Job Woes

 Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Y'all ready for some good old-fashioned, stream of concious blogging? Good, because here it comes.

I work as an entry-level administrative assistant at a state employer.

And I don't know how I feel about it.

There are so many perks to my job, honestly.

  • It's super low-stress. I kind of hide out in an office and get to listen to podcasts, etc. all day while just doing paperwork. 
  • Wonderful supervisors. It's a bit up in the air at the moment, because my immediate supervisor just left. But, the head of our department is great. She's very understanding and committed to ensuring her employees are able to maintain a good work/life balance. 
  • Because of the above two things, it's really easy for me to adjust my schedule as needed. Whether it's to pick Babycakes up from daycare if she gets sick, or take time off for exams, I've never been made to feel bad about having to be out.  
  • I have good benefits. My pay is low (see con list below), but that's partly because I have a lot taken out of it, like good insurance, retirement, etc.

But. I do often feel like I am coasting, and I'm not sure I like that. 

  • The job requirement is only a high school transcript, which makes me feel like I'm not living up to the degree that I did earn...why am I going for a graduate degree when I'm not even using my first one? 
  • I get paid the lowest possible amount allowed by state law- and it was an improvement when our governor defined that amount last year. I want to ask for a raise, but because I work in the education is limited, and budgets are adjusted based on enrollment and test scores and athletics and etc.
  • There is no clear path for advancement. I know it's possible, and because the organization is so big there are a ton of opportunities somewhere...but I'm not sure how to get a raise/promotion in my department, and I'm nervous to move out of the department because of the above mentioned great supervisors.
 So...I am torn. Do I try to get my grad degree and hope something in my office comes up? Do I try to find another position in a different department that pays more without me having to get another degree? Or do I just enjoy what I have and see what happens?

The last option is the most appealing, and the most unappealing.

There is something deep inside me that thinks just enjoying my life, playing with Babycakes, investing in my home, being an active part of my community, and reading for pleasure feels amazing.

But there's also a sense of wanting to move forward. I am a standard gifted millennial. I'm supposed to be hustling, right? I'm supposed to be changing the world.

So...settling for a pretty generic job feels like...settling.

 I'm not sure if I'm worried about disappointing myself, or anyone else. 

Also, I struggle of how to value Hubby's job. The reality is, he makes more money and has a much clearer path to advancement. But, his hours are wonky and for him to succeed, I really need to have the flexibility and understanding that I have in my current job. Correction: for him to succeed, aka for our family to succeed without causing internal family damage, I/we really need the flexibility and understanding that I have in my current job. Looking at it as a family unit, it's much easier emotionally and beneficial financially for his career to be the priority.

That's logic, but as a somewhat rant-y leftist feminist it's also annoying. 

It's also annoying on the aspect that I did things one way, he did them another, and his way turned out to be better. Don't we all feel that way when we see someone doing something better than we did? Like, I'm happy for him, but it also highlights my failures a little in my mind (not his, he's great, this is a purely internal struggle). It's basic jealous for his clear path- jealous isn't the right just highlights an insecurity. Jealousy implies I want what he has, in a way, or I think he has something that I want....that's not accurate. I love him, I'm super proud of him, he is great at what he does. It's just that I feel inadequate...because comparison is the thief of joy.

On the other hand, I've championed the idea many times that feminism means allowing options rather than forcing a specific path. Feeling stuck at a job is not better than feeling stuck at home.

Also, I do believe that as that gifted millennial type, my generation has become really focused success to the point where I feel like it's more harmful than good.

So it's hard for me to figure out how to balance between not doing too much and not enough.

And maybe I can just push for a raise or small promotion with my boss. I don't know. I don't really want to have that conversation, but I also know it's probably useful.

So...there's my job woes. It's a lot of back and forth. Pros and cons to everything.

I am trying to wait until August to really decide something regarding if I want to continue school. Right now I am taking a summer class, and doing 14 weeks of work in 5 weeks is rough. Even if I am taking the "easiest" summer's still work. So maybe after two months off, I will feel ready to go again. I don't know.

But I also know that I have finally started to find happiness outside of school too. 

