31 December 2013

Day 4 of Caffeine Withdrawal & More.

So today marks the fourth day off coffee. Woopie. Actually, I'm quite pleased to have made it this far. All things considered (ie. the crappiness that is my job that so conjures up images of me savoring cups upon cups of coffee to abate the misery I feel inside). I feel very much irritable and foggy, as though I have a mild headache. I also feel tired. The good news is that I have been sleeping soundly. I have been dreaming too. Having weird dreams, but still dreaming, which is a step forward, considering when I consume caffeine, I don't dream as much and am not as restful. I've been sleeping like a baby and am happy with that element of progress.

However, boy oh boy am I craving coffee and chocolate. I have never wanted coffee and/or chocolate so badddd. Maybe I have, but the craving seems so freaking intense today. I feel pretty crappy and can't stop focusing on the fact that I want it. However, I know how my body reacts to it (negatively) so I'm holding strong. It's hard, very hard though. I realize I need to just deal with whatever withdrawal symptoms may arise. The lethargy I can handle. It feels good, after all, to doze off without difficulty. It also feels nice to not need it first thing in the morning.

That doesn't mean the desire for caffeine doesn't set in a few hours later, like this morning at work. The problem is, my caffeine habit is being cued by stress that I'm experiencing in my life, mainly in regards to my job situation. This is why it's more of a struggle to resist the caffeine on work days than on weekends. Right now I'm feeling very foggy and unwell. If I can manage to move past this groggy haze, I can possibly do some sort of exercise tonight, which might assist with my overall sense of well being.

Happy New Year everyone!! Here's to starting resolutions in advance. : )

27 December 2013

Coffee crush

Where have I gone wrong? What brought me to this place? I'm going to examine my relationship with coffee. I don't know when I began incorporating it into my daily life after a few years' hiatus, but it's been at least several months, if not nearly a year. Heck, it might even be over a year since I started drinking it regularly again. All I know, is I have tried to give it up for quite some time to no avail, most recently succeeding for three weeks last month, before succumbing at the end of November.

What I noticed when I gave it up is that I felt less anxious, yet more tearful on the whole, and my energy level had not returned to baseline by the end of that three weeks. It was a slow process. I gave in on November 24 (just 1 day shy of a full 3 weeks cold turkey) because... well, I couldn't contain myself, having awakened to an insanely deliciously smelling brew in my friend's house in Philly, and then coming home with the hangover effect of having realized the guy I was crushing on was married.

Maybe that was a test I needed to push beyond, but I figured maybe I would be able to resume my coffee-free challenge the day or so after. Ha, like it would be that easy. However, then I made the excuse that given that I would have off the following week from work, I would be doing myself a disservice by depriving myself of the daily morning ritual of coffee, especially given the warmth and inspiration it would provide when it came time to press forward with my novel writing efforts.

So the week of November 24th and the week after, I had coffee, and some chocolate, to cap off the good feelings that the caffeine provides. I kept in mind my intent to reduce my consumption, sooner rather than later. There was a week or so this month (December) where I did cut down to less than a cup for a few days, to try to slowly wean myself off it before going cold turkey again. However, I have not been able to resist the temptation since that fateful November day.

In fact, these past two weeks, I have been on a downward spiral. I have been treating myself not just to one, but two, and even three cups of coffee a day. One and a half in the morning and another cup and a half in the afternoon as a pick me up. I swore I was going to cut back, particularly before my company's Christmas luncheon (which took place last Fri), because I was already stressing majorly about it and knew if I were to cut back, it might help with the mounting anxiety. However, despite my convictions and my vow to give it up each successive day, Thursday creeped up on me and I was still hankering for that mid afternoon Wawa 12 oz, and obliging that hankering to the utmost.

I ended up taking 2 magnesium pills and cutting out caffeine the following morning (the day of the luncheon), but still felt anxious. However, I presume that my anxiety was far less intense than had I indulged the morning of the event. However, I did relent that afternoon upon getting back to the office and had a cup, which revved me up like no other. I suck at moderation, so since then, my consumption as been steadily climbing.

This week, nearly every day I had three cups of coffee, in addition to an entire bar of chocolate last night and the night before (The dark salted caramel kind from TJ's -- My absolute fav). It's a bit out of control. It may have to do with the TOM approaching, as well as some anxieties I have been having just in general, about work... and life... and relationships, or the lack thereof in terms of romance in my life. All I know is my gut is telling me to quit, but I keep ignoring it.

While at night I have plans to not have it the following day, I make excuses upon awakening. Furthermore, while I could reduce my consumption little by little, I seem to fail and enacting this plan of action and end up going overboard, having triple the amount I intend to have, for one reason or another. It's really making me an anxious mess and my tolerance level for stressful situations and noise is at an all time low. Furthermore, my salivary glands are suffering. Also, I can tell it's taxing my digestive system and my adrenals, and my body needs a break. However, at this point, I actually feel a bit fearful of the impending withdrawal symptoms, because I know it will be worse than ever since I have never consumed this much caffeine ever on a daily basis.

I anticipate headaches for starters, low energy for a few weeks if not months, as well. Also, I notice my teeth have been really sensitive lately and they're yellowing, so that's an unpleasant side effect of this caffeine habit. What I have realized is that weaning off the stuff little by little doesn't work for me. Not my style. I either go full board or nothing. Give me a little and I'm hooked to the extreme and take it to the next level and beyond, making excuses every step of the way to compensate for my love for it, and before I realize, I'm in over my head and upon closer inspection, realize my body needs a break. It's screaming from the inside out to give it a rest.

So with that, I bid adieu to my beloved caffeine. At least, in the hopes I am able to resist temptation. I need to be strong and do this for the right reasons. My friend relayed to me a great analogy the other night. He said Jillian Michael's said something like: 'If you're on the highway and a tire goes flat, do you just sit there and stall, do you get out and slash all four tires out of frustration? No, you replace the damn tire.' So that's what I'm doing. I'm moving forward despite my past indiscretions. So I have been overindulging in the coffee and chocolate department. Am I going to let it hold me down? Am I going to let it eat at me and suck me dry? No pun intended. Am I going to just continue to cave in day by day, thereby theoretically slashing each last one of my good tires? No. I'm going to drink more water. Exercise. Eat well. Essentially, make the change by cutting it out, until I feel better, or at least, okay without it. One day at a time. Better yet, one moment at a time. Moving forward. Over and out.

