2015 Highlights

Thursday, December 31, 2015

For some reason when I quickly think about 2015 it doesn't seem like an especially exciting year, but as I look back through some of my older posts, I realize it was actually probably one of the best years I've had in a long time.

Obviously the number one highlight of the year was Josh returning home from his deployment.  This was something that neither of had ever experienced and our relationship was so new that when he left that we weren't really sure how it would go.  It now seems like a lifetime ago, but I'm happy to say we made through and are stronger together than ever.

The next best part of 2015 would be our trip through England, Scotland, and Ireland.  I still think nostalgically about that trip at least several times a week.

Bringing little puppy Otto into our lives was also a wonderful decision.

I had a great weekend trip with the girls and another long weekend with the group.

Two engagements for some of my closest friends!

I took some risks with my job but they paid off and I have found myself now doing work that I actually enjoy and that is keeping me busy.

I got back into sewing and felt so accomplished when I completed my Cersei Lannister costume.  I've done a few other projects since then, but those will be saved for the new year.

In 2015 alone I managed to decrease my debt by $13,600!

I decluttered my life in a lot of ways.  It doesn't seem like anything big, but it has done wonders for my stress levels.

The Patriots won the Superbowl!

I also managed to finish a script that has been 10 years in the making.  New Year's Resolutions- better 10 years late than never!

I'm surprised with how much I actually did in this past year and I'm excited for all of the things I plan to do in 2016!

It Is Done.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

(give or take one million rounds of editing)

$60,000 in Debt: Month 19

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I took it easy this month considering I made a huge payment in October and I knew Christmas was right around the corner.  My house fund is still growing nicely but we keep bouncing back and forth between committing to buying and renting for a year.  Renting will be difficult with the dogs, but with Josh basically starting in an entirely new field of work, I think we'll most likely want to give it some time before we decide to settle in one spot.  I hate the idea of "wasting" money on renting, but I'd rather do that than buy and limit ourselves if we need a change in the next year.


Monday, December 14, 2015

I've been finding myself more stressed out and overwhelmed on a regular basis these days.  I'm sure there are a lot of factors at play, but most of them can't easily be changed so instead I decided to do a purge of a few smaller things that I know certainly don't help my stress.

One was pretty easy.  I completely cleared off and simplified my desk.  I usually keep a clean desk, but I've had a lot of things on it that I just don't need.  Things like scissors, tape, a pen holder with a dozen pens, highlighters, sharpies... I use these maybe twice a month.  There is no need for them to be on my desk and in my face.  I also have a file rack on my desk with folders of papers that I haven't looked at since I started working with my company.  Anything that could be thrown out was, and everything else was placed in my drawer.

It sounds silly, but simplifying my desk has been a huge help in reducing my underlying stress.  I sit there for 8 hours a day so I guess it makes sense, but it's so easy to just let clutter build up and not even realize the stress is building up as well.

Since that felt so good, I then took a look at my social media accounts.  Facebook used to just be a place where you could see what shenanigans your friends got into over the weekend, but it has become one giant stressor for me.  From ignorant political rants to the annoying intentionally cryptic cry for attention posts.  I find myself more and more just getting pissed off every time I log in.

I deleted quite a few friends (mainly old college people that I haven't talked to since freshman year) and unfollowed even more (friends or family members who I just can't listen to anymore).  I contemplated just deleting Facebook all together, but I'm worried I may miss out on adorable animal pictures. So, for the time being, I'll just see how my freshly cleaned news feed is.

I did a deep clean of Twitter as well.  That wasn't filled with so much rage inducing idiocy, but I found myself struggling to keep up with my feed throughout the course of the day and then being worried that I was missing something.  I've always prided myself on staying up today with current events and what is going on the world, but I find that these days trying to keep up with everything is too overwhelming. I don't need to follow 12 different news stations.  At the end of the day I'll have a good idea of what is going on one way or another.

