Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the whinings and ramblings of a crazy woman

I'm looking forward to this day ending. It hasn't been my favorite day. Bad (wretched really) customer service, less than stellar news, frustrating developments, and an overly sensitive imagination.
Oh and the scale lied to me.
I think I mentioned I've been on the Paleo diet for a few weeks now. While I was in Roanoke over the weekend I didn't want to make anyone go to any extra troubles for me, and I ate what was available. I didn't try to stay gluten free.
That was a mistake. A big one. And it is taking a few days to reset my guts. I can't begin to tell you how unenjoyable this is.
And yet somehow the scale lied to me today and said I have gained 7 lbs in the past week.  (If true, I would weigh almost as much as I did at my highest weight ever. Which is definitely not the case.)
I'll be visiting the scale again in 48 hours to see what nonsense it wants to tell me then. 
But I digress.
I have an overly sensitive imagination (to go along with my overly sensitive colon apparently). Today I started to daydream something completely implausible (I justify these daydreams as future book plots), and next thing I know, I'm sitting in my car, wiping tears off my face and trying to recover from a good cry session- over something completely made up in my head.
This is what authors have to live with. We have to live with the bad and heartbreaking choices of the fictional people that dwell in our brains. You would think as the master creator of the little fictional people that we could control them and stop them from getting Lou Gehrig's disease, and spending an extended period of time in a wheelchair, unable to communicate with their beloved. But no, we can't. It's the cross we must bear as writers. The little invisible fictions in our heads are in control.
If I was in control, I can tell you this- I would take most of those little people out and spank them. They have all been making very tragic decisions lately. And I don't appreciate it. I have enough to deal with in the real world without the imaginary world causing so many problems too.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Adversity and Joy

I have a dozen different thoughts tumbling through my brain tonight. And as usual, my inner monologue wants to work out my problems by writing and blogging them out.

I was in Roanoke, visiting my family and friends, for the weekend. This is only the second time I've been back since I moved away last summer. I never expected to take this long between visits.

Naturally, as expected, lots of people asked how my job is going and how my life is turning out to be. It should be such a simple question, right? With a nice canned positive response ready to go!

But for me it isn't such an easy question. I try to fake it and give a happy answer the best I can, but it's hard to do.

Today at church the lesson was on adversity. (As usual, I chose to attend the young women's class with my "Baby Ducks.") The teacher did an excellent job teaching on the subject. She made a interesting and poignant point that the joy we feel after extreme adversity in our lives is a wonderful, sweet relief. After we have endured so much adversity, we can feel the joy so much more than every before.

She shared some scriptural references that illustrated nicely the concept that we must endure the pain and sorrow in order to appreciate the joy. I thought she did a really good job.

But something has gnawed at me all day since.

Because I don't feel that way. Not yet.

After my long term unemployment, I have yet to find that joy or sweet relief. And I think that lack of joy and relief amplifies the starkness of reality. I want to feel that joy. I keep waiting for the relief. But the truth is, I didn't get a job, and all of my problems were solved overnight.

The difficulties march ever onward. If you thought a paycheck would cure all my problems, you weren't alone, but you would be wrong.

I didn't move and instantly make a dozen fabulous friends. Six months after my move and I'm still struggling to meet people and make friends.

Life is still a constant struggle between peaceful solitude and aching loneliness. And being around all my loved ones this weekend, only exasperated the loneliness.

I still dream and hope and wait for the joy to come after so many years of adversity. I have faith that it will come. I just hope I will recognize it when it comes.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

More eShakti!

I thought that this week rather than post my favorite eShakti dresses and try and convince you they are awesome, I would do something different. The beauty of their site is that there is something for everyone there. So this week I thought I'd just post some screenshots of the new arrivals and let you see for yourself how many options there are.