25 December 2013

Merry Christmas & Some Personal Thoughts

Merry Christmas to all, everywhere, in any given situation. I wish nothing but the best, for the most love and compassion to emanate throughout the world right now, to ease any and all worries, to bring us back to center and give us the hope we need and so desire.

Yes, I have work tomorrow, and this stinks and detracts a bit from the celebration that is today, but it doesn't detract fully from the meaning of today and the fact that there's the opportunity to cherish time with close family, and reflect on that which is most important in life.

Tomorrow, it's back to business, but I'm savoring the holiday for the remainder of the night. I had a dream last night that I put in my two weeks notice without having another job lined up, and wavered between feeling weightless and borderline ecstatic versus concerned at the lack of certainty as to my future job prospects and financial security. Before I had gone to sleep, I had actually asked my spirit guides and God for assistance, so I definitely consider this a sign. A lot to think about, the remainder of this week, and moving forward.

24 December 2013

The day before Christmas. Thoughts of him.

Thank goodness for Christmas break. Not only for obvious reasons: to be able to praise God and the best family I could ever have been blessed to have, but for time off work. Yessss. We got out early. We were permitted to leave at 1 p.m. to be exact. There was a happy hour type get together among those coworkers in my department. I had overheard them talking about it, and half expected them to leave me out, since they usually go out and grab lunch together without inviting me. However, my boss did include me, at least for this function. I opted out of going, because I was tired as heck after spending an hour or two on the phone with some exasperating customers and was quite stressed that I could be overheard during each one of these conversations. This is the worst part about working in an open cubicle space, as everyone can listen to your every word on the phone. It makes me really anxious. I also overheard my coworkers laughing, which further exacerbated the anxiety, because I thought it possible their laughter might be directed at my conversations, since no one else was on the phone. I swear, my coworkers, esp those closest to me, never use the phone. If they are on the phone, they get off before me, and they stay off the phone as long as I'm on a call. I'd rather be surrounded by others who are engaged in phone conversation so not everyone is tuning into what I'm saying, but this is not the case. It's also a small office and you could literally hear a pin drop, so imagine how my voice carries. I feel more frustration towards my nosy coworkers actually than those with whom I'm dealing with on the phone, as I spend the majority of the time stressing about being listened to by my coworkers. When they all left, it was as though a weight had been lifted. I wish it could always be me alone in my own space, making calls without any worry of being judged or heard. I prefer privacy to loads of people intruding upon my personal space. Yes, these cubicles are so close that I can hear even subtle movements/sounds of those coworkers seated on either side of me.

On a more positive note, about a half hour after everyone left, I finished making some calls which were necessary and then grabbed everything to head out of there. I had a various containers of food and was trying to figure out how to juggle everything, and had a flash of a vision I'd run into a certain someone, and he would wonder what in the hell I was doing with all these uncleaned dishes as I was walking to my car. That didn't happen, thankfully, and I managed to stuff the myriad bowls into a bag. However, wouldn't you know it, but as I get into my car and turn my head towards the building entrance, I spot him in my peripheral vision. I actually did a bit of a double-take to ensure my eyes weren't deceiving me, because I never get to see him walking to his car, yet always long to see him. What are the odds too that I'd get to savor a last look before going away on holiday? So what do I do? While contemplating slowing my car a bit as I turn to face him and maybe waving, I decide otherwise, instead continuing on the chosen path in as quick a manner as possible, and at one point as I'm about to turn onto the main road, I nod my head in rhythm to the tune by Capital Cities, "Safe and Sound," as though I'll look cool if he is to see me doing this. Now I thought it kind of ironic that this song was playing given my sentiments and this chance glimpse of him. Almost as ironic as hearing Alanis sing 'Ironic' this morning and hearing the radio host speak of the tune afterward, pointing out the specific lyric of interest: 'It's like meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife,' before commenting, 'Never had that happen before, but I'm sure that would be quite unpleasant.' And the knife dug a bit deeper, further lancing my ever lovelorn heart. I kept glancing in my rear view mirror, hoping to see him near me from behind. No such luck. He must have taken the route around the building to the other side. Being the analytical person I am, I of course read into this small element of occurrence. That he saw me and was annoyed by me and dashed in the other direction to get away fast.

On a related note, earlier today I had received a note from a friend who is now working in another office for the same company as I, in which he indicated that he's collaborating with my work crush on a few projects. It's not as though my work crush has any idea of how meaningful it is for him to be in communication with my friend, but I get a bit giddy with the knowledge of their interaction. It's like I'm communicating with my work crush through my friend. You have to read Sorrows of Young Werther to fully understand. The author explains perfectly my feelings. I swear, my intuition, when I allow it to be free, does forebode certain events. Kind of like the dream I had a while back in which I found out a guy I had loved was married, and was very much hurt upon finding out. Then there's the fact that I have had several dreams of my 'crush' ignoring me in the halls at work and passing me by in a restaurant at an event involving other coworkers. These events in my dreams did/do correlate with my present day reality, as he avoids me (knowingly or unknowingly) at work (ie. I rarely see him), and at the company luncheon last week, he had also acted nonchalant towards me and would not  look my way whatsoever throughout the entire event, despite me sneaking glances in the hopes that he would by the grace of God acknowledge me.

This encounter today (if you can call it an 'encounter' anyway, since I just happened to see him from afar), was bittersweet. Sure I caught a final look before some time away, to further savor the memory of him. However, if he did notice me, he might have thought I was rude for disregarding him, and that makes me feel bad. On the flip side, it hurts that he might not have given the sight of me a second thought. I can't help but think the former would more so apply than the latter. Call it the hopeless idealist within me, or my intuition. Whatever you will, I know he saw me. What he thought of me choosing not to wave or acknowledge him, I do not know. All I know, is I felt nervous as hell driving in view of him that I freaked a little on the inside and could barely think straight, let alone manage to wave. So I fled the situation, the adrenaline rush overtaking me. I need to work on that, fleeing uncomfortable situations. In this case it was a pleasant discomfort, if that makes sense, but so intense, given our interaction last week.