And that's nice but weird...I've been upset over not getting into graduate school and my "dream career" for so long. Now that I have gotten into a program...I am glad I've proved to myself that I can do it, but I am no longer sure I want to do it.

And if I could be more positive that it would definitely allow me a position that is more financially beneficial and still family-friendly, I would feel more purposeful...but nothing is a guarantee. And I don't like the idea of wasting my time and money (even "just" the cost of books is still a few hundred dollars a year) for something I'm neither passionate about or can truly count on.

Three Things: May 2019

Once again, borrowing from Steph. What can I say...she blogs consistently and does it well. #sorrynotsorry 

Three things I lost my shit over this week
1. People making shitty comments about poor people (based on literally nothing except one aspect of their financial status)
2. Expensive ferry prices
3. Chore discussions

Three signs I'll never hang in my house
1. Live laugh love (same, Steph)
2. Dance Like No One is Watching (in my case, it needs to be "Dance like you just did 3 shots")
3. Anything with a #hashtag

Three things I neglected this week
1. My classwork
2. My schedule in general
3. My budget

Three things I've tried recently
1. Cleaning up even when I don't feel like it
2. Spray painting something for Babycakes' room
3. Watching a new home makeover show

Three house things I hate doing
1. Dishes. Forever dishes.
2. Vacuuming. I still see dog hair literally as soon as I put up the vacuum cleaner...
3. Washing odd items, like pillows or Babycakes little mini-couch

Three things I wear all the time
1. Sleeveless shirts (just add sweaters winter)
2. Ponytails, since it's already been over 100 in my car in May
3. Flip flops

Three things I never wear
1. Sequins
2. Heels. Wedges, okay, but fuck feeling like a newborn baby deer.
3. Animal prints

Three books on my kindle/nook/shelf waiting to be read
1. Notorious RBG
2. The Handmaiden's Tale
3. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Three things I have to do but don't feel like doing
1. Homework
2. Clean out my car
3. Research a camping trip that's turning out to be way too complicated

Three things I'm looking forward to
1. A date night with hubs- way overdue
2. Finishing my summer classes
3. Paying off our debt consolidation loan in half the scheduled time!

Things That Make Me Happy

Photo by Oliver Pacas on Unsplash

-Warm Baths
-Muscadine Wine
-Getting lost in a good book
-Naps on rainy days
-My little one's giggles
-Summer days spent outside
-Workouts with my FiA girls
-seeing Daenerys with her dragons
-Organizing pretty much anything
-Feeling Sand in between my toes
-Swinging on a swing set

What makes you happy?

Going (Light) Green

Photo by Chang Qing on Unsplash
Over the past few years I have been trying to be a little more eco-friendly. And I do mean little. I still eat meat, I still use plastic, but I'm working on it.

Stephanie at Life According to Stephanie is concious of this and TBH does a much better job than I do overall! She wrote this great post the other day about the sustainable switches she has made and it inspired me to share the little things I have done also. I still have a long ways to go, but wanted to share that everyone can do something.

Before we get started, I want to say something super important.

I recently heard something about energy. People don't want to change because we often can't imagine spending any more energy on a something than we already are.

That's not the way change actually works, though.

We aren't spending more energy, we are simply redirecting it to a different tasks. It's no more of a hassle to put reusable silverware in my bag than it was to put plastic silverware- in fact, it's easier. When I had plastic silverware, I would inevitably reach to grab some and find an empty box, then I'd have to write it down on the shopping list and then go buy it. Now, I always have silverware because it's already in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes that I was already washing. The task of buying silverware has been completely removed from my life and I'm wasting less. It's not harder, it's easier.

Probably the biggest thing I've done to cut down on my general footprint to use cloth diapering for Babycakes. 

I tried not to talk about it too much on here, and I did try to go back and look around but couldn't find a really detailed post about it. If anyone is interested, feel free to ask or let me know...I can post a detailed explanation of our CD journey or just answer any questions privately.

