Breaking Up With My Mac

It’s late, so I won’t make this long, but I wanted to drop in and let you guys know what’s been going on this last week. I was really sick at the beginning of the week, and my computer decided to die again while I was home from work, leaving me grouchy and bored, with no way to catch up on my blog. No good at all.

Last time my MacBook died (about a month ago), my motherboard fried, and my boss very kindly took my hard drive out of my 15″ MacBook Pro and put it in a 13″ MacBook body. It was a great trade – I had a working motherboard, plus a smaller, lighter computer. Unfortunately, my good luck didn’t hold out. It only took a couple of weeks for my “new” computer to start having the same problems that the old one did, including a mouse that froze at the drop of a hat, forcing me to restart several times a day. Eventually the issues ended up escalating to crazy screen color changes and wholesale refusal to work for more than a minute without freezing and turning off.

On Tuesday, my boss replaced my hard drive, but that didn’t fix the problem. On Wednesday he upgraded my operating system in case the problem was with old drivers, and that seemed to do the trick, until yesterday morning, when the computer started freaking out again right in the middle of an important task. I had a mini meltdown…OK, a pretty huge tantrum. Life has been hard lately, and the computer was the last straw. I started sobbing uncontrollably, then crawled into bed and tried to hide. The Man was home to witness it all, and after awhile he made me get out of bed, then took me to Best Buy and bought me a new computer as my early Christmas present. He’s a good guy.

So now I’m typing to you on my very own personal laptop. It’s not a Mac, but I’m not inclined to be too picky about free gadgets. Especially since I’m pretty happy with this computer. It’s a cute Acer Aspire, with a touchscreen! I’ve been having a lot of fun personalizing it (everything’s purple) and figuring out how to swipe between screens, add apps, and change settings to get everything just right.

The thing I like the most about it, however, is that I’m never going to take it to work. From now on, the computer that my boss is attempting to fix is going to be my work computer, and this laptop is going to be my personal computer. One of my worst habits is not having any kind of barrier between my life and my job, and it’s eating me alive. I think it’s an important step to give myself a little more breathing room from the stress of a job that follows me around everywhere. On this computer I can write my blog, research Santiago de Compostela, take notes about my fitness and life goals, and never feel compelled to stop and take care of a “minor work matter” in the middle of a personal task.

The learning curve is huge, though! The last time I had a PC was way back during the days of Vista. In fact, even though Mac people like to talk smack about PCs being unpredictable and full of viruses, the only PC I ever had die on me was on the Vista operating system. It was a grand death, though – a pop, a flash, a sizzle, and suddenly my hard drive was toast, along with a good chunk of music and photos that I didn’t have saved anywhere else. That’s why this scene will forever be one of my top favorite TV moments…

Working Women

I don’t know if you guys have been keeping up with the news lately, but there have been quite a few articles in the last few days about women in the workplace. First, there was the article about the new CEO of Yahoo cutting out work-from-home privileges for her employees until further notice, while simultaneously installing a nursery for her baby in her office. Then, there was a story on the COO of Facebook‘s new book about empowering working women. Lucky lady, she makes $30 million dollars a year, and leaves work at 5:30pm every day to be with her children. Then I read an article today about how women are more inclined to be snarky to other women who have “made” it in the workplace. Apparently I might be a snarky bitch for not being impressed that a multi-millionaire with a slew of people working under her could have time to go tuck the kids in at night. I might also be a snarky bitch for finding it really unfair to make people disrupt their childcare plans at the drop of a hat when your position entitles you to build your own nursery (and no doubt staff it) in your office. But whatever, it’s not like we didn’t already know I had a bit ‘o snark in me.

For the record, I think that making people work from the office can in many cases (and probably in Yahoo’s case) be the best course of option. Sometimes you just need to be with your team – especially if you need to make some exceedingly creative choices to pull yourself out of the rut you’ve dug. And even more so if that rut means you’re being eaten alive by someone like Google.

Also for the record, I think it’s amazing to be able to balance work and home lives, and good parenting is put to the test by making solid blocks of time to spend with your kids. Not that I have kids, or know too much about it, other than remembering how awesome it was when both of my parents could be at the dinner table, or a school event. I shined when they were around, and I’m pretty sure that’s how most kids react to a healthy dose of love and attention.

What I don’t get is that of all the stories in the news today about women becoming high-powered, heavy-hitters, why we don’t have more articles about how detrimental that life can be to our mental & spiritual wellbeing? Or why we aren’t talking more about how to get dads to have the best of both worlds? Or why we aren’t making ways for people to work shorter, harder days to allow them to go home at 5pm? Or why we don’t regularly build childcare situations AT jobs, for free (and not just as factories), so that the whole childcare debate didn’t get so heated?

