Sunday, September 24, 2017

Before I Went Back To Work

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(This post is postdated back to 9/24, the day before I went back to work.  Just so most posts are somewhat chronological on the blog.)

Ah, so much fun happened in September before I went back to work.  I guess I should say that we made the fun happen, knowing full well that my time of freedom was limited and the end of my leave was near.

On Saturday 9/2 we tried out the new Mendocino Farms in Del Mar for lunch.  We both got salads.  I got the chicken prosciutto salad.  It was huge and I had to take some home.

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Todd got this other salad.  (I don’t remember the name, LOL.)

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This place is know for their salads and sandwiches.  We saw some other people’s food and everything looked good and fresh.

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On Sunday 9/3, after Todd went swimming in the ocean with the Tri Club, we went out to lunch at Curry & More.  Love this place!  I think we went there three times during my leave!

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And now, an interlude from Noodle… I love sitting on my catdad when he’s using his laptop in his recliner.  Look at me, king of the house.

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On Monday 9/4 (Labor Day) we went out to lunch at URBN Pizza.  It’s New Haven style pizza and we really like it.  We had gone there several times before, including for Todd’s birthday this past February.

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We also had the roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.  Yum!

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Afterwards we went to Extraordinary Desserts and shared Todd’s favorite cake there, the Trouffe Framboise, and a latte.  This was sort of to celebrate that I finished my 6-week workout program without missing any workouts.  (Yea I know you’re not supposed to reward yourself with food.  I.DON’T.CARE.)

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On Tuesday 9/5, I had lunch with my friend Lauren at BJ’s.  It was a lot of fun!  We chatted and caught up on life.

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And now, a word from Noodle.  I found this red chair to sleep in, and it was so comfy!  Of course, everything in the house is MINE, so I don’t know why I haven’t slept here in so long.

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Also, when catdad comes home from swimming in the ocean, and puts his towel on the ground, it’s for me to sleep on too.

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On Thursday 9/7, I met my friend Anne for lunch at Tofu House. 

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It was her first time there and she liked it!  We had a lot of fun chatting about our jobs, work life, etc. 

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On Tuesday 9/12, I had lunch with a bunch of women friends from work.  We went to Pailin Thai.  It was so much fun hanging out with them.  We chatted about work and what’s going on with each of them.  I’m blessed to have friends from work.

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On the same day, right after lunch, I got a text from my manager at work.  I had asked to extend my leave to mid-October.  At first he had said he was supportive.  But two people who were covering for me at work could no longer do it, and they were too overwhelmed.  He said, “If your goal was to make me appreciate you more, I think you have achieved that.”  He offered me a free (off the books) week off in mid-October, if I went back to work on 9/25 and worked the three weeks for quarter-end and the forecasting cycle.  I reluctantly agreed, but I was pretty bummed.

I wrote an Ode To My Shorts on Facebook on Monday 9/18: 

This is the last week of my leave from work. I have agreed to return to work next Monday. This was the first summer in 25 years that I was able to wear shorts all day every day. What a glorious summer it was! I bought a few pairs of shorts to go to Hawaii in April. Little did I know that they would be all I would wear all summer. I loved my Summer of Shorts! I'm sad to return to work next week, but grateful that I had the time of my life the last two months!

Thank you shorts, for the best summer of my life!

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Todd made carrot cake to bring to his work book club, so I was the beneficiary of carrot cake for breakfast on 9/21.

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Noodle has some words to say.  I loved the summer of having a SAHCM (Stay At Home Cat Mom).  It was so great.  I had company at home, and I loved getting snacks and treats during the day.  I also loved watching catmom workout every morning while playing in the papers behind her.

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Also, the hoomans got a storage bench at the end of their bed.  They put a towel there and I knew it was a place for me to sleep right away.  That first night I spent the whole night sleeping there.  And then the entire morning the next day!  I only took a break to eat!

