Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just a grouch

I think I might have a problem. I think I might be an asshole.

Really, I might need to join AA - Assholes Anonymous.

My asshole-ness really comes out at work. Especially during meetings. I can't stand the (completely not funny) banter that happens before the actual meeting begins - even though the meeting started 10 minutes previously.

It's even worse during conference/WebEx calls. Thank god I don't turn my video camera on. Otherwise everyone would see me rolling my eyes from the stupid comments and flipping the bird at the people who haven't prepared for the meeting.

My real pet peeve is people who waste my time. Whether I'm in the middle of developing a project or just surfing on the web, I can't stand it when someone tries to take my time when he/she is not providing any value to me.

Because really, it all comes down to what's in it for me.

I don't know if it's because I'm a yankee who's now in the south and things are just different here. Maybe not because I was just as impatient back in New Jersey.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A second job?

One of the things that keep us (mentally) young is to explore new things.

I explored a chair dancing / pole dancing class.

It was actually a workout class, and damn if I'm not sore. All those squats and hip gyrations and those fireman swings around the pole.

The best part about this class is that it was all women. Real women. With curves.

It was fun to not worry about what you look like or who's looking at you. There weren't even mirrors in the room so you couldn't see if you looked like an idiot.

The class was at a gym in downtown Raleigh. Aradia Fitness has a studio in one of the gym's rooms and from the ceiling are suspended silk ribbons for another class. They also have another location closer to me and I really think that I'll be checking them out for more classes. This was way too fun.

See the video about Aradia Fitness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Scrap Exchange

I was in Durham this weekend for the farmer's market and was strolling around when I came upon this ridiculous elephant.
Intrigued, I wandered into the door and found this magical place called The Scrap Exchange.
The Scrap Exchange is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.

We collect materials from hundreds of individuals, businesses, industries, and municipal sources and distribute those materials through our retail store in Durham, North Carolina as well as through workshops, parties, and outreach events across the Southeast.

This was such a fun place to explore. There were giant blue bins of...stuff, or crap, depending on how you see it.
There were cassette tape holders, wire, bumper stickers, computer keyboards (without the keys), puzzle pieces, plastic things, and other stuff that I really didn't recognize. Then in the back were piles of fabric just waiting to be used in something wonderful.

You could use one of the different sizes of bags and fill it up from the blue bins for a specific dollar amount.

Or you can just purchase things separately. They even have workshops where you can get creative and make stuff from the things you find. That's sounds like a great birthday part to me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Expressing my creative side

Last night my alum group went to a local paint studio for a painting lesson. Well, it was more of an evening of copying what the instructor was doing, while drinking wine, eating cheese and cookies and doing a lot of laughing.

I started by painting the sky. The original had a vertical streaky sky and looking at it now, I don't really like it. If I could do it over I wouldn't make it streaky.

The grass was done in the same fashion as the sky. I cheated and flipped my canvas upside down to paint the grass.

Then I added in white gloppy things to indicate where my poppies were going to be. And to make a base to allow the colors to pop better against the grass.

There are a few colors I missed taking a picture of, but on the poppies are washes of yellow, orange and red.

Finished off the poppies with brown and purple centers and some white and blue swirlies just for visual interest.

I added in some leaves, clouds and voila! The finished, and signed, project.

Everyone with their masterpieces.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Need a getaway

Ever feel like you need a time-out? A break away from life just to breathe in nature and recharge your batteries?

But where to go? Beach or mountains?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The School of Essential Ingredients

What did she do that made her happy? The question implied action, a conscious purpose. She did many things in a day, and many things that made her happy, but that Clare could tell, wasn't the issue. Nor the only one, Clare realized. Because in order to consciously do something that made you happy, you'd have to know who you were. Trying to figure that out these days was like fishing on a lake on a moonless night -- you had no idea what you would get.
I just finished the book "The Happiness Project". I liked it so much that I bought a paperback copy for myself last night. But Charles has it right now. I let him borrow it because he was interested in it after I described it to him.

So now I'm reading a new book, "The School of Essential Ingredients" by Erica Bauermeister. I'm only 35 pages in, but it reminds me of "Chocolat" and "Like Water for Chocolate"where the food takes on magical qualities. So far, so good.

But I was especially taken aback by the paragraph above about happiness. It seems to be a recurring theme for me lately, and something that I've been taken much more to heart.

Finding happiness is an action. And something that requires constant thought. Because when you get complacent, and just 'go with the flow', you risk the chance of letting it go or taking it for granted. You need to constantly ask yourself, or remind yourself, 'what makes you happy?' and do it.  Self-sacrifice and giving into the whims of other people, if that takes you away from what truly makes you happy, will ultimately break you.

I don't want to be broken. I'm just starting to enjoy how I put myself back together. I've gotten to know myself again and I'm ready to let the world know.

But I'll start with one man.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A good morning

I know, I haven't posted anything about bike week yet. Get over it. A video is coming.

But today I had a date. A breakfast date.

We met at Panera an hour before I had to go to work for coffee and quiches. It was fun, and light and there were a lot of smiles.

And it was good.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Three second decision

Friday. 4:00 pm. The phone rings.

It's Charles.