I wonder how he'll spend his Christmas. Hope he enjoys it with his wife. Actually, I think he's Jewish (explanation to come), so maybe he won't be celebrating. However, like me, he has off tomorrow. I thought we had off tomorrow and the following day, but it turns out I had been looking at the schedule of next year's company holidays. That was a bit of a bummer, but is it wrong of me to feel not so bad about returning on the 26th, when there's the benefit of him being close in proximity? Even if it is futile and something I need to move past again. Had there not been that resurgence of emotion at the end of last week, I might not be so consumed by thoughts of him, so hopelessly hopeful. These thoughts and feelings just need to be worked through, since I can't have him, since he's fully unavailable and will never be free for me to have, or to have me. For now, I'll merely admire from afar and vicariously through a close friend's contact with him. Then, hopefully I'll move past it and recover once again from the letdown of this particular reality.

17 December 2013

Kindness goes a long way.

This morning on the way to work, a simple wave from a passenger in a passing truck as I sipped on my full bodied coffee, made me break into laughter and smile. It felt good, to look that stranger in the eye, and reminded me that it's okay. I can breathe. It's not so bad. As long as I have the capability to smile, as long as I am reminded that there is good in this world, it will be okay. It's funny, that simple act of spontaneity, set the tone for my day. Then of course, there was the coffee to lift my spirits even further -- yes, I did have a double dose today (more on that later, possibly). It's funny that preceding that random exchange of waves and smiles between strangers, I had been feeling a bit perturbed by the fact that my car had become a target for some large piles of snow being lifted off of the truck in front of me. The momentum of the forward movement had thrust these large snow chunks off the top of the truck trailer onto my windshield and the impact was forceful. I was afraid this falling snow might contribute to some chipped paint off my car because the snow was a bit on the icy side and the remnants were rather large. So I move to the right lane in an effort to slow down and allow that truck to proceed at a far enough distance ahead of me to get away from the flying force of the snow hurling off its trailer, when I look to my left side and see this guy waving and smiling. He was the passenger in another truck. Of course, with me being a lover of random acts of niceness, I couldn't resist returning the wave, all the while busting out laughing at the randomness of this roadway interaction and the look on his face as he kinda put his palms up, as if to say, 'Oh well, whatcha gonna do? This snow. It's got a mind of its own. We best make the most of it as we trek through it.' That's literally more or less what I got from the look. It made my day. So therein the darkness lies the light. The reminder that the good is still there in this world. It sometimes surprises me. I actually had a customer call me the other day and say I sounded surprised when he had agreed to close a deal on which we had been negotiating. I wanted to tell him that I sounded surprised because I'm so used to customers yelling and rebuffing me every step of the way. Kindness can give me quite a jolt, in a good way; therefore, I guess he mistook my inner excitement for surprise. All I can say is to keep your eye out for kindness, because it not only goes a long way to make another's day, but it perpetuates the cycle of good in this world. Don't forget that it's in you too, this greater good that sometimes you may suppress when life gets in the way. Smile. Say hi to a stranger. Compliment someone. You never know how it could turn things around, for you, for the person on the receiving end.

15 December 2013

Caffeine-free, what it means to me.

Today was supposed to be my first day off coffee. It wasn't. I woke up, said to myself, 'Yes. Thank God for coffee,' before reveling in excitement at the thought of savoring it as I do each morning. Yesterday, I decided today would be day 1 of the cold turkey quitting period so I would not have to experience withdrawal the first day of a long work week. However, upon awakening, my tune had changed. After consuming my first cup, I then decided to keep it going, to get the most enjoyment out of it, since I resigned myself to stop drinking it starting tomorrow. Ended up going overboard and drinking 2-3 cups. Talk about out-of-control.

We know how this goes. I tried quitting last Monday, yet didn't follow through as it was Monday. Never plan to start something serious Monday. Isn't that how the saying goes? Or, never start a major project on Monday. Quitting coffee is a major freaking project. When I last quit cold turkey, it was November 4th, which happened to be a Monday, so I guess it's possible. However, I remember feeling encouraged by the fact that my crush (who was out on vacation for a week or so at the time) would return to notice how revitalized I was when not jacked on caffeine. Of course, I had other motives as well, but the crush factor was good incentive.

I lasted twenty days. Twenty days. Went through some withdrawal symptoms including headaches and feeling down and emotional. Craved chocolate several times on the way home from work due to emotions running on high, yet persisted. Kept reminding myself of my many reasons for giving up caffeine. Stayed strong in my conviction. Figured I would at least make it to thirty days. Thirty days is nothing, I told myself. Anyone can do thirty days. It was my goal to re-evaluate my plan once I reached that point.  However, there was a plot twist. I discovered one Saturday, through facebook, the fact that my crush was married. The following day, I gave into the fix. What would have marked three weeks caffeine-free was celebrated by a surrendering to the craving. I made excuses to justify having surrendered to the vice. Told myself I deserved it. It's close enough to thirty days. What's ten days short? No one besides you is counting anyway. Who cares? You only live once. I also rationalized that given that I was going to be home a few days during Thanksgiving week and the week thereafter, I might as well make the most of my break by indulging, lest it be devoid of that extra dose of fun. So I have been drinking coffee every day since November 24. Aside from evidencing the fact that I have a soft spot for coffee, this demonstrates the fact that I don't do moderation well, as I didn't just pick up where I left off and discontinue the coffee intake that following day. No, I not only fell off the wagon, but was now being dragged through the dirt. Bad analogy. Oh well, tried my best.

