Rants · Uncategorized

Where To Go From Here

It happened. At twenty six years old, I was fired for the first time. I’m not going to go into detail as to why it happened, because to be honest I’m still processing it. To be even more honest, I’m processing a lot. It was bizarre how everything came about because I was “fired” but given an extra week to work so they could start training the new person to take my place. Truly though, I’d been wanting to find a new job for a while. I wasn’t happy where I was anymore. Going to work felt like a chore, but I still did my job. Being fired was unexpected but has become my push to find a new job that appreciates me.

I took that weekend to have my pity party and be upset that I was facing unemployment and be terrified that I was not going to be bringing in a pay check for an unknown amount of time – which is still a constant thought right now.

Monday came around and I felt a bit better (thank you to my fiance and my mom for boosting me up) but that fear was still in the back of my mind; what was I going to do with no job? I walked into work and the awkwardness flooded the room because of course everyone knew. I decided to go about my day, and my week, like I’d done for the last year and just did my job. Of course that’s not to say that every chance I could take was spent pumping out Indeed applications. A couple of times I didn’t really know what position I was applying for but at that point it felt like I needed to focus on quantity over quality. By the end of the week I had applied to 100 plus jobs, had a video interview that went nowhere, and only heard from a recruiter for a place I didn’t apply to, but I set up an interview anyway.

I finished my final week at work with the relief of not having to go back (other than to return my scrubs) but trepidation about the weeks to come. I was going into the new week with only one interview set up and an inbox full of “Thank you for your application” messages. Absolute frustration. Also very disheartening. Am I really not good enough or qualified enough for these jobs? Luckily Sam and I got away for the weekend and my mind got a bit of a break from the negative feelings.

This new week came too quickly but I put on my big girl pants and got to it. I went to the interview for the job I didn’t want, and found out that I for sure did not want it. Door to door sales, no thank you! I went home and got back to more job applications, pondered if my resume was good enough, and questioned why I didn’t do more in college to ready myself for what I actually wanted to do with my life.

And now here I am, finishing my first full week of unemployment. Hundreds of applications and resumes sent, two interviews under my belt, and a lot of soul searching done. I came to the conclusion that I do not want to be a veterinary receptionist for the rest of my life. As much as I love working in an environment that helps animals, I’d be stuck in the same role forever. I want somewhere with upward movement, a place where I could grow. My writing is also something I need to start focusing on, which is partially why I wrote this other than needing to get my feelings out in the way that I know.

This is also my way of asking others how they handled being unemployed. I want to know if there are others in my shoes who are looking for a career change and aren’t sure how to get there. Or maybe you made that change, how? What are your suggestions?

Until I find what fits, I’m glad to know that I have a wonderful support system that will not let me fail. Of course I still have the dread of no income but I can take that as it comes. And I believe that most mornings are going to begin with the thought of where to go from here but here’s to not knowing what’s next!

Book Reviews · Uncategorized

Books I Read in 2017

Happy New Year to everyone, here’s to hoping that 2018 will be a better year than the one we all just survived. One of my resolutions for this year is to write more because I haven’t been writing really at all; you can see there were no posts from me in 2017. It wasn’t that I didn’t lose my love of writing but I felt as though I needed to read more. Reading has always been an escape from reality, at least a little bit, so I read as much as I could this past year and I want to share what I escaped into. The majority of the books I read came from The Book of the Month Club, which I joined toward the end of 2016. Absolutely recommend joining if you love books and reading, they have something for everyone each month. There were only about three novels I picked out on my own from just wandering around Barnes and Nobel or my interest in the author previously. Without further ado, the books I read in 2017:

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Of the novels I read in 2017 I would say that two are tied for favorite, Since We Feel by Dennis Lehane and The Child by Fiona Barton. Both novels kept me on edge and wanting more. Lehane’s novel definitely took a turn I was not anticipating and I began to see why it was considered a thriller. Barton’s mystery on who the Building Site Baby was made my head spin with all sorts of possibilities. I’d recommend both of these books in a minute.

Now of course you can’t always get a winner in the books you pick. I found White Fur to be my least favorite novel of the year. Although well written, I couldn’t connect to the characters or the plot of this novel. The female protagonist seemed whiny and reckless and her love interest was lackluster. It seemed like a weird 1980’s Romeo and Juliet but with a high class college student and a low class junkie.

Each novel I read this year served it’s purpose of helping to escape some of the reality going in the world. Now as I go into this first day of the new year I’m hoping that this years selection of novels helps to do the same, but hopefully the world around us starts to shift in a better direction. However it goes, here’s to a new year. Keep on reading!

