Life Well Lived: Making the Minutes Count

A few weeks ago, the fine folks at BlogHer asked me (and a bunch of other bloggers) the following question:

How do you take care of your skin when you have zero “me” time?

The results of that informal survey are now up on BlogHer, and you can read all about them right here, in an article about “Skin Care Streamlined.” My own response is included.

In short, I responded that I just didn’t have time (usually) to devote to giving myself spa treatments, soaking in a tub, using a mask, etc. So I fit it in when I can, in particular, a few times a week when I get up in the morning, I put a mask on then go around and make beds and do other chores. I rinse the mask off when I jump in the shower to get ready for work. Seems pretty obvious, but it took me a long time to figure this out, because I used to associate using a mask (or any beyond-the-basics skincare step) with “indulgence” and “me time,” which I can’t usually afford. By shifting activities like this to a time when I’m going to be getting all wet anyway, I find that they fit a lot better into my schedule! So now, not only do I use a mask some mornings, I also do exfoliating scrubs and sometimes even dye my hair first thing in the morning, and then get into the shower to finish up before work.

The sum result is that my skin (and hair!) look better, and it hasn’t cost me any more time out of my already-busy day. One word of warning though: do try to make time for yourself now and then. We all need a little bit (at least) of that “me time.” That’s why I do go and get a real facial once a month. That hour I spend on the table every four weeks is all the escape I need (usually)!

Please share any tips of your own with me. Am I crazy? Should I just make time (and conjure the money) to have my hair professionally touched up? What else could I do first thing in the morning to save myself time later in the day? Maybe I need to figure out a way to read my email in the shower too? Leave me a comment, then make sure you visit this page and and leave a comment there for a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card! Now THAT could buy you some indulgent “me time!”

Good Hair Day

This is a bouffant hairstyle

I have great hygiene!

While I may not have looked as styling as THIS lovely young lady, I had a really good hair day today.

OH YEAH! I also started my new job today!

Wait a minute. Let me back up a little bit and explain. I’m not the type to switch jobs lightly. I stayed in my most recent job for more than four years. Before that, there was a short blip at a place that was a bad fit for me, but before THAT I was at another place for over seven years. And that just about covers my entire career in my current profession (of course I had other jobs before that). So yeah, I like stability. When I get in someplace, I usually plan to be there for the long haul.

Now my most recent job had some complications. I can’t spell them all out in detail here, but I can state that generally: When I joined the company, it was a small company, but a year after I started it was acquired by a VERY LARGE and well-known corporation. And things just kept going downhill after that. But I still toughed it out another three years. See? I stick around!

Anyway, I started a new job today, and it pretty much addresses all the problems I had with my old company. It’s relatively small, I’ll actually be doing work in my field again, everyone can get up to $6000 worth of training every year, and they’ll let me telecommute regularly. I did give up some very generous benefits when I left Mega-Pain-in-the-Butt Inc., but I can deal with it. What surprises most people is this: I took a pay cut. Like a 14% pay cut.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m insane, but hang in there. See, working at this new place is going to make me a much happier person. It’s much more favorable to my work/life balance (see telecommuting, above), and has much more potential for my professional development (see working in my field, and training, above). I feel pretty blessed that I can even consider taking a 14% pay cut in order to “follow my bliss.” But to be honest, I was obscenely overpaid at my last gig, mostly because of my security clearance, which I am giving up in my new position, and that is not a coincidence.

Some of the things my last company did, some of the things I was personally involved with, made me feel morally bankrupt. Being able to get away from that, and still maintain the same relative level of comfortable, suburban lifestyle, is priceless.

So here I stand, starting the next phase of my life, and life is good. Sure, there are challenges, but I feel good about my latest career change. On top of that, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that I had a bunch of health tests last month (blood work, standard screening tests, mammogram, etc.) and my results were ALL normal. For me, queen of the false positive test result, that was exhilarating.

And OMG, have you guys seen this? Crazy. I just love this video. Who knew that redneck dude from The Walking Dead was so hot?

Still Inspiring

A long time ago, on an earlier incarnation of my blog, I wrote a post about a person who inspired me greatly when I was younger, and really made a difference in my entire life. That person is Robert Spano. While that post is now unfortunately lost to the ether, I still feel the same way about Bob Spano, who I was privileged to learn from when he was the Director of Orchestral Activities at Bowling Green State University. I played the violin and Bob conducted many orchestras that I participated in, including the regular Symphony and pit orchestras for both operatic and musical theater performances.

Bob even made me cry once, but I don’t think it was on purpose.

Read more about Bob Spano and his many accomplishments here. He is currently the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and just this March he was named the new Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School. There are many clips of him on YouTube, but I especially liked the one below, where he talks about Mozart, Freemasonry, and numerology.


So here’s an interesting twist: my four-year-old daughter has become obsessed with Buddha. Why? How? I don’t know, but it’s pretty cute and adorable. There is a documentary about Buddha, narrated by Richard Gere, available on Netflix streaming and she has watched it at least three times now. Last night we were watching it yet again, and when the His Holiness Dalai Lama appeared on screen, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, that’s the Dalai Lama.”

Yeah. My pre-schooler knows who the Dalai Lama is! ADMIT IT, I WIN.

We also watched another documentary called The Giant Buddhas, which was a depressing look at the destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001. Wow, what a downer. The Bean fell asleep during that one, and I was glad. It was just too sad.

Anyway, I have taught her how to say “om” and she loves for me to tell her stories about how Siddhartha became the Buddha and taught about the Noble Truths and so forth. I guess we’ll have to rent Little Buddha from Netflix (it’s not available on streaming) next. She’ll love it. She wants me to put the large golden Buddha that resides in my office in her room, but I have hesitated, mostly because he’s made out of plaster and sort of delicate. I guess I’ll try to find her something sturdier, but in the mean time I gave her my Squeezing Soft Buddha from J-List.

I’m sure this is a temporary obsession, but I can’t help but be tickled by it. I’ve been really into Buddhism for over 20 years now but never said anything to Veronica about it. I know she’s really too young to understand the spiritual aspect of it, for her it’s more about the imagery and the fun stories. Still, it’s kind of cool — and definitely preferable to her brief obsession with documentaries about the Dark Ages. I’ll take explaining meditation over describing the Plague any day.