1 week

My surgery is in one week! To commemorate the occasion, I packed two bags of clothing and shoes to donate.

Mom is slowly gaining some energy. Dad ordered Italian tonight. No news on returning to chemo. One day at a time, as everyone keeps saying.

Mr T made me a lovely “linner” yesterday before I drove to Hartford for work. Landed another donation – the donor doubled her gift and said it was because I convinced her to give more. Fundraising IS fun!

I’m watching The Sinner now on Netflix. Anyone else watched it? It’s very compelling. Jessica Biel is excellent in it! She’s come a long way since 7th Heaven.

A big thank you to my cousin KS for sending me a necklace with the word “breathe” on it. Lovely thing to get in the mail on a rainy Monday. I will wear it and look at it as a reminder to focus on my breathing.

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Small Miracles

Mom is home and slowly acclimating back to her regular environment after a 1-week hospital stay, which we all believe was crucial to her well being. She has her appetite back, thanks to a happy little pill that gives her the munchies. She’s had pizza, chocolate, even a hamburger! Dad’s working on a plan for the next stage, which will include some physical therapy and nursing care at home to help her out. He’s got a lot on his plate and he’s handling it like a champ. But he’s exhausted. So if you call or text him, don’t keep him on the phone too long. Ken is visiting this weekend.

I spent the morning at the hospital getting my pre-surgical tests – blood, EKG, and chest x-ray. Tomorrow, I have a mammogram to make sure all is good there before I have surgery. My PCP insisted on it. And that’s it. I’ve fulfilled all of the pre-surgical requirements so the next step is my pre-hospital stay diet, and then a week from Monday, I will have 75% of my stomach surgically removed. And my life will be forever changed.

My review yesterday, overall, went well. My boss said I have far surpassed their expectations for me, and with the 7-figure gift I’m finalizing, I have met my FY19 goals within 11 days of the fiscal year! So that’s pretty fucking fantastic, pardon my French. It can only go up from here with work. My boss said he’d like to put together a promotion plan for me so that by next year, I will gain a “senior” title.

And, Mr Ted came over last night for dinner. He gave me – seriously – the best massage I’ve ever had. He eliminated knots in my shoulders, legs and back that I’ve been carrying around with me for years. Seriously, I told him I felt like I should give him a tip! My body feels better today that it has felt in years. He’s a keeper.

Immersion Day

I took the day off from work and experienced what Mt Auburn calls “immersion day,” where you spend the day learning everything you’d ever want to know….and more…about bariatric surgery. We heard from the surgeon, behavioral psychologist, dietician, nurse, and from each other – 4 strangers about to embark on a monumental life change.

I still have many tasks ahead prior to surgery: physical with pcp, visit with pulmonary specialist, 3 group sessions, a visit with the nutritionist, a visit with the psychiatrist, blood tests, and more. Tonight I placed an order on amazon for a food scale, measuring spoons/cups, a book on bariatric surgery, protein shakes, and a Where’s Waldo? Book. Ok, the last one is for a 6-year old bday party coming in Sept!

I’m glad I waited to call mom until after the day was over because she had a rough night and had to see the oncologist today. She felt better when we spoke later in the day because she had gotten an IV drip. Still, she wanted to hear about how my day went. I called back again later and filled my dad in on the day. I reminded him how brave & strong he and my mom are in this process.

Today was exciting – for the most part – and it confirmed: I’m ready for the surgery! I’m working hard to have it done at the end of October, before mom’s chemo is done, and after our big campaign event at work. Trying to imagine 2 weeks off from work, staying home because I’m on pain killers, is daunting.

I don’t remember the last time I took 2 weeks off, in a row, from work. I’ve been slowly telling my colleagues that I’m having the surgery so they aren’t caught off guard when they see me in Jan at our next retreat and I’m a bit smaller.

I am also mourning the loss of my wardrobe a bit. It may be larger sizes, but I love the stuff I’ve acquired over the years. But, it’s just stuff. I’ll replace it with more stuff.

Ciao!

BC/AC

I told my dad I feel like our lives are divided: BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). He totally got it.

Today is mom’s first round of chemo. As luck would have it, I am here in NJ so I’ll be able to accompany her. It takes 3 hours – she said, “You don’t have to sit with me,” but I’ll bring my laptop and work from the hospital. It isn’t like I haven’t done it before. Again, grateful to my amazing boss and job that I have this flexibility.

