August 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

One day last week, as I was finishing up a work out at the gym and toweling off the bucket of sweat that was pouring off of my face, I ran into someone I used to work with at my old job. This is a guy that I was never super close to but someone I would recognize and say ‘hi’ to in passing and as soon as I realized it was him, he locked eyes with me. I had kind of hoped he wouldn’t recognize me because I’ve seen people before who don’t realize the red-faced girl with her bangs pulled back and wearing a dingy tank top is someone they know, but no such luck with this guy. There was recognition in his face so I was stuck. And I was out of breath and panting, which isn’t exactly conducive to having a conversation. We each paused for a half second like a deer in headlights and then the unavoidable greeting took place. He removed his ear buds and I warned him not to get too close to me because I was so sweaty so we did one of those paltry, half-assed, one-armed hug attempt things that makes both parties feel super awkward. Especially when one party is slick with sweat.

Me, five days a week

Then we got to have the exciting type of small talk that’s specifically reserved for barely-there acquaintances. First came the whole “I didn’t realize you lived in this neighborhood!” chat, and after that we briefly spoke of people we used to work with. Then we shared how much better off we were in our new jobs and well, that about covered all we had in common. Oh, he did tell me I looked like I had lost a lot of weight (I’ve lost a little but his enthusiasm made me feel like I spent my former job dressed as Shamu) so that was nice. I think.

And that was that. We smiled and waved and I continued to wipe off the sweat drenching every part of my body as we said our good-byes. Then I saw him the next day after my next workout but we were both able to get away with a slight head nod and smile with no actual words. Hopefully that’s the extent of all future interactions because spending time chit-chatting with someone I don’t really know while puddles of sweat form under my boobs isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

Now chit-chatting with someone I do really know while puddles of sweat form under my boobs? Sign me up! No, not really. If you see me at the gym please just wave and maybe hand me a water bottle but don’t say anything else. Unless it’s to inform me how little I resemble Shamu.

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August Book Club Review

August 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these!

On Sunday, the girls came over to my place for some potluck/BYOB Book Club action. The original plan was to eat and drink before walking to a nearby comedy show but in the end we just ate and drank. And it was a blast! I always have such fun with these gals, although it was rough waking up on Monday morning after all the wine we downed Sunday night.  I guess there’s a reason we usually stick to Thursday or Friday for our meetings!

Not Into the Woods, as I misspelled on the invite to Book Club. Because that’s a musical.

The book we read was In the Woods by Tana French, which was a murder/crime/whodunit novel set in Ireland. The story revolves around two detectives, one of whom was the victim of some mysterious potential crime when he was a child. He had been playing in some nearby woods with two friends when they disappeared – the detective was found alone, clutching a tree, shoes full of blood and no recollection of anything that happened. So he grows up, moves away, changes his name and becomes a detective. Then he and his partner get called back to his hometown to investigate the murder of a young girl, not too far from where his old friends disappeared.

Intriguing enough premise and I did like the story but *SPOILER ALERT* they never find out what happened to those damn kids! The murder of the little girl is solved but I wanted to know what happened to the detective’s friends. His character was written really well and it was easy to kind of detest him while also understanding where he was coming from but he ended up treating his partner (and former best friend) like crap and that pissed me off. Though I guess if a fictional character has the ability to make me mad that means the author was doing something right. Anyway, it was a thicker book but I flew through it and enjoyed it for the most part. Just wish there had been some happier resolution at the end but life doesn’t always have a nice tidy ending so I suppose I can forgive it. Still would’ve liked to know what happened to those kids though!

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Me Learn Good

August 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

So my company has been providing free Microsoft Word and Excel training over the last few weeks and I’ve been participating in as much as I can because, hey free training.  My experiences taking placement tests with recruiters earlier this year showed me that I’m at least proficient in these programs but MAN is there a lot I don’t know.  If anything, these classes have showed me just how ignorant I really am (insert flashback to college here).  It’s been weird taking three hours out of my workday to sit and take notes and at first it made me think about how much I missed school.  And if these courses were just a little more interesting to me I’m sure I’d still feel that way but after spending hours upon hours learning about pivot tables and graphs and inserting and formulas and all kinds of other stuff that’s falling out of my brain, I’ve decided I don’t want to be an expert in Word or Excel.  Proficient suits me just fine. 

Getting schooled.

Sure, I’ve learned a lot and now have some handy hacks and shortcuts I’ll be using going forward.  However, a lot of what was taught is kind of beyond anything I currently do in my day-to-day job and as the saying goes, if you don’t use it you lose it.  Sort of like how you lose weight if you’re just sitting around not using your body much (okay I guess it doesn’t apply to everything).  Anyway the classes did come with some snazzy workbooks that I got to keep so in case I ever need to remember how to modify a legacy’s form field properties, I’ll be all set.  I also learned all sorts of keyboard shortcuts for Excel that will apparently save me time since I don’t have to use my mouse, but to be honest I think it’ll take me longer to remember/look up those keyboard functions than it would to actually use the damn mouse so I’m not sure how well that’ll work in the future.  I do have a cheat sheet next to my phone now though so perhaps I’ll keep practicing until the mouse simply becomes obsolete.

Yeah, right.

Regardless of how much I’ve actually retained, it’s done me some good to be exposed to all of the possibilities Microsoft has to offer.  There’s more to that program than just MS Paint, ya’ll!  And now I can show you how it’s all done.  So long as I can bring my workbooks, of course.

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O Captain, My Captain

August 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I had a different blog post all set to publish last night and then, well, I found out Robin Williams died.  I was on my way home from the gym and checked Facebook just because, and that’s how I learned the news.  Please bear with me as I – like almost everyone else – take the time to reflect on how this stranger affected my own life.

