October 25, 2016

If I could turn back time ---If I could find a way---

First and foremost, if you did not start singing like Cher when you read my blog title, we can't be friends (refer to # 10 on the list).  For those of you that did, click here to keep on singing!

When one has large amounts of time to sit/lie around and just think, it can be very dangerous. Case in point:

Last night I could not sleep. I read an entire book and still my mind would not.stop.thinking. While it may surprise some of you, I pray every night. I thank God for my family, the health of my family, my friends, Zoe and whatever else comes to mind. I often talk to my grandma and ask her what in the world I should do with my life. And then beg her not to come visit me from the grave and tell me what to do with my life. I seriously worry one night she'll just pop up and then I will have a heart attack and she won't need to tell me what to do with my life, because I will be dead.

I digress. I laid in bed last night and all these thoughts started popping up and I seriously thought I was having a mid-life crisis and a potential panic attack at the same time. Or maybe they just go hand in hand? I started developing a mental list of all the things in my life I would do different if I could back in time and do so. I mean, we all have these things so why not share my deepest thoughts with you internet people? So here goes (in no particular order):

I would have:
  1. saved money and not spent money on things that mean nothing. I'd be so rich.
  2. focused more in high school on what I enjoyed learning about, and then applied that to a college education. While I do have one, it isn't something I particularly want to use. Ever.
  3.  not treated visits with my grandma as a chore but as quality time with my only grandparent.
  4. learned how to enjoy exercising  (yes, I know I still can, but I'm less apt to do so)
  5. met Paul Newman before he died. I would have stalked the hell out of that man.
  6. had children or a child.
  7. experienced the places I lived rather than just lived there.
  8. told someone that I was being molested while the SOB was still alive.
  9. traveled more instead of just saying I wanted to.
  10. let go of bad friendships sooner.
  11. researched my genealogy while the older relatives were still alive.
  12. gotten chickens way before now.
  13. seen the red flags in my relationships where I was being cheated on. They were there in plain sight.
  14. not plucked my eyebrows so much when I was younger. I don't even want to look at those pictures!!
  15. continued hugging and kissing my parents goodnight/goodbye. 
  16. not bought my Ford Escort ZX2. What a POS.
  17. learned early on not to focus so much on what other people think.
  18. not let me pride get in the way of telling people that I loved, that I loved them.
  19. gotten my endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy when I was a teenager. 
  20. practiced having better penmanship. Mine is terrible.
  21. gone to college straight out of high school and actually experienced the college life instead of being an adult student taking night classes.
  22. not signed up for five credit cards when I got the offers at eighteen.
  23. been a teenager longer rather than trying to be an adult so fast. 
  24. tried a few drugs. I know, I know.. but sometimes I just wonder what they would be like.
  25. not have gotten arrested when I was 18. Don't ask... it was eventually dismissed. 
  26. told my parents I got arrested at 18. Courtrooms are scary places.
  27. not been forced to go to church. I think it would be best if children were taught about all religions and then got to choose which one suited them (if any). 
  28. bought stock in Amazon or Google when it was cheap. duh.
  29. not spent so much time trying to please other people.
  30. taken better care of my body after soccer/life injuries.
Well, there's a few things for ya. In the end life is about learning lessons and moving on. Sure I wish I could go back and change some things, but hell, there are things I need to change now so I better focus on those rather than crying over spilt milk. I just hope that some of the advice I give my Lil Sis she would listen to and not cringe every time I say, "When I was your age...."... but I supposed had someone tried to tell me some things back then I would have done the same thing. Damnit.

October 4, 2016

A Decade Gone By

As of September 2016 I have lived in Alaska (again) for 10 years. That's the longest I've lived in one place at a time. Generally I get the itch to move every few years or so. My current itch has lasted awhile but I just can't get myself to go and I don't know why. Maybe I'm just not ready? Maybe I just need to admit I love Alaska and don't want to leave..