I’m looking ahead, and I’m scared. Let’s not even talk about the fact that I don’t make enough money to afford to pay all of my bills each month right now; let’s just talk about what would happen if I did. Let’s say that I made just enough money to semi-comfortably afford to raise a child (which would mean four times what I’m currently making). To have that job, I would have to work from probably 8am to around 7pm, maybe later, five to six days a week. That’s how my industry works. So I’ll be making enough money, but I will have no time to spend with my child. OK. Hmmmm.

New scenario! I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband (don’t have one, but I don’t have kids, either, so whatever) will be the bread-winner. Which means that he will have to be paid six to seven times what I make now to afford both of our student loans, our house, food, medical bills, and child care. Neither I nor the kid(s) will get to see him much, during which time our marriage will grow cold and distant, and the kids will not bond with him as much as they should. He’ll resent me for having to work all of the time and also pay my bills, and I’ll definitely resent him for having to be at home with the kids instead of working. When the kids are old enough to go back to school, we’ll have to shift priorities and figure out how to pick them up from school. This means that I’ll have to take a part time job instead of full time, and I’ll make very little money and have no advancement opportunities. A life of lots of stress and pretty much no sex or happiness (except for what I glean by living vicariously through my children) will ensue. Wow, sounds like a real winner. Hmmmm.

Next scenario. I don’t get married, and I don’t have kids. Or maybe I get married and don’t have kids – who knows if I’ll ever have either of those opportunities? I spend the next couple of years focusing solely on my career and personal achievement, forsaking thoughts of family and relationship issues. I set my limits – only five days a week, maybe six if there’s a big project to get done. No more than nine hours of work a day. When I leave work, I’m on my own time. Double my current salary by the end of the year, however that has to happen, then working up from there. My first checks go to pay off credit cards, and from there, the rest starts to go into retirement savings and vacation savings, then savings for a house/condo. After that, I can start thinking about relationships again, and if my current one is still standing, we can talk about marriage. Let’s be honest – by this point, I’ll be at least 37 or so, meaning that kids should probably be taken off of the table. But I’ll be able to travel to everywhere I’ve wanted to go, to read the books I want to read, and if I’m in the right relationship, enjoy the rest of my time here with a man who makes every day sizzle. If he’s willing to not have kids.

Maybe the question that everyone should be asking is not “Why aren’t women advancing in the workplace?” but rather “Why do women have to chain themselves to kids and life partners to be ‘complete’?”

What do you think?

Content, Content, Content

I just realized that “content” (n.) – the topics covered in a document, and “content” (n.) a state of satisfaction are easy for a reader to confuse if not provided enough context. So let’s be clear; my title means “topics covered in a document, topics covered in a document, topics covered in a document,” NOT “satisfaction, satisfaction, satisfaction.” Though I wish it were the other way around. It would definitely make for a better Thursday night, that’s for sure.

It’s 9:41pm on a Thursday night, and I’m feeling the pressure. At my day job, a big client needs a full website’s worth of copy AND a very long, very wordy brochure written, edited, and posted by the middle of next week at the very latest. One of my personal clients needs an e-blast written. Another needs several grants written. A third needs several blog posts, while the other just needs a job posting rewritten. As a result, I find myself in serious need of a glass of wine and a spot of vacation planning. To where, I honestly don’t give a damn, as long as it’s definitely far, far away from my cell phone and laptop. Maybe Siberia?

Actually, talking about vacations, I decided today that I’d really like to go to Nepal. Reason? They ride yaks. Look at this and tell me you aren’t intrigued.

YakwithSaddle yak-milk

 

So, what else is going on in my life other than work, you ask? Actually, we both know that you didn’t ask that because you knew I was just going to tell you anyway – let’s be honest, that’s the kind of horrible, non-stop talker I am – but whatevs. Hmmm. What have I been up to?

Well, there’s the personal training. I went twice this week, and will go again tomorrow. He really kicked my butt on Wednesday, too. I was feeling this odd burning pain sensation in my arms that went all the way down to my toes. Eric said that’s what happens when you start using muscles that you’ve never even discovered before. I’m starting to see muscle definition in my arms when I’m just hanging out and not trying to do any super cool flexing stuff. It’s crazy and amazing and I really want it to continue, but I’m going to have to get more dedicated. Tomorrow I’ve got a weigh in, and I already know that I haven’t lost any weight at all since starting this a month and a half ago. It’s OK, since obviously my fat percentage has to have gone down, but if I were working out five times a week and showing a tad more dedication, I’d also be seeing more weight loss.

Other than that, things are going well in my relationship arena with The Man, and our romance factor is looking a little better. We both owe each other more time and dedication in the romance realm, but both of us are concentrating on career and trying to pay off bills. I hope that we’ll both be able to cut back on work and pay more time to life sooner rather than later. For me it’s all about getting the CC bills paid off, then figuring out what I need to do to make the most amount of money in the most reasonable amount of time, doing only things I love. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, I know it sounds absolutely mad, but pretty sure I can make it work. I don’t intend to spend my whole life working just to work more. I intend to be walking to Santiago de Compostela within two years at the very maximum.

