Tag Archives: new

Reset Button

In early November, Seth and I were in Annapolis for a beautiful wedding with lots of old friends.

I have so many friends! The thing I said about Annapolis is true!!

While there, Seth got a text in two parts. The first part was something along the lines of:

Please don’t say no right away, take some time and think about it…

Time to think about what? The second part was the invitation:

Want to come with us on a 12 days cruise to Australia, Fiji, the Maldives???

We balked, of course. Hence the first part — our friends know us too well. Twelve days off work PLUS the travel time to get to Australia? How could we possibly?

But they’d asked us to think. So we thought. Could we? Should we?


We returned to Wisconsin a couple days later and first thing Monday morning was my final pregnancy test — a negative, of course. We promised ourselves no more. We laid down our arms, walked away from the infertility battle, and thought a little more about that trip.

We’d spent the last 5+ years carefully saving vacation time for trips to and from the fertility clinic in Madison, hoping that our stockpiled days wouldn’t be used for more trips, but for the birth of our baby.

The fact of the matter is, there isn’t going to be a baby for us. So… Australia… Fiji… with our best friends… a once in a lifetime opportunity… why not?

We said yes. We booked flights — CWA > DTW > LAX > SYD. We’re really going!

A short while later, all of the sudden, the new job I’d been working on building/acquiring came to fruition. I start on Monday.

And just like that, we’re hitting the RESET button in a very big way.



I look back on my life five years ago, newly married, fresh out of grad school, really digging my life as a scientific writer, and excited about the family we were going to start and it’s easy to see just how big of a reset this is. I expected us to be full on nuclear, in the family sense — focused on having and rearing a couple of toe-headed braniacs with stubborn dispositions (that’s anice way of saying jerks… but they would have been my little jerks). But that’s not reality, and a reset is necessary to bring me back to earth.

I’ve always enjoyed the end of one year and the beginning of another. I love that the advent season, with its time for reflection and focus on the coming light, blends seamlessly with the new calendar year and two weeks later with a new year for me personally when my birthday hits. This year is extra special, a bonafide reset, for three reasons.

First, early on the morning of November 7th, before our last negative pregnancy test, my sleepy Seth rolled over in bed to tell me that no matter the results, he loves me and I am enough. My heart… it somehow simultaneously broke and swelled. He thinks that I, just me, no baby, am enough. I can’t tell you how much that settled me into this new reality. Seth, Curls, and me — a happy little family.

Second, on Monday, I start my new job — my dream job, really. The dream I didn’t know I had until two years ago when I started working more and more with community facing programs and the amazing woman who will be my boss. I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done so far and I’m so excited to dedicate myself full time to a position I feel so passionate about. I was feeling a bit insecure on Friday — what if they find out they hate me? But I start during Christmas celebration week and I’m the Leslie Knope of gift giving AND cooking baking… there’s no way they won’t be impressed. Bring on Sneaky Santa!


Finally, on January 28th, we’ll be getting out of dodge, crossing the equator for the first time, and heading to the other side of the world for nearly three weeks. I never thought a trip like this could possibly be a reality, but we’re doing it together, with our friends, and it’s going to be incredible. I know it in my bones.

omg. omg. omg. @rachelstanksi is ME!


Meanwhile, a reset is really only a reset if the reset-y things actually change you for the permanent. And in this case, I very much suspect they will.

For the time in maybe ever, I actually believe that I am enough for Seth. Worthy. I know that makes me sound like I’m in some sort of terrible, abusive relationship, and maybe I am… but Seth’s not the perpetrator. My traitorous psyche, the “second track” I’ve often referenced, is. But what further proof could I possibly need than everything we’ve been through for the sake of having a baby, and to have Seth still, faithfully, happily by my side? He thinks I’m enough (block head, frizzy hair and all), and I think he might be right — we’re M-F-E-O*, baby or not.

Second, I’ve found true meaning in my work. I am so excited to dedicate my time and talents to the amazing things being done in the Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach. I see such incredible work going on, such incredible dedication to community health from a variety of perspectives (e.g., high risk youth, alcohol and other drugs of abuse, social determinants of health), and I want to tell the story, give it a voice, make people aware, continue to build programs and make them replicable in other communities.

Finally, I’m going to live my life now — starting by spending the time to go on an amazing vacation. No more saving and banking for something that may or may not happen. And I need to translate that into using “yes” and “no” appropriately at other times as well. Yes to community engagement and social events, but no when it becomes to much and I need to recharge the introvert batteries. Yes to the things that are truly good for me, and no when things hurt. I’m practicing already — we’re going to a dinner party with friends tonight! Yes, yes, yes!


Anyway, given my recent track record, I suspect I won’t write again before the new year — so I hope you enjoy the holidays, wherever you are, whoever you’re with, and I’ll look forward to sharing a new adventure in 2017!!


