Monday Mantra

Temptation

I have found myself struggling with frustration and irritation at work this past week.  But I need to remember to hang on!  This is only the first step in my plan D or E something like that.

It’s too soon to be tired or weary.  I need to keep pressing on.  This one step opens so many doors,  I can’t quit or slack off now.  Not when I’m this close to succeeding!!!

Thoughts on This Week

Thoughts on this week:

– My cousin had surgery Wednesday to remove the tumor from his brain.  It started at 9 a.m. Wednesday and ended around 1 a.m. Thursday morning.  It was a nerve-wracking wait, but the doctor thinks he got every bit of the tumor.

– I just want to know what the pet survey results were and if I can get a dog or not.

– I made the best dinners the last two nights.  They were fantastic.  If I cooked like that every night I might actually enjoy cooking.

– I have been doing a kick ass job at life this month.  That feels really really good.

– I took my rings off on Sunday to put lotion on and I have forgotten to wear them every day since.  I think this is the longest I have gone without wearing a ring since 2003 when my parents got me a ring for Christmas.

– I have consumed 18.5 gallons of water this month (as of yesterday).  The water club (22 people) has consumed 25 gallons.  Were I to have joined the club we would only have 2 gallons left for the rest of the month.

– Little bothers me more at work than being denied the opportunity to learn and excel.

– I biked to work four days this week and it was wonderful.  The only part I’m not in love with is having to shower a second time each day when I get home from work.

– I woke up not feeling well during the night and I felt crummy all day.  I feel like I’m getting a cold in the middle of summer.

– Today was the first day that I have ever hated my job.  I’ve been there almost a year though (next week) so it seems reasonable that after a year I would have a day where I dislike it.  It boils down to, I don’t want to be mediocre.  I want to be awesome.  Please don’t ask me to be satisfied with not doing our best work.  Especially when we are putting forward a mediocre work product where we have allowed our objectivity and integrity to be compromised by the potential reactions and outcome to it.

– I’m so late to the party and I just started watching Empire.  I actually saved it because I don’t watch a lot of tv and I was having trouble keeping up with Jane the Virgin, Nashville, and the Mindy Project all at the same time.  So I saved Empire for the summer.  I’m obsessed, I also realized I am Cookie.

– I feel like this weekend is going to rush past before I even get a chance to enjoy it!

Goal # 1 – Carry Less Stuff

I am a bag lady.  No shame.  I have always carried lots of stuff.  I like to have things with me in case I need them.

As a child I always carried 3 books with me at all times.  To the grocery store, to church, on the drive to a baseball game, everywhere.  For long car trips I usually multiplied that number using a variety of factors including how long the drive was, how interested in the book I was, how long the duration of the trip would be, who I would be with on the trip, etc.

3 books was the standard though.  Because I was always reading one, but I had a strong fear that if I finished the book then I would be left with nothing to read.  Hence bringing a second book that I had not started yet.  But then I was worried, what if I didn’t like the book?  Or what if we got stuck in traffic and I finished that book also?  Then what would I do?  So I brought a third book just in case.  I was confident that I would either get home or get to a library before I finished the third book.

In high school when we would go do things I always had the most stuff.  If we went to the movies I had a book, a snack, some kind of treat, a bottle of water, and a jacket in case it got chilly.  My friends scoffed at my large purse until they got hungry and had to spend $17 on snacks.  When we would go to Kings Dominion I got made fun of for bringing so much stuff.  But no one complained when I shared sunscreen, snacks, water, and had a dry towel for them to borrow.

I like to be prepared.  I thought maybe my obsessive need to always have a bottle of water with me when commuting was silly until the smoke incident at L’Enfant a few months ago. The people on the train who had bottles of water shared their water and used it to wet scarves and jackets for people to put over their faces.  And then suddenly my obsession didn’t seem so silly.

The thing is though, lots of time I carry more stuff than I need.  And since I’m frugal and I pack a lunch every day I have a lunch bag with me too.  I notice it when I go places with people after work.  My co-workers each have a purse and there I am with my large purse, my empty travel mug, and a lunch bag.  In the winter you can add a coat and scarf to that as well.