So begins yet another attempt to curtail this habit, which is somewhat of an emotional crutch for me. In looking back at the month of November, I realize now that it was a rather stressful month all around so I am not going to beat myself up for not completing my self-imposed thirty-day challenge. There were the thyrogen injections, the side effects of same, the recovery period, and the stress of what this treatment signified. Of much lesser significance, but still upsetting, was going through withdrawal from my crush and then discovering the disheartening reality that he was not only unavailable but married. It was not an easy month and as a result, I buckled in terms of caffeine pressure. To me, caffeine is a means of release. As much as it triggers anxiety and other adverse symptoms, for a brief bit, it lifts my spirit and makes me feel so alive. It's a symbol of hope and energy. It's that one thing I can look forward to each day, to further brighten my outlook.

Why then am I so emphatic about this cold turkey business? Because aside from the crash effect, heart palps, racing heart, anxiety, panic, and digestive issues, all induced by my consumption of this deliciously splendid drink, I dislike my emotional attachment and addiction to it. I notice when I am stressed or upset about something, I look to caffeine as means of coping. While, of course, I believe there are many benefits to caffeine, for me, the cons outweigh the pros, at least in terms of routine consumption. My goal is to get back to the place where I don't need it to function, to cope, to deal with life's stresses, but rather to simply enjoy it as an occasional treat. This is the goal and why I intend to jump back on the wagon of being caffeine free for the most part.

Work week outlook.

Every week is the same, in that I set goals for happiness during the work week, that are rarely achieved. By the end of the week, I'm tired, I'm worn down, unrecognizable even to myself. My stomach aches. My heart longs for peace and distance from the drudgery of this soul-sucking job. This week is the week that I intend to follow through with my goal to maintain a sense of inner peace and order. My health depends on it. It's not worth the pain, the tears, the stomach aches, this job. It's not worth it. It's toxic to me, detrimental to my well being, and a change is needed. If it continues down this path as it has for quite some time, I'm out the door. In the meantime, as I work towards getting out, when time permits that I pursue other avenues, I plan on putting less pressure on myself at work. It's not getting me anywhere but in a hole of misery. This week will be different. I will take breaks. I will listen to music. I will meditate. I will do yoga. I will exercise. I will take walks in the cold. I will continue with writing my novel. I will release those fears that forcefully attempt to take hold. I will put my anxieties in God's hands and ask that he direct me to where I need to be. I will pray. I will mean what I say and say what I mean. I will focus on my goals. I will explore other options.

14 December 2013

It Won't Stop. Sevyn Streeter. Obsessed.

Is anyone as obsessed with the Sevyn Streeter song 'It Won't Stop' as I am??? For real, this song speaks to me. So sensual. Gets me in the mood, if you know what I'm sayin'. 'Everything you do got me feelin' some type o way.' So true. Brings me back to the '90s or early '00s. Her name is so sweet too... and I like the spelling. Definitely a work out song. Hypes you up and gets you going, fo' real. Everybody. Listen to it. Now.

Dealings w/ personal email acct.

As a quick note, I am finding it quite liberating to not delete any inbox items in my personal email account. I have decided to let that ish pile up and just handle those pressing items that catch my eye. It actually requires effort to check off all the items that belong in the trash and then hit delete, and I don't feel like doing it. It's too much work. In fact, it reminds me of being at work and causes my anxiety level to rise, so I'm taking a break. It feels good. It's helping me deal with the challenge of facing a mountain of crap and being able to tackle only those items of critical nature. Feels good.

Effects of minimizing tv time

Having sifted through my twitter feed last night, I noticed a tweet in which I commented on a particular reality show, The Challenge, which I love, back at the end of September, I think it was. It was in regards to the reunion show. That was when I was weaning off of tv. I had gotten down from several hours of television per night to about two to three hours per week. Since then, my television schedule has reduced further. I watched the season of The Ultimate Fighter for the past month or so and now that this has finished, I am not committed to any shows during the week and only watch UFC fights some evenings, on weekends. I have noticed the passage of time is much slower, even if it seems to pass quickly. When I was watching loads of television as part of my regular routine, time passed much more quickly and I'd be looking back of months of inactivity wondering where in the heck the time went. Now that I have not been watching television, I have accomplished more. I have exercised more, met people, and made progress in writing my novel. Also, I've written more blog posts. I've also meditated more. In essence, I've done more with my life and am more cognizant of time. In looking back at the past two months, it seems like the passage of time has been slower. I'm not as regretful and not thinking 'crap, where did the time go?' I'm thinking, a lot has happened since that time, since the end of September, that would not have happened, had I not relinquished my television habit. For me, watching television is not productive. It's a form of entertainment on weekends only, and only for a few hours on Saturday night, for the most part. I don't even miss it. In the beginning, it was a struggle trying to figure out what to do with all the free time on my hands. It prompted me to find other means to keep myself occupied. It required that I re-evaluate my priorities and make strides towards achieving my goals. For this reason, minimizing the amount of time spent mindlessly staring at the black box has been of great benefit for me and has contributed to greater awareness of where I need to be and what needs to be done. It's been a reminder to experience life rather than expecting life to liven before one's eyes without any effort. Sure it takes effort, to get off the couch and take action, but it's well worth it. It's living. It's appreciation of what life has to offer.

Skin issues. Potential causes. Paleo efforts.

Let's talk about skin. I have this cystic pimple in between my eyebrows right now and it hurts. Typically the pimples I get don't hurt, so this strikes me as a bit odd, but I can't say I have never had a pimple that didn't hurt, so I'm not that worried. What is more concerning is the flushing of my face. It's a noticeable flush and irritation. As I have gone paleo for about a week thus far (not strictly so, but for the most part), it is easier to pinpoint the source of this skin irritation. I've narrowed it down to the following potential culprits: supplements, tomatoes, or eggs.

The other day I had meatloaf, made of crushed tomatoes (and meat of course) and the following day, experienced facial flushing. Yet yesterday, I didn't have leftovers of that meal, but rather had vitamin D and magnesium supplements, and bam, facial flushing today. Not sure if it's the vitamin D, magnesium, or both, so this may require some trial and error testing, but tonight I will not be having them to see what tomorrow brings in terms of complexion status. I've been having loads of chocolate all week (part of the non strict paleo part since the chocolate brand I'm consuming does contain some sugar), yet haven't noticed major flushing until the days after I had the meatloaf and supplements. Eggs are another thought since they have been a staple as of late.

