Monthly Archives: October 2011

Day 29: Digging It

I took the last three days off of the day job to test out working from home on Mark the Occasion Designs stuff. Here are some lessons learned.

1. This is going to be a lot of work!
As I’ve talked about ad nauseum, I’m going to be in a craft show November 19th. That was the real reason for the time off; I’m so afraid I’m not going to have enough pieces to sell! To that end, I worked, worked, worked on flowers. I’m still not where I hoped to be even though I sat down and worked for at least 8.5 hours each day. That’s not a little work here, a little Facebooking there…that was straight work. This included no marketing time or administrative work. I’m going to have to prepare for long days if I make this a thing.

2. I can take breaks whenever I want!
I was much more strategic about my time away from my “desk”. Truly, I only stopped to exercise, make dinner, and shower. There was one coffee date in there, but that was a networking activity. So bonus – I may have to start at 6:45 am or go until 9 pm, but if I want to hit up 9am pilates, I can!

On the flip-side, I didn’t have as much time to focus on dinner, throwing in the laundry, or other tasks I thought I might. This could be a function of a looming deadline or it could be reality. This is one for the “con” column as it was an expectation of working from home.

3. I might go stir-crazy.
By Friday I was guilty of taking pictures of the dog and texting Randy a bunch of times. Being in the house without any true people interaction will make for long days. I think this can easily be remedied though. Folks in my classes at the gym seemed chatty and I wasn’t with my normal internet connections. Add in a couple of coffee or lunch dates per week and I think I’d be ok.

4. Make-up might become a weekend-only thing.
The fanciest I dressed the last few days was jeans and a sweater. And, oh was it glorious. In my current life, I change into pjs the second I come home. (Noah hair is a close second to warm and cozy in the list of reasons.) I did make a conscious effort to shower and put on real clothes each day. I made no promises when it came to blow-drying my hair or putting on the full ‘war paint’, but Randy said I was still pretty. Guess that permanent smile made up for the lack of under-eye concealer.

5. I love it. I want it. I need it now.
Bloggy friends, I can’t tell you how much I loved picking what I would work on next. Even as I sewed the 8,000th (ok, the 150th) flower, I still was excited about what I was working on. I loved having Noah as my co-worker. I loved the responsibility for the task at hand and knowing that what I was working on would bring happiness to someone. I loved working in slippers. Just like Mitch in City Slickers, I found my thing. And I didn’t even have to go to the Rockies to find it.


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Day 25: Why I Write

Yesterday was National Writing Day for some school, association, or product trying to get its name out there. Not sure why, but it led to a bunch of my favorite bloggers writing about why they blog. What a great question.

I could truly retitle this blog “Letters to Pablo”. Ever since college, I’ve journaled during moments of anxiety or excitement. My junior year was a particularly rocky one when I would have an anxiety attack each time I took off in a plane. As a kid 1,000 miles (and no direct flights) away from home, I flew a decent amount. I learned to keep my book with me and just write. Sometimes I wrote about how nervous I was. Sometimes about anything but. During that same time, my friendship with A was going through a rocky patch so I felt like I couldn’t just talk to her. Instead, I tied the two issues together and ended up writing her letters through clenched fists somewhere over Appalachia.

Over time, I’ve found I feel better once I purge all these thoughts from my brain. Sure, they’re all up there still knocking around (with 40,000 of their closest friends), but somehow putting it out for the world to see somehow takes the high or low emotion down a notch. Interestingly enough, I think I write best when I have a really heavy topic. Philosopher Maggie much??

To this day, A and I still don’t get to talk enough, but now it’s because good things have interfered. (Well, good things were interfering then, too. I just didn’t know it yet.) This blog also serves as a way to keep up with her and all the other friends I never see.

Do you write in a journal or blog? Perhaps poetry or short stories. If so, why?

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Weekend Homework: What’s Your Passion?

You may have noticed there was a post up yesterday that disappeared a couple of hours after it went up. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the content. Actually, I discovered I wrote the same exact thing exactly one year ago. Isn’t that ironic? October 20th must be a wistful day on my calendar.

I do want to make sure to still include a link to this article from Liz Strauss’ Successful Blog blog. There are great questions at the end to make you think about where your passion lies. Creating, (event) planning, organizing, daydreaming (workday application: strategic planning), writing, making people smile – these are my answers to those six statements.