I feel like a dork.  Nothing makes me feel more like a homeschooler than when I go out for drinks after work with people and I have a giant ass purse and a lunch bag and my purse is too large to tuck under the table and where the heck do I put my lunch bag?

I hate feeling like a dork.

I hate hesitating to go places with people because I have too much stuff with me and that will inhibit me from enjoying the experience.  That’s not okay.

So one of my goals for the year is to carry less stuff.  I bought what I refer to as my “purse water bottle”.  It’s a small stainless steel 12 oz bottle.  It fits nicely in my purse and it has definitely come in handy, but it also doesn’t take up too much of my bag.

I want an all-purpose bag that fits the things I actually need with room for my water bottle and maybe a small book.  I have actually had one picked out for over a year, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the plug.  I checked last weekend and it was 50% off.  I still hesitated to buy it (because of my other issues that I don’t deserve nice things and shouldn’t spend money on myself).  Finally on Friday I decided this is stupid.  I can return it for a full refund but I have wanted the bag for over a year so I just need to order it.

I sat down with my credit card and computer only to discover that after selling the purse for 2-3 years (that I’m certain of) it’s gone.  No longer for sale, the entire line is gone off the website.

I felt a bit let down by that.  I have been working on carrying less stuff, and I have actually been doing a good job.  I felt like committing to a purse that would allow me to carry the things I need, but also limit me to only the things I need and that I could still carry while biking would really solidify the habit of carrying less stuff.

I’m not exactly sure what my game plan is now, other than continuing to evaluate everything that I put into my giant ass purse before I leave.  Still, I’ve made progress and I need to focus on that.

What the Heck

I biked to work yesterday morning.  I had been debating whether I should or not because the strap tore on my bag and I didn’t have a bag to carry my stuff in but I thought it would be good for my soul to just have a quiet commute after all the news from the last couple of days.

I was about 30 yards from the end of the bike path where it meets the sidewalk at the Iwo Jima memorial.

As I approached the last little stretch of path there were 2 people walking towards me.  I thought they were together at the time, but I don’t think so.  The person walking on the right side of the path (so my left) had a dog with him and the dog was exploring the grass.  The person walking on the left side of the path (the right side for me) was walking on the very far left side of the path.

I was riding slowly cause my legs were tired so I didn’t say anything but the person on my side of the path made eye contact with me.  I got within about 20 feet of him and he did that awkward step left, step right, step left thing a few times and I thought “oh maybe he doesn’t realize he is supposed to walk on the right side of the path.  Maybe he’s afraid to move because he doesn’t know where I’m going to go and he thinks I might run him over.”

So when I was about 15 feet away I pointed my finger towards the other side of the path and said “if you walk on the right it will be easier” meaning easier for passing.  I almost didn’t say anything and just went around him in the middle, but I figured he would encounter a number of other bikers so might as well take the extra second to let him know what the etiquette is.

He didn’t move though, he just smiled at me.  I thought maybe he didn’t understand English.  I moved to the middle of the path, and as I got close to the guy he took 2 quick steps towards me and shoved me!!!!!

I yelled “hey!” and by this point I was past him because even though I wasn’t moving quickly I was still moving and I turned on my bike and he was standing sideways on the path smiling at me.  He wasn’t even moving away he was just smiling.

Homie was with me which is one of those perfect things because normally we don’t bike to work together.  He shouted something (neither of us remember what he said) and jumped off his bike.  At that point the guy turned and ran past him.  Homie started to chase him on foot and I yelled “No! Just give me my phone!”

Since Homie’s bike has an awesome rack and my bag was broken and we happened to be going the same way he carried it for me.

He grabbed his phone out and handed it to me and I could see that the guy had stopped running.  At that point a woman walked up to us, she had been about 10 feet behind the man and she saw what happened.

I told Homie to wait there and I rode after the guy while I called 911.  I talked to the dispatcher and explained what happened.  I could see the guy the whole time, he went down the path then walked across to the base of the Iwo Jima memorial.  I kept following slowly while I gave the dispatcher a description of him.