In sum, other than this disturbing zit in between my eyebrows and the facial rash I'm experiencing, my skin is pretty smooth and I feel that having not consumed gluten and/or dairy is benefiting me. Not giving up just yet. I do have to attend a company luncheon next week for the holiday (more on that later) in which it will not be possible to refrain from gluten and/or dairy, but plan on staying strong on the diet save the rare occasion in which it would be rude to not have non paleo food.

13 December 2013

A not so wonderful week, and one component to cap it off today

An understatement. 'A not so wonderful week,' that is. It started with Yammer and ended with Yammer, so I'll first lay out what went wrong in terms of this stupid social media site my coworkers and I were encouraged to join, by my boss, of all people. I received an email from my boss regarding this last week during my absence from work, and was so excited to see what it was all about, even going so far as to conjure up images of posts stating the truth about thoughts had by colleagues through the work day. Truth, none of this fake political BS, is what I thought would be contained within the site. I thought it would be a way to lighten up the work day, that it would be like passing notes in class, but for all to see and comment on in carefree fashion. I thought it would be a source of excitement to liven up the work day. How wrong was I. In reality, the site contains very little substance and is highly political. To demonstrate how little is actually going on, since I joined this week, there have only been a total of five to six new posts, all of which have read as follows (in no particular order and slightly modified for security purposes):


Post 1: Welcome Beth, let's all give Beth a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Beth?

Post 2: Welcome Jamie, let's all give Jamie a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Jamie?


Post 3: Welcome Anthony, let's all give Anthony a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Anthony?

Post 4: Welcome Ian, let's all give Ian a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Anthony?
   Posted response: Hey Ian, wassup?

Post 5: Do your best in all your endeavors.
  Posted response: You too. You always do!


Post 6: It's a lovely Friday.
  Posted response: 'Tis.

The first day it was novel and I of course, in all of my idealist glory, anticipated something cool, something laugh worthy, something to ease the pain of being holed up in this cube surrounded on two sides by people who refuse to acknowledge me. I felt a bit disappointed however by the lack of activity as the day progressed. I expected more. Maybe a simple 'welcome!' in response to the 'Care to welcome new member Beth, anyone?' post at the top of the newsfeed. A new message would inevitably surface at some point and catapult us all into uncontrollable laughter. It would be so great. I could feel it coming. It would be an escape from the drudgery that is work. Then I started scrolling through the newsfeed. The posts were bland, trite. There were a few eager beaver type comments in response to the initial 'Welcome' notices, in which one coworker responded to each 'Welcome...' so it read like, 'Welcome Sandy,' 'Welcome Trudy,' 'Welcome Amy.' I felt bad because all of those welcomes were posted by one coworker. She eventually stopped, as clearly her anticipation had died, as mine would. A few other comments shown on the newsfeed read as follows: 'Hey bud, how are you doing this morning?!' 'Yo Chuckie.' 'Howdy, have a wonderful Turkey day.' Wow. Okay. This was not what I envisioned. There was no 'Omg, this xxxx is annoying as xxxx' 'God save me from this misery,' or 'this blows, I'm out,' to comfort the masses of employees who need that ray of sunshine. That peace of mind. That spark of normalcy and realness. The cold hard f'n truth, in other words. To further diminish the appeal of the site, only about three coworkers were logged onto the site throughout the day. Such a flurry of activity and excitement it was.

In a previous post, I mentioned how I had received an invite to the site from two coworkers. It made me feel good that one of my coworkers had thought to invite me. It was a cordial, 'Hey, you're invited, don't worry, we want you to join us.' The other coworker who sent the invite did so in obligatory fashion I realized upon thanking her, as she told me she sent one to everyone. 'Oh...thanks.' I laughed uncomfortably and felt myself blush with embarrassment.

On Tuesday, I received an email stating that I had a new follower. There's followers? Who knew? I have a follower! Yay. I logged on to see that those coworkers who had sent the invites were both listed as followers and it was showing that I was following them as well. This piqued my interest, this 'follower' aspect. I then then perused the site to see how many followers other coworkers had. It is then that I realized that it's more of an ego-boosting mechanism than anything else. The schmoozers, of courses, had the largest follower count. I noticed some had not returned the favor of following their followers. Definitely some machoism going on there.

It was not my intention to add any followers to my account. I had two followers and this suited me fine. I was largely outnumbered by nearly all of my coworkers, save the freshest members of the site, but who cared? I'm me, I don't follow. I do my own thing. I am the anti-hype, anti-follower non comformist. I refuse to follow and don't care if anyone follows me. A tiny part of me wished that I had some additional followers, but no biggie. I wasn't fretting it.

Of course, being the over analyzer that I am, my main concern was what my boss might think of my not following him, especially given that many in my department were. Not one to follow the crowd (I'm a marcher to the beat of my own drum in general), I wavered in terms of whether or not to follow him. I didn't want to just grant him the ego boost that he was possibly seeking, yet I didn't want the hassle of him thinking I wasn't being a team player or whatever by being the only one in our department to not follow him, so after some consideration, yet with reluctance, I pressed the follow button this morning. There is another manager I consider an acquaintance, and thought it would be nice to follow him also, so I clicked the follow button on his profile too. I decided if they didn't follow me back, I'd be okay with it. Sorta, kinda, maybe not, but I would at least try to be okay if there were a lack of reciprocation.

A few minutes after pressing the follow buttons on their profiles, I refreshed my email, expecting a reciprocal follow notification email. None to be seen. An hour passed. Still none. I logged onto the site, thinking maybe the site failed to generate a notification email. Yes, that had to be it. Checked my followers. Still had two. I felt a little disheartened. There was a very short lapse in time between pressing follow and my boss approaching me to discuss something, non work related. He had to be getting ready to follow soon. Yes, the email notification was coming, sooner or later. What about the other manager? I'm not sure as to his email turnaround time but I knew my boss had seen the notice shortly after it would have arrived.

