Category Archives: Mindless Musing

Hello from Atlanta!


Ok, so it doesn’t really count to say that I’m in Atlanta because I am only at the airport for an hour or so. But I got to my gate and nothing much seems to be happening so I figured I would bust out a quick blog post.

Here is the final version of the drawing I worked on last night.

The colors are even brighter in real life!

I don’t have much else to say. So far I do not have a headache. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t get one today! Dave said the pollen count is really high at home today so I will probably commence sneezing as soon as I walk out of the airport in Hartford.

———

I ended up running into a coworker at the gate, so I sat and talked with her until it was time to board. Now we are about to take off.

Up, up and away we go!

A Medley of Thoughts


It’s been a while since I posted with my phone. I had about six typos just trying to get the title right, so we’ll see how this goes.

Lately I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos and noticing how people make them and how they set up their channels. I would like to make more videos myself and build up a channel of my own. I already have one but the video quality is hideous, let’s not lie. I think I might have two followers, and at least one of them is a devotee. I’m off to a great start!

Another thing I’ve been contemplating lately and considering blogging about regularly is minimalism. I was actually going to do a speech about it the other night at Toastmasters but it was cancelled because of snow. Seriously.

Minimalism is a mindset or a lifestyle choice where you intentionally focus on what’s most important and you discard everything that isn’t. In a physical sense this applies to all the crap you accumulate in your life, like clothes you never wear, junk mail that piles up, art supplies you never use (or is that just me?) Beyond the physical, though, it applies to mental and emotional clutter, of which I am a big proponent of clearing out.

I’ll get deeper into minimalism in future posts. It just really jives with a lot of the other principles I like to live by, although I admit that I struggle with clutter in certain areas of my house and life.

Exhibit A

Before you conclude that I am a hoarder or pack rat, please understand that we live in a very small house and after minimizing the rest of the house, this room kind of became the dumping ground for all the stuff that didn’t have a home elsewhere. Of course it also happens to be all my art and writing stuff, which is the hardest for me to part with. I’m hoping that by publicly shaming myself by posting this here, I will be motivated to go through it all and clean it up. The truth is, it’s very hard to work or be creative with that massive pile o’crap looming beside me.

Consider that a “before” picture.

In other news, I got re-tested for my allergies yesterday after a year and a half of SLIT (sub-lingual immuno therapy). I had a hunch it wasn’t helping. The tests yesterday seemed to back up my claims but I have to wait to talk to the doctor to be sure. But let me tell you, sitting there for 17 minutes while 40 mosquito bite-like welts grow on both arms is no picnic. I still have some of them today!

Why am I so genetically challenged??

Lastly. I’m working on growing my hair out again. It feels long today but it could just be because I am wearing a coat with a collar that goes up to my ears.

I’m going to try real hard to resist the urge to dye it or do anything crazy with it while it grows. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Dreaming of being Rapunzel

Ok, time to wrap it up!

Peace!

My Happy Place


After a good month of not doing any Zentangles, I finally spent some time over the weekend making a couple.

 Usually I just draw them in black ink and then use a pencil to shade and add some depth, but I decided to experiment with color again.

I love color, but sometimes I find it hard to work with because I want to use ALL THE COLORS!  

Using all the colors can get a bit murky though. Or it can become an assault on the eyes.

Last night, our Toastmasters club held a speech contest. We had three really great and inspiring speakers. When I got home, I was pretty wired, so I decided to bang out a quick drawing before settling in for the night.
I really like how this one came out. It really just flowed so easily.

When I got in the car today and heard on the radio that Brussels had been attacked, I kept thinking about this drawing and how soothing it was for me. Weird, right?

I wish the terrorists would lay down their arms and pick up some art supplies. Maybe that will be my life’s purpose- to encourage art, not war.

It’s Friday, I’m in love


Lunchtime post!

I’m sitting in my car at the trusty old park. It’s about 65 degrees today and I thought I’d sit at a picnic table for once and enjoy the weather, but the wind kept trying to blow the lid from my hummus container off the table and it was a little chilly, so here I am back in the car. 

