Monday, March 12, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Preparing

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Grey found a rental: a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath townhouse-style end unit that has recently been updated and looks sound. Cue sign of relief.

Follow by both Grey and I springing into action. Today we've arranged transporting the car, arranged for moving pods, established new utilities, gave notice to close existing utilities, bought plane tickets, set up vet appointments (fun fact: Jaxson and Daisy need no documentation to fly domestically, but we want sedatives even though last time they did NOT work at all), dropped off old vet records, mailed signed lease, updated mailing address for USPS and contact the school district for IEP transfer and enrolling both Beats into Kindergarten.

I also had a phone interview #3 and Nor'easter #4 is scheduled to hit at 1 am. 

In short we're preparing, whether the universe likes it or not.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Famine to Feast

My job search did a 180 last week. On the heels of a rejection letter, I got an email from a newer contact that he was leaving his current position and wondering if I was interested in his job (and if yes, he would send me the hiring manager's information). One day latter, one of my pain letter contacts (on the heels of applying for a job posting) connected with me on LinkedIn, resulting in me getting an email from the hiring manager. Minutes later, another newer contact reached out, requesting a meeting about a new position the company is creating as we speak. The bow on top is was an email yesterday evening with an interview request for a position I applied for and then followed up on to inform them that I would be relocating to the area at the end of the month.

As of right now, I'm two phone interviews in with the pain letter company. There's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether I would even be a good fit given the work they are doing is not in my wheelhouse. But my skill-set is, especially with team management for tackling unusual problems and so far they keep talking about the next steps. In the meantime, I'm scheduling an interview with the company from last night while responding to the other two with updated information about when I actually may be back on the West Coast.

All of this is weird. I'm not use to having multiple potential options surface all at once, giving the illusion of actual options. The idea that I may get to actually chose an employer is something I haven't allowed myself to think about given that as of this minute no offers are in hand. But given the weird, I've definitely been trying to clear the fog that has been rolling around in my head; remembering that it's my job to also interview these potential employers as the match isn't just about me pleasing them but actually about fitting into the team (meaning I have to be comfortable with the team too).

But I guess I should get use to the universe screwing with me. Even when that means going from famine to feast.

Monday, March 5, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Aftermath of another bomb cyclone

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

On Friday, Grey and I ventured out grab the Beats early from school. Even though we hadn't sustained any damage, we had concerns with the wind and didn't want to chance finding ourselves in an impossible situation.

About 30 mins after we were all home safe, the following image popped up on my phone from the local neighborhood group.

For anyone wondering, this was only 10 blocks away. I would later get messages from family asking if we were okay given that this same image was being used by national news outlets.

Over the past few days, doubt has been creeping in about this move. Is this truly the best thing for us and the Beats or are we just over reacting to our situation? Maybe we just need to try harder? 

Looking at this image though, knowing that all of those power lines we actually just installed a few months ago, and following on the heels of news about us experiencing two weather events that are usually only experience generationally (if that), it's hard not to see all the signs as pointing that we need to get out as soon as possible.

On Tuesday Grey flies out for the West Coast with the hopes of finding a rental, all with the blessing of his new manager and all the higher-ups at his company. Once that is secure, he will update the moving companies of where we'll be landing. And though I have no illusions that life will be without hardships in the future, it's hard not to hope that things will get better.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Finding Asa Gray

Yesterday, after hitting the "publish" button for my humdrum post, I decided to pack up my laptop and venture over to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to find Asa Gray. The cemetery itself is lovely, filled with extremely ornate grave makers and landscaping. It's no wonder that this place is also a bird-watching haven.

Now I know what you're thinking: who is Asa Gray? Why spend a lovely day like this hunting for the grave of someone most people have never heard of? Instead of giving you a link and letting you do some reading (I'll do that below), I can give you a summary. The question is which part of the summary to focus on.

You see, I could spend time telling you why Asa Gray, a professor at the Harvard Herbarium, is considered one of the most important botanists of the 19th century. How he was instrumental in unifying the taxonomic knowledge of plants in North America and how his extensive study of the morphological similarities between many eastern Asian and North American plants is still the foundation for ongoing work today. 

But I already know I've lost most of you there.

Instead, what I'll focus on is that despite being a Harvard professor, Asa Gray was deeply religious; fitting the definition of modern day intelligent designers. But how Asa Gray differed from other intelligent designers is that he was also a very close friend of Charles Darwin and believed in evolution via natural selection.

