Monday, January 31, 2011

January Ends...February Begins...

After Hubby and I successfully hibernated with only our germs for company this weekend, it was back to the grind today.  We both awoke (from our separate bedrooms...yes, still necessary to segregate the germs and the snoring we are BOTH doing right now) and agreed that while we were certainly stir crazy from all those days at home, getting up early to go to work was not a welcome relief.

Especially as I lay in bed listening to the highly repetitive weather report.  Guess what?  More bad news.  I am starting to get that creepy isolation feeling.  That winter-snow-crazy feeling. 

And I'm seriously hating my new car.

Don't get me wrong.  In the summer this car is awesome.  Great sound system, super handling, sun/moon roof, etc.  In the winter...I know I should have bought a 2nd Subaru.  Or at the very least, not taken the lousy $1000 for the trade-in of our Ford Escape.  I would have hated continuing to pay registration and insurance for it, but man I could use that high sitting 4 wheel drive right now.

Our driveway shrinkage has made it nearly impossible for me to find a safe spot to park and still allow our plow service to make any headway with the continuing snow mounds.  After getting stuck half INSIDE and half OUTSIDE the garage after the last storm and having to do some serious Indy-500/Extreme shoveling maneuvering to get unstuck, I'm not loving the idea of more snow and ice.

This morning as I sat in my little low to the ground Nissan coupe, I was also seriously impaired by the mounds of snow at every intersection making pulling into traffic or making a turn a bit of a Russian roulette game.

It's boring.  It's tiresome. It's dangerous.  It's wearing us all down.  No one wants to hear the complaints about bad backs and shoveling, stuck cars, accidents, dangerous falling icicles, etc. 

And the latest forecast...the Ice Storm Cometh.  Bleh.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Movie Channel Addict

Hubby and I signed up for the movie channel package on cable years ago, once we realized we were paying a hell of a lot just to get the HBO package, and to get umpteen more movie channels it was only a few more dollars.  And I have to say, 90% of our viewing happens on channels 301-399 - the movie channels.  First - no commercials, and can we just say a little Hallelujah to that.  Second - tremendous variety that you can lock into in 90-120 minute intervals. 

However, the downside of this is we end up having seen most of the movies offered pretty quickly and the selection doesn't change up very often.  At that point, we turn to On Demand, and start running through the list of top picks and new releases.  Funny thing about that movie list, I've never heard of a huge portion of them.  And a tip from me, when it says "Same day as theater" it means it is opening and closing on the same weekend because it is BAD.  Don't get sucked in by a good preview.

In the last 6 months, we've happily paid extra to see the "The Girl Who..." Swedish movies with subtitles.  After devouring the first two books, we were entranced by the movies action packed and dramatic intepretation.  The books were excellent, if a little dragging in detail at some points, but the movies, while dropping some key character points, really put the pacing in correctly.  Last night we watched the third and due to the author's untimely death, the final, in the series.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Neither of us had read the book as yet, so the unfolding story line was a totaly surprise to us...and it was really wonderful.

Soon the U.S. versions of these movies will be in production and I wonder how similar or different they will be.  Should we not make it to the theater for these, there is always our little On Demand and movie channel package to help us out.

And maybe someday we'll even get some of those modern things like a flat screen tv with surround sound.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sick, Snow, Snoring, Shattered

Sick.  Hubby has been battling severe sinus infections for the entire month of January.  He's so far gone through two full courses of antibiotics, each resulting in him feeling better, but not 100%, and then a quick boomerang back to a nasty raging illness.  Today Dr. actually asked if he still had tonsils (he doesn't) considering the state of his throat and ears.  Not good.  He's on steroids now, AND antibiotics, with orders to improve, OR ELSE.  The or else being from me AND from Dr. who will send him to ENT specialist next.  I have come down with a much milder version...probably more sympathy pains than anything...and have been milking that for the last two days working a little then napping, then working, then juicing, then working...all from the comforts of home.

