Stage Fright

January 31, 2014
Stage Fright by ChrissieCool on deviantART
So this morning (Wednesday, because at the rate I edit my posts this will be late) there was a conference call and I was one of the presenters. I got through it with saying "um" less than 500 times (I mean, how many time was *that* drilled into my head).

I used to be a major wallflower (no, social media experience doesn't count because, like any internet troll, I am still behind a screen), and apparently still am. Back in my Decathlon days, since one of the categories was Interview, it was beaten drilled into me how to speak clearly, have presence, make eye contact, read my audience, and "SLOW THE EFF DOWN, ANNETTE!!!" Bet you never heard someone blow through a 6-minute speech in 2.

Where was I? Oh yeah, my slides were great (good enough), my enthusiasm for social media was great (without sounding like either a total geek or technocrat), and given the audience, I had enough analysis to not seem like a fraud (have I mentioned just how much I love analytics???), But by the end of my few minutes, I was sweating buckets. WTFruit???!!

So I changed my shirt, applied more deodorant, and headed into work. One presentation down, one to go. This would be so much easier if I could actually see my audience and gauge their interest, reactions, etc. I need body language. And the older I get, the less I need to hear myself talking into the void. The voices in my head do that enough (that's the insomnia speaking, probably).

And so, I leave you with this:

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Wishing all of my friends a happy and prosperous New Year.

Year of the Horse by uniqueLegend on deviantART

No red envelopes will be given this year (not that that's new for my son).

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TBT: First Photo Hike

January 30, 2014
 photo GorgePhotographyHike018.jpg This was the hike I went on that really got me into more D-SLR photography rather than PnS. I can't believe it was nearly a decade ago.

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Wordless Wednesday

January 29, 2014

This is where my brain is at!

January 27, 2014
I couldn't put it into words, but Andrew Solomon has. This is exactly what I've been feeling the last month even as I look around and note all the things that need to get done in order to function well. It just takes too much effort to do anything more than the minimum.

I think I might try the East African methods (about 16 minutes in). Sunshine, dance, a good beat, and friends. These things all usually put me in a good mood and they have been sorely lacking in my daily routine. Especially friends.

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Here it comes again...

"B" is for Basilisk by JustMick on deviantART
Rearing it's pressurized ugly head, making me feel, well, anxious. Unsure. Confused. Apathetic. Pathetic. A fraud. The negative self-talk is back in force and frankly, it's almost paralyzing and I need to do this core dump so I get it out of my system and maybe get back to my day job. Hopefully.

It's hard to breathe, to think, to focus. I feel like I'm drowning. Where's my security blanket? My cave? A cave would be good. Really good. Which is counter-intuitive because I really need more sunlight. I'm back to being high yellow again... but I don't want to be out and about. I want to be somewhere dark, warm, safe.

Maybe then I'll be able to think and kick myself into high gear. Speaking of which, I just got asked for more slides and to prep for a presentation. Have I mentioned that I am much better being the rock star behind the curtain and not front and center? Do NOT put me center stage. Maybe that's it. I don't mind stepping up and having my efforts recognized, quietly. I just need a few key players to recognize the awesomeness that is me (positive self-talk there, see what I did?) and not everyone. And my presentation skills have seriously deteriorated since high school. Being the perfectionist that I am, I see and magnify every single flaw, and then I don't want to present again for fear of making the same mistake again and actually presenting over WebEx is worse for me because I can't see the audience, can't pace myself, can't judge how things are being received, IF they are being received and all those little body language cues that I use to navigate through real life.

Deep breath. I can do this. Somehow.

Pass the xanax, please.

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Throwback Thursday: Giggle Twins

January 23, 2014
No, I don't have a lot of photos from when I was a kid. They burned in fire. What I do have are good memories with Oakley.

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Menu Plan Monday: Home Skillet

January 17, 2014
At some point in the near future I will remember to hit publish before Friday since I menu plan and grocery shop on Sunday ....

This week I realized that in trying to use up all of the meat in the freezer and keep my grocery bill as low as possible (between checks and all that), everything I planned was hearty one-skillet meals. WIN! Less clean up. Also, the grocery bill was $84. It hasn't been that low in months!

It's also the week that my daughter returns to school and I try to get on an earlier schedule for work. So having an easy menu makes for more time for ... homework.

  • Monday: Beef and Bean Chili Verde - super easy because I simply use Fresh & Easy green salsa. It's much spicier than their salsa verde. Bonus, there's enough left overs for both me and Joy to have hot lunches.
  • Tuesday: Blackened (Cajun) Chicken (tenders) over zoodles (with sauteed zucchini) and avocado (sauce). The recipe is here. I improvise for time and kept it in one skillet. The kidlet ate 2.5 servings. No leftovers. This made both of us sad as I had to give her lunch money for a school lunch.
  • Wednesday: Curried Turkey Cutlets (patties) with dried apricots. Again, enough leftovers for lunch.
  • Thursday: Shortcut Red Beans and Rice
  • Friday: Either Zuppa Toscana or Pizza.
So, what did you guys eat this week?

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Insomnia Is Going to be the Death of Me

Or maybe my daughter. She's had insomnia ALL WEEK!!! Which, in turn, means that I have gotten little to no sleep. Yesterday I was on the brink of losing my mind and my emotional cool. Luckily, I have people in my life who bring me some sanity. A little emotional reset was and is desperately needed. I am so glad today is Friday.

Until I remember that softball season is upon us and there is practice tomorrow. No rest for the wicked. Just take a look at what missing a little sleep does to you...

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Monday's Wild Ride

January 14, 2014
Well... This morning's commute didn't go as planned. We were single-tracking due to someone possibly falling on the tracks. That was the rumor anyway. I'll have to find out for sure later. This is all Metro had to say about it.

Then, in my car, someone was claustrophobic and passed out. Instant crowd panic. Or so it seemed. There was lots of yelling that woke me from my cat nap.

There were some clear-headed commuters around the damsel in distress, but someone else pulled the emergency door release while other passengers started yelling "Red button! Press the red button! We have an emergency!" Of course the red button was down in my end of the car and it alerts the driver that there's an emergency (to be handled at the next stop). The Red Button was pushed. The person who passed out came to about a minute later.

By the time we made it to Vermont/Beverly (I think....) EMTs had been alerted and were waiting. Our driver was courteous to the person who passed out, admonished the group that pulled the door release, but then stalked off trying not to cuss a blue streak (and failing since I heard a few choice phrases) at the whole situation since Sleeping Beauty declined assistance. I swear she was only maybe 5'2" but the energy coming off of her as she walked back to the front of the train was something to behold.  

Final Train. by JasonHeeley on deviantART

After everything was said and done, I was only about 30 minutes late for work.\

Update: The delay was caused by a stabbing. Articles below.

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Throwback Thursday: With the 501st

January 9, 2014

You can read about part of the adventure here and see the full album (with detailed captions) here.Part II of the visit is here.

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Wordless Wednesday: Snow (angel)

January 8, 2014
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