Fast forward to this afternoon, I'm feeling a bit resentful at this lack of reciprocation from both of these managers. It's actually quite bothersome. I check the site once again and see that not only has my boss changed his profile picture, but whereas he had only followed about half of his followers when I last checked, at this time his follower count outnumbers his following count by one, the excluded one being me only.

10 December 2013

An ode to coffee

I know coffee is in a way, a crutch of mine, at least for the time being. How do I know? I know this because I'm a bit too impatient for it, a bit too emphatic. I think about it far too often, like hours before bed, and of course every waking moment until I have an opportunity to seize that straw (yes, I drink it with a straw -- to prevent teeth stains, duh) and savor each morsel of a sip. Yes I wrote morsel of a sip. I wrote this to savor the memory of the savoring of each sip. I am getting way too deep with this topic, but I seriously cannot restrain myself. It's too good of a component of my life. As I drove to work today, several hours late given the weather conditions, mind you (heavy snow, slush, basically experiencing the aftermath of the morning storm),  I inched closer to my office and had an epiphany of some sort. My mind commanded me with its fervor in the following conviction: 'Why shouldn't I? Why should.. I.. not?,' My inner voice boomed.What else is there if not for coffee, to excite me, to enthrall me, to psych me into getting ish done that otherwise I would over analyze to the point of not being able to motivate myself to accomplish in the slightest (okay, maybe I would get around to doing what was necessary... but it would be painstaking... painstaking I tell you). Coffee is my saving grace. I love you coffee. I love you and can't wait to hold you in my arms tomorrow and bask in your warmth and mind stimulant glory. Okay, that last part... totally corny. Coffee lovers though get it... the drift is had. It's all in the drink. The java had me at first sip. The end.

09 December 2013

Overcoming Analysis Paralysis

What I have realized is how much I over analyze and obsess over things that are complete. I need to move past re-reading and reviewing items already brought to conclusion. There's no sense. It's just madness.

Case in point:

Reviewing letters/emails more than once prior to sending

Analyzing letters/emails after having sent them

Obsessing that I made a fool out of myself and rehashing in my mind the ways in which I screwed up interactions [this occurs primarily in the workplace]

Detrimental effects to this over analysis:

It wastes time and is unproductive

It makes you feel crappy

Sets off anxiety

Diminishes one's self esteem

Lessons derived from such over analysis:

Be yourself [if others have a problem with it, that's not your problem; as long as you're not hurting anyone, you're good], we're not perfect, what's done is done [be content with past activity, or at least accept it for what it is and don't dwell on what you deem to be negative components of the past], there's a reason they say, Let Bygones be Bygones

Spend time on more important matters, like the present moment

Let go [free yourself of the past to appreciate what's in front of you]


Yammer is the new thing at work. I had received two invites to the site by email, which I noticed upon inspecting my inbox last night. It piqued my curiosity, for sure. According to my review of the site's description as noted in the invites, it seemed to be a site of social interaction, online of course, similar to facebook. I liked this idea. Finally, some enjoyment. I couldn't resist but to sign up within minutes of arriving to work to check it out. Shortly after doing so, a message appeared beside my name, advertising to the other users, 'Beth just joined, let's give her a warm welcome.' Of course no one did.

In reviewing the past comments, nothing noteworthy was seen. One person said, 'Hope you have a good weekend!' while another urged users to 'Join my group!' More coworkers than expected had uploaded a photo to appear on the side of their name. On the bottom right hand side of the screen is a chat bar that shows all users who are logged in versus those who are just a part of the collective whole. Only about two to four others were online most of the day today.

True to form, in an effort to see my vision that I'd witness and be able to participate in quirky interactions to make the work day pass by more easily, I kept popping in and out of the site to see if anything radical would occur; if someone would be bold and brazen enough to bust a move, so to speak, to say what they really meant (in harmless fun, of course). Ohh, I forgot to mention, an email my boss sent while I was out indicated that we must be careful as to what we say on the site as it is a company based site and he'd already seen a post stating, 'I'm so bored.' This made me laugh and gave me hope that someone might have spiced things up a bit. Not so fast. What I envisioned as feverish messages between coworkers, bringing us back to our days of lighthearted fun, and making me enjoy work once more, was not the reality.

Also, just to demonstrate how reality doesn't always quite live up to my ideals, I had felt quite appreciative that two of my coworkers had forwarded an invite, one with whom I rarely converse, and the other who is newer to my department. When I saw one of these individuals today, I said 'Thanks for the invite to Yammer.' Her response: 'Oh no problem. I sent one to everyone, not just you. Not that you're not special.' Which kinda made me feel like an idiot. I laughed because I was so embarrassed. Oh well. So this site in summary is not that special and is not quite the medium I was expecting to encourage some spontaneous fun in the workplace. It's just another mode of business where no one dare infringe upon the underlying protocol. For those familiar with facebook, it is pretty much the equivalent, save the randomness of interactions and liberty for people to write whatever they so choose.

08 December 2013

Post work vacation anxiety

First day back at work post-vacation begins tomorrow. Kinda makes me feel a bit shaky. Okay, truth: I'm really anxious, and not in a good way. I'm feeling overwhelmed already and am kicking myself just a little bit for peeking on my email inbox as well as my voicemail messages. This so was not a good idea, considering the stress said actions generated. I quickly entered my voicemail passcode and as soon as I heard the number of messages, tried to block it out. Then I had this intense urge to check my email, and after resisting for a few minutes, bit the bullet. Literally, an entire page full of emails. Not as heavy an email load as my prior job, but since I have been in my current position for almost three years and have compartmentalized those experiences of my last job (due to them being deemed too traumatic to relive), I don't feel any relief in comparing and contrasting the work load. It was heavier previously, but it is all relative to the situation.

