Compromise, a Risky Venture?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ex-husband and compromise lately. After almost ten years of being together and lots of compromises, we did not work out.

I’m fully aware compromise is part of any relationship, but I think there are healthy ways and toxic ways. My compromises with my ex were usually toxic, they did not benefit both of us and usually left me feeling discounted. I always had to tone myself down, stop myself from experiencing things because I didn’t want to deal with coming up with justifications on why it was important for me. I gave up parts of myself to avoid arguments and keep him happy. Something as small as leaving the store we just walked into because it was too crowded or something as big as withdrawing from school because he didn’t want to wait a month to leave Fort Worth; he couldn’t be bothered or inconvenienced. Were all those compromises worth it? Could I have gotten to this point in life sooner had I not compromised, would I be further in my career, would I be happier?

After my marriage, I’m probably at the complete opposite spectrum in my attitude towards compromise. Alex will tell you I am very outspoken, give my opinion, and tell him he could take it or he knows were the door is. As I am typing this, I realize how bitchy that sounds, but I refuse to end up in the same circumstance, feeling taken advantage of and disregarded.

After almost five years of being with Alex, compromise is not something I’ve really had to do. I’ve never felt like I was giving up or hindering part of myself to be with him. I’ve also never made him do anything he didn’t want to do or stopped him from doing anything he did want to do. I can’t say the same about my ex-husband; I did try to stop him from some things because I didn’t trust him. I trust Alex wholeheartedly, he has never given me reason not to. Even with all the love and trust I have for him, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to be vulnerable, let my guard down, compromise, and trust him.

What does a healthy compromise even look like?

For as long as we have been together, Alex has lived with me; he moved into my apartment and then moved in with me to my house. He’s always happily paid his part, helped me with anything he can, and has been a huge reason why I’ve been able to do a lot of the things I’ve done in recent years. That being said, I’ve been stressing out about his plans for our future. Not because they aren’t great plans and because they don’t make perfect sense, but because some crazy part of me feels trapped. We have the opportunity to move into a house that is twice as big as my house, worth more than twice the amount, is in a nicer neighborhood, is closer to work, and will allow me to rent out my home and possibly make some income. The caveat is that it will be Alex’s house, since we are not married, I will have no real stake in the home. If he is reading this, he is saying that we are not married because I don’t want to get married, and he’s right, I don’t. The truth is, I’m not ready to move in with him.

I know that sounds silly because we already live together, but we live in my house. I make the final call on things and can tell him he knows where the door is when we are in a heated debate. He has never taken me up on that, he never leaves, it’s what I love about him, he is 100% in this. I thought I was 100% in too, but the thought of living with him has me feeling stressed. What is something happens? I can’t kick him out of his own house, I won’t be able to go to my house if it’s being rented, and I have no family here. My sister got it immediately when I told her, she said I’m feeling trapped as a response to trauma from my ex-husband. I felt trapped for a long time and maybe stayed longer than I should have because I felt like I had nowhere else to go. I’m terrified of being in that place again and even though Alex has given me absolutely no reason to feel that way, my mind is immediately going to worst case scenario. Moving in with him feels like such a leap of faith and I know I probably sound super dramatic, but it is such a big deal to me and I don’t think he understands that because on paper it’s a win, win, win and we already live together.

This post doesn’t have a solution yet, just putting this out into the world in hopes of clarity. Is it compromise if Alex isn’t giving anything up in this plan? I know that is the wrong way to look at it, but I’ve constantly stated I’m kind of a selfish person, he knows this, and still sticks around. Also, I lied, I have had to compromise with Alex…the name of that compromise is Scout! She should really count as a million compromises because all I got from that is a hard time! lol

I was trying to find a picture of Alex and I at home on the couch or something, but apparently we don’t take pictures together at home. Instead, here is a picture of Scout on our couch, one of my favorite places to be. I love my house, its so hard to picture myself not being here.

March Madness and Marching On Ventures

 I feel like I always end up in the same place where I get busy and I keep thinking I need to write a blog post. I really need to be better about it especially since the whole reason I started actually came to fruition recently. I started this blog as a business for tax deductions because I forever have to pay taxes when I feel like I seriously don’t have any extra money. Alex, being the entrepreneur that he is, kept recommending that I open a business and that it doesn’t even have to be profitable because you can claim losses on your business for three years. The worst that could happen is that I try a business doing things I was already going to do and get some deductions; the best that can happen is that I’m actually profitable in that business. I finally listened to him last year, so here I am!

I’m not happy about the smug look on his face when he said I told you so, but I am glad that I finally listened to him because it paid off.  I was able to claim my home office space, a percentage of my cell phone bill, internet service cost, office supplies, etc. even though I didn’t make any money yet. It just makes sense to always have some kind of side hustle for deductions, it gets pretty crazy when you start reading all the things you can deduct even with just a sole proprietorship that cost me less than $25 to set up. Now I just need to be consistent about writing these posts!

I do wonder why I haven’t been able to sit and get one of these done and I know why, it’s because I’m either working way too hard or partying way too hard, I can’t find a good in-between.  I’m an achiever, so I tend to overcommit and take on everything I can at work, especially because I’m still new in my industry and I want all the experience I can get. No matter how miniscule or huge a job is, I am always down to get it done. Having a deadline and finishing something huge makes me feel alive, I know that sounds dumb, but I love the feeling of accomplishment, it’s a high I’m always chasing. The downside is that as soon as I accomplish something, it’s like okay, what’s next? Meaning I’m just like Alexander and Angelica…I can never be satisfied because I want to chase the next best thing. That is until I get burned out and decide I don’t want to do anything and veg out with snacks, wine, and mind numbing tv or something similar. Between working extremely hard and being a vegetable, it’s hard to dedicate time to things that I’m only accountable to myself for, like this blog post and my laundry. All I can do is try to be better and even though I fall short sometimes, the only thing I can do is get up and start again.

Just FYI, I have not even vegged out this month, it has actually been full of accomplishments, like getting employee of the month, my 1 year anniversary at work, being on my first podcast, faced fear when I climbed a questionable ladder to get to a questionably “stable area” in a no access part of our warehouse, got to get my boots dirty more than once, and finished and submitted a substantial bid amongst other boss moves! I also got to host family members two weekends in a row! I’m not making excuses, just sharing what I’ve been up to and trying not to feel so bad for being human and choosing days of comradery with family instead of blog posts.

