Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Walking Dead

When I last left you, I was sitting in the conference room at my new office and listening to the head honcho guy (HHG) tell me that my new position had just been eliminated. Before I get into what happened next, here's an outfit and a few words about that outfit.

sweater — Delia*s (Delia*s)
dress — Spiegel (thrifted)
boots — Unlisted (thrifted)

When I tried on this dress the other morning, I groaned out loud — a really loud groan. I bought it when I was probably 20 pounds lighter, so it was way too tight now. It's one of those clingy form-fitting garments that shows every extra ounce, and in not a very pleasing way. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't uncomfortably tight (usually I'm chomping at the bit in tight clothes, and I can't wait to rip them off of me), so I tried to figure out how I could still wear it. I think the sweater really ended up saving the day and kept this dress from going back to where I got it from originally (the thrift store). Besides it brightened up the dress considerably.

So .... about my job. HHG told me that they were very sorry, that they had no idea this was coming down the pike, but their client had told them to reduce costs on their contract. My position was more or less a luxury position, so it meant that my position, and me along with it, had to go. (I say luxury, because my role as a technical writer was to make the company look and sound good — I didn't do any product development or fill a role that was a requirement of the contract.)

HHG then tried to soften the blow by saying that if I was interested, they still had a need for a technical writer in their headquarters in Herndon, Virgina, and that headquarters was *only* an hour from DC.

Okay. If I lived in DC, an hour commute wouldn't be that big of a deal. And if I lived a few miles to the south and east of DC in Virginia, it would be even better. Unfortunately I don't live in DC or in Virginia, I live in Delaware. My commute to DC was already two and a half hours one way, and I'm supposed to add another hour onto that. Is he kidding? (and yes, he knew where I lived — that was his first question, "Am I still living in Delaware?")

This is the quizzical dorky look.

I try to explain this, and HHG goes running out of the room. He comes back in a few minutes later with directions from one of my now former co-workers. I look down at the itinerary, and headquarters is *not* another hour, give or take a few minutes, from DC. It's an hour and a half, if not longer — 45 minutes on the metro, 45 minutes on the bus, and then I have to walk a half mile! My head is starting to spin. I'm thinking ... a four-hour commute? one way? I can't do that. They can't be serious. I tell HHG that I can't do that. How will I even be able to function? I'm not going to be of any use to anybody if I have joined the ranks of the walking dead.

He says that I should just give the commute a try and come in the following day. Don't worry about what time you get there. Just try it. You might like it ... (Okay, he probably didn't say that I might like it. I think he said, "See if it's manageable for you.")

(to be continued ...)

Linking up to Megan Mae and Keely's This or That Fashion Challenge. This outfit was intended for the midi or maxi challenge, but I realize now that it could have also qualified for Fall Brights.

Also linking up to Patti at Visible Monday. This outfit may not have seemed so visible, but for me, it was. It was just so different from what I would have worn a few years ago. And isn't that what it's all about?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Confucius Says ...

Confucius says, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."

I've become a real pro at getting up — both figuratively and literally. 

shirt — Crazy Horse (thrifted)
sweater — Ann Taylor Loft (thrifted)
skirt — Talbots (thrifted)
boots — Classique (thrifted)

Do you ever have one of those days that starts off great, and then goes steadily downhill?  Or maybe the day just starts off bad and keeps getting worse? I had such a day a week ago. 

That particular day started off pretty good. I woke up and got myself ready for my fabulous new job in Washington, D.C. (and I mean new job — I was just two weeks into it at that point). I remember really liking my outfit, and being kind of surprised that I was able to put it together in the wee hours of the morning. I remember feeling pretty darn good about myself — I was strutting and preening in front of the mirror before I left the house. I loved how my skirt moved; I liked my boots; and I really, really liked my big heavy necklace, which one of the guys at work even complimented me on. (I also wore bracelets and rings, but I forgot to put them back on — you'll have to imagine them.)