I am feeling pretty happy lately with all this springlike weather, although it is pretty weird for it to be so mild in early March. I also got a nice pay raise at work, so I’m feeling a little relief there too. I’m actually going to pay off one of my student loans, which feels great as long as I don’t think too much about the other loans that are left. 

One of my coworkers said something the other day that I’ve been thinking about and I wanted to share it here and hear (or read) your feedback. 

We had a group of VIPs visiting our site and this coworker and I lead them on tours of our campus. Afterward, she made a comment about one of them talking to her “until he realized I was nobody important.” A few days later, she mentioned something about us being nothing but minions. 

Hey now! While the first comment did make me laugh, after several more disparaging remarks from her I began to wonder just how low on the totem pole she thinks she is.

In contrast it made me think about how I often don’t even pay attention to status. I mean of course I comprehend that C-level executives are more experienced and make a lot more money than I ever will, but I don’t assume that they look down on my and consider me a minion. 

 

What’s so bad about being a minion anyway?
 
I guess the way I see it is that we are all humans. We all have our struggles and our triumphs. So what if someone is a “VIP” in the business world? It’s entirely likely that they are burned out or are suffering from a failed marriage thanks to all their hard work on the job. Who knows. 

Of course I say this with a lot more experience than she has. There was a time when I worked as a receptionist and I felt like such a loser the whole time. No one tried to make me feel like a loser, I just felt like I must be one for not having used my college education to get a better job.  

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since those days though. Nowadays I am just happy to have a steady job and one that allows me to travel and see different places. I focus more on having a good relationship with Dave and keeping our little house cozy and comfortable. 

For the most part I don’t care what people think of me anymore. Of course it is nice to be appreciated and to be noticed by the C-level crowd is certainly not a bad thing. But if anyone looks down on me for not having a fancier title or living a more extravagant lifestyle, well, that’s their problem. 

What do you think? Do you feel like you have to climb higher to be valued? Or are you happy where you are?  


 

Hello from the Other Side (of the Atlantic)


Goodness me, it has been quite some time since I last wrote. I was busy gearing up for my first overseas trip to Amsterdam and Germany.

Hello from Amsterdam!

But first, a story. When I was in fifth grade, I went on my first overnight school trip. We went to a place called PEEC in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. I forget how long we were there for, but it was at least a couple of nights.

I have always been a homebody. Even when I would sleep over at my friend’s house next door, I would look out the window at my house and feel homesick. If I hadn’t been so afraid of the dark I would have made the trek across our yards so I could be in my own home with mommy and daddy and sleeping right down the hall.

So naturally I was really nervous to go to PEEC. I had a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach and I wanted to cry and tell my mom I was sick and I should stay home instead. There’s a possibility that I actually DID do that, but clearly she did not fall for it.

My friend Jessica’s mom came and picked me up on the big day. She drove us to our school, where there were two big charter busses waiting. Jessica was excited. I was wondering if I could hightail it across the soccer field and make it to the cover of the woods before anyone noticed. How long would it take me to get home if I walked the whole way?

We put our stuff into the luggage compartment of the bus. As we did so, I realized that I’d forgotten my pillow. That was the final straw. I burst into tears. I was not going to survive this trip without my pillow! There wasn’t time for us to go back to the house and get it. What would I do?

Jessica talked me down from the hysteria. She pointed out that she would not enjoy the trip if I didn’t come. She told me I was one of her best friends and that she needed me to be there with her. She also pointed out that I could use my stuffed Shamu as a pillow. (Yes, I had remembered to grab an enormous stuffed killer whale before I left the house, but not my pillow.) She promised we would have fun.

And she was right. Once the bus pulled away from the school and the waving parents beside their minivans disappeared over the horizon, I began to feel better. I ended up having a blast and whenever I think back to those days I recall the PEEC trip so fondly. It was the highlight of fifth grade.

Why am I sharing this, you ask? Well, all these years later I still struggle with that same feeling of dread when approaching a trip. Even if it’s a trip I actually want to take.

I am still a homebody. I could easily stay at home for an entire week and not feel restless whatsoever. I love being home. Sometimes, I need to stop at the store on the way home from work to pick something up, but mid-drive I will decide that I’d rather just go home.

