The Rosie Bee

Starring Grizzy and Sophie

My two cuddle bugs

grizzy and sophie curled up together

Cuddle bugs

I thought it was absolutely adorable how these two curled up together. They’ve been such a comfort to me, especially with all that’s gone on the past several months. Things are definitely picking up but I have to say, I’m not as young as I used to be! It takes a lot longer to “recover” from life happenings. These guys let me know it’s OK to chill out and take my time once in a while.

What’s been going on lately:
My Toastmasters year is winding down. Two more meetings and I’ll say good-bye to my presidency. It’s been a good year, full of lots of growth and thing I’m proud of. I’m very proud of my team.

Car repairs! Don’t you just love it, every time you think you’re getting ahead something like that happens. 🙂 BUT I have a job, which means regular income, and the repair is reasonable. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a new car.

Hopefully my rent won’t go up too much. The place where I live recently transferred hands, so here’s hoping that doesn’t mean a big rent increase.

I’ve made a goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day this month and so far, so good.

I’m really tired. Honestly, I sit down to write a decent post about what’s been going on but like right now, I’m sitting and ready to crash. Maybe it’s all the fresh air and exercise I’ve been getting? But I’m happy I’m up to one post a week, woo!

Have a great week, everyone!


Quick update

A lot has been going on at TRB HQ. I (Susan) lost my job a month ago and have been hustling like mad to find another. Forty-some resumes submitted, several recruiters contacted, a few promising interviews, a couple really dark days, a couple freelance jobs (talk about blessings), and lots of hustling in general. On one hand, I thought “Being jobless will suck because how will I fill my days?” but on the other hand, I’ve been keeping pretty busy with searching for jobs and now the freelance. It’s nice because keeping busy with that helps keep the panicked mind at bay.

I am really hoping one of these interviews leads to an offer because we gotta eat, haha. I’ve been asking a LOT of questions during the interviews and doing a lot of research on my own. I even have my little spreadsheet complete with notes and a ratings scale. I’m looking for the right fit…but, of course, I also need a job so I’m not dismissing anything outright.

In other crazy-but-good news, I had a friend from out of state stay with me last weekend. I let her have the bed, so I hunkered down on the couch. I was touched to wake up and see these two small fries planted on me. 🙂

Sophie and Griz during W's stay

My snuggle bugs.

That’s the status here. Fingers crossed that I’m gainfully employed soon. I hope to get back to posting regularly then. No doubt, I am looking for jobs and applying daily, but it’s hard to get energy for anything else. Trying to stay positive, though. 🙂


Word-full Wednesday: 2016, the Year I Learn to Chill

Sophie and G kitties on bed

Chillin’ in the New Year

Today is Word-full Wednesday!

One of my 2016 goals was daily meditation. I’ve started small, five minutes a day, but already I can tell a big difference. Maybe it’s the meditation that’s caused me to re-evaluate my 2016 list, or maybe it’s simply been relaxing with the kitties and truly being in the moment and enjoying it. Maybe it’s watching A Chef’s Life and the small-town life it portrays. Whatever it was, suddenly everything I set for 2016 felt too much like a workplace SMART goal. After one meditation session (haha, a lengthy five-minute “session”) I noticed how calm I felt and I realized, “This is what I want!”

This year what I really want is a sense of peace and balance for once in my life. Last year I felt like fear drove so many decisions, and I felt like I was so reactive. It’s no surprise I ended up in some incredibly stressful situations and with anxiety that was pretty much a constant companion.

This year, I want to chill the heck out. I don’t want to be so driven by fear. I want to be thoughtful in my actions and take measured risks now and then, but I don’t want to jump (or freeze) due to fear. I want to be more thoughtful in how I spend my time and what I put in my body. I want to care less what people think and more of what is right for me in decisions affecting my life.

I know life always happens and things come up, but I think if I focus on keeping a sense of peace and balance, I’ll be better able to react to these things, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Because really, who knows what 2016 will bring? Dun-dun-DUN!

That’s enough navel-gazing for one year, right? 😉 In short, less stress, more kittehs.