 Anyway, it's a decision that was great for our family. I wanted it for the waste savings, hubby wanted it for the financial savings. On average, families spend between $1000-3000 per year on disposable diapers. We did it for less than $675 for two years. Hubby really liked that. And to be honest, we could have done it cheaper but I was also trying to do it conveniently. We did use some disposable diapers, mainly when she was at the church nursery and visiting family. People are super freaked out by cloth diapers and act like you are asking them to defuse a bomb- it's extremely annoying. But still way less than everyone else I know. Some people claim that the extra washing required cancels out the eco-friendliness of CD...I disagree. I just don't think it's that much and there are some statistics to back me up (source, source, source). TLDR version: CDing isn't a zero sum game regarding environmentally friendliness- but it is less harmful than disposables.

And honestly, getting into CD, which is seen as such a momentous commitment, made me realize how many little changes I could make.

The CD community in general is typically more thoughtful about purchases and many of my sustainable switches (thanks Steph, for that lingo) have been inspired by this community- but let's be clear, you can obviously make changes without CDing! The links I will be posting are not affiliate links, but they are to the site that I purchased most of my CD items from. If you do decide to order anything, please let me know- I can give you my email and get some bonus points!

Case in point, I originally bought one of these Planet Wise reusable trash bags to store cloth diapers between uses & washing. But now I have them in all of the bathroom trash cans. They are washable, water-resistant, etc. And they actually FIT all of my trashcans, which the plastic grocery store bags do not. Love it, and removes an excuse for "needing" plastic bags. I do appreciate that while there are more kid-centric patterns and colors, you can also just get plain colors if you want something neutral.

I also bought some of these Planet Wise wet bags (I have both large and medium sizes), which I still use. They were to hold diapers at daycare/if we had to change a diaper while we were out of the house. But now they are great for trips to the beach/pool/etc. since they are water-resistant lining and  anti-microbial.

I purchased a pack of BumGenius reusable wipes also, although we ended up not really using those and sticking with disposable wipes (see, definitely not perfect). But now I use them to clean my makeup brushes and wash my face at night.

Some people used flour sack towels to stuff their diapers- I ended up using them to tie around Babycakes as a super large bib instead once she started eating solid foods, haha! I am trying to decide if I want more of these or look for official "cloth napkins" but either way, my goal is to slow down on the paper towels. I like these, they are just SO BIG that it's a little unrealistic for every day dinner use.

Oh, speaking of washing my face- I am returning back to my apple cider vinegar+coconut oil skin regime. I saved some glass jars of pesto which I put the ACV+H20 mixture and coconut oil in.

Just before I got pregnant, I bought a Lunette menstrual cup. I know people get super freaked out by this- let me tell you, IT'S THE BEST INVENTION ON THE PLANET. Seriously. I don't need it anymore because I got an IUD the minute the 2016 election result was announced, and therefore rarely have a period. But I used this for several month and it's the BEST. So comfy (if you can feel it, it's not positioned correctly- it's literally like it's not there). Also people worry about it being's not as messy as a pad that's shifted or a gross blood-soaked piece of cotton. Just being real. I did a review on it a while back, but it must have been when I was on Wordpress because I can't find it to link. If there is enough interest, I can repost/rewrite it.

Probably the simplest and cheapest thing I've done is buy 2$ worth of reusable silverware from a dollar store to use at work rather than use plastic. They're easily distinguishable from our everyday household silverware, so when I do dishes I just automatically put them in my lunchbox when unloading from the dishwasher.
I've also purchased these reusable "ziplock" bags, and these reusable straws (which fit both my 32 oz Rtic and my 16 oz Tervis). Both great quality and have been used a TON.

Fun side story: a restaurant that my ILs and their friends like to go to recently switched to paper straws. They are so "weird" that one of the ladies bought and now carries around silicone straws so she doesn't have to use them. If only more people would do that instead of using "disposable" plastic straws!

Also, I have convinced Hubby to start recycling our cardboard waste. We do not have trash collectors, he just carries it to the dump. Supposedly each dump is supposed to have a center for plastic waste also, but we can't find that *insert sad face* But, my Hubby is not quite as concerned about going green as I am, so this is a victory. It took some arguing on my point but it helped once he realized that breaking down these boxes and storing them in the garage separately meant he has to make less trips to the dump.