They have over 270 dresses on their site right now. Even the pickiest fashionista can find something to love with that many dresses to choose from! And for Presidents Day weekend they have a 20% off site wide sale going on! Go get your eShakti now!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Singles Awareness Day

(Reprinted from Meridian Magazine, February 2012)

You didn't think I was going to let February 14 go by without acknowledging the most dreaded day of all singles, did you? Never fear, my single friends, I am here to commiserate with you! I will share my worst experience with you, but in return, I expect to hear your awful stories in the comments below.
I will never forget my worst Valentine's Day ever, but to say that indicates that somewhere along the way I have had a good Valentine's Day. The truth is, even on the years where I had a boyfriend on February 14, I've never had a good, romantic, worthy of recording it in my journal, or even just calling my best friend, kind of day. I've had pretty much nothing but really lousy Valentine's Days. (Unless you count the year I was going through fire-fighting school and I got to rappel down the side of a burning building, getting the best time in my class, as a good day.)
No, I've had some pretty rotten V-days. I'm one of those singles who would prefer to just sleep through the day, never being forced to see all of the people wearing pink and red, carrying flowers and balloons in the hallways at work, while giving cheery answers to questions like, “So do you have any fun Valentine's plans?” No, I plan to be at home watching NCIS and hanging out with my dog, just like I do on most Tuesday nights. The only thing different is this week I won't get to eat Indian take-out while watching TV, because I have to avoid all restaurants at all costs, so as to not be seen alone in my alone-ness. Which is stupid, quite frankly, because, I'm alone in my alone-ness all the time! I go into restaurants and eat alone pretty regularly. But no, once a year, all those gross lovey-dovey people have to go and ruin it for me, and I'm stuck at home eating Lean Cuisine instead.
But back to the worst Valentine's Day ever. I tell you this story at great risk to myself. I have no idea if the man involved will ever read this. I'm going to assume that he doesn't, since he's never told me so (but then, we haven't talked in 16 years, so I don't know that he would. And he probably won't now either). If you just happen to be that man, I hope you too can see the humor in this story now!
I was just barely nineteen at the time. One of those BYU stories of the girl that got engaged just six months out of high school to a guy she had only known a matter of weeks. But of course, not really engaged, just verbally engaged without a ring. Nonetheless, the point is, I had a significant other on Valentine's Day. I had expectations. I had dreams. I had very big plans. After all, we were just recently and verbally agreed to be married! I was owed a diamond! Me and my nineteen years of wisdom knew exactly how this day would play out, and it would end in a hugely, overly romantic love story to tell our grandchildren someday!
Obviously, that didn't happen.
What did happen is he had an exam that day. And I, being a college student with big wedding plans, had taken a temp job working in the BYU on-campus florist. (Exactly why does a university need an on-campus florist, by the way? If not only to further encourage silly college romances?) It was working at my temp job that day that I discovered just how wretched allergies can be, and that I am horribly allergic to many types of flowers. After eight straight hours of flower arranging, and being surrounded by all those (painful) pretty smells, I was in complete misery. However, let's keep it to the obvious facts here. I was also an overly romantic and sentimental mostly verbally engaged nineteen year old in a flower shop on Valentines Day. Do you see where I am going here? I may have actually woken up that morning still a somewhat reasonable person. By the end of my shift making other people's romantic gifts, I was expecting a 12 piece string orchestra, dozens and dozens of roses, a steak dinner, and more than one diamond ring. Wouldn't you?
I spent most of the money I earned that day right there in the florist buying him a gift and having it delivered. It was a teddy bear, a balloon, and some roses that I personally picked out and arranged. Because what red-blooded, American male college student doesn't want a teddy bear, balloon, and roses?