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Oh, 2015…

This was an interesting year, to say the least. There were some big work changes (one that broke my heart and one that just about gave me an ulcer), a serious crisis of confidence, a major death, but when all was said and done, I started and ended the year at jobs I enjoy, with a roof over my head, with enough to eat, and with two healthy kitties, so that’s good.

Sophie and G curled up on the paw print blanket

A year with these two small fries; what could be better than that?

Still, I’ve learned some life lessons in 2015:

Trust your gut. See a red or even yellow flag followed with a reasonable explanation? Think twice. Sometimes it’s best to turn around before the explanations start pouring in.

Nothing is worth getting an ulcer over. My body went haywire from stress and ulcers aren’t worth it. Bodies break down on their own with age; why hasten it? (Yes, easier said than done, but not a bad reminder.)

Plan ahead. It’s never a bad idea to have a nest egg or a Plan B just in case.

Things work out. Things may not work out exactly as you’d hoped, but they will.

True friends are worth gold. I knew this already, but it deserves to be said again.

In random things:

I started reading again! I don’t have a set number of books read, but I’m excited to be reading at least one a week these days. For a good chunk of the year I couldn’t focus (stress, body out of whack) but the last quarter or so things calmed down and voila! Concentration back! Books were read!

I ran a bunch of 5Ks and one 7K. My best time was 30 minutes but I hope to get it under in 2016. Right now I don’t have a set time, but seeing a time start with a “2” would be cool.

I painted a lot of furniture. It’s such fun and very therapeutic.

I watched a lot of Boardwalk Empire (Richard Harrow ❤ ❤ ❤ ) and A Chef's Life. Also PBS and QVC. I love me some commercial-free tv that doesn't move at the speed of light.

I finally signed up for online dating, mostly to tell people "I told you so", and yeah. The experiment is still in its nascent stage, so more to come (maybe).

I freelanced, and once I got into a good rhythm/schedule, I found I really like it! (Now to learn how to make really good money at it, lol.)

I made it halfway through my first term as president of my Toastmasters group. What a learning experience. I'm told my year has been an anomaly but wow. I've had to handle a lot of sensitive situations. Good leadership experience, but I've got to admit, I enjoy giving speeches more.

In “life” events that broke my heart and changed my life
My grandma died. I don’t mean to tuck this in the middle, like it wasn’t the biggest even of 2015, because it was huge. In fact, I’m still processing it.

The whole job thing. Even now I miss the job I had at the beginning of the year. I spoke to my former boss after she left, and she said leaving broke her heart. I feel the same way. I loved what I did and I loved my team, but I didn’t love the craziness all around me. It’s sad, but it’s time to let that little bit go because I know it could never be the same; literally 95% of my team–we’re talking the larger group department here–is gone. But I’m happy to be at a place I enjoy and I look forward to a long future there. That’s definitely a very good way to start 2016.

Next year’s keywords: Balance and mindfulness. I’d like to focus on both, since I didn’t have either this year. Time to get more focused and not so reactive and frankly, I’d like to be a bit calmer and get my confidence back up where it was at the beginning of the year. I think focusing on a good balance and being mindful of keeping that balance will help.

Next year’s goals (do/see/be). A little reminder list for myself:

  • More yoga (specifically, I’d like to be able to do the ashtanga primary series on my own. I love yoga, and I enjoy my DVDs, but it’d be nice to have it be a little more “portable” and committed to memory)
  • Daily meditation
  • Canning! I will can this year!
  • More sewing (I’d like to try for four pieces)
  • Knit a sweater
  • Knock out two speeches and (finally) earn my ACS with Toastmasters
  • Visit a new-to-me state
  • Continue learning Illustrator
  • Volunteer regularly. Probably with a shelter or animal rescue.
  • Make a book of photos for 2016. I had planned to do that this year and it fell off my radar. It’s too easy to let images just sit on my phone; 2016 will be the year they are put in book format so I can enjoy them for years to come.