Lastly, its actually kind of difficult to choose what to write about because I feel like the blog posts that people actually read were the juicy ones, the ones I talked about my ex husband. I really go back and forth with wanting to share all that because part of me feels like I need to get over it. Not that I’m still missing him or want to be with him because I don’t, I am very happy in life, I just wonder if I should still think about him as much as I do years later. It is just wild to me to spend 10 years with someone as your best friend and partner who knows everything about you and you know everything about them and then suddenly you just have to go through life not knowing anything about them anymore. I will keep telling that story though, stay tuned.

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Just a few pictures from this month so far. Looking cute at work; snacks and tequila from brunch with my brother and his family; a screenshot of part of my employee of the month email; me sitting dirty and terrified on top of the warehouse world; a site I visited; and my boots & dirty car mat.

Texas Winter Storm “Adventure”

I had all intentions of having a new blog written by the 15th of this month because I have given myself a more realistic schedule of two blogs a month, unfortunately, I missed my deadline because of the absurd week we had in Texas. It really was ridiculous and nothing I could have imaged after enthusiastically running outside to see the snow falling in a hallmark-type ending to Valentine’s day. Now that I’m warm, showered, caffeinated, and arguably much easier to live with…I can write about it.

A screenshot of the temperature Sunday night to hold as a memory along with the pictures I took that evening of the first snow experienced in my home. 02/14/2021
Alex acting like its the first time he has ever seen snow, he didn’t even put on a jacket before running out and looking at the snow falling on our home. 02/14/2021

After a magical evening and blissful sleep, I and many others across Texas woke to find ourselves without electricity and water. I knew it was going to be cold, it has been part of the forecast before, so maybe I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I was thinking a snow day off from work; a day to stay inside, drink coffee, and watch Netflix and chill with Alex. I did eventually get the day off from work after an initial late start push, but there was no Netflix, only never-ending chill.

The morning started hopeful, we took Scout to play in the snow and take pictures. Our cell phone reception was horrible, something to do with the electricity being out, but in small glimpses of electricity when the WIFI would turn on, we read that there was going to be rolling power outages in approximately 45-minute increments; to this point we had only had electricity in less than 5-minute increments an hour. The snow was still a novelty and we didn’t imagine we would have to endure this long so we had fun seeing what we could scavenge. We did have a few gallons of water leftover from our last camping trip in October, so we used this to prep our coffee pot and had it ready to run to and start as soon as the power came on. We were living on the thrill of receiving that warm hug from our morning cup of Joe, it took us three 2–5-minute electricity intervals to get a full pot of coffee done. It seemed liked each time the electricity intervals came it was shorter, the last one we timed before they completely stopped was only two minutes, what can anyone possibly get done with 2-minute intervals of electricity?! Maybe the electric company realized that 2-minutes was nothing and that is why they decided to truly give us nothing…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Fun in the snow Monday morning after work was canceled. 02/15/2021

After my cup of coffee, my body reacted like it always does after my first cup of coffee, but instead of immediately running to restroom like I always do, I stopped and panicked about the implications of using the restroom to relieve myself. Without water, we only had two flushes, and it was a bit premature to be using up a whole flush because I was careless enough to have coffee. Following that Monday morning until today, I sacrificed coffee so I didn’t have to poop. I used my flush; it was only fair that the second flush was for Alex (imagine the dilemma in households with more than two people?!). I know we had it better than most and for that I’m very thankful. Not drinking coffee was a very miniscule initial sacrifice, I do usually drink multiple cups a day, but no biggie.

After a few hours of sitting around waiting for glimpses of electricity we started to really evaluate the situation.  We had no snacks, everything we had for food had to be cooked. We had about 3-gallons of water, which would be more than enough for the day, but would go quickly between keeping us (including the 3 cats, and the dog) hydrated and hygienic. What if this was going to last for more than just a few hours?! Even after just a few hours, Alex was already going stir crazy and we were in need of food that didn’t require cooking, so we suited up to go for a long walk to the nearest commercial intersection and gas stations. We enjoyed our walk even though when we reached our destination, everything was closed, no one had electricity.

To be honest, we actually didn’t really need to get food that didn’t require cooking because our love of camping came in clutch. We have camping stoves and residual fuel from years of camping adventures, we honestly just really built up a fantasy of getting chips to snack on, it was goal, something to focus on to help us pass the time. We got home from our walk and took a drive to the opposite further side of our neighborhood and found a gas station that did not have electricity but was open for cash only purchases. Bingo! We got 3 bags of chips and a case of water. I will forever stop at this gas station when I can because those chips and water made more of difference than we could have thought at the time and because I respect the hustle of this owner who was using one of those huge old calculators, a notebook, and pen to continue doing business under the circumstances.

We got home and I helped Alex eat a whole bag of Cheeto Puffs while I caught up on my reading. Before I knew it, I looked up and it was after 5pm, meaning the sun was going to go down in about an hour, still no electricity. Alex looked miserable, so miserable I took this picture before he even realized I wasn’t reading anymore.

An hour before sundown on 02/15/2021, our first freezing day without water or electricity.

Less than 24 hours before this picture were the super happy snow pictures from above. This picture was only the beginning of the misery that unfolded for us and across Texas this week. Alex and I are lucky to be two young fairly capable human beings, we don’t have any special needs or underlying problems, and we tend to do well in challenging situations. I couldn’t ask for a better partner and wouldn’t want to be camping inside my own home with anyone else.  Once again, our love of camping meant we have tents and low temperature rated sleeping bags to sleep in.

We had cold temperatures, but definitely not the coldest in the state. Our blessings are numerous and even though I had my moments of anger and thinking how unfair it is that we had gone almost 3 full days without electricity and water, while some neighborhoods never went without either, I knew we were blessed. My heart felt for the families with children they couldn’t keep warm through not fault of their own. My heart cried for the elderly people who have enough trouble during the cold season without the added difficulties of no water and electricity. My parents who live in Fort Worth were without power and without water and it got so cold inside their house that even the bottled water they had became frozen. All they could do was layer on clothes and layer on blankets and all I could do was pray that they made it through the night. What the actual fuck ERCOT?!  What the actual fuck utility companies?! My parents didn’t have anywhere to go stay, everyone was in the same boat, even if they did, the roads made that a risky move…freeze to death or risk a car accident…lets also not forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

Drill Training Adventures

Being a female in a male dominated industry can be tricky. I can be classified as conceited or become one of the guys…I’m not conceited and definitely not a guy.