Sometimes, you can fight with logic and fairness and conviction...and that won't work. But if you can convince someone of convenience, you will win much easier. I don't like that fact, but it's proven true in my marriage.

We haven't given up using plastic grocery bags altogether-  mainly because Hubs hates having to carry bags or buy new ones (although sometimes we will buy paper bags if at a store that offers them). I do try to reuse them for other purposes, but my main goal now is to at least take the plastic bags back to stores for recycling (I thought Lidl did this, but can't find it anymore- our Walmart still has a recycle station though). I've gotten much better about just saying "Oh no, I don't need a bag" also- which is really easy once you get in the habit. You don't HAVE to take a bag.

I do have trouble remembering to use the many reusable bags I have- so I devised a plan. 

1) I carry one in my purse now for small trips, so I can just take it in and out as needed. 2) I always write my grocery list in the same notebook. I've now inserted a sticky note in that notebook that reminds me to get my bags. It's much easier to take them in than to run out while someone is checking me out- I feel pressured and rushed. Illogical- I'm working on it, but current facts. So this helps me remember without feeling as stressed.

There are some things that we've done that I forget are even issues for some people- for instance I use a resusable-K Cup every day, unless I am making cold coffee (which is also thanks to Steph- starting to feel like I'm hitting creeper status...hmmm). Mine is purple, so maybe it's this one? It was a gift so not sure. After a while the lid did separate from the bottom- but it still works perfectly, it's just now two pieces instead of one. Zero issues with performance though, so there is no need to get rid of it.

We have water bottles, more than we need truthfully but we've basically moved into the stainless steel situation. Even Babycakes has her Thermos bottles. We all carry them, pretty much all the time. This Rtic tumbler is great for work, because I like using a straw while sitting at my desk. This Contingo Auto-Seal bottle is perfect for workouts, trips to the park, etc. because it doesn't leak.

These have all been relatively easy changes, but there is more I could do. Future goals include:

-Cloth Napkins

-Throwing out my loofah (already have washcloths)

-Gallon size reusable bags that are freezer-proof
-Get more durable shoes (I wear through shoes so fast because I have to walk more than normal for an office setting...working on finding better quality products so I'm not constantly throwing stuff away)
-Continue to support brands I like that last a long time and recyclable (ie Rainbow sandals, which not only lasted for over a decade but also were able to be recycled/reused)

My Relationship with Music

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

I have a friend who loves music. Like, really really loves it. He plays 4 or 5 instruments, plays in the band at our church, listens to it and has strong opinions about it.

We have really interesting conversations about this because I often say that I don't like music.

That's not entirely fair, because I do like some music of course. It's human nature to have an instinct towards some kind of music. But I have shied away from really getting into it for most of my life.

And now that podcasts are a thing? I listen to those instead of music 95% of the time.

Talking to this friend has made me wonder why this is. And I think I have it.

Maybe this was just a thing in my high school, but there were people who were seriously into music. Like, it consumed them. According to the many YA novels I've read, this seems pretty standard.

But I didn't share the feeling.

I've always been a little in the middle.

I loved Backstreet Boys- and stand by that. But I wasn't popular enough to completely disregard the immense cheese factor that comes with boy bands.

I also listened to a lot of Good Charlotte, which was slightly cooler according to other misfits. But then even they became "posers" (the absolute worst thing one could be in high school), and quite frankly it became too damn much to keep up with. I wasn't a pop princess but I wasn't a rock goddess...I was just hanging out in the middle was always.

I think I started listening to country party because I liked it- and also partly because I didn't have to prove myself. In general country music fans  don't need to see your invitation, they're just glad you came to the party. That is changing a bit as the genre comes under more heat for straying too fair into pop often- but that is another issue.

I was an awkward kid, and music seemed like too much of a commitment honestly. It felt like a trap, a issue full of pitfalls and opportunities to embarrass myself. So much easier to just...not participate. I was a reader, anyway- I loved words. No one else card about words. Better to lean into what I couldn't hide what I wasn't willing to give up, and risk less.

I don't say this to blame anyone. It's just the way it was. And it didn't feel like I was giving anything up, so I'm not sad about it.

