Dinosaur Comics

2015_05_29

What I Wore to Work Today: May 29, 2015
Shirt: Levi’s outlet store, new
Jeans: Target, hemmed
Shoes: Payless

I tripped on a pot, knocked it over, and almost fell. Whoops. It reminded me of Dinosaur Comics, one of the first internet comics I started following years ago.

2015_05_29 dinosaur comics

2015_05_29 picking up pot

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June 16, 2015. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

In a Quiet Park

2015_05_28 hands on hips

What I Wore to Work Today: May 28, 2015
Jacket: probably Goodwill, $1 Thursday or 50% off Saturday
Tank top: Target
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Payless

Songza is my favorite music source, both at home and at work. At home I often plug my laptop into speakers in my kitchen or in my sewing room (I’m pretty sure both sets of speakers were gifts/hand-me-downs from my brother over the years when he upgraded his own) if I’m not on the couch with my laptop on my actual lap. At work I regularly use headphones and the Songza app for music when I’m looking to focus or drown out the sounds of nearby cubicle-dwellers on conference calls.

I’ve explained Songza before, and I’m doing it again now. Songza opens with the Concierge, a page of 5 activities based on the time of day. Each activity shows 5 categories, and there are 3 playlists within each category. I’m pretty sure the system adjusts over time based on the user’s selections, showing more of the activities, categories, playlists that they select more often and based on songs they thumbs up.

This afternoon I chose activity Focusing (No Lyrics), then Focus-Enhancing Soundscapes category, then In a Quiet Park playlist. I haven’t tried any of their ambient sound non-music lists before. This one was mostly bird sounds and there might have been a stream in the distance. At first it seemed excessive (“my god there are so many birds!”) and within a few minutes it faded into the background as I adjusted and I did feel like I was relaxing outside on a lovely day.

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June 15, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

Tyranny of sunshine

2015_05_27 turning

What I Wore to Work Today: May 27, 2015
Top: Ann Taylor                   Pants: Limited
Belt: Target                          Shoes: Payless

The marigolds, in the group of pots next to my left leg, are almost gone. The only direct sunlight comes in the morning for maybe an hour — this picture was a before-work photo, and you can the sunlight is already sliding away. For living in a city with around 300 sunny days per year, it sure is hard to get sun on my balcony.

Sure, all that sun sounds nice, especially if you’re from somewhere with serious winters. It gets old, though, I call it the tyranny of sunshine, cloudless sky after cloudless sky. A nice quiet rainy day would be nice, or even just some low clouds. To break up all those months and months of 100+ degrees, let’s say. One year, 2007 to be specific, we had 32 days when the highs reached 110+ degrees. It’s now mid-June and after a gentle early summer it’s finally coming in. Hahaha we’re all stupid why do we live here we sure are wasteful.

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June 14, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

Internet-free evenings

2015_05_26

What I Wore to Work Today: May 26, 2015
Cardigan: Target                  Blouse: Target
Skirt: Ann Taylor, new          Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless                    Necklace: Target

A few nights in a row this week I did not use my computer at home. I read a book, Dragons of the Dwarven Depths. I’m re-reading the Lost Chronicles trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, enjoying my return to the Weis/Hickman Dragonlance novels that comes around every few years. It feels comfortable and refreshing.

I did chores. I went to bed early (before midnight!) one night. I played in two improv shows last night, both of which were great.

I am reminded once again that I feel better and get more done and generally have a better overall experience when I have more computer- and internet-free time at home, and the only way I can do make that happen is to not open my laptop at all. “Just to get Songza going for some music” or “I’ll pull up Hulu to watch something while I do dishes…” is not feasible in practice. Abstinence is the only successful course for me, moderation doesn’t work.

