Category Archives: jobs

The day the movement ceased.

My post-whiffle body aches have progressed from nagging, lingering discomfort to total-body pain, stiffness and an inability to walk when I first rise to my feet. This is because yesterday was Monday, which meant a fresh desire to make good on my fitness goal and start the week on the right foot. Always thinkin’, eh? Now I can’t move.

Also, I think the pretzels I ate with my sandwich at lunch have given me heartburn. This is totally unacceptable, since pretzels are the least exciting of all possible snack foods and sandwich accompaniments. To get heartburn from them is like a slap in the face after choosing something at least relatively healthy. Stupid sodium. *grumble*

I will be learning to play racquetball soon, which excites me. First, I have to wait for Amazon and NRC Sports to ship my beginner’s kit, which includes a relatively cheap Ektelon racquet, a few balls, a racquet case, protective glasses and an instructional booklet. (I’m hoping Bryan will teach me everything I need to know so I don’t have to rely on said booklet.) There’s a free court at my apartment complex, so I’m pumped to get in there and start hitting things. And that very attitude is why I am apologizing to Bryan in advance for what he’ll have to deal with in teaching me to play. :D Should be fun.

Today I added an “Opening Day” subfolder to my “2009” folder in Outlook. For those who remember last fall, the start of Opening Day basically means the end of my life as I know it. I’m sure it will be a little different this year, because we’re changing up a few things and we’ve done it all once before, but the main difference is bound to come in the fact that I’m already busy ALL THE TIME as it is. I’m not just learning the ropes this time. I have my own tasks, duties and daily crap. Which means it’ll be darn near impossible to drop all that and focus only on OD this year. Ugh.

Small plug for Pandora Radio: I recently became a Pandora One subscriber, which means I pay $32 (or similar) per year for unlimited access, a desktop player, no “Are you still listening?” pauses, etc. It also means Pandora has a little more money for licenses to good songs. I highly recommend free Pandora for anyone who has a desk job anyway, but if you’re willing to shell out the 30 bucks, consider subscribing.

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Filed under exercise, fun, health, jobs, music, web

dimly on a Friday evening

I can almost guarantee this entry will be neither thought provoking nor particularly eloquent. I’m sitting in a dim living room at the moment, looking out over two snoozing felines, listening to deep, even breaths coming from the nearby bedroom… erk! Hoping my ringing cell phone didn’t just wake said deep, even breather!

My regular phone calls home prove to me that my life is not very interesting at the moment, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. I am not fighting crime or building empires in my spare time. I am hanging out with a boy and his cats, watching a bit more TV on DVD than usual, playing (and wanting to play) Lego Star Wars on the Xbox just a little too much. Not working out enough, sleeping enough or being motivated enough at the office. It is a familiar phase for me, and it will pass eventually—this much I know for sure. But, just now, I’m enjoying it while it’s here, while I have an excuse to be starry eyed and silly 95% of the time. I’m giving myself a free pass just this once, no deep-seated, self-induced guilt trips or sudden, random dips into depression. I’m coasting. It feels good.

Now, that’s not to say everything’s perfect; it never is, in fact. But it’s damn near for me. Even as I stare at empty frozen-custard cups that beg me to pitch them, even as I grumble through a month’s overdue laundry, even as I yawn my way through a day at the office, I realize that the happiness I get to have now is worth the imperfections. When I am unhappy, life is one big imperfection, one giant blemish in the grand scheme of things. And when life IS the grand scheme of things… well, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? So I will take this near-perfect situation and hold it dear to my heart. And laugh at its occasional pitfalls and fairly noticeable quirks and tics.

In the professional world, things are the same as always, though I grow irritable more quickly with my tasks than I once did. I suppose that’s a sign of the times, both for me and for the company as a whole. Everyone is quicker to anger now, quicker to threaten walking out, even with no place else to go. We’re all on edge and we’re all a bit fed up with what we cannot change, what happens higher in the ranks than we dare to tread a single step. And that height is the very thing that causes the strife for everyone. For those who wish to attain greatness, the strife comes in the form of glass ceilings, hiring freezes, cut positions and a sort of moratorium on progress. Those who wish to remain in the lower bowl (me, for example) turn a spiteful eye to those out for personal gain, become tense when issues of clout are discussed, wish the whole system would dissolve into the disorganized heap it really is so we could start fresh and make something good out of our company again. That said, I know they’re doing the best they can with what they have… most, anyway. Those that aren’t, that are looking out for #1 and #1 alone… well, they can head out any day now, and I don’t doubt for a second they’ll never be missed, at least not by me.

This is when I quit my cushy desk job and become a waitress at a diner. Doesn’t that sound fun, kids? Take a risk, start a new life AND force myself to speak at a normal volume all in one fell swoop!

In things-that-don’t-frustrate-me news, Bryan lent me a book called Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. I’m about three chapters in and loving it so far, in spite of the fact that Butcher is still just setting the scene. I’m OK with that—I appreciate the opportunity to visualize the scene and the characters in greater detail before delving into the story. While it’s nice to be reminded as you go along what the characters are like, and add to their depth and breadth with anecdotes and revealing moments along the way, I desire a solid foundation to go on most of the time. Unless I’m reading one of those pointedly confusing books written to make one’s head spin in circles.

I am attempting to create an online resume (on Bryan’s Mac laptop, so I have no idea how to make accented “e”s or how to find a character map, if there is one at all). I really need to do it myself using HTML and CSS, but I haven’t had the energy of late. I did start piecing something together using moonfruit, which is free and sleek and lovely. But that won’t fly when I’m looking for HTML AND CSS JOBS. Ha. However, it is giving me inspiration for how to make my real site look. And if I can just figure out some fancy-looking-but-not-actually-difficult-to-implement JavaScript, we’ll be good to go.

I’ve also noticed a few things I’ve been missing in my life lately. But then I look at what my life DOES contain and wonder how on earth I’m supposed to wedge it all in. Maybe I’m too shallow and one-dimensional. Maybe I need to hone my multitasking skills until they can slice hairs without even being in the same room. There are NPR shows I want to listen to, movies I want to see, books I want to read, places I want to visit, languages I want to learn, games I want to play, experiences I want to have just once to say I did, foods I want to eat, laughs I want to share… There’s just so MUCH to be done and seen and FELT in this world. I feel like I’m still fresh and warm from the womb with about a million miles to go before I reach the first summit of what I expect will be an endless mountain range of life experiences. And that’s great, I love that—I just don’t know where to begin. That indecision breeds laziness and stress, which then makes me drop out of the race completely and return to base camp without even donning all my gear.

I need to start with one thing. One. Just one. Not one thing to get to another. It CAN be one thing that eventually leads to another, but I need to keep my eye on the thing, not the other. If I want to learn to knit, I need to focus on learning, not on producing the World’s Best Scarf Just in Time for Christmas, Which is Three Weeks Away. No, no! See how that breeds failure? If I want to volunteer my time more, I need to focus on finding good places to volunteer, choosing one and trying it out. Not choosing seven, trying to volunteer at all of them and stretching my resources so thin I have nothing left to give anyone at the end of the week.

What one thing would you suggest? Or what’s one thing you’ve been wanting to learn or do lately? Or that you are learning or doing as we speak? If nothing else, it would be nice to read about others’ plans, others’ triumphs. Or failures—either way. I’m usually a happy-endings kind of gal, but I can revel in tragedy with the best of ’em!

That is enough drivel for one dim Friday evening. I’m going to see if the heavy breather is still breathing and maybe flip on a light or two.

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Filed under books, dating, fun, happiness, jobs, recap, thoughts

the wall begins to crumble

I feel as though my life has switched gears back to what it was… oh… last summer and fall? I am incredibly busy with work and have little time to do anything else. Unfortunately, this time the circumstances are slightly different. Instead of the just-getting-started-in-a-new-job phase, I’m in the bunch-of-people-were-let-go-so-I-took-on-someone-else’s-duties phase. I now do the work of approximately four people instead of just two.

My new tasks include working on DU’s state Web pages (there are 50 of them, obviously; each one has several sub-pages) and helping with customer service for member login problems, e-mail address changes, etc. I also need to come up with a plan for revamping the way we populate the state pages and work with the designated webmasters. I got so excited by the idea of having “my own project,” I completely forgot about twitter, which is mine already. I need to get back to updating that more often…

I’m not complaining about the increased workload though. I really like what I do, even if I do it twice as long now. =) I’ve been at work till 7 p.m.+ the past two nights, and I’m sure that will continue the rest of the week. Though I will be leaving early enough to take a few loads of my stuff to the new apartment.

I signed my lease today and got to see my unit. It has a bit of a hotel-room smell, so I’m looking forward to airing it out soon. I have a lovely view of the woods (just trees, with pretty much nothing else visible from the balcony) and I’m on the backside of the building, which means less foot traffic. I’m on the third floor by numbers, but the building is split level, so the climb is only a short set of steps and then one flight of stairs. The living-room ceiling is vaulted and there’s a nice fan in there. The living room and bedroom both have doors out to the balcony, which is nice, but the one in the bedroom is a sliding door that needs some “lubrication” (I don’t think you can really use that word for sliding doors, but I can’t think of an alternative). The only disappointing part is the kitchen, but I knew that’s how it would be: old appliances, a microwave that doesn’t rotate, small size overall, fluorescent lighting. I’m sure I’ll find some way to make it homier.

