Friday, March 29, 2013

The New Normal

When I was a kid, I would make up little lies when I'd talk to my friends.  Stuff that I thought would make me fit in, but that didn't really matter.

I remember telling my best friend in 3rd grade that after dinner every night we would eat a cake.

Because that's what I thought other families did.  I remember her being like "Really??  You eat a cake EVERY night?".  Then I backed out of my lie, saying it was only every now and then.  She accepted my change of story.  I was just trying to try to be "normal".

I also remember panicking when seeing the packaging for toilet paper at the grocery store.  They featured pictures of a lot of babies on them, usually laying on a roll of toilet paper to show how soft they were.  You know, the Angel Soft brand.  I thought, WTF is my family doing using this toilet paper for this disgusting purpose after we use the bathroom when really it's supposed to be a pillow for babies.

I figured, making pillows for that is what normal people would use this for.

I was obviously an extremely gullible and awkward kid.

I'm not exactly sure why I always felt a little out of the loop.  I grew up mostly without a TV which I'm sure led to a little bit of the awkward feeling due to zero knowledge of pop culture of the time.  I am still confused when people bring up stuff like Saved By The Bell and other shows, although I've tried to watch reruns so that I can understand what people are talking about.

By the time I got to college, I realized this whole "making stuff up to fit in" technique didn't work that well.   I decided that I was going to say whatever I felt, at exactly the time that I felt it.  It actually worked pretty well.  I made a lot of friends that I feel truly close to.   There's nothing like a drunken conversation at 3 AM with a friend to pour your heart out.

The part that I struggle with now is adulthood.  You can't just run around saying exactly what you want as an adult.  I mean...assuming you want to have a job and a place to live.  Which I do.  In fact, I just wrote a post a couple weeks back telling people in their twenties to essentially control themselves and act mature and plan for shit.  Which tends to yield results. this moment, I feel frustrated.

Is it normal to feel frustrated?

It's hard to know because I feel like the real communication I used to have with people becomes more and more difficult as you get older.  I don't stop by a best-friend-at-work's desk just to shoot the shit and tell them about random stuff on my mind and listen to them because we both care too much about getting shit done at work to talk.

Because productivity gets you a lot more in life than talking about your feelings.   We have responsibilities.

I have no idea what people's romantic relationships are like because people are either 1) Married and in that secret contract where they don't really share details of their relationship anymore 2) Too busy or 3) More interested in telling you how fucking great brunch was on Instagram.

So it's hard to know if daily frustrations, struggles, and pure happiness you have are common.

It's hard to know if the random feelings of jealousy that I have when someone does something awesome are normal, or just make me an asshole.

It's hard to share things that are secrets that you're not proud of because maybe your friends would be mad.  Or think less of you.  And say that you're too old not to know better.

It's hard to know if you're just being an ungrateful asshole for being minorly dissatisfied with so many areas of life when in reality, you are so freaking lucky.

And of course...other feelings that I'm not willing to type on a public blog.   Because I'm embarrassed.  And I don't want you to think less of me.

I've heard that if you think you might be crazy, you're not.    Maybe that's true.   Maybe no matter how good you have it when tallying up random check marks on a sheet, we're sometimes going to feel a little directionless, scared about the future, and desperately hoping we're making the right choices.

I imagine these are normal feelings.  But who really knows.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Fifty Shades of Confused

You guys...really?

I just finished 50 Shades of Grey and I am just about speechless.

This was 100 shades of bad, guys!   Terrible enough that I now feel awful for any author out there that is struggling to make it and to get published:  Forget what you learned in school about writing,  clearly all you needed to do to make it as a writer was to write a soft core porn about a nerdy virgin turned sex-bot.   I mean...duh... Right?

The first thing that struck me about the book is how terrible the writing is .... And this is coming from someone who enjoyed Twilight AND The Hunger Games!   My standards are low. 

In case you haven't gotten a chance to read this masterpiece, here are some amazing favorite quotes from the book:

"My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping its hands like a five year old"

"My Mouth goes dry and desire blooms in my body....whoa" 

"Oh in IHOP"

"Oh, crapola.  Don't get your panties in such a twist...and give me back mine". 

Actually these aren't my favorite quotes.  These are quotes that I found within 5 minutes of scanning some of the pages.  Gold, pure gold!  

orig source
The Characters

The next thing that perplexes me are the characters.  Even the minor characters!   We've got Jose, the token Hispanic friend who exclaims things like "Dios Mio!" ( what is this, a Speedy Gonzales cartoon?) and Katherine who pretty much exists in the book to assure Ana how hot she is.  "Oh Ana you're so shy but you're so hot!".  etc. etc.   

Frankly, I'm hoping they both get killed off in a mysterious kidnapping in book 2.  

And then there are the main characters, Ana and Christian.

These two?


Ana seems nice enough but dude, who exists like this in real life?  I knew plenty of shy, studious types In college,  and I can't think of one who would have been up for an S&M sex slave relationship with an elusive billionaire in his late 20s with mental issues.   At least I think not.... Maybe I need to reevaluate what these folks were doing when they said they were "studying".

And then there is Christian.  Am I alone in thinking this dude is a nut-job?  

"Elusive billionaire enjoys causing pain to others in private."   

