Wishing each and every one of you a very peaceful day full of joy and laughter and as many naps and snacks as you need! I hope you all feel blessed beyond measure in the coming year.
Wishing each and every one of you a very peaceful day full of joy and laughter and as many naps and snacks as you need! I hope you all feel blessed beyond measure in the coming year.
Due to an unfortunate decision in my choice of major in my college years, I have been an administrative assistant my entire adult working life. I’ve been in my current position for nearly 13 years with the same company and my job has changed very little in that time. I don’t really foresee it changing very much in the next 13 years either.
The work is not challenging, my coworkers are not my friends (I am the only woman among 8 men), and culture of my company has changed from we’ve-got-your-back to it’s-all-about-the-dollars in the last 5 years. Within the next year, my office will be moving inside an industrial plant where I will be forced to dress like a construction worker (goodbye cute summer sandals!) and share a space with my blue collar coworkers (they are good guys but there’s not a lot of talk about arts and culture if you know what I mean). Those are the cons of my current job.
Here are the pros: the pay is decent, the benefits are excellent, I have a mere 17 minute commute, I can pretty well come and go as I please, and I have 4 weeks of paid vacation plus 8 paid sick days per year, plus 10 paid holidays. My boss is a good boss – my only complaint is that he’s an over-thinker to the nth degree and sometimes that can be exasperating, but overall I enjoy working with him. My job causes me very little stress and I don’t have to work evenings or weekends, or be on call. Also, and this is a big PRO – I don’t have to work with the general public. On paper, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, especially in today’s job market.
I feel like I outgrew this position a long time ago, but it was a good fit for my family and see also the pros above – it’s hard to walk away from all that, especially since my husband is self-employed and doesn’t bring in any health insurance or a regular bi-weekly paycheck. I feel that I have more to offer than simply being able to do my job quickly and efficiently, but do I really? When I look for other jobs, I see gaping holes in my resume that hold me back from applying for those positions. I haven’t developed any marketable skills over my time here that would be useful elsewhere. And there’s a lot of fear of the unknown too – fear of starting over at another company, fear of rejection when going for interviews, fear of getting into a worse situation…lots of fear all around it.
I hear all of the talk about following your dreams! and dream big! Do what your heart wants you to do!! Honestly, that all sounds exhausting. Hustling sounds like a lot of work when I feel like I should be slowing down and settling in at my age.
I think what is really happening is that I have hit midlife and don’t have a career I can be proud of. I sort of hate that my kids say “my mom is a secretary” when I’d originally had such lofty goals for myself in college. My best friend’s title is Senior Director of Development at a major university…she gets to travel and go to fun events and talk to different people every day. I come to work and sit behind a desk and listen to podcasts so that I can distract myself while I do the same work I’ve been doing for 13 years. I’m not jealous of my friend – she has worked damn hard for her career and deserves every accolade that comes her way – she’s very, very good at what she does and I am so proud of her. I simply wish that I had a career that I could talk about with some sense of accomplishment and pride as well. I feel almost embarrassed to say “I’m an administrative assistant” when I have a French degree under my belt (also embarrassing: I remember very little French now, seems like a waste of tuition).
I heard a term the other day in a Ted Talk I watched on YouTube – “Midlife Malaise”. I think that perfectly describes how I’m feeling. I’m not having a midlife crisis as much as I’m just sort of bored, really. And I’m actually not bored with my whole life – my marriage is solid, my kids are good and healthy… it just seems to be my career or lack thereof that has me feeling inadequate.
This feeling cycles around every so often. A lot of times I can squash it down and ignore it, but it always comes around again eventually. Not sure what to do about it – do I simply need to learn to appreciate what I have or do I need to put myself out there and risk it all for something that may or may not be better? Should I develop one of my hobbies into a side gig and look for fulfillment there? Should I volunteer somewhere and hope I feel useful? Should I just go buy a lottery ticket and pin my hopes on a mega-millions win??
If only I could get paid to read books and drink tea all day…my life would be complete.
Hi all! Time for another episode of ERLL!! Are you ready?? Let’s do it!