This was today’s FB post:

Screenshot 2018-08-13 11.04.36.png

Sharing it here in case you missed it. Mom is barely eating – she is enjoying protein shakes, eggs, and a few other favorite foods. But I doubt she is even consuming 500 calories a day. But Dad is enjoying the food deliveries, although he said he has lost 10 pounds too (which delights him).

Speaking of weight loss, dad and I had a big heart-to-heart on Saturday night about my bariatric surgery, which is still full steam ahead. He and mom said they want me to hire someone to help me post-surgery since they can’t be there to help me. I said I would consider it but I’m not really sure what help I’ll need. Maybe laundry – but my cleaners do it for me – and errands – Amazon, anyone? I have Mr T, Ken, and Marina, and some friends who can help, so we’ll see if it is needed. I’m hoping to have the surgery towards the end of October, after my 2 big work events. #priorities

More later about the chemo.

So, it’s 10:22 pm. Chemo day #1 went very smoothly!

We arrived at the doctor’s office at 12:45, and mom’s chemo went from about 1:30-5:30pm. It was an extended day but it should run about 3 hours now on Mondays.

I worked through most of the chemo as mom & dad chatted with the nurses and other patients. Of course, they knew other people getting treatment. Small town.

Mom had energy and more of an appetite tonight. Amazing what some drugs can do! I ran out and got her pills, more snacks, etc. We all settled into College Jeopardy. I killed it tonight. I’m seriously the smartest 43 year old college student. Ok, I’m obviously kidding but it’s always nice to win in fake Jeopardy.

We then watched the most painful show to watch – it’s called “escape to the continent” or something like that. Brits go to their favorite places in Europe, look at tons of homes, and never end up purchasing one! So frustrating. Bring on House Hunters International – in 30 minutes, they’ve sold all of their earthy possessions, looked at tons of houses, rented one, and moved in. Yes, all in 30 minutes. Bring me that instant gratification, please and thank you.

But I digress.

Mom did great today.

I’m off tomorrow for a work event in NYC. Ciao!

Balance.

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing on my tiptoes, teetering very delicately, trying not to fall to one side or another. On one shoulder, I’m juggling a relatively new job (less than 1 year), a new relationship (a couple of months), home ownership (must. replace. lightbulbs.). On the other shoulder, I balance my own health issues (you’ve heard about them about them all here), mom’s cancer, and dad’s need for support. How does one balance it all?

And, how do you factor in the self care?

It’s crucial to find time for self care. I have found that when I sacrifice myself to help others, I can crumble.

I’m working on it. I had a manicure today – checked my work email during it, of course – and will be chilling out with Mr T tonight, which is always enjoyable. And, although this sounds weird, we’re doing a really cool event in NYC for work that I wanted to attend, so I am going to NYC next week for the day. This allows me the opportunity to see my folks as well. So, it’s a balance of helping others and enjoying the work that I do.

I tell you, I am generally exhausted all of the time. I’ve been relaxing at home (when I can) with 7 (?) seasons of the show, The Closer. I think I’m midway through season 3. It’s one of those formulaic crime shows, so you can pretty much predict how it will end and the crime gets tied up in a little bow at the end of each episode. There are a few longer storylines, but in general, you can watch one or two episodes, and be satisfied. It’s funny how these type of shows are calming for me, despite the fact that it is a cop show. Perhaps it makes my life seems small and insignificant in perspective, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Didn’t mean to get on a TV tangent!

Now to focus on changing the light bulbs….

 

 

 

August 6, 2018

So, I made a comment on my post from 6/27/18 that I appreciated how clean Sloan Kettering is because I had caught CDiff years ago from a hospital. I spoke too soon.

Mom got Cdiff. If you don’t know what it is, google it. It’s nasty. Poor lady. She’s on antibiotics for it now so hopefully it’ll go away soon and let her recover in peace.

It’s Monday and it already feels like a long week. I have an 8pm work meeting so it is a long day. I haven’t slept well in weeks so I walk around like a zombie pretty much 24/7.

Mr. T returns from vacation today, so we’ll reconnect tomorrow. That’ll be good.

And then I have to begin the awful colonoscopy prep on Wednesday afternoon around 4pm. I picked up the prep today from CVS and it cost $60! Seems wrong. But it’ll be good to get my colonoscopy and endoscopy completed to make sure my esophagus isn’t damaged. I had originally been diagnosed with acute esophogisitis, so I am hoping it isn’t too “acute” and has disappeared for the time being. While some of these things are hereditary and from aging, I want to remind you that my body was also terribly damaged during my eating disorder years. It’s hard not to beat myself up about it, but it’s my reality.