At this point, there’s only one major problem: the shower doesn’t work. When I turned on the bath tub, there was almost no water pressure and it wouldn’t switch to the shower. So that needs to be addressed before I can live there at all. Fortunately, they have 25 days to fix the issue before I need to be fully moved out of my current house, so God willing, that will be enough time. However, the whole mechanism was pretty darn dated, so I’m not sure how much work will be involved to make things right in there…

I walked over to the workout facility to scope out the evening traffic, but all I found was one girl on the treadmill. No one was using the racquetball court, aerobics room or laundry room in the same building. Score! Now, I know it’s Tuesday and summertime, so I have to keep that in mind, but still – that’s definitely a good sign. I’m fine with having a few people exercising at the same time I do, but I’d prefer not to have it be crowded – the room’s not really all that big.

I have three more days of work to get through and then I fly to Michigan on Saturday to visit family/friends, pack up all my furniture and other assorted crap and haul it all back down here with me the following Wednesday. I’m so glad to be going home – it feels like I’ve been gone forever. Five months, I suppose, so that’s a good stretch. I’m not as excited about the moving furniture part, or the sifting through assorted boxes of junk, but the end result will be a positive one, so it will be worth the effort.

Sorry for the complete lack of energy and personality in this update – I am pretty drained and tired of staring at the computer screen for the eleventh straight hour today. =\ Pictures of the new apartment to come!

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Filed under home, jobs, moving

another reason I love my job

It is Friday morning. I just finished a caramel macchiato in a plain Styrofoam cup with my name and “Car M” written on it in red Sharpie. This delicious concoction did not come from Starbucks. It came from StarDUCKS. This morning was Starducks CafĂ© and Merchandise Sale. I walked down to the big conference room to peruse the various kitchen gadgets, spices and sauces; camo hunting gear and delicious pastries and caffeinated beverages available for purchase. The proceeds, of course, went to DU and wetlands conservation.

I got to smile and chat with my coworkers, see the bigwigs from HR sitting around laughing over lattes. Some people get to see that every day at their offices, but it’s rarer when everyone’s so stressed and spent and focused on making money, keeping things afloat. It’s nice to kick back and enjoy each other’s company every now and again. I’m thankful this morning for that opportunity, for the people I work with, even the ones I’ve yet to meet.

Also, I bought a big knife for $5. Rock on.

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composition complex

I’m starting to develop a complex about how much I appear to weigh. I have had at least a dozen people (no exaggeration, folks—I’ve kept count) tell me how much weight I appear to have lost recently. This is false. I may have dropped numerical pounds, but I’m much less fit/toned, as I have not visited the gym in about a month. I ate just fine during the bout with pneumonia, so unless I have contracted some sort of body-mass-eating fungus or tapeworm, there is no good explanation for this. I suppose I could appear less beefy, but I don’t think I was beefy before. But maybe I was

It is now 6:05 p.m. and I am preparing to leave the office after tying up the loose ends on DU’s April E-newsletter—coming to an e-mail inbox near you, if you’re signed up! If not, you should subscribe now! I design them, write some of the content and make some of the graphics…just sayin’. PLUS, you get a free DU decal just for signing up. Unsubscribe at any time (though you may want to ask me directly to put you on the blacklist if you’re really desperate to stop the e-mails—the unsubscribe feature doesn’t always work).

I received a free license plate holder in the mail today from the people behind the Hot Dish Facebook app. (It’s an app for those concerned about global warming and the environment, for those of you who have no desire to give them access to your life.) I keep getting notified that I am “among the top points earners for the week,” and they offer me free stuff. I haven’t done a single thing with the app since adding it, so this is patently false. But I’ve received $10 in Fandango bucks (though I can’t find a movie theater nearby that accepts them…) and this license plate holder, which reads, “My other car runs on two feet…www.newscloud.com/hotdish” (mmm, advertising). I also tried to redeem my free Hot Dish T-shirt, but that hasn’t shown up yet. Seriously, Hot Dish folks—get on that!

I may be going to my first-ever Memphis Grizzlies game tomorrow night with a coworker, assuming he managed to get some other people interested. Apparently he somehow acquired 20 tickets to the game, so if he’s able to get a group together, we’ll go. If not, we’ll go to trivia at the bar, which we should be doing anyway so we don’t fall too far behind and lose our shot at the city-wide semi-finals! I may nudge that fear into his brain just in case he doesn’t realize it…

All right, it’s now 6:10. I’m leaving. Peace.