Eating: I have found it. The thing I want to eat for the rest of my life. I feel so fortunate to be alive in the same era as this food! I give you…
DARK. CHOCOLATE. HUMMUS. This is the stuff of my dreams. It almost tastes like brownie batter, if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am. It is delicious with apples, bananas, strawberries, and any other sturdy fruit that won’t fall apart when hit with a wall of hummus (lookin’ at you, raspberries). I found it at 2 local grocery stores, so I imagine it would be fairly easy to find at any grocery store. YOU ARE WELCOME.
Reading: Currently not reading any particular book right now, except for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I’ve read before but since it is my newest favorite book ever, I like to keep it by my bedside and read it when I get the urge. Book Club is next week, so I’ll have a new book to tell you about next time.
Listening: Honestly, I can’t think of anything that I’ve been listening to that I haven’t told you about before. I watched part of a documentary about country music last night, so afterwards while I was working in the yard, I listened to some 90s country. On purpose. I used to be a kinda/sorta country music fan until 2013 when all the songs on country radio became about trucks, drinking, and girls in short shorts. I haven’t listened since.
Loving: I’ve been using this company for several months now and I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it before. I’m sure you’ve all seen the Grove Collaborative ads on social media…well I decided to give it a try mostly because I hate buying cleaning supplies, so I thought it would be a little more pleasant to have them delivered. And it is! Here’s what I love about Grove: I can change my order every month to fit what I need, there is no minimum to purchase, all of the products I’ve tried smell really good, and they write a nice little thank you note on the outside of each box (I don’t know why that gives me a warm fuzzy each time, but it does). The only things I’ve tried that I didn’t love were the wood furniture cleaner and the Method and Mrs. Meyers dishwasher pods (I did however really like the Seventh Generation dishwasher pods). So I feel pretty confident in recommending them to you, and yes, some of what they sell can be found at Target or other stores, but like I said, I hate buying cleaning products, so for me, this is a good way to ensure I have what I need, when I need it. If you want to try it here’s a link to get started (if you decide to make a purchase, this link will get you a 5 piece gift set and I’ll get a $10 credit – this isn’t an affiliate link, it’s available to everyone once you sign up). I should probably mention, they sell a whole lot more than just cleaning supplies – everything from candles to skin care, stuff for your babies and your fur babies, and even sunscreen and bug spray. I really do love it.
That wraps up my ERLL for this time. Hope you enjoyed it!
I have a little problem, and it shows up in a lot of areas in my life. It affects my finances, my weight, my generosity…it affects more than I ever even knew. I didn’t even know it was a thing until about a year or so ago – but I’m finding that a lot of people also have this problem. I’m ready to deal with it and overcome it. Or at least learn to manage it.
My problem (ha, as if I only have one) is that I have a Scarcity Mindset.
If you don’t know what that is, a scarcity mentality is forever thinking “there’s not enough”. There’s not enough money, there’s not enough food, there’s not enough time…it just feels like there is never enough of anything. If you find yourself saying “I can’t afford that”, or “I’ll wait until payday and then I’ll buy all of these things that I can’t get right now”, or “it must be nice that the neighbors can afford xyz”…then you too probably have that same lack mentality. This mindset can lead to over-spending, over-eating, needless worry, and basically it can just suck the joy out of your life, which is no bueno.
How does feeling scarce lead to the “overages” (over spending, over weight, over working) in life? Here’s an excellent example I heard recently: Let’s say you are having a dinner party with your family and friends – you wake up the day of the party and think “I don’t think I have enough food. I should have gotten more to drink. What if no one brings a dessert? I should probably go get some more just in case.” So you go to the store to get more more more, and when the party finally rolls around and everyone has eaten and is stuffed to the gills, you notice ALL THE LEFTOVER FOOD. There is so much food still uneaten, that you make up plates for everyone to take home because there is just no way you are ever going to eat it all. See? Now you’ve spent more money than you needed to because of your fear that there wouldn’t be enough, when in fact, there was and still is PLENTY.
For me, this mentality really shows itself like this: Cash flow is tight, so I put off buying things, then when payday hits I BUY ALL OF THE THINGS because HURRY I HAVE TO BUY THESE THINGS BEFORE THE MONEY RUNS OUT AGAIN BECAUSE THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH MONEY. And when I say “things” I mean stuff like getting my hair cut, doing a big grocery shop, buying whatever gifts need to be purchased, paying as many bills as I can…so then in just a few days, the money is tight again and the cycle starts all over. It’s exhausting. And with a self-employed husband, sometimes money is genuinely tight (hello winter), but because I’ve never developed habits to s p r e a d t h e m o n e y o u t, it always feels like feast or famine, even when it’s really not.
