Review: Reviewing Reviews by a Reviewer

I am wrapping up a project at work that has kind of consumed my life for the past few months (hence the super-sporadic posting).  I have been a bit manic about when/how/what I post. Hence there have been a few weeks where I got stuff scheduled the weekend before or managed to keep up with the occasional night-writing and the past two or three weeks have been deathly silent.

But now I am working on the reviews for my project-team. Because I think it’s important to give them feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly).  And it’s hard because reviewing-up is stressful (especially since I can’t be anonymous). Reviewing peers isn’t as bad, my workplace DOES have a good culture about constructive reviews.  ASKING for reviews is also hard because as much as my company has a culture to encourage constructive reviews – I don’t feel like everyone does it.

I have 2-5 managers I love working with because they give me AWESOME feedback (“the audio was kind of scratchy” or “I wish the examples had been more department-specific” or the like) where not only do they tell me something was wrong, they tell me what would make it better (even when I then roll my eyes in my brain and go “yeah…. not with OUR time constraints” or the like).

I like constructive feedback.  I LIKE it.  I crave it as an employee. I want to be better. I promise, I’m not trying to do something less than awesome and if it’s less than awesome I either didn’t know/realize or HAD to compromise because of time/money constraints.  That old time-money-quality triangle is something I balance in my head A LOT.  Probably more than I should. But if no one mentions it, I might not realize I missed awesome (’cause that was my AIM).

So as I come to the end of this project I am trying to think of some way(s) I can get the constructive critique I want.  I know at least one person on the project I am going to ask to get lunch with me and have a very frank conversation (a – I think he’ll be super-honest and b- he’s been extremely involved in several pieces of the project that were the pieces that went a little sideways). For most of them, I think I am going to give them constructive critiques (most of them highly positive) and just send them a quick email asking them for the same.

Hopefully, this also means I can get back to writing here on the regular instead of the manic sporadic writing I’ve BEEN getting in.  I have a character fluttering in my brain begging me to write her story but I’m soooo mentally tired every night.

Life Events: Haircut

March 3rd (I know, I’m late – I got sick!) I got my hair cut. I chopped off about 14 inches (it was 13.75 inches – so i’m rounding up).

I took before, during and after pictures:

haircut 2018.png

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this “rapid transformation” so to speak.  Every three or four years I tend to grow my hair out and then donate it.

This hair will be sent to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths to help some woman with cancer feel a little more confident with a wig of hair while they deal with the worst times of their life.

And I get the freedom of less effort on my hair!



Life Event: Asthma

I ended up in the ER yesterday. I am ok now, but damn that sucked. NOT how I wanted my husband to spend V-day with me. That was NOT the plan (there wasn’t a real plan just “spend time together” so…. we did that!)

I went to my pulmonologist last week for my bi-annual check up.  I had some of my best results on my breathing test since I started seeing her.  And I freaking LOVE this doctor.  Of every doctor I’ve ever had – she is amazing.  She walks a balance of treating me like I am not some stupid boob but teaching me all the things I need to know to treat my disease.  She is always late, but then will spend every minute I need with me – and so as annoyed as I get for her making me wait so very, very long; I know she spent as much time with her other patients and she will spend as much time as I need (or hell, as I want).  The only time I felt rushed was when I had an afternoon appointment and she came in at like 5:45pm (the office closed at 5, her last appt. slot was 4:15- my slot).  And then wanted out of there.

Ok, so because of several reasons (*cough* including stupid insurance*cough*) we had to change me from the meds I’d been using.  There are 2 meds I use for asthma: an as-needed/emergency inhaler (albuteral) and a long-term daily dose.  I was on Breo which is once-daily powder I inhale.  We switched me to the cheaper/older Sybicort which is twice daily.  I struggle with twice daily – but for the past week I was trying really, really hard and keeping up.  I only missed one dose Saturday morning ’cause I woke up wanting to write and forgot.  This is like record-awesome drug taking for me.


I woke up Wed and went downstairs and worked out (I’m trying to be better about this).  It was awful but I pushed.  My asthma was not happy, I did a lighter work-out but I did my 25 minutes of >100 HR.  I know I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m trying.

My asthma is running at low-annoying-not-wanting-to-breathe right.  When I’m at work at about 10am, it’s bad enough I decide to take my albuteral.  I take 2 puffs of it and head to my next meeting.  I go to lunch ~12:30 and I’m tired.  I am beginning to feel the fatigue of low-level pain (my diaphram is working harder to pull my lungs open) and my brain is “foggy” from less-than-ideal oxygen. I use my albuteral again (and I keep track on my fingers the number of times I have to same-day-use this, so this was a thing to me) My last meeting ends right at 3 and after I just can’t focus.  So I decide to give up and go home – I’m not getting work done anyway.

On my way home, I call my pulmonologist’s office and leave a message with the nurse – this new med isn’t working, I’ll pay the more to go back to Breo – can you send in the script.  I’m tired. I want to get back to where I was at the beginning of Feb where I wasn’t in pain and fighting my own damn body.