No updates on my surgery other than it is still full steam ahead.

It’s hard to be positive right now. I have to speak with a lot of people for my job and they all ask me how my summer has been going. I hate lying, but I don’t want to get into things so I talk about it from my work perspective and say, “Work is excellent!” I actually got a really nice email from our CEO this week, complimenting me on a job well done. So, there’s that.

ciao for now!

 

Facebook, Surgery, and Other Fun Things

Taking a few minutes break to write here. Sitting alone in my office, listening to Pandora, as my colleague has a visit with a donor and we haven’t yet hired a new support staff member. I sat in Starbucks for the first hour or so of the workday, but it was very noisy and distracting. Here, it is the opposite. It’s silent minus the sound of my music and the air conditioner pumping cool air into this humid space. Neither environment are inspirational. But, I need to get those meetings set up, so I plug away, trying to focus on my work while my head spins with all that’s going on in my life.

Mom is doing fair. Dad is doing fair. Mom is weak from lack of nutrition and likely dehydration. She’s pushing herself to eat and drink, but it’s like going uphill – both ways – for her right now. And my dad is taking care of her. He’s exhausted. My brother is heading to NJ tonight so he can help accompany them to her important appointments on Thursday and Friday. She’s getting a port in her upper chest where they will input chemo into her body. On Friday she’s getting a cat scan for one of the studies she’s doing with Sloan Kettering. Likely these two days will zap any energy she has, and she will be exhausted. I’m glad Ken will be there. And my sister-in-law will arrive on Friday, to help over the weekend. I’m lined up to head there the following weekend. Mr T will be with his kids so off I go. But, never fear: she’s still active on Facebook!

Last night we went to see Richard III as part of Shakespeare on the Common – my former employer – and my family met Mr T. Briefly, but a meeting did occur.

And, my journey towards my surgery continues. I’m following all of the steps required of me pre-surgery, including meeting with the various members of the medical team at Mt Auburn. Next steps are my colonoscopy and endoscopy, which I will have next week. Other than the prep, they’re relatively painless. I’m hoping for a positive result. Then, the following week, I have a full immersion day, where I learn about the surgery, my hospital stay, and the follow-up. I understand I will be on a liquid diet for 2 weeks, and then slowly, we will introduce foods back into my diet. It’s all very surreal. In 10 months, I will likely lose about 100 pounds. All sorts of things roll around in my head.

Ok, must get back to work!

Balancing Act

My dad called me this morning in a panic about mom. She is weak, he said, she isn’t sleeping. It was a few minutes before I was jumping into the shower so I paused and listened and talked things through with him a bit. We hung up, and then I called my brother, on my way into the office. We strategized a bit, and agreed that my dad needs some support. During a break, I reached out to my mom’s friend who works for American Cancer Society, and asked her for some resources for people who are supporting cancer patients. I wasn’t as worried about mom as I was about him. It is to be expected that mom will be weak and frail after such a big surgery. He is struggling which hat to wear – retired surgeon or current husband. It’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone an 80 year old man caring for his wife of nearly 50 years. It makes me think that sometimes, life is just not fair.

In the midst of it all, I am moving along with my bariatric surgery. My job is so incredibly supportive – it is unreal  – I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I suppose if I neglected my responsibilities, it might, but you know me – work is very important to me. I have an appointment with HR next week to discuss FMLA, which basically will protect me from losing my job when I have surgery and when I need time to care for my mom. I have been banking my vacation time so I can full recover – and still pay my mortgage – but it will also give me the opportunity for unpaid leave if I need it. At my last job, I was given $300 towards buying my own health insurance. That is it. At my current job, I have very good medical insurance, dental insurance, etc. In fact, I just got back from getting 3 cavities filled. The bill was over $1,000 but I paid $115. I did not have dental insurance at my last two jobs and, unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to pay for all of the maintenance I needed. So, I’m paying for it now, so to speak,  with the endless fillings and whatnot. But, at least I have insurance to cover most of the cost. The rest can be covered by FSA or outright cash. Good job benefits are crucial.

Mr T is coming over for dinner tonight. It’ll be nice to have his company.

Shopping is my cardio.

Since I have an engaged audience, I’ll keep writing.