I spent most of last week out of town attending a drill training being hosted in our corporate office and given by a very qualified driller that mentioned Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (which is the book that started it all for me) and laughed at one of my jokes, so he is good with me. The training attendees consisted of the drilling department, heavy equipment operators, a few geologists, and I was there as a geologist and the person who is working on eventually getting standardized procedures out for the company. The training itself was great (if you are a nerd like me, you live for this stuff). The trainer definitely knows how to present, has great stories, and his food analogies really resonated with me.

I was the only female participating in this training. There was people from my office, but no one I work directly with making it slightly out of my comfort zone, but that wasn’t going to stop me from learning. Not sure this is relevant, but I started my period the day this training started, so I was more hyper aware of my gender than I would usually be. It’s hard to feel like everyone knows why you are getting up to use the restroom every hour on the hour, questioning whether they can tell or god forbid smell…or did they think I had diarrhea?!?…weird things I never thought I would be thinking about. Like the true nerd I am, I picked my seat in the very front part of the room before I realized I would have to get up and walk past everyone to the ladies room that was in the back of the room.

I mostly kept to myself during our breaks, especially since most of the drillers went outside to smoke during every break. I don’t smoke or care to be around smoke, so I stayed inside; not to mention I had to take every opportunity to visit the ladies room. I talked to the driller sitting in my table for a bit when he wasn’t smoking, but it’s never comfortable to go up to men and just start conversations as a woman, so I mostly just sat there. As a woman, I feel that I have to stop and really think about my approach because I don’t want to give out a nonprofessional vibe, like the guy who asked me if I was married during the first minute of our conversation while we waited for the rig to mobilize during a field portion of the training. That question was followed with a questions about kids and then a fist bump while telling me I was doing really good for myself being 31 with no kids…did I mention he also asked my age during this short conversation? Maybe he just doesn’t know how to talk to women in the work environment because he normally only has to talk to men. He was nice and it was nothing more than the chuckle I get when I think back on it, but this conversation reinforced my fears in building conversations with these men.

I drove up to the training with our most tenure geologist, a normally stern older man that knows what he is doing and whose approval and respect as geologist I definitely want to get. He did not sit next to me or talk to me during the training, but we drove together, so we stopped to have an early quiet dinner together on the way back to the hotel every night. Everyone that was out of town stayed in separate rooms at the same hotel. On the last day of training, the drillers from San Antonio asked us what we were doing for dinner and invited us to join them for dinner at this popular steakhouse in the city. We agreed and met them for dinner at 6pm. They took my drink order first and just like all the previous nights, I ordered water, but unlike previous nights, everyone I was having dinner with ordered alcoholic drinks, even the stern geologist, so I ordered a glass of wine to go with my steak.

I think I’m a pretty sociable person, even more so when I drink, but I know you have to tread lightly as one lone female in a dinner with a bunch of rough and tough drilling males. It’s true that the best networking opportunities often happen outside the work environment and very often over drinks, but how do I stay cool, but not so cool that I allow them to be disrespectful to me; like sending me their room number in case I was bored and wanted to talk…okay grandpa…as if! Yes, that did happen, but I’m not making it a big deal because it wasn’t to me because I obviously wasn’t there for that and I don’t want to be that person that no one can be comfortable being themselves around.

During that last night dinner, our CEO ended up at the same restaurant as us, found us, said hello, and told us to put everything on the company, including as many drinks as we want. What started out as glass of wine with water to only accompany my dinner quickly turned into four glasses of wine…so much for treading lightly! There was a lounge attached to our hotel, which we all visited after dinner and before we knew it, it was way past my 8pm bedtime from the evening before.

I hate that I let my guard down and got comfortable, however, I did learn that everyone did think I was conceited prior to this day. Do I regret it? I’m trying really hard not to because I know I’m a pretty cool person and I love that I got to know my peers in a different level, but with that being said, I don’t want one night of drinking and comradery to cause neglect for the hard work and knowledge I bring to my position. The truth is that I care way too much what people think.

I don’t want any special treatment or anything, at my detriment I’m very much an “Anything you can do, I can do better” type of person (maybe that is why they thought I was conceited?!). Unless it’s lifting sandbags, concrete bags, etc. (which I still do, but the guys can lift way more than me) I can figure it out and make it happen, none of this stuff is rocket science (its rock science!!! haha). I just hope I didn’t embarrass myself by making too many of those jokes like I just did, but it’s too late now.

El Otro Lado Ventures

I was having an existential crisis during my drive home on Wednesday, 1/6/2021. It was hard to get out of a mundane day at work and scroll through my phone and see everything that had been going on while I worked. Nothing makes you feel like a minuscule tiny worker ant in this world more than working all day to suddenly find out all hell is breaking loose (more than usual) in your country and all of us at work were just going about our day doing what we always do. I didn’t understand why I was on the verge of crying the whole way home. Stuck in horrid San Antonio 1604 traffic, wondering if the people inside the sea of cars in front and behind me where feeling the same way, but unfortunately there was nothing else to do but sit in traffic with our thoughts in our daily commute to get home. Or the scary thought that maybe they were sitting in their cars wishing that was them.

I would consider myself patriotic. I love that I was privileged enough to be born in this country, especially as a female in a poor family. I read “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” by Melinda Gates and the thing that really struck a chord with me is how many things I don’t even think twice about that so many women in third world countries yearn for… I too could have been born to the “untouchable” caste in India through no fault of my own.

The next day I sat to write what I’m grateful for (a practice I do consistently before I begin my work day) and instead of being stressed and freaking out about everything going on, I wrote that I was thankful that I was blessed enough to be born in the USA and partake in my own version of the American dream. My version of the American dream is not lacking anything I need (not being worried about having a place to sleep, not having to worry about where my next meal is coming from, not having to worry about bad weather and walking to work, etc.) and being free to go places I want to go, live where I want to live, learn what I want to learn, and love who I want to love. My American dream was being able to break the generational poverty and under-educated cycle, something that would have been much harder to do in my mom’s hometown of Teremendo, Michoacan.

