Made sure I started with that onion today…

Well, Monday was my first BIG FAIL at not letting things get me down.  I knew it would happen, but the emotional breakdown was equivalent to dieting all week just to end up devouring macho nachos and an entire chocolate cake on your cheat day.  I had to walk out into the parking lot and cry to mom about how unhappy this job makes me, called one of my managers and asked for a transfer out of the store, the whole nine yards.  It took every ounce of will power I had not to just take off my apron, and throw it at someone’s feet and leave.  The rest of Monday and Tuesday went by in a sort of fog because I’d been so mad I couldn’t feel anything any more.  Ridiculous to let a job get you this upset?  Yes.  I need to find a way to care and not care.

So today, I am going in late.  I went to a yoga class, and it’s amazing – they worked on opening our chest chakra, which is exactly what I needed.  I  get stressed, I start to hunch, I stress out my chest and upper back all the time lifting and pulling all those tile boxes.  It’s just awesome that this class happened to be centered around exactly what my body needed.  What else do I need?  To lose some ***** weight.  Dad and I are in a race, and I just put on 4 lbs.  I promise, it has nothing to do with the peach galette or the walnut double decker brownies that I’ve made in the past two weeks.  This is my body telling me that BAKING is NOT something else I need to try to pick up.  So I came home, made some delicious green curry stew that has kale, brussels sprouts and all sorts of other veggies in it, and then I’m going to do a round with Jillian.  This will be MY day, not Home Depot’s.

Here’s a quote of my own.  It’s about being deliberate and listening to your inner hunches.

Lucky and few are those that can say that their lives are not simply a series of bad timing.


A new progress!

So the table has had mixed reviews.  Loki watched me all day yesterday with wide eyed and fearful anticipation – I think he figured out he wasn’t going to like eating dinner all together – all the same thing.   He didn’t eat much dinner last night, but we persevered.  Today, however, we managed to finish dinner in less than 30 minutes – and he ate boiled mixed veggies with cheese on top of them.  We also found out that he did very well in school so far.  A progress report arrived at his mom’s house with one C, one B, and all the rest…..A’s!!!

I like this proactive approach to things.  I’ve seen changes at work – my newest associate was actually scheduled to TRAIN his entire first week (n’est pas possible)!  We ate dinner as a family together at our new table, then played cards for some time.  I got a huge hug and kiss from my step-son before he went to bed, (which after the food I’ve literally forced him to eat, surprised me, to say the least).

I’m learning a lot about setting and reinforcing expectations.  As one learns in a good persuasive essay writing lesson: tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, then tell ’em whatcha told ’em.   A good friend of mine at work has begun actually telling her partner what she wants him to do, rather than sitting there stewing that he hasn’t done the things that she shouldn’t even have to mention.  We’ve both realized, as partners, moms and managers that it’s a complete waste of energy to get pissed off about the things you shouldn’t HAVE to tell people to do – when it takes a lot less time and energy to just tell them, and then the job gets done!   It’s not being bossy, it’s efficient, and let’s face it – many people just don’t have the work ethic to just DO what they see needs to be done – if they see it at all.  It’s like assuming that everyone in a class knows how to read at the same level.

This friend, Monica, is someone that I really admire, and I think we will both grow with Home Depot, if we choose to stay.   We always trade experiences and try to encourage each other to be better leaders.  I told her that I am always so stimulated after visiting my family in Houston.  My parents are blessed with an incredibly diverse, talented, successful and generous group of friends and colleagues.  I still can’t get over the amount of talent, intellect and drive that was present at my bridal shower.  What a group of women!  And many of these people will take the time to speak with me about their experiences in leadership, business, and life…I come home literally humming with energy and inspiration.  I told her after this last trip, I realized that these people aren’t sitting around waiting for a leader to guide them – they became the leaders.  I told her, “we need to become the people we aspire to be.” I hope we can both grow together…if it’s possible to latch on to someone and travel up a ladder with them, rather than by coattails – I want to look back one day and say, “wow, do you remember sitting in the break room one day and having that conversation?”  It’d be grand.

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

— Mark Twain

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”

— George Horace Lorimer

Tah dah!

Today was a busy day for me!  I bought a ton of shelving from Home Depot, and a dining set from Shopko, and of course, had to install and put them all together right away.  I was going to have dinner around our new table, dangit! Well, it took longer than I expected, and we finally finished the construction around 9 pm, so dinner was had around a circle on the floor together, because we are no longer going to eat dinner on the couches, watching tv.  (Only for special occasions like movie parties, or football, because I know I wouldn’t win that fight with Michael).

The dinner table is important to a family unit.  I’ve always believed that, but “my” family has never had one.  I was working on Loki’s table manners yesterday while he was eating dinner, with some success, and realized it was a tad ridiculous that I was preaching to a 9 year old about table etiquette while we had none.  Thus the purchase and frenzy this afternoon.  So now, we have a place to enjoy meals together, we’ve already played some cards, and I FINALLY have a spot to display the gorgeous silver plate that Dee gave me for our wedding gift. We’ve been talking about making this purchase for some time, but I’ve been so close to being out of debt that I’ve delayed.  Some things are just worth the few credit card payments.

By the way, we had a very satisfying Jamaican jerk chicken and rice recipe, with fresh pineapple and cilantro in it.  It’s definitely a keeper. Now that we have this awesome table, I might make it for the boys when Michael hosts his first poker night.

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink… ~Epicurus

I’m gonna make something good…

I titled this blog “You start with an onion…”

I was making a curry the other day, and I was chopping up onions and garlic and adding them to some oil in a pan.  It hit me that this is something that many many people do all over the world, every day.  It’s a homogenizer, for lack of a better word.  It’s the start to so many wonderful dishes.  It was a poetic moment for me.  I imagined women for centuries on end teaching their daughters or sons how to cook a meal, and beginning with that phrase, “you start with an onion.”  This then got my brain thinking about “good beginnings” of all sorts.

How do you start a good meal?

How do you start a good day?

How do you start a good prayer?

How do you start a good workout?

There are things we should always do, patterns that must emerge in our day to day life…the habits that make the things we do come together.  I remember in basketball camp, being taught to shoot a free throw the same way, every time.  It didn’t matter what your method was.  Three bounces, or none, flip the ball, or don’t.  Lift, inhale, exhale, shoot.  Always the same, always the same, always the same.  Pretty soon, you always shoot a good free throw.  So how to start each one of my days the same, to begin a good day, to start off with an exhale and “shoot?”

If you know me, you know I’ve been struggling with work a lot lately.  I run to high stress, I fret, I overexert, and I have little tolerance for those who don’t care or do as much as I do.  I’ve decided to take back control of my life.  To enjoy it, and do the things I plan on doing, but never seem to get to – like finally getting back into studying for that MBA, relearning Spanish and learning whatever language comes next, getting to the gym as often as I want, etc.  I made myself a daily mantra a week ago.  I posted it on a wall that is right before my bathroom coming from my bedroom, so I’ll have to see it every day.   It’s my onion, my good start.  I want to share it with you, so that you can help hold me accountable to this promise to myself.


I will learn something new.

I will challenge my body to see what it can do.

I will look at problems, not as obstacles, but as challenges on my journey to a better me.  I will treat them as challenges on the way up a mountain, and be grateful there is a mountain to climb.

I will not let the stress of work control me, my life or thoughts.  I am smarter, stronger, and better than this job.  I will make the most of what it is and leave the rest to God.

“We are what we repeatedly do, EXCELLENCE then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

“Mastering others is strength.  Mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu