The Big Sky State

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

 Tomorrow I officially start my new position. The last week has seen computer training and Welcome to the Company meetings and mission statements and blood pressure practice and instilling the fear of God in the way only HIPAA violations can. I shall be thrown to the wolves tomorrow, though not really, but you know, caring for critically ill patients tends to come with a lot of responsibility. There is so much I need to learn, and I have no doubt my face will bear a deer-in-the-headlights expression a time or two. I'm so grateful that my résumé crossed the desk of the right person at the right time. Someone who saw something in me, despite obvious lapses in experience and training, and decided to give me a chance. I won't let her down. The stars aligned for this opportunity to come my way.

With this sort of pressure comes a fair amount of self doubt, and I remind myself daily that it's too late for them to say Wait! We interviewed two Sarahs. We meant to hire the other one!. And though nerves are certainly normal, they offer an excellent opportunity to do some exploration into one's own capabilities. It is true that there is nothing I haven't been able to learn or tackle when my mind was set to do so. I'll be okay. Overwhelmed at first, sure, but I'll show that 120 day probationary period who's boss. This has been a long time coming, years, and I'm so excited to usher in the next chapter. It's progress; a stepping stone that brings me thismuch closer to my goals.

Yesterday, after spending a particularly long day in a conference room with my fellow new-hires, I made my first work-related purchase: shoes. After determining I wasn't inclined to go the Dansko route (too much walking, not enough standing in one place), I settled on the snazziest pair of Saucony sneakers one could ever hope to lay eyes on. I had hoped to be above vanity when it came to work shoes, but one cannot loath the look of their apparel and still feel good about themselves. (I need to exude confidence!) It is a fact that practical shoes, more often than not, lack pizazz.

Today, this fateful last day before I am officially a full time career woman, is for errands and preparation and scheduling blog posts. Because although blogging is not my career, it provides personal fulfillment and should therefore not be neglected. I am working diligently to establish a healthy work-life balance in these early weeks because lord knows it won't get easier anytime soon. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit, and I'd rather establish this routine from the get-go. Besides, who wants to go into a new job with a bunch of loose ends yet to be tied up?

So. Tetanus shot administered. Scrubs purchased. (Apparently that oh so familiar scrub color is called "Ceil Blue". You learn something new every day.) Now I'm perched at a favorite coffee shop—today is a day for comfortable familiarity, not exploration—blogging and reflecting and adding to my to-do list as things come to mind. It's one of those coffee shops that also offers a small gourmet menu, and the fig they used to garnish my croque-monsieur has me feeling very fancy. I have never quite grasped the luxuriousness of figs, but knew sophisticated people get it, so I wanted to, too. I think I understand it now, which takes me one step closer to my desired level of worldliness. (The perfect level of ripeness is the key, I think.)

Posts will be written, plants potted, new scrubs laundered, and floors scrubbed. Because those are my loose ends and I'll no doubt find solace in the innate ritual of domesticity. I'm craving simple and straightforward. Decluttered. (Mind and surroundings.) Which brings to mind my recent trip to Montana over the July 4th holiday weekend.

My in-laws' lake house, located on Flathead Lake in northwest Montana, has been a beacon of calm our entire relationship. And while trips up there involve family—family ties are inherently complicated—it's a place to go and chill and reacquaint one's self with nature. Want to be reminded how vast this world is? Spend a couple days in western Montana. By comparison, our troubles are small. Mario, Jared and I typically stay in one of three little cabins on the property. It's a simple one room building with two beds, a small twin for Kiddo and a double for us grownups. There is a sink, bathroom and wood burning stove, though the plumbing is not hooked up. It is quaint and uncomplicated, and I would absolutely love to fix it up and make it a proper guest retreat. There is something to be said for having your whole family in one room, falling asleep to a cool breeze and the sound of water lapping the rocky shore.

I spent 10 years of my life living in Montana, and yet I'm still amazed by the countryside. Vast expanses of uninhabited, untouched land still exist in this country, and Montana is living proof. And the people? Salt of the earth. I stopped by a small nursery on my way home, because I simply can't resist foliage these days, and entered to find four women of various ages perched around a table in a flora-filled room, drinking tea and talking about their lives. I was immediately invited into their little community, talking to me as if we'd known each other for years. In most parts of Montana you smile at strangers and help your neighbors. Someone's car stalled? Get out and push it off the road. Then offer them a ride.

Montana's entire population just broke one million people in the 2014 census. That's less than half the population of the greater Portland metropolitan area. Yet so many times we meet people that have a connection to the Big Sky State. (My New Hampshire orthodonist's college roommate lives in Bozeman. The son of the registrar at Kiddo's school goes to college in Missoula. I sat next to a woman on a flight from Boston who co-owns a company in Bozeman, despite living in Vermont. A lady I met in my orientation classes summered on Flathead Lake as a child. I could go on and on. It's really quite remarkable.) Montana is a place that leaves an impression and creates a kinship between people who might otherwise have nothing in common.

Living just 10 hours from the lake house after all these years is a pleasure. I am a road tripper at heart, preferring a car to a plane whenever possible. I enjoy the rhythm of long drives: audiobooks, packed lunches, and uninterrupted time spent pondering this, that and the other. I do a lot of productive thinking during road trips. Mario and I have spent many an hour confined to the car during long drives, which has forced us to tackle tough issues and learn how to communicate effectively as a unit. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to drive up and see the boys before beginning this new chapter. (Tomorrow?!) It was the perfect way to prepare my mind for the weeks and months ahead.

Here's to simplicity. And reinvention. And capturing that rare sense of community. See you on the flip side (otherwise known as Friday).


  1. Just found your gorgeous blog! These photos are stunning. Montana is so unbelievably gorgeous. You've inspired my next vacation.
    Helen XO
    Les Petits Gazette

    1. Hi Helen! Thank you for the lovely comment! Montana is SO beautiful. If you decide to take a trip, northwest Montana is amazing. Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park... it's a really lovely place to visit.

  2. Congratulations and Good Luck with your new job!

  3. Oh I ever have so much to tell you!!! After spending more than 30 hrs in WA airports, I finally made it home and toooo tired to even open my image folder yet. But just wait till you see my pics from Flathead Lake!!! that you and I were obviously on only days apart!!! That one sentence of yours from above, "Montana is a place that leaves an impression and creates a kinship between people who might otherwise have nothing in common"
    Oh did that ever give me goosebumps. You and I.....a whole country apart...never met YET face to face.....yet our footsteps prolly followed one another's only hours apart! That's some pretty cool shit there!!!!!!!
    My roadtrip across Montana into Idaho and into Spokane was A-mazing....can't wait to show you.

    But now, my real excitement comes from YOUR news.WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!! YIP YIP YOWEEEE!!!
    SO happy for you and your new baby steps back (or should I say, giant steps back?) into the world where you are one of your best selves!!!! This has been what you've wanted all along and you just needed the slight push from the wind to make it happen. Cannot wait to hear how its been going. I just know the tiredness you'll be feeling at first will be the kind that make your feet hurt but your heart so happy.
    Write when you can and spill all.................


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