author moments

Brain Dump #1

As I work through a task-driven book on inspiration in 2022, I am given many reminders or smacks in the face on things I should continue to practice daily/weekly instead of putting them on the back burner.

Keeping with the above statement, reading is one thing that gets pushed aside a lot. However I have found that reading a few pages a day at breakfast is very manageable and self-soothing. Almost giving me a calm balance before my chaotic day begins. Not sure how long I will keep it up but for today it’s working for me.

Another is writing. I write on this blog often but not as often as I have in the past. Maybe life gets too messy and drains me of my creativity. Maybe it’s I feel redundant. Maybe I wonder if anyone is reading my entries. However, my inspiration book has told me I should write a brain dump in the morning that will clear my mind for the rest of the day. Ironically I’ve been reading in the mornings and enjoying it. Instead of a daily brain dump I am offering this post as a compromise to my assignment. Hence the title Brain Dump #1. Obviously the numbering will allowing me to keep up with the task should I desire.

In this blog I will bounce around a bit. I will dump out what’s in my brain. Today. Now. In the moment so to speak. This morning I have already read some. I already had a good breakfast of eggs and a bagel. I chose to wash it down with an Alani Watermelon Wave drink for a sweet treat. I spent a few minutes working on my creative project for 2 Chicks and a Pen. An ongoing practice that will payoff down the road, but for now it’s a creative outlet.

I’ve done my household chores. Some sweeping. A little vacuuming. I made breakfast for two kids and myself. I played with my dogs. I did some research on GWVR for some vehicles. This may sound odd but it was purposeful for me. It was also a learning experience. I went outside and felt the warmth of the air. 

I just gazed at my faithful companion sitting by my side as I blog. She is sleepy from playing outside but never far from me. The most loyal dog and not to mention adorable. 

Just before I snagged this picture she was using all her energy to gaze out the window. She was intently listening to the birds chirp outside. Simply mesmerized by their symphony of sorts. She slowly slid down the high back chair to her resting spot. Ah to live like a dog who has a queen lifestyle.

And then there were two. 

It didn’t take long for the younger sister to notice she was guarding mom. They both moved closer to my feet for their siesta. As I write quietly they rest and protect. The sweetest damn thing you could ever see. And how full my heart is to know my fur babies want to be right there by my side even when I do nothing.

Circling back to what I’m reading currently. It’s the Indra Nooyi Book: My Life in Full. I was given this book to read by my oldest. Intrigued, I picked it up. As it started out I was like he isn’t going to like this book but I kept reading. I picked out a few nuggets along the way that I could relate to. I pondered a few things. I read on. I’m about to wrap up the book and still wonder why he chose to buy this book. I had to ask. For he read a quote from her recently in a newsletter we both read. I missed it. The quote caught his attention and triggered the purchase. 

Now I wondered what did I miss. We are very much alike but maybe I was skimming instead of reading. Which leads back to the beginning of this brain dump. I need to read with focus and intent first thing in the morning. This way I am actively reading or engaged vs skimming and maybe missing the finer details. Simply put, if you slow down a bit sometimes you can see what’s right in front of you. That’s an awakening for me.

I guess that leads to part two of my brain dump which is related to pace. The pace of one’s life or my life. I am going to purposely slow down in some areas at times to rediscover or reacclimate to things I may have overlooked due to speed of life. Not sure if any outcomes will change but I’m going to be purposeful about my time.

As I speak about time, I have had to split my time between people and places of recent to cover things out of need. It hasn’t been fun. It’s been tireless work. It’s also given me a chance to reflect on the why’s. The why not’s. The who gives a shit. The who doesn’t give a fuck. And so on. My time is mine. I use it for my purpose(s). My purpose may include others but it won’t include those who wouldn’t do the same for me. That means if somebody around me is knocked down I will help. However I won’t help those who can’t or won’t help themselves and I won’t help those who won’t ever be around to help me when I need it. That’s a mouthful but true for many.

