My college experience had a lot of ups and downs. Most of them due to the fact that I didn’t know and had to figure out how to financially support myself. However, one of the best things about college was visiting my favorite chain sandwich spot Quizno’s. Fast forward 11 years later and I now live around the corner from one of the last Quizno’s locations. So recently I found myself down a rabbit hole trying to find out what happened any why so many restaurants have closed over the years. The story is actually pretty sad. Apparently, the first restaurant was started in Denver (used to live there too) and then it grew and became a franchise opportunity. At the time, there was a unique take on the market because the sandwiches are toasted. It was something that had not been done before. This was also combined with sandwiches that bordered more on the gourmet side. They had it on lock for a good minute. However, apparently no one has a monopoly on a toaster and once Subway started offering toasted sandwiches without an extra cost and those infamous “5 dollar footlong” commercials. The financial troubles continued with the company going into massive amounts of debts and having a slew of unhappy franchise owners who were barely able to turn a profit. Apparently, the ingredients for the sandwiches were more expensive than most and the Quizno’s parent company also had a contract with the food company so they profited from selling franchise locations the equipment and ingredients. All this came to a dreadful head when a franchise owner decided to (very tragically) take his life due to his financial situation and the fact that the company allowed another franchise to open up close to his existing store. A recipe for failure. The company continued to tank and hundreds of stores started to close because the franchise owners couldn’t become profitable. Fast forward to the present where Quiznos is hanging on by a thread and most stores have closed. They needed a different strategy and unfortunately it was too late to pivot. So the next time you eat a toasted sandwich, think of the chain that made it happen.
It’s been quite the year and when I reflect on all that happened, I think it’s been one of the more eventful years I’ve lived. I’ve visited family, gone to comedy shows in several different states, relocated across the country, started some new jobs and was a guest on several podcasts. I’ve learned more about myself and I’ve tried new foods (like alligator) that I never would have without some gentle prompting about getting outside of my comfort zone. I think one of the biggest things is that I’ve learned so much more about religious trauma and how problematic it can be to have a childhood where everything is fear based. It’s not ideal to be worried about hell or a lake of fire as a young child (understatement of the year). However, I’m glad that my journey has brought me to my current relationship where I have a partner that’s understanding and patient. There’s been ups and downs, breakthroughs and drawbacks. Overall, this has been a building year as well as one of transition. I’m looking forward to becoming more disciplined, learning about the world, and growing both personally and professionally. May we all take the next 365 days to intentionally grow into better versions of ourselves. Happy (Almost) New Year!
I used to be a serial vacation goer. Every few weeks I would make it a point to go somewhere or anywhere new. A lot of money was spent in those endeavors. I’m not independently wealthy but I always saw the value in getting away and having a change of scenery for a bit. This past week was a flashback of my previous life when I had the opportunity to get away for a bit. The get away part was further compounded by being locked out of my work email so it ended up being a forced break of sorts. But I wasn’t too upset—although I’m dreading the make up work that awaits me when I get back. Getting away makes you think about your life differently and I can honestly say that I don’t think vacations are bad things. I’m currently tasked with a new challenge of balancing a lot of different priorities in the new year and this reset of sorts has definitely been needed. When you’re so busy living, it’s easy to forget about the importance of making a life. For me, vacationing is a missing piece of the equation. You may wonder if you can afford it but sometimes you can’t afford not to go. The amount of creativity and ingenuity that emerges from a new environment is unparalleled. It’s also worth it to have something to look forward to. So in these last few brief moments before the chaos rears it’s ugly head again, I’m taking a moment to breathe in the peace and tranquility that comes from taking an intentional break and I’m setting the intention of doing this again sometime mid-next year. Or maybe sooner.
So…… I recently turned the ripe old age of 33 and also celebrated 3 years with my significant other. Now, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ve read about how I was chronically single for the longest. But the tides of luck have changed and this year represented 3 years of successful partnership. I’ve lived so many lives and this time of year lends itself to more reflection. I will say that the one biggest change that stands out to me (second to leaving organized religion of course) has been abandoning vegetarian life. This is not to be outdone by the emotional effort it takes to maintain a healthy secure attachment. Not to mention in this year alone, I’ve moved across the country, grown a business, taken on new responsibilities and continued to be consistent with a (brutal) workout regimen. It’s been a wild ride and I’m reminded of all the many chapters of my life that have led up to the current one. 33 represents…..something significant in numerology and while I’m too lazy to look it up right now, I will admit that I see things differently. It’s funny how insanely fast your 20s are. I remember the birthday dinner I had in college and greeting my 20th birthday at the crack of dawn by a statue in the middle of the college campus. Fast forward to 29 turning 30 where I was on a cruise sailing to Puerto Rico. Alabama to Colorado, Georgia, California, Georgia, California, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, to Georgia, to Maryland, and finally to Texas. It’s been a lot. I’m grateful for everything and while it’s not been easy, it’s been worth it. Here’s to more years and more memories and honestly more shrimp, lobster and sushi.
