Archive for January, 2012



January 27, 2012

It’s the beginning of the new year, and everyone’s making resolutions. My cousin takes issue at the goal of “looking good in a bikini”. She writes:

Exercise goals shouldn’t be about superficial results. They should be about doing something for yourself. Exercise to have more energy during the day. Exercise to keep your body fit and healthy. Exercise to keep your mind sharp.  Exercise to be stronger and faster.

There’s a lot that I agree with. Yes, there’s unnecessary emphasis placed on women’s looks. Yes,  women’s health magazines wrap exercise into the “look better” packaging when that’s the only goal. Yes, your goals should be about you and not other people. However, as long as there’s not an unhealthy push – no obsessive exercising, no unrealistic end goal, no unsustainable lifestyle – I think any motivation to exercise is good.

Maybe it’s because I’m the kind of person who makes a goal to “look good in a bikini.* Or maybe it’s because the other reasons Erica points out about exercise don’t resonate with me. Not being an athlete, it’s not terribly important to me to be stronger, faster, fitter, or more energetic. I don’t even have a strong sense of urgency to be healthier. So if I’m motivated because I think I can look better, or maybe I’m just preemptively fighting off extra beers and cheese and snacks, I’ll take it. The Jezebel article points out ‘Your body isn’t a passive painting or a photograph, your body is a tool”. Well, just because I have a hammer doesn’t mean I have to build a house.

At the same time, I think looking good is about yourself. Making that a new year’s resolution is, to me, the same as making the goal not to wear pajamas outside the house. Or brush your hair before you walk out the door. Or don’t let your underwear show when it shouldn’t. Because I judge everyone I see – this is partially for other people. But it’s also because I know I can present myself well, and if I don’t, I’m just being lazy. It’s putting your best foot forward because you can.** It’s just articulated in a way that makes sense for people who aren’t training or athletes or at an unhealthy weight.

*that’s really a lie. I’ve never made this goal because I think I look ok in a bikini. But if I didn’t, changing that would definitely be on my to-do list.

Side note: while writing this, I started to think why it is that making a goal to look good in a swimsuit is seen as superficial but training for a marathon is not. Why is it that being able to run a really far distance (when, let’s be honest, who needs to run in their every day lives?) is seen as a big accomplishment? But spending the time every single day put together outfits and do make up and stay toned – essentially to look better than most other people – isn’t?



January 20, 2012

Once when I was traveling, my customer pointed out my co-workers and I start every sentence with “So…”. She assumed it was a Midwest habit. And honestly, I never even realized until she called attention to it. Then I promptly continued to use “so” all the time because it’s really hard to break a linguistic habit (think “like”, “um”, “you know”).

So, I read this article yesterday….

So, what are you up to?

So, should I come by later?

So, I need to start heading out…

Funny thing, ever since then, every once in a while, it becomes really obvious that I have this habit. While I rarely recognize it in conversation, the habit is so bad that I type it when chatting through text. Terrible, right? I think it’s only obvious because why would anyone add extra, totally unnecessary words when typing out their conversation?

Of course, I use “so” in the completely normal “consequently” manner as well. But much more often, it ends up being my way of changing the subject, or starting a conversation, or really any time there’s a break in the flow.

With all the parodies of Sh*t Girls Say, I want to make a Sh*t Midwesterners Say and have it just be “so” (with maybe a “tyme machine” and “bubbler” thrown in).


holiday reading.

January 10, 2012

The Strain – Sure it’s about vampires. But it takes on a whole new approach. Rather than “this is how it is” science, del Toro makes it a disease, an infection. The main character is a doctor who works for the CDC and he teams up with an ex-professor of folklore. A the first book of a series, this one is mainly just about the beginning of the end – when the “virus” is first infecting humans. I brought the next two books in the series back to California – hopefully it stays interesting.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – A fun read. A boy goes in search of more information about his recently deceased grandfather. The boy learns that the crazy stories his grandfather told about “peculiar” children were true and of course adventure ensues. My major disappointment was the end. It came shockingly fast and without resolution – almost in the middle of the biggest piece of action. As far as I can tell, this isn’t the first of a series, but it definitely felt like it set up for another book.

The Dark Fields – This is the book that the movie Limitless was based on. If you saw that movie, the book is very similar. Not much science. Mostly flat characters. Plot moves along fast. The only difference is the ending is a bit more depressing.

90 day Geisha: My Time as a Tokyo Hostess – I should have known, but this was an awful book. I was expecting funny stories and adventures. Similar to any of those ‘look at this crazy experiment I’m trying” books. But the stories are boring and shallow. I couldn’t get a feel for anything – the people, the place, how she felt about it, what she did.



January 7, 2012

Can you believe I’ve been in San Francisco for over 6 months now? I can’t. Still seems like just the other month that I moved out here. Makes me wonder how long it will be before it starts feeling like it’s home. Or rather, since Wisconsin will always be home, when it will feel like I’m part of California.