After work I went to my room and primped. For what? I didn't know. I just knew it was Valentine's Day and obviously the man who was verbally committed to giving me a diamond ring was going to be doing something grand. I waited and waited. And my allergies and sinus infection grew worse and worse, not helped by the two dozen roses my roommate had received taking up real estate in our tiny room. Finally my phone rang saying I had a delivery at the front desk. Expecting nothing less than a limousine and other fantastic gestures I ran downstairs.
And picked up another dozen roses some guy had sent my roommate.
I returned to my room, checked my messages to make sure I hadn't missed my beloved's call (I hadn't), and resumed my flights of fancy.
The phone rang again.
I ran back to the front desk.
Where I found the teddy bear, roses, and balloon I had sent my significant other waiting for me. The delivery guy had sent it to the wrong person. Oh and the receipt was still attached. I took the receipt off and had them call the right person. And returned to my room.
I kid you not, I walked in the door and the phone rang again.
Back to the front desk.
Another dozen roses for my roommate.
Where was my roommate you might ask? Out on a date with her boyfriend, who was not the bequeathor of the now four dozen roses in my tiny little dorm room. Also, I was starting to resent my roommate just a little bit. Yes, I had that kind of roommate who just got dozens of roses randomly sent to her by men she barely knew. And yet, I still loved her anyway.
For several more hours I sat there patiently in my room, my head throbbing with a sinus infection, blowing my nose, getting sicker by the minute. It was 10pm before he called.I almost didn't answer it because I was convinced it was going to be the front desk calling with an entire rose garden for my roommate.But it was my mostly betrothed, so I went down to see him, Kleenex and all.
He thanked me for my cute little gift, and told me all about his big exam, and how it had taken all day. He finally noticed I was sick and offered me back the teddy bear I had given him. “The bear? The stupid little bear? I don't want the bear! Just give me my stinking engagement ring!!!” was sloshing with rage through my very congested head.
Did I mention we were in a classroom? We were two car-less college students without a lot of options. A lot of our “dates” were just sitting in empty classrooms or study rooms talking.
So there we were- me with the worst sinus infection in history bubbling out of my nose, and him with that dumb bear I gave him. He finally reaches into his backpack and tells me to close my eyes and put out my hands. I only put out my left hand, palm down. He turned my hand over and put a plastic take out container in it before I opened my eyes.
A frosted sugar cookie.
But not just any frosted sugar cookie. A broken frosted sugar cookie with “Be Mine” iced onto it.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was expecting an engagement ring, and I got a broken cookie.
Did I mention I hate sugar cookies?
He explained it got smashed in his backpack, and the frosting smeared a little bit. Yes, yes, I could see that.
And that, my friends, is the only time, ever, in nearly 20 years of dating, that a significant other has given me something on Valentine's Day. Sure, I've had other boyfriends on that date, but none of them have ever given me something or done anything nice for me on that day.
I've learned my lesson about getting my hopes up, or thinking men are ever on the same page as women when it comes to romantic expectations. But more importantly, I still have hopes. I still think that maybe someday I'm going to have a good February 14. Maybe even have a date on Valentine's Day- wouldn't that be amazing? I still think that in spite of twenty years of not meeting Mr. Right that one day it will finally happen. I won't be waking up on Valentine's Day thinking the floral delivery truck is going to be in my driveway with roses from a mysterious admirer. But I do think that maybe someday I will meet a guy who will give me a rose or dozen. (In 20 years of dating, it has only happened once.) I'm not ready to give up yet.
But until then, I'm avoiding all restaurants and public places on the day I am convinced was designed to make single women feel bad about themselves.
Are you with me? Share your “Singles Awareness Day” stories with me!