As some of you may know, this isn't my first go-round with Alaska. I was born in Palmer and lived in the Butte until 1990/91 (I can't remember) when my parents asked my brothers and I if we wanted to move to California. My brothers and I discussed it and decided that yes, we did want to move to California. Live by the beach, see palm trees, drive convertibles, listen to the Beach Boys and live out every beach movie/show we'd ever seen. Boy oh boy did my parents dupe us on that one! Instead of beaches and convertibles, we moved to Redding where it was more like cows and beat up trucks. Where meth runs rampant and jobs are hard to come by. Not only that, the temperature in the summer are damn near unbearable reaching well over 100 degrees. That was fun to play soccer in. Not. I survived though, and after graduation drove halfway across the country to Minneapolis. Lived there off and on and ended up back in Alaska. Why you ask? My brother had a bad break-up and I came up here to hunt her down and do bodily harm to her. No really, I would have. Lucky for her I never saw her (and me I suppose. I'm not a jailbird type of gal).
Ben and I on our way up to AK

So here I am.. reminiscing about 10 years gone by with damn near nothing to show for it. No career, no husband, no kids, I rent my house and I have nineteen chickens. But do I look at these last 10 years as a waste of time? Absolutely not. I've been fortunate to meet some of the best friends I will ever have. I've experienced parts of Alaska most don't get the chance to see. And although I don't own it, I have the cutest little house in town that I love and have been happy in for years with my fifteen year old cat Zoe. I have welcomed a new sister into the family, have been blessed with a healthy family, loved and lost, and learned so, so much.

It was her favorite place to be! 
I swore when I left Minnesota that the next place I moved to I would EXPERIENCE it. While in MN I didn't do anything but restaurants and bars. I didn't camp or hike. I didn't go to the Boundary Waters or Basilica of Saint Mary or any State parks. Sad, but true. So that is one thing I can say I've accomplished in the last 10 years. I have experienced Alaska and I have had friends come up and experience it too. It's hard not to when you live in such a beautiful place. Yes the weather can be all over the place, and yes it gets dark and cold, but when it's nice there is no better place to be.

It's easy to get stuck in routines. I thank my friends for getting me to step outside of my comfort zones and habits. I thank my friends for helping me through the hard times and laughing during the good times. I thank my friends for making me a part of their families. But more than anything, I thank my family for supporting me through the last 10 years of ups and downs, tears and laughter, jobs and no jobs and everything in between. I am so fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. I look forward to the next 10 years to see what comes of this crazy thing called life.

2006. Finally made it.

August 12, 2016

Two simple, yet powerful (and underused) words

Thank you.

Two syllables, yet so hard for some people to say.

Everyone knows you don't (shouldn't) give to expect something in return. What we all should know though, is that saying thank you should come as an automatic response to so many situations. Case in point:
A man held the door open for me and let me walk through the door first at a busy restaurant, I said thank you. He said, "Well you sure are welcome" as if it surprised him that I thanked him. In return, and because it was appropriate, I let him put his name on the wait list first. He said, "That was really nice of you, thank you" and there in a matter of less than a minute, two thank you's were swapped, good feelings were had by all. So Simple.

From the very onset of my life I can remember my mom teaching us the importance of a thank you. Any holiday or birthday where gifts were exchanged, we had a list of who gave us what so that we could properly thank them afterwards. That has carried on into my adult life and something I would instill in my children had I had any.

It's such a small gesture with such a large impact. So why is it so hard?

This post comes from something that happened recently, or that has happened repeatedly for years now. I am not going to give specifics, but I feel shafted by someone. Someone I have given to secondhandedly (not a word, but you get it) for years that I don't believe has ever thanked me once.  Again, not an expectation, but it got me thinking/wondering if this person really is thankful or is just so used to being the receiver rather than the giver, that it doesn't even cross their mind to be thankful. It's mind boggling to me really.

Think of the last time you received a genuine thank you in the mail. Didn't it make you feel great? So why not say thank you more often? It doesn't have to be in receipt of a gift, but maybe just a heartfelt thank you for: being a great friend, parent, sibling....  Maybe it is for a gesture of kindness, act of selflessness, or just for the hell of it. It would turn a bad day good and a good day great for sure, I guarantee it.

So I challenge you. Send one thank you per week to someone you know. It may not make a world of difference, but it may just brighten the day of someone you know.  Do you accept this challenge?

June 20, 2016

To Break-Up or Not to Break-Up?