Of course I do enjoy traveling. I want to see different parts of the world and experience different cultures. It all sounds interesting and fun until it comes time to pack the suitcase and begin the journey.

One of the other things that stresses me out about traveling is making sure I have all my accoutrements, as I like to call them. Pretty much the most important items on my list are: eye drops, eye lube for bedtime, eye scrub, toothbrush and floss, mouthwash and lotion. If I ever forgot any of those, I would break down. And no Shamu pillow would help.

Last week I was feeling a bit irritated about EEC and how it means I have to carry a bunch of extra crap (see above list), and if I don’t, my eyes will flare up and make me look horrible. I was also fretting about how my eyes would hold up during the flight. It is an overnight flight, but the night is shortened by the fact that Amsterdam is 6 hours ahead of us, so by the time you get there it is early morning.

Fortunately, with some forethought and planning I was able to manage. I brought my eye lube with me on the plane, and when I was ready to attempt to sleep, I went to the bathroom and put the lube in my eyes. When I got back to my seat I put on the eye mask that Dave got for me. It’s a really nice one. It has a layer of foam in it so it’s really soft, and then there are indents where your eyeballs go, so the mask is not pressing on your eyelids. It’s so comfy.

I put the mask on and attempted to sleep. I didn’t get much sleep for various  reasons, but my eyes were still loving the rest. It felt like my eyeballs were sleeping without me.

When we were about to land, I put some eye drops in and wiped away the extra lube with a tissue. My eyes were still more tired than they would have been on a full nights sleep, but they felt better than they would have if I had not used the lube and the mask. Of course I was also putting eye drops in like nobody’s business all day. But it really helped keep my eyes going.

Anyway- so I was in Amsterdam yesterday and then we took the train down to Dusseldorf, which is where I am now. I wanted to write about all my observations of Amsterdam and Germany so far, but now I am tired. I should get to sleep soon because our meetings start tomorrow.

I’ll try to write again soon and talk about the actual trip, not how I kept my eyes moist the whole time.

auf Wiedersehen!

What Would You Give for your Kid Fears?


I’m sitting here listening to an Indigo Girls playlist on YouTube. It’s been a while since I listened to them, and oh man, how I’ve missed these beautiful melodies. They’re like the female version of Simon and Garfunkel. They make me want to learn to play the guitar. Their music reminds me of my carefree younger days in Vermont, when I was so naive I wasn’t sure if the Indigo Girls were lesbians, and if they were, did liking their music make me one too?

There’s more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line.

It’s been 8 days since my last post, which stinks. That weekend I was barely containing my rage over how uncomfortable my mouth was. First thing on Monday I got in to see the dentist and had him trim off a bunch of the material. It helped, though my mouth was so sore at that point it was hard to tell if it was all OK or if more needed to be trimmed.

Immediately after that, I had to drive down to Mystic for a meeting. Of course there was a big ol’ snowstorm brewing at the time, so it took twice as long to get there as it should have. As soon as I got there, it was work, work work. I considered doing blog posts in the evenings like I have in the past, but Mystic in the middle of winter isn’t terribly exciting. I only got to leave the hotel in the evenings for dinner anyway. It was really pretty under a blanket of snow, I will admit.

The saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees.

It seemed that there was still material rubbing the sore spot on my gum/lip, because my mouth was still in so much pain every time I tried to eat. It probably sounds stupid that I was so insistent on keeping the bridge in, when I could have just taken it out and most likely no one would have noticed anyway. But no. I refused. At one point after lunch one day I did go in the bathroom and remove it, but no sooner had I done that when I was asked to talk extensively about something. So I had to excuse myself for a moment under the premise that I was getting a mint out of my bag while I discreetly popped the bridge back in. I didn’t want to feel like I was lisping and slobbering all over the place.

I’ll tell you, having constant mouth pain really doesn’t make for a social Heather. I was so irritated the whole time I had to keep telling myself not to punch anyone in the face. I’m usually pretty quiet anyway, but this time I was avoiding talking as much as I could because the less I moved my mouth, the better. I was so relieved to get in my car after the meeting ended. The first thing I did was pop out the bridge. I resisted the urge to throw it out the window. 

