Another year older

As I am often wont to do, I reflect back on the past year when my birthday comes around. I think about my accomplishments….my failures and check to see if I “learned” anything from them.

I realized I am not the same person I was a year ago or even a few months. I like to think I would always have room to learn and grow…to still figure out “who” and “what” I am.

I am more than just a daughter, sister, mother, and wife. Am more than an employee…veteran. I am all these things and even more.

It’s been a difficult year in some aspects, culminating a few weeks ago when I received a health scare. I realize that I need to worry less and enjoy life more. At times I’ve felt quite overwhelmed, hormonal, waiting for change….something to pick me up and move me forward.

However, only I can do that.

I think quite a few of us, come up with good-intentions–resolute to create an even better year as our birthdays roll around.

Whatever our goals, we must never discount the many times we’ve succeeded (no matter if deemed quite small)….each action, each instance builds itself up into who and what we are today.

“Think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass; and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass…if we do not take [tasks] one at a time and let them pass…slowly and evenly, then we are bound to break our own…structure.”
― Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Integrity comes in many forms

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.”
Barbara De Angelis

WHY it’s so difficult for some to attain this classical human trait is beyond my own personal realm of understanding…..

Pitching an idea

My wonderful husband gifted me Microsoft Word for my birthday.  For someone like myself, who usually is quite practical, I plan on using my program to its fullest.  I have a manuscript which I plan on submitting to various publishing houses.

Am PRAYING it catches someone’s eye.  I really don’t want an agent, only because they do receive a part of your earnings. However, as a relatively novice in the literary world I know I may have to seek out their services.

Writing has always been not just a creative outlet but blissful therapy as well.  As a teen I would escape the confines of my surroundings and (at times) volatile environment) by drumming up a whole new world free from the constraints of teen angst or family problems.  Writing saved me.

And I haven’t quite given up on my storyline. I strongly feel (and yes I already know most new writers feel the same) about my manuscript.  Sometimes it’s who you know (like everywhere else) and right timing. Perhaps my story will be picked up and if not I will continue submitting until I find someone who believes in it as much as I do. :)

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WHY are interviews so stressful (and scary?)

indexThere are some individuals out there who are able to breeze through these things and not even break a sweat.

Myself? Ha….different story. Though I may look calm and composed on the outside inside my stomach is in knots.

Though am lucky I don’t have to sing for my supper, I would eventually like to progress up the government career ladder. My retirement will be here before you know it (well…have about a decade to go)…but with the federal government we employees receive 1% of our base pay for each year of federal service. Why it behooves those of us who served on active duty to buy back our time.

Ronnie Ann’s article in Work Coach Cafe, pinpoints some very real concerns most of us have regarding the process:

Why do you get so nervous during job interviews?

  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being judged.
  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being the focus and having to come up with good answers for whatever they ask you.
  • You don’t know what they’re going to ask.
  • You don’t know for sure if what you say is a good answer.
  • You don’t like talking about yourself.
  • You don’t feel comfortable “selling” yourself.
  • You don’t interview every day and so you aren’t sure you know how to do it well.
  • You really need a job.
  • You worry that if you don’t get this job there may not be another chance any time soon.
  • You worry that you’ll sound stupid.
  • You worry there’s something about you or your background they’ll hate.
  • You have no idea exactly what they’re looking for.
  • You hate the idea of being rejected based on just one short meeting.
  • You think you have to be more than you are.

(source)

As Ann states, it helps to understand the job hiring process, believing in yourself (confidence goes a long way….just don’t be cocky), and develop any weak areas that need further tweaking.

Cutting sugar out of my diet

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It’s a difficult thing considering I am addicted to this wonderful sweet substance.

Yes…addicted.

I take after both parents who absolutely love sugary snacks.  I realized last night I have a problem when I was scooping Nesquik powder for my hot chocolate and savoring the delectable  sweetness of it all. Indeed a tasty reward which is a tough habit to break. A relationship I need to end and terminate now!            :(

I decided to do a little research on this topic and found the following article written by Dr. Mark Hyman, which states there may indeed be a genetic connection:

The Genetics of Pleasure

In our brain, a little receptor, the dopamine receptor D2 (or DRD2 for short), must be activated or switched on for us to feel pleasure. The amino acid dopamine triggers this response. Sugar and other stimulating addictions increase dopamine in the short term.