 

Health · Uncategorized

C25K: Week 3

This week has been incredibly exhausting but also rewarding in a couple of ways. I started my job with the humane society and only had one day off. With my commute being an hour or even longer some days, the motivation to workout has been draining. I’m up by 7 and home around 6:30; I’m not a morning person so the early wake up isn’t my favorite. I made sure I kept to my routine though. I took the break days correctly so my body didn’t falter. Through the exhaustion I found some great reward. I’m working for an organization that strives to unite animals with forever homes and I’m working in an area that tries its hardest to make sure the animals aren’t sick and prevent sickness from an early age. I get to be around dogs and cats all day so I’d say I’m pretty damn happy. Plus this week with my C25K journey I accomplished something I haven’t been able to do in a long time or probably ever.

Week 3, Day 1: Brisk five minute warm up walk, then do two repetitions of the following: Jog for 90 seconds, walk for 90 seconds. Jog for 3 minutes, walk for 3 minutes.

I jogged for 3 minutes! Twice! I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever done that and if I have it was several years ago in my high school gym class. It definitely took my lungs into overdrive to accomplish this workout and sweat was coming out my eyeballs. I was extremely proud of myself for doing the full workout and not giving up even though my legs wanted to. I’m pretty sure I was swearing every few seconds when the second 3 minute jog session came around but it was just Sam and I in the gym so I really didn’t care. I already know that next week involves a five minute jog so I’m feeling the anticipation.

Week 3, Day 2: Same day 1 workout.

I did it again. I pushed through three minutes of jogging, twice. I sweat. I swore. I felt exhausted afterwards but I did it. That’s been the motto for these last three weeks and probably for the next five; I did it. I’m accomplishing these goals and these feats that I’ve never done in my life. I’m pushing myself to be someone better and get into a healthier lifestyle before it’s too late and it becomes even harder than it already is. My first step is this, these workouts. I know my diet still needs to chance and it will once finances are in better shape and buying groceries isn’t so daunting. Sam and I are focused on becoming better for ourselves and each other. He started working out far before me so I’m glad to have him by my side to push me along. But he knows as well as I do that chili dogs, chips and salsa, and BBQ wings aren’t going to fit into this life for long. It really is unfortunate that healthy foods are more expensive than processed crap. There needs to be a switch.

Week 3, Day 3: Same day 1 and 2 routine.

I really had to push myself to get up and finish this week off. I got home from work and took a nap and contemplated finishing the week the following day but I knew that going too long without the exercise would kill me. I got up and went to the gym and finished the week off strong. Luckily I was the only one in the room because the swearing was not in my head nor whispered this time around. I’m still not quite looking forward to this coming week with the five minutes of jogging but it doesn’t seem as daunting knowing it’s just a couple minutes more than what I’ve been doing.

Bring it on week 4!

Health · Uncategorized

C25K: Week 2

Why do holidays have to be food related? It doesn’t matter what holiday it is, we eat a lot. Memorial Day weekend, a time to honor fallen soldiers has turned into BBQ weekend. I’ll admit I’m one of those who participates more in the act of eating than the act of remembrance but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. I spent the weekend with Sam and his family eating, petting cows, and eating some more. The BBQ night was Sunday instead of Monday however because Sam and I had to come back to Houston for Sam to go to work the next day. It was definitely not a good week as far as food consumption which honestly motivated me to push this week with my C25K journey. Here’s how this week went:

Week 2, Day 1: Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. 5 minute cool down.

image1 (2)It honestly felt really good to get up on that treadmill after three days of sitting around eating. The first 90 second jog didn’t even faze me and I was surprised. It felt great to run! But for the rest of the workout my body was screaming at me. It realized this wasn’t something we usually do but I pushed and pushed to get through each set of jogging. I didn’t take any extra long walking breaks, I jogged when I was supposed to. It felt good to sweat and breath heavily because I knew it would mean progress in the long run (pun slightly intended). I finished the workout, showered, and then the cold started.

Week 2, Day 2: Same day 1 workout.

Unfortunately I didn’t workout for about three days. I felt really under the weather with a nasty sore throat and an achy body. It was mostly multiple days of orange juice, soup, cold medication, and an extended cut Harry Potter marathon. When I finally did go to do my second day boy did it hurt! My calves were crying for help but I pushed. I pushed passed the pain and the lack of breath. A cool shower and the couch were definitely welcomed by my body afterwards.

