Friday, April 12, 2013

Happiness is a window seat

Big news, y'all.  Today I achieved a new level of workplace greatness:  the window seat.  Truth be told, it was not really a reward for any particular thing that I did or accomplished.  It was more a matter of a new and proactive boss who thought it was silly that our team of four was split between two cubicle sections.  In the process of bringing us together, people had to be moved.  A window seat became available.  And I got it.

This is not to say that there was not competition.  At least, there was one other person who expressed interest.  I don't know if that really qualifies as competition.  But I will say that I was inordinately nervous about how my boss would assign our seating because I really wanted that desk.  Really.

My argument was simple.  The desk was immediately across the aisle from the team member with whom I do most of my collaborative work.  In many ways, it was an obvious solution.  But others can be persuasive if they so choose, and my boss did not give a strong indication of her decision until just about a week ago.  Due to logistical issues, the actual move did not happen until today, and it went off with very little fanfare.

Verdict?  It is awesome.  I can hardly believe that such a scene will be in front of me every day while I work.  It almost makes the long afternoons more bearable.  At least it does for now while the scene is still oddly enough a wintry wonderland.

In other news, we are now into my birthday weekend.  It all commences tomorrow with the all girls event outing in which I shall be getting my hair dried by a professional.  Yes, that's right.  I will be paying someone to wet and then dry my hair.  Hopefully when all is said and done I will understand the appeal but will not enjoy it so much that it becomes an addition.  I think that I managed that pretty well with the whole pedicure thing, so I have high hopes.

Following this session of hot air, we will be shopping, walking and later going to dinner at a cool and trendy restaurant.  I expect we will be home and in bed by 10 p.m.  Mark my words.

My actual birthday is on Monday, if you were curious.  If you are also wondering what my age shall be, I am not ashamed to tell you that it is 33.  I have found that when it comes to age, opinions are highly varied.  To some, I am ancient.  Past my prime.  An old maid.  To others, I am still a spring chicken with all kinds of fun ahead of me.  I choose to believe neither and just take it as it comes.  You are only ever as old as you feel, right?

In other news, sometimes I get bored.  One of my many distractions is the online website, Pinterest.  While the true usefulness of this thing eludes me to a great extent, I sometimes find funny or interesting things when I check in on things.  But honestly, most of the time I just get annoyed.  I believe I have blogged about this a little in the past, mostly regarding a male pinner who tries to offer clothing suggestions to women on a board he calls "Girls, do this."

But now I turn to one of the categories that truly irritates the crap out of me:  fitness.  To be clear, I am not against physical activity, exercise or wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.  Not at all.  But it seems to me that most of the people who literally COVER their boards with workout tips are the doing so more out of wishful thinking and/or false pretenses. 

Don't believe me? Take a look at some of the pictures that go with these "great workout ideas."  They are perfectly in shape with six-pack abs and shiny toned legs.  Under no circumstances do I believe that simply doing these four, six or whatever moves will make me look like the person in the photograph.  That kind of body takes a LOT more work.

My theory is that rather than being a motivational tool, pinners are trying to fool themselves and their followers into believing that they are actually doing these exercises and look like the models.  How do I know?  Because many of the same pinners also have recipes for peanut-butter-cup-in-the-middle brownies.  Or five cheese butter pasta delight. Contradictory, no?

Now, you might argue that anyone who truly was working out as much as their pins suggest could certainly justify eating such things, but I am willing to hedge a bet that things are not quite that balanced.  And really, if you're trying to show off to the world of Pinterest what a health nut you are, you aren't setting a very good example.

I just realized that I now sound like a cranky and crotchety old person, which is very much not how one should hope to be portrayed at the dawn of their 33rd birthday.  But I cannot help it.  I have been a crotchety personality for as long as I can remember and I look forward to one day having the outward appearance to support it.  It may be another 40-50 years in the future, but here's hoping I can make it to that point.  By then, Pinterest will likely be a relic of the past.  Heck, the Internet could be an old wives tale that I share with kids in my nursing home on the moon.  Nice.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life in April

Maybe it is just the way things go with blogs, but I have simply just not felt compelled to write in the past few weeks (months, year, etc.).  Not that my life is suddenly so full that I no longer have time or anything.  If anything, I have MORE time now that my commute has shrunk and my house is sold. 

We could sit here and try to figure out the why and wherefore of this situation or we could just move on.  I know what I prefer and since I am the one in control, you must bend to my will.

My life as of late has been consumed by two things:  taking my dog on more walks and buying new clothes.  The reason for the first is based on many factors.  First, the weather is finally warming up and walking on the ground is much less treacherous without ice.  Second, my dog has been getting a little cranky as of late and I know that inactivity has something to do with it. 

As this all fits in quite nicely with my goal of losing weight and being more active, it hasn't been too difficult.  Unless you count my new "habit" of the past week.  You see, my father has always been a morning person and as such he is not averse to rising at an ungodly hour of the morning to jog or walk.  Now that he drives over an hour to work in the morning, the hour has become even more ungodly.  Like the responsible pet owner that he is, he usually takes his dogs with him on this outing.

Up until this past week, Lena and I were content to sleep through this whole routine.  But in some insane fit of ambitiousness that I can only attribute to eating too many banana Nutella crepes on Easter Sunday, I asked if I could join him this week.  So, for the four days he was home, I did it.  I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. (!!!) and set forth in the pre-dawn cold for a quick jaunt around the silent and dark neighborhood with my dad and three dogs.

Truth be told, once I got used to it, it wasn't so bad.  I had to increase the size of my morning coffee, but it didn't kill me.  I may continue to do it in the future.

The second activity that has been consuming my time (and money) is shopping for new clothes.  After what felt like years where I dreaded the activity both because I knew I weighed more than I wanted to weigh and didn't want to spend money, it has become a bit alarming to find that I can suddenly fit into smaller sizes than I have in years.  I am still not quite to goal weight, but it is definitely within sight.  Hopefully I won't end up having to replace all my new clothes with smaller sizes, but what a nice problem to have.

My brother is in town and staying at the house with me and my parents.  And our dogs.  Not his dog, but the three that are normally here.  It is only temporary (5 more weeks or so left), but it has changed the household dynamics a bit, mostly in terms of basement/TV time.  As he is working on finishing a project for his Master's program, he needs a place to work in peace, and this happens to be the basement.  Where the big TV is located.

It really hasn't been too much of a problem, except for on weekends when we are all here.  With one person in control of the basement, the other three are left to fight it out for control of the remaining rooms.  You wouldn't think it would be so difficult, but until the outdoors or back porch become viable options for sitting and/or relaxing, it is.

The good news is that it is temporary.  (Did I already say that?)  Also, it is likely that he will head back to Madison on some weekends to see his fiancee and their animal brood.  Obviously, this is not an ideal situation for them either, so I am sure they are eager for it to be done.

It has had the interesting side effect of pushing me to look more earnestly at my future housing options.  Obviously, I don't think it is quite the right time to make that move, but I am trying to establish resources to consult so that when the time does come I can find and jump on something quickly.  I am excited by the possibility of living in a "cool" part of town for the first time in my life, but having just put my family through a move out of my old house, I am not quite ready to ask for their help again.

So for now, Lena and I are in the suburbs.  We are excited for summer and for more walks around the lakes.  For wearing skirts and taking trips up north.  Hanging out at the farm.  Driving the new riding lawnmower.  Putting on sandals again.  Getting a pedicure so that I can safely wear sandals again in public.  The list is endless.  Such is life in Minnesota at the end of winter.  It's a beautiful thing.