    Post-holiday greetings

    The TRB team took a little break from blogging and the internets the past week, but we all hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I am one of those people who absolutely loves Christmas, but I always end up getting a touch of the holiday blues. Weird, I know. I think The Bloggess put it very nicely when she talked about weird expectations and sometimes our brains misfire. Point being, I understand it’s not always the most wonderful time of the year for people, but I do hope your time was wonderful and you took good care of yourself. 🙂

    I ended up taking care of myself by being productive yesterday! I made five gallons of laundry detergent (I think I’m set for 2016), sorted through some clothes to donate, vacuumed extensively, scrubbed by stove top coils, cooked some soup, and watched my brother hang a coat rack. I watched to learn: as I told him, I’m not 100% confident of how to find studs, when to use those butterfly/anchor hooks in drywall, etc. I knew I could try but I didn’t want to end up with a zillion holes in my wall before I figured it out. Now I know and I have a nifty new coat rack to book. More things on the walls = more room! I love it.

    Grizzy in the kitchen wanting me to pet him

    Momma, it is time to pet me!

    Grizzy is quite the baby (and I love him for that) and decided I wasn’t spending enough time with him, so he proceeded to flop down by my feet and roll around the kitchen floor. It was quite endearing. After I took my laundry soap to the basement and popped my stovetop coils back on, we settled down to watch A Chef’s Life. It’s a wonderful life, indeed.

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    Double-decker kitties

    …anxiously waiting for the snow to arrive!

    Double-decker kitties.

    Double-decker kitties.

    I hope you all had a nice weekend. This was the first weekend in a really long time where I didn’t have too much to do. It was weird to get errands done on Saturday and realize “Hey, I can take a nap.” One of my favorite things is laying down for a nap and then the cats come up and join me. I always think “It’s family nap time!” I was especially happy to get in a lot sleeping time on Saturday because I woke up feeling like death. Thankfully that passed for the most part, because on Sunday I had a concert to go to. Specifically, I was asked to tell a holiday story at my friend’s Christmas concert.

    It was really nice–there were singers, a little brass band, soloists… My mom and sister went and both commented that it was like the holiday concerts of our youth. It was at a small church and it was really nice and cozy; a lovely sense of community. A very nice time.

    I hope you had an equally nice weekend! Here’s to three-day work weeks!


    Thrifty Thursday: Santa shirts!

    I’ve said it before, but you can find such great practical stuff at thrift stores. Things you’ll actually use more than you think, like workout gear. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you even find items that work double-duty, like a Santa-print running shirt for a holiday run! 🙂

    JBR 2015

    Flossin’ and stunning in my thrift store threads.

    This shirt is especially great because it’s made of a light wicking material. The run was in November, but it was hot. I passed a mom and her son and the mom was insisting the boy “Drink this water now, I don’t need you to have heatstroke!” I don’t know that it was quite that hot, but it was unseasonably warm. I could have comfortably run in shirts and a t-shirt, to be honest. During the run I was sweating plenty but this shirt kept me relatively cool and didn’t stick to me, thanks to the wicking material. Another thrift store win for maybe $4.

    In other news, this was my first attempt at Photoshop! Yay! I didn’t do anything to me; I just blocked out the license plate, cropped it, and added some text. I’m trying to get more familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator, so be on the lookout for new and exciting experiments coming here soon. Haha.

    Anyhow, this picture got me thinking. Let me backtrack. This past weekend I was digging through old photos and it was very strange and even sad because I looked at some photos and thought, “Wow, I thought I was ugly/heavy/not good enough” and a whole mess of other negative things, which frankly weren’t true. I was young, physically healthy, and had no basis for feeling those things. It upset me that I felt so bad about myself and directed all those negative thoughts inward. So when I saw the picture above, a part of me started to have that knee-jerk reaction of “I should be/look/have…”. Then I decided screw that. I don’t want to see “Oh, my thighs are too big” or “OMG wrinkles.” I want to look and see the positives. I don’t want to beat myself for not being Photoshop perfect because really, no one is. And even if they were, too bad, so sad.