Week 2, Day 3: Same day 1 & 2 workout.

image1 (3)Due to the fact I took three days off for what I believed to be a cold I had to do two days in a row to finish off the week. It ended up being the fact that I have allergies in Texas to explain for the sore throat and eventual stuffy nose. I ended the second week sore and breathing heavy but it still felt good, regardless of allergies. Hopefully going into week three I’ll be a little more cleared up and ready to push to the next level.

Along with being the end of the first quarter of C25K I was accepted by the Houston Humane Society for the position I interviewed for last week. I’ll be working in their wellness center as a clinic receptionist and I cannot wait to start working again! Great news after a long process of countless job applications. Here’s to the next step to life in Texas.

Health · Uncategorized

C25K: Week 1

For the last five years or so I’ve steadily packed on the pounds. The freshman 15 turned into the sophomore 20, and the junior/senior 30. All while in college I had access to a free gym and utilized it only a handful of times. One summer when I was home I signed up for a gym membership and, again, only used it for a couple of weeks. My family and I moved into an apartment with a gym, it was a 1 time use. Another apartment, another gym, and nothing. We moved into a house and my “workouts” were turtle slow walks with the dogs up the block and back home.

Week 1In the past few months I’ve started to notice stretch marks on my stomach and thighs. I hate looking at myself in the mirror. So, I’ve finally decided to really do something about it.

I learned about the C25K workout about a year ago and just a few days ago I saw there was an app for it on my phone. I downloaded it and am going to stick with it. On the break days, I’m planning on doing a different workout just to keep moving. I want to document each week not only for myself but for others who might be going through a similar situation.

For those who don’t know what the C25K is, here’s a brief description. It stands for Couch to 5K and is designed for those who haven’t made physical activity an everyday thing. Each week ups the amount of run/walk time until the participant is capable to run a 5K marathon. The app I downloaded is an 8 week, 3 times per week program which progressively increases the running time versus walking time.

Here’s how week 1 went for me.

image4Week 1, Day 1: Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. 5 minute cool down.

Well, I got on the treadmill, turned on the music and started the workout. The warm-up was no problem. Then the running started. I’m not a runner at all but I pushed through each 60 second set of jogging turmoil. My heart was racing and I was sweating out my eyeballs. But it felt good at the end. I felt like I accomplished something, even if it might be a small feat to others. My legs were shaking by the time I stepped off the treadmill and walking up three flights of stairs to my apartment was like climbing a steep hill. I did it. That was the goal.

Week 1, Day 2: Same Day 1 routine.

I did a 15 minute bike work out followed by arms between day 1 and 2 and even that kicked my ass. It made me realize even more that I’m completely out of shape. I went into day two with a positive mind set though, until there were people in the gym. My self-esteem is already fairly low when it comes to my weight so having people around to see me sweating and awkwardly running didn’t help but I reminded myself that their opinion doesn’t matter. I’m doing this for myself and to be healthier for myself, and they’re doing the same thing in their lives. I ran and walked and had sweat dripping everywhere, and in the end I didn’t care. My legs ached but after it all I got to sit on the couch with a great satisfaction and an excitement to keep going.

Week 1, Day 3: Same Day 1 & 2 routine.

As someone who has lived in the northern part of the U.S. practically my entire life, living in Texas has been a huge change when it comes to weather. Between day 2 and 3 I could have sat outside and just sweat all my fat off that way. Sam keeps telling me it’s just going to get hotter and I’m not prepared. I’m glad the gym is air-conditioned. My work-out for the in between day was a basic yoga routine. I absolutely love yoga and once my financial situation is better I want to join a yoga studio. Until then, I have this. I officially finished my first week with C25K. Week 1 finishI sweat, I was active, and I feel so satisfied. This also marks my first job interview I’ve had since moving to Texas and I feel pretty good about it. So day 3 went well and week 1 is complete. I’ll do another work out to end the actual week and take a couple days off in Sam’s hometown for Memorial Day weekend.

Bring it on week 2!

Rants · Travel · Uncategorized

The Journey South

Well, it’s official – I live in Texas. It’s been just over a week since my boyfriend and I arrived and now we’ve officially been in our apartment for a week. It’s our first apartment together, and my first apartment ever. All of my bedroom furniture came with along with a few other items like a chair and bookcases. Once we’re able to there will be a dining room set purchased and a new couch. But for what we have right now it’s comfortable and cozy and, most importantly, it’s ours.