ALL of my books are FREE on Amazon Kindle Feb 13-17, 2014! Don't miss your chance to download them today!

You Heard It Here First (book 1 in the Haley and Cam Series)

This Just In! (book 2 in the Haley and Cam Series)

The Agency: a biographical workplace novella

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Integrity in Dating

(Reprinted from Meridian Magazine, August 2011)

Integrity in dating. Is it an oxymoron or the ultimate challenge? Many will argue that all is fair in love and war, but if that is true, are you compromising your integrity for a fun Friday night?
By definition, integrity is the “adherence to moral principles; honesty. Or, “unity, wholeness.” Dating is fraught with misunderstandings, hidden activities, facades, intentions good and bad, and oftentimes, straight up deceit. And we do it all in the pursuit of love. It is ironic, isn't it, that the pursuit of one of the most wonderful feelings and emotions in the world, can create so much pain and sorrow? This is why dating with integrity is so important- to eliminate hurt feelings and confusion as much as possible.
Individuals must make it a priority to bring honesty and good communication into their dating. This includes focusing on honest communication regarding not only who they are as a person, but their intentions, commitments, and priorities. Dating is full of flirting, teasing, seduction, and game playing. Some will even insist that these are the primary elements of dating! But the more games you play, secrets you keep, and devious activities you engage in, the more dishonest and less integrity you bear.
Can you have integrity while dating more than one person? Yes, absolutely! Going back to the key elements of what defines integrity- are you honest with your partners? Have you done anything to mislead them? Are all parties absolutely aware of the level of commitment, intention, and intimacy you are engaged in?
All too often individuals (male or female) feel that just because s/he has not verbalized a commitment or his/her intentions, that the other party is on the same page, and that no one will be hurt. A lack of communication does not define honesty. If you want to be fair, open, and kind with your fellow (wo)man, you will be direct and honest in your communication.
Without a doubt, I know that there will be plenty of people ready to attack on this point, arguing that one date does not constitute a “what are we talk.” And I agree! Each party will have to operate according to their personal activities and choices. But never think that “Well, I never told him/her that we were exclusive, so s/he can't be mad if I am dating other people.”
I remember seeing it happen all too often in my singles ward days. A guy would think he was doing his “priesthood duty” to ask out every girl in the ward. A girl suddenly gets a phone call from this nice guy she's only met a few times, and happily accepts his date request. In the days prior to the date, she builds it up in her head that he must actually be interested in her. After all, he asked her out, right? Then the date comes and they have a great time, albeit nothing more than just friendly interactions. But she doesn't date that often, and this was the highlight of her year! She builds this date up in her head as something big. The next day she bakes him something (cookies, cakes, cupcakes, a five course meal- you name it, I've seen it all) and takes it to church. He graciously and enthusiastically accepts it. They talk again. They spend some time together chatting at whatever ward activity follows that week (FHE, Institute, etc). By Thursday night she's convinced they are dating. On Friday night he's out with the next girl he's asked out.
He will think he is full of integrity doing his “priesthood duty” asking out all of the girls. In no way does he consider himself a “player.” He is honestly and truly just being a nice guy, and getting to know everyone. But by Saturday night when she's come to accept that he's not going to show up on her doorstep with roses, she will probably never use the word “integrity” in her definition of him. Pig may be closer to her word choice.
But he never promised her a rose garden. He was nothing but nice, friendly, and polite- a true gentleman. But if he had made it clear he was only interested in taking her out as a friend, he would have potentially built a good friendship, instead of ruining his reputation and hurting her feelings.
Honest communication can build friendships. A lack of communication ruins relationships. 
Sometimes, just getting to a first date takes some integrity, and that includes having the courage and honesty to express interest in another party. Conversely, it can take great integrity and courage to turn down a date with someone you are not interested in in such a way as to not hurt the other party's feelings. Be polite and kind, and remember that it took courage and guts for him/her to ask you out. And always remember you are speaking to another son or daughter of your Heavenly Father.
Have reasonable expectations in your dating. The fictional young woman I just described was just as much much to blame as the young man. She did not have reasonable expectations. She lost her integrity when she began to build things up in her head, rather than engage in open and honest dialogue.
Additionally, another way to show integrity in dating is to remember to respect each other’s uniqueness. The same character traits that you may find incompatible in a dating partner will be what attracts that person a more compatible woman later on. Don't give unsolicited critiques! Allow each other to “let your freak flag fly!” Unique and quirky behavior may be a turn off to one person, but be the magnetic attraction in the next. Besides, what gives you the authority or superiority to change another person's style or character?
Integrity can be found in dating. Seek out individuals with high moral standards, honest communication, and clear intentions. And be sure to exhibit and maintain the same qualities in yourself. Do not just expect the other person to be open and honest. You must do the same!
I feel that I must also bring up another ugly part of dating- flirting with someone else's significant other.  How honest, fair, and kind of you is it to flirt with someone else's significant other? Are you showing any integrity when you attempt to woo away someone in a committed relationship? (Yes, absolutely the other person is at fault as well. But we'll leave the subject of the scum of cheaters for another day.) Have some integrity! Respect their relationship! Honor their commitments- and this includes just regular dating (not just marriage and engagements).
I have never been a fan of “covert dating.” This is a practice widely found in the DC area where couples will date each other, but not let anyone else know. Sure there is something to be said for not broadcasting every date and relationship too early on. I won't criticize that. But “covert dating” - which really is just dating with the intention of deceiving others so that you can continue to date more people without anyone finding out what you are up to, is pretty dishonest at a certain level. I even had a guy once tell me he was enjoying dating me, but wanted to make sure I wasn't going to tell anyone we were dating.
He didn't like anyone else “knowing his business.” (Full disclosure: this was over five years ago.) I agreed to his request, only to find out later on that he was dating several other girls under the same disguise. When I did find out he was dating a friend of mine, and I told her we were both dating him, he accused me of being the dishonest party. After all, I had violated our agreement. He never considered himself to be dishonest or that he lacked integrity. Personally, I never trusted him again.
Show some guts, courage, honesty and integrity in your dating! Remember that the other person has feelings too!  Show some respect for that person, their family, and all that they stand for when choosing to affiliate yourself with him/her.
Last but not least- and I hate that this has to be said, but it must- if there is one place I wish more people would show some integrity it would be in online dating. I'll put it this bluntly-
Saying it via text, online, in an email, over the phone, or via pictures on your phone- it is the same as if you had done it in person. If you would never dare act, do, or say such a thing in person, think twice, and never consider doing it online either. I am sick to my stomach over the things I have seen people do and say online. Online dating sites can be great ways to meet other people. Unfortunately, due to the disgusting sexual behaviors of too many people online, other people are afraid to get on these sites. Stop ruining it for everyone else. Have some integrity and get a life!
Dating can be a great and wonderful time in a person's life if it is done with the right level of integrity, honesty, and open communication. Enjoy your dating years! Don't make it into a miserable experience because no one can be trusted. Set the example of great dating yourself!!