When I got home, I found some emery boards and got to work sanding down the piece that was irritating me. Believe it or not, it actually worked! I probably only sanded off a 1/16th of an inch, but it was all it needed. These last few days the sore has been healing and I’m now able to wear the bridge all day without getting violent.

If we ever leave a legacy, it’s that we loved each other well.

In other news, tonight I was supposed to give a speech at Toastmasters. I had planned to talk about the history of cleft lip and palate treatment, as this was something I’d been wanting to look into for a while anyway. The meeting ended up getting cancelled thanks to the weather (snow and 15 degrees… what’s the problem?). When I got home I recorded myself giving the speech but I had issues getting it uploaded so I’ll have to try again another time. For now I am ready for night-nights.

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving! 


Hello! Thanksgiving is two days away and Dave and I are hosting this year. Tomorrow is going to consist of me freaking out, panicking and most likely crying at some point as I prepare the house and the food. But I’m looking forward to it! Looking forward to Thursday, that is. It is my favorite holiday because it’s all about family and food. I hope that those of you reading this who celebrate Thanksgiving have a wonderful day with family and friends. 

So last time I wrote, I was in Austin. I had been looking forward to meeting Sonja the next day, after the meeting was over and before my flight home. However, she came down with a bad cold and wasn’t able to come out. So that was too bad. I ended up just hanging out at the resort with my work people and then catching a ride to the airport with a few of them.

My flights home were pretty uneventful. I had some deep thoughts as I sat there in the dark listening to Brené Brown. I’m thinking I need to find a therapist again because I really need someone to talk to about things. I need help. We all do.   

I had a window seat for once!
 

On my second flight home, the plane was super weird. I was in row 20, which was only about halfway through the plane. There was actually a bathroom across the aisle from me. I guess I’ve never been on that model of plane before because I’d never seen such a thing. I will be making a note to my travel agent to never book me in the potty row again, because ew. Luckily no one made any stinkies, but it was still gross to be in such close proximity to a toilet. It was especially annoying when people would walk out and the little folding door would stick open. It was so close to me that I could just reach across the aisle and shut it. Which I did, with gusto. 

I got home very late. It was raining really hard so that added to the delays. I was surprised to find Dave waiting up for me. But it was a nice surprise. 

Over the weekend my dad and I drove down to PA to attend a life celebration for my cousin’s wife Jane. It was a beautiful day for a drive and we made good time. I learned a lot about Jane. She was a massage therapist and a lot of her clients came to her celebration of life and shared stories of how she went above and beyond her role as a massage therapist and genuinely cared for her clients. I wish I had known her better in life.  

Driving over the Susquehanna. When I was little, I thought that was such a pretty name and I intended to name my first daughter Susquehanna…
 

Well that is it for now. I wanted to post today since I expect I will be running around like a maniac tomorrow and will be hanging out with the fam on Thursday and Friday. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Austin Trip, Day 3 / Gonzales Day Trip


I must confess, Texas is growing on me. Being from the north,  I have just sort of vaguely perceived Texas as that stereotypical gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’, George Bush-lovin’ redneck-filled, secession-desiring wild land. Maybe it is, but it’s still got a lot of wide open space and that’s alright by me. (Just kidding- I know a lot of people who live in Texas and none of them fit the above description. At least not completely.)

It’s not even my first time in Texas. But it’s hard to get a taste of the place when you spend most of the time in the hotel. Today we ventured out to Gonzales. Along the way I saw the following, in order of quantity of what was seen:

1. Open space. Land with nothin’ on it but a few cows or horses.  

 
2. Oil derricks. Not everywhere, but the places that had them had a lot in seemingly close proximity. And they decorated them.

The cow perpetually jumps over the moon as oil is pulled from the earth’s crust.
 
3. Speaking of decorating, Texans seem to enjoy decorating everything. 

This was in Luling, where they grow watermelons and have an annual “Watermelon Thump”
 
I also saw a lot of live oak trees and prickly pear cactuses but since our bus was going so fast it was hard to get a decent pic. So just pretend there’s a photo here. 