Sam and I drove from Minneapolis to Missouri on our first day. We went out of the way because Sam’s best friend lives in Missouri and he and his wife just had a baby so we wanted to stop by and see them, plus it gave us a free stay for the night. We drove through Iowa which was probably the least exciting part of the whole drive. Even though I slept through most of the state, the part I was awake for was not entirely exciting. Plus the rain didn’t help the fact that I was incredibly sad about leaving home.

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But we made it into Missouri without any problems, well except for the truck that almost ran us off t13072754_10208226140266882_5226333321149443201_ohe road. We arrived at Sam’s friends house around 3:00 in the afternoon and talked and laughed and held the baby. Although our stay was brief it felt great that Sam was able to catch up with old friends and that I was able to become a part of their little family as well. We got a great night sleep and set out the next morning to finish our journey. It was the longest part of the trek but with Pandora radio on our side we knew we could make it. While driving through the rest of Missouri I sort of wished we’d been able to stay longer. The winding roads we drove on and the magnificent farm land had me looking out the window the entire time. We saw billboards for caves as well and that sounded really interesting. But we had to keep going. Texas was about 13.5 hours away, and we weren’t stopping overnight again.

Eventually we made it into Oklahoma and we were lucky enough that we missed all of the bad weather that was happening in and around the state. It was sunny the entire time! But, Oklahoma was sort of like Iowa, flat and uneventful but since the rain didn’t hit us it was bearable. I’d rather watch sunny farm fields than dreary ones.

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Missouri and Oklahoma took up most of that last travel day but once we made it into Texas, it still felt like forever before we made it to Sam’s parents house. It didn’t help that we hit the Dallas rush hour and rain, but around 7:30 that night we were finally at our resting spot. We spent the night at Sam’s and the next morning loaded up a couch and television his family gave us and set off for Houston to get the keys to our humble abode. That was the only furniture we had for a couple of days. The moving company wasn’t able to bring our stuff until last Monday but boy did it feel good to finally sleep in my own bed.

So now we are going to make Houston home for the next few years while Sam goes to law school. Once I find a job and gain some more financial stability, I really hope I can start doing all of the traveling I want to do. My bank account laughed at me the other day when I was looking at airfare for Peru (I really want to go to Machu Picchu). In the meantime I’ll stick with exploring my new city and the surrounding areas. It also sounds like I’ll get to go to Louisiana in July for Sam’s birthday, someplace I’ve never been.

Here’s to a new adventure and a new stage in my life!

 

Rants · Travel · Uncategorized

Movin’ on…Down?

IMG_1511Exactly a week from today I will be leaving the snowy tundra of Minnesota for the currently flooded Houston, Texas. I moved from Washington state to Minnesota in 2011 with my mom and her wife and attended Augsburg College where I graduated in May. The second half of my senior year I started dating the love of my life and after I graduated he decided to move home to Texas so he could advance in his career choice which involves going to law school. Long distance relationships are hard enough but to do one for three or more years sounded ludicrous so it was decided that I would move to the Lonestar state.

To many people it seems as if I’m moving for a guy, and yes that’s part of it. I’m moving for him but I’m also moving for us, and myself. As someone who wants to travel for a living this move presented itself with some benefits. Texas is huge and has a lot of potential to get out and experience the South, a part of the country I’ve yet to really explore. Cities may not be close together but I’m up for a road trip!

I also think moving to Texas and moving in with the person I see myself with will benefit a bit more financially. With planning the move we both realized that we couldn’t just spend money on senseless things and that we should really focus on saving as much as possible. The fact that we’re moving in with not much in the way of furniture will also make us want to save more so we, well, have a place to sit.

The idea of visiting Texas was something that never crossed my mind. It’s a red state, and I’m not exactly of the red party. I’d heard nothing good came out of Texas but you really can’t judge a book by its cover…or a state by who came out of it. It’ll be an experience for sure, but one I’m absolutely willing to have.

Now it’s just a matter of tying up loose ends here in Minnesota; seeing friends, finishing packing, all the wonders that come with moving. But, here’s to the next adventure.

Travel · Uncategorized

Picture Post: The House on the Rock

In July of last year, Sam and I went to middle of nowhere Wisconsin to travel through The House on the Rock. I wanted to experience it after reading about its existence in American Gods by Neil Gaiman during one of my last college courses. We drove 4 hours from Minneapolis to Spring Green, WI and spent almost the same amount of time in the house. It was truly one of the most unique places I’ve been to. Here are some photos from the house, and keep in mind that these photos don’t even cover half of what we saw.

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