So it goes.

I’ve always felt a little weird for being sad when certain celebrities have passed away because I obviously didn’t know them personally and they never even had the foggiest clue that I existed.  It’s still surreal though and when people of great talent such as Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Whitney Houston and Heath Ledger passed away it hit me in a strange way because I had grown up surrounded by their works.  This though – this one is different.  It truly hurts and I’m at a loss as to fully understand why.  Perhaps it’s because someone who brought me so many moments of pure laughter, joy and delight felt that he didn’t have enough of those things in his own life to make it worth continuing to live.  Perhaps it’s because I wish that someone, anyone, could’ve helped him in the ways he’s helped so many others.  Or perhaps it’s because he didn’t deserve to be so unhappy and it breaks my heart that depression is such an abyss for so many people.  I’ve never heard a bad story about him and from every account he was as good-natured, friendly, funny and genuine in his day-to-day life as he was in some of his most famous movies.  Which I guess makes it that much harder to understand how he could have been masking so much pain behind his smile but I suppose sometimes those who smile the widest have the most to cover up.

I literally grew up watching and listening to Robin Williams.  Aladdin is one of my all-time favorite movies and to this day I don’t like watching it with anyone else because I quote and sing along to basically every single line.  Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack and Flubber were of course other childhood classics and Hook is something I still watch around the holidays every year.  The World According to Garp, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Patch Adams, The Birdcage and Good Will Hunting showed not only his range but also his ability to transform on screen to something other than what we would expect.  Even as I grew up I still enjoyed him in “kids” movies, from Happy Feet to Night at the Museum.  And Jesus – these were just some of his movies I’ve seen that I can name off the top of my head.  I’ll be doing a marathon this weekend and look forward to many other films I’ve yet to see that were graced with his presence.

He’s got a few final films coming out that are in post-production but of course I wish there could be more.  I wish a lot of things.  I wish he had lived a happy life full of laughter until he was an old, old man grinning in his bed.  I wish he hadn’t felt so hopeless that he ended his own life.  In the end though, that’s kind of selfish of me, isn’t it?  I didn’t know the man and I have no idea what sort of demons he faced on a daily basis.  All I do know is that he was loved and he will be missed.  The world is better off for him having lived in it and I’m grateful I was somehow, even if minutely, a part of that.

“Please, don’t worry so much.  Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth.  Life is fleeting.”

-Robin Williams in Jack

Note: If you or someone you love feels like the laughter has permanently gone out of life, please go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1.800.273.8255.  Help is out there.

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August 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

You’ve never had a friend like me.

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Infusion Confusion

August 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Okay, so the whole idea behind infused water isn’t really that confusing but I wanted a rhyme.

In my ongoing effort to stay healthy, hydrated and well – alive, I recently purchased an infusion water pitcher.  I drink a lot of water in general but sometimes I crave some flavor and tea doesn’t always cut it. A woman I worked with told me about this infusion pitcher and after searching the web for some quick and easy recipes (thanks, Buzzfeed), I decided to go for it.  And I’m pretty glad I did!

This is exactly what mine looks like, only full of delicious strawberry infused water.

Basically, there’s a mesh plastic tube that goes in the pitcher and you can dump whatever fruit you fancy into that to get started.  I decided my inaugural run would involve strawberries and basil, basically because strawberries were on sale and I have basil growing on my back porch.  I filled the little plastic mesh tube thingy (it has a real name but my made-up name works just as well) with the fruit and the basil, then used the joystick that came with to mash it all up.  After that I filled the pitcher with water and let it sit for a few minutes (i.e. infusing).  Then I removed the tube thingy and replaced it with a different plastic tube thingy designed to help keep everything cold.  And voila!  Water with just the right hint of strawberries and basil.  Yum!

The pitcher is relatively small and sits next to our Brita, which has been slightly ignored since the new guy came to town, I mean the fridge.  Apparently I can make sangria and mojitos with this thing too, though I haven’t busted out the booze quite yet.  Don’t worry though – that’s coming.  Until then I’ll be enjoying my strawberry flavored water and looking up new recipes!

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Holy Crap It’s August

August 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Where did the summer go?  I mean, besides being sucked up by weddings and work and rain, that is.  Seriously, the weather this year has been the most un-summer like summer I’ve ever experienced – my air conditioning hasn’t been on in weeks!  Not that I’m complaining (and my wallet SURELY isn’t complaining) but I guess after the winter we had I was longing for some heat and sunshine.  Instead we’ve had mild temperatures and lots of rain.

Camping not glamping

Perhaps I’m extra bitter because I had plans to go to the beach yesterday – which was rained out – and then plans to go to see live music in Millennium Park tonight – and they’ve been rained out too.  I suppose it doesn’t help matters that my sister and her boyfriend flew to the Dominican Republic on this week for a vacation chock FULL of sunshine and sand…and I’m staring at gray skies and wearing a light sweater.  Oh, bother.

I won’t let it get me down though!  I’m going to try to see the live music in the park on Friday instead and this weekend looks nice enough that I might actually get to go camping.  Yay, camping!  I’ve had a serious urge to spend some time near a bonfire in the woods since like the middle of winter and I’m going to make it happen, just wait and see

.  I’ve got a new hammock, a tent and a big bottle of wine so I should be all set!

If only the weather cooperates, that is.  And if it doesn’t I’m going to pitch my tent in my living room, roast marshmallows over my oven and hang my hammock up between a couple of lamps.  Take that, Mother Nature!

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