I'm trying to breathe and let myself feel how I feel and move along, or rather, move with the feelings rather than resist the strain I am feeling. The anxiety started to build a day or so ago. All week, work has been in the back of my mind. It became the forefront mainly this weekend when it was more of a reality that I would be returning. I have been out since November 28th, so a total of 11 days. It feels like I've been a part of a different realm, a separate universe than that of my job. It's a foreign land at this point, although the similar emotions of impending doom have resurfaced to some extent. However, I am doing my best to take these emotions in stride, to keep them in check. My plan is to focus on emails and voicemails the first day and to not rush completion of these tasks, but rather make my way through the rough tide purposefully and in a calm manner. I know, easier said than done. However, my goal is to not overtax myself in playing catch up. While I have the ability to work swiftly and multi-task, it doesn't always benefit my sense of well being and tends to stress me out more than necessary. If there were ever a pre-New Year's resolution begging to be started, it would be implementing decompression strategies during the work week and going with the flow.

05 December 2013


Totally now have this fear that every single person for which I have searched on FB knows about it; in particular, that 'certain someone' who I had hoped would be on the back burner of my mind at this point but continues to linger in the forefront. The data pulled when entering a single letter on the search bar has officially started to creep me out, and then there's this idea that these people know when they've been searched because some of them are now appearing on my search bar at a higher ranking than, say, a few days ago, despite me not having logged in for over a day. Does this upward movement correlate to my checking of their page which in turn prompted them to check my page, or is it totally coincidental and merely indicative of my past previewing of their pages only?This should make for some awkward workplace encounters next week upon my return, should my intuition be correct in its assessment that these people know.

I did so well in avoiding entering a certain sequence of letters into the search bar, for the past two days, only to have caved today because a certain other facebook profile came up unexpectedly on my search bar of someone associated with the aforementioned certain someone, making it impossible (willpower wise) that I not enter the forbidden letters. Gah, this FB thing is totally not a good thing. The only positive is that it has spurred a few story ideas, and had I not ever searched for a certain someone in the first place, I would still be thinking there were a chance for he and I, which I now know not to be true. Pretty sure maintaining an active FB page is merely prolonging the agony of having been crushed by the work crush. #FacebookProbs

Mt Tammany, I love you.

Just returned from the poconos. Had fun, save for my knees giving out on my on the way down Mt Tammany. Must do something about the knees. That was the best trail I've hiked in a while. The view at the top was breathtaking. There was a view of the river below and it's unique curvature that one could only appreciate from a height level with the sky. Along the way, I saw a waterfall, many trees, and traversed through many rocks, large and small. I sang 'Oh Holy Night' on the way up, talked in a foreign accent on the way down, and sang some Beatle tunes as well. I'm cool like that.

There was also a segment where my dad forged far ahead. It started out funny, given that my dad tends to proceed ahead when he's enjoying the trail. We joke about it. He can't help but speed off in the distance. However, he'll inevitably reappear, either when we call him or he'll stop on his own and trace back to ensure my mom and I are on the right path. This time however, my mom and I walked for quite a while and hadn't seen him. We looked for his orange hat but couldn't locate that or any other visual that would give away his presence in the distance. My mom then called to him. We both figured this would solicit a quick response and he'd respond and circle back within moments. He didn't respond. At first I joked with my mom about it and assured her that he was just up ahead. However, when she continued to call him without response, and I joined in, also to no avail, it became worrisome. Adding to the worry was the lack of response to our calling out to him and not seeing him, despite the fact that we were gaining ground.

My mom put the scare in me even further by surveying the ground below in search of my dad's belongings. This really freaked me out. It was like a movie where you head out with a group and one of the group members, though in the distance ahead for quite sometime, and easily spotted with the orange attire (to stave off hunters), is all of a sudden nowhere to be found and you fear the worst, that an animal was the culprit, or that he got lost. I started to contemplate how earlier in the hike I had joked about it being like a movie, where it's quiet before the storm. He ended up being by the waterfall around the bend after we made our way down a steep side of the mountain, taking photos. He had not been able to hear us given that the bend had blocked off the sound of our calls. We then laughed about the fact that there he was, in all his photo-taking glory, mesmerized by the waterfall of which he attempted to capture in panoramic view, oblivious to the fear his absence had instilled for a good fifteen minutes prior.

Safe to say, it was a fun hiking experience. I found peace and comfort in the crowd of age old trees that conveyed with their mere presence: 'we've seen it all, we've been around a long time, experienced much, and we're here to tell you everything's gonna be okay, just breathe.' There were trees of all sizes and ages packed throughout the trail, conjuring images of my ancestors walking by these trees. I envisioned possibly walking past those very trees in a past life myself. I wondered what it was like for others who came before me, what it might have been like if I had been here before, what kind of worries confounded me then. Were those other people battling some internal wreckage? Was I in my past life free of the worries that presently afflict me?

On a lighter note, for the first time, I actually felt eager to spot a bear or a rattlesnake or deer. Some sign of living, breathing wildlife aside from the beautiful trees. We took the red trail up and the blue trail down the mountain. Highly recommended. At the bottom of the blue trail, a sign read something like: 'Rattlesnakes and Copperheads: These creatures are a natural element in the background and therefore you may encounter them. Will not attack. However, if cornered, will defend themselves and fight back.' It was more metaphorical and better worded than I can recall, but it brought to mind humans, the quiet, unappreciated kind. 'The Humble Ones: Make up a natural part of this environment we occupy. They sit back and innocently observe their surroundings. Be sure to respect and admire them. Will attack if cornered.' Same idea. Snakes, humans, intrinsically alike despite the obvious external differences. Same message: thou shall not misconstrue humility and quietude for weakness. The sign conjured a vision of several high school boys huddled together, getting their kicks by harassing and mocking the creature, the snake getting the last laugh by swiveling around their shoes towards their necks and putting them in their place by threatening the choke hold, yet ultimately granting them mercy, and deciding not to effectuate the maneuver, instead letting go without inflicting any damage, the kids left shocked at its ability to enact comeuppance upon its bullies.

03 December 2013

An ode to FB

Dear Facebook,

I hate you and I have every intention to deactivate you in the near future. The only reason I'm keeping you around is for the potential of future social connections, although the likelihood of such connections seems to be waning with each passing day. My hope for said connections is diminished (along with my self esteem) each time I log on to view mindless status updates on my news feed which I must say, are not funny nor entertaining. The ridiculously mind numbing news feed updates coupled with the lack of friend requests and/or incoming messages is enough to further validate my intention to remove myself from this isolating social media realm. What's the purpose of this site? The goal was to reconnect with old friends. Thus far, I've only had one halfhearted reconnection. Case in point. Unproductive and unnecessary. Life before facebook was better.