Life Notes: Training, Working, Fashion

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It’s my lunch break, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to jot down some notes about what’s going on right now…

1) My life/work balance is not at all balanced. It’s more like a see-saw with a baby elephant on the “Work” end and nothing on the “Life” end. I’m eventually going to have to rework my schedule and get my shit together, but it’s too much for me right now. I just hope The Man doesn’t give up on me before that happens – he’s getting the shit end of the stick, since I’m working between 12 and 16 hours a day right now.

2) I need to call my grandparents. They’re old, and I haven’t talked to any of them in years. I also need to call my parents, whom I forgot to call on New Years and have managed to successfully avoid calling (out of total guilt) ever since. While we’re at it, let’s add about five friends that I talked to sometime last year. Let’s call them, too. And now you know why I never call anyone – once the flood gates open, I’ll never be done talking to people on the phone. I HATE the phone. Why doesn’t anyone email or text?

3) I’m wearing a really cute outfit today – most of it snagged at the Banana Republic outlet store at steep sale prices. I’ve got on these great dark jean trousers, a tomato red sweater, an off-white lacy camisole, metallic snake skin print shoes (vegan), the lovely vintage Omega watch The Man gave me for my birthday, and a cute little black hemp bracelet from World Market that has a gold and rhinestone snake charm on it. It’s one of those simple, but pulled-together, looks that make you feel like a million bucks all day long.

4) Today was my 2nd full personal training session with Eric Capers of Pro Fitness Trainers. He really kicked my butt, and my weaknesses were glaringly obvious, but I feel really good about how hard I worked out. He really pushes me to be better, and makes me want to do better to not look too stupid 🙂 Today I’m down to 155.8 lbs.

5) Part of that loss is because I’ve been very good about following my nutrition plan. Right now I’m eating a fresh edamame succotash and a cup of veggie soup, with a glass of unsweetened ginger mint tea. It feels decadent, but it’s so simple. It feels good to eat whole foods and stay away from animal products, so I really hope I can stick with it.

6) Really need to watch some documentaries this week! I’m falling behind. It would be nice to watch something else about food safety, and there’s a great one about American horror movies that I know I could get The Man to watch if I tried. Maybe if I work hard enough tonight I’ll be able to go home to no work at all. That would be lovely.

 

Something’s Got to Change

I’m so unhappy with myself right now. Yes, I know, that sounds really bratty considering where I’m at compared to a few months ago. My life has improved so very much since May! But still, there’s something not quite right with my life. I want, need, and deserve more.

Any critic (including my own mind, and The Man) would be right in telling me that if I want change, I’ve got to make it happen, and I think I’ve done an OK job so far. Just not good enough. Part of that is because I have a hard time separating out all of the things that I like and don’t like about my life. That makes it really tough to pick a goal and go for it. So I’m going to try to do that here.

Things I Want For Myself

  1. To be able to run a decent half marathon without injury/chronic pain in under 2hrs and 45 minutes
  2. To go to Bikram yoga at least once a day (but hopefully more)
  3. To eventually become a Bikram yoga instructor
  4. To have defined abs and sculpted arms/thighs
  5. To have nice posture, and stop stooping over
  6. To have the physical poise and bearing of a model
  7. To have the emotional poise and bearing of Hillary Clinton
  8. To streamline and organize my life in a way that saves me time and energy
  9. To make at least $4k a month as a freelancer
  10. To pay off my credit cards
  11. To finish learning to swim
  12. To become a proficient dancer, and go out dancing twice a month
  13. To become a proficient horsewoman
  14. To become a photographer, join the NO Photo Alliance, and show my work at galleries
  15. To write books
  16. To put together a comprehensive plan and write a blog with my friend
  17. To stop eating meat forever
  18. To start eating mostly vegan meals, and more raw meals
  19. To never look at a photo of myself and wince at my thighs again
  20. To wear makeup to work every day, and to wear it with skill and artistry
  21. To dress stylishly, and stop looking like such a mess all the time
  22. To read a book a week
  23. To get more freelance business
  24. To figure out a business name and create a decent website
  25. To wake up early in the mornings
  26. To be adored by, and to adore, my significant other
  27. To not feel like life is just passing me by
  28. To move to a house that’s bigger than a shoebox
  29. To get a few more fish
  30. To grow my own food
  31. To get my scorpion tattoo for my birthday
  32. To create a calendar of when I’ll call which friend/family member, so that I can somehow squeeze all the calls in
  33. To talk to my grandmother again
  34. To call Sonicare and get my toothbrush replaced
  35. To call Sallie Mae and get my loan payments reduced