Maybe it’s time to write a little bit more about the last half year.

Everyone knows I quit my job when I moved. I spent about 4 months being unemployed. During which, no, I did not put in much effort to find a job. Since my current non-compete is a small obstacle in me jumping back into work, I figured I could use this year for some serious non-work activities. Yes, I talk to all the recruiters who contact me – but since they’re all interested in my Epic background, the conversations are still pretty short.

Movies and books and cooking were exactly what I did. It was a good way to start out in a new place. My schedule could easily match the boyfriend’s – waking up around 9a or 10a and sleeping at 1a or 2a. I went to the farmer’s market twice a week – big increase in the amount of fruits and veggies I was eating. I went to the park to read almost every day – a small attempt to get some bit a tan in the summer. I improvised new ways to be somewhat active since I no longer go to a gym (hello WiiFit, Dance Central and a small stint of running). Combined with eating healthier, I actually lost a little weight. I experimented with embroidering greeting cards (as seen by anyone who got one this year). This is going to turn into a full-blown hobby now that I’m back from the holidays.

After 4 months, I didn’t get antsy so much as I disliked not having a paycheck. So I got a temporary job. It was supposed to be an executive assistant position, but I ended up mostly being a regular administrative assistant. It was with a small civil engineering firm. I worked for two months and decided it wasn’t for me. Since the position was a temp-to-hire, I decided to quit at the end of December rather than have them think I would seriously consider the position long-term. They decided offer me part-time work for the next couple months, if I was interested. I accepted, since working three days a week is perfect for making a little bit of extra money without monopolizing my time.

Here’s to the next 6 months!



January 5, 2012

Every December, I have grand plans to write a summary of my year. I love reading other people’s top ten lists and reflections on the last 12 months. But somehow, with all the holiday traveling and celebrating – followed by inevitable laziness – I never get around to it. But this year – it’s going to be different. Maybe a little bit late, but I’m still doing it. Rather, I’m stealing these questions from Jenn. Even though I don’t really know her, I liked her end of year post the best – not overly reflective and not overly shallow. It’s all about balance.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Quit my first job, moved across the country, road tripped through South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make resolutions. Or if I do, they’re always the same – be healthier, look better when I leave the house, get more organized. And since I keep making them, I guess they’re not getting done.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

No. Though, I am sitting here thinking Wouldn’t it be terrible if I said no and that was wrong? What if I just couldn’t think of it at the moment of writing this post? I’m most definitely sure this is a no though.

4. What countries did you visit?

None. But I did spend at least 71 nights in hotels and took 50+ flights (most of which happened in the first six months of the year).

5. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A job.

6. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I’m terrible with specific dates. The only one that I can remember really is 6/15 – my last day at Epic.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally moving to California. A 4 year long distance relationship is a huge achievement.

8. What was your biggest failure?

I guess I could say not getting it together and finding a job, but I’m ok being unemployed. And after my short stint of temporary employment, I’m happier being unemployed than in a job I don’t like.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Caught a crazy cough from my brother over Thanksgiving. Pulled a muscle from coughing too much. Mostly better now.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

Fitbit. Hands down. I love this little thing.

11. Where did most of your money go?

Living expenses and health insurance.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I surprised the boyfriend on Valentine’s Day by flying out to California. I was really excited about that.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?


b) thinner or fatter?

I feel fatter, but I think it’s still the same.

c) richer or poorer?


16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Pretty much anything that I can only do in Wisconsin.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing over being unemployed. Sleeping (I slept a lot more than I usually do).

18. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with my family. Now the only time of year my entire family gets together.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

I don’t have a favorite show, but I watched a good chunk of Battlestar Galactica, Wings, Scrubs, The Walking Dead, and Law and Order: SVU this year.

20. What was the best book you read?

Tied: Packing for Mars (Mary Roach) or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot) or The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) or The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (Jennifer Lee).

21. What did you want and get?

More “life” less work.

22. What did you want and not get?

Direction. Less stress.

23. What was your favorite film of this year?

Oh god, nothing came to mind for this question. I actually had to Google “top 2011 movies” to even job my memory of what was released this year – even though I know I don’t watch new movies that often. So my favorites this year (even though most are old): The Adjustment Bureau, The Cove, and The Good The Bad and The Weird.

24. What new music did you discover?

Uh Huh Her, The Cults, Kimbra

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I never do much on my birthday. This year it was spent with the boyfriend’s family. We got a strange Asian cake that had this weird jello layer. I turned 26.

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Transitioning into San Francisco. Haven’t quite gotten to wearing layers. But in general, more dresses and skirts and longer shirts.

27. What kept you sane?

The boyfriend.

28. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Making new friends in a new city without a job is really really hard.

29. What do you need to make time for in 2012?

Continuing to cook and read after I find a job, more active activities, writing in this blog, maybe meeting new people.