 For now my brain dump is over as I need to run an errand. I hope you had a glimpse into my early morning hours via my brain dump. Maybe I will provide another dump at a later date. And I do mean brain dump not the other kind of dump.

hustle, mental health

Balls Dropping

The first mistake was a little puzzling. An email I missed. I read it, then forgot about it. The day the task needed completion, my colleague reached out to me to see when she could pick up her request.

A shock went through my body. Suddenly a very full day had a complicated work task dropped in the middle of it. I pushed through and completed it satisfactorily, but maybe not as thoroughly as I would have otherwise.

A couple of days later, my boss emails me to ask if I had made the classroom signs she requested.

The same shock and disbelief followed. Really? I totally forgot a work task again, and this time for my boss?

I won’t bore you with the details…suffice it to say I dropped ball after ball after ball this month. There were loads of things I honestly just forgot. To the point where I was concerned about myself. This is pretty uncharacteristic of me…sure, I may procrastinate at times, but to completely forget again and again?

This leads to the question…what caused this? Could it be menopause? General aging? Stress? Lack of sleep? Loss of focus due to the wearing on of the pandemic? Or maybe it is the family crisis that hit a couple of months ago. Who knows.

It really doesn’t matter. I don’t like the feeling of being incompetent. I don’t like tasks biting me in the butt out of nowhere. So much of my job is supporting others, and I feel physically ill when I let others down.

It’s just a mystery. I’m trying to just observe it, notice it, and not beat myself up over it. Easier said than done, but I am trying.

I’m back to making more lists. Slowing down when I can to read emails and take notes in meetings more carefully. Hopefully this was just a brief episode in life that blows over, and I’ll be back to my usual remembering self from now on. I’m just documenting here to share life’s ups and downs, hoping I’ll look back on this as just another bump in my road.

celebrations, hustle

The List of 49

In 2022 I will hit the big 5-0 birthday. Will I be successful at 49 and blah at 50? It could happen or it could be my perception. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this coming of age in many ways over the past few years. The now is finally here. I’m in the 60-day approach window. A panic time of sorts.

Did I accomplish enough by the time I’m 50? Did I cram too much in as I near 50?  Will the lingering pandemic ruin my big 50 bash? So many questions in my mind. There is obviously no guidebook for hitting 50 or maybe there is and I didn’t read it! In lieu of a fancy book, I’m going for the condensed blog version. Snippets of my fabulous life. The list of 49 idea is in motion or technically has been in motion for years.

As some of you readers may know, each year I write a New Year’s list of sorts. It’s normally in January and dedicated to that month in time. I love re-reading these lists (just 31 days) in upcoming years. This year is special to me thus I opted for a list twist.
This year the list will expand to a recap with a few highlights from the vault to round out my 49 list. It’s dedicated to some things I celebrate or remember over those 49 years or maybe it’s just random facts for those who don’t know me well. The list may seem odd to some but intriguing to others. Without further ado, below you will find my list of 49. In no particular order and each has a longer story but of course you just get the highlights.

