting. I’m genuinely scared for the day we move out with Scout because she doesn’t know any better, what if she thinks we don’t love her because all the fancy treats are going to stop?

I know there is no malice with anything they do. I know they genuinely love Scout and can’t resist her big puppy brown eyes. I know they love us and want us to feel comfortable. They even love the cats, but I also love the cats and I don’t give them ribs to eat! I feel like such a helicopter pet mom, which is not something I would have ever thought I would be. I just want them to live their best lives for as long as they can.

The worst thing has been that all these things have caused tension between Alex and I because I expect him to do something, but there really is nothing he can do since they won’t listen to him either. I’m trying not to be a crappy person and walk around upset all the time. Trying is definitely the key word, I wasn’t very successful all of July. July was pretty brutal at work, which I can normally handle because I can go home after a long day and just sit and not worry about anything, but I can’t even fart in this house without feeling like I’m being too loud and worrying that someone is going to hear me. If I can’t fart, imagine what other things I can’t do here…the wonder I’m so grumpy.

I told Alex that I hate it here way too much last month and blamed him for everything, but the truth is I am a grown woman who made the decision to come be a part of this mess for my partner in life. I know it is not going to be forever and that when we get to where we are going it would have all been worth it. Cheers to a better August, in which I will choose not to make myself miserable because I wake up every day in an able body and that is a win in itself.

July was so crazy I apparently didn’t take many pictures (mostly blurry pet pictures) , so here is one of me being optimistic for August! ❤

Venturing with Change

As another month comes to an end, I’m wondering where it went. Time flies when you are having fun, so I must be having loads of fun! As I am sitting here trying to seriously figure out where my June went, I realize that the word of the month for June is CHANGE. So much fun, excitement, and terror in such a little word.

We are all a work in progress and change is unavoidable while progressing. When I undertake something new, my friends are always my cheerleaders. I wouldn’t expect anything less because I choose to surround myself with people that feed my energy, not drain it. Who would want to keep a friend that condemns attempts at progress and only wants to reminisce about the good old days? The good old days were great for that time in my life, but the vision for my future is greater.

The same can be said for a company, yet people are quick to denounce a company because it is not exactly where it needs to be. If you were genuinely trying to progress, how would you feel if someone was constantly undermining every move you make as not enough or pointless. We are all a work in progress, we just need the time and cheerleaders (encouragement) to get there.

That being said, I actually did have loads of fun this month. I had the pleasure of traveling to our offices this month to discuss some initiatives. In the midst of all that excitement, I got to try my first ever Allsup’s burrito and even though I was terrified about the repercussions of eating a gas station burrito, I was pleasantly surprised!

In the name of progress, I’ve been working my ass off all month and those first 4 paragraphs are a post I made on Linkedln because one of my new initiatives is being more present in that platform to network and make connections because you never know.

I did spend time this month traveling to offices trying to get everyone onboard with a new initiative. The initiative is trying to get everyone onboard with sending their reports to review by QA/QC prior to sending them to the clients. Sounds simple enough, but apparently not that simple because even though the owner of the company has said that this needs to happen, it hasn’t, hence the office visits. We wanted a chance to explain why we are doing this and give others a chance to ask us any questions they might have and/or explain why they are not onboard. We wanted to have professional adult conversations and we did in most places but were met by some hardcore resistance from one particular project manager. She literally just got up and walked out of the meeting because she didn’t have time for this and was super busy. I just could not fathom ever being this way. What empowers someone to feel that they are above simple tasks that are being asked of them. Especially tasks that would ease some of their load, add no costs to their project, overall make her final deliverable to the client better and therefore make her look better. The crazy thing is that its not even an option, its policy and as soon as accountability starts, it’s going to be a reality check, so why go through all the trouble?

Maybe accountability is the key word. If she has never been held accountable, she thinks that she can tantrum her way out of this one. It is truly disappointing because aside from my boss, she is the only other female project manager in the company and I was pretty excited to meet a strong female in a role I want to have one day. She told us how hard it was for her to gain the trust of the men in her office. I asked her how she managed to get their trust and then aligned where I was coming from with what she said and finished by asking how I could gain her trust and prove to her that I was not questioning her credentials or her science, emphasizing that we just want to standardize the product we are delivering to our clients.

It had been a while since I struggled with different personalities at work and I’m such a pleaser that I want everyone to like me, so this hurt extra hard. It is going to hurt even harder if the accountability isn’t there after I already put myself out there, that is my worst nightmare! Hopefully all the change/progress is not all talk.