In fact, Darwin's modern-day fame is due to Asa Gray. Asa Gray and Charles Darwin had an ongoing correspondence with Gray's observations and beliefs helping drive many of Darwin's theories. But what really sealed the deal was that at the same time Charles Darwin was developing his theories, another colleague named Alfred Wallace also independently developed the same theory of evolution through natural selection. Why Darwin instead of Wallace got the credit for being first is because when Wallace's manuscript was read at the Linnean Society on July 1, 1858, so too was a letter between Asa Gray and Charles Darwin that outlines Darwin's theories on the origin of species showing that Darwin had outline all of this prior to Wallace's manuscript.

Asa Gray would go on to promote Darwin, receiving one of the first published copies of "On the Origin of Species" and then by arranging the publication of the first American editions, making sure that Darwin received the royalties. The pair remained close friends throughout their lives.

I've been thinking about Asa Gray for many months since I first learned about him this past autumn. With the ongoing divide in this country where people continually separate themselves from one another based on their beliefs and opinions, the relationship between Gray and Darwin is a shining example of how that doesn't have to be. Asa Gray firmly believed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive, something that modern day leaders in science like Francis Collins echo. Yet the myth remains that you either believe in God or Evolution and one has to wonder what underlying political forces are at play to perpetuate this false message and how they benefit from creating such fear.

There's another level though; one that I've been witnessing from bloggers who have resolved their infertility but are not parenting. The question posed of end of life issues but also whether they would even be remembered. It's a common fear that many are quick to brush aside with the belief that having children rectifies the problem as they will become the caregivers and the memory holders. And yet, I can tell you with utter confidence that I know next to nothing about my great grandparents. My own grandparents are also a bit of a mystery to me, so at the end of it all they have become lost in the masses.

And why I thought about that as I stood in front of Asa Gray's grave is because Gray and his wife Jane never had any children, despite a well known desire for them. Gray was very parental with his younger brothers, housing and caring for them and it is believed that he was well-loved by his mentees. In short, Asa Gray's legacy lives on due to how he lived his life.

I drove around Mt. Auburn Cemetery for about 30 mins before I located Holly Path. Walking on foot among the old stones, I swear there was a hush from all the birds as I located the site. 

Standing at the foot of the grave, marveling at the beauty in its simplicity and how white the stone was despite being over a hundred years old, I found myself overcome with emotion. After all, what does one say to the dead, especially given my own belief that we don't just live a single lifetime? What I found myself asking and reflecting on out loud was that given all the change on the horizon is did I had the courage to continue to stand by my convictions and pursue what I believed in. To live the type of life I believed to be full and good; to take all the knowledge and lessons gained from the past 3 years forward with me as I begin this next chapter. Something that I'm very scared I'll fail at.

Yet seeing this physical evidence of someone who seemingly lived a life I admire gave me renewed courage to try, even though I know failure, disappointment and pain are certainly ahead. Because finding Asa Gray wasn't simply about learning more about a part of history; it was also about uncovering something about myself. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018


It's one of those days. The type where I'm feeling less than motivated to get out into the world and tackle the challenges in front of me. Part of this has to do with the fact that I already have my meetings scheduled for the day; another part is I've been hitting the pavement very hard for the past couple of days. But another part is feeling once again like I'm in limbo. The initial adrenaline surge following rejection only propels one so far.

Right now I'm living in the humdrum, aware of the tidal wave of change that is about to hit my life. Grey has renewed his search for rentals with plans to fly back to the West Coast soon to secure a new home. Once an address is secured, everything else on the list can be checked off. All racing against a ticking clock in hopes of our new beginning.

But in the meantime my body is telling me to rest. Even though my mind screams out in panic of the humdrum, it seems unavoidable.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A new way to "date"

Sunday night, I found myself curled up on the couch and having an ugly cry. Snuggled up next to me were both cats as well as Grey, hugging me tightly as I vented all my frustration with the job hunting process. What triggered this breakdown was being 2 weeks out from my last interview and having no response about my status for this position. Wiping away angry tears, Grey whispered "Babe, you've got to let this one go. Don't let it get to you." The only reply I had for him was that this whole process was one giant reminder as to why I loathed dating so much. My teenage self reemerging as I was dealing with rejection all over again.

I found myself reflecting back on Sunday night after I got the official rejection letter on Monday. Instead of tears of frustration, I found myself surprisingly sober as I research how to respond to these CEOs and prepared to send out a couple more pain letters. There's so much similarity between dating and the job hunting process it's a bit eerie. And because of it I'm finding I'm once again forced to tackle existing demons surrounding self-worth and how I perceive myself in the world. And reassessing what it means to fail.