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On Friday 9/22, I got a pink color refresh by Mel at Ahura Salon.  I wanted to have super-pink hair for returning to work!  (But I still refuse to cover my grown-out grays on top!)

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On the same day, Todd’s new iphone 8 Plus came!  He used his iphone 6 for three years and it was starting to be unreliable (rebooting by itself, not charging correctly, etc.), so it was time.  I am still using my iphone 6 because it’s perfectly good, and I’m not paying for a new phone until it breaks!  Todd was really excited though.  And the two camera lenses with optical zoom and portrait mode is pretty spectacular.

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On this same Friday Todd came home from work and told me the tremendous good news that he had a meeting with his manager at 3:30 that day and she told him he got his promotion!  It is something we’ve been waiting 10 months for!  I loved hearing this good news three days before I myself headed back to work. 

On Saturday 9/23 we went to Tofu House for dinner.  I just went with Anne, but I love it so we went again.

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I finished reading the first Harry Potter book.  (I tried reading it 20 years ago in 1997 but it didn’t take.)  Then we rented the movie off Amazon and watched it on Sat 9/23. 

We spent my last day of freedom (Sunday 9/24) at the beach.  It was a great way to end my leave from work!  It was so clear and the sky was so blue.  Sunny and 75 degrees is my favorite. 

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Afterwards we had lunch at Bongiornos. 

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Then we had our Sunday night ritual of watching Game of Thrones.  We went back to re-watch Season 6.  Todd opened a bottle of his favorite Spanish wine Muga to celebrate his promotion, and we had some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

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And then my 10 week leave of absence from work came to an end.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Smile Because It Happened


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – often attributed to Dr. Seuss

My 10 weeks of leave of absence from work is almost over.  On Monday I go back to work.  I wanted to extend it to mid-October, but they really wanted me back at work for quarter-end.  I feel so wistful today.  I can honest say that I’ve had the most amazing time the last 2.5 months.  The best time of my adult life.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this leave from work.  I would highly recommend anyone to do it if they can.  It makes me look forward to the day that I can “retire” from work, hopefully in a few years!

I have a few more posts to document my life the last 2-3 weeks, but it may not happen until this weekend or next weekend.  However, I wanted to write a summary post of how I feel about my leave of absence from work, and also what I’ve learned during this time.

  • Don’t put your life on hold because of work demands, stress, or pressure.  I was giving the best of myself during work time, and the rest of my life was getting the shaft.  I was exhausted when I got home, and vegged out the rest of the evening.  I felt like a big slug.  I was not socializing with friends as much, because it just felt like I didn’t have the energy.  With everything going on at work lately (layoffs, massive changes, etc), my work friends and I have come to the sad conclusion that the corporation/company that you work for doesn’t really care about you.  They can get rid of you in a hot second.  So to think that you would be rewarded for putting in a ton of extra effort and time is foolish.  This is a hard lesson for me, since I am Type A overachiever personality.  But it is something that I really had to learn for myself.  Working extra hard and putting the rest of my life on hold did not get me any rewards at work.  It will not happen again.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!
  • Exercising is a priority.  I exercised 6 days per week during my leave.  I will continue to do so after I go back to work.  I had forgotten how many benefits there are to exercising regularly.  I talked about why I was able to stick to regular exercising this time in this post.  My body felt so great when I moved it every day.  I really enjoyed the types of exercises I was doing.  My daily energy level improved so much.  And daily exercising improved my overall mood.  I’m so glad that I was able to totally reset my relationship with exercising, and was able to do it consistently almost every single day.  This was one of my intentions for my leave, and I did it.  I will continue to do it.
  • Make time for friends and family.  Social support is everything.  Before my leave, I was not socializing with friends as much.  It just felt like it was a big effort, after I had already “shot my wad” during the week at work.  This was totally wrong.  During my leave I was able to schedule social time with a friend every week, if not twice a week.  I loved hanging out with them and chatting.  It really gave me a sense of social support, and that I matter and I am cared for.  I saw my dad and Shelly and hung out with them.  I made a trip to Dallas to see my sister and her family.  All this was precious to me.  I will continue to make time for friends and family. 
  • Sleeping is a priority.  We often have the mentality that sleep is the time leftover after we do all our other things.  We are short-changing ourselves on something that’s vastly important for our health.  Staying up to watch TV, watch movies, read, surf the internet, etc is totally not worth it.  Sleep is when our bodies regenerate.  Lack of sleep is related to a host of health issues.  Instead of thinking of sleep as depriving ourselves of doing those other things we want to do, we should think of sleep as the ultimate “me time”.  During my leave I was able to reset my sleeping habits and got 7-9 hours of sleep regularly.  It really made a big difference in my overall well-being. 