Everything else that morning went pretty smoothly. The train arrived on time in DC at 8:17 a.m., and I joined the hordes of commuters streaming every which way out of Union Station. I had almost made it out of the building, when all of a sudden ...   
... my foot slipped, and down, down I went. In front of everybody!

And I mean, I went S-P-L-A-T. And not just me. My cell phone went flying (and boy did it fly on those polished walkways — too bad I wasn't playing shuffleboard with it). My apples and oranges were rolling everywhere.
There I was, sprawled on the ground in the middle of Union Station in DC. Oh. My. God. How humiliating is that? No way to pretend that it hadn't happened (you know, like when you wave at somebody you thought was waving at you but they weren't so you just pretend that you were scratching your ear or waving at the person behind them?). 

I picked myself up as gracefully as I could, picked up my cell phone, my apples, and my oranges, and everything else that had fallen out of my overstuffed bag, and continued on my merry way, not realizing that I was going to have to pick myself up yet again before the day was over.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful. I was working on a deadline, so I kept my head buried in my work for the most part, and I was making a lot of progress. Time just flew by that day. I was feeling pretty about where I was, and what I was doing.

And then ... And then ... [insert the sound of ominous music here]

Just as I was just packing up so I could catch the train home, my boss's boss (you know, the head honcho guy) stopped by and asked if he could talk with me for a few minutes in the conference room. Ummmm ... okay. What was I going to say, "No. I can't talk now, I have to catch the train. Hit me up tomorrow if you want to talk." 

I'm following him down the hallway, and I'm thinking, this is not good, and I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what I did wrong. Did I dress inappropriately one day? Did I say the wrong thing to the wrong person?

No. This was not going to be good at all. 

We go in the conference room. He shuts the door, and tells me that my position was being eliminated. Just like that. Poof! Up in smoke. My dream job was gone. I can't even begin to tell you the feelings that came over me at that moment. Disbelief. Panic. Shock. Sadness. I wanted to laugh hysterically and then cry. I wanted to stamp my feet and scream, "NO! You can't do this to me. What am I supposed to do with my month-long train ticket? I bought an iPad so I could do work on the train." And ... and ... and ...


(to be continued ... )

I'm linking this post to Megan Mae and Keely's This or That Challenge. 

They have the best challenges! I just wish that I could keep up with them!

I'm a day early for this one — this outfit should really be for tomorrow's dots or stripes challenge (my skirt is actually polka dots). But tomorrow is already today, so maybe I'm right on time?

Also, since my outfit was 100% thifted, I'm linking to Spunky Chateau, Thursday is for Thrifters Challenge. 

BTW, I also wore this sweater here. Which look do you like better?

What should I do with the bottoms of these boots so I don't slip and fall the next time that I wear them?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pushing the Envelope

Long days! or are they short days? Maybe it's all in how you look at it. I leave the house by 6 am, and I don't get back home until close to 8 pm. Long days at work, and short days at home.

sweater — Worthington (thrifted)
skirt — (thrifted)
belt — (don't remember; older than dirt)
shoes — Mia (DSW)

These days, my days start at 4:30 am, which is what time I set my alarm. (That's a far cry from a few short weeks ago, when my days pretty much ended at about that time.) Anyway, when I got this job, I decided to set my alarm for that ungodly early time because I just do not get along with mornings. AT ALL! I tend to be a night owl, so it's much easier for me to stay up until 4:30 am than to get up at that time.

I could set the alarm for 5:00 am, and technically I would still have plenty of time to get out the door. Unfortunately, I'm a creature of habit, and I knew that no matter what time I set the alarm, I would end up pushing the envelope as far as I possibly could and stay in bed to catch a few more minutes of shut-eye. 

But if I I did set the alarm for 5 am, I would still stay in bed to the last possible moment — trying to delay the inevitable of having to get up. And then, because I didn't leave myself with enough time to get ready, I would end up running around like a crazy person trying to get out the door.* By setting the alarm for a half hour earlier, I can still stay in bed and get up and have plenty of time. I know, this sounds completely ridiculous.