Thankfully being so consumed with work has distracted me from my own personal chaos that is brewing. Living with my boyfriend’s, who is my partner, definitely not my fiancé, but kind of like my husband, parents. Stay tuned for that excitement.

My cheerleaders during those office visits. I’m easily motivated and encouraged by food, maybe I should have taken that project manager a coffee, burrito, an shake to get her to buy in.
A bonus picture of a quick stop we made in Roswell during our travels, my boss can be fun sometimes!

Moving Ventures

I started writing my next blog post in April and now it’s almost the end of May, so you can decipher how that went! Here is what I had started in April:

There is never enough time in the day, the week, the month, or year to get everything my heart desires done. I’ve been away from home the last three weeks working on a big remediation project, this is exactly the kind of stuff I love, but I was struggling a bit with my very human feelings. Sometimes (often), I need to stop and remind myself where I am and find all the things I am grateful for.

Things are falling into place, it seems that as soon as I let go of my fears and decided to take the plunge and be all in with Alex on our plan (notice I said our and not his #growth), things just started falling into place. I went to get a haircut from one of my very good friends and I caught her up on my life, including the pending move and getting ready to figure out how to become a landlord and rent out my house. Later that day she calls me to ask about the possibility of Alex being her three nephew’s realtor and help them find a rental and/or the possibility of them being able to rent out our house. Well, they looked at our house last weekend and decided they definitely want to move in, but their lease is up June 1st and they would like to move in end of May.

Pressure on! I haven’t been home, but we have to be completely cleared out of most of my house by the first week of May so that we can get the house move in ready. Did I mention I’m not home right now?! Furthermore, because we also have to update the house we are moving into, we are actually going to have to stay with Alex’s parents while everything gets squared away.

I see no easy, effortless way to make everything happen, but Alex assures me we will make it happen it because we have to. Sometimes I wish I could be like Adam Sandler in click and fast forward through all the hard stuff and show up for the reward. Don’t we all?! What was the lesson in that movie? Something along the lines of embracing and enjoying all the moments in life because before you know it, life would have passed you by. 

I absolutely hate moving, but if I have to think of the moments I enjoyed from the last time me and Alex where in this situation, they are the following:

  • Eating pizza over a pile a boxes one last time in our old place
  • Driving away for the last time and looking back and feeling nostalgic already
  • Enjoying our first dinner and night in a new place
  • The satisfaction of knowing you did it! (even if it was only with a few seconds to spare)
  • Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this man loves me, that even when I decide to give up on myself and a seemingly never-ending situation, that he can step back, embrace me, and help me get back up and get the job done as a team.

That is where my started blog post ended.  Here I am a month later reading it and it’s bringing tears to my eyes, especially that last bullet. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this man loves me. If this month has taught me anything, is knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I love this man too, he is my person through anything and everything, no hidden agenda, just genuinely wants what is best for me. This month was so much harder than I foresaw, for reasons I am not brave enough to talk about, but here I am, one day into being a landlord.

I’m laughing thinking of how done I was so many times this month, how defeated, how broken, how dead I felt, how many unhappy tears. I will spare you all the meltdowns, shenanigans, and things gone wrong for now. Instead, I want to list the moments that brought me to life and let me see the end of the tunnel this month:

  • Amazing friends. Friends that brought us a homecooked dinner after a long moving day or my friend that brought me to life on a Saturday by dropping by with my favorite iced coffee.
  • My boss who listened, sympathized, and accommodated with the craziness I had going on this month.
  • Scout’s clueless silliness and the cats unforgiving grumpiness due to change.
  • High-fives and fist bumps with Alex every time we got something done!
  • How organized our storage unit ended up.
  • Once again, eating pizza one last time, amongst other one last times.
  • Finally getting to see those floors we always wanted be installed.
  • Referring to all three houses involved as “the house” and having some very confusing and now funny conversations.
  • Going through all of it with Alex who was a nonstop machine, not only for me, but his parents. They were moving out of their house and into a new house at the same time as we were moving…correction, they are still moving and he is still helping them! I don’t know how he didn’t have one breakdown or meltdown; he must not be human. He is the best support person I could ask for and I hope to be the same for him.

I know with Alex by my side, we are always going to make it happen. Hopefully we make more happen because we want to and less because we have to.

That homecooked meal, coffee, and neat storage that brought me happiness.
The last load on the first night we stayed at the new house.
I found Alex working really hard helping me pack.
He will probably hate this picture, but its my favorite because he looks equally tired and happy to be eating pizza.
The huge glasses of bubbly we had to toast leaving the house for the last time in a while late Tuesday night.