It’s 8:27pm and I’m just home after a trip to a beach town in RI with a wonderful Technion supporter. I stopped at Providence Place for a bite to eat, and it was nice to stroll through the mall – one of my happy places. #shoppingismycardio

Mom is rumored to be going home on Saturday. Apparently, today, she told my dad that she was signing herself out of the hospital. Dad said, “fine, but I’m not driving you home.” Poor lady. Dad is heading home tonight with Ken & Marina, and they’ll go back to hospital tomorrow. He’ll stay home. So glad he’s going home. He needs his own bed.

And I’m hearing all this via text & phone. It feels good to be back in my office and seeing Mr T again. He’s got his kids this weekend so I’m on my own. Laundry, sleep, catch up on Hulu.

Keep keeping on.

I found a place that works for me.

I am on the train on my way back home after a week or so in NYC for my job. I’ve been in my current job for 6 months and I still love it. It fulfills all of the things I had been looking for – professional development, strong management, room for growth, fair compensation and great benefits – the list could go on.

I do not take this for granted. I am grateful, although I know I worked hard to get here. I am happy to have found a place that works well for me. Hooray!

The Gifts of Imperfection

A few hours ago, about 15 miles away, author and psychologist Brene Brown took the stage at a conference and spoke, likely, about her newest book and research. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience her lecture in person, but there are plenty of her past interviews and talks to listen to online.

brownI can’t remember, but I feel like I’ve probably written about brown in the past. I first learned about her if you jobs ago when we read the book “Daring Greatly,” which focuses on vulnerability. It particularly resonated with me because she discusses that when we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, we can help eliminate the shame we feel about our imperfections.

I recently purchased Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection” to help me continue on the path to “knock down” and remove the power of my so-called perfectionism. You see, perfectionists like myself aim to be good at everything – or, at least on the surface – so that we don’t have to deal with the shame or hurt feelings as a result of making a mistake or being imperfect.

My past history with an eating disorder clearly matches up with a perfectionist personality. When I didn’t want to feel, I would attempt to numb my pain with food. Well, guess what, that didn’t work!

Through years of hard work, I’ve been able to tackle my perfectionism and exist with my feelings – good or bad. But, let me tell you, it is hard!

I listened to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast where she interviewed Brown. Listen. Trust me, it’ll be 30 minutes well spent. And there is a part two!

Brown mentioned something that has been resonating with me all day. She said that we don’t pair “joy” with “gratitude” enough. We need to take the time to relish the good things that happen every day, whether it is the wind on our face as we open our sunroof and windows on a beautiful day….or the company of a good friend over an unexpected lunch date….or a morning with little traffic on the way to work.

I can tell that I’m conquering my perfectionism. I made a silly mistake today at work – no big deal and typical for someone still learning their job after only being there for 3-weeks. I am not obsessing over it the way I would have in the past. I acknowledged it with an “oy vey!” and moved on (besides writing about it here!). In the past it would have kept me from sleeping at night – this silly little thing that means nothing in the scheme of life. But tonight, I will not let it fester. I will work hard to let it go!

I will continue to look for things in Brown’s writing and research that resonate. I look forward to discovering more of her wisdom and using it to grow as a person.

Now, go out and dare greatly!

External Forces 

It’s been a tearful week–sometimes joyful, moreso, not. I’m working hard to treat myself kindly and respectfully, but it’s hard to fight the external forces that are cruel and unkind. There is a potential light at the end of this emotional tunnel, but it is somewhat out of my control. The light symbolizes growth, focus, and reprieve from the unkind forces. Unfortunately I’m surrounded by the unkind forces despite my best efforts to leave them behind. I long to leave them behind without looking back. 

I blame myself. How did I get here again? And, how can I escape these dark forces?

I have started believing that I don’t deserve to be treated with respect because of these outside forces – you’re not good enough, you don’t work hard enough, you need time for yourself & we don’t accept that. 

I am fighting hard against these forces and need to believe I will come out, on the other end, unscathed and at peace.

I am determined.

Tony Robbins is tall and a genius.

3946634-anthony-robbins-quote.jpgI’ve never paid much attention to Tony Robbins. Before last night, I knew his name, that he is a famous motivational speaker, and that he has a raspy voice. That pretty much covers it.

I had a bad case of insomnia last night. This happens from time to time, but most often when I have a big work event coming up. This time it is our annual gala.