Snow.  Working from home and Hubby's illness has had one small blessing - not having to deal with driving and digging out in the snow. Although this last storm didn't give us the quantity that hit nearby NYC (we had 8" while NYC got 16"+), it has piled on top of piles on top of piles such that our driveway has now shrunk to the size of a postage stamp with miniature mountains at every edge.  Today, when trying to be smart and NOT dig out the 4-wheel drive (I know, sounds stupid to me now, but at the time, the little Nissan in the garage without a foot of heavy icy snow sounded easier) in order to drive to Dr. appointment, Hubby managed to get my car pretty thoroughly stuck in the mess on the driveway.  Eventually giving up, he dug out the Subaru and drove through the snow without issue...leaving me to dig out the car.  I'm not complaining about the fact I was left to manage it, just complaining about the G&DDAMN snow in general.  After all, better for me to do than him, since he probably would have spiked a fever and collapsed on the spot from the effort.  As we speak there is a fine flurry in the air that will "just coat the area" we need any more layers, and there are threats of additional snow Tues-Weds of next week.  This has become such a constant here, that I can pick pretty much any show on my DVR recorded since Christmas, watch the weather forecast snippets on the commercial breaks, and feel it is describing the current day's weather.  Enough already.  Jeez.

Snoring.  I never thought we'd be one of those know the ones that sleep in separate beds or separate rooms, but God Almighty the Hubby's snoring has reached new decibels of sleep-penetrating ear piercing noise.  Mostly due to his continuing sinus issues, I'm sure.  We have managed about 4 full nights in the same bed in the last month.  This is not sustainable.  I miss his warmth and the cuddle up before sleep and after the alarm in the morning.  I confess it is easier to get up in the morning without the tempation of that cuddle, but that is the only benefit.  Well, that, and a full night of sleep.

Shattered.   To complete my little illiteration post, is the shattering I've got to hear twice today.  For whatever reason, Kitty potato-head got rambunctious today and managed to shatter not one, but two ceramic keepsakes in our house.  One was a ceramic lantern we purchased at a favorite restaurant on our honeymoon, the other a pink teddy bear planter I remember from my room as a child and use to this day as a holder for pens, pencils, scissors on my desk. Nothing of great fiscal value, but certainly nostalgic.  Oh well.  Just another way to simplify.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do you think it's on purpose?

In the continuing balance to be positive, I returned to MERGER land this week and found most of my colleagues in a funk.  This integration is really taking all the spunk out of them...that and weekly snowstorms which don't help at all. 

Today, after 18 months of integration activities, and the last 8 weeks of attempting to do things the MERGER company way, we received a "Ad Bible".  We also learned there are libraries of pre-purchased stock images available as well.  One of my staff turned to me as she handed me the Ad Bible and said, "Do you think it's on purpose...the fact that they haven't been sharing these things with us?"

I'm not sure how to answer that.  Sometimes the competitive we/they is tangible, and sometimes it seems it is more oversight as we resort to the same tried and true methods we've used individually in the past.  I wanted to take the high road, being positive, and say, "No way....", but the highest I could get was, "I simply don't know, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt". 

What do you think?  If you've been through a MERGER before...have you withheld, or been withheld from?  Would you consider that a smart thing to do in a transition period? or is it smarter to be a team player?  Our culture prior to the MERGER was as disfunctional as any others, things were done wrong, things were missed, we never claimed to be perfect.  But one thing we have always been is collaborative.... transparent... and interested in the best solution - regardless of who put the idea forward.

I hope that will be one of the best practices that survives.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Work Hard, Then to Play

After a whirlwind week of hard hard work in our UK offices, I have returned to the States, exhausted, but also invigorated.  Have you ever noticed that meetings can go that way?...especially with really smart people at the table.  Since January 1, and my one and only resolution to be positive, I've found that it has really made life a lot more enjoyable.  I always thought complaining was a way to vent and to get frustration out of the gut and out into the open, but I'm starting to think that really can only be true in small doses.  Excessive bitching just becomes toxic.

This past week, I also learned something else.  When organizational strife (AKA MERGER) is getting me  down...forget the integration process and get back to the people I work with and the actual work I do.  When I can wipe out the politics and pressures in that merger environment and remember why I work in the clean water field, and get to know the people I work with, it is really energizing.