ALL of my books are FREE on Amazon Kindle Feb 13-17, 2014! Don't miss your chance to download them today!

You Heard It Here First (book 1 in the Haley and Cam Series)

This Just In! (book 2 in the Haley and Cam Series)

The Agency: a biographical workplace novella

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

There Are More Singles Today Than Ever Before - Here's Why

Have you noticed how there are more singles today than ever before? As I look around I start to notice how I'm not the only single left from the group I grew up with. In fact, of the group of youth I went through high school with, I can't help but notice that about half of us are still single. I wondered at first if this had something to do with our common backgrounds? But as I looked around closer I started to realize, we're not alone. There really are a lot more singles than there used to be. In fact, singles have  increased quite a bit in the population across the United States.
The latest data show that single adults now almost outnumber married adults. Within a few more years, the majority of adults in the United States over 18 will be single. The Pew Research Center study on marriage says, that the median age for marriage is now at its highest level as more young people put off tying the knot to co-habitate instead. Last year, only 9% of 18-to-24-year-olds were married, a big drop from 45% fifty years ago. That is not a number specific to a religion! (In fact, it may be slightly different in the LDS religion, but that's just a guess.) 
Alexis de Tocqueville observed in the 19th century, “There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated.”
Are you wondering what has happened? Why are there more singles now than before? I've heard many people postulate on the subject, and I have my own theories as well. But according to the study, contrary to popular belief, money and the economy are not the reasons people are "putting off" marriage. Most people (according to this survey) believe it is a values revolution. Approximately 4 out of 10 adults under the age of 30 now consider marriage to be obsolete. The number of adults who married over the past decade fell from 57 percent to a threshold-breaking 51 percent.
Single adults are shying away from commitment to another person and leaning towards a more self reliant future. In my humble opinion, men no longer have the confidence and security that they will be able to provide for a family, so they stall on marriage, and committing to relationships that may lead to marriage. And women no longer need a man to provide for them, so they aren't thumping men on the head with a rolling pin and demanding a ring. Both sides are okay with pursuing, at least for the time being, a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence. For the first time in economic history, women do not need to rely on marriage for a home and a future.
According to the study, the majority of singles would like to get married – especially among those between the ages of 36 and 45 – but for many reasons they just aren’t. As a single woman, I can give you a lot of those reasons. The study says it is because victims of divorce are very reluctant to get married. Others put careers and education first. And with less social obligation to marry these days, finding Mr. or Ms. Right seems less urgent.
A few more things than just financial independence has happened over the last generation. My generation was the first to grow up with divorce as a regular fact of life. It wasn't something we heard existed and it happened with shame to other people. We have always known someone who was divorced.
Another major change in our lives is that popular entertainment no longer celebrates families. Popular entertainment like the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” or “Leave it to Beaver,” and the “Cosby Show” have gone the way of the dodo. We grew up with shows like "Married... with Children" and "Sex and the City" convincing us marriage would be awful. (But then we also grew up aware of the fact that there isn't a laugh track when we made a mistake, and parents don't shrug off broken windows with a head tilt and a sympathetic “Oh Beaver!”)
Not to mention, marriage just isn't popular or needed any more. We have birth control and the feminist revolution taught us it was okay for adults to have free, uncomplicated, uncommitted sex.
But as a single woman, I'm going to add in a big caveat to all of the above. SOME singles are putting off marriage for those reasons. Some of us are by-products of the people who are intentionally putting off marriage. It reduces the chances for the rest of us who want to get married and always have, to have the opportunity to do so, while we are forced to wait for them.
Now, in the LDS Church things are a little different. We have the Proclamation on the Family. We started singing songs about where we want to get married before we were four years old. We do recognize the blessings of marriage and a family. We were taught it as children, and we are still taught it today.
My dear friend, Lindsey at the R House, recently blogged about what not to say, and what to say, to women and couples struggling to have a child, or have suffered a miscarriage. It got me thinking about the insensitive things that are said to me about being single, not being a mother, etc. So very often I receive thoughtless comments from thoughtless people about why I'm not married (yet). Usually someone has made the completely erroneous judgment that I have "put off" marriage. Or that I am "putting my career first." Nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason I am not married is because I haven't been asked by the right man (yet)! Until the right man comes along, I will continue to pursue a productive and fulfilling career, take care of myself, and get my financial house in order. But I have never put my job ahead of my long-term pursuits for marriage. And it drives me crazy when anyone insinuates that I have.
When I read what Lindsey had to say about the well-meaning, but hurtful, comments regarding not having children, I felt a lot of sympathy. I want children. I want them now. I know that my chances of bearing my own child are slipping away. It hurts, and I wish my situation were different. So please don't drop your baby in my lap and tell me I "need the practice." (I have nearly 50 younger cousins, 2 much younger siblings, and I have always loved babies. I can change a diaper blind-folded with one hand tied behind my back. I don't need the practice!)
When you ask me, whether teasingly or thoughtlessly, what's wrong with me that I'm not married yet, please understand that I'll give you the polite shrug and smile. But on the inside, I'm holding to the numbers in the Pew study with all my heart. The study tells me it isn't all my fault. Maybe I'm not married (yet) because other people are putting it off, which delays it for me as well. The study brings me comfort on the days that I am terrified that maybe it is me.
Maybe there is something wrong with me that no one wants to marry me? When you ask what's wrong with me, you are just stabbing that knife in a little deeper.
We're on the cusp of a new year. Lots of singles everywhere are going to privately make it a goal to meet someone, enjoy a relationship, and hopefully, maybe get married. Maybe you can make it a goal to help your single friends meet other people? Or support their activities? Pray for someone each day that they will meet someone special? Just some food for thought!

