Adulting

At some point in my life I became an adult. I’m not sure when or how, but it happened. I’m married, with two kids and a mortgage. That isn’t what made me an adult though. This realization came to me as I pulled a shirt out of the washer.

You may wonder how a shirt made me feel like an adult. Well, I got paint on my shirt the first time I wore it. Blue paint on an orange shirt. Not good. The paint had dried by the time I saw it at the end of the evening. I scrubbed it by hand and only got part of it out. The next day I put stain stick on it and washed the shirt in every load of laundry I did. It was still there at the end of the day, although less than in the morning. I added more stain stick. A couple days later I washed it with my kids clothing (they are seriously dirty boys). As I pulled the shirt out the paint was finally gone!

I stared at the shirt sans paint and marveled in the fact that I have mastered laundry. Now it isn’t just the paint on the shirt… In February my sisters house caught on fire and I was given the task of trying to salvage what I could of their closets. Of the 3 of us working on this task I was the only one to be able to get the smoke smell out of the laundry. I even got the smell out of the singed towels that were on fire and used to sop up some of the water from the fire hoses. I showed my sister what I did and she followed my instructions and saved most of their wardrobe. I have mastered laundry. I’m now advising others on how to remove stains.

There’s a young woman that I work with. She is smart and reliable and has a small child just a little younger than my youngest despite the 25 year age difference between us. She often posts “how to” questions on Facebook and I always have an answer. Recently she told me that having me around is like having a live “life-hacker” right there.

Most recently we were plagued with wildfires in my area again. One was really close to us. I have several friends and family that lost their homes. Evacuations came up to the other side of the freeway from us so it was time to prepare for evacuation. It only took us 15 minutes to prep our family of 4 to leave our home with all the photos, documents and irreplaceable mementos. Now we can be out in 5 minutes. Thankfully the winds died down and they got the side of the fire near me under control so we didn’t need to evacuate. When I went back to work a couple days later my coworkers were amazed that I could gather things up that quickly. I thought 15 minutes was a long time.

All of these things as well as many others have shown me that at some point I became an adult. I don’t feel particularly old and wise… ok some days I feel old but I never feel wise. Yet here I am. Master of laundry. Imparting my wisdom of my years into those younger (and sometimes even older) than myself. I’m prepared for emergencies. I am an adult.

Holy QR code Batman!

Sometimes awesome upgrades cause me more work, although they are pretty awesome.

One of my new goals is to go to opening night at the gallery every time I have a piece in that show that is close enough for me to go to. Saturday was one of those nights for the Shades Of Red show at one of the local galleries and they have updated their art labeling system with QR code’s so people can just scan them and poof they get right to the artist’s website. Pretty cool stuff right? Yeah, I thought so too.

So, what’s the problem? Well, my website has taken a bit of a back burner while I have been working on my book. Now I need to do some major updates. As they were talking about the updates to the modern gallery I’m standing there wondering how I am going to update my website to feature the photos currently on display. I’m so focused on thinking about my website that I let out a very unprofessional “huh” when they call my name and ask me to talk a bit about one of my photos that is in the front room of the gallery and is creating creating quite a buzz just before passing me the microphone. Thankfully I regained my composure quickly and managed to NOT sound like a complete idiot.

Lessons learned…

1. Always pay attention to what is going on.

2. Keep your website updated (last update was in September just before I went to the UK).

3. Be prepared to talk about each piece when I’m the featured artist in April. Some have nice stories. Some not so much. Some are boring like I just cleaned my lens and went to take some photos in my yard to make sure I got all the spots off. Beautiful photos, boring story. No deep meanings here. But I can tell you how I was feeling and what I was thinking when I took every photo.

For your viewing pleasure here is the photo creating the buzz. It’s really gorgeous in person.

This photo is on the promotional flyer for the Shades of Red show (it’s mine too)

I also have a third piece in this show it’s an actual sunset when the Napa Valley was on fire. We were a few miles outside of the evacuation zone so we were ok, but the air was chunky.

Setting goals and finding your passion.

With all the talk of the new year and new decade there has been a lot of talk about New Years resolutions, life goals and finding your passion. I’m pretty passionate about my love of travel and photography. If I didn’t need my day job, I’d quit and spend my days taking photos, reading books and traveling the world as much as possible!

While I think I’m pretty solid with my goals, I have friends who are not so clear. The big thing seems to be that they are stuck on the big hamster wheel of life and don’t know how to get off and do something different than they have always done. So they ask how do I make the change?