My skin's present suffering is a reflection of my stress level.

My complexion has been looking pretty bad lately. It stems not only from hormonal issues (TOM), but stress from other factors, such as: too much caffeine (I've been overdoing it coffee and chocolate-wise), finding out my work crush just got married, and eating less clean than usual. Yes, I had pizza, yes I've had lots of cheese, yes I've been stuffing my face with chocolate bar after chocolate bar, and have been going at the coffee no holds freaking barred, as a form of comfort. The caffeine provides me with a temporary high, from which I come crashing down shortly thereafter, but it's all good. I figure, it motivates me to write. The pizza effect was out of pure laziness. Today was supposed to be my second day off dairy, but I had no energy to make me a clean dinner, so I went with it. The chocolate bars galore have been the result of fluctuating (ie. out of control) hormones due to that lovely TOM, yes lovely tom tom, my good old buddy.

Then there's the crush factor. Gosh darn the crush factor. I'm so feeling disheartened, still, a week after uncovering (through a facebook search) that he is married. In fact, this just happened, his marriage. Oh, and he got engaged a year ago. This would have been good to know... uhhh, about three months ago. Would have saved a lot of heartache. Now, you're probably wondering how someone can experience heartache over a work crush. Enter: me, the hopeless romantic, ever becoming more devoid of hope by the passing year. Well, I'm making progress in one regard by not checking his facebook page and not entering the first letter of either his first or last name on the search bar as inevitably his face appears, along with that of his WIFE. Lol. That's so not funny, but it IS because it's such a parody of my existence. "Hey, you. We're married over here. You, who have been single for seven plus years. Yes you, the one who got her hopes up because of a few recent random work interactions, yep, joke's on YOU. Haha! We knew we'd fool ya. Muwahaha. See us smiling as we revel in our post-marital bliss over here? Say cheese!"

Quite simply, this sucks. So, my skin suffers as a side-effect of the stress. My heart hurts too. I watched two movies last night. One was about a woman who wanted a divorce, but somewhat regretted her decision since the guy she had married was her best friend. However, she moved forward and became stronger for her decision. It was a rediscovery of herself, basically; an empowering message. This was uplifting, but still sad because I wanted her to get back together with her best friend as they seemed meant to be together. The second movie was about an older couple whose relationship was devoid of romance and intimacy, until after seeing a therapist, at which point the fire was rekindled. Movies like that, I need to avoid for the time being. Seriously not good for me right now. Makes me rethink whether I should read some of the novels I just picked up from the library tonight. Probably a good idea to start with a different genre other than romance. Good thing I picked up seven books, so I have an assortment from which to choose, probably two of which aren't too romance-heavy. We'll see how that goes.

Poconos, plotting, and novel writing, oh my!

You know those spontaneous moments that arise and leave you thankful for one's inability to predict the future? Well, my mom just planned a random trip to the Poconos so this is one of them. We leave tomorrow and we're going to do a three mile hike on what is supposedly a rocky trail. Should be fun. I've wanted to go back since our trip in September, which was such a respite from the demands of life. It truly did help relieve some stress build up and had me inspired to forge ahead with plotting my novel. It was all about nature and nurturing myself and in the moments of rest in between hiking, I sipped coffee and delved into my plot. This plot has been a long time coming and has been worked and reworked for quite some time, most seriously, beginning in the summer. I say 'most seriously' because I had drafted a plot before then, but abandoned it once I began writing, because it felt too restrictive and stifled my creativity at the time. Then, I came back to it when someone provided me the feedback that a plot would assist me in gaining some direction in terms of where my novel was headed.

This week I have been off work and have continued with my plotting and actually started to write -- gasp -- the story line. I have reached a point where my plotting has gotten tedious and it just seems like now is the time to actually create some scenes, lest I never get back to actually drafting a novel and end up plotting the rest of my life. Today, I reflected on the part of my novel that has been tucked away for quite some time; tucked away, as in stored on the computer. In a frenzy, given that I was feeling scattered and all over the place this morning when my goal was to move forward with this story I have envisioned, yet struggled with formulating my thoughts on paper -- starting the actual writing process after focusing solely on the plot for several months left me a bit frenzied, not gonna lie -- I decided to peruse the piece I previously started, and stored away several months ago, for safekeeping. The problem was that I stored three different versions of the same piece on my flash drive, with various amendments made to each. In an attempt to get my ish together, I printed off each version. There was a fourth document containing a shorter piece of another novel I'd started, which I also printed. So I have this random assortment of these fragments of an eventual story at least closer at hand, which serves as some sort of solace, since I can see bits and pieces of my plot outline within each of these unfinished drafts.

When I thought of how to move from plot drafting back to novel writing, and whether or not to continue to develop these previously initiated works or if I should just start anew, I realized that it's best that I create individual scenes and piece them together to make up the entire puzzle that is the plot outline. Therefore, I can use that which I have already written, and expand upon it, so that I am moving towards a finished piece. What I thought was that I might have to start over and adhere strictly to this plot outline. I thought starting over would be easy as my plot outline would allow me to move from point A to point B swiftly and with ease. What I realize now is that, for me anyway, the plot outline does not make the writing process easier. Writing is still an arduous task and not for the faint of heart. What the plot outline does (for me) is provide structure and serves as a resource to facilitate the piecing together of the scattered, individual scenes. Therefore, today, I wrote two separate scenes. At the top of the paper, I wrote the gist of what would occur within the scene, before detailing the events that it encompassed. I did this twice, so I have two separate scenes. The other night, I flew by the seat of my pants and ended up with another scene. What I have come to realize is that these three separate scenes tie into the story line. They are not exactly what I thought I would write and definitely not in the exact order of my plot outline, but they are necessary components of the overall story. For me, this is important. It's not how you get from point A to point B, it's that you get there. You put in the time and effort and you will get there, and that is what matters. No one can tell you the method that is right for you to achieve the end goal. You end up finding your way as you go.