What are yours? If you don’t know the answer to her questions, I suggest you spend some time this weekend thinking about it. You might be surprised what comes to you.

Again, many thanks to Liz Strauss for making me think this week. I needed it!

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Day 17: Are We There Yet?

I’m not going to lie – this #NoProOcto #Unprocessed Challenge is becoming a bit of a well, challenge. Do you know how much of our normal food has extra stuff in it??? I don’t have specifics, but it’s a phenomenally high percentage.

I had a bad cold last week (leaving me with zero interest in food) and had a bunch of required meals out where I wouldn’t be picking my selection. I like to think that my lunch at the Hyatt was mostly unprocessed food, but I’m pretty confident that my boxed lunch at the SWE conference last Friday included turkey that was more chemical than poultry. Today, I didn’t really think about the fact that I was eating fake potato chips until I was halfway through the bag. Old habits die hard!

After two weeks (wow, way to stick with it, Champ…) I couldn’t muster the energy to make my own breakfast bread for the week yesterday. I tried to find premade granola bars at the grocery store that fit the bill, but even hippie Kashi brand include all sorts of extras. Instead, I’ll be having plain yogurt (YAH! I found “legal” yogurt!) with a squirt of honey. And an extra dose of the hungries by 10am.

When I make my own meals, it is pretty easy to use natural ingredients. I made yummy cauliflower soup, kale chips, and chocolate brownies on Saturday using nothing processed. Also, a homemade spaghetti sauce with shredded zucchini (to replace ground meat) was a hit this last week. I guess that’s the secret… make as much food at home as possible.

Which brings me to my next point; have I found my November challenge?? Unfortunately, I think eating 100% homemade meals would be a harder challenge than eating 100% unprocessed food! What do you think would be harder for you?

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Day 10: We’re Taking This Thing Natural!

I thought it was time to give you an update on the #NoProOcto #Unprocessed food challenge. Quick answer: so far, so good!

Long answer: This isn’t that hard! During the first week, I made a bunch of delicious dinners, including my favorite bibb lettuce salad with goat cheese toasts and a smattering of honey. Seriously, if all natural food were this finger-licking amazing, unprocessed food wouldn’t have had to be created in the first place. Love it!

I did scale back to a soda every other day which was a big challenge met. My secret is to only have Diet Dr. Peppers at home and keep the Diet Cokes for meals out. Sparking juice drinks give me the same satisfaction as a Dr. Pepper. I plan on keeping up this every-other-day thing for another week and then maybe try to go 2 days off.  Warning – you may want to stay out of this grump’s path next week.

I had lunch at the Westown Farmer’s Market last Wednesday. I chose the soup and sandwich combo from the Soup Market. They listed the ingredients for their soups, which were chemical and fake food-free, so I’m hoping the sandwich was, too. I craved a burger Saturday night (possibly because meat had been completely unappetizing to me all week?) and explored online menus to find a restaurant that could give me an unprocessed meal. Stack’d was the winner! They locally source a good number of their products, including 100% Tallgrass beef and Miller’s Bakery pretzel rolls, which I take to equal “no additives.” The onion rings and fries were proclaimed to be hand-cut, so I think the only things I might have to worry about were the ketchup and ranch sauce.

As this week’s life lesson, my definition of “unprocessed” changed thanks to a conversation with Randy. So many products that I enjoy, like my Dannon Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, which sound perfectly healthy, have extra ingredients added in. They are added in for my health, not to extend shelf life, but still they are additives. Which is technically more healthy?? In the spirit of the challenge, I will go the rest of the month without them and their ilk. I have cheese and hard-boiled eggs to replace my go-to morning protein. My Ronzoni Healthy Harvest pasta has been traded in for Roundy’s organic pasta (ingredients: durum flour. The end.) After my week with the bunnies, I’m having a tough time coming up with snacks. I guess I’ll start with dried cranberries and almonds, but I’m worried they won’t give me the same satisfaction and keep me from the office candy jar. I have these crackers I want to try. Do you have any other recipe suggestions for me?

Stay tuned to see how this develops in week two as interest begins to wane!

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