Change is not easy. I look at my life a decade ago and look at it now and it could almost be two completely different people I have changed so much. Getting to this point was not easy. I set small, obtainable goals and worked on them a little bit at a time setting new goals once I met my old ones. I knew where I wanted my life to be, so I made a plan to get there. I broke it down into smaller pieces and tackled them one piece at a time. It didn’t seem like much when I was working on them. But a decade later all those little things added up to big changes.

I find most people dream of how they want their life to be. Some dream of material things they want. Others dream of personal goals to better themselves physically or mentally. Others dream of seeing far off lands. (I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area to me the Golden Gate Bridge is just a way to get home while avoiding the ball parks when games are about to get out. But for others it’s a dream to see it in person.) Some may know their dreams, others may be so stuck in a rut that they have no idea where to even start. Some people may be so unhappy with…well everything that they want to change it all! But no matter what their dreams are (if they even know them). The big breakdown seems to be the unwillingness to change from their old ways to make space for their new goals and eventually their new life. Everyone had heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. But you can teach them new tricks. It’s just harder than when they are a puppy. People are the same way because they are set in their ways and old habits are hard to break.

My suggestion is to break it up into smaller pieces and celebrate the small successes. Let’s say you have 100 lbs to loose. That sounds like an impossible undertaking. But if you break it up into ten 10 lb chunks it doesn’t sound so intimidating. 10 lbs… I can do that! Then when you loose the first 10 set your goal to loose 10 more for a total of 20 and so on. Let’s say you want to save more money. Using the same idea let’s say you are going to make coffee at home in the morning before work and put the $5 a day you were going to spend on coffee into a jar to save. That gives you $25 a week, $100 a month and $1200 by the end of the year. A decade from now that $5 a day will then turn into $12,000! Small changes can add up over time and become a big deal.

So I ask you… what changes do you want to make in your life? Where do you see yourself in 2030? How can you get from where you are in 2020 to where you want to be in 3030?

New Beginnings

Welcome 2020! A new year, a new decade. We welcomed in 2020 with a 1920’s themed party at our home. It was a blast!

When I look back at where I was at the start of 2010 things were not that great. Here I am a decade later with almost a completely different life! So what do I have in mind for 2020? Continuing on a lot of the things I started in 2019. I’m still working on my photography and book. I’m still working on getting in shape and loosing weight. I’m finding my own inner peace and sticking with the new yoga class that I started a month ago (my ex-husband said yoga is what keeps me from snapping and killing people. He is still alive today thanks to a regular yoga practice or else I probably would have been a widow than divorced). So enough of continuing goals and chilling out… let’s hear what’s being pondered and planned for 2020!

I’m planning on teaching at an educational conference again (Hello Las Vegas!) it’s boring ultrasound stuff. But hey, free CEs are free CEs… Oh, and it’s in Vegas! (I’ll be planning on visiting a few friends while I’m there not hitting the casinos.)

My travel dreams are never out of my mind and I always have a few options brewing. In 2020 I’m trying to work out a couple trips away with the hubby. If all goes as I hope then he will be dusting off his passport in the spring for our anniversary and we will be heading to an island paradise for his birthday in the winter. The spring trip may be pushing it a bit, but I’m already starting my planning to see if I can possibly pull it off while simultaneously looking into the winter trip. (Travel for 2 takes a few more hoops to jump through than travel for 1, especially when those two people have 2 special needs kids under 10 years old that are NOT going with them.) I’m putting in for the time off on the annual vacation calendar at work so the time will be blocked. Then I’ll just have to see if I can work out all the details to make it happen or not.

That’s it so far. But then again… The year is still new.

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!

A lot can change in a year. I started this blog after a conversation with a friend. I also started my photography business after a conversation with that same friend. The idea to write a book came out of another conversation with her. We don’t talk much, but when we do we inspire each other to get out of our comfort zone and do amazing things!

2019 has been a year of change for me. I have been taking an hour a day to work on my goals.

I’m roughly halfway done writing my book. My goal is to have it published by my birthday in October 2020.

My photography business is starting to gain some traction and every month my sales are a little higher than the month before. I can’t quit my day job yet, but it’s a start. I’m still learning how to juggle everything but I’m getting better at it. I have been published in a few photography magazines. I have had photos shown in galleries around the world. I’m winning photography contests (the most recent was 1st place in color photography at the Northern California Regional Art Show and I got an honorable mention in Black & White photography). I have also become a popular local artist. (I had no idea until my sister called me and told me.)

With all that I am still working full time and a Mom to two little boys. I’m surrounded by boys at home between my husband and the kids. But, I have stayed true to my love of flowers.

I have also stayed true to my love of water.

I have explored my dark side.

Tried new things.

I saw some really cool stuff…

and I checked something off my bucket list.