The only problem is it appears that those with sugar addictions, compulsive eating, and obesity have DRD2 systems that need much more stimulation to feel pleasure. Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on”.(i)

Functional MRI studies of teenagers, both lean and obese, found that the obese teenagers whose brains didn’t light up as much in the dopamine reward centers were more likely to be obese and gain weight later.(ii) They also were more likely to have the DRD2 gene that coded for fewer receptors.

(source)

Makes sense, especially when I have seen my parents eating habits.  There’s something existential about sugary rewards.

 

He goes on to discuss 5 signs you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

(source)

Time for me to detox

Hyprocrisy at its finest

1800422_584586928312276_5829320478725468737_n

hy·poc·ri·sy
hiˈpäkrisē/
noun
noun: hypocrisy; plural noun: hypocrisies
The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
What I can never understand is how people can go around acting in a certain manner but God forbid if you did the exact same thing there’s hell to pay.

I’ve seen various relationships affected by this so-called “double standard” from family, marriages, friendships and yes, even coworkers.

If said individuals cannot get a grip on themselves then it’s best to either discover the root of the problem (if possible) and if solve it.

 
HOW they can justify their behavior and yet criticize you for doing the same is beyond my mental and emotional capacity.

If said person continues to be a toxic element in your life the best (and at least for me…most L.O.G.I.C.A.L. solution is to simply get rid of them by leaving or if forced to interact (such as with a coworker) do so as sparingly as possible–if only to to simply preserve your own precarious sanity.  :)

(Un)Professionalism in the workplace

We all have to deal with irate coworkers, rude, obnoxious…ill-mannered for 8 hours plus a day. We see these people more than we see our own family and friends!!

Tell me, HOW is it that some of these individuals were able to land a job? They go around intimidating others, using foul language and whatnot.  Perplexes me to the hilt!

And it’s management’s fault to allow this type of behavior to continue.

Is there fear some type of discrimination suit will follow? And why is that? If you are able to document such unsavory behavior at the onset with time, dates, individuals involved, counseling statements (get the picture) there SHOULD be a way to rectify the situation.

Just seems to me from what I’ve heard and seen by others that people are afraid to call others to the carpet (so to speak) and get to the bottom of such nonsense. I personally have no time to deal with childish foolishness. Whatever personal problems you have outside of the agency KEEP THEM THERE!

If you hate your job that much FIND SOMETHING ELSE!

Trust me, there are hundreds of individuals who would more than readily take over your position and do an even BETTER job if they are just given the chance!

According to USATODAY, there are 5 common unprofessional workplace behaviors we need to be aware of:

1. Your wild and crazy night

So last night you went out and had the time of your life. You and a group of a dozen of your friends went out on the town, went to all the best bars and night clubs, and you met the most amazing girl (or guy.) You woke up at your friend’s house just in time for work, barely able to remember what happened for the latter half of the evening.

That’s your business. But it’s probably not something you should share with the rest of the office. Sure, it’s great to share some superfluous information about yourself with your colleagues — maybe tell them about your obsession with the TV show America’s Next Top Model. But talking about drinking or a crazy night out with co-workers may be asking for trouble, and it’s best to leave that out of the office.

2. Mr. or Ms. Defensive

In business, not every comment directed your way is going to be positive. Constructive criticism is vitally necessary for any office to run smoothly. Having too thin of a skin, and being unable to handle any type of criticism is unprofessional, but it’s often viewed more as a personality trait than a behavior. “Oh, Joe is just really sensitive about his work” or “Jane really does her best, but she gets upset when someone thinks her work is lacking.”

Why? Aside from the sheer fact that we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, Field Law discusses the changing dynamics of the healthcare system and an employee’s need to maintain a currency of professional knowledge. Although the publication refers specifically to the healthcare system, this would really apply in any business system. When employees don’t maintain knowledge in their field, we hear those “this is how we did it when I was trained 10 years ago” responses. Failure to maintain such current knowledge, or seek assistance where needed, may result in a level of insecurity or defensiveness on the part of an employee.

3. Being non-responsive

What do you do when you don’t like the contents of an email? What if it warrants a reply? Ignore it? Ignoring communications is yet another unprofessional behavior. Just about everyone is busy (not just you), and ignoring a problem will not make it go away.

If you make a commitment to a customer, subordinate, your boss, or a co-worker, do you keep that promise? Breaking promises or making promises that you cannot keep falls under this category as well. Be direct and straightforward.