K is for kielbasa.

K is for kielbasa.

The sausage.

The deliciously wonderful sausage.

(That’s what she said.)


You know how people get about bacon? Like obsessive? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel about kielbasa. When it’s on sale at Festival (love my grocery store!) I always stock up and have some in the freezer. It’s great have it on hand– especially in the winter. Nothing (nothing!!) makes soup more delicious!

The reason kielbasa is worthy of an entire letter-based post all on its own, though, is more than just the sausage. It’s about what it represents.

You see, once upon a time I didn’t think I liked kielbasa. I know that I don’t like potato sausage (yoopers, I tell ya), and I assumed they were pretty much the same thing. So I always avoided it. Until one Easter at the farm (my first one in Wisconsin) when there was simply no way to avoid it. It was Easter breakfast, we were at the farm before church, and I had to eat something. Toast and donuts were out on account of the gluten (let’s talk about that some more in the near future) and I’m super picky about fruit (as in, I’ll eat some grapes, sure, but only if they haven’t touched the melon, thankyouverymuch). I recognize that I’m way too old to have these kinds of food avoidance issues, but it’s a pretty big thing for me– like maybe I’m on the autism spectrum or something? Certain foods… I just can’t do it. Not-green onions. Green peppers. Melon of any kind. Strawberries, but only when whole or sliced, I think they are delicious blended or dehydrated. Super weird, I know.

Anyway, on that particular Easter morning, I ate the kielbasa. Just a small piece at first. And then another small piece, because dang, that was pretty tasty. And then some more. And more and more and more and now I’m in love with it.

I tried something I was scared of! At the farm! And I liked it!

Same goes for asparagus, rhubarb, kale, kholrabi, swiss chard, rutabaga, chia seeds, lemons, zucchini, cream cheese (yes, even cream cheese)…

Sometimes I still don’t like things even after I try them– oranges, for example. (Even thinking about them creeps me out! That awful, awful smell!) And white or yellow onions. (Red, green, or shallots I can do…) But I can definitely pat myself on the back for trying them.

Trying new things is super hard for me though. Just ask my friend Melissa– she supported me through the great zucchini trial of 2012. We were spending a week together at a beautiful beach house in Huntington Beach, California. It was a gorgeous and ridiculously happy week and the whole time, Melissa and I pretended to be sister-wives. It… was… awesome. (Our husbands declared that they were, in that case, brother-husbands, but that’s just ridiculous.) Melissa and I drove all over up and down the Pacific Coast Highway (yes, that PCH!!) grocery shopping and we picked up some absolutely darling tiny zucchinis at Trader Joe’s. Melissa sauteed it and I screwed up my courage until I could finally take a bite. And when I did, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I actually liked it! So much so that it’s my go-to vegetable for stir fry these days and I’m always happy to take prolific garden zucchini off anyone’s hands!

Huntington Beach: Site of The Great Zucchini Trial of 2012
Huntington Beach: Site of The Great Zucchini Trial of 2012

My pickiness is embarrassing, honestly. Not only that, but I can’t have lactose. I just can’t do it– even lactaid is barely cutting it these days. Alas, that little magic pill always was to good to be true. Cheese and I? We’re just not meant to be. Which is a shame, because with the exception of cream cheese (until recently and only in frosting) I love pretty much all cheese. (Especially my very own Cheesehead husband!!)

me, my cheesehead husband, and our little baby God-daughter
me, my cheesehead husband, and our little baby God-daughter

I can have kielbasa though. And I can try other new things. More importantly: I will try new things. I can walk over to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning (also hosted at my local Festival grocery store– love it!) and pick out something new and interesting. I can see if my favorite farmer has a special veggie of the week for my to try– he introduced me to purple beans and rutabaga (except he pronounces it root-a-beggy, which I love) and hasn’t led me astray so far! True, I may be picky, but I’m no longer unwilling to at least try.

To think– it all started with kielbasa. That’s an affair to remember.



Speaking of no lactose, here’s an un-fun fact: Alieve Cold and Sinus, the best drug for congestion ever, uses lactose as a filler. DANG IT! Want to know how I found out? Well, after I spent this morning at work running to the bathroom over and over again, I checked the ingredients, and there it was… lactose. Not cool. The thing that kills me is that talc, as in chalk, is an ingredient, and yet they still felt the need to sprinkle some lactose in. WHY?! Would the chalk have been less tasty with just a little more chalk and no lactose? I highly doubt it! Anyway, now I know, and I won’t be taking Alieve Cold and Sinus, the wonder drug, anymore… regardless of how congested I am.

Want to know why I’m congested? Seth brought me a cold home from Miami last time he was there. So nice of him to be so considerate of me, but I’ve asked him to forget about any gifts in the future.