Of couse, working in another timezone means nearly 24x7 work hours.  My days began with a 7:45AM meet in lobby for cab to office.  We hit the ground running and by the time NY was up and running we were halfway through our local day.  We continued until about 6PM where we then proceeded to work team dinner meetings, and then for those of us from U.S. we hit the computers again at night to catch up on U.S. work.  UK team didn't have it any easier as I learned.  Most of them have 2+ hour commutes since London is too expensive for any of them to live in.  So we all averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

Being an interesting thing.  One of the reasons for our MERGER was to finally position ourselves as an international business.  On Wednesday night I found myself at dinner for five - one from U.S., two from Netherlands, one from Brazil, one from UK.  We talked politics (danger zone) and business, and life, and culture...and it was a great experience to really feel part of a global team.

Finally on Thursday, I realized I had already worked about 60 hours for the week and I quit at 5PM and hit the concierge up for theater tickets. My Brazilian colleague and I grabbed a quick bite in the hotel bar and the hightailed it to the theater and caught a comedy - A Flea in Her Ear. 

I figure I caught about 85% of it, given British colloquialisms and accents, and I'm sure my colleague got a little less, but we enjoyed it immensely all the same.

And then Friday, I finally made good on my promise to not waste these international trips by only seeing office, hotel, and restaurants, I hit the city bus tour.  I decided early on to listen to the very knowledgable (and live!) guides and enjoy the tour instead of trying to snap pictures on the move...but caught a few iconic shots.

Mind the gap!  It's the Underground.

The London Eye from a distance.

I love that these come in two's.

Biggest ship in a bottle ever.

Whitehall gardens...considering home is covered in snow, thought this was a lovely patch of green.

Golden Jubilee bridge.

World War II Memorial with Churchill quote.  Very  moving.

Bagpipes by the London Eye.

Big Ben over the Westminster Station Underground stop.

I had a little time to waste between bus tour and river boat tour, so I grabbed a burger with a view of Big Ben and Parliament.  This bird was very interested in my eating habits.

Proof I was there and it wasn't just google images!

By 3PM I was back at my hotel and catching a cab to the airport.  Was a great relaxing way to spend my last day in town and just whet my appetite to go back and see more and learn more about this incredible city - not to mention the rest of England.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Right, Left, Center

Thank goodness for housekeeping.  They finally arrived at my do-not-disturb sign and asked for admittance to clean the room.  I was sitting at the desk studying my map and getting up my courage, so I took it as a sign.  I headed downstairs and asked the concierge for his thoughts on a nice early evening walk.

Covent Garden, was the answer.

A short walk out the door (turn right, go straight) and I was walking past a number of retail shops so familiar - Gap, Banana Republic, etc. that I felt no desire to step inside.  I finally broke my 10 pound note at the "chemist's" where I bought a brush to replace the one I left behind at home.

It was doing the usual misty damp rain thing but not enough to chase me back indoors.  I found my way to Covent Gardens where I found artists and shopkeepers finishing up for the day, but plenty of crowds and street performers still on hand.  I didn't take out my own camera, but was pleased to find a google image that EXACTLY captured the scene I stumbled onto with string players taking advantage of wonderful acoustics, and generous tourist crowds to play some incredibly beautiful chamber music for the onlookers.

 I took my time strolling, slowing my New York pace, to glance in windows and consider my dining options.  I must confess I couldn't get myself geared up enough to sit and eat in a restaurant by myself, so I picked up a slice of pizza to eat as I strolled.  Quite unexpectedly it was very satisfying. One slice and a couple mile walk is probably something I should do more at home.

I was tempted by some of the photo/painting exhibits (as always), but since we haven't framed our Italy pieces yet (hint hint hubby) I was hesitant.  The fact that most were packing up for the day also encouraged me to come back later in the week (hopefully).

Deciding I had pushed my lack of direction to the limit, I turned round to find my way back by the few landmarks I had committed to memory.  I walked slowly back toward Leicester Square and my hotel, but when I got there, the evening air was so mild, I decided to walk past and now go left toward Picadilly Circus.

A bit like a miniaturized Times Square area with lots of up lights on buildings and large format screens and advertisements in lights.  I realized I was now down to my last 20 Pound note and some coins (which I have yet to figure out) so I decided to keep my eye open for an ATM.  Typically brightly marked in the states, it seemed the desire to keep these things much less visible and I finally stumbled upon one built into the wall at a low level on the side of a bank building.  Safely away with a few more pounds in my pocket, I turned back around and walked back toward the hotel.  The scent of cinnamon assaulted my senses so I stopped and picked up a mini cinnabon for an evening treat.