So, often I will listen to podcasts to help lull me to sleep. One of my favorite reporters/newscasters is Katie Couric. She’s spunky. She has a new podcast where she interviews politicians, celebs, people of notable interest, etc. I had the Tony Robbins interview in my queue for a bit because I wasn’t that interested in hearing it, but last night, I figured I would give it a whirl.

Tony Robbins is a brilliant and fascinating man! He grew up in an abusive household and despite the odds, ended up on top! He gets paid about $1 million a day, and he tries not to have more than 3-4 clients at a time. They are usually top CEOS and, you know, the President of the United States, though Trump is not a current client.

hqdefault.jpgBut what intrigued me was the quick-thinking advice that came out of Tony’s (like how we’re on a first name basis?) mouth? Just brilliant. I can’t afford his advice, but I can watch his TV specials or something on YouTube…and I can afford a book!

P.S. Uh oh. He sells a green drink on his website. Let’s pretend we didn’t see that, huh?

 

 

 

 

How to survive a gum graft and frenectomy

download.jpegWhile I was recovering from my second (gulp, yes!) gum graft and frenectomy, I did a ton of googling and didn’t find a lot of reporting from patients on what to expect. Most of the things I found online were from periodontist offices, which is helpful, but I thought I’d share some of my survival tips for future oral surgery patients.

A little background first: I had a gum graft and frenectomy about a year and a half ago. When I went to visit my dentist for my first teeth cleaning post-oral surgery, he told me that the doctor didn’t do it well and I would need it to be repeated. Sigh. Not what you want to hear after 3 months of recovery! It took me another year to schedule the re-do because I had started a new job, but this past January 4, 2017, I went under the knife again.

It’s been about 2 weeks and I’m healing very well. I went for my follow-up today and I’m on the road to recovery!  Here are my main learnings from this second experience.

  1. You’re going to miss more work than you think.  Even though this is a routine procedure, it is still surgery! Give yourself about a week at home to recover, especially if you’re taking heavy pain killers like I was. I took almost all of the Oxycodone that I was prescribed because the first few days were tough. As a result, I was in no shape to work or do much of anything. My doctor gave me a note for work and it stated that it could take up to 10 days for you to be back to work. Take the time – you may need it!
  2. Stock up on shakes! For about a week, I couldn’t chew on anything. Period. I survived on Odwalla Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are very caloric, but you’ll need them to keep up your strength. Odwalla shakes are dairy and soy, so keep that in mind if you have any allergies. And, now that the dressing has been removed from my gum graft area, I’m sticking to soft foods and shakes for another few days.
  3. Mozzarella is the perfect post-surgical soft food! Enough said.
  4. Use the mouthwash. It’s going to be painful to brush so use the prescription mouthwash twice a day. It will save you from horrible breath!
  5. Stock up on Advil and Tylenol: You’ll want to switch between the two. One for pain, one for swelling.
  6. Re-freeze those instant ice packs: Get a few of those “break and turn cold immediately” ice packs for the day of surgery. Then, pop them back into the freezer to reuse all week. Life savor, and fairly cheap.
  7. Do not talk: Trust me, I talk more than anyone else I know. You’ll recover faster if you shut up.
  8. It will hurt, but it gets better each day: It’s surgery in your mouth – it is going to hurt! But fortunately, the mouth heals fast so I promise it gets better.
  9. No crunchy food: It will get stuck in your stitches and hurt very badly. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Stick with soft foods for a long time!
  10. Grilled or roast chicken cut up into tiny pieces will become your bestie: Best solid food besides the mozzarella. Get a roasted chicken at Costco and cut it up into small pieces. I’ve been eating it plain, and tonight I make it with brown rice and melted cheese. All soft, tasty, and filling.

Good luck with your gum graft and/or frenectomy from one oral surgery survivor to another!

 

 

Are you self-loathing?

download.jpegI’ve had a terrible epiphany recently. I’m a bit of a self-loather. Yep, horrible, huh? No matter what I accomplish in my life, I focus on the small mistakes and let them fester.

I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I can still remember bad things people have said about me from middle school. I can remember incidents at various jobs where I’ve done something or said something I regret, and I still beat myself up over it, including one specific incident from 2005 – almost 12 years ago!

But, as this article from Huff Post states, self-loathing is learned. One sign, says the article is that, “you set your hopes low to decrease the chances of failing.” I do this every day, but I refer to it as “self-preservation from disappointment.” I recently applied for a prestigious fellowship but I’ve already told already, “Don’t expect me to get it. It’s very competitive.” Or, I’ve applied for jobs in the past and said the same thing.