  1. I was born of course and had a wonderful childhood. I lived in one family home with married parents and siblings. This in itself can be an oddity based on current day.
  2. I went to public school.
  3. I was a tomboy.
  4. I ziplined.
  5. I traveled internationally. More than once.
  6. I’ve traveled to many states but I haven’t been to Washington state, Hawaii, Oregon, North or South Dakota, Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
  7. I’ve built businesses from scratch.
  8. I’ve sold or dismantled businesses.
  9. I’ve operated a franchise/multi-units.
  10. I’ve been snow skiing and water skiing.
  11. I’ve wakeboarded, knee-boarded and wake surfed. I prefer water sports.
  12. I’ve ridden a horse in many states and abroad.
  13. I bought a tiny home.
  14. I went snowmobiling and it was fun.
  15. I built a glamping site.
  16. I have many great friends and love meeting new people.
  17. I’ve driven a mini van but I’m more of an SUV girl.
  18. I like vintage cars, muscle cars and basically any ride on wheels with flair.
  19. I’ve ridden on a motorcycle but can’t drive one.
  20. I like and use recreational vehicles such as a jet ski, four wheeler, boat, camper, and dirt bike.
  21. I like soft blankets.
  22. I’m an author.
  23. I’ve played whirly ball, kickball, wiffle ball, and tennis which also has a ball.
  24. I played hockey and like to skate in boy’s skates. The black hockey-style skates.
  25. I enjoy CrossFit.
  26. I have a shoe collection, car fetish, and I am a hair fanatic.
  27. I’m a loyal Starbucks customer.
  28. I like pizza. I like it a lot. Not sauce so much.
  29. I have tattoos and will get more.
  30. I grew up in the north but love living in the south.
  31. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all the year has to offer.
  32. I think gas is expensive.
  33. I have learned a lot about who I am and keep toxic people at bay. This is a requirement for life balance.
  34. I like outdoor activities.
  35. I like temperatures in the 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit over cold.
  36. I am looking to do 50 new things in 2022. Never done by me that is.
  37. I’ve lived in four states.
  38. I’ve lived through a pandemic. Something I never planned for and somehow it keeps resurfacing!
  39. Betty White just died just shy of 100. A true golden girl. Gonna miss that icon.
  40. I’ve held true to my mantra of looking for sunshine in the shittiest of situations.
  41. I played Topgolf and really suck at it.
  42. I’m due for some fresh ink to celebrate 50.
  43. I’ve hit the height as a woman-owned business that many dream of but never achieve. 
  44. I bought a farm and grow things which was never on my bucket list per se.
  45. I focus on learning each day, week, month without question.
  46. I like freshly baked homemade cookies.
  47. I can’t cure stupid no matter how much I try and I may give up after trying for so long.
  48. I don’t like wearing masks. Thanks Covid for an experience I never wished for.
  49. I like blue raspberry slush puppies.

Well there you have my random list of 49. A new list about me to help ring in my upcoming birthday. I’m sure some will giggle when they read this but it’s a true recollection of me at random points in my years lived. Not all-encompassing but tidbits for those who want to get to know me. My life on the web, unveiled. Wink to the one who inspired my thoughts herein.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.

adventure, featured

Snack and a Smile

A snack and a smile used to be Southwest Airlines’ claim to fame on flights. Or so their snack pack advertises. That’s all in the past.

Today, life is different. We fly with masks. No mask no fly. They announce it multiple times. They also announce a numbering system overhead regarding snacks. This is a new protocol for me since my last flight a few months ago.

1-Coke

2-Diet Coke

3-7up

4-water

No need to take down your mask to order. Instead you have the finger. And yes you choose your finger. A 8×11 laminated sign with pictures and numbers to order. I guess it’s idiot proof. I really wanted to capture this with a photo but the flight attendant didn’t look amused. The sign is funny to me but probably ingenious to others. No smile with your snack this trip. That’s false advertising on my snack pack! No smiles. Seems like the trend for trips in the future.

Maybe there will be a middle finger for #1 for the jerk in front. Maybe the silly mom will hold up the peace sign to get her Diet Coke. Maybe four sideway fingers from this girl for some water. How did we even get to this point?

Now that I’m here trapped in my middle seat, listening to my AirPods to tune out the crying baby in front of me. My drink came covered with a fun fact napkin. Love the marketing amusement Southwest! I learned another fun fact from Southwest. Looks like the new slogan is mask up. Cheers to a great trip.

Maybe the next time I fly maybe I will have a touch screen to order my drink and snack. Cheers to mask life. Cheers to travel. Cheers to the lady next to me whose sweaty leg is sticking to me. Cheers to the crying baby in front. Cheers to my daughter sleeping on my shoulder. I can smell her morning sleepy breath through my mask. Gross! Cheers to the turbulence that is keeping the napkin moist on my drink. Really that napkin was to keep the airborne germs out out of it. Another Southwest value add.

Mask up. Travel.