about sarah, life

Hello, 2019!

Somehow 2018 managed to be a year of big changes for me, while also feeling normal and secure and totally solid. As someone who thrives while making improvements to my life, but also needs to feel safe, it was a nice balance and it’s what I’m hoping to do in 2019 again.

I’ll dive into the details in future posts, so for now I’m just going to drop in some big picture goals I have for this year as a way to kick things off (and hold myself accountable):

  • Finish writing and edits on my first fiction project (novel) for the year by the end of March. (Drafting now!)
  • Remodel the hallway bathroom in the first half of the year.
  • Start swimming for exercise (as soon as my doctor clears it after my current back treatments).
  • Expand my client list and places I’m published throughout the year.
  • Finish organizing the last few spaces in my house that need it.
  • Keep challenging myself to bake new things all year. I mastered pie crust, and buttermilk biscuits, and so much more last year. Time to tackle the next round of things I’ve avoided baking!
  • Write more fiction after finishing the first project.
  • Go on three vacations: annual BFF trip, visit family in The Netherlands, and a big one to celebrate ten years of marriage.
  • Build the vegetable garden we’ve planned and start growing food.

Also? Get back to blogging. I once blogged every single day for over a year, and while I’m not going to do that again, I’m going to aim for publishing 50 posts this year. I hope you’ll swing by to follow along with the details as I accomplish my plans for 2019.

More cakes and other things soon.

about sarah, announcements & updates, life, podcasting

I started a podcast!

hey_bestie_podcast

Hi! I started a podcast with my longtime BFF, Kim. It’s called Hey, Bestie! and we chat about pop culture, things we love (or hate) feminism, and modern life.

And there are already four episodes up! So far we’ve talked about bullet journaling, The Rock running for president, shows you should never binge watch, romance novels, and more.

Go to HeyBestie.com for more info and ways to listen or hop right over to iTunes.

about sarah, life

My Year in Review: 2016

My Year in Review: 2016 sarah.blog

With 2016 coming to a close, I thought I’d share another recap (like in 2015). It was way easier last time because I blogged so much last year, so at the very least, writing this post was a good reminder that I’d like to document my life more. Good thing I’m starting a Bullet Journal right now. 😉 And I solemnly swear to post here at least 48 times in 2017. (Can you tell I’m watching Harry Potter?) Read on for my monthly recap and a list of the places I visited this year.

Here’s a month-by-month recap of what I was up to (as far as I can remember):

January: I visited Phoenix for a work team meetup, plus spent a few days of roadtripping around the state, including to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, with two teammates.

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Cold afternoon at the Grand Canyon.

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February: We kicked off our master bathroom remodel. It got demolished (down to the studs and subfloor!), then slowly put back together. (See the before here.) I also wrote about the anxiety I was surprised to experience during the remodeling. I still owe final after pictures, but here’s a sneak peek. (And I promise to share some photos soon!) I also fell in love with Hamilton this month and then started a team rotation at work that lasted three months and enabled me to learn a ton about WordPress themes.

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A real shower!

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Continue reading “My Year in Review: 2016”

about sarah, life

It’s my birthday!

I turned 34 today.

And here’s what I did:

  • slept in
  • lounged and drank iced coffee
  • ate a taco at Torchy’s
  • got a manicure and pedicure
  • read a book in bed
  • went to dinner at Liberty Burger
  • had a movie night at home

It was a great day.

about sarah, life

Saying Goodbye to My Grandma

On this day seven years ago, I sat with my grandmother while she died. My mom and I held her hands, comforted, and waited. She’d been moved to hospice the day before and we knew it was almost time, but knowing that and watching it are two very different things. Those weeks, that day, and especially the several hours surrounding her death changed my life.

When she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, I was living 5,000 miles away in The Netherlands. She was given a few months at most to live, so I went home to Texas for a while to be with her. Pancreatic Cancer seems to be mostly very harsh and doesn’t leave a lot of time to linger in good health, but often goes very bad very quickly, as it did in my grandma’s case. She died within several weeks from finding out, and the last few of those could hardly be called living.

My mom lived next door to my grandparents at the time, so I claimed my old bedroom, revived my library card, and spent several weeks in a haze of sadness and books. While my mom and aunt cared for my grandmother, along with the eventual medical staff, I lingered around the edges, trying to support my mom after each long, difficult day. The best I could do was to pause my reading to make sure my mom remembered to rest and eat something, to try to spend time with my grandpa, who was losing the partner he’d been with since his teens, and just try to keep it together. My life was on pause, while my grandmother lingered in a strange space of being very ill and knowing she would never recover, but still being alive. Death really doesn’t look like it does in the movies.