The article also says that you are self-loathing if you “You apologize for every little thing.” Holy shit. I’ve always thought I do this because I’m a women in leadership and have been put down pretty much my entire career. This is why I think I work so hard – to overcompensate for the cruel treatment I’ve received from some previous managers over the years. But I do apologize a lot! If I earned a dollar every time I’ve written “Many apologies…” in a work email, I’d be independently wealthy!

The article next discusses: “You try to motivate your work using tough love.” I am constantly punishing myself, making myself work harder and harder because I never believe what I’m doing is good enough. I am tough on myself! And then I make myself feel guilty when I take a break from work..or plan a vacation..but the good news is that I enjoyed my vacation this past September with no baggage. Pure joy!

Sign. Next up in the article: “You place emphasis on the times you are wrong.” Yep, yep, yep, and yep. See above.

Ok. We get it. I am a clear cut case.

Now, what do I do about it?

Simple. It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and it’s all about forgiveness and self-compassion. One of the things I try to do is put myself in other people’s shoes…it helps…and also to recognize that just because my mind is going there, doesn’t mean it is fact.

This article gives some great tips, including embracing being “good enough.” Still working on that.

The other thing I do about it? I write about it here – admitting it openly is a big step for me towards letting it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My non-New Year’s Resolutions

goals.jpgMy dear friend emailed me last week and said that he found that when he shared goals for the New Year with others, he was able to achieve them because others held him accountable. So, I’m game! I sent him my 2017 – and beyond –  goals (listed below) but I am also posting them on my blog for those of you to read and hold me accountable. They are not New Year’s Resolutions. They are things I’ve been working on for a while now and will continue to pursue in 2017.
1. Be kinder to myself and focus on self care when I need it.
2. Stick with taking my weight management medication but don’t be angry with myself if I gain some weight back…it will ebb and flow.
3. Focus on my career goals and don’t let your others make you feel like you are less than you are. Work towards your goal of becoming a leader of an organization.
4. Don’t let your work dominate your life in 2017. Make time for dating, relationships, friendships, love.
5. Keep up with the journey on keeping your home clean. Remember, you’re doing it for you.
What are your goals for this year…and beyond?

Patterns

Have you ever taken the time to look for patterns in your life? You know what I mean. We all do things by habitually and the reality is, sometimes you don’t notice the patterns unless you write about them on a blog. When I’ve gone back and looked at posts from SingleSassy.com, my old dating blog, I’ve noticed a downward spiral in my mood sometime in early January each year. This is definitely due to the weather, the lack of natural sunlight, the depreciation of vitamin D, and anything else that is negatively related to the New England winter. Because I’ve noticed these trends, I’ve worked really hard to try to battle some of these challenges that I face year after year. 

A few years ago, I went to visit my parents in March, who were staying in Florida, and I was ready to pack my bags and move there after a few days of sun and relaxation. But a few hours after I landed back in Boston, I called my mom and said that I did not want to leave my home. As much as I enjoyed being in the sun, I didn’t want to leave my life back in Boston. But it was good for me to have a short break and to get some sunshine. This winter and spring are very busy at work. Unfortunately, because of the timing of our annual gala, I am not able to go visit my parents in Florida. So this afternoon, after spending a significant amount of time looking for good prices, I booked an excursion to the happiest place on earth…for me… Rome, Italy!

Listen, I got an amazing deal, but it isn’t as if I’m rolling in the dough. I rationalized booking this trip as an investment in my mental health. I think I may have written in an earlier post that I said to a few people in the last six months, that I truly believe that if I keep going the way I am in my life that I will die young from a heart attack or stress. I don’t want that to happen. So I am really trying to be more mindful and take care of myself. I’ve chosen a line of work that doesn’t allow for any moment of pause or relaxation when you’re in the throes of it, so it’s up to me to carve out time where I can focus on the things that I love. And for me, since 1996, the one thing that gives me absolute joy is spending time in Rome. Throw in a Caravaggio painting or sculpture by Bernini, and I’m in heaven.

But, really, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I can be sitting on the stoop in a random Piazza. Or, I can grab a piece of pizza at a local Italian bar. Or, I can be sipping espresso while watching people walk by. It doesn’t really matter. The pure joy of being in Rome is enough.

