working is good, but sorta bad

16 01 2012

Right off the bat, I want to say, with conviction, that I like having a job. I think having a job is great. A job makes the rest of my life possible. So yes, there’s much affection for having a job.

However, having a job is annoying for two other areas of my life. Because a job takes up so many hours of my life, it means there are insufficient hours left for reading and cooking.

A few weeks ago I got a Kindle e-reader, justifying the purchase as a tool for easier reading on the train every work day. Yup, it works. The Kindle is also well-suited to travels. I won’t need to bring a handful of books on our vacations. I have a chance to enjoy that incredibly lightweight feeling when we take the Cayamo cruise in a few weeks. It remains to be seen whether the Kindle is a dangerous marketing tool that makes it oh-so-easy to spend money.

Today I’m not working, so I get to have a cooking extravaganza. This morning I made cole slaw, tuna salad, and a tomato-navy bean-onions-garlic-and-barley concoction. Those items will be my lunches for the rest of the week. Then I sat down for a while. I’m going to make a new recipe for dinner. The meal will have an Indian flavor. The new recipe is chicken, rice, coconut milk, peas, and pistachios. I’m pretty certain there’s an onion in it too. And garam masala.

For today at least, my inner cook does not feel suffocated by my job.


Happy New Year

8 01 2012

The first week of the new year has already sped along.

It’s good to put 2011 behind me – at the least the part with the long jobless period.

I remind myself there were some very nice parts of 2011 – the Cayamo 2011 cruise, a trip to Pittsburgh, a trip to Athens (GA, not Greece), three trips to Algona, a visit from LDW, an Orlando trip to visit Shirley, a trip to Lake Geneva with J, I, K, & K.

I have a tendency to think of the good times as trip-related departures from my average routine. That’s not so healthy – I want to remember that my everyday life is very swell – lots of good meals, good walks, good books and good movies.

So how’s this 2012 year shaping up so far?

For sheer excitement (and a bit of terror), there’s John’s upcoming retirement on 1/31/2012. He is a happy man, but trying not to gloat over his retirement. He’ll be the retirement trail blazer – I’ll catch up later.

Just moments after John’s retirement, we’ll set sail on Cayamo 2012. To celebrate John’s switch to pensioner status, we’re taking L, D, E, and B. A good time will surely be had by all.

I have a few new toys as 2012 begins – a kindle and a smart phone. I hope this technology proves rewarding. I hope I have lots of fun with my devices in 2012 and not a moment of buyer’s remorse. And I hope I can stop wanting new things!

I have the usual slew of ambitions for the new year – be happy and healthy, remove some pounds, eat real food, move/exercise every day, write a little, stay in touch with friends, enjoy a frugal life.

Number one thing that I’m NOT in control of for 2012 – I hope we sell the loft.

top 10 identifiers of the holiday season

18 12 2011

how can I identify the holiday season?

10 Print ads and television commercials are begging me to buy things – lots of things

9 There’s an increase in mail from charity organizations, reminding me of people and organizations that need help

8 Christmas cards arrive in the mail from friends and family

7 I see other people’s holiday trees and yard lights

6 I’m cold, so I wear a sweater

5 I get invited to two wonderful holiday parties

4 I bake pumpkin bread

3 I make even more soup than normal

2 There is a lot of over-eating and over-drinking – snacks at work, holiday meals with friends and family

1 It’s time to start watching my holiday movies! Obviously, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. My big favorite is “Love Actually”. “Mouse Hunt” and “Trading Places” are sure to get some laughs. And my quirky choice – “Fargo” – even thought it’s not strictly a holiday theme, there’s a lot of snow.

notes to my 16-year-old self

4 12 2011

inspired by the last article in The Week magazine…

Dear 16-year-old Nan,

Thing #1: You’re not even “Nan” yet, you’re still calling yourself “Nanci”. Decide to call yourself “Nan” sooner. Nan is a great name – the same backwards and forwards. It’s so short, it’s not abbreviate-able. One cautionary point is that when you introduce yourself, enunciate VERY well, because some folks hear “Nan” as “Ann”.

Thing #2: Fashion is not important. All the time, money, and effort involved in being trendy is time, money, and effort that you won’t have available to spend on anything else. And it’s fleeting. And why let somebody else decide what you’re going to buy and wear.

Thing #3: Boys are a troublesome subject. You will make yourself nervous and sad when you obsess about teenage boys. Really, this too shall pass. A partner is a wonderful addition to your life. But a partner shouldn’t take the place of actually living your life for yourself. When you find J, this will become clearer to you. And you will be so lucky to have J as a terrific partner playing a major role in many of your life stories.

