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How do you deal with stress? Some people thrive on it, accomplishing more and getting energized by it. Not me.

I am one of those people who cannot handle an overabundance of tasks to do at once – I freak out and simply withdraw from life for a while when that happens. I can accomplish only a limited number of things per day, so when my lists gets too long, I freeze up and get nothing done instead.

We moved to a new apartment on Saturday (Hooray! We finally found sub-leasers to take over our most hated apartment), so this week has been filled with cleaning, unpacking, calling utility companies, and extreme back pain. And then throw in a bunch of church stuff (Relief Society calling). In short, I’ve been stressed.

But this time I’m trying not to freak out. I’m just doing what I can do. And I’ve been struggling with some personal issues, so I’m trying to treat myself with care and realize that I’m ok the way that I am. For now, this is all that I am and all I have to give to the world, and that’s ok.

My heart also hurts for friends and family who are dealing with struggles of their own. Life can truly be hard, and I wish I lived closer to them to be more of a support and help. I can only send my love and prayers and trust that they are strong, amazing people and can make it through the tough times.

Take a minute to count your blessings today. We all have more than we think we do. I’m going to try and be more grateful for mine.

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I have not been the best blogger the past few months. This writing for a living thing sure drains me. By the end of the day, I’m usually mentally exhausted! Which means I never feel like updating my blog. Today, though, I’d much rather write here than write the article I need to write about parrots. Bleh!

So I guess what I’ll do is a quick recap of November:

First, the not happy.

  • I had a client tell me she didn’t like one of the articles I sent her. I know, freelance writers must develop a thick skin, but I don’t have one yet! In fact, I think my skin started out much thinner than most people’s, anyway (ask John!). So I’ve been a little down the past few days.
  • I didn’t make as much money in November as I had hoped. Don’t count your freelance writing gigs before they’re hatched.
  • We still haven’t decorated our house for the holidays. 😦
  • I don’t want you to judge me for this, so be kind: I haven’t felt like doing dishes in over a week. So I haven’t. And nobody else has either. We are down to our last utensil.

The happy stuff!

  • John and I basically get a three week vacation – one week together in Athens (dubbed Holli-Johnny week), one week in Arizona, and one week in Nevada, with a little Utah possibly thrown in. Yay! We definitely need the break.
  • I’m making new friends. There are so many nice people in our church ward, and I finally feel like I’m getting to know some of them. It’s nice. I’m going to a friend’s house tomorrow for some crafting fun.
  • I reconnected with old friends during Thanksgiving. John and I went to Rome, GA to see a couple of my college friends and their family. We played the James Bond game (I’m so opposed to it, but there I was, shooting the bad guys until my fingers hurt!) and had fun with the kids and cats. And we ate yummy food.
  • I’m going to revamp my business model for the new year. I’m going to have a website and do things a little differently. I’ll show the site to you when it’s done. I know I can make the freelance thing work, but I’ll have to do it differently from the way I do it now.
  • I have a wonderful husband who is so amazong and sweet. That’s not specific to the month of November, but I needed the happy stuff to outweigh the not so happy stuff!

Anyway, happy December! I hope your month is a good one.

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Isn’t it interesting how some people come into your life and you connect in such a way that you know they’ll always be a part of you? And you never know ahead of time who will become so important to you.

My coworker Heather is one of those people. I didn’t even really know her for several years that I worked at ASU, and I don’t remember how we became friends. But once we did, I just felt a connection to her. She is genuine and kind, and a person whose integrity I admire. She is someone I aspire to be like.

We went to dinner tonight, the last time I’d be able to sit down and chat with her. As I drove home, black clouds covered the few stars visible in this city and a dust storm partially obscured my view of the road. Emmylou Harris’s achingly sad voice sang, Pancho and Lefty. And my heart hurt and I wanted to cry.

Sometimes this move across the country doesn’t seem real at all, but tonight, it does. Why can’t we take everyone we love with us? Why does embracing new opportunities and friends always mean letting go of other ones? Not that moving to Georgia means completely losing the friends and family I already have. But you know what I mean. It won’t be the way it is now ever again.

I’m thankful I got to know Heather and the many other people who have made my life better just because I know them. Will our paths cross again? I hope so. Because otherwise this goodbye would be too much to bear.