The thing is, when I really think about it, I wasn’t really born here by chance. My mom made a conscious decision to come to the United States, more than once! I’m sad to say that I haven’t been able to get a complete account of my mom’s early life and all her adventures, I just know little bits in pieces. I know that she has crossed the border more than once in her life and I know that one of the times was through the desert while pregnant and she always say she can’t describe how tired and ready to give up she was. She told the group to just leave her behind, but thankfully, giving up and being left in the desert to die was not written in her stars.

I appreciate the desperation and tenacity of anyone who would cross the desert for a chance of a better life, especially one who would do it while pregnant. As a geologist, I’ve spent a good amount of time mapping in the desert, full outdoor gear, plenty of water, plenty of snacks, and I always knew at the end of the day I would get to relax and drink a beer at the campsite. Even with all that preparation and knowledge of an ice cold beer waiting for me, it was still one of the most brutal experiences having the sun beaming against you so bad that you’re not sure how your hair hasn’t caught fire yet. My mom’s story isn’t even unique, there has been plenty before her and after her that travel from further and through worst conditions to shoot their shot in el otro lado.

Side note: My favorite books I read this year were “The Distance Between Us” and “A Dream Called Home”, both are memoirs by Reyna Grande. Stories like hers really put things into perspective and even make me feel like I need to step up my game, if she could get to where she is with all her obstacles, I have no excuse.

My mom is very standoffish if you don’t know her; she isn’t the warmest loving huggy touchy feely type of mom, but no doubt she loved us even before she knew us, that is why she came here. She is a kickass persistent strong woman and two years ago on this date, 01/14/2019, she became a United States Citizen.

On 01/14/2019 after giving her oath of allegiance to the United States. I drove to Fort Worth with Alex right after work the day before to get there by the morning to make sure she got there with no issues.

I think her version of the American dream was not having to worry about being deported and separated from us and that is why it took her so long. She always wanted to be here legally, but in order to fix her status, she would have to go back to Mexico and wait leaving us behind. She was not going to leave us behind so she gave up on being here legally and seeing her family in Mexico for over 30 years to stay here with us. My mom never cries, but the one time I saw her cry was when her mom passed away. Can you imagine leaving home at 18 and never being able to go back and see your mom because you risked being separated from your own kids? All because you were born on the wrong side of an imaginary line…I could go on forever, but I will spare you.

I know it makes her happy to brag about our achievements to her coworkers, but I just really want to brag about her achievement today, that is why I wrote this. I love you mom.

I zoomed in on this picture because this facial expression is as happy as she gets! lol This was when she was walking up to get her certificate.
I bought my sister and I these shirts for the occasion. I obviously didn’t wear it to the ceremony, but I proudly wore it the rest of the day.
My mom (with my little sister in her belly) and I.
At my brother Tony’s wedding.

2020 Adventures

I know I’m not the only person pretty hyped about the new year, not because I’m doing anything awesome and cool, honestly i might be sleeping before the clock strikes midnight tonight. This year just brought so much, that its only as testament to how drastic a year can be, for better or for worst. At the end of last year, i definitely did not see myself here today. I’m starting this blog during my lunch at work because I told myself if I didn’t at least start, I wasn’t going to do it and let alone finish this blog entry tonight.

New Years Eve has been pretty similar the last few years, I wake up early to make pigs in a blanket to take to work because its always a half day at the bank and we usually have an informal potluck for the end of the year. I get out of work and head home to get something ready to take over to my friend Angie’s house, where I have welcomed the New Years basically since I met her. Text Alex happy new year while I watch the fireworks outside of Angie’s house and then head home to sleep. I wake up next to Alex in the new year and we get ready to host brunch for our friends. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Alex is also a musician, so he usually plays somewhere on New Years Eve and that is why I text him happy new year instead of telling him.

This year I still made pigs in a blanket for work, but since our office has a full kitchen, I was able to make them in the office instead of home. It is not a half day, I work my regular hours but I couldn’t be more thrilled to be here as I reflect on the year. At the end of last year my friend Alyssa shared the idea of setting our goals for the year by decorating a box with images of our goals and placing it somewhere we can see and then write a letter each month that talks about what we have done in that month to work towards those goals and place it in the box to read at the end of the year. I don’t normally visually or physically set goals, they are just thoughts in my head, but I decided to give it a try.

The pictures that represented my goals for 2020.

I got as far as selecting and printing the images to my goals…they never made it to a box and I definitely never wrote a letter, but i did stick the images where I would come across them every morning as i selected what accessories to wear for the day. I know it being a new year doesn’t really change anything, nothing magical happens when the clock strikes midnight, but its a good time to feel like a fresh start. Last year I was very intentional and specific about what I wanted to do. I didn’t just think about what I wanted to do, I printed it out, I talked about it with my friend and came up with a game plan on how I was going to make it happen and how I was going to track and hold myself accountable for it. The best plan is having a great partner like Alex and great friends like Alyssa that celebrate your successes with you, but don’t let you stay still and always ask what is next.

I heard someone say that people in our proximity set our standards, so always surround yourself with people who feed your energy and help make you stronger. Don’t surround yourself with people that just talk about the good old times, but people that talk about the great times to come. Surround yourself with people who have goals and plans for the future, that feed your energy, not people who are constantly draining that energy. I’m blessed to be surrounded by great people who help me be my best self and who I hope I’m helping in their journey too.

A breakdown of my 2020 goals, lets see how i did:

1. The first picture is a geologist because I wanted to be get closer to fulfilling my dream of getting paid to be a geologist. I left the bank after 9+ years, started with an environmental engineering firm, and got my Geoscientist in Training certificate. This is the biggest win and I do have to say it was a combination of consistently working towards it and always having Alex and friends ask me how it was going. Did you know this same year I got hired by my company, I also got rejected by them for the initial position I applied for? As cheesy as it sounds, keep going, if you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no, give it chance to be yes

I’m one step closer to being a geologist!

2. The second picture is two figures high-fiving because i wanted to build and strengthen my relationships. Who knew how hard this year was going to make high-fiving my loved ones, but the thing about the year is that if you wanted to stay connected to people, you really did need to make time and work on it in different ways than before. Highlight was really getting a chance to connect with Alex in a heighten level, its weird to say that before this year because of his music gigs, we hardly spent a Friday or Saturday evening together, but it was nice getting to share that time with him and build on everything we have. We renovated our restroom and got our first piece of property together, the Disco.