It's more that I continually surprise myself when I truly like music. 

It's still a random variety of music that grabs my attention, and I'm getting more okay with that. I feel like I am, later in life than most, at the forefront of a new adventure and personal piece of self-discovery. 

And that's kind of really exciting.

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: May 2019

Wow, I did not realize I read this much this month. Makes me feel a little better- I sometimes feel like I don't read as much anymore but apparently if I'm not spending time doing homework, I can still power through! Usually I read about 2-4 but this month I have NINE reads, which is a lot for me. Unfortunately my summer session has begun so I've got another five weeks of time-suck.

Basics: Father dies possibly mysteriously, step-mother and mystery lady make son uncomfortable and confused.
Thoughts: This book was intriguing, and I loved the plot, but think it could have been written a little better. The book flashes between "Now" and "Then," and the "Then" parts flowed much better and were much more interesting. The "Now" chapters felt a little more stifled. Not an amazing read, but definitely not a regret.
Rating: B+

Basics: Short, simple stories about Norse mythology
Thoughts: I don't know why, but I didn't expect it to be short stories. I guess I was thinking it would be more like Circe, where it was a complete story following a character/characters from mythology. So I was a little put off at first. But it was a good introduction to a set of mythology I didn't know a lot about.
Rating: B+

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah Bessey
Basics: Discussing the way feminism can work within Christianity
Thoughts: Enjoyed it, had some very good sections, but a little hippy-dippy-fluffy in some parts
Rating: A-

Basics: Continuation of The Paper Magician series- new plastic apprentice
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It helps to have read the previous books in the series because you understand the general rules of this wold and the way magic works. But the characters from the previous books are sort of background, it's a completely new character and story. This new character was spunky and smart and highly enjoyable.
Rating: A


Love Letters to the Dead
Basics: Teenager mourning her dead sister writes letters to dead people, originally an English assignment
Thoughts: A little bit stereotypical of the YA genre, but an interesting look at the way we can idolize people while growing up
Rating: B +

A Study in Charlotte, The Last of August, The Case for Jamie, A Question of Holmes 
Basics: Teenagers Charlotte Holmes and Jaime Watson carry on the Holmes/Watson legacy of solving mysteries and going up against Moriarties
Thoughts: When I read or watch Holmes, I always feel like there are three separate stories- the mystery we think Holmes & Watson are solving, the one Holmes is actually solving, and then some random crazy thing that was hinted at literally no where but Holmes figures out at the last minute. These weren't any different, but I did like it even though I sometimes didn't fully understand what was going on until the wrap up at the end of the book, or the summary of the next book. Also I liked this idea of being unsure how to live up to such strange and intense family expectations, and the push/pull towards those expectations and the people involved with them, and the uncertainty of relationships that are both new yet still fraught with history.
Rating: A

What have you been reading lately?
Link-up & let us know!
Life According to Steph

What's New: May 2019

I finally started watching Game of Thrones. I'm surprisingly unspoiled on this show, which is nice, so I can actually binge it. Mainly I'm excited because the fact that I'm watching this show means I may be able to coerce a friend who loves it to give Dr. Who a chance...she wanted someone to talk about GoT with and I need a Whovian in my life besides Hubby.

We finally took Babycakes to the zoo! It was so fun. I know the toddler stage can come with a lot of drama and frustration, but it's also so friggin' fun! I love it.

It's super annoying to me that you can't change the email attached to your Google I made one to match the blog title and am slowly switching everything over. It's a PITA...and not really relevant to anyone other than me, but I wanted to vent.

Finally bought some new work clothes, thanks to Target and a surprisingly good experience selling something on the Facebook Marketplace. These wide-leg pants are amazing. I love skinny pants, but literally any change in my legs and they stop fitting...they're just not as reliable as I'd like. These are so comfy and breathable and seem like they will fit for a while.

Tried to do a Mother's Day gift for Babycake's grandmas...and guys, I really suck at Plaster of Paris! Bahahaha. I was feeling annoyed with myself till I told a friend who tried the same thing, and apparently they had a very similar experience! So at least it was a bonding experience for her & I- because Babycakes was over it very quickly and eventually agreed with me that "We did not do a great job." But we tried, y'all.