    In this picture, I just finished a 5K and I felt great. I see a body that just carried me through a 3.1-mile run. This picture reminds me that I have mind that keeps me focused when I think “I’m too old for this” and want to quit. I also see a pretty stellar thrift-store shirt and a cup of coffee, which explains the silly grin on my face.

    I also see what a gorgeous day it was! I don’t often get down to the lakefront, but gosh, it really is pretty.

    Anyhow. That’s what I want to see when I see myself in pictures* – and I hope you see the good when you look at pictures of yourself, too. 🙂

    *At least the good ones, haha. My brother played paparazzi during the race and he got an extreme close-up of me mid-race that I’m keeping under wraps! But at least I can laugh at it.


    Christmas is in the air (and in the blankets)

    I brought out my Christmas decorations this weekend. The furkids made made quick work of breaking in the seasonal blankets. 🙂

    Sophie and G on gingerbread blankets

    I think the blankets get their approval.

    I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. This is the second year that some family members and I woke up at an ungodly hour on a holiday and went for a run. We did the Drumstick Dash (“move your feet so others can eat”). It was a lot of fun; great weather, great crowd, great cause. I was super excited because my race time was exactly 30 minutes, meaning I averaged a hair under 10 minutes per mile. I haven’t done this in years (and about 30 pounds), which was cool. My goal is to run a sub-30 mile without dying. It’s definitely attainable!

    The other cool thing was I felt really good the entire run. I was running at a comfortable pace without killing myself. Not that I set out to feel horrible during runs, but I’ve noticed a sort-of crossover point, where the runs generally feel pretty good and I start to think “Maybe I should up my regular runs to 4 miles.” Then I realize I must be high and stick to my 5K runs.

    The end of the Drumstick Dash tripped me up a bit, though. You go around this turn and think “Oh, goodie, the end is right here, I’ll dig deep and muster up energy for a good kick.” You start amping up your speed and about two seconds later you see runners looping around another corner, meaning you’ve got three times as far to go! Yeah. I remember cursing and looking up to see some spectators looking at me and thinking you don’t need to be a lip reader to have a pretty good idea of what I said. It wasn’t the worst thing, but it wasn’t exactly polite. At least it made me laugh.

    Enjoy the lat day of November!


    Where in the world…

    …have we been?

    Sophie hiding out in her homemade ghost costume

    Sophie hiding out in her homemade ghost costume

    We’ve been here, just taking a little time to adjust to some life changes. A big one is that I (Susan) got a new job! It’s been really, really great. After a good year of job uncertainty and some pretty massive stress, especially in late summer, it’s wonderful to feel like I’m at a place where I’m valued and I enjoy what I do. And I can see myself there for a long, long, long how about forever time.

    Other than that, there haven’t been too many changes. Mostly taking time to adjust to the job changes, fully grieve my grandmother, and Toastmasters has really ramped up, which has taken a lot of my time and energy. In trying to adjust to everything, the furkids and I have logged some good couch time.

    G and Sophie on the couch

    Couch time with the kiddos.

    I’m excited for November to be here, though. It’s a new month and the holiday season is here, both things I enjoy. I’m looking forward to ending the year on a positive note – and hopefully posting regularly. 🙂

    Happy November!


    Sophie and the sock

    The cats enjoy hanging out in the hallway and I don’t mind letting them out there supervised. The neighbors seem to be OK with it, too. (YAY!)

    Sometimes we find some interesting things out there, though. Like a pair of socks. They were clean, so I imagine they fell out of someone’s laundry basket…and put them on the window ledge. Sophie found one of them and had to inspect it.

    Sophie kitty sniffs a sock

    New smells!

    Thank you on your kind words about my grandma Bubba. I appreciate them all. It’s been a lot tougher than I expected. Not that you can ever really prepare for someone’s passing, but this has been especially tough. Some seasons of life you just want your family around, you know? But I do feel her presence and I am so thankful for the memories. And as one of my aunts said, “Frank [Grandpa] has been waiting long time. Now they’re together.” 🙂