2015_05_26 adjusting glasses

2015_05_26 hands on hips

June 13, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Coffeemaker!!!

coffeemaker race bib numbers

I bought a single-serve coffeemaker last month so that I too could blanket the earth with little K-cups. On weekends, anyway. During the workweek I have a cup of free office coffee and it’s only weekends and days off that Inow make myself delicious iced coffee as my caffeine hit: pint glass full of ice plus a teaspoon sugar, add coffee halfway, fill remainder with milk. Drink with a straw. The 6-oz coffee size makes two glasses.

In January I created an exercise chart, figuring I could fill the boxes by the end of February and buy myself a coffeemaker. It wasn’t until May that I finally made it. I just drew my next chart, still 20 boxes, without a title yet. What’s my reward after 20 workouts this time? Can I finish it by mid-July?? I like visual tracking systems. For example, I love adding a new race number to the fridge after each running event. I take a picture with the finisher’s medal and then hand the medal back; the number is my souvenir.

coffeemaker

coffeemaker exercise chart

June 10, 2015. Tags: . Links, Pictures, Recipes, Words. 1 comment.

Working from home

2015_05_22

What I Wore to Work From Home Today: May 22, 2015
Tank top: Target
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Target

I woke up suddenly at 6:30 a.m. this day because my dog desperately needed to go out. She was experiencing some… technical difficulties. I decided to log in to work at 7 a.m. because I was awake and up and might as well get started with my day. I worked from home in case the dog had continued problems, which she didn’t.

I rarely work from home anymore, only when there’s an unplanned negative event like migraines or dog emergencies. As I’m improving my work motivation and discipline, I plan to start incorporating scheduled remote days into my schedule again, maybe twice a month to start. My boss works remotely four days a week, a privilege she has earned through her tenure and performance. She has a full home office setup with docking station, monitors, keyboard, etc. I sit on my couch or sometimes at the dining table with my laptop. That’s one of the reasons I stopped asking for telecommuting days — some of my work is much easier with multiple screens and a mouse, and I’m not in a position to ask for the home office tools yet. Still, I’m ready to add the occasional remote day again and enjoy the benefits of working from home: total daily commute is 45 seconds instead of 45 minutes, my canine companion gets more human time, I can do laundry during the day, and I can sleep a little extra.

2015_05_22 hands on hips

June 9, 2015. Tags: , , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Garden envy

2015_05_21

What I Wore to Work Today: May 21, 2015

Blouse: Target
Pants: Limited
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

The bulbs are alive and growing! Still no sign of flowers, though, just leaves. Also, the marigolds in the pots on the other side of me definitely don’t make it, in this picture you can already see they’re on the way out. My balcony only gets about an hour of direct sunlight in the morning, which has made it harder to grow all those flowers that I imprinted on from my childhood gardens: marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos. Every summer I planted seeds in our Colorado garden and they turned into flowers. (Or they did it one summer and my brain overwrote the memories so I remember it as every time.)

The summer before 5th grade we moved to Minnesota and my mom created a smaller garden, mostly vegetables. (Over the years her gardening changed to flowers and decoratives with lots of perennials.) I planted lettuce seeds every year and I loved the tomato plants my mother planted. Every spring it looked like way too much space between the tomato sproutlings and pumpkin seeds and every August the garden was one giant jungle of intertwined plants and vines.

Sometimes I wonder how long I’ll live in this desert on the surface of the sun. I follow a couple gardens online, primarily this one in Vermont and this massive one in Indiana, and I think about what it would be like if I had a garden, from a single bed to a 30’x30′ backyard. Realistically, would I have the motivation to put in the necessary work and hours every single week? How much time is it, really? What would I grow?

One of these days I’ll take pictures of my balcony and plants. Basil is the only edible I’ve been able to grow so far, the tomatoes and lettuce and other herbs don’t make it. Most of the flowers die too, except for one hardy impatiens that survived last summer and has been blooming continually ever since. The spider plants are thriving. A bougainvillea has come back from the dead multiple times, saved only by my laziness. “Shoot, it’s dead. I’ll take it out to the dumpster another time. [four days later] Huh look at that, little leaf buds, I’ll be damned.”