Also, I feel like there’s not enough time – not enough time to do what I want to do and need to do, so my weekends end up being either SUPER PRODUCTIVE (do all the things because there are only 2 days to get everything done!!!) or I am as lazy as can be because I’m exhausted and just don’t want to do anything. Again, if I could figure out how to spread it all out over the week, I don’t think I would feel quite so frantic about not wasting time (because time is precious) (because there’s not enough of it) (see?).
Does anyone else see the restrict/binge cycle happening here??? I thought it only showed up when I was dieting (which I no longer do) but apparently I’ve also been restricting and bingeing my money and time. Interesting.
In my research (let’s be real, I Googled it) about how to overcome this mindset of “not enough”, I found that the first thing usually suggested is gratitude and appreciation. In all of the articles I read, in all of the videos I’ve watched on this subject, incorporating the practice of gratitude is the number one habit to cultivate in order to combat that scarcity feeling. Appreciating what we have and being grateful can help us see that there is indeed, enough. Whether that means writing down what you are grateful for at the end of the day, or just simply thinking about things you appreciate while you are brushing your teeth, focusing on all of the abundance in your life will help dissipate that feeling of lack over time.
Now, I will admit to you that writing down 3 things I’m grateful for each day sounds like something I will never do. In fact, it makes me want to roll my eyes and never think about it again, so I need to come up with a way to work this into my life in such a way that feels effortless so that it will eventually stick. I’m thinking it needs to be in the middle of the day when my energy is at its peak. Is there an app for that? Maybe I need an app to remind me. I’m still working all of this out right now (obviously) – I don’t have any answers as of yet, so if you do, please share!
All of the above is well and good, but my stupid little grammar-police brain cannot get over something else. Yesterday I watched a video about this wherein a 20-something girl had a 20 minute video about this very subject, and I’m sure she had some good info to share, but I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying because she kept pronouncing it “SCAR-city”. Spoiler alert: it’s pronounced “SCARE-city” – it comes from the word SCARCE. At first I thought she just messed up, but she kept saying it like that over and over again – I couldn’t even watch the whole thing because I was so distracted by the way she was saying it! Yes I realize this probably makes me an asshole, but I can’t help it. If you’re going to make an entire video about a certain subject, make sure you know how to pronounce it correctly otherwise you don’t sound credible. (Cranky rant is now over)
So, I genuinely want to know: have any of you overcome this mindset? Or at least learned how to manage it? How did you do it? Do you have a regular gratitude practice and if so, what does it look like in your life (if you don’t mind sharing)?
This was a longer post than usual – thanks for sticking around if you’ve gotten to the end!! You are a warrior!
Welcome to another edition of ERLL! Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Eating: Since two of my kids have moved out in the last six months, how we eat dinner has changed. I used to fix a big family meal most nights which required planning and thawing and cooking and cleaning up and putting away, but now since there are only three of us (and one of us is picky and typically makes her own dinner) dinner is a much more laid-back low-ley affair. A lot of times, we’ll just have sandwiches for dinner, or a quick pasta dish, or a salad, and if my husband isn’t home, sometimes the youngest and I will just have cereal for dinner. It’s such a difference from just less than a year ago, but it’s nice not constantly having that “what am I going to cook for dinner” worry.
Reading: I just finished The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. I LOVED this book. It’s a quick read that covers all the emotions, but mostly it’s just a sweet story. This is one of my book club picks, and since it was such an easy read, I still have time to read it again, which is something I always say I’d like to do but never seem to find time. This time I think I’ll actually be able to do it before our next meeting. (Side note: do you read on an e-reader or do you prefer actual physical books? Since my tablet bit the dust, I’ve been getting my books from the library because I don’t like reading books on my phone, and I have found that I actually enjoy that more. I’d still like a new Kindle though – maybe for Christmas. 🙂 )
Listening: Another podcast for you: Criminal. I look forward to this podcast every week because the host’s voice is just so soothing to me. Phoebe Judge has a distinctive way of speaking and as soon as I hear that velvety lilt, I exhale and sink in to the story. I also love the different views they take on what it means to be a “criminal” – sometimes it’s exactly what you think when you hear that word but other times, it’s more subtle – and it’s always interesting to me.