When I was in Rome earlier this year, I felt no depression or anxiety. I just walked and walked and walked throughout the city, and enjoyed every moment.

Is it April yet?

What inspires you?

Sometimes we need to stop, take a breath, and remember to reflect on the small things in life.  I like this list of 50 ways to find inspiration by blogger .

I experienced #29 today – a half day conference on board & staff relationships.  Interesting stuff.

 

No Baggage

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 7.31.29 PMI had an epiphany tonight.  I rarely take my work home with me anymore.  Ok, I technically do since my personal and professional laptop are currently one, but I’m talking more metaphorically.  I don’t leave the office anymore, carrying home suitcases of bad feelings, job dissatisfaction, anger, and hurt.  Instead, I leave with my briefcase – full of promise – which I leave at the door when I get home from work.  It doesn’t come upstairs with me unless I need to clean it out, but that’s only sporadic.  It lives at the foot of my stairs, hanging on a hook, and waiting for a new day.

It feel good to have little to no baggage.  I feel lighter – physically and spiritually – and it leaves more room in my mind for the good things in life, like family, friendships, and recreation.

Moving On 

Had lunch with a dear friend today who has been in my life for years, but most recently, she was connected to my old job.  You know what I realized tonight?  The pain I felt from that experience has faded.  It’s not so raw anymore.  I’m in a good place – good, healthy job environment – with a supportive culture. I feel myself moving on & it is an incredible feeling of true healing.  Thank you, friend, for helping me feel good today.

 

Shame

Recently I attended a discussion with an author, Jon Ronson, about his recent book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.  It’s a fascinating read on the use – or should I say, abuse – of social media to pounce on someone for writing a stupid or silly or even misinterpreted comment on FB, Twitter, etc.

I think about these things often. Recently someone asked me how I handle being a dating blogger and working as a professional fundraiser.  I responded that I have to be ok with anyone stumbling upon my blog.  Period.  If I am not, then I have to remove it from the internet.  But I’ve realized that as I’ve gotten older, I don’t mind being a transparent human being.  If someone wants to read this and learn more about me as a whole person, then so be it.  I can’t compartmentalize myself.  I’ve tried that in the past and I end up not seeming authentic.

At the same time, I believe there is a time and a place for everything.  Probably not a great idea to talk about a one-night-stand or a drunken evening at a staff meeting at work.  That’s more for banter with your best friend or roommate.

Read Jon’s book.  It’s fascinating.

This is NOT a sponsored post and I have not affiliation with Jon.  I just dig him.

A Year in Review (or the Virtual Christmas Card)

I’ve been hearing a lot of radio stories, especially on NPR, about the history of the Christmas card and specifically, the Christmas story, where someone takes the time to write a sort of “year in review” or retrospective of their past year and shares it with their friends and loved ones.  There’s been some criticism as of late of the virtual Christmas card – “too lazy” or “too impersonal” or “too braggy” but I like the idea because it allows you to share your story with a variety of people through the ease of email or, in my case, blogging.

So, I decided to take this moment to reflect on the past year and write my own Christmas story.  We’re going to call mine a “Year in Review” namely because I’m Jewish and because it’s more of an homage to my 39th birthday, which is coming up on Thursday (and yes, I’ll accept presents and tokens of your esteem).

And here we have it….my year in review….

2013resolutionsThis time last year was a very odd time in my life.  I had just quit my job and while I had been going on a series of promising interviews, I was technically about to be unemployed come December 31.  I had never quit a job without another one and while it was a necessity, it was also very nerve-wracking.

But I was determined to make the most of my time, so I did some quality volunteer work, babysat for friends’ little ones, read, visited my parents in NJ, and definitely did not wallow.  In fact, on my 38th birthday, I spent the day with a variety of friends taking advantage of all the freebies you can get on your birthday.

I had a free breakfast at Au Bon Pan with Ally; free burger at B.Good with Heather; and a free dinner at a local pub with Rebecca.  In between, I got a free gift at Sephora and a free blowout at the hair salon.  It was a blast!

A few days later I found out about the job opening at my current place of employment and the rest is history.  On January 28th, just few weeks after I stopped working, I began my current job and it has been a truly wonderful experience.  I really enjoy my job and I truly believe everything happens for a reason.

Since then I’ve been working hard, making some really wonderful new friends at my job – seriously, these women are fabulous – and feeling very satisfied at the end of the workday.