Erin Ann McBride is a writer, dreamer, and single woman. By day she works in marketing, and by night she hunts unicorns and writes romantic novels, “You Heard It Here First,” and the sequel “This Just In!” She accepts new friends daily at https://www.facebook.comAuthorErinAnnMcBride

Monday, February 10, 2014

I do things. And then I think.

After looking at my Netflix DVD queue, I've had an epiphany about myself: It's entirely possible I have a type- of movie, that is. And many other things as well. Particularly men. English ones that is.

I can't stop daydreaming about moving to the English countryside, living in a little cottage, and being a full-time writer...

But then I notice just how often people in British TV shows and films are wearing long wool jackets and scarves, and how they do this on EVERY show, and I reconsider.

But wouldn't I be great as a writer in England? Maybe Scotland...

I've been learning other things about myself recently too. Like how much willpower I have. Or how much better I feel when I'm gluten-free and corn-free. And how sometimes it doesn't matter that I feel so much better, I still really, really want certain bad for me foods!

And I've really come to learn the cold hard truth about the joke I always make- if you want me to get something done, give me 10 things to do, or I'll never get anything done. I've taken on a bunch of responsibilities lately, and I've never been more productive. I really do prefer to be completely crazy busy, than to have just a few bits to do.

For instance, about a month ago the idea hit me to participate/walk in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Knowing how I am prone to flights of fancy, and I'm a bit ADD, I decided not to fork over the money that would commit me to the walk. (First you pay $50 just to register, and then you have to train for the 30 mile walk, and raise $1,200! Really, this isn't a decision to make on a flight of ADD crazy.) I decided to wait a month and see if I still felt compelled to do it.