Doing backcountry driving in Big Bend National Park.
Backcountry in Big Bend National Park.

3. The third picture is a figure pointing at a watch because I’m perpetually late and wanted to work on being early or at minimum on time for things. I did get better at this because i work way further from home now, but it is still a work in progress, this year it will be more about time management than just being on time.

The one time i was running late to work with the soap I had found and my coffee, i tripped and fell in the curve outside the office. Electricians across the street laughed at me and i had no coffee 😦

4. Scout was still fairly new to my life at the beginning of last year and I was at the peak of being upset about it, so the fourth picture is me choosing to focus on training Scout. I really wanting to take her to training classes, but these got canceled early in the year because of the pandemic, but with some reading and YouTube learning, we are doing better.

Scout made it to a year old, but hasn’t settled down any, work in progress, but we love her!

5. The fifth picture is someone writing because I wanted to start writing. Initially I just thought about keeping a journal, but I ended up with this blog. I have not been as consistent as I wanted to be, but I’m happy that I’ve done some writing, this new year I will focus on being more consistent.

6. The sixth picture represents reading more, which is the item I’m most sad I didn’t do enough of. I read to catch up on knowledge involving my work duties and then read to study for the fundamentals of geology exam, so I didn’t get to read the type of books I wanted. Time management is going to be key to making time to read.

7. I’ve always wanted to keep a picture perfect house, so the 7th image was to focus more on keeping up with cleaning. Our house isn’t filthy, but it definitely looks lived in during the week. Both Alex and I are so busy during the week that this didn’t always happen, but messiness is a sign of intelligence, so its all good right?!

8. The 8th is a figure running because I wanted to work on my running. I’ve never been super fit, but I’m not sedentary by any means. Its always been hard for me to breath while running, but i had got to the point where I could run 1 or 2 miles without stopping, which was huge for me, so I had a goal of running my first 5K which was scheduled for April, but it got canceled.

9. Erasing debt is my 9th picture; this is something that will carry over for a while between student debt and debt I obtain when I decided to divorce. I’ve been blessed to be able to have a job that allows me to chip away at this and I will continue to work on this, hopefully more than I have in the last year.

10. The tenth was more sleep, log story short, I still need more sleep! I do go to bed by 10pm these days, but I also tend to wake up at 4ish, so its been counterproductive. So I spend 2 hours of my day trying to go back to sleep, this is something I will forever be working on.

11. The last picture represented to get outside more and do more camping. I did take a minimum of one long walk or hike a week and even got to camp a few times! I love everything about being outside, so I really don’t have to work that hard at achieving this.

Lake Whitney State Park camping with the family.
Breakfast at our campsite in Guadalupe Mountains National Park!
Had to stop for a selfie in the middle of our hike.
Santa Helena Canyon in Big Bend National Park.
Permian Reef Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

This year I’m keeping on keeping on and adding one more thing. I want to focus on allowing myself to be happy and learning to say no to things that don’t help me or my loved ones get where we want and need to be. Time management is key to this, allocating my time to things that truly make me happy and serve a purpose I can get behind.

Happy New year!

My Favorite Christmas Memory

Everyday this month, our company CEO has been sending out emails related to Christmas, most of them have to do with Safety because this is the time of year we see an increase in accidents. Some of the emails have been fun, for example the one where he asked for people to share their favorite Christmas movie quote or the one where he asked what your favorite Christmas memory was. I was thinking really hard about my favorite Christmas memory. I didn’t actually respond to the email because people were replying all, which is a major pet peeve of mine. I did not want to reply all, but knowing that everyone seemed to have replied all, also made me not want to just respond to our CEO so that he didn’t think anything about it, not that he would, I’m just paranoid that way.

I thought I could share my favorite Christmas memory here because I do love Christmas! I love the ambiance, the feeling in the air, the music, the decorations, the peppermint mocha, the fun print Christmas pajamas, and Alex’s cookies. My very favorite thing is usually inviting people to my house to see how jolly it is, share a meal, drinks, talk, and laugh, but obviously this year that is not going to be the case.

So why do I love Christmas so much and what is my favorite memory?

Growing up I was always hopeful for Santa Claus.  Even though I knew he wasn’t real, I secretly questioned whether he could be real, what if he does exist and he is the one who delivers presents. If by chance he was real, I didn’t want to miss my opportunity, so I secretly waited for Santa… but he never came. I remember going to church and being aware it was Christmas Eve; church usually gave us a small present which I happily accepted, but I so wanted to go home to sleep and wake up in the morning just like little kids always did on Christmas mornings in the movies, I wanted to wake up and see that Santa had stopped by my house. I know Christmas isn’t about the presents and I do have fond memories of the season, I’m just setting the stage for my favorite Christmas memory.

I think the magic of Christmas that you see on TV or in the movies really has a way of making you extra hopeful and inclined to believe things you wouldn’t normally, especially at a young age. Santa did not appear that year, even when I woke up and didn’t see presents, I rationalized that I must have the dates wrong or that he hadn’t quite made it to Los Angeles yet, what did I know, I was only a kid. I know if my parents could have, they would have gotten us something. My mom always did what she could by signing us for things or taking us to community events.

That Christmas evening, my older brother Tony came to visit us, he no longer lived with us because he was now in college and guess what guys?! He brought us Christmas presents! I had to be 7 or 8 because my little sister was was still a baby and not quite walking well yet, which I remember because he got her one of those walking corn popper push toys. I got real Barbies, you read that right, plural! I know to most 7 or 8 year old girls, it might not be a big deal, but this was the first time I remember owning a real Mattel Barbie. Not a dollar store plastic wanna be Barbie whose limbs fall off every second and whose body parts deform if you hold it too tight. I played with these same dolls well into my tweens. I cannot explain the feeling I get just thinking about it, its a high I want everyone to experience and it is the reason I love Christmas so much. I want to make the people around me feel the way I felt when my brother showed up with love, its not even about the Barbie, its about the thought, that even though he was older and I’m sure too cool to be thinking about his little sisters and probably too broke in his own right as a college student. He showed up and made our day. That Christmas is the only picture I have of me with Christmas presents.