I finally bought some reusable snack bags- these, specifically, from Amazon. They are clear, super thick, and survived an attack by my dogs who smelled the cheese that had been in there while they were in the sink waiting to be washed. You can put them in the dishwasher but it recommended to hand-wash to last longer. The only issue I have with them is that you have to make sure you prop them over a dryer rack or cups/etc to ensure they stay open while drying, or else they don't dry. But the fact that you can see a tooth-mark in the bag yet it still doesn't leak or have any issues keeping things fresh makes up for it.

What's up with you latley?

Mary & Martha

In the Bible, there are a few stories of two sisters- Mary and Martha. They were the sisters of Lazarus.

Since there are several stories of these siblings, it seems like they were pretty close to and loved by Jesus.

In Luke 10:38-42, we see a story about Jesus coming to visit. Martha is bustling around, trying to make all the preparations. Not sure exactly what those preparations were, but I can imagine. Cleaning, cooking, making sure everyone has a place to sit, etc. She approaches Jesus and asks Him if He's okay with Mary just sitting there listening to Him, and tells Him to to make Mary help her.

Jesus famously responds that Mary has chosen the better thing- Him.

Later, Mary also makes the right choice by spreading oil on Jesus' feet. She is chastised for not selling it and giving the money to the poor (by Judas, who was really just mad he didn't get the money supposedly). Again, Jesus defends her choice.

And again, Martha was serving those at the house for the dinner.

Mary obviously made good choices, and loved Jesus deeply.

But I don't relate to her...because I am absolutely a Martha.

Martha gets, in my opinion, a bad rap. She has often been portrayed as the frazzled hag, the annoying nag, the one who just doesn't get it.

But I don't see her that way.

I think Martha was serving and loving the best way she knew how.

I think she loved Jesus, and his disciples, and wanted to provide a comfortable and loving environment for them.

I imagine her bustling about and getting blankets and sleeping spaces ready, because she knew their tiring travels and wanted to give them rest.

I imagine her in the kitchen, happily cooking her friends their favorite foods. I imagine her thoughtfully making sure all the drinks are refilled, and praying with thankfulness.

From experience, I can tell one works that hard for no reason. 

The sisters were different, obviously. And maybe in these two examples, Mary made a better choice. But Martha loved Jesus deeply, and trusted Him.

And He loved her, exactly the way she was. 

My Someday To-Do List

Does anyone else have a running list of things they should get around to, ya know...someday.

Some of these are a little more time-sensitive...others are basically just deadline-free dreams at this point.

  • Go through Babycake's baby clothes/etc to sale. 
  • Organize our additional room...that is probably going to be a guest room/office since we are currently leaning towards not having any more kids (but the decision isn't official yet sooo). 
  • Figure out what to do with our front flower beds...we agreed on just filling with stones because...well, we're super lazy about landscaping. But Hubby apparently forgot this so we now have to revisit the conversation (not sure if this is a TBI-ish symptom from his time in Iraq or he just naturally has a poor memory- oh, the fun puzzle of a veteran family). 
  • Fix the lattice under our back porch- recently moved to the top of the list because one of our dogs has broken out from under the back porch into the front yard. 
  • Spray paint our hand-me-down patio furniture...that we've had for 5 years already.
  • Paint my childhood small chest and cabinet that my parents passed down to Babycakes- currently stores her dress-up gear fine but looks super dingy...that we've had for three years now.
  • Go through all of our Tupperware. We've cleaned out our glassware, and I re-organized our cutlery drawer...we had lots of 'baby' cutlery that Babycakes doesn't use much anymore, along with I think 3 cork screws/bottle openers. Which is hilarious because...the one bottle opener/cork screw that we actually use isn't even in that drawer. It's over with our booze. 
    • Hey, I actually did this since first drafting this post! And it was a really easy decision...I threw away everything that I couldn't find a matching container/lid for and that cut down that cabinet by about 40% (pathetic, yep, I know).

Does anyone else do this? Have things that you are "going to do" for years on end? Or am I the only procrastinator here?