By this point, we were now on the opposite side of the memorial and he was back to the access road that runs in a circle around it.  He got to the road and stopped.  He turned around and saw me and he just stood there staring at me.  I stopped too and sat there on the phone with the dispatcher.

At that point he stared at me for so long that I thought maybe following him was the worst idea I’ve ever had.  But he wasn’t very fast and I was still on my bike so I figured I could get away.

Then he scrambled up the embankment, over the guard rail, and onto the exit for Route 50 and started walking up the street back towards Wilson Blvd.

I kept telling the dispatcher where he was and she said “No I want to know where you are.”  And I had a moment of panic when I realized  I don’t know!!!!  I don’t know the names of the roads!  I just bike to the bike path and I don’t know what the streets are called!

I finally got up to the road to see the street sign.  I could still see the guy walking and turning back to see if I was following him.

I wanted to continue following him and just update my location for the police, but I was afraid to leave Homie behind.  I forgot in that moment that he had his work phone on him and both of my phones.

The woman who witnessed the whole thing gave us her name and number just in case we needed a witness.

We waited for the police and while we waited I started to worry that maybe it was a big over-reaction to call the police.  I mean, yeah I wasn’t sure in that moment what the guy was going to do, but I could have waited to see if he took off or got more physical.

I wasn’t really hurt, so I was afraid that the police were going to feel like I wasted their time.

Apparently they take assault very seriously!   Two marked cars and three unmarked pulled up.  Two officers came and immediately confirmed the guy’s description and then the other cars headed out in the direction I had last seen the guy walking.

I explained what happened.  The officers were trying to be diplomatic in their questioning and kept hinting trying to ask if this seemed like someone who was unstable, did he have any drug paraphernalia, did he have a lot of bags, etc.  I kept saying “He looked like any other person out for a walk.”  Finally I said, “No, he did not look homeless, he didn’t look crazy, nothing.  He looked like your average, mid-50 year old white man out for his morning walk.  He had on black running shorts, a white t-shirt, white and black running shoes, and a khaki baseball cap.  His face was clean-shaven and his hair was short.”

The officers were impressed with my description.  I didn’t tell them creepin’ on people is my hobby.

Then (and this is the part that kind of threw me) they asked if they picked the guy up if I wanted to prosecute for assault.  The officer told me “We take assault very seriously, so if you want to prosecute we are happy to assist you.”  And up to that point I wasn’t thinking he assaulted me, just “stupid dude pushed me.”

My initial reaction was no, but I asked Homie what he thought and he said it was up to me.  I told the officers no I don’t want to prosecute.  I just am more worried about encountering him again since I ride my bike or walk through the area regularly.  They said they would do a report in case I encountered the guy again or in case anyone else encountered him and had issues.  And then I headed off to work.

I only made it 1 block before a couple stopped me to ask what had happened (they saw me talking to the police).  At first I was vague cause I was a little flustered, but then the woman clarified they live in the condos across the street and walk and bike through there so they were just concerned that he had tried to rob me.  I told them nothing that crazy!  Actually even more weird he just pushed me.

When I got to my office the adrenaline was wearing off and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to throw up or sit down and cry!

The creepiest part was that the guy was smiling at me!  He smiled as we were approaching each other and after he shoved me he didn’t take off running.  He stood there smiling until I reacted.

I told one person in my office what happened and she said “it almost sounds like it was a game to him” which perfectly described how he was acting.  So that is kind of creepy.

I’m a little nervous about encountering him again.  More, that I’m nervous about encountering him if I’m walking or don’t see him coming.  If I notice him then no big deal cause I am faster on my bike.

He can change his clothes and I might not recognize him at all, but I only have one bike.

I often go out during the day and don’t bother to take my phone with me.  It bothers me that I feel like I shouldn’t do that now in case I encounter him.

The whole incident today was very minor, but it bothers me that I’m nervous about being in the area in case I encounter this guy again.  I don’t like that.  And it made me realize that I am completely unprepared (when biking) for if something more serious happened.

I’ll admit, I texted my friend who is an officer in the area and checked to make sure I can legally carry pepper spray.  I also looked up phone cases that will attach to my handlebars so that my phone is accessible in case I need it.

