side jobs

Lights Flicker On Again

I’m sitting, now, in a low chair with a rounded back embracing tiny arms around my frame. The olive leaf upholstery is worn by the bottoms of many learners who’ve rested and read in the library.  Looking out the large windows, I see across the street into my dentist office of yesteryear – the one I attended before things fell apart.

The last time I sat in this chair, I had just raced frantically across the street to find an internet connection. While sitting in the dentist’s chair, I remember obsessively flicking my wrist to check my watch and the seconds ticking away marking the moments I wasn’t responsive for a bad-fit job.

I remember my mouth being numb on one side from the novocaine as I opened my laptop and my stomach dropped again with feelings of “not quite good enough.” You could feel their disappointment in my pulse as my blood moved through my shrinking veins.

Little did I know what was about to unfold.

Tonight, almost four years later, I’m watching out the window again and bouncing back between remembering the fear and anxiety and reminding myself to be present as I listen to the soft click, click, click of my typing making music with the woman next to me knitting something on turquoise, two-inch needles.

Still on the second story, I can see across the street. The windows of the dentist’s office are dark. And the sun is setting over the mountains in the distance and a tiny patch of peach is fighting the fog as we move into another cold weekend.

My mouth isn’t numb. My fingers are moving.

I’ve moved and grown and ached and wondered and still, I’m here.

I’m not fearful of my boss, nor am I afraid to open the multitude of inboxes that come with jobs, and side-hustles, and pending freelance projects.

There’s beauty in the sitting, in the looking across the way. Beauty in the unfolding words and the potential when I open my laptop. Beauty in my deep gratitude for that feeling of  “Thank God I’m not there any longers.” Beauty in spaces once filled with fear gone dark.

Beauty in clean bills of health and the no longer numb and the same chair waiting to welcome me back to watch the lights flicker on again.

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Turn that Tone Upside Down

I have a side job helping write monthly newsletters for a doctor’s office here in town. I love creating content, and deciphering notes and pulling together a multitude of sources into one space that serves as an educational resource for those seeking to improve their health.

A couple of weeks ago, feeling rushed to meet a deadline, I ticked off a quick couple lines of introduction copy for this month’s newsletter and sent it to my colleague. “How is this for an introduction?” I typed in the notes, and waited for her feedback. My tone had been pessimistic – February is a drag – something to get through – too much snow – and every once in awhile – we need a boost.

No sooner had I clicked send did the doctor call me, with kindness and laughter in her voice. “That intro was a drag Katie!” she exclaimed. “Let’s turn that tone upside down.” At first I was a little offended, but as I sat and listened to her vision for her correspondence with clients, my defense softened. The doctor went on to encourage me to encourage others – to find the joy and beauty in this month of February. Her redirection inspired me in remembering that our words are what create our reality – our intentions and tone are powerful. When we choose to share that writing, we have the power to influence other’s moods, attitudes, and perceptions. This conversation changed my month, and it changed my heart.

I’ve sense rewritten the introduction, and while it felt a little cheesy to try to find the positive, the doctor’s words continue to reverberate through my mind. We can find beauty and optimism when we go looking for it, and maybe, even more powerfully, when we create it.

IMG_3470This week I attempted to create beauty in several situations. Call it simple, but for Valentine’s Day I made my very own cheese danish pastry. While the holiday was on a Sunday, and we chose not to over indulge in any romantic dates, I did want to create a little festivity in my own house. I rolled out of bed, and followed this recipe to bring a little bit of celebration to our lazy Sunday morning routine. Routine? Does sleeping ’til 10 am count as a routine?

Cream cheese and sugar, vanilla and raspberries – when these ingredients blend together they create beautiful flavors and a sense of fancy that just made me smile.

Sunday also presented us with the choice to run errands, and use up gift cards lingering in our junk drawers  from Christmas. I went to Nordstrom Rack and got a pair of pants for nine dollars. NINE DOLLARS. I love a beautiful bargain. I tried Maintenance Moment at my favorite brewery – which perfectly pairs the light flavors of coffee with beer. Their full description is so much more delightful. Hello Colorado! You’ve achieved a combination of my favorite things. Is it bad to proclaim craft beer as one of your favorite things on the internet? Not sure, let’s take a beautiful risk.

So this week I give a nod to the universe as several loved ones have lifted my chin, and reminded me to look for the beautiful with optimism and hope in my heart. May you find and create beauty at every turn, even if it involves a roll of crescent dough.