4. Laziness

No one is at 100% all of the time, and you’re going to have those days where you only have about 75% of your energy available for the day. However, the important thing is to give your best every day, no matter what, even if your best is a little tired on Mondays. “If you collect 100 percent of your paycheck, you owe 100 percent work effort,” reads a Compete Outside the Box publication.

Shamming is the act of intentionally avoiding work. Many people place more effort into shamming than they would have to place into simply doing their jobs correctly. For instance, say a cashier has to run back and forth between sitting down in the break room and his register every time a customer comes into the line. He makes 20 trips back and forth, just to get away from his line for a combined total of 12 minutes, while his boss is in the back of the store, unable to see that he’s “shamming.” If the cashier just stayed at his register, he could have placed much less effort into simply standing there waiting for customers.

5. He said, she said

Gossip is a notoriously problematic concern within the workplace. Jane and Joe were talking behind Sue’s back. “She’s so lazy, why did she get the promotion,” one coworker may say about another Or: “Did you hear his wife left him?” the office big mouth says to a group of workers. This type of behavior is not only unprofessional, it causes conflicts and deters collaborative efforts among teams.

Along the same lines, blaming others for your mistakes is also unprofessional. “I wanted to do it the right way, but Joe told me that it was supposed to be done this way.” Taking responsibility for yourself and your actions is a mark of a professional.

(source)


 

Passive-aggressiveness seems to be a common trait.  If an individual doesn’t like your answer, or doesn’t like you…..don’t expect any action, any time soon. And I group that with laziness.  Don’t get me started on THAT one!   :(

I also hear about a lot of office gossip and I for one refuse to partake.  Am here to work, not make someone else’s life miserable.

And don’t get me started on the very personal conversations I’ve overheard through the years. Keep that stuff to yourself or outside of the office.

The solution is really quite simple…clean up your act or leave.

 

Not that difficult.

A Bittersweet Ending

With over 11 “good years” in service I will close a long bittersweet chapter in my life. I am saying goodbye to the military. Various personal reasons abound, suffice to say it’s time to let go.

The Army helped mold me into the woman I am today. Good or bad this unique American sub-culture gave me insight, better perspectives, discipline, and adventure throughout various times of my life.

I know I’ll miss it, the unique friendships, the regimental ways (some not all lol) and wearing the uniform. I still have my dress blues and will pass those on down to my grandchildren (when I get them).

Don’t know how I’ll truly feel once “it’s over.” I received my honorable discharge and will officially be out September 17th. I wish my unit the best, especially now that their current deployment rotation is over and anything at this point is possible.

 

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The Fog

Not sure how many people out there saw the movie but as soon as the fog rolled in after 6am when my early butt gets to work, had to take this picture of our parking lot:

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Lifestyle change

Sometimes it’s harder to implement than to delve up a solution.  Struggling with my weight has always been a constant factor.  Unfortunately I am not blessed with genes which enabled me (in the past and now in the present) to eat whatever I want whenever I want.

Living in a society which markets to the American consumer in such an overindulgent (and unhealthy way) can prove to be quite challenging.

I do admire my husband for his will-power and fortitude to do what’s right and maintain his health.  I, on the other hand, can sometimes talk a lot of hot air. Receiving a recent health scare has made me pause to reconsider what truly is important at this junction of my life.

Do I wish to continue this self-destructive path of glutton want or do I wish to live a healthier and more fruitful life?

It’s quite easy to give in to your desires.  Stress can make you reach for the most unhealthy choices. Every day life happenstance gives us all that comfortable excuse to indulge just a little bit more, that it won’t hurt…for now.

The problem why most diets fail is that again, our American need to “have it right now” fails us.  We expect miraculous results the instant we start changing.

But our bodies, and life…really do not run like that.

We have to be patient, kind with ourselves.  Learn to pace, to give up the sinfully good snacking, incorporate some form of exercise.

But……..WHY does living a healthier lifestyle mean bland choices?????

Also, it’s far cheaper to grab that burger when organics always come with a steep price. Who hasn’t visited a wholefood’s store and seen those jaw-dropping prices?

If I could grow my own produce I would. But since I can’t I have to really work harder to ensure I don’t end up like my parents with their milieu of health problems.

And overcome any mental obstacles along the way.

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