Thing #4: Travel. Because of the previously mentioned fixation on teenage boys, you will not take advantage of having a semester abroad in college. That will be a mistake. Travel is irreplaceable. That college boyfriend is completely replaceable. After college, travel as often as you can. Travel in the US – to every state. The closest foreign countries are Canada and Mexico – both places that are easy to visit. When you have children, take them traveling too. It would be a good idea to keep a journal while traveling, because you’ll enjoy reading it later.

Thing #5: Learn to play a musical instrument. The piano lessons of your youth don’t count. Ideally, choose a musical instrument that’s portable. Definitely choose a musical instrument that entertains you when you play solo and that delights you when you play with a group of friends. This is the hardest thing for you to imagine, but if you get over feeling self-conscious about learning a musical instrument, you will have a wonderful relaxation tool for your whole life.




19 11 2011

Today is full of prompts about being thankful, since Thanksgiving is just a few days away.

I’m hyper-thankful for my new job. I’ve been on the job for five weeks and feel like it’s a good fit for me. My commute is quite do-able, I like my tasks, I have a great boss, my co-workers are friendly, and the benefits are good. It’s a wonderful way to spend my days – and they pay me too.

I’m grateful that I like my home and neighborhood. Except for the cost, it’s a nice place to live. Our efforts at selling have not paid off yet. I was hopeful about a realtor showing/appointment a few days ago, but no offer has been made. I guess they just didn’t love it.

I’m thankful that I have two wonderful daughters and they each have wonderful partners. I enjoy spending time with them – actual time and technology time. The Skype inventor is a genius!

I appreciate my husband more as the years accumulate. I swear I have the best husband in the entire area. I am so lucky. As his retirement approaches, I’m seeing some new sides of him that must have been buried in his work persona.

I’m happy that I have good health, other than carrying too many pounds. I have friends with multiple health problems and I know what a drain that is for them physically, emotionally, and financially. I feel lucky to be mostly prescription-free. But I do love my estrogen – I’ll be keeping that prescription. I should be the poster-child for HRT, since I feel like it gave me my life back again.

I’m grateful that I get lots of pleasure from reading and from writing – two cheap leisure activities. I never get out-of-practice with the reading, but I’m feeling a bit rusty about the writing today.

will I avoid my usual knee-jerk reaction?

24 10 2011

Predictably, there’s a big bunch of new information for me to learn at my new job.

My usual reaction would be to work obsessively to nail down every last piece of information about all the new tasks. I want to feel on top of the situation. I want to do well at the job. I want to feel competent. I want the big stacks of paper to be off my desk.

However, I know from past experience that my sense of urgency about learning the new job can cause my inner non-fun Nan to rise to the surface. Typically, in a new job I feel pressed for time because I know tasks are taking me much longer to accomplish than they would for an experienced person. I feel like my work life is out of control, as the minutes of the day slip away while I work frantically in an attempt to clean off my desk. I feel rushed and anxious. Non-fun Nan does not retreat until I feel in control of the job.

This time I want to avoid the rushed and anxious feelings. I want to keep non-fun Nan out of the picture.

I saw something that resonated with me in Leo Babauta’s blog entry “The Effortless Life: A Manual for Contentment, Mindfulness & Flow”. The blog post is about Leo’s new ebook. According to the blog entry, chapter 17 of the book is titled: Don’t Rush, Go Slowly, & Be Present. Wow – what a good goal for me. The most important aspect of this job is accuracy, not volume. I’ll be a happier worker with carefully precise job output if I convince myself to SLOW DOWN. I think I can, I think I can.

life is good

16 10 2011

Oh happy day – my job search is over. And I’m so lucky – I got a job that I’m excited to have.

My first day at the new job is tomorrow and it feels a little like the first day of school.

So, how have I prepared for my new job? I bought some new used clothes from a consignment shop and I bought some new shoes from Tom’s. I celebrated my new job with food too – we went to our favorite sushi spot Thursday night – the day I got the job. Friday night was Food Truck Friday, the last one of the season. Saturday we had lunch at Broadway Oyster Bar. Saturday night we went to a soft opening for a new burger-and-shakes restaurant two blocks from home. Wow – that’s a lot of celebrating for a gal who doesn’t have a paycheck yet. Today is Sunday and I have called a halt to all my extravagances. I planned my lunches for this week, did some cooking, and decided what time my alarm should awaken me.

I’m ready.