Over the past few months, I've begun picking Grey's brain to figure out how he hunts for jobs given that he's been fairly successful recently. Part of what he's got going for him is that he's now considered a "known" in the industry world. His name is now attached to some well-known firms and his managers are also well respected, adding weight to his credibility. But another thing that comes up is how Grey approaches the whole process. He's gotten very good at using any rejection or no as a networking opportunity and he also has figured out how to find the opportunities he knows will be a good fit for him. In other words, he avoids the usual "dating pools" (think speed dating, bars,, etc) as the likelihood he'll come out with something that interests him is a lot less likely and instead follows the sources and networks that are aligned with his interests. And he's also taken an approach of internalizing the "it's not you, it's me" response from those who have rejected him. In his eyes, if they don't want to work with him, then it is either not a good match or their loss.

All of this is completely contrary to how I've approached dating in the past. I remember my younger self obsessing about a potential love interest, worrying that somehow I came off has not likable or worthy of dating. Causal dating was never in the cards as I really was focused on the end goal (and hence why I really didn't date). Looking back, I see so many bad relationships where I should have run in the other direction. Guys that treated me awfully mainly because I gave them permission to do so. It's all the more reason Grey is so special, but also it reflects a pattern of how I've approached so many relationships in my life. Jobs included.

The truth is, I was very unhappy in my last position. Hearing now about the hours my former coworker works (10 pm nightly is the norm, with her rarely seeing her family during the week) leaves me shuddering. It would be one thing if this experience would have opened doors or created future opportunities, but like most toxic jobs the track-record is one where very few do (and those that do usually do so through a ugly divorce process). Being able to admit to myself that not having my contract renewed was actually a blessing is very odd. Admitting that I deserved better is even odder.

All of this has lead to some interesting changes recently. First is allowing myself to grieve the loss of what could have been. But then instead of dwelling and picking apart all I did wrong to lose an opportunity, I'm spending time focusing on what I learned. With this recent rejection letter, Grey pointed out that they want to keep my resume on file and to stay in touch. Today I need to test those waters to see if future opportunities would be possible. In addition, I've been getting bold and reaching out to people I previously would have seen as untouchable. I'm also cherry-picking for what positions I'm applying for. Will this opportunity actually allow me to meet my long-term goals? Because if I can't honestly answer that, then the application is being done in desperation. And no one likes to be the friend with benefits.

So I'm learning a new way to navigate this process. Dating like a guy, so to speak. All the while quieting the voice in the back of my head where I'm second-guessing all the boldness of assuming that I deserve to enjoy what I do for a living.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Over the weekend, a dear friend delivered her baby. I've known my friend for over a decade and from the beginning was aware of her desire to be a mother. A doula who went to nursing school with the plan of going on to become a midwife (ironically, that didn't happen and she's now moved into hospice care), she was there for me when the Beats first arrived. Just as she's been there for so many others as they welcomed their children into the world.

Her journey to motherhood wasn't an easy one, though. Like so many, she found herself unable to conceive and I mourned with her the loss of her biological children. I would then go on to support her as she made the decision of pursuing donor egg IVF. Then it was celebrating with her with that first positive pregnancy test, rejoicing with each milestone met. This weekend was the finale of her journey, involved a massive group text, with well wishes and wishes of encouragement. There was a lot of joy surrounding the news of the safe arrival of her daughter.

Then someone mentioned how much she deserved this. And for the first time, I was given pause.

Because even though I do believe my friend deserves every happiness in the world and I'm over the moon for her and her husband, this comment comes on the heels of other arrival news.

On Sunday, my MIL informed Grey that family friends were great-grandparents once again. Of the arrival of a baby girl to their grandson who could barely keep a job and his wife who refused to work as she felt she should be cared for. Of the elder child, who is now a brother to this infant, who is dealing with such severe eczema that his skin is peeling off around this wrists and face and at the age of 4 is still not speaking.

And on this, I thought about "deserving." Because if I'm honest, though I believe my friend deserve every happiness and her daughter deserves her amazing mother and father, this other newborn deserves better than the parents she got. Just as so many in this community that I consider dear to me deserve to also be parenting.

Infertility and loss fuck with you that way. Turning terms like "deserved" and "blessed" on their heads and making you wonder about the games that are played. The polar opposite reactions to the exact same news: in one case I'm celebrating and sending well-wishes while in the other I'm mourning for the newborn.

So I'm left with wondering quietly about "deserved." Because the truth is life is far from fair. And though there are many children who find themselves in loving families, I can't help but think the outcomes for so many would be very different if deserved truly did exist.
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