I thought I was going to get more accomplished during my leave.  Things like house projects, purging, cleaning, organizing, etc.  But I hardly got those things done.  I’ve come to realize those are secondary to my primary intentions above.  I mean, I can hire people to do these secondary things, but only I myself can do the priority things above.  Those were absolutely up to me, and they were the most urgent things that I needed to change about myself.  So in that respect I feel very accomplished and awesome! 

I feel nothing but gratefulness that I was able to take 10 weeks off work.  Grateful to my manager for allowing it to happen, at great cost to him and my team.  Grateful to Todd for supporting me.  I  have never felt happier in my adult life.  I will do everything I can to carry this knowledge and these changes forward.  Onwards and upwards!

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Texas, Y’All

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As my leave of absence from work was coming to an end, we took a few days off to visit my sister and her family in Texas.  I haven’t visited since Christmas 2015, so we were excited to see them.  Of course, my nephews grew up quite a bit during that time.

Our plane took off on Wednesday 9/13 in the afternoon.  Todd and I were able to pack everything into one carry-on  and two backpacks!  It felt great to travel light and not have to check bags.  We got to DFW in the evening, but of course it took forever to get to car rental and get out of the airport.  DFW airport is HUUUUGE!  We arrive pretty late at my sister’s house, so we went straight to bed.

The next day (9/14) we woke up at 6am local time.  Boo!  Was hoping we would sleep more, ha!  My sister Joyce and brother-in-law Alex got the kids off to school.  Alex went to work some in the morning.  After Alex came home, the four of us hung out and chatted.  It was so fun!  We had lunch at Ali Baba’s Mediterranean Restaurant.  It was a lunch buffet and super delicious!  I was sad that I was already stuffed after one plate!

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The four of us took a selfie.  What is that, a “wefie”?  Open-mouthed smile

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Then we went back to the house and hung out until the kids came home.  Andrew (my 13 yo nephew) showed us the videos that he has created for his YouTube channel and they were so cool!  Kids nowadays!

We had Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy’s salads for dinner.  Andrew & Todd played Star Wars Battlefront on Xbox One.  They did this a lot while we were there, ha ha.  Todd was Andrew’s video game buddy.  Xander looked on sometimes too.

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The next day (Friday 9/15) we got up after sleeping 8 hours.  So much better!  Todd went to 7-Eleven and McDonald’s and got me iced coffee.  He also got egg McMuffin sandwiches for me and Joyce.  I actually brought my workout DVDs to Texas, so I did a workout in the morning and showered. 

We met up with Alex (who went straight from work) for lunch at Uncle Julio’s.  It was actually quite good!  I had shrimp tacos and enjoyed the mango jicama slaw.

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After lunch we went to Super Target (we don’t have those in San Diego!) and got a wireless X-Box one controller for Andrew, since his controllers are wired.  Then Todd and Alex opened the controller and started playing the NBA game before Andrew even got home, ha ha!

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Of course after Andrew came from from school he played a lot with Uncle Todd.

We went to the Asian Food Court for dinner.  We had biang biang noodles, spicy oil noodles, zha jiang mien, fried dumplings, and wontons for dinner.

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Joyce was a little disappointed that the food vendors have changed there.  But we had a nice dinner anyways.  Who doesn’t love noodles & dumplings??  Even Andrew loved it.

We got the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2” from Redbox.  I tried to watch it with everyone but fell asleep.  Todd powered through with Andrew.

On Saturday 9/16 we got up around 6:30am.  Todd ate popcorn (his standard breakfast) and went running.  Alex & Joyce made pancakes, sausages, and eggs for breakfast for everyone.  Alex went grocery shopping.  Andrew & Todd played Battlefront again.  Then Joyce, Andrew, Todd, and I hung out on the couches.

I captuioned this photo “The family that looks at their screens together, stays together”.  Ha!  Open-mouthed smile

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For lunch Todd & I went to Papa Murphy’s to get two salads.  Alex made burgers for everyone.  It was yummy!

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In the afternoon we watched the Buckeyes football game vs. Army.  Then we tried to go to Babe’s for fried chicken dinner, but there was an hour wait.  We ended up at Rosati’s and had Italian food for dinner.

On Sunday we got up at 5:50am.  So early!  We quickly got our stuff together and left for the airport.  We got gas and then McDonald’s for breakfast.  We drove to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and got through security to our gate with plenty of time.  After we landed back in San Diego, we went to Point Loma Seafoods for lunch.  It was so yummy.

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Noodle was so excited when we got home!

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It was a great visit to Texas to see my sister and her family.  We loved being with them!  So awesome that we could fit it in before I had to go back to work.  Xander and Andrew are so much older now. 

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

San Diego Triathlon Classic 2017

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(This post is backdated to September 9th, the date of the San Diego Triathlon Classic.)

Todd signed up to do the San Diego Triathlon Classic again this year.  He did it last year, and before that a couple more times.  He always does the Olympic distance, even though the event itself has other distances such as the sprint.  He trained really hard for it for months this summer.  Lots of swimming, running, and cycling. 

Per usual, the night before, Todd lines all his gear up so that he doesn’t forget anything the morning of the race.

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The next morning (Saturday 9/9, the day of the race), we were supposed to get up at 4:15am.  However, Todd messed up the alarm and accidentally set it for 5:15am.  We didn’t realize it until Noodle woke us up at 5:10.  Todd was worried!  But we were able to leave the house by 5:20 and made it down to Liberty Station transition area by 5:50.  Todd got into the transition area fine and found his friend Amy. 

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He was able to rack his bike and get into his wetsuit and get body marked.  Then we headed to the waters edge to await his start.  It was dark still when the heats started, so pictures were not the best quality.

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Todd swam pretty fast and I barely saw him come out of the water!  The only photo I got was of his back, LOL.

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Then I went to the transition area bike exit and saw him come out with his bike. 

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After seeing Todd off on his bike, I walked over to Panera Bread and had a breakfast sandwich and coffee.  It was a nice break, since Todd would be on his bike for 1.5 hours. 

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Then I walked back and waited for him to return on the bike.  He was right on time!

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Then I waited for him to come by running.  I saw him on both loops of the 6.2 mile run.

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Then I went to the finish line and again he was faster than I expected and I barely saw him come in.  I got a video of him at the finish line, and a photo of him with his medal.

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Todd did so good and he didn’t feel hurt!  I’m so proud of him.  Then he went back into the transition area to change and came out with his gear.  We walked to the car to pack up.  Then we walked back to wait 20 minutes for his friend Amy to finish.  She was so excited that we waited for her and took photos of her!

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Some funny porta-potty signs at the race.  Disappointed smile

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We drove home so Todd could shower.  Then we went to our usual post-triathlon celebration lunch at Phil’s BBQ. 

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Another triathlon season has come to an end.  Todd did so well!  He matched his best time at this event from 7 years ago, which is quite good since he is 7 years older now!  Very proud of his determination, discipline, and commitment. 

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