* If you have ever seen me in action, you would know that I wasn't jesting. When I'm pressed for time, I get so worried about forgetting something that I grab everything and anything that isn't nailed down. And the later I am, the more stressed I get, and the more I grab.  (There's a reason that my co-workers at my last job used to call me the bag lady — I needed multiple bags to hold everything that I grabbed as I was running out the door).

Anyway, that was the long-winded version of saying that I get up sometime between 4:45 am and 5 am. I  have to leave my house by 5:55 am to get to the train station by 6:30 am. (The train doesn't come until 6:50 am, but I have to get to the station early to nab a parking spot. Even at that hour of the morning, I end up having to park in the overflow lot.)

It's still dark at that hour, so I've been getting to see the sun rise each and every morning. That in itself is a pretty novel experience for me! The 6:50 train arrives at Union Station in DC at 8:17 am, and at that point, I just follow the stream of people flowing out of the station and into the streets. From there, it's a short 10-minute walk to my office. At 5 pm, I reverse my steps and leave the office, catching the 5:20 train out of Union Station.

Unfortunately, getting dressed in the dark and when I'm half asleep has its drawbacks — the main one being that I don't see how I really looked until I see my pictures. (I also have to rely on the weather report, which can be a bit sketchy.)

This outfit was a case in point. I usually like my skirts shorter, rather than longer, so I hoisted this skirt up to make it shorter. Unfortunately, however, when I did that — the proportions were completely off. These shoes really demand a longer skirt to pull them off. (Remember these shoes from here and here? They were the shoes with attitude!)

Over the weekend, I restaged the pictures to see if the longer length looked better. And I have to say, it made a HUGE difference! (Could I actually be starting to catch on to this fashion thing?!)

Wouldn't you agree? 

As a side note, I wish I could take all my pictures on the weekend so I can take them in the daylight. The quality is just SO much better!

I actually don't mind the commute. I like the train -- it's very soothing, and relaxing, almost as if you're being rocked to sleep. By the time I get home, I have completely unwound from the day. Completely different than when I was driving to work and dealing with the traffic. The biggest problem is that I don't have enough hours in the day to get things done.

But when did I ever?

I'm lucky enough to squeak in on the Bloggers Do It Better animal print challenge. Lucky that I had happened to wear an animal print (my skirt) and lucky enough that I was able to post it in time (29 minutes and counting by last watch). It's amazing to see how other people have styled their animal prints so that everybody looks different (I really like the use of color ... something that I need to try more of.)

Bloggers Do It Better

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crashing but not Burning

Monday was so cold — a high of 53°F, and a low of 46°F. Relatively speaking, that's not all that cold, but compared to the temperatures that we had this summer, and the humidity of last week, trust me, it felt cold! I wanted to stay warm on my second day of work, so I bundled up and wore two sweaters (one long sleeved and one short sleeved), heavier tights, a wool skirt, and boots.

black top — Talbots (thrifted)
white sweater — Stamford (thrifted)
herringbone skirt — harvĂ© benard by Benard Holtzman (thrifted)
boots — Lord & Taylor (thrifted) / tights — L'eggs

Of course, the day ended up being a lot warmer, so I pretty much roasted all day. And whenever I got nervous or flustered, the sweat just started pouring off of me.

And boy did I get nervous and flustered on Day 2. It was the getting-to-know-you day. The day that you're brought around and introduced to everyone, and you have to make small talk. Needless to say, small talk is not my forté, and I usually avoid it like the plague because it makes me so uncomfortable. I wish I could have avoided it on Day 2, because every time I opened my mouth, I felt like a blithering idiot. As the day went on, I got more and more self-conscious about what I was saying and how much I was sweating and how red I was getting and how hot I was ... and you get the picture.

Before too long, I had worked myself up to a real panic that I didn't have what it took to be successful at this job.(You know the saying, "Fake it til you make it?" I was starting to convince myself that I was just a big faker, and it was just a matter of time before they found out and regretted hiring me, if they didn't already.)