By now I felt I had at least accomplished that necessary one foot out the door step of exploring a new city...just enough to whet my appetite for more later this week.  I'm hopeful that Thursday/Friday will provide an opportunity for greater exploration and have found that there is a HOHO bus tour with a stop not too far away from the hotel.  Perhaps I can manage to skip out of the office Thursday afternoon or Friday morning for a highlight tour like we did in Rome.

My little bouts of anxiety for these types of things make me really feel for those with true debilitating anxiety disorders like agoraphobia.  My tendency to be a homebody and to hesitate before social events is so minor in comparison, and yet it could so easily tip the scale to a point where I miss out on little things like an evening walk through London. 

For now, I'm safely back in my hotel room, do-not-disturb light back on, and doing a couple more work tasks, and aiming for a 10PM sleep time to be sure I'm on the local schedule tomorrow. 

Suck It Up and Get Out

One of my main anxieties rears its ugly head when traveling.  Fear of the unknown.  An unknown city is particularly frightening. 

Today, I was able to hide under the actual need for work to be done, and also sleep required to be on my game for rest of the week.  But here it is 4:37PM and I've eaten the last of my trail mix, had two drinks from the mini-bar, and all I've seen of London is this:

Time to suck it up and get out there. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Note to Self: Business Travel is NOT Glamorous

4:50AM Alarm
5:00 AM Alarm.
5:15 AM Alarm.

Get up. Dress.
Lug heavy suitcase, laptop, purse down stairs at 5:58AM.
Coat, scarf, gloves.
Lug heavy suitcase, laptop, purse down more stairs and through basement and garage (since snow still blocks front and rear doors.

6:15AM tap fingers on table...where is the F-ing car service?
6:20 AM Call car service.
6:24 AM car not coming - overheating (why didn't they call??)
6:25 AM Rouse hubby (poor man, sick, tired) need ride to airport.
6:30 AM roll out of driveway in our car.

7:10 AM arrive at terminal.
Realize need to leave keys with hubby.
Where are my F-ing keys? (keyless entry/ignition means I never know where they are!)
Empty bags. Zip. Unzip. Dig. Dig. Dig.

Kiss, hug, run.

OMG. Lines. Lines forever.  Worst lines ever.
Find uniformed person - where to go.
Up. Down. Shuffle. Line up.
Check in. Drop Bag.
Next line - Security.
They have built a line to get to the line.  Not lying. Not exaggerating.
Check time.
Call travel buddy.  He's still in check-in line.
See him coming up the escalator.
Holler out - "Hi Honey, Over here" and pretend he's my husband just come from bathroom.
(to save our lives from murderous passengers behind us who nearly lynched the lady with the stroller and baby who delayed the line)

Belt off.
Shoes off.
Laptop out.
Empty pockets.
Liquids out.
Coat off.
Scarf off.
Boarding pass, passport in hand.

Through Security.
Reverse above.
Shoes on.
Laptop in.
Fill pockets.
Liquids in.
Coat on.
Scarf on.

Gate.  Board.

Call Mom. "Yes I'll be diligent.  Yes I'll watch for terrorists. Yes I'll have a good time."
Email Hubby.  I'm off.
Chat with friend.

Wait on tarmac.
Finally up and out.
Get out laptop.
Hit start button.
Hit again.
Battery dead.
No chance to get ahead on work.

Watch movie.
Drink water.
Watch 2nd movie.
Drink water.
Watch 3rd movie.
Drink water.

ATM - 100 Pounds.
Cab ride - 70 Pounds!

Hotel. Party central! But I'm here for work.
Lift to 5.
Room 505.
Enter. Door shuts.
No lights.
Hit every switch.
No lights.
Stumble to phone.
Hit 0.
"Put key in slot by door for lights."
"You mean the slot by door I can't see because it is pitch black in here?"

Power Converter.
Converter doesn't take 3-prong.
Don't panic.
Look! A 110 volt plug in wall. Sweet.

Laptop powered up.
Connect to wireless.
Go to internet. Nothing.
Try again. Nothing.
Call hubby (personal IT desk).
He says, call Hotel.
Concierge arrives.
Try multiple times.
Call hubby.
Try multiple things.
Give up.

Call room service.
No desserts at night.
Order sandwich.

TV remote.
Finally - on!
Menu button.
Scan channels.