It's like Batman meets Jeffrey Dahmer!   I'm also kind of hoping that in book 2, Ana realizes that Christian has killed all of his ex-girlfriends and that she might be next.  Car chases and suspense ensue sort of like this:  

"Holy Moly!  I realized that Christian is right behind me with a knife ready to kill me...but he is SO HOT!  Maybe I should let him do this?!  Because he is SO HOT!   I looked at his expanding member and forgot that he is a serial killer.  TAKE ME NOW!".  

Maybe I need to write my own fan fiction?

I think the thing that confuses me the most, is that crappy sex-fiction has been around for years.  Why did everyone decide 50 Shades of Grey was better than the Fabio romances?  


Maybe they are all kind of terrible in a fun way?

Or maybe a lot more people are into S&M literature than I thought?

Alright, 50 Shades of Grey fans...out with it.  What do you like about this book?  And does Christian end up pulling a Dexter on Ana in book 2?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Glorious Art of the Humblebrag

Back in the late 80s, when I was making my way into Elementary School, I got into some new program in my school.   I was pumped.

A couple days later, I was playing with some friends while their parents were hanging out.  For some reason, I thought that was the perfect moment to let one of the little boys know how awesome I was.

"Oh yeah?  Well did you know how awesome I am?"  And I proceeded to brag my face off about my fabulous 7 year old academic opportunity.

I still remember the look in one of the parents eyes.  It was one of total disappointment and annoyance...because you's really rude to brag.


At least it used to be!!!   

Fear not, childhood braggers like me, there is a new way to let people know how awesome you are!  It's called humble-bragging.

The good news is that it's easiest to humblebrag on social media.  Here are a few examples on how to get started:

1) The "I wasn't really trying": Sometimes, it's important to communicate that even though you weren't giving an activity 100% you still managed do better than everyone else.   It's a double win, because you get to both communicate that you could have done even better than you did, AND you get to assert superiority over the peons who competed against you.

Example:  "It's so crazy that I won that 10k even though I ran it as a training run?!  Can't wait to see what happens when I really try!".

2) The "So Blessed":  You don't need to be religious to use this one (In fact, if you are religious, it's sadly not as much of a humble brag).   The key is to use the guise of being thankful to brag about almost anything.  Be as creative as you want!

Example:  "Just got the most AMAZING Christmas present from my boyfriend!  He is going to take me to Hawaii! FIRST CLASS TICKETS TOO!  Hehe.  #soblessed  #sexyboyfriend  #ihaveaboyfriend #hawaii"

3) The "OMG why so much attention???" This humblebrag is one of my personal favorites.  It's perfect for communicating how hot other people think you are.  If you are creative in humblebragging, it can also be applicable when trying to show people how smart or popular you are as well.

Example:  "I just went out in sweatpants and no makeup and just got hit on by this hilarious guy while standing in line for my latte!  Hehe I should go out in sweatpants more often!"

4)  "So charitable I can't hold it in!"  This is when you want people to know what a great person are!    Especially worthwhile if you can provide a backhanded commentary on those who did not participate.

Example:  "At the amazing charity celebrity ball I organized!  It's crazy how many people are thanking me for what I've done and how awesome it is. Don't know why other people don't do this more! #overwhelmed #loveothers #loveyourself".

5) "I can't believe it":  This one works best if you're a celebrity.  But fear not, you can express disbelief at any minor achievement and tell everyone about it through a humblebrag!

Example:  "It's so crazy to be recognized on the street!  I'll never get over it.  Sometimes I'll just bump into someone and I want to say sorry but then they want a picture with me! "

These are just some examples on how to get started.  How do you like to humblebrag?

Bonus points for anyone who can combine all 5 types of humblebrag!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marissa Mayer and Working From Home

I may be a little late to this, mostly because I've wondered whether it was appropriate to write an opinion on this topic.   But...I decided why not....

You've probably heard of Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo.  She made headlines when she was appointed the CEO of Yahoo, and more recently when it became public knowledge that she'd changed the "Yahoo working from home" policy.  She is also absurdly gorgeous, but I digress....


I found out about the Yahoo memo that will end working from home this Spring from a Facebook post of a friend of mine.  The post was something along the lines of "SHAME ON YOU MARISSA MAYER.  You are the worst ever and hate women trying to balance home and work."  


And then a multitude of other articles came out with a similar sentiment.   And...I don't get the vitriol.  I definitely feel for anyone who was working hard from home and now has to rearrange their life to come into the office, but the outcry has been more than from just people who work at Yahoo.   It's been everywhere and has ignited a whole work-from-home debate.

Here are my thoughts on the the topic.

1) Yahoo needs help.  

Do you use Yahoo to search? neither.  Also, according to Forbes the productivity of a Yahoo employee is around 40% of a Google employee and some Yahoo work from home employees rarely logged into their work computers from home.


So the company needs help.   Changes are needed.

2)  Double Standard?   I believe much of the outcry against Mayer has been because she is a woman and a mom, in addition to being a CEO.

For example, Best Buy did a similar change in policy for work from home lately and there hasn't been the same outcry.  Apparently Mayer was able to build a nursery next to her office, which additionally pissed people off.  But I mean...what else is new?   Since when did CEOs not get insane perks and get to do stuff the ordinary person