Back to Basics

The next page in the You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job book, simply reads:

Back to basics

What does “back to basics” mean to you?

Basics could be the ABCs, or reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  Perhaps “basics” refers to living off the land – growing your own vegetables, raising chickens or goats or cows.

Then there’s the fashion basic – black.  I used to wear black a lot.  Many larger women did and still do.  I didn’t trust my own judgment about what colors might flatter me so I went for black because it was easy.  And of course there was the lie we all believed for years that black was slimming.  [Eye roll.]  Now I wear a variety of colors and love it.

Basic jewelry equals pearls.  A simple string of pearls was the one piece of jewelry my mother gave me when I was a young woman.

Basics can also include learning to roller skate, or ride a bike, or drive a car.  Baking your very first cake, meticulously following the directions.

I’m trying to relate “basics” to my job and the only thing I can come up with is learning to touch type and taking dictation.  I never learned to take dictation myself.  But I can proofread, spellcheck, transcribe audio, type quickly and accurately and file like a badass.

Basics got me where I am, with a few flourishes along the way.

Let me know what back to basics means to you, won’t you?



This is another digression from the “Freaking Great” volume so please accept my apologies if you were hoping for more from the book.

Earlier today while I was getting ready for work the faded white lines on the inside of my wrists stood out for some reason.  They’ve been there for 40+ years – since I tried for the second time to take my life. I see them every day but today they were unexpectedly “front and center” in my brain.  I imagine it has something to do with my mother-in-law passing last week and the reminder of my own mortality.  If I had been successful all those years ago you wouldn’t be reading this — duh — but I realized besides writing, there is quite a LOT I would have missed.

In no particular order:

  • The joy and heartache of being a mother
  • Laughing till you cry
  • Fresh bread that I mixed, kneaded and baked from scratch
  • Dog kisses
  • Grandchildren
  • Pie
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Coffee
  • The ocean
  • Dark chocolate
  • Croissants
  • Doctor Who
  • Reading
  • Crossword puzzles

Looking back over the list I see it’s far from complete (where’s the damn steak after all?), but there’s still a lot to love about my life.  As 2018 unfolds I need to keep this list handy (after I add “steak” and maybe “beer”). I’m sure there will be moments of frustration, sadness, and pain but these reminders will help me press on.  I have it pretty good after all.

Thanks for stopping by.


Make Like a Superhero

Today’s entry from the You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job book is a bit of advice.  There’s no author cited but it sounds good so I’m sharing it here:

“Before your next big meeting or job interview, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and put your hands on your hips. A 2012 study by the Harvard Business School found that striking a high-power pose like this increases testosterone and lowers stress, leading to better performance.”

Just don’t let your cape trip the interviewer!

Side note:  This works almost as well when you’re returning to work after a week-long, unexpected and sad absence.  I just call it “putting on your big girl panties” and getting on with life.  My mother-in-law would agree.


A Resilient Woman

In 9 days my mother-in-law will be 88, but she isn’t going to make it.

Taking a break from the “freaking awesome” parade, I’ve been at the hospital several days including spending New Year night in the recliner in her room.  Mom had a massive heart attack early New Year morning and the doctor called us about 5:30 for permission to do a cardiac procedure.  The hospital is at least an hour from where we live so between trying to reach my SIL, talking with one daughter and texting another we weren’t able to get to Everett till about 7:30. 

They had already done the catheterization and the news wasn’t good: they couldn’t use a stent or balloon – there were too many blockages. Mom is not a candidate for surgery either.  All they can do is try to manage it with meds.

When I asked the nurse whether the family should be told to come she said yes and my heart broke.

This strong, generous, and loving woman welcomed me and my children into her family with wide open arms.  She has been through much in her life – losing her father at a very young age, being neglected by her grieving mother, years later losing her first husband and having to support two small children and her mother, having a second husband leave while carrying his child. 

However, she and her third husband, my father-in-law, had a 50+ year marriage.  I never saw them unhappy or angry, though I’ve heard my husband’s stories, and it’s clear it wasn’t always a fairytale romance. 

Now the three remaining children have gathered at her bedside, along with some of the many grandchildren.  She slept most of yesterday, waking only minutes at a time to greet each newcomer. Her nurse said it would likely continue this way – the sleeping for long periods interspersed with short waking moments, until she doesn’t wake up again, leaving a huge hole in the fabric of our family.  

I’m so glad she found her prince in the end. As sad as the loss will be for us, I hope she gets to see him again soon.


Here Comes the Sun

Since I am pre-writing and scheduling some of these posts I have no idea if there really is sunshine this 3rd day of 2018.  But that’s the next page in the book, see:

Here Comes the Sun

So if there isn’t sunshine where you are, here’s a something to make your hump day a little brighter!


You Deserve All the Good Things

Hey, who am I to argue?  That’s what the next page in the You Are Doing a Freaking Awesome Job book says.

All. The. Good. Things.  Let that thought settle in and make itself comfortable in your brain.

Sooo, what constitutes “Good Things”?  For me at least it’s simple stuff:

Finding my usual parking spot available at the park and ride – every day.

The occasional Theo Chocolate bar – my favorite seasonal choice is the Cranberry Orange!  When it isn’t the holidays I stick with the Cherry Almond.  What can I say – I like crunch in my dark chocolate.

A few months back I switched from coffee to tea (yes really).  I was drinking entirely too much.  Now I have a cup of caffeinated tea first thing in the morning at home, or occasionally I’ll pick up a Lightly Sweet Chai at Starbucks on my way to the train.  Their regular Chai is too sweet for me.  Rarely, I’ll treat myself and get a Flat White, which for those of you not in the know, is a Starbucks not-sweet coffee drink – yes, they have those!  Another of my good things would be to indulge in coffee again at will, not rarely.

Comfy shoes.  No wait…comfy shoes that I can wear at work!  Ahhh.

And Universe, if you’re listening I’d like one genuine, real vacation please.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, I’d just like to not spend it with family.  Pretty please.

What are your Good Things?