Concierge arrives with food.
Show him TV remote.
Fiddle with Computer.
See Reset button.
What the hell.
Reset options.

TV Remote still busted.
Work order for tomorrow.

Eat cold chips.
Drink warm coke.

8:53 PM NY Time.
1:53 AM London Time.
Dig in to work.

Exciting London.
Glamorous travel.
Where's my Prilosec?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Armrest Principle

You know how people are always trying to categorize all humans into two neat little buckets?  Like the "Haves" and "Have Nots" or the "Hunters" and "Gatherers" or the "Glass Half Full" or "Glass Half Empty" types?

Well tonight, I propose a new category principle.  I think I could actually make a PhD thesis out of this one.  I propose the Armrest Principle.  In today's world of insecurity and yet, inexorable feeling of entitlement, I give you the "Armrest Takers" and "Armrest Givers".  Not the most elegant of names for sure...and destined to total obscurity outside of the 3 readers of this blog, but I think I've hit upon something here.

Think about this.

When you get on a plane there are at least three seats across unless you happen to be on a tiny plane or are fortunate enough to afford business or first class seating.  These three seats pose an immediate pscyhological and physical dilemma. And while whether or not to have unbruised knees is one of those that I have to face each time (being nearly 6 feet in length), the one  I'm speaking of is the elbow rest issue.  There is one armrest between each two people and unless you plan to have a gladiator type battle for the space, there is a more subtle struggle that ensues.

There are those who will blithely take the armrest for their own without any sense of guilt or even necessarily a concious decision, just an indisputable feeling of birthright to own the armrests adjacent to one's seat.

There are those who try to foster the illusion of personal space by withdrawing from the armrest without a fight and are actively praying that the Armrest Taker will not encroach further upon their seated area and (gasp) rub elbows with them.

And there are the very few who do not lay first claim to the armrest, but rather like a parasitic being will only take ownership of it once a seatmate has warmed the plastic armrest and then taken leave for a quick bio break.

What else might we be able to infer about those different personality types.  Do Armrest Takers tend to be members of a loving family?  Are they Type A's with a true drive to take all that they want? Are they sociopathic and lack the empathy to consider other societal needs for space and armrests?

Do Armrest Givers defer all of their wants and needs to others?  Are they low-level worker bees without ambition and direction?  Are they of the mind that the meek shall inherit the earth? Or are they sociopathic and lack the social skills to request equal time and space for their travel comfort.

And what about the Armrest "Stealer"?  Is this an underhanded dirty-dealing slime bucket?  Or is this more likely to be a shy introvert who hopes no one will notice the bold move to take 3 inches of territory without battle or flag?

You decide.  It's 2AM NY Time despite what the local Denver clock says, and I'm going to take over the entire double bed in my room...and maybe at about 3AM, I'll take over the other one too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Random Time Wasting - the Photo Essay

Right now I should be leaving to drive home.  Actually, if I were on an 8 hour clock I should have been gone about 3 hours ago...but why dither with details.

So instead, I was just looking through my memory card for some photos of a work event, and found a few gems that generated a little photo essay in my brain.


When you must pay off a bet with your VP and you don't want him to enjoy the winnings. 
Pay it in quarters....a lot of quarters.

When the day is getting nutty and the weather outside is frightful and you just want a walk on the beach.
Imagine the feel of warm sand and cool water on your painted toes.

When you wonder why you work so hard.
Think about how it pays for the things you love.

When you get cocky about living an eensy bit south of your hometown.
Remember what one good blizzard can do to your driveway and you are the only one with a shovel.

When you think about how much you love those fashion boots with the high heels.
Remember how much MORE you love warm toes and good footing on a snowy day.

When you think about picking out just the right shade of blush.
Remember how the whipping wind from a blizzard as you shovel out can give you a natural glow.

This is a challenge right?

So after my successful positive day yesterday, this is how it went.

Stopped at colleague/friends desk to say good night and got an earful and an eyeful that told me she is EXACTLY where I was before my BE POSITIVE initiative. 

Hit traffic snarl on way home...due to drivers rubbernecking something that wasn't blocking any lanes at all.

Hubby sick and curled up on couch looking and feeling miserable.

Slept in guest room to avoid germs and heavily snoring sick spouse. 