Since I currently have ample time to sit and ponder life, I get to thinking that maybe Alaska and I need to break-up. Maybe I need to move on with my life and get out of this relationship. I've tried for 10 years to make it work and it just hasn't. Then I think, "What hasn't worked?" I've met some great people, had some amazing experiences, and get to live in an amazingly beautiful place. So what's my issue? Why do I want to break-up with you Alaska? Here are a few reasons in no particular order:

1. Well, Alaska.... you're kind of a whore. With such a diversity of people here there is bound to be issues, but DANG GINA, it is getting bad here! Shootings, stabbings, robberies, murders.. I feel like I’m living in the ghettos of Compton. You can’t read the paper without reading about someone dying the night before. It’s a tab bit scary in these parts.

2. I’m really so over your mood swings. It’s supposed to be cold with snow in the winter and warm with sunshine in the summer. It isn’t that hard to get it straight? I don’t bother ever looking at the forecast because you change your mind on a whim. I think you need to get on hormones and keep on an even keel. Even though I’ve enjoyed winter for awhile now, I’m a bit over shoveling, changing tires, wearing jackets, and all the other stuff that comes with winter. I just want sun… all the time.

3. Your bosses. You see Alaska, the people that run you can’t seem to get it right. You have so many different people here trying to run things, and it seems that all of those people are out for themselves and not for the betterment of the whole. For such a unique place, we should be working together to make you better and we aren't. I've never lived anywhere where every. single. issue. is debated/discussed/debated again over and over again. It's as though people just need to hear themselves speak and they have to have an opinion even if they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

4. You ain’t cheap! Not only do we pay exorbitant prices for food here, we also have to pay high prices to cook that food! Cut us a break here. Not to mention taking some time to myself Alaska. Sometimes I need my alone time and need to leave you for a bit but man oh man you have to sell your soul to get an affordable ticket out of here. Maybe instead of the dividend we get a, “Get out of Alaska” free ticket each year. Cabin fever is a real thing you know. Mythbusters proved it!
I know I’m bringing up a lot of baggage Alaska- it hasn’t all been bad. There are so many things I’ve appreciated about you in the past 10 years. Topping that list would be the lack of poisonous spiders, fleas/ticks, skunks. The inability for people to ride crotch rockets all year. Your utter lack of social standards when it comes to dress codes.

So what does this mean? I’ve said it time and time again— I should move out of Alaska. Yet I never do. Why is that? What hold do you have on me Alaska? We only live once, so why not go try out another state, or hell, even another country? I have husband.. kids… JOB (haha).. just a cat and chickens. Is it fear of starting over? Having to make new friends? Maybe I just bite the bullet and do it? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Why haven’t you?

May 24, 2016

When you are a square peg in a round hole

It will be of no surprise to anyone reading this to learn that I can be somewhat opinionated. But you see, that isn't a problem. The problem is HOW you deliver said opinion. Or even just speaking it at all really. You see, I just got fired (again) after 5 months working in an environment that I would deem unhealthy for anyone who has a mind of their own. You see, the organization is practically run by three women, two of which are 70+ years old. You know the saying that you, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks?" It is SO true!! So let me back up here---

When I was hired I was told they were excited to have someone come on board with such great ideas and a passion for educating Alaskans. I was excited to come on board. For the first month or so I was called the "favorite" in our department. My boss invited me for wine, told me about her family, and yes, treated me like the favorite child. Then I think she realized she didn't hire someone who would come at her beck and call or agree with her when it came to spending an outlandish amount of money on a SIM table that we'd NEVER USE! I had an opinion- shoot me. One day she was in our Deputy Director's office and we had a meeting to go to. I quietly knocked on the door and was WAVED IN. I explained we had to go or we'd be late. It was then our DD yelled at me. Yelled at me like a bad child. "How dare you enter a closed door meeting with such unimportant information. Do not ever come into this office without being invited again. We were discussing information you should not be privy too. Get out!" I was shocked. I had never, in my entire life, been yelled at like that by a manager...especially one who was moonlighting as our HR Director! I spoke to my boss about it later and she said, "That is just how she is." Umm. NOT Ok. It was then I knew my boss would never back me up... so so so true it turns out.