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June 8, 2015. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Video, What I Wore to Work Today. 1 comment.

Situational Self Leadership

2015_05_20 hands in back pockets

What I Wore to a Seminar Today: May 20, 2015
Blouse: Xi?
Pants: Limited, new
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

Last month I attended a training seminar called Situational Self Leadership. The model was developed by the Ken Blanchard Companies, and my firm has licensed or purchased or contracted to present the materials in internal classes. It clicked for me and I’m already incorporating the model in my daily work and general development plans.

An individual can be assessed for each task, objective, or skill on two axes, competency and commitment.Competency includes the specific knowledge required for the goal plus transferable skills, while commitment is the combination of motivation and confidence. The four quadrants correspond to each step, D1-D4. Each dimension has a corresponding leadership style from a manager or leader: low competency needs high direction and low commitment needs high support. A mismatch between the individual’s current level and their approach or their leaders’ can hinder results, decrease engagement, and cause negative experiences.

Enthusiastic Beginner: Low Competence, High Commitment
Disillusioned Learner: Low-to-Some Competence, Low Commitment
Capable but Cautious Performer: Mid-to-High Competence, Variable Commitment
Self-Reliant Achiever: High Competence, High Commitment

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June 7, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

The great Midwestern state of Wyoming

2015_05_19 hand on hip

What I Wore to Work Today: May 19, 2015
Top: Target
Pants: Goodwill, $1 Thursday
Shoes: Payless

The recent discussion of time zones made me think of two friends of mine. They both grew up in Southern California and are not good at geography, especially when it comes to anything east of the Sierra Nevadas and west of New York City. So, you know, most of the country. One of them is worse than the other, combining her general mapping deficiencies with the “California & select East Coast cities are the important parts of the U.S.” attitude.

She once mentioned Wyoming as being part of the Midwest. It’s not. In fact, part of Wyoming is farther west than our city in Arizona, and almost a third of the state is west of the eastern Arizona border. We’re in the same census region (4 total regions) and even the same division (9 subregions). If Wyoming is Midwest, does that mean New Mexico is part of the South?

2015_05_19 hands up

June 6, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Talking to other humans

2015_05_18

What I Wore to Work Today: May 18, 2015
Blouse: Forever 21
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Payless

Earlier this week at work I was getting my things together to leave the office for the day and I realized I hadn’t spoken aloud to another human, in person, all day. I talked to my dog in the morning, I had a few short calls with my boss (she’s based in an office two time zones* away), and I chatted with somebody over IM. Then, “Wait, that’s not true! I talked to the man in the break area! I interacted with other humans!” Yes, yes I did. Here is the transcript of our complete conversation.

Repairman: Oh, sorry. [starts to move cart with tools]
Me: No, you’re fine, it’s not in the way.

Bam, that’s some solid human person live interaction right there!

2015_05_18 hand on hip

*Right now it’s two time zones, during the winter it’s just one. Arizona is always on Mountain Standard Time because we don’t observe Daylight Saving Time (except for the Navajo Nation, which does and so is sometimes on Mountain Daylight Time). When everybody else leaps forward to Daylight Saving Time, we stay the same, so it’s like we switch from Mountain to Pacific Time. Except we are always on Mountain Standard Time, which is the same thing as Pacific Daylight Time. When Daylight Saving Time is over, our time zone lines up with everybody else in Mountain once again, because they are back to Mountain Standard Time instead of Mountain Daylight Time.

Everybody thinks we’re the ones changing — “How many hours behind us are you right now?? You’re always switching!” — when really we stay the same and all the other time zones move forward and back around us. There’s a lesson about perspective somewhere in there.

A mnemonic I tell people to help them remember: in the winter you ski in the mountains and we’re on Mountain Time. In the summer you go to the beach and we’re on beach AKA Pacific Time.

June 5, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 2 comments.

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