And well, I do. I can't explain it. I really do feel compelled to do this walk. I have no idea how I am going to come up with the funds. Or how I will actually convince myself to train. (I'm actively recruiting friends to join me! Who wants to walk 30 miles with me? And raise lots of money?) But here it is a month later, and I'm still thinking about doing this. I've even started making small changes to my diet (gluten-free, corn-free, sugar-free, pretty much all paleo), and wearing my pedometer-thingy around. Hey, if a hobbit can walk that far, so can I, right?

Yeesh. I really am a nerd sometimes.

Okay, time to stop blogging and return to that life that keeps making me do things. Like plan a singles conference. And write books. And plan marketing campaigns. And walk 2 extra miles every day. And balance checkbooks. And pay bills. And fix transmissions. And, and, and...

And watch more English films. (Brownie points if you figure out what 4 of those films have in common, other than being entirely posh and British.)

Erin Ann McBride is a writer, dreamer, and single woman. By day she works in marketing, and by night she hunts unicorns and writes romantic novels, “You Heard It Here First,” and the sequel “This Just In!” She accepts new friends daily at https://www.facebook.comAuthorErinAnnMcBride

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Of Duct Tape and Band-Aids

Last week I brain dumped on Juli about the 500 things I had going on that day. Her response, "I'm over here whining that I accidentally ordered the same lunch again today."
For some reason that made me realize I need to stop brain-dumping on people. I like being busy. I thrive on it. I've often said that if you give me 1 thing to do, I may never get it finished. If you give me 10 things to do I'll have it all finished before lunch plus have time for a Coke break.
And whether or not that is healthy, it's true.
But very few people can see that I'm not whining or even bragging about my 500 things. If anything, saying them aloud just helps me keep track of it all. 
In the past few weeks I've had more to do than I've had to do in years. And I'm not exaggerating. I haven't been this busy or active in so long that I can't remember the last time I was like this.
And I love it. I really do prefer to have a zillion things going on. My brain needs it. It keeps me from wallowing in self-I-don't-know-what. So to have so much happening at once right now really is a good thing. Not to mention, it helps distract me from all the things I can't control. And there are many of those things.
I realized something tonight, I've now lived here six months. Almost to the day. And just like every person who has ever undergone a major life change will say, it hasn't been anything like I expected or anticipated.
To some small degree I suppose I knew it would take about six months to really integrate and find my footing- both in my social circles (church) and work.
What I didn't expect was something I realized tonight. I've been horribly frustrated at work. And I've started getting paranoid about various things and what people are saying/doing/thinking. (In my defense, some of it truly is justified. Certain behaviors have changed so drastically that I barely know how to interact with them anymore.) But tonight as I realized it really has been six months I had an awakening-
My last FOUR jobs all hit major snags at the 6 month mark. I won't go into great detail on that here. But 2 of the four jobs came to a screeching halt (as in the companies had layoffs or went out of business)! No wonder I expect bad things at this point. I've been traumatized into expecting the worst. I had to sit down and actually write out some of the good things that have happened to me at work to prove to myself that I won't get fired in the morning. Do I have any reason to think I will get fired? Well, there is that drastic behavior change... But no, not really. If anything, I did just get 2 major bumps in responsibility. So my job is pretty safe. Probably. Maybe. I hope.
At least now I realize that I need to power through this little "end of the honeymoon" phase. We're hitting some road bumps and we need to work them out. And this is a good employer- as compared to the last few employers where road bumps meant layoffs.
(Still, realizing this and convincing my stomach knots to untie are 2 very different things.)
You know what else happens at the six month mark?
Things start to fall apart.
All the band-aids and duct tape I was using to hold my life together these last few years is starting to fall off. And I no longer have the "compassionate excuse" of being unemployed when I can't afford to fix everything. I'm trying and scrambling, but it's not easy. Really, what it comes down to is that I need to make about $800 more a month, and duplicate myself to get it all done.
Which reminds me, I either have to sink $2700 worth of repairs into my 10 yr old car (that's only worth about $1900), or buy a new car. And either way, I need a roommate to split the rent with me so I can afford to do it. Oh and my landlord is making me move out so they can fix a safety issue with my ceiling. So there's that. (If you know of any professional single women in DC that love dogs and need a place to live...)
It never rains but it pours. But I like it when it pours. I'd much rather see a big old downpour than days on end of little sprinkles and showers. But that's just me.
Bring on the rain.
And the 500 things.
And the Coke break.
Never forget the Coke break.

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