Arrive today (again close to 8AM!) to find place in an uproar.  No details, just suffice it to say, everyone was back from their last holiday time off with a vengeance.

Cranky co-workers.

Technical failures.

IT professionals off the grid.

Long conference calls with long-winded people requiring me to literally YELL "WAIT JUST A MINUTE PLEEEAAASSSEE!" into the receiver after 10 solid minutes of talk and no pause for comment.

Bombardment of tasks.

Critical view of calendar that looks impossible.

Coddling of MERGER partners to ensure no one gets bent over not being included in everything.

Group holiday party scheduled for this Thursday night....and no one in a party mood. 

Now...I'm not complaining about these things.  I'm just saying.  This is a challenge to my initiative to BE POSITIVE right?  You're testing my resolve right? 

Let me assure you that on Day 2 I'm not yet willing to give up, but I'm getting a healthy dose of what it will take to stay on this road.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Positively a New Year

I don't do resolutions.  Really.  But I do like fresh starts.  When I was a kid (and for about 10 years into my non-student adulthood), September always felt like fresh start time.  But nowadays the time goes by so quickly and everything runs so fast that I can't seem to find that moment when you take a deep breath, assess where you've been and where you want to go, and dive back in again.  When do we ever get to do that anymore?

In the spirit of new beginnings and a new year.  I'm trying one major new thing. Just one.  Just one that colors pretty much everything else I may do and be. 


Hey, I love a good bitch fest.  I love the opportunity to be snarky and express my frustration with cutting remarks and eye rolls as much as the next person, but in the past few months the things that used to be small bursts of negativity that served to cleanse the pallette and not bottle things up has turned more into a festering forever wound that just won't heal.  The MERGER is the biggest culprit here.  And my negativity around this has become so prevalent that two of my staff stopped to ask if I was ok last week. 

So, no more bitching. 

There is a movie quote bouncing around in my head from City Slickers - one of the defining movies of our generations' angst and mid-life crises that begin early and last for decades.  The line where Billy Crystal's character bemoans, "This is the best I'm ever gonna be, best I'm ever gonna feel..." or some such self pitying speech.  Then, at the end, after he's found his direction again in a cowfield in the middle of nowhere, he returns saying "I'm not going to quit my job, I'm going to do it better."  (again I paraphrase)

So, re-engage in forward momentum...don't spin-out in MERGER land. 

So, rather than suck the energy out of my office and my home and my life, I'm going to try going the other direction.  Not quite Pollyanna level, but in essence, finding satisfaction in what I can do and will do, rather than what I can't, and won't.  Avoid those toxic relationships and situations that I create or participate in that foster my snarky bitchy negative moments.  Be a glass is filling up kind of girl for once in my life.

Walk away from the groups that huddle at the water cooler to moan. 
Don't be fake, but BE POSITIVE.

This is no easy goal my friends.  And this will take nearly as much energy as I was sucking out before, so hold on tight.  And when there is humor to be found in the ridiculousness of life, without going TOO negative, I hope to still enjoy a wicked giggle once in a while.  But the full-force negativity has to stop.  It was doing nothing for me.

Seek energy, don't suck it.

This morning I actually made it to the office at 8AM.  This hasn't happened in some considerable time.  It already started off my day with a positive note.  Instead of playing catchup on voice mails and emails and tasks, I was ahead of the game, and have a good portion of my Must Do list already in progress and it isn't even lunchtime yet.  I have found myself dragging in to the office closer and closer to 10AM which is only tolerated because I stay so late into the evening and I'm reachable by cell 24-7....but truly, can you really sustain that kind of schedule for long before people start to wonder about you?

Work normal hours.  Get shit done.  Don't dwell.

I've greeted every person today with a smile and a Happy New Year and have not engaged in any complaints.  Granted I'm only a few hours into my waking day - the first day of my initiative - but give me credit for changing my natural tone and behavior already - even if I lapse a bit here or there.  In fact, I don't think I've done even one eye roll today.  And that's like a miracle.

Facial expression - upbeat.  Eye-rolls - minimized.

There is an opportunity here to enjoy life a little more.  Work on the Yellow Cottage a bit.  Enjoy the international travel opportunities for work and see a little of the world.  Re-gain feelings of accomplishment at home and at work.  Have fun.  Love my husband.  Read good books.  Sleep well.

Take a deep breath.