Before and After: Balcony Plants

In 2013 there was a single Lack Ikea table on my balcony with a spider plant that I had transplanted into a slightly bigger pot that basil was sold in and is not meant to be permanent. I don’t see any pictures of the original almost-dead little spider plant that I saw on the Lowe’s clearance shelf and said “I can save you!” The balcony also had a pack of lettuce that failed to grow and a big planter of dirt.

balcony before (spider plant before)  balcony plants

Two years later that spider plant has outgrown its actually-a-pot-this-time and would like another one, and the round planter has two basil plants that are doing ok. The Lack table is at the bottom of a pile of plants and shelves.

The balcony has assorted tables, shelves, and chairs. It has a hummingbird feeder, a seed bird feeder, and a bird bath. Some of the plants are thriving and others will get a chance at a better life at my new house soon.balcony plants cornerbalcony plants bird feeders

balcony plants low pots

August 1, 2015. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Words. 2 comments.

’80s Training Montage

2015_06_24 hands on hips

What I Wore to Work Today: June 24, 2015
Shirt: Levi’s outlet store
Pants: Limited
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

Today’s Songza playlist is ’80s Training Montage, to pump me up for chores. Let’s vacuum!!

You’re pumped. You’re ready. All you need is an awesomely cheesy personal soundtrack to energize you as you grind through your workout. Let these ’80s (along with some ’70s) songs lead the way.


July 3, 2015. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

What a fine weekend

2015_06_15 bent knee

What I Wore to Work Today: June 15, 2015
Blouse: Limited, new
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

This has been a top-notch weekend. Friday started with a 15-second commute to my couch, where I logged in remotely. My inbox had a message from the Pride diversity group about the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling and I said out loud to my dog “Oh wow awesome!” After doing a few work things I woke up my boyfriend saying “Hey guess what the Supreme Court issued their ruling striking down gay marriage bans, it was a 5-4 decision.” He agreed it was fantastic news and then I let him go back to sleep while I returned to work.

Friday night I went to a cool bar in Phoenix with friends to hear my brother mix music.

Saturday afternoon I went to the eye doctor for the first time in 3 years. As I suspected, my left eye prescription has clicked up a few notches plus added astigmatism. The left toric contact lens wasn’t settling in correctly while at the office — it has different strengths across different parts of the lens, so if it’s not oriented correctly on the eyeball then vision isn’t clear. There’s a tiny weight difference at the bottom acting as ballast to help it reorient with each blink. We agreed I should try the pair for a few days and return for a follow-up if it wasn’t working. Within an hour my vision had cleared; it felt like the lens had molded to my eyeball shape or rotated over time and was now correctly placed. Today the left contact started blurry and settled within a few minutes of putting it in. I can return to using contacts again!

I’m also buying new glasses, and replacing the left lens in my existing frames. Right now my primary glasses get 90% of the work, even though I have two other pairs. If they all get current prescriptions and the arms of one pair are adjusted to fit better, I will have a whole wardrobe of vision correction options!

Saturday night I went to a show at my improv theater. I rarely see shows anymore when I’m not playing in them or working the bar and it was neat to be a regular audience member. (Well, not quite regular, I sat in the back row and didn’t shout out any suggestions.) I was wearing a drapey black v-neck, skinny jeans, black pumps, earrings, my hair pulled up, and even a little bit of makeup. I received a number of comments on my shoes (“oooh hot heels”) and my appearance in general (“Look at you, do you have a date? You look great!”). They’re used to seeing me in my relaxed theater clothes, like casual jeans and tshirts at rehearsal and the unflattering uniform at shows, and always sneakers.

Today I’m posting blog stuff (hello!), putting away dishes, vacuuming (love my new vacuum!), sewing, and doing a bit of office work while watching America’s Next Top Model cycle 12. I just found a couple new-to-me seasons on Hulu and I’m blasting through them before I cancel my HuluPlus account.

Overall: what a fine weekend indeed.

2015_06_15 smiling

June 28, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Dinosaur Comics


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

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

Internet-free evenings


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 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 exercise chart

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

Garden envy


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.”

2015_05_22 model-y

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


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.

New “Vaccuum”

What I Wore to Work Today: May 12, 2015
Dress: Banana Republic
Shoes: Payless
Badge: Employer
Watch: Target


My new vacuum arrived today and it’s delightful. As warned in the Amazon reviews, the canister needs to be emptied frequently because of its relatively small size and how well it works to pull up stuff from the carpet. I loved it. “Oh my god look how much it’s already sucked up in just one minute in this little area in the living room! These carpets are filthy! It’s so satisfying! Imma vacuum every week now!”

Here’s where I wonder if increasing my vacuuming frequency to every week is shameful. A Good Morning America tip of the day I just found says “Areas that receive a lot of foot traffic will need to be vacuumed daily or twice weekly, depending on the number of feet walking your carpet.” Are there people who vacuum daily, people who aren’t homemakers? If I were a homemaker and not just non-employed I probably have higher standards, since keeping the home would be my job.

In February 1995 I was in the middle school spelling bee. Two things happened that evening: 1) I was eliminated on the word “vacuum”, incorrectly adding a second C in there, and 2) I got my period for the first time an hour before going to the bee. Let’s all agree that 7th grade is a tough time.

2015_05_12 hand in motion

June 4, 2015. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

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