"You haven't checked your email!"


"I'm about to ride into Daytona. You need to get on a plane and come down here."

Three second pause...

"Ok. Let me check Expedia and call you back."

"Pack light."

With barely hesitation, I was looking for flights to get me from Raleigh to Daytona that night. Because he called me and wanted me to be there. And there was nowhere else that I would rather be.

I know the things I said and the things he said. And I haven't changed my mind about how I want to spend my time doing things that I enjoy.

But in those three seconds it took me to decide I knew that we would have fun, it would be an adventure and it would make me happy. Which are generally the requirements for most crazy-ass shit that I do.

So after some searching, I booked myself on a flight the next day. I'd be in Daytona Saturday afternoon. Just 24 hours from then.

It would be either a really good decision, or a really bad decision. There would be no in between.

Surprise weekend

What did you do this weekend?

Me, I went to Daytona for Bike Week. To meet up with Charles. And it was awesome!

More to come, I promise!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Dolphin smiles

I have a tattoo. Its of a dolphin.

I got it in college for two reasons. First is that my big sister has a dolphin tattoo and her big sister has a dolphin tattoo. (My little sister's little sister has one, too.) But I wasn't just being a follower.

The second reason that I got a dolphin tattoo is that I actually like dolphins.

In school, I took up the mantra, "live like a dolphin and always wear a smile." I think it worked because I had a pretty good and pretty positive college experience.

I think its time for me to bring that mantra back. As part of this happiness project, I need to remind myself that smiles are contagious. And even though I can be thinking I want to pummel you in the head with my bare fists, if I just smile at you, the fury may just subside.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Gal Pal Auction

Emcee at the Gal Pal Auction
Last night I went with my friend Lori to a Gal Pal auction to benefit the Dress for Success organization. Their mission is:
is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
There were plenty of goods and services available for the silent auction and some really awesome things available for the live auction. Lori scored a week at a vacation home in the outer banks for $900.

As I looked around this room full of women, it struck me again how when we band together, we can accomplish great things.

The last auction item of the night was a pair of tickets to see Diana Ross at the Durham Performing Arts Center; orchestra center. But before the bidding started, everyone had to get in the Diana Ross vibe.

My venn diagram

I have quite an interesting group of women who are a part of my life here in North Carolina. I have four distinct groups of friends. At least, there will be four once softball season begins.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Batter up

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

I just signed up for a recreational softball league and I am so excited. I haven't played in years. Damn, it's been almost ten years.

I miss the smell of the grass and taste of grit in my mouth after I slid into third base. I miss the sweat and the grass stain on my pants and the ice cream (in high school) or the beers (at work) the team would get after a game.

I miss the feeling of being part of a team. Cheering for someone up at bat or trying to psyche out the pitcher. Of the inside-out rally caps or the silly superstitions we had to follow in order to win a game.

I miss the singing on the bus on the way to games and dumping the water cooler over our coach when we won.

I miss how my thighs used to look when I was 17 years old. Crap.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

An apology

I was inspired by my friend who apologized to her boyfriend's mother. Not because she felt she did anything wrong, but because she hurt the woman's feelings. And that is reason enough.

I never thought about it that way before.

And I thought of Charles.

I'm not sorry with the choices I made and the life I made for myself. I'm also not sorry for contacting Charles again and for trying to bring him back into my life -- to whatever degree. And I'm definitely not sorry for wanting to maintain the level of activity that makes me happy.

But I am sorry that I hurt his feelings. Regardless of what didn't match with us, he is a kind man with a generous heart and that's what made me fall in love with him.

And I let him know.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Glass box

I wish my cube at work had a ceiling. And doors. So I could close out the nonsense that surrounds me. My headphones can only go so loud.

I'm tempted to put up a sign like in this post.

Double blue and gold

I am a sorority girl. An unrefined, unapologetic, proud, involved sorority girl. I think that is what saved me when I found myself lost and alone in North Carolina.

I have always said that everything I learned to make it in the real world I learned from being in a sorority. And not just being in one, where you might imagine consisted of parading around campus in letters, flash mobbing a fraternity party or yelling like silly girls every time 'our song' came on the bar jukebox. (Well, I did that.) I also was a leader in one. Still am. As an undergrad, I was chapter president and house manager. I had a job to do and I had to do it well in order for my chapter to be successful.

So almost twenty years after my initiation, when I have to deal with a tense situation, or manage different projects, introduce myself to a group of strangers or turn a basement into a classy party area, I don't turn to what I learned in Accounting 101 or my Ethics in Media class. I turn to what I learned from being a sorority girl.

Fast forward 8 months since I became a North Carolinian and I find myself sitting on a couch with sisters, who had previously not known each other, sipping wine, sharing stories and curled up in our comfy clothes watching The Bachelor on a Monday night. And its as if I'm 19 years old again, hanging with my sisters in the lounge of my chapter house.

What is it about being in the company of like-minded women who can make you feel so good about yourself? We come from different backgrounds, but because of our sorority, we know that there are some basic principles that bind us together. And they're also some pretty kick-ass women, too.

I am very fortunate to have signed my bid 19 years ago. And to be exactly where I am right now.