I’ve always rocked Christmas sweaters. That baby doll is the present I got from church the night before and those are the most awesome beautiful Barbies, best presents ever!

That is my favorite Christmas memory. I have spent so many holidays with very little, even after that one, so I overcompensate now by going all out for it. After thanksgiving I blast the Christmas music and put out decorations everywhere I can fit them. We always had a Christmas tree, but I always wanted a picturesque holiday home and so I go a bit mad with the decorating each year. I also want to be the person my brother was for me, that’s why I always try to go out of my way to get something for everyone I care about, to let them feel the joy I felt that Christmas I got presents, not because getting Barbies was awesome, but because my brother took the time to think about me and make me feel joy.

One consistent happy memory I do have of my childhood was when the City of Bell city hall/community center had their annual holiday. This was a day where it felt like everyone in the city would stand in line to meet Santa, take a picture, and get a gift. After standing in line and receiving your present from Santa, you would exit the hall and be able to participate in different stations with activities, things like making a popsicle stick frame ornament. We would get there really early and stand in line drinking hot chocolate, I should say my mom stood in line while I ran around just like all the other kids. We never paid to take pictures with Santa, I actually hardly remember going to the mall in those days, but the one and only picture I have with Santa was taken at this event from the City of Bell. I hope they know how big of an impact things like these can have on a child, sometimes it’s the only thing they get. These days I volunteer my time as much as I can, not only during the holiday season, but during this time of year it feels extra special because I know how much I appreciated all those people volunteering their time.

My only picture with Santa taken at the City of Bell community center during one of their holiday events.
This was our second Christmas in Fort Worth, this was our living room. We hardly had anything, but we always managed a Christmas decoration and I believe the presents were from a Catholic charity my mom had signed us up for.
This was my tree the first holiday I hosted in San Antonio about 5 years ago.

I will have to post a picture of what my house looks like now when I don’t have wrapping paper and ribbon everywhere, prior to this I spent my evening wrapping homemade Nordy Bars and Cookies to take to all my coworkers tomorrow. Life is good. Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving Ventures

I’ve been living my life these last few days trying not to trip over Christmas decorations, as I tried to transition from Fall to Christmas décor. I told myself I was going to work over the long thanksgiving weekend because my bid is due this week and I still have quite a few tasks to finish, but instead I brewed a lot of coffee, ate pie for breakfast, watched Christmas movies, and shared way too many bread rolls with Scout. Life is good and like everyone else during thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’m grateful for.

Before I get to my most recent reason to be thankful, I want to share a blog post I started on Wednesday night when I let curiosity get the best of me and I stumbled upon some new information about my ex-husband. Some background information: I still follow my former sister-in-law on Instagram because she is artsy and posts cool pictures and because she posts pictures of my ex-husband’s niece who I knew since she was born and it just didn’t seem right to completely erase them like they never existed. Following her on Instagram is really the only way I’ve gotten some tad bits of information on my ex because there was this women with a profile picture of herself and him that was always commenting on posts, so naturally, I clicked the profile and saw that this was the woman he was now in a relationship with. Through the last two years, I also learned that he had a daughter with her and that he named her Melody (the name I had picked out for our imaginary child when we were happy together). On Wednesday evening as I browsed through my phone, I noticed a comment with that familiar picture and initially I ignored it because what can I possibly get from snooping on this woman, nothing, so I passed. The second time I saw the comment later in the evening, I was at least one glass of wine in and was feeling sappy (the way I do during the holidays sometimes). I caved, I looked at the profile and this is what i wrote on my phone shortly after:

“I just read that you are married again…You always told me that you would never do this again with anyone, that if we didn’t workout, that was it, you were done.

I don’t know how I feel about it. I hope you treat her better than you did me, I hope your daughter made you change your ways, I hope…I don’t really miss you anymore, but somehow there is still at tear rolling down my eye, I don’t know why…. I love my life, like I said last time, I’m right where I wanted to be, it’s still just hard thinking of what I had, of what made up my life before.

I know I’ve written so many things that don’t paint you in the best light, but there was a reason I fell for you and there is a reason I always kept going back…I believed that I was written in you and that you were written in me…I believe you were reclined in a chair in my heart and I in yours until the day we would both be reclined in a chair outside our house old and gray talking about the good ol days… I wanted it to be you, I wanted it to be us…”

You are written in me was one of his favorite things to say and write, it only took me a few seconds to open up my box of memories and find something that had it written. The top image is from a Christmas card he gave me; the bottom two images are from a journal he kept while i was away at field camp. He gifted me this journal when i returned home. Field camp was mostly in Montana, he has the shape right, but not the placement. This journal has so many things for just a few weeks, I plan to write about his entries and everything that went down during that time.

I was very in my feelings after that, I’m always surprised to see how I react to things. I did remember Wednesday night seeing that he got married and I remember that i was trying not to sob and have Alex find me on the couch crying, so that is why I opened up my WordPress app and started writing. I did not remember what I wrote until I read it tonight. All I want to add to that is that I’m thankful for the good memories we had and the lessons learned, I’m thankful and hopeful that he is happy and that his new family is happy and he is better for them, and I’m super thankful to be where I am in life and to have my boyfriend, who is my partner in life, not my fiancé, but kind of like my husband.

Thanksgiving was very noneventful and perfect. Alex and I stayed in our sweats all day while prepping our thanksgiving meal. His mom was on our only guest, we ate and watched Christmas movies as I started to unleash the mess of decorations that is still taking over my house. Friday we slept in and after Alex left to work I had my coffee and slice of pie for breakfast and eventually made it to my office to do some of that work I wanted to do, but didn’t end up doing. Instead my boss and I worked on getting the perfect planner for the new year (we went with a TUL discbound cover and a combination of different calendar/planning sheets from, its actually pretty awesome), we visited the excavation site because it had been raining and we needed to make sure our stockpiles were holding up, and then eventually I did get one solid hour of work in. The real exciting thing came when i got home that evening, this is what I was most thankful for that day:

You know I secretly hoped I would get the best score ever, but hey, I’m happy I passed and when I eventually get my license, it won’t be any different than the one that someone with a 70 or someone with a 100 gets! ☺️

I passed my exam!!!!!! Of course I cried. Alex and I took tequila shots, drank the largest bottle of wine we had, and I basically decided that I deserved the whole weekend off, so I enjoyed time in my pjs and tried not to think about all the work that I knew was coming and that I am now freaking out about, but still, I’m making time for my blog post because balance!