Now to the "setting me up for failure" part of the story. 
Step One: There is a girl in our HR department who claimed I offended her during orientation, and  I was "dismissive" of her in the bathroom (what does that even mean??). I have not said more than 20 words to this girl. So I asked her nicely what I did that offended her that she would go to HR more than once about me. She said nothing had offended her and that she had never said anything of the sort. I requested a meeting with all parties involved, it never happened. I was told to forget about it.
Step Two: I had a counterpart in Valdez. Same job. Same job description. Same. Same. Same. Except for one thing- I was asked to partake in extra meetings, write RFP's, help with grants, etc. etc.
Step Three: In the 5 months working there, I was never asked about the progress of my work or the work of my staff. Nobody ever asked how we were doing, how things were going, nothing.
Step Four: I was told by my boss to not pay my staff for helping in their village council offices. When I explained that to my staff, an email from the Village Chief was sent to my boss and our Executive Director saying basically that he was appalled that we wouldn't pay our staff to help out in their own village. Did my boss say, "Sorry about that? We will do so from now on"? NOPE. She threw me under the bus saying I had made the decision without her knowing. Ridiculous.

So last week when I was called in to the HR conference room with my boss and the HR Director and was given a list of "offenses" that included offending the HR girl, not being supportive of my staff which is why they aren't producing work and stepping outside my job duties.
I explained that I had tried to rectify the situation with HR girl, and the only time I have ever "stepped" outside my job duties was when I was asked by my boss. I asked if they had talked to my staff to determine if I was or wasn't supportive (they had not).

So did it come as a surprise to me when I got my pink slip? Nope. You see, when you have a boss who doesn't care about your work ethic, performance and only cares about themselves, it just won't work for someone like me. I look at the big picture, I look at my staff, I look if we are spending money appropriately. Even though I am not from the region that I worked for, I wanted the program to be a huge success. Something it hasn't been in the years that it's been going on. I wanted my staff to be proud of the work they did for their communities. I wanted to create a product that would be used and not just shelved in storage units. And you know what? I was doing a good job at it too.

I get it. I am opinionated. I won't ever change that for anyone or for any job. If you want to hire some brain dead lackey who will do whatever you say regardless of the outcome, then go for it. But do not hire me explaining that you did so because of my ingenuity and great ideas when you know darn well you will never let me exercise either of those things.

April 12, 2016

A Decade Gone By

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of me living back in Alaska. I never in a million years thought I would ever return to live back in Alaska, but when your brother calls and needs you, that's what you do. Granted I'm sure he didn't think I'd actually move up here and IN with him, but que sera sera.

I've experienced a lot in the last decade. I've met people who will stay in my life forever and some that stayed in my life too long. I'd like to think I've learned what is important in life and what makes me happy and what doesn't. And now ten years later, I sit here looking back at all that came from this Alaskan adventure and look forward to all that is to come.

I truly have met some amazing people in my life. There are also those friendships that have come and gone. It was one of the harder lessons I had to learn in life; how to let people in my life go that I didn't feel were meaningful in any way. Just because I'd known them for years, or that we had mutual friends.. those weren't reasons to carry on a "friendship" that had no substance. Adios Amigos!

Whew.. I could go on and on and on about this topic. I bet I've had 40+ jobs in my life and none of had more impact on my life than those that I've had in the last 10 years. I learned that just because a non-profit looks good on the outside and "does good things" for whomever their target audience is... doesn't quite mean that everything is sunshine and roses on the inside. My take away was that unless you are truly dedicated to the mission and the work that you do, you should not work for a non-profit. It doesn't make sense to. Quit right now.
Moving on... I've always enjoyed learning and when the opportunity came for me to learn something entirely new, I jumped on it. I dove head first into a world of unknown people, places and experiences and I loved every minute of it.. until I didn't love it anymore, then I was miserable. From this job I learned that some people are greedy with money and some are greedy with the need to be revered. Again, it wasn't about the work that was being done but the power that some people needed in order to feel important.
Moving on again... One thing I will never, ever, accept in another job is complacency. You know the issues but choose not to fix them? Arrivederci!
My whole point is this... you spend a ridiculous amount of time at work so why not love it? Why not be passionate about what you do and be excited to go every single day? Speaking from experience, it can damn near make you a depressed lunatic to hate going to work every day. AMEN!