When I left my office this afternoon I found myself looking over my shoulder watching for the guy, afraid that I would encounter him again.

I hate that.

My Dog

J Bear

My sister’s lab J Bear

I don’t actually have a dog.  But apparently I talk about my future dog in a way that makes people think I have a dog.

It is slightly awkward when after talking about my dog, someone asks me what kind of dog I have.  And I quickly back pedal and explain that I don’t actually technically have a dog. Yet.

One day I was explaining the morning routine my dog and I will have when we move into our house.  My sister asked if Homie gets to live with us or if this is just a house for my dog and I.

I told her not to be silly.  Of course Homie will be there!  I need his income for the mortgage.

I thought that I would take my dog (my actual dog that I owned in real life) to college with me and live in an apartment off grounds.  But she got sick and died unexpectedly my freshman year.  She was only 7.5 which is fairly young for a lab.

That was in 2008.  I’ve basically been waiting anxiously to get another dog since then.

My other sister's Beagle

My other sister’s Beagle

When Homie and I got our first apartment we couldn’t find a place that allowed dogs, but I knew we would only live there for 2 years so it was okay.  I basically counted down the days until we would leave that apartment and I could get a dog.

When we moved into our next place I thought that the first thing I would do would be to get a dog.  But then the place that was clearly the right one for us didn’t allow dogs.  I was fairly confident though that after proving to the landlord that I was a responsible tenant that I could convince them to allow us to have a dog.  After all, we were in a house with a backyard.  It was perfect for a dog!

When we moved from that house I wanted to get a dog and have the dog move with us.  But we hadn’t actually found a place and things were suddenly in flux with my job and we needed to stay with my parents.  My dad told me if I got a dog in those last few days before we moved it was fine and the dog could come to their house too.

But I hesitated to make a dog start it’s life with me in the moving truck and so I didn’t get one.

Then things fell apart with my job and the next job and the one after that.

Our few weeks in my parent’s basement quickly became a much longer prospect than I expected.  And by the time we were able to move out 5 months later we weren’t in a financial position to get a dog.

Never mind that we couldn’t afford any places that allowed dogs, we could barely afford gas and food for ourselves let alone taking care of a dog.

But now things are better and we both have different jobs than when we moved in here and things are finally stabilized financially.  So now my heart is aching for a dog again.

We have actually been looking seriously at moving because we can’t have a dog in this apartment.  I love this apartment.  If I could buy it as a condo and live here forever I would. I don’t want to move from here, but my heart aches a little every day to have a dog.

We had a really long talk about moving and our timeline for buying a place on our anniversary.  I got home the next day to find a “Pet Survey” slid under our door from our management company.

It explained that the current policies do not allow dogs, but that a number of people have inquired about that changing so they are doing a survey to find out how the community feels about allowing dogs!

J Bear, the best dog in the entire world

J Bear, the best dog in the entire world

I freaked out!  I checked the box that said “Yes, I would LOVE to have a dog!”  Then I underlined the word love 5 times and added 4 more exclamation points.  Then I ran down to the office and turned it in.

I woke up at 4 Saturday morning so excited by the prospect of getting a dog that I couldn’t sleep…

I don’t know what I’ll do if the answer comes back no.  Actually, yes I do.  I have mentally composed a letter asking them to reconsider with all the reasons I think they should.  But I’m really hoping I don’t have to use it.

In the meantime, I’m wandering around the apartment mentally dog-proofing it.

Yikes

We got the word yesterday.  The mass is a malignant tumor.

My cousin is having brain surgery on Wednesday to remove as much of it as possible and then will begin at least 12 weeks of radiation.

I woke up in a panic at 2:30 a.m. wondering if anyone had thought through how to get my younger cousin to school.

It’s July.  There is plenty of time to figure out his school schedule in light of the radiation schedule.

I kept dreaming that my sister has cancer, and that she was sick.

I dreamed over and over that I realized something the doctor’s needed to know!  And I would wake up and remember nothing.

I woke up this morning and thought “it’s 2015.  Maybe this is what I have been dreading.”