I enjoyed this trip immensely and while we had some rainy day, there were a few when the sun shone through. It’s good to take a break from routine and the Texas heat felt like home.
This pandemic has driven many to turn to food as a source of comfort. I would be lying to say that I haven’t indulged in the occasional “bad” carb after a particularly stressful day. People are cleaning out the junk food in supermarkets while leaving the produce and grocery aisle practically untouched. The emphasis on certain comfort foods reminds me of one of my favorite food experiences as a kid and teenager. Camping. There is absolutely nothing that tastes as good as food made by a campfire after a long day of hiking. I went camping with a group of people and while we were outdoors, no expense was spared as far as the food budget. S’mores, grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, tacos, peach cobbler, vegetarian hotdogs and other delicious wonders were available in abundance. It was a great time to enjoy nature while also experiencing the community component of preparing food in large quantities and having good conversations as we huddled around the campfire for warmth. Nowadays, I find myself preparing more food than I ever have at any point in my life. I make dinner in the evenings and meal prep for most of my lunches at work. I’ve become more comfortable doing it and I find myself making more things from scratch and passing on some of the more processed foods. Nothing excessive but just a more intentional effort to eat a bit healthier than before.
As the world has been turned upside down from a pandemic, I’m posting a few happy memories from the good ol’ days before life as we know it was turned upside down.
Today is the extra day in the year that only happens once every four years. I remember being amazed as a kid that there were people who didn’t have birthdays every year because they were born on a leap year. I think back to the last February 29th in 2016 and I was totally in a different space. I had just started a cubicle job and was wondering how long I would be able to make it because I knew after only three weeks on the job that it wasn’t a good fit for me. But I was excited to finally have a stable job and the opportunity to see what corporate life was like. I was reminded today of how disconnected I’ve become from some of the aspects of my life that previously held such great importance. Since then I’ve finished school, held several jobs, relocated multiple times, and got into a relationship. It’s been quite an eventful four years and I’m hopeful to what the next Leap Year will bring.
Grief is one of those things that can be complicated. While I’ve never sought formal training in being a grief coach or a grief therapist, it’s something that I’ve experienced in my years of practice. I’ve worked in hospice settings and in many hospitals where anticipatory grieving and grieving after a loved one has passed happened frequently. But there’s a significant level of less understanding for people who have lost a pet. Pet (especially dogs) are extensions of our families. My dog Sam was with me from high school all the way up until I finished my doctorate. He was a companion, pain in the butt, loyal friend, and a good listener. He didn’t have any safety awareness and tended to run up to cars instead of away. While he was brave in biting bigger dogs, his 13lb body shook from fear when there was a thunderstorm close by. He hated to have his paws touched but loved to find an empty lap to jump on and sleep. Overall, he was fairly mellow and didn’t have the explosive constant energy that was indicative of his breed. He usually slept through the night but on some occasions he wanted to go out every hour on the hour. Even after a year of him being gone I still miss him but I appreciate all the memories that I have of him. If there’s a doggie heaven I hope we’ll meet again.
This past decade and this past year has definitely been one of changes. I started out the decade as a junior in college. I was recovering from a major heartbreak with someone who I thought that I had a future with. I was so excited to finally have someone in my life and it ended quite abruptly. I focused on school and had a great senior year that also had some lows with the deaths of several of my classmates. I was so excited to be at the end of my college journey. While it was a great one, I knew that my education had to continue and as I spoke to my family and friends at my graduation dinner I remember telling them that one year later I would be finishing graduate school and it happened. I moved across the country to a place where I did not know a soul. It was just me and my dog. I met some great people and had a lot of my beliefs challenged for the first time. Graduate school finished and the job search started. It was a really rough time. I applied for hundreds of jobs and while I found a few, they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I decided that I was bored after graduate school so I made the somewhat impulsive decision to start a doctorate while I was stuck in Colorado getting hours for my professional license. So the doctorate started and I kept working. I quit several jobs that just weren’t a good fit for me and I eventually started working a night shift job. While the money was great, I quickly realized that the no sleep life was not the life for me. However, due to a series of unplanned events I found myself resigning rather quickly and relocating back across the country where I found myself in limbo as I tried to find a new job, settle into a new apartment and remain independent. But I persisted and got a cubicle job that paid the bills for a while. I decided that I wanted to make traveling a priority and I wanted to find a job that allowed me to do both while still using my degree. I found the dream job and quit my cubicle job the same day and relocated from Georgia to California within a week. After a few years on the road and moving several places I realized that it was time to settle down. The beginning of this year found me back in my home state with a resolution to stick close to home for a while. After traveling to Italy and Portugal I decided that I wasn’t quite done with being on the road so I decided to spend the summer on the East Coast. I decided during the summer that I wanted to settle outside of my home state and due to a series of fortunate events I moved across the country again and got a great boyfriend along the way. While I don’t know what this next year will bring, I’m excited for the opportunity to focus on personal development and fulfill some of my personal goals in this next decade.