Oh gee. I’m exhausted just seeing this list written out. I wanted to think on this a bit more, but it’s 1am and I desperately need to wake up for yoga at 7:15 tomorrow morning. I’ll attack this after my day of waxing and hair cutting. I’m going to the salon to become a new shell of a girl. After that we’ll see about filling me up with something useful…

 

 

 

Getting in the Groove

Hi again, lovely readers! Maybe you didn’t miss me at all, but I sure as hell missed you. I’m back now, though, and ready to pick up where I left off. First though, a little bit of an update:

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1) You’re looking at a newly-minted graduate! I’m still waiting on my diploma to arrive via USPS, but I’m the official holder of a Master of Science degree in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University. It was a really tough year in so many ways, affecting my social, personal and work lives in ways that I never expected, but I made it. Of all of my degrees, this one means the most – and who knows, maybe one day it will help me make enough money to pay off the mountain of student loan debt I’ve incurred over the last 13 years! (I’m not holding my breath on that one, though.)

2) When I started this blog, my two major goals were to get a job in writing/marketing and to lose weight. I’m so happy to report that I’m a freelancer now, with steady employment! I’m not working full time yet, and I’m not making a ton of money, but I’m finally doing something I love. Better than that, I work out of an office with other freelancers, and generally have an awesome day EVERY DAY. Imagine that – enjoying my work day. Isn’t that just the craziest concept?

3) My weird workplace is a marketing & creative agency that ‘lives’ inside of an art gallery. We host art shows! I love art shows!

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4) We also have three office dogs – Hobbes, a border collie, and Otis and Nola, both pugs. I’m more of a cat person, but I don’t discriminate. Nola likes to sit in my lap, and Hobbes often drapes himself over my feet. Otis only hangs out if he sees a chance of food in the near future.

That was most of the “great” stuff; now let’s touch on some of the not so greats…

5) My work schedule is hectic and ever-changing. I’m not the best at adjusting my personal schedule to succeed in the face of work schedule changes, and a few facets of my life have suffered as a result, mostly my diet and exercise schedule, as well as my personal life with The Man.

6) I’m eating at weird times, and following my cravings too much. As a result I’m back at 162 lbs, and it’s driving me crazy. My body is just not at all what I want it to be. Someone took a photo of me at a large art event over the weekend, and even though the camera adds some weight, I was really shocked to catch an outsider’s glimpse of how I present myself. It’s not cool. I’m 20 lbs overweight, and it’s not just some whack theory I’m obsessing about needlessly – it’s evident in my arms, my hips, my shoulders, even my ankles. I’m too young to be ashamed of my physical appearance, and it needs to be rectified.

7) I’m at work (but not necessarily working, which I know is a difficult concept) from 9:30am until often around 8pm or so, and I work on Saturdays and Sundays, too. This only leaves one Bikram class time open on the week days – 6am – and I am SO not a morning person. I’ve made it to one 6am class so far, and my intention is to go five to seven times a week, but waking up in the morning is a serious problem for me. I’m also supposed to be running at night, with a goal of working my way back up to half-marathon distance capability. I’ve done a few 2 mile runs, and since they can be done anytime, anywhere, that’s a much easier goal for me to keep. I’ve been thinking about working in something like P90x or another workout program that I can do at home, but I just don’t have the money right now.

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8) I want to cut meat out of my diet forever. There’s no excuse that I haven’t done this yet, other than that I follow my cravings and am an emotional/stress eater with a nasty habit of binging when life gets too much. My diet is mostly vegetarian anyway, with meat just popping in every now and then, but I’d like to eventually move my diet from 80% vegetarian – 20% omnivore to 60% vegan – 40% vegetarian. I’m trying to wrap my head around how to do this on my budget and while avoiding the incredible emotional stress this is going to create in bringing bagged lunches to work and also trying to share cooking responsibilities with The Man. Also, I’m constantly making “commitments” to my diet and then falling out of them, so The Man has little faith in me when I tell him I’m going to avoid meat, dairy, carbs, whatnot. It doesn’t change the fact that my heart is still in cutting out meat and dairy, but it does make it tougher on me to have faith in myself when my supposed #1 supporter thinks I’m just going to give up and go back to eating ribs in the end. It’s a crap cycle.

9) It’s time to start writing for fun again. Not just on Compass & Quill, but on other projects. I still really want to write the books that are floating around in my head. Where do I make this time happen during my oh-so-insane day?

I’ve made a schedule in Excel that outlines how to make the most out of my time, fitting in yoga, running, writing, work, even some down time with The Man, but paperwork is not enough. I need to somehow get other people involved with my goals, to have some accountability. So how do you folks feel about becoming part of my support group? I could really use the eyes (and comments).