Loving: Yoga. I’ve been trying to do a little bit of yoga every morning because it just feels good to stretch my body and I’m also building a little bit of strength at the same time. I’ve been following SarahBeth yoga on the Youtubes and I love that she says “your daily practice is your best practice” – no matter how little time you have, even just five minutes of yoga every day is good. When I’m pressed for time, I try to do at least ten minutes, but I always end up wishing I had time for more. But something is better than nothing, right?
What are you eating, reading, listening, and loving this week? Share below ’cause I wanna know!
Here’s the update – I’m not doing the Curly Girl Method anymore for 3 reasons: 1) my family members don’t really care for curly hair on me, 2) I’m tired of my hair looking great in the morning and terrible in the afternoon, and 3) in a fit of frustration, I chopped my hair off to chin length – it had grown a few inches and was getting harder to manage. I know I could do chin length curly hair, but I’m afraid I’d end up looking like this:
So for now, I’m going with a straight sleek look:
And since I chopped my hair off myself, I now have an appointment for next Saturday so my stylist can fix the damage I did. It’s not horrible, but there are some areas that need her magic touch. On a completely unrelated note, did you know that it’s super hard to cut the back of your hair yourself???? 🙂
I’m glad I did this curly experiment because I learned some good lessons from it – my hair loves to be deep conditioned once a month, my hair is so much healthier using sulfate-free shampoo, and using as little heat as possible has made my hair much stronger and thicker than before. Also I think taking a B Complex vitamin has helped my hair as well (which really has nothing to do with CGM, but I thought it was interesting to note).
I thought my fine, thin, dry, brittle hair was out of my control and I would just have to live with it forever, but just changing my shampoo and adding some deep conditioning has shown me that little changes can have a big impact.
I love it when an experiment yields unexpected results!
In case you are interested, here are the products I’m using right now that have helped my hair get healthier (all of these are sulfate and paraben free, I believe) :
Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo. I use the White Coconut and Jasmine scent because I am all about jasmine right now – it smells so good!! And btw, you can get this at Target for around $8.
Suave Coconut Conditioner. Believe it or not, this is a really good lightweight conditioner, and it’s super cheap at Walmart or Target.
Kinky Curly Knot Today leave in detangler. This is a lightweight leave-in, but I still only use a tiny amount of this for when my hair is feeling dry-ish. My fine thin hair just can’t handle a lot of conditioner. I think I paid $12 for this at Walmart, so this is a good price from Amazon.
Shea Moisture Hydrate + Repair Protein Power Treatment. Did you know that your hair needs protein too? For curly girls, sometimes if your curls are just limp and lifeless, a shot of protein can make them springy again. I used this when I needed a little help with my curls and I’ll probably still use it when I need a little bounce in my hair.
Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. This is my deep conditioner – I used this at first once a week, then only once a month once my hair started getting healthier.
I think this will wrap up my curly hair experiment for now. I realize that 3 months is probably not really long enough for my hair to transition from straight-ish to wavy/curly, and I might try again early next year, but for now I’m happy with this easy, straight style.
If you live anywhere outside of my region, the air is probably starting to cool, leaves might be juuuust starting to turn, and you can definitely tell fall is fast approaching.
If, however, you live in the devil’s oven like I do, there is no end in sight. The entire month of September is just as oppressive as August – it’s still hot as blazes and it seems that the humidity hanging in the air is there only to torture you and your hair.
I realized I said that I wasn’t done with summer a few posts ago, but what I meant was that I wanted the out-of-school, no commitments feeling of summer to last a while longer. Now that school is in session and activities abound, I need for summer to shut down quick. Floating in a pool with a lemonade in your hand on a hot summer day? Bliss! Sitting on metal bleachers at a football game in 100° heat? NO THANK YOU.
