Sometimes things on my mind just have to come out. It’s like a huge surge of internal energy that literally pins me here in the home office chair until it gets formed into words and typed out. OK, it’s the weekend and the schedule’s pretty wide open today so I can just go with it. I’ve been keeping posts to just about one a week, usually on a weekend anyway so It’s Time Again. I’d love to write more but I find I have to be in a certain mindset and after a day at work my brain is too tired, but it’s a good tired. Just not the best state for writing.

There will be another “gift” of time coming this way as my current work assignment wraps up at the end of December. I really enjoy this team and the work and would LOVE to stay on longer but the reality is that’s not going to happen for a lot of us. But, on the other hand we all knew our time there would be short so it’s no surprise. I’ll have more time in January to focus here on fivenineteen and where I want to take it moving into ‘10. And things job-wise should hopefully improve in the new decade as we pull out of this stupid Recession. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to resuming the part-time and pro bono work I was doing for a colleague who’s started up a consulting business (see “A Seat on the Panel with a Paycheck of Zero” for more on that.)

Oh. One more thing to add to the “When Things Don’t Work” post – my beloved T3 hair dryer. Good grief I spent $150 on that thing and only had it about a year and a half. And yet Friday morning I plugged it in, turned it on and it made THE hugest, loud POP and then a horrific grinding sound. And smelled. Yep, I think it’s done. And nope, this is NOT the way to start off an early morning where I’m trying to get ready for work and make a little extra effort to look nice as I was hoping to reconnect with a recruiter. As I like to say, “we wear our hair every day,” so investing in a good haircut, color and styling tools/products is high on my list. That little dryer really did its job….it was a travel model too so the handle folded up nicely for packing. Dang, I miss business travel – really and truly. Anyway, the faster I can get my hair dry and the waves smoothed down the less wear and tear there is on it and the less time I need to get ready and out the door. Thankfully I have an older dryer to use as a backup. It doesn’t work on one of the lower speeds any more but it works. So that’s now the iPod, my home office scanner/printer, the new Christmas tree lights which were DOA, the garage water leak, the hair dryer oh and the on-off timer on a floor lamp switch in the living room which have all crapped out within a couple weeks for no apparent reason. It IS a blue moon month so things are a little wacky for sure!

Now…what was I going to write about again? I love tangents but it’s time to get back on track here. Oh yeah…Nasty Habits.

How about these?
Diet Coke.
Red Wine.

Yep, these are things I’ve taken comfort in, sometimes more than I should I suppose.

Ohhhh, Diet Coke. Bless you and damn you all at the same time. The girls who wrote the book Skinny Bitch call diet sodas “Satan in a Can,” and that’s pretty much spot on. I can down it all day to keep the caffeine going through my bloodstream and it’s the beverage of choice for me to stay alert when I have a late night hockey game (that and a mega dose of Vitamin B). This is a 20-year addiction that’s gripped me so tightly it’s downright embarrassing. And unhealthy. For years I worked at companies where sodas were complimentary so my consumption just escalated as a result.

I’m going to cut it out of my life starting in January and frankly, I’m scared. I’m scared of the withdrawal side effects. Scared I won’t have any energy. Scared of being tired, moody and bitchy during the process. BUT, I know I’ll feel better once it’s all flushed out of my system. Stay tuned for more posts on my upcoming journey through Hell with this “DC Detox” next month! And join me in a toast as I raise my stainless steel hydration bottle full of water meanwhile!

Red Wine. Funny how two of the three I called out here are beverages?
Yeah, there’s something nice about unwinding with a glass of wine at the end of a long workday while getting dinner ready, watching TV or just reading email or web surfing. I even joined a wine of the month club a few years ago, where a local wine merchant picks a couple bottles each month (mostly reds) and sends out a nice document about the history of each, the regions where they originate, and a discount on more of the same for that particular month. I did this for years and then realized, as much as I enjoy learning about wine and having a choice of bottles to grab when heading off to a party or to just sit looking cool in my wine rack, that I really didn’t need to do this. That’s hundreds of dollars a year just on wine and for me recently that just doesn’t make economic sense. I also found that cutting way back on red wine consumption reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines I tend to get, mostly with hormonal cycles so have said my gynos over the years. I still enjoy a glass every now and then, but I don’t miss it.

Shopping. This will never be purged out of my DNA so I embrace it and learn to manage urges to shop/spend unnecessarily. It doesn’t cost anything to look!

You know, when I was in my early 20s and just starting out in my career and post-college life I had this feeling deep in my bones that every year would get BETTER. Call it naive, call it crazy, but that’s how I felt. I felt with every year that went by I’d be smarter, healthier, more cultured, more worldly, more glamorous, and yes, wealthier.

OK, reality hits hard. Doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe it’s because that time of my life was in the late 1980s when glitz was still in style and economic times were properous in general. I figured that was how post-college life would be forever and ever with nowhere to go but up as I got more established as an adult with my career and life! I got a job mere weeks after graduating from college and while the pay was low compared to other entry-level jobs it was in a glamorous office location in downtown Seattle and the year-end bonuses were very generous. Far different experience from other college grads who coincidentally happened to graduate when the economy wasn’t as booming.

Fast forward to the early 21st century and I now have a townhome I love, but is also nearly 30 years old and it needs work. Gone are the days of $550 a month rent with a roommate, where a broken toilet was a quick phone call to the landlord to get it fixed! Now I gotta pay for the fixes myself. New appliances. New 400 sq ft back deck. A massive water leak. Paint, inside and out. And, likely next year, a new roof for all of us in the HOA. I love my townhouse but also am humbled at the work involved in keeping a home maintained and stylish. I still have lingering 1980 fixtures in a few rooms and carpet to rip out and replace with flooring or tile.

I also realize how a lot of the frivolous shopping I used to do over the years needs to stop and focus on more important things like beefing up retirement accounts and home maintenance. This clangs even more loudly in my face as I wrap up my current work assignment and go into the world of unemployment yet again, but hopefully not for long.

You know, there is such a huge feeling of relief when you stop trying to impress people with material shit. I’m going to write about this more in future posts, and hopefully it won’t get too bitchy during the Diet Coke detox but we’ll see.