Busy Bee Ventures

I don’t have to say that life has been crazy, we all know it’s been unprecedented times (9 months into the pandemic) and that maybe these crazy times or maybe the heat from global warming has made people act a bit crazier than usual. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I’ve been too busy with work and life to take too much time to think about, which is good because it’s in my nature to over analyze and worry. I spend so much of my time working these days that I broke my own rule about writing a blog post a week due to sheer exhaustion. I was starting to feel sorry for myself, but I’ve recently found myself repeating the mantra that I’m exactly where I wanted to be.

 There have been times where I sit in my office and just read and research all day, nothing back breaking, and nothing too incredibly exciting. Those days I find myself wondering if I get paid too much for what I do. I end the day feeling guilty that I got paid in one day just about what my mom used to make in a week while I was growing up. Then there are weeks like last week, my second week out of my office onsite for what is apparently the underground storage tank removal from hell. I say apparently because it’s my first one, so I have nothing to compare it to, but everyone says they are never this complicated. While in this active construction zone, I’m the health and safety officer, official note taker, photographer, and general as needed labor. I set up a table and chairs as a makeshift desk for me and the project manager to set up our laptops and work on things related to the tank pull and sneak in our regular duties when we can.

Sitting In my makeshift desk.
A view of the table. I have everything I need, which is mostly my cup of coffee!
A view of the excavation at the end of the day.

One of my new regular duties is to look through this database of bid opportunities to see if there are any that look worthwhile to pursue and I send them to upper management to say yay or nay. I found one that looked very promising, sent it out, and got a let’s do it. I’ve been involved with large bids before, but normally a project manager takes the lead on them, but somehow I became the lead on this one. I had secretly wanted to take the lead on one, but the reality of being given this opportunity while I’m not even working in the office induced major panic, especially because there is a time sensitive compliance plan attached that I have no prior experience with and after reading it a few times, I still wasn’t  100 %  sure about. Long story short, I’ve been getting up at 5AM to get ready for work, going to work and working until about 5:30PM (If I’m lucky), driving the hour it takes me to get home (traffic), spend 30 minutes sitting contemplating my life, finally get up and have some sort of dinner with Alex, and then work for a bit until I’m too tired to keep going and go to bed (sometimes I don’t even get to that last work part). All the while stressing about all the other commitments I made to myself that I’m neglecting for this (like working out and this blog).

I kept taking small moments to think about how I haven’t had one real workout his month, how I haven’t had one blog this month, how I haven’t packed one lunch this month. I realized that another thing I haven’t done is take the moment to stop and organize my time. Instead I’ve been running through the motions trying not pass out, feeling sorry for myself wondering if everyone else is working this hard and wondering why I’m working this hard. I kept thinking not everyone puts in more than 40 hours a week and not everyone produces the amount and quality of work that I do in the same amount of time and then even thinking about how much they make compared to me?! This was just making me cranky and I had to snap out of it and remind myself not to worry about anyone, to just worry about myself and focus on my work and I know everything will fall in place and come back around. After all, this is exactly where I want to be. I wanted to be in the field, I wanted to be in charge of a project, and I want to be badass on the delivery of those so I will do whatever that takes.

So here I am worrying about anyone else and starting my blog again. I’m trying to incorporate exercise by walking around the jobsite during downtime and helping do heavy lifting. I bought a salad from the grocery store down the street instead of piggy backing from whatever take out place the field technicians go to. Little wins!

I started this entry with the intention of introducing my cats because I realized I still haven’t introduced my cats and I can’t have Scout thinking that she is the end all be all, plus talking about my cats makes me happy and with everything being so crazy, I want to be happy dammit! Unfortunately, explaining why I missed the first part of the month got lengthy so stay tune to hear about my cats soon!

A preview of my cats, i feel like these pictures pretty much summarize their personalities!

Comparing Ventures

Life has been busy; I can’t believe we are closer to the end of October than the beginning. I feel like October just started, time really does fly after a certain age, I think mostly because we are in the motion and habit of things and before we know it, we look up and its October 21st and not October 1st. For my birthday I went to Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I know in my last post I said I was supposed to write about the parks in this post. Initially this blog was kind of suppose to be an adventure blog where I share my travels, mostly my national park road trips because it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. I want to write about all the adventures I had on my trip, but I feel like there is more pressing and important things to write about and one of those things was something my mind kept going back to on that trip.

I have been to Big Bend before, but only for school trips, not for pleasure. Who am I kidding?! School trips were always a pleasure, but the mapping and hiking was all around the same spot in Persimmon Gap. Going to map Persimmon Gap for my structural geology class was the first time I camped for longer than one night and my first National Park visit ever. Geology sparked my curiosity and fascination with the great outdoors, but that first trip to Big Bend made me fall in love with everything about being outside! Even when you accidently use a cactus to grip as you climb up a rock or when a different cactus breaks your fall down a gully, you must love it! This was also when I finally made friends with the other geology students as we bonded over the misery of walking around all day in circles mapping rocks that seemed to have no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I want to go back to see how I would do mapping that area now, but thankfully I resisted the urge to drag Alex that way. Big Bend really is a treasure, I’m thankful we got to venture further into the park (Persimmon Gap is right at the entrance) and it did not disappoint! I was so happy to be there, but I’m leaving that for the next blog because I only mentioned my first time at Big Bend to lead into my first memory of the Guadalupe Mountains.

This picture was from my first trip to Big Bend in March 2013. My mapping partner and I are taking a lunch break, enjoying the view, and wearing awesome hats!

Before my trip with Alex this month, I’ve only ever driven past/through the Guadalupe Mountains. The time I recall driving through the mountains was the time me and my ex-husband were on our way back from a weekend trip to Roswell, New Mexico. I had turned on my GPS to lead the way back to San Antonio and at one point I noticed that the next turn wasn’t for another 1.5 hours, so I decided to give my phone’s battery a break and turned off the GPS thinking that I would just turn it on when we were closer to the next turn. The thing I didn’t realize was that the GPS was including the time change, so really the next turn was in only 30 minutes because the time it showed we were making the next turn was corrected to show the hour lost when crossing from mountain to central time. When I realized we were going into the Guadalupe Mountains, I scrambled to turn my GPS back on before we lost signal, but it was too late, we had missed the turn and added a significant amount of time to the trip because we didn’t have signal in the middle of nowhere and our only option was to follow the road until we did. Eventually I did get signal and realized we were now projected to get home like 2 hours later than we had expected, and he was irate. After making me feel like an idiot, we weren’t talking, but you could feel the hostility and tension in the car. I was quietly sobbing trying not to make too much noise in the passenger side…then came the vivid memory that my mind kept going back to this time around.