So I’ve decided I’m going to conjure up some autumn feels by thinking about what I want to do this fall… an autumn bucket list, if you will. Behold! My Autumn Intentions:
I feel more autumn-y already and I can practically taste the butternut squash soup! What are your intentions for the upcoming fall season? Do you have rituals that you always do or are you more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants like I usually am? Share below!
Sometimes when life gets crazy or overwhelming or downright unmanageable, I use a handy little skill I learned from Emily at www.guidancegirl.com. It’s part of a whole set of DBT skills – if you’ve never heard of DBT, it’s a type of therapy used mainly for treating those with borderline personality disorder, but what they found though, was that if this type of therapy worked in treating BPD (one of the most difficult disorders to treat) then it could work for ANYBODY. The skills taught in DBT therapy are super useful for regular Joes (or Jills) everywhere.
The skill I’ve been using most recently is the ABC skill. ABC stands for:
Accumulate positive experiences/emotions
What this looks like in real life for me is that sometimes I get a little overwhelmed and stressed out and start to feel down about things, so I’ll aim to be intentional about doing and keeping track of things that fit into the above categories. For instance, if I want to accumulate positive experiences/emotions, I’ll look at my schedule and see if I can fit in something fun into my day (or my lunch hour or my evening after work, etc) that will make me feel better – maybe it’s getting that really good salad at the store, or calling my best friend to talk for a few minutes, or stopping by the park after work for a quick walk. All of those things are positives for me and so doing them makes me feel better. I get intentional about making myself feel better.
Building mastery is doing something on a regular basis that makes me feel capable and better about myself, and that I enjoy. Trying a new recipe, working on my hand-lettering, cleaning that clutter pile that has been driving me crazy, or even just solving a minor problem are all examples of building mastery. Taking an exercise class or even a crafting class counts, as does updating your dream vacation board on Pinterest or planning what you’ll put in your garden next summer. It’s about making yourself feel competent, which in turn boosts your self esteem.
The third step is Coping Ahead – if I know a stressful situation is coming up (this could be good stress, like a vacation, or bad stress, like preparing for surgery) then I will stop and think about some things I can do that will make things easier for me or make me feel better about the situation. We just went on a short camping trip over Labor Day weekend and Emily reminded me to cope ahead by having some of my favorite healthy foods on hand for snacks. I also remembered to pack my ear plugs because I find that I sleep better in places that are not my bed if I have them in (also, sometimes my darling husband snores. Loudly). If this were a bad-stress situation, like having to spend time with relatives you don’t particularly care for (Thanksgiving will be here before you know it), you could make sure you have your favorite wine on hand to help you relax a little, you could make sure that you are in charge of playing games with the little kids, you could offer to make a run for ice when it gets low so that you don’t have to spend so much time with Overbearing Aunt Abigail…the point is to think about things you can do to improve the situation so that you can still be your best self.
What are some ways you make yourself feel better when things just don’t seem to be going well? What are some of your favorite ways to Build Mastery? What is your best Coping Ahead strategy? Tell me in the comments!
Hope everyone had a nice long weekend – we took a couple of days over the long weekend to go camping (RV, this girl doesn’t do tents) and our campsite had no cell service – it was nice to completely disconnect for awhile! We also kayaked and hiked and just had a generally nice relaxing time (except for that surprise thunderstorm that popped up at 4 a.m. – rain is SUPER LOUD in a camper!!).
I’m going to try something new for the fall – I have a rough posting schedule planned out and one of the things I’d like to do is a regular post called “Eating, Reading, Listening, Loving” wherein I tell you what I am currently…wait for it…eating, reading, listening, and loving at the moment! So here goes:
Eating: Herb Chicken Mediterranean pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Yeah, probably not the healthiest thing on the planet, but damn it is GOOD. Olive oil and garlic for the sauce, spinach, roasted red peppers, and herbed chicken toppings, baked on thin crust. Actually, it’s probably not terrible health-wise, at least I hope it’s not because I ate this for three meals in a row over the weekend.
Reading: I just finished reading Rough Beauty by Karen Auvinen. Auvinen is a poet and a university professor and you can tell that in this memoir. This is her story about living in the mountains of Colorado and it’s also a love story – between her and her husky dog Elvis. I enjoyed this book, but I think I’d like to re-read it this winter when I can take my time and really appreciate how descriptive Auvinen can be with her words. If you enjoyed Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, then you will probably like this book as well.