Later in the day, after I was back at the hotel, I decided to check out the nature walk that was supposedly behind the hotel. I figured it was going to be a paved walkway with some plantings here and there around it. But no, it was legit nature. 

 
Not that I’m complaining. I’m down with legit nature. I should have given myself more time to explore it. I only had about a half hour so it ended up being a bit rushed.

I crossed this and survived.
There was a cool waterfall and water hole. It would be a nice swimming hole on a hot day.
There were wildflowers on the path.

Looking back at the resort
As I mentioned, I didn’t really give myself much time. I needed to get back in time for dinner, so I didn’t do the whole nature trail. 

When I got back to the building, of course I couldn’t get back in the door I came out. So I ended up walking all the way around the building to go back through the front door. Just another day in the life!

Now it is time to hit the hay. I have been sleeping so well here! Tomorrow is a half a day of meetings and then I get to spend the afternoon with Sonja, a friend I have known for ages through the Internet but have never actually met in person! I am sure we will have a good time and it will make for an interesting blog post tomorrow night!

Speaking of tomorrow night- I will be flying back to the great white north. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is a week away. I’ve got to get it together!!

Oh, I almost forgot. Air plants grow in the wild here! 

The top one is at Barton Creek and the bottom one was on a live oak in Gonzales.
 

Austin Trip, Day 2


What is with this bed? I just sat down to bang out this quick blog post and I want to just lay down and sleep immediately. 

There’s not a whole lot to write about today.  We were in a conference room most of the day, but it was rainy anyway so I don’t feel so bad about not getting out. We’re staying at the Omni at Barton Creek, which is quite lovely. They are definitely playing up the Texas theme here. My room has a chair made out of a cow. 

 

Not a vegan chair.
 
I stayed at an Omni in Houston for an NFED conference a couple of years ago and I don’t recall it feeling Texas-y at all. I just remember the cool terrariums in the lobby and a wall by the pool that appeared to be peeing. It was nice though. 

Anyway. This evening we went to The County Line BBQ for dinner. Everyone was asking me what I planned to eat there. Honestly I had no idea. I would have been content to just munch on the appetizers and sides- there was coleslaw, potato salad, bread, baked beans (though I’ve always thought baked beans were gross). They made me a baked potato and two skewers of grilled vegetables. It ended up being a lot of food for me! And then they brought out the pecan pie. I did not leave hungry. 

Tomorrow we are venturing to a little town called Gonzales. Our company has a manufacturing facility there so we will get a tour and some lunch. It’s going to be an hour and a half ride on a bus. Yikes! Everyone jokes about how there is nothing there, but I just looked it up online and there are some cool historic buildings. 

I guess we’ll see! Now I am going to succumb to this giant fluffy bed. 

I Can’t Want To!


When my brother Kris was little and our mom would ask him why he wasn’t doing something that she had asked him to do, his response was, “I can’t want to!” 

It became a joke in our family because even though it may sound like improper grammar, it actually makes sense. When you’re apathetic about something, it makes it very hard to summon the energy to deal with it. 

I’ve had many a moment in my life that I just couldn’t want to do a thing. The majority of my freshman year of high school, for example. Or the year I worked at an insurance company. 

 

Lately I’m feeling a lot of can’t want to. I actually had a steering-wheel-pounding moment this morning because I was feeling so frustrated about everything that’s going on that I feel like I have no control over. It was a gorgeous autumn morning, the yellow and orange leaves were glowing brightly in the early morning sun. My heart ached because I wanted so badly to stop the car and immerse myself in the forest. (Forest bathing– it’s a thing!) 
Of course I could just quit my job and go live in the woods. That would certainly free up a lot of my time. But I am trying to be a grown up here. I’m trying. But sometimes I just can’t want to be a responsible adult. I can’t want to! 

I managed to squeeze in a little forest bathing during lunch.
 

On the bright side, I am not so busy that I couldn’t take my forest bathing lunch break. And this weekend I will get to visit with some very special people.

I’ll try and pick up again with my life influences posts next week. I’ve got a few partly written already!