Sometimes little things like a conversation with an old friend can bring us to make changes, follow our hearts and take that step toward making our dreams come true.

This post is my reflection on 2019. It’s a small glimpse into my life over the last year and shows what can be accomplished when you put your mind toward something despite whatever challenges we face. I hope it brings inspiration to all that read it and inspires them to go into 2020 and accomplish something amazing!

Happy New Year!

#workingmomtraveldreams

#jodiwebberphotography

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Except I am so far behind that I wonder if I can get it all done.

I’m an extremely organized person. I hate to admit it, but I am that type A personality person with everything in its place, a schedule, a to do list and everything is coordinated and color coded and alphabetized… Ok, not everything. But I’m not that far off.

This year I’m behind. I’m never behind. But I had a bit more going on than usual and a lot of it was NOT my stuff. Don’t get me wrong, a marriage, kids, full time job, photography side business and writing a book is a lot for someone to juggle alone. But you see, I have these two friends who need my help. Either one would be there for me in an instant day or night if I needed them so I’m there for them as well and they both need me. You may ask why… well they are both hoarders and they are both moving. One moved about 5 months ago the other one is moving in 5 months from now.

Why does this involve me? Well I’m good with them. I’m organized. I know them well and I know how they think and what is important to them. So I help them work through their stuff. It involves a lot of time and I can only spare a couple hours a week to help them so I need to alternate between them.

Well, when the first friend moved she was no where ready so it took a lot longer to move her than expected. It was crunch time at the end so everything got put in unlabeled boxes and bags and moved to the new house to be sorted later. I spent about 4 weeks in the evenings after work almost every night helping her paint, pack, unpack, move stuff, find boxes five months later we have barely made a dent. Seriously, at least 50% needs to go away. Given away, sold, thrown away… I don’t care where it goes as long as it doesn’t stay there. I have a plan. It will get done. I was helping her last weekend and told her I just can’t help her this weekend because I have too much I need to do of my own stuff but I can start helping again after the new year.

Friend #2 is selling her (very full) house and moving into an RV to travel in her retirement. Probably 90% of what she has needs to go. The rest will go into storage. We have been working on it for the last year and have a plan. We took from September through the end of the year off and will purge hard core after the new year.

As for why I’m so far behind… well my shopping is done. But typically the day after thanksgiving I wrap my gifts and decorate the tree so I can just kick back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. Well friend #1’s Mom passed away suddenly and she needed help to stay busy so I spent the weekend coming and going to help her stay busy. So none of my stuff got done. It has been like that with me spending all my spare time helping her or spending time with her to help her through this rough patch. I told her this weekend I can’t help her because I need to get my own stuff done and it’s now the last weekend before Christmas. I am out of time.

Next year will be different. Next year I’m going back to having everything done by the end of thanksgiving weekend so I can relax and enjoy the season and not be rushing to finish everything in time. Next year I have goals. I have a plan for 2020.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you all have a relaxing holiday season full of joy. But just know if you are behind and still have a lot to do you are not alone.

Loosing it!

After posting last weeks post with a photo from my UK trip in September I realized that I actually have lost weight, I see myself in the mirror every day so I don’t notice. I knew I had to get smaller pants for work because they fall down when I put my phone in my pocket but when I look in the mirror I just see how much more I have to go not the progress I have made so far. Let’s start with how did I get to be so fat…

Weight has been a struggle for me my entire life. Growing up I was a healthy weight then I broke my ankle and put some weight on in junior high. I lost the weight walking with the moms in the neighborhood in the mornings and got back to average. In high school I did cheerleading. Nothing can make you feel fatter than being a size 12 in a size zero to 5 world. That started my struggle. In high school I worked and ate at Burger King where I worked. All that fast food made it a struggle to keep the weight off. I joined my first gym and took step aerobics every morning at 5:30 am. By graduation I looked great and was almost at my goal weight.

From high school on my weight went up usually from excessive eating out, an injury that had me laid up or both. Followed by me recovering, getting irritated that I was overweight and starting to watch what I eat and exercising until I got back in shape again. I’d stay in shape until the next injury and I’d start the cycle all over again. All those times I was young and didn’t have kids. Life is different now.

My current weight loss struggle started almost a decade ago. Yes, I said decade. I fell and shattered my leg landing myself in a wheelchair for just over 6 months. The weight piled on. But, as in the past I healed up and started to get in shape again. I got married. I got pregnant. I got on bed rest. That baby had 2 congenital heart defects and was 6 weeks premature. He was in the hospital for 69 days after his birth. All that sitting in the hospital and eating take out not my husband and I put a lot of weight on and I blossomed you to my highest weight ever at 323 lbs! Once life settled and the baby was home we made a change and decided to lead a heart healthy lifestyle to set a good example for our son. We started eating right and exercising and loosing weight. I was doing awesome! Then I got pregnant again. My husband was running marathons and I was still doing a 5k a month while pushing the baby in the stroller until I was 6 months pregnant and the baby was shrinking my lung capacity.