Relationships: (non-friend category)
'Wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv."
Listen. I want to find someone to "settle down with" just like every other single woman out there looking for a relationship. It takes me back to a job interview when I was asked why I would make a good supervisor. My response, "Because I've had the best and the worst supervisors and I know which I'd rather be." It is the same thing in relationships!! I've had some truly awful relationships (cheater and seriously psychopathic liar) and I've had some great ones. Which would I prefer? hmm, let me think. So if I've had some good ones why haven't they stuck? I'm going with the unrequited love route. The ol', "The timing just wasn't right." My mother and I have often talked about the supposed key to successful relationships: The Spark. I say it has to exist, she claims that it doesn't. Granted I know there are more important things than The Spark. I mean, they have to be good looking. :)  But in all seriousness, you have to WANT to be with that person and not just WANT to be with them to be with someone...  In the end, I'm fairly certain I'm not going to settle for someone who I don't think is right for me. If that means I adopt a dozen cats and knit sweaters from their fur, so be it. At least I won't have to shave my legs on a regular basis.

I love my family, I do. We've had some trials and tribulations through the years, but we've come out ahead of the game. In the last ten years all of my family has lived here at some point. Now it's just my younger brother and I. I don't recall us ever being close growing up. He was kind of a schmuck actually. But now I enjoy hanging out with him and seeing him not be so schmucky. My parents live in this hell-hole called Arizona. Why, I don't know.. but they do. I guess the desert is better than living right on the ocean in your own paradise..... I digress. It's fun to be adults with my siblings and my parents. Knowing I can cuss without getting my mouth washed out with soap... or talk to my mom about things she doesn't always want to discuss with me ie: sexy time. My older brother is getting married this year which is so weird. To think there will be another girl in our family just blows my mind. My dad has lightened up through the years and has some one-liners that will make you pee your pants. I am very grateful for them and am glad that we've stayed close through the years and I imagine will only grow closer as we get older--- especially when me and my cats move in with one of them ----

So the past ten years have been good and bad, but mostly good. To think in another ten years I will be 46 and probably bitching about menopause (or lack thereof), reminiscing about how they don't make any good shows like The Golden Girls anymore, while eating friend Spam sandwiches in my moomoo. Kind of sounds glorious if you ask me.

February 17, 2016

To Date or Not To Date?

At my age, I really cherish the friendships I have with other single women. Not that I don’t love my married/coupled friends, but my single friends and I have more in common… well, kind of.

So a few of my single friends and I have been having conversations asking whether or not we want to be in a relationship, or why we aren’t in one, or if there are particular reasons we haven’t found one that sticks. I know that I’m pretty picky, and having that elusive “spark” is important to me. I want someone who gets along with my friends and family and who enjoys the same things as I do.. blah blah blah.

It all got me to thinking about being single at 36 and if I really want to be in a relationship. So I created a pros and cons list that might help me decide (although very doubtful).


PROS                                                                                      CONS
Having a companion to do things with                        Feeling like you have to have them along for everything
Getting knocked up                                                         I can do it without a relationship (IVF,not being a slut)            
Being old by myself                                                         If they got older faster I’d have to take care of them
Sex                                                                                      I don’t think there is a con to this one..
Having someone to cook for                                          Unless they are picky and have a ton of allergies
Cuddling                                                                             Do not cuddle with my while sleeping. I hate that
                                                                                             Having to share my holidays with his family
                                                                                             Not being able to hang out with my friends all the time
                                                                                             I probably can’t have a household full of animals
                                                                                             I tend to date cheaters.. so there’s always that
                                                                                             I can’t move at a moment’s notice
                                                                                             I imagine they’d want me to shave my legs daily
Help cleaning my coop??                                                Hmm, maybe I do want a relationship
                                                                                             I like my alone time
No more first dates- I hate those
This is all off the cuff so this list is rather arbitrary-- but as you can see, my CON list is longer than my PRO list. What does that mean? More chickens, cats, moo-moos, and less razors. Sounds like a good plan to me.