–hj

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update

A lot has happened since I last wrote. Sorry about that; I’m still getting used to wordpress. This place doesn’t feel like home yet, so forgive my lack of posting.

We had a great trip to St. Johns two weekends ago. St. Johns was beautiful and fun. It’s a very small town where everybody knows everyone else, kind of like where I’m from. It felt almost like home. And we saw so many people that John knew. It was great. Also, I met Kimbo, who I’ve been dying to meet ever since she started reading my blog. 🙂 And she called me gorgeous, so how can I not love her?!!

This past weekend we were in Kanab, Utah for a family reunion. We saw lots of family, swam, sat around doing nothing (yes!), and even took family pictures. It was a successful weekend. The only downside was that I burned my scalp (yet again!), oh, and I ate so much I probably gained 10 pounds.

And otherwise, the weeks are ticking by. In less than one month we’re going to be in Athens, Georgia. I’m getting more used to the idea, but I’m still scared! And I’m going to miss family and friends like you wouldn’t believe. The next four weeks are going to be a whirlwind of activity — traveling for family reunions, family parties, packing in our spare time (ha!), trying to see friends and looking for time to just relax. If I look stressed, you’ll know why. I just have to prevent a nervous breakdown, because I don’t need that on top of everything else!

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whiskey in the jar

I feel better today, thanks. That’s because I have a wonderful husband who listened to everything I needed to get out of my system, including a good cry. And he gives good hugs.

So I’m doing better. Except I’m soooo tired. John and I hung out with a few of his former professors last night at ‘Pub Quiz,’ which is basically a bunch of people eating and drinking (drinking lots!) at an Irish restaurant while answering trivia questions and trying to win the grand prize.

J and I participated in the quiz aspect, not the pub. It was great fun, even though I didn’t contribute much. (I swear, my brain is nearly useless. LOTS of information goes in, but not so much comes out. As a one-time humanities major, my brain is FULL of trivial knowledge. Can I pull any of it out when I need it? No. I guess my dream of being on Jeopardy! is never going to be realized.)

Our team won the grand prize! And we got home late and fell into bed. I had a nightmarish dream involving Paul Reubens trying to molest me while I tried to escape from him (yikes, where did I come up with THAT?!!). That combination caused me to wake up fully exhausted; not rested at all.

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My birthday was a success. I got many lovely presents from coworkers, friends, and family. And I still have John’s present(s) to look forward to. 🙂

Two of my good friends came over last night and we ate Oreganos takeout, had too much junk food, and watched The Parent Trap. So fun! Then my friend TK spent the night so I wouldn’t have to be alone on my birthday, which was so nice of her. I needed it, too. I was kind of sad not having John around on my birthday. Being alone would have been a bit too much.

Plus, during the middle of the night I had a dream about that Danny kid from The Shining. I distinctly heard “Redrum! Redrum!” coming from somewhere in the house. It woke me up, and at that moment I was never so glad to have someone else in the house with me.

And this afternoon I’m off to San Antonio to meet up with my sweet husband. I can’t wait. In fact, I’m sitting here at work unable to concentrate. I just want to be with my husband again. I missed him way too much.

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our first night apart

I drove my husband to the airport this morning so he could fly to New York for a fellowship assessment. This is officially the first night since we got married that I (and he) will be sleeping alone. 😦 It’s going to be so weird. The bed will feel so empty.

The only sad thing is, my birthday is tomorrow, so I won’t get to be with him on my birthday. And I want to have a good birthday.

BUT, the good news is that I’m hanging out with my girlfriends Wednesday night, and then Thursday I fly to San Antonio to meet John (he has an assessment for a second fellowship in San Antonio), and we’ll celebrate my birthday together in Texas. 🙂

And I’ve already received some awesome presents—My sister got me Parent Trap I & II, and it’s difficult to explain to you how gleeful I was to get this present. Parent Trap II has never even been SOLD before; it was on TV only (which may explain to you the quality of that film…), and I’ve wanted to watch it for a long time, but just didn’t have it. So, yeah…time for a PT I-IV party!!!

My mother-in-law gave me a Victoria’s Secret gift card, which yielded me the best bra ever!

And my grandpa-in-law (is that correct?) gave me money.

And I wasn’t even expecting presents. I love my birthday!!!

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