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nerd land – population: ?

I’m pretty sure my job is one of the greatest jobs a person could have. I’ve said this at least a dozen times now. But, seriously, even just from a dinking-with-social-media perspective, it rocks.

I started talking to someone recently who does a similar job, or at the very least can throw around acronyms like SEO, knowing and caring about its definition. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t talked much about work particulars, but we did get on the subject tonight, and I found that I relished being able to discuss what I do with someone who understands what I’m talking about. It made what I do seem a whole lot more important than it does on a daily basis.

Along with all my passion, interest and drive, though, comes a teeny-tiny crystal of doubt. Maybe I’m just too much of a pessimist by nature, or maybe I don’t fully understand the way our body of supporters operates, but I have to wonder if people really care that much. In the case of the recent-talking-someone, his job involves breaking news and athletics, two things that people in general cannot get enough of. His pigeon hole is wide and deep enough that there’s plenty of wiggle room. Ours is much narrower, much more specific and not anywhere near as dynamic.

The problem is, there aren’t great stories surfacing several times a day – or even daily, sometimes – about waterfowl hunting and/or wetlands conservation. If we also covered turkey hunting, fishing and deer hunting, we’d be set. But all we have is waterfowl and their habitat. Within that, we have only the stories that our organization deems “fit to print,” which means they don’t contain hard-to-swallow opinions or questionable facts. Limits abound. And there are so many hands in the communications pot, and so few that understand the importance of sharing any and all information through as many online channels as humanly (and technologically) possible, we end up with wholly static pages and very little dynamic content.

I can’t figure out a way to solve this problem. If we are so limited in available content, AND limited in manpower and interest in keeping the online world updated as to our newest stories and additions to the site, then we are doomed. It would be different if I sat around all day with nothing to occupy my time, but that is never the case. Somehow, the crazy patchwork of tasks that is my day at the office takes up all 8 hours plus a few. I’m switching from one thing to the next without even realizing it’s happening, and very rarely do I get to take on a project that lasts more than 4 hours.

See, even though I’m not a waterfowl hunter or a classic DU supporter, I want to live and breathe my company as much as I can. Not only does it keep me employed and able to eat, but also it’s a great cause that I believe in. And I think, as the economy suffers and global warming eats away at environmental integrity, any group that’s fighting to save vital pieces of our landscape is to be respected and supported.

If you’re interested, consider following Ducks Unlimited on Twitter, following ME on Twitter, adding DU to your MySpace network (better branding on that page coming SOON) and, in the near future, becoming part of DU’s nonprofit network on Facebook. Stay tuned – more to come!

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Filed under computers, jobs, web

small goals

Not really New Year’s Resolutions, but small goals for the coming months:

  1. Toning up my ass – probably via lunges. I’ve never been much into squats, but I’m sure I should learn how to do them properly. That’s where most of the beefy guys hang out at the gym though…
  2. Lengthening my torso – no, not like an Ethiopian’s neck. I just need to work on my posture. I already have a short torso, which gives me the look of chunkiness even when I’m at my most fit. Plus, sitting up straighter and building core muscles will allow my lungs more room to expand during exercise. Bonus!
  3. Limiting meals out – unless I’m going on a date where the guy is paying, I’m limiting restaurant trips to two lunches per week with coworkers, and one “wild card” meal on weekends. In the rare instance that I socialize on weekends, I will have that wild card for a lunch or dinner out. But since I usually don’t, I’ll be saving myself that one meal per week. Now, that doesn’t mean I can use it elsewhere, but it is there, just in case.
  4. Saving wherever possible – after looking at the nicest little house yesterday, I am seriously considering moving forward with my adult life and purchasing a home. Next step? Having enough money to do it. =P Thus, along with the less-eating-out goal above, I will make an effort to spend less on gas, groceries and other random trips to stores and other venues that drain my finances. I will have to continue making my usual monthly payments on the car and other stuff, but that’s to be expected.
  5. Looking into dual-employment – as much as I hated it, acquiring a second job may be the only way I can build my savings fast enough to afford a house in the near future. I have been browsing Craigslist and applied for one weekend housekeeping position that’s probably already been filled. I also said I was interested in becoming an event coordinator for the speed-dating site, so I have to fill out my application for that. At least I have no life down here, right? =P
  6. That’s all for now. Small on their own, but some are part of a much bigger picture. Note that I didn’t put “Buy a house” on there, because that, folks, is just way too big.

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