I’ve been blogging more and more for Single Sassy, picked up a lot more subscribers/Facebook fans/Twitter followers (hello everyone!), and started blogging for other sites as well.  This is such a blessing – so fun to write for an audience – and also very cathartic for my soul as well.

As you’ve read on the blog, there have been quite a few men that have come and gone from my life over the last year as well.  Some more significant than others, but no one has stood the test of time and my heart is open for that someone special.  In the meanwhile, I continue to date, flirt and continue to hope that the right person is out there for me!  Someone I know is setting me up with a Harvard professor so I certainly have that to look forward to!

Here are some memorable things about 2013:

  • A bunch of my single friends had babies on their own.  How empowering!  They didn’t have a man in their life, but they knew they wanted a child, so they did it anyhow.  Good for them!
  • My dad joined Facebook.  The man is 76.  He doesn’t use it but swears he will.  Viva 2014!
  • I dated someone who was 16 years older than me…..who was 16 years younger than my mom.  Weird.
  • My brother and sister-in-law celebrated their 10th anniversary.
  • I received my first offer for a paid blog post.
  • Three people very close in my life were all diagnosed with serious forms of cancer.  As of 12/16/13, one is cured and two are in remission.
  • And finally, I still wonder: why does the fox say?

I want to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to support me and Single Sassy on this journey over the past two years.  If you’re new to the blog, I welcome you and hope you’ll come back again.  There will be lots more in the coming year(s).

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Single Supplements = Unmarried Inequality

Have you ever gone on a cruise?  If you’re married, you easily book a double cabin for a reasonable rate, often including bunk beds or a separate room for the kiddos.  If you’re single, like me, it’s a separate story.  We’re usually charged a “single supplement.”  This means we have to tack on a few hundred bucks – sometimes as much as $1,000 – because we are single and don’t have a roommate.  This happens even on singles cruises!  If you get your own room, you often have to pay a lot more money.  Granted, you get your own room, but you’re still taking up the same space!  If you bunk with a roommate, you get a better deal.  I usually choose this option because there is also the expense of the flight, etc.  You get it!  Singles supplements are, frankly, a pain in the ass and in the wallet!

Ok, fine, you’re sitting here, reading this, and thinking – “Waaa!  Waaa!  Poor Single Sassy!  She has to pay extra for her vacations so she can have a quiet, peaceful room with her own bathroom!  Waaa!”

But I’m just letting you know what it is like for those of us who are single.

I almost lost out on buying my first condo because I was a single woman.  Yep.  I lost out on several bids because I was a one-income person buying my place.  I only ended up with my place because the divorcing couple whose bid was originally accepted couldn’t make their mortgage work.  And my conscientious efforts to get my finances in order ended up making me the better candidate – but I believe my marital status was an obstacle.

That was just the warm up.  It gets a lot worse.

Did you know that in addition to having to pay almost double for my vacations, I also pay thousands of dollars more in taxes than my married friends?  Yep, that single supplement also applies to my US Income Taxes, which, if I want to privilege to live and work in this country (and trust me, I do!!), then I have to shell out more money than my married counterparts.  In a recent report by Onely.org, published in The Atlantic magazine, shares some of the following highlights:

According to Onely’s calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily spend a million dollars more than his or her married peer over the course of a lifetime, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws.

Listen, I’m 38 years old and I’ve been working for non-for-profits the majority of my career.  Needless to say, I put in many hours and have worked very hard to move up the ranks to receive a livable wage.  Trust me when I say it took a long time to get there!  And to think that I may spend $1 million dollars more than my married friends on taxes is ludicrous!

Luckily, I am not standing alone today.  I’m joining an effort with dozens of other bloggers who are posting about this very same topic on this very same day.  Why today?  Because it is April 15th – Tax Day – and we chose this day as a symbolic reminder that income taxes are one of the many ways that singles don’t get the same benefits as marrieds.

If you’re single, you get it.  If you’re married, you get it because you were once single.

I want to wait to get married until I meet the right person.  I don’t want to get married so I’ll save money on my taxes.

Just trying to get my voice heard – along with my fellow bloggers – today.

Please support us by posting a link to this blog or the articles above on Facebook and Twitter.  Our hashtags are  #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest.

Thank you!

 

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P.S.  I hope I don’t sound like a bitter single woman in this because as you know, I DO want to get married someday!  But that doesn’t mean I won’t stand beside my single friends if and hopefully when that day comes!!