Usually when this happens, I just keep spiraling down, and I crash and burn. And trust me, it's not pretty. This time, I grabbed the bull by the horns, and told myself that I wasn't going to be my own worst enemy and sabotage myself again. I swallowed my fear and my feelings of inadequacy, and went to talk to one of my team members. In other words, I did my job, and I'm pretty proud of myself.

By the way, in case you didn't notice, I traded the deer-in-the-headlights look that I had here for the creepy staring eyes look.

I'm linking this post up to Silverstyle for her Boots: Trending through the Decades Link Up. Check out how ladies of all ages are wearing their boots.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No Loitering

Don't believe the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look in my eyes — I had a GREAT first day of work! I took this at the train station at the end of the day, and I was beat. (Remind me to tell you about my lazy eye and my eye muscle surgery someday.)

shirt — Carolyn Taylor (can't remember; it's older than dirt)
skirt — no brand (Burlington Coat Factory; it's older than dirt)
shoes — Dansko (Dansko outlet)

The past few days have been cold and dreary in Delaware, which is pretty much what prompted this outfit. That, and the fact that it's an old faithful. I've worn it for years and years and years. In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't pull this outfit out of my closet when I wanted to look nice. I also thought it would be warm (it wasn't warm enough); I thought it would be work appropriate (it was); and I thought I would be comfortable (I was, except for the tights that cut off the circulation to my legs — those babies are going in the garbage! The tights, not the legs.).


Anyway, now that I'm looking at these pictures, I feel like something is missing. I don't look the way I imagined myself looking or even how I looked when I saw myself in the mirror. I just feel like the outfit is kind of dull. So guys, what could I have done to jazz this up. How could I have put some color into it? I dunno, I kind of like the sweater with the skirt, but my neck looks nekked. Maybe a heavier, more of a statement necklace? Maybe I should have worn the red lipstick that I got and then was afraid to wear?!

What do you think of this as a first-day-of-work outfit? With my new found sense of fashion (love of fashion? desire to be fashionable? No, that's not it either — these days, I just have this desire to put my best foot forward. When I feel like I look good, it's like I become a completely different person. I stand up straighter, smile more, and in general — I'm just more radiant. I'm having fun, and it shows. Okay. This wasn't supposed to be a post about my fashion fun — it's just so strange that it's so much fun with clothes.)

I'm also sporting a new hair cut, and once again my hairdresser worked her magic! She also did my hair here. She's amazing!

I do look tired though. I got up at the crack of dawn this morning (4:30 a.m.) to get ready. Actually, by the time I laid my body down to sleep last night — all I did was toss and turn. I couldn't fall asleep to save my life, so if I got an hour of sleep that was probably a lot. I left my house at 6:00 a.m. (don't even ask why it took me 90 minutes to get ready, I can be really neurotic at times). I got to the train station by 6:30 a.m., and got the LAST spot in the lot. The last! The gods were smiling on me again.

The Amtrak came at 6:50 a.m., and then it was a little over an hour to Union Station. The Amtrak is really nice — quiet, and calming. And this morning, I was so tired, and it was so cold and dreary, that the chug chug chug of the train just lulled me to sleep (I could get used to that). From Union Station, it was a short 15-minute walk to the office and boy, did it ever wake me up. I didn't wear a coat or have gloves or a scarf, and it was brisk out!

Coming home, it was the same. This time on the train, people were so friendly. It was nice. And honestly, it really kind of surprised me. I'm so used to people just looking down and going about their business.

I had to include this last picture. I didn't realize until I downloaded my pictures that I was standing in front of a No Loitering sign. I hope that the powers that be won't mind me "loitering" so I can take my pictures!

I'm linking up to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style because of my mood — I was so happy that it made me quite visible!

Thank you all for all your encouragement and support during this long hot summer. It lifted my spirits when I got down, and helped give me the confidence to keep on keeping on. I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to post or comment for the next week or so while I'm getting used to this schedule. I'll be here, but not as visible.

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