It may just be confirmation bias, but in her session at the MA Conference for Women last week Dr. Julie Holland talked about the stress we put ourselves through every day that our bodies were not necessarily designed to handle.  The earliest humans may have dealt with an earthquake or a severe storm a couple of times in their lives, but today we're faced with a constant inundation of all the terrible things happening around the world. We may not feel the exact pain of someone who's child has just drown, or be able to truly understand what it feels like to have our home destroyed by a bomb, but our minds still feel some of that the stress reaction.  That just really hit home because I know it has been affecting me lately.

Perhaps it's just because I'm getting old, but I just don't think I can stay as immersed as I once was in everything that is going on the world.  There are many important subjects that I will continue to follow, but for my own mental well being I think I need to limit my exposure.

Hopefully by trimming and simplifying everything I'll find myself getting less frustrated and stressed over things I can't control and getting a better handle on those things I can.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women

Friday, December 11, 2015

Myself and a few coworkers attended the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston this week. I didn't know much about it before getting tickets, but our company was paying so I wasn't going to say no.  It ended up being a very interesting day and (as cheesy as it sounds) it was pretty empowering.

Despite there being 10,000 attendees, the whole day ran very smoothly.  We started with a few opening keynote speakers.  The most recognizable was Tim Gunn, but my favorite speaker was Adam Grant.  The part that really stuck with me was when he was comparing the different types of people in the workplace- the givers, the takers, and the matchers.  It's very clear who is each role in any office.  I know I'm a giver.  He made a great suggestion about setting aside a specific amount of "giving" time. We all have our own work to get done and as much as we like helping others, we can't let it affect the rest of our work.  It may not have any immediate effects in my current role, but it has given me a lot to think about for the future.
After the opening speakers we broke out for the morning sessions.  My coworkers and I chose to sit in on Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, The Sleep You’re Missing, The Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Feel Crazy by Dr. Julie Holland.  I loved this one.  It was pretty much about how women are too often trying to "control" their emotions (specifically in the workplace) by medicating themselves.  While women definitely go through waves of emotions, they aren't something that should be repressed.  It's usually through these emotions that we know when situations are not right or they are what gives us the drive to push ourselves for more.  The idea of just always feeling content with life sounds really nice, but if that came at the expense of motivating myself to do better, I don't think it would be worth it.  Luckily I feel like I'm on a pretty good track and Dr. Holland would approve of my choices, but it's good to get a little warning of what could happen if you forget to check in with yourself every once in a while.
After that we went to our second session: Tips on How to Become Your Own #Girlboss with Sopia Amoruso.  Unfortunately the setup of the room wasn't great so we couldn't hear or see most of what was going on.  We stayed for probably the first half of the session and then decided to head down to the vendor booths.  We really just wanted to visit a friend (and former co-worker) who was running a Chloe & Isabelle stand.  It had been a while since we last saw her so it was great to catch up even if we could only steal her for a few minutes.

After that we headed back into the main hall for lunch.  It's hard to imagine preparing lunch for 10,000 people but they somehow managed to pull it off.  There were several speakers during our lunch but the two highlights for me were Ellen Pao, who has very publicly fought against sexism in the tech world, and Shonda Rhimes, the television powerhouse. They spoke very candidly about their experiences and the struggles they had to overcome.
Overall, it was really a great time.  It gave me a lot to think about- what I need, what I want, and how I need to go about getting those things.  


Friday, December 4, 2015

I'm pretty much fascinated by anything supernatural or mystical, however I always find myself far too cynical to ever believe most of the stories I hear.  My experience today probably won't change that, but it was too strange to not share.

Josh had an interview a couple towns away from where I work.  He also had to head down to the cape for his drill weekend.  He was going to pick up lunch for us after his interview and join me at my office to eat.

He texted me to say he was leaving the interview and heading to Panera.  A little bit later I got this sudden wave of anxiety and an image of him getting into an accident on his way to see me.  I'll occasionally get anxious or stressed about imaginary situations and I can get carried away.  I quickly said to myself "stop it, you're getting worked up over nothing." That tends to be the easiest way to just stop my imagination.