Baby #2 was born healthy but 2 small kids and a full time job left me so sleep deprived that I started eating candy when feeding the baby in the middle of the night to stay awake. Not only did I have the baby weight to loose but the weight I gained from all that sugar. After baby #2 I struggled with energy level. I had trouble sleeping at night and still have nightmares from the PTSD I struggled with after having baby #1 and still struggle with today. My weight started to creep back up.

Now I had starts and stops in the last few years But when baby #2 turned 4 in August and I decided the “baby” is no longer an excuse and I need to get off my butt and get in shape for real. I had my UK trip in September and my birthday in October so I decided I’m getting serious after my birthday. Since that point I have been all about getting my eating habits under control. In just over a month I have lost 21.1 lbs. I still have a long way to go so I just see the work that needs to be done not what I have accomplished so far. Then I saw my face in the photo I posted last week and having just worked on our family Christmas cards I noticed a difference in my face. Now I have a long way to go still. But it’s inspiring.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan…

That is a typical saying in my home. I had this layout planned of all these topics that I was going to write about back in August and I totally failed. How did this happen?

We all have times where we make a plan and then fail to actually follow through with the plan. Sometimes it is outside of our control (like your flight getting canceled due to weather). Other times it’s 100% our fault (like you are late for everything).

I know it’s hard to accept the blame ourselves, but I’m going to do it. It’s all my fault. I’m a chronic overachiever and tend to stretch myself a bit too thin. I’m one of those people who honestly could use a few more hours in the day. Not to sleep, but to get more things done. Although, I could really use the sleep as well.

How does this happen? In my case I work full time at a job that has a 1+ hour commute each way so I’m gone from 6AM to 6PM every day Monday-Friday. As annoying as that is it’s actually not that uncommon. Then we add in that I have 2 small kids that need my attention when I’m not at work. Add in the usual chores like grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning ect. It’s already pretty busy.

Well, I’m an over achiever so I don’t stop there. I started this blog to help me get my life back on track and keep myself accountable. My goal was to write one post a week. Yeah, I’m still working on that goal.

Up next I missed having a creative outlet so I started doing photography again. Then on the encouragement of a friend I started entering photography contests and actually winning them. I was winning prizes and getting my photos featured in magazines and in galleries around the world. With all that I decided to start a photography business selling prints a year ago and developed a logo, portfolio website and website to sell prints. As if that wasn’t enough; About 6 months ago I joined the local Visual Arts Society and regularly have pieces in two of our local galleries. The shows change out every 6 weeks.

But all that wasn’t enough for me. I started traveling again this year. In May I went to San Diego for an educational conference. Then in September I went to Scotland on my first solo trip in years. I’m now planning on 3 trips for 2020 two with the hubby and one alone to teach at an educational conference in Las Vegas because oh yeah, I also decided to start teaching learning labs at conferences starting in October this year.

But wait! There’s more! I decided I’m going to write a book. Yep. For as long as I can remember people have been telling me that I should write a book. I feel that over the last year the universe has been dropping hints less subtly that I should write a book. So I am. My goal it to finish it by October 2020. I hoped to finish it by my 45th birthday in October 2019, but I didn’t make it so my goal is to be published before my 46th one.

So how do things get missed? Well, I feel like I’m one of those acrobats that spins all those plates on sticks. I keep adding more plates and sticks and sometimes I drop a plate and it takes me a little bit to get it spinning again. Why do I do this to myself? Who knows. I have been like this for as long as I can remember. I have always had a tight, full schedule. I carried a calendar in my backpack in Jr high and moved to a big day runner in high school that I used through college. I eventually went to an electronic planner (I loved my palm pilot). Now I use the calendar in my phone. I just keep spinning my plates.

The difference between my younger self and my older, wiser self is that now I allow a time buffer between things to allow for traffic or things running late. I usually plan on twice my travel time. So if my drive will take 15 minutes I allow 30. That usually helps to keep my plates from taking out other plates as they fall off their sticks.

So I’m not perfect. I try to juggle my own responsibilities, wants, needs and desires as well as the wants, needs and desires of my husband, children, friends and other family members. I occasionally drop plates since I tend to put myself as the last priority. But when those plates fall I try to regroup, shuffle things around and get them all spinning again.