Over those few weeks, I read at least one book every day, and usually more. I visited with my grandma, this formerly bold, strong woman who I grew up running across the street to visit. She was always there, for as long as I could remember, not just on holidays or when we made a special trip to visit her, but right across the street, with the swimming pool and watermelon, cookies and milk, and someone to tattle on my mom to (much to her amusement). After I sat with her, watching her slowly die a little more each day, I cried and cried and cried, until I had to stop. And then I read, slept, and repeated.

And then she died. In the hours right before, she hadn’t seemed to be very aware of things around her or able to respond, but she opened her eyes and inched her hand toward me, as I was the only one in the room at the time, and said she loved me. After that, we waited, and it didn’t take long. She gasped a few last breaths and then she was gone. And when people die? They look dead.

The thing about watching someone die is: there really isn’t a way to anticipate what it will be like. You may recall random movie death scenes that seemed realistic at the time, back when you didn’t know what it looked like. Or you may think someone so close to death looks dead, but they don’t… not quite, at least. It’s a strange, heartbreaking experience, but when you watch someone die, you see them leave that space, exit the room, and just be gone from this world and it’s an odd thing to see and feel and accept. It hurts your heart so much to watch it happen. Being there, though, is important. That experience felt like one of the most important things I’ve ever done at the time, and still.

Even though I watched it happen, I still can’t believe it’s been over seven years since I spent hours chatting with my grandma, or laughing at her schemes to dress down when she went to the bank so no one would realize how much money she had, or sitting in her kitchen eating beans and cornbread.

I will live so much more of my life without her here, than with her, but her presence has shaped my being in ways that even decades without her won’t change. When falter and I almost give too much of myself away or hide from a challenge, I remember her and am better at being myself and loving myself because of her example and advice. For that, I owed her everything I could give in her last days and am glad to have had the chance.

life, my house

Life Update, late March

I ate another sandwich today:

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken, mayo, mustard, relish, celery, grapes, salt and pepper, with lettuce and tomato on a ciabatta roll.

And my bathroom passed the first plumbing inspection! Phew.

The window install meant for today had to be postponed due to thunderstorms, but they’ll be going in Monday, so no big deal.

Tomorrow the electrician is coming to update the wiring in the master bedroom and bathroom (and add a light over my table in our new dining room). There will be lights in better spots and more outlets! (Also, zero scary wires from 1960, so that’s a great thing too.) Once the wiring is done, it’ll be time for two more inspections: electrical and framing, for the room/walls/foundation in general, before the sheetrock can go up.

My painter stopped by today to check things out and work up a quote for installing/repairing/updating/painting the walls in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallway, and I’m working on scheduling the tiling for the shower walls and bathroom floor.

The new bed is being delivered in two weeks. Just in time for us to not have to sleep on the floor while we have houseguests who will need the guest bed we’re currently using.

So many moving parts! I will fully admit that about two days after I posted, Master Bathroom: Deadline April 19, my husband acknowledged how stressed I was trying to get this timing just right and move things along and kindly said, “If it’s not done before they get here, so what? We’ll share a bathroom with them just like we have every other time we’ve had guests since we never used this bathroom anyway.” And then I exhaled and have felt way better since then.

We might be done in time, but we might only be close to being done by then, and oh well. We’ll share. And the bathroom will still be fantastic when it is done.

Message to myself:
cat-deal-with-it-gif

life, my house

Remodeling Anxiety

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I’ve woken up shortly after 3am the past two nights, unable to get back into a comfortable sleep, because my mind is racing with worries about our bathroom remodel. It sounds pretty dumb when I mention it, and I’m glad the rest of my life is mostly anxiety-free now, but I’m tired and my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth and I hope I can figure out how to relax about this.

Other than general worry over the actual work and the amount of money being spent, I’m sleeping in a strange room on a different bed. The master bedroom is storing random bathroom parts and too dusty to live in, so we’re in the guest room, which gets more noise and light and from the road because it faces the corner of two streets. (Note to self: Get some blackout curtains for your future guests’ comfort!) 

I’m not sure there’s a solution for this other than the bathroom being done, but maybe it’ll start feeling better when something big is done and the first city inspection is passed. I hope so. I’m tired.