About three minutes later I got a text from Josh... he had just gotten into a fender bender.

Thankfully he is fine.  Other than a dented bumper and some frustration there was no real damage.

When he finally made it to my office and I talked to him he said that after the accident happened he got out of the car and exchanged information with the guy, then got back in his car and texted me. Which means the accident happened just three or four minutes before I got his text.

I know this is just a weird coincidence.  But, wow.

Hurling At Fenway

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Last week Josh and I had tickets to see a hurling match at Fenway Park.  We headed into Boston and met up at The Baseball Tavern with someone he deployed with and her husband.  I met a lot of the people he deployed with before he left, but I haven't seen any of them since he spent close to a year living with them.  It was great to hear some of the stories they shared.  Especially since he talked about these people on a regular basis and I felt like I knew them already.

The forecast called for a small chance of rain that day, which naturally meant it rained ALL day for us. Fortunately it was really just a constant drizzle and, for mid-November, it actually wasn't too cold.  

We got to sit in seats that we'd never be able to afford if we were there for a Red Sox game, so that alone was awesome. 

I will admit that I never really watched hurling while I was living in Dublin, but since it was Dublin vs. Galway (and Josh had lived in Galway), I felt it was only natural that I rooted for Dublin.  I really didn't know much about the sport, but it was definitely fun to watch.  Of course Dublin led the first three quarters and then lost the game in just the last few minutes.

The Dropkick Murphys were performing after the match but by this point we had all been out in the rain for a several hours so we decided to head to O'Leary's in Brookline.  There's nothing quite like a warm cozy pub after a long day in the chilly rain.  

I'm hoping that they bring hurling back to Boston next year... and in the meantime I'm actually going to make an effort to watch some matches so I have a clue of what is going on when we go back!

A Surprise Proposal!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

This post is a couple weeks over due, but it was a fun event so I'd like to make sure I document it.

One of my best friend's boyfriend reached out to us saying that he wanted to propose to our her and that he wanted us to be there after he did it.

The plan was that they would leave the house around 7 to go get dinner down the street, we'd all sneak into their apartment after they left, and then he would text us when they were leaving the restaurant so we could shut off lights, etc. and be ready to jump out and surprise her.

The "surprise" crew.
Our plan was going smoothly until we were waiting for the "On our way" text.  We had been getting updates from him all night, but for some reason when he sent that text to the group chat, two out of the three people didn't receive it.  The third person didn't see it right away.  Every light in the house was on and we had music playing in the kitchen.  He looked down at his phone and said "On our way!" and we all got excited.  Then he realized it had been sent five minutes prior.  The restaurant was about a 6 minute walk away from their house.  We had about 30 seconds to hit all of the lights, shut off the music, and find places to hide.
We really went all out with our decorations.

About 10 seconds after we got the last light off, the front porch sensor light kicked on.  I was shaking... partially from excitement, partially from the stress of nearly destroying this wonderfully planned proposal.

Then an alarm on my cell phone went off.  I guess it was a plus and a minus that it was all the way in the kitchen.  A plus because they couldn't hear it outside on the porch, but a minus because I was not in the kitchen and had to run through a dark strange house trying to get to it.

I managed to shut my phone up and got back into place just in time to hear it all happen.  It was adorable and ended up with my friend laughing, crying, and loudly announcing that she had snot all over her hand... so probably about how most proposals go.

After that, his plan was to open the door, hit the lights, and yell "She said yes!" and we'd all jump out to surprise her.  He forgot to hit the lights though.  So instead he walked in and yelled, she thought he was just being a dork yelling to an empty house, and then she was almost scared half to death as a dozen screams and flashes of lights came at her from all angles.
At least he's trying to protect her...
Luckily we got the lights on quickly and she didn't hate us for terrifying her.  We had lots of food and drinks and relived the moment several dozen times.  Overall a really fun night for all those involved.  Yay Lynsey and Drew!