This picture was from the afternoon leaving Roswell, wearing a hat my ex-husband had picked out for himself. March 2015, this was the last photo I have from this trip, normally I take pictures of the drive (especially when there’s mountains), but that was not the case this trip.

The road we were on had long segments without anything in sight besides the mountains. It felt like the road was endless, going on forever with tension building until I suppose he couldn’t take the anger anymore. He pulled over and I had no idea what was going to happen, but I could tell he wasn’t in a clear state of mind. After pulling over, he got out of the car and reached into the car for his gun. I had no idea what he was going to do, I was numb, I just sat there. He walked around to the back of the car, I was not looking at him, I was sitting still not looking back and holding my breath. I heard a shot. My heart dropped. Before I collected enough courage to turn around and look, I heard him emptying his clip by firing at the ground. I can’t tell you what my biggest fear in that moment was, I can’t tell you if I was still sobbing or if I was numb, but I can tell you I felt relieved and utterly helpless. It was very scary, but inside I was thankful that he shot those rounds at the ground and not me or himself. I would like to say that this was the only time he ever pulled over and fired his gun in anger, but it wasn’t. The last time I experienced him doing that is an even scarier story October 2016 after leaving a friend’s Halloween party, but that’s a different story. That instance was a deciding factor of finally really being done, that next month was when I told him (and meant) I wasn’t going to do this anymore.

Before that final I’m done, I always said I couldn’t do this anymore, not that I’m not going to do this anymore, why is that? If anyone out there has the answers, please enlighten me. Why wasn’t this instance a deciding factor? It was a long silent drive, and I can’t recall what words were eventually said, but I know he was remorseful and must had apologized to me because I remember him stopping at the Starbucks in Boerne right outside San Antonio. Now that I think about it, maybe stopping at Starbucks was his apology, I know he needed coffee to make it through the last bit of driving we had left and I know I didn’t get off to go inside, so maybe when he was in there he realized oh crap, we are about to get home and she isn’t talking to me, so he bought me latte. It makes me feel so cheap writing that, writing that having a latte somehow made everything okay. I always question why I stayed so long. I know that in the moment after he fired the gun in the middle of nowhere, I had no other option but to stay with him, to sob in silence and not make it worst…after all, where could I possibly go? Where could I go even when I went home, he was the only home I had in San Antonio and all my life was here. This is where I worked and went to school, this is where I learned how to drive. I grew up here. I didn’t know anywhere else and unfortunately, I didn’t know and trust anyone else here. I knew I couldn’t financially support myself and even if I could drop everything and go back to Fort Worth, I didn’t want to be burden on my family, my parents can barely take care of themselves, who was I to go ask them for help?

I sound so ridiculous justifying why I stayed. I stayed because I thought it was still more convenient to stay than to leave. When I said I couldn’t do this anymore, instead of I’m not going to do this anymore, what I was really saying is that I couldn’t, or that I didn’t think I could do the hard work of leaving, of choosing myself, and working hard to get myself to where I needed to be. Someone should have told that Nancy that she can, and she will. I had no idea how I was going to make it without him, I couldn’t afford the apartment, all our debt was in my name, I do not like being alone, I had no family here, etc… but I managed my apartment and debt by temporarily getting into more debt, that held me over while I made the moves necessary to get through it, I wasn’t alone for long, Alex just showed up and stayed, and even though I don’t have any family here, being out of a relationship that made me feel guilty about building other relationships, has allowed me to build relationships that are as close to family as you can get. My point being, if anyone needs to hear this, you don’t have to do it anymore and you can choose yourself.

Ending Note: I feel bad for framing him in such a bad light, after all, I still overall think he is a good guy. He just has so many issues that he needs to workout out, trauma from his childhood that has never been addressed. I always forgave everything because hey, it’s not his fault he’s this way, it’s his mom’s fault, he is a product of his circumstance. I know I have trauma from my childhood and issues I’ve had to deal with and constantly work on. I also have trauma from that marriage and poor Alex gets the worst of it. I never spoke up before because I feared my husband’s Mr. Hyde response, but now with Alex I just let him have it. I’m like “I don’t care, you know where the door is.” Honestly, if I was dating me, I would be like bye! Sometimes I fear I’m my ex-husband in this relationship, that I’m the toxic one.
I just can’t believe how different this experience at the Guadalupe Mountains was. I was dying trying to get to the top of Texas, complaining about not being able to do the very thing I had dragged Alex there to do. I always set out to do these things forgetting that I haven’t been very kind to my body and that I’m not in the shape I once was. I was feeling horrible about myself the whole way up, having to stop after only a few steps and I kept apologizing to Alex for putting him in the situation and dragging him out there to do something I couldn’t even do. I kept waiting for him to get mad and blow up on me for dragging him out there and complaining the whole time. Waiting for him to get tired of my complaining and turn around and head back down before reaching the top, but he never did. Instead he just waited patiently for me to get to him before starting up again, he asked questions, and looked for cool rocks to ask me about.

I’m overwhelmed thinking of the difference in my two experiences in the Guadalupe Mountains. The feeling of pure bliss when we made it to the top and Alex turns around to high five me and immediately finds a place to sit down so we can enjoy our tuna with Tapatio because snacks are life and I think the hiking snacks are one of the main reasons he agrees to go hiking!

Alex and I have this habit of “toasting” our food, just to say cheers and enjoy! Tuna with Tapatio is a staple for hiking, only superseded by tortas! The picture includes us “toasting” our tuna and I didn’t get the Tapatio in the picture, so I included the chili we made when we got back to camp later that day, to show the Tapatio. 🙂
We did have tortas that trip, but we had already ate them all and I didn’t get any pictures, so for fun, I’m including a picture of us “toasting” our tortas after completing Angels Landing in Zion National Park.