Listening: I just discovered a podcast call “Sincerely, X” by the Ted Talk people. The stories are told anonymously – usually because the people telling them are embarrassed about what happened, but instead of just giving us a voyeuristic peek into someone’s mistakes, this podcast offers solutions and great ideas to turn the unfortunate circumstances into something good and helpful. For instance, one woman tells of how she has a kind of “freak-out” in public but one man knows how to calm her down and talk to her – her solution is to suggest that the public be educated on how to handle situations like these. We have CPR training for heart emergencies, why not have a training to help people who are having mental emergencies? It’s good stuff and I’ve only just started listening so I’m excited to hear what else is on tap.
Loving: I have never been what you would call an “outdoorsy” kind of girl, but lately I really love being outside in nature. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed kayaking – I’ve never done it before and I really loved it. So much so that I really want to go do that again – soon. We also went on an hour-long hike and although it was hot and I was sweating like crazy, it was beautiful and peaceful and I got lots of pictures. THAT is the kind of fitness I like – if I could do those things everyday, I’d be fit as a fiddle in no time.
So that’s it. Is there anything you are eating, reading, listening, and loving that I need to know about? Share in the comments below!
You know, I keep thinking that things will slow down and I’ll get back to my snail’s-pace-life pretty soon, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I think this is just my life now. Or maybe it’s just the pace of summer and things will naturally slow down once it gets cold. Whatever happened to those hazy crazy lazy dayz of summer? I don’t feel like I got very many of those lazy days and I’m just a tad bit resentful about it. I’d like to speak to a manager about this, please.
Life has not been all bad, not at all, it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of downtime anymore. I didn’t even read much this summer and my hand-lettering has suffered as well – it just seemed like there wasn’t a lot of time to sit and just BE. I hate it that the two things I love most to do, I just couldn’t seem to make time to do them. I was pretty intentional about spending a few hours in the pool at least once a week – just floating and listening to the birds was restorative and meditative in a way that I couldn’t find anywhere else – if it isn’t raining, I plan on spending my Labor Day floating for a few hours and soaking up that last little bit of summer.
My Dad is doing well with his chemo – his last chemo appointment is in a week and then we’ll see where we are with that. His cancer is shrinking, so that’s good, but the chemo just wipes him out and he feels really weak most of the time. Hopefully he’ll get to stop the chemo and that will help him feel better.
School has started again around here (tangent: why do we have to start school in August?? It’s still so freakishly hot!! Can we not push it back until after Labor Day?) – my youngest is a freshman in high school and my middle is a freshman in college. We moved my second baby bird out of the nest to her school an hour away (pro tip: bring a dolly or a platform cart for move-in day – parking will be scarce and it will be hot and you will all be cranky – make things as easy as possible for yourselves!!).
After a rough start with a poorly-matched dorm roommate (she just got a new roommate this week – thankfully), my daughter is getting used to the rhythm of dorm life and college classes. My oldest is working for my husband and living on his own – which he loves – so we are down to one kid at home. The groceries in the house last considerably longer now!! 🙂
One thing I did well in August was to figure out how to stop being so tired all the darn time. I’ve added some supplements and stopped using my snooze button. I try to get up when the first alarm goes off and I don’t hit snooze – turns out, hitting the snooze button makes you more tired than if you just get up when that first alarm rings. As a life-long snoozer, I am amazed at how different my mornings are now! I’m taking a B-Complex supplement, an adrenal supplement, an iron supplement, a 5htp supplement, and just eating better in general. I walk or do yoga when I can and I will say I am noticing a difference. I also in the last couple of days have started using breathe-right strips and wow! I’m sleeping so much better at night. I’m not exactly energetic, but at least I don’t feel so completely exhausted all the time now, which is a nice change.
That’s my wrap up of August and generally the summer. I have an idea for a posting schedule for the fall, but I’m not going to make any promises (been there, broke that). I think my Autumn Intention is going to be to fit in the things I love to do: blogging, reading, and hand-lettering and if I have to pencil them in to my schedule to make it happen, so be it. I got a nice new planner and it’s just begging to be filled up with fun activities!
So what about you? How was your August? Do you have anything you want to make happen this fall?