Right before 5 the nurse calls me back and says my doctor wants me to go to the ER.  Specifically, because my symptoms hit relatively fast and my albuteral isn’t clearing them up, she’s concerned about pneumonia. Damnit, I didn’t think of that (who knew? you need oxygen to think straight).

I don’t want to go to the ER.  Damnit I do NOT WANT TO GO.  I call my sister and mother to get their suggestions.  My sister recommends calling urgent care.  Oh! Yeah, they can do chest x-rays and at 1/4 the copay!

I call them.  I swear the nurse was a freaking psychic.  I ask if they can do x-rays and nebulizers (the awesome machine of life for asthmatics – I don’t have one because the only time my albuteral has failed me was when i had pneumonia).  She asks why and I say my doctor wants me to get chest x-rays.  She asks if I have asthma.  I say yes.  She says, “Did your doctor tell you to go to the ER?” “…Yes….”  “You really should go to the ER.”



Ok.  I call my husband (I had been chatting with him to give him the head’s up…). He says he can be home in 45 minutes, we can be at the hospital in 1.5 hrs.  My mom (a mile from my house) had offered to drive me up there and I tell him why doesn’t he work the day out (like his last 30 minutes) and MOM can drive me to the ER.

So I call Mom, she comes to get me, we go to the ER.

I get to the ER right at 6pm. I’m not triaged for 30 minutes (seriously, they were like “why are you even here. You can talk bitch.”)  They come for x-rays ~7(?) and then return me to the lobby because they don’t have an exam room for me.

I lost track of time. The ER was nice enough, but I was exhausted and I hurt. I wanted to go home. I wanted to think straight. I couldn’t read the book I’d brought (Fifth Kindom by N.K. Jemisen) because I couldn’t concentrate. I was mad at my doctor for “making me” (yeah, yeah – I had a choice. But when I say I love and trust this doctor… and with this flu season her fear isn’t crazy and mom and my husband kept reminding me walking pneumonia does long-term damage….).  They get me to an exam room and we keep waiting.

Doc finally shows up and listens to my lungs. He’s visibly surprised when I tell him I go to a pulmonologist but don’t have my own nebulizer, but I tell him I’ve been maintained with the dailies for several years. Then the nurse comes and gets my vitals.  My blood pressure is high (like 150/90) – which for the person who generally runs 120/70 even I know that isn’t good. Something is going on in my body.

Then the respiratory specialist brings the only thing I have wanted for like 5 hours – a nebulizer treatment.   Like 80% of the way through (it’s less than 10 minutes long) I feel it.  OMG.  It’s like rays of sunshine through the clouds. I take the first deep breath that doesn’t feel like a horse kicked my chest… It’s better than a yawngasm (you know- yawns that just feel good.)  When the nurse comes and re-checks my vitals, my BP is back down to like 135/80 – still high for me, but I’ve been in the ER for like 3 hrs now… like it’s stressful or something?

I got to the ER at 6pm and there was 1 person in the waiting room.  I left after 10pm.  We hadn’t had dinner. Despite the shot-in-the-butt of steroids the nurse I’m exhausted. Fyi, the nurse was awesome – she was funny and chipper and DAMN GOOD with that needle.  She stuck me before I knew what she’d done and had that burning shit in me before I could even tense – and steroid shots hurt almost as much as tetanus.

So we get home at almost 11 and finally eat dinner (Wendy’s – yay what’s open past 10pm….). I eat and crash in bed before midnight.  I know I’m “supposed” to not eat 3-hrs before bed but F-that when I just left the ER.

I didn’t post on FB; I kept in text-contact with my family & my husband was texting his parents to keep them informed.  Part of me wanted to take a selfie with my husband while using the nebulizer and make the valentine’s day joke – or a joke about him loving me too much – but as funny as my asthma-riddled brain was, I had enough oxygen to realize that was…. weird? Bad. Not as funny to anywhere outside my brain.  I blame the twists of carbon dioxide whispering such corrupting thoughts.

Ironically, I hovered around 95% oxygen when they brought me in (hence the “why is she here” looks…) and then stayed close to 97-98% after the treatment.  Granted, anything under 95 IS officially “less than ideal” territory and the high BP means SOMETHING wasn’t working right.  And the last time I was in the ER, I wasn’t pulling oxygen into my lower lungs, couldn’t talk and STILL showed 92% – I think I somehow throw off those machines.  Or my brain/body is more sensitive to low-oxygen.

My back is still sore this AM (I got up at 5:30 to write this up – yay steriods… ) But I can tell it’s “my diaphram doesn’t really ever get a break, so it’s sore after working hard” sore NOT “I’m working hard and it hurts” sore.  And yes – those are different.

Tomorrow you’ll get the post that was scheduled to go up today… but I thought this should get some expediency.

Life Events: Apologies!

I have 2 reviews in progress but have written little more than intro paragraphs on them.  It has been such a crazy week for my paying-the-bills job that a LOT has slid to the side (my wonderful husband has been so supportive, I can’t even tell you how much I have needed him this week).

So I will try to get (a) caught up and (b) ahead on some posts this weekend so next week won’t be so barren (I have a backlog…. now I just need some energy)

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t do normal resolutions.  By normal I mean the list of “this year I’m gonna lose 20 lbs” or “I’m saving $1 every day”

I aim for my resolutions to change me; change my outlook or my philosophy or some aspect of me.  They really become more than just one-year resolutions.

For 2018, my resolution is to be bolder. To fight harder against the voice that says “no” and to look it in the eyes and say “then yes damnit!”

In the world today there is a lot of “no” going around and so many artists said it in 2017 – stress makes art hard.  Fear makes art painful. Most artists can’t separate art and life (I say most because if I say “all” someone will point out some exception….) One informs and influences the other.

I had a dream in the early hours of Jan 1st and it was terrifying.  I woke panting, wanting to spring up and run away.  But you can’t run away from your mind – you have to turn and face it.

So I am facing myself this year.  I have started on medication because the nightmares, the stress, the anxiety in 2017 got to a point where I wasn’t coping – I was hiding.  I felt like I was barely functioning.  And there is too much I want to do in life for me to spend all my time hiding under my covers because my brain wants to say “no.”

2018 is the year I say “yes.” This is the paradigm shift I want to make: say yes instead of no.  Instead of saying “I won’t be on Facebook as much” I want to say “I will work out more.”  Yes!

Yes, I will send that novel manuscript to a publisher or agent even though I think it’s imperfect.

Yes, I will write more short stories.

Yes, I will try new restaurants.

Yes, I will work out more even though I’m terrified of my asthma.

Yes, I’m going to spend my money wiser.

Yes, I’m going to donate my time and talents.

Yes, I will travel outside my comfort zone to new places.






Memories: Three years

Ok, so I missed the anniversary (by quite a bit actually) – but I’ve hit 3 years blogging!  Wow.  I was doing some admin clean-up and considering if I want to try a different skin (I feel like the “look” of my blog is… off/wrong/meh). I looked at my post history and found it had already been so much.

As much as the Ex-Best Friend was read though, my totals for the month it was published (in 2015) was only 15 views higher than my total views last month.  Probably because of the frequency I was able to post last month – and yes I know I’ve faltered this month already – it’s been busy!  I’m getting back on the horse.

I am already doing some planning for 2018 – some ideas I have to freshen up the ‘ole bloggeru and get myself into the right headspace.

Memories: Ideal Weight

It’s holiday season, which is always a stressful time and made more stressful for people who are trying to lose weight.  With Thanksgiving past, I am seeing the annual parade of posts about “hitting the gym” and “getting back on the horse.”

Picture of my new skirt

This is hard for me.  I am overweight.  Technically, I am “obese” although I don’t feel obese.

I’m not unhappy (per say) with my size.  I would like to lose some weight, but at the same time, I am pretty happy with general shape, etc. Part of my “want to lose weight” is health.  There are some numbers which are less than ideal and I would like to get them idealized again.

What makes this hardest is I know what it takes to get/keep my ideal weight.  I’ve been there.  When I graduated from college, I weighed 142lbs.  This is right about “perfect” (according to the drs) for my height.   I didn’t diet to get there, but I had managed to have a lifestyle that allowed me to exercise a lot.  And by “managed” I mean “forcefully included” exercise.

206612_503273350592_1266_n.jpgYou see, my senior year of college I spent a semester in Japan. When I got home, I weighed the “perfect” weight.  And I won’t lie – I did enjoy that size/ weight.  I felt like I could wear anything, do anything, be anything.

But it was at least partly due to my commute to/from school.  It was 2 miles to and from school – 4 miles a day that I had to walk or bike.  That’s above and beyond any walking AT school or if I wanted to go anywhere else.  I didn’t mind the commute.  It worked and I could do it.

Here’s the problem.  Even when I lived 2 miles from the train station in Atlanta – those weren’t 2 miles I could safely walk.  And it wasn’t pedestrians that terrified me.  It was drivers.  At least 1/3 of the walk to the train station didn’t have sidewalks and that made it unsafe. Beyond unsafe. No sidewalks in Japan? No big deal, cars went slow through there because there was so much foot traffic. Here in Atlanta? Pshaw- good luck sucker!

I have struggled ever since to find as much exercise to fit into my schedule.  In some ways it’s worse being overweight now because I do know what it looks and feels like to be the “right” weight – I just can’t figure out how to get there.  I have a ~30-40 minute commute (~12 miles) to work right now.  That isn’t horrible – it’s pretty much the same time I used to spend walking/biking to/from school in Japan.  So I know I can easily do 30 minutes of exercise twice a day.  But on top of my already 30-40 minutes of commute?  That means I really have to budget an hour “each way.”  And Americans don’t have the same acceptance of “shit, it’s 95 degrees outside, of course you’re sweaty” that Japanese culture had.

As I listen to the complaints, I don’t have answers to my friends who are frustrated with their weight. When I look back at the pictures of my time in Japan, sometimes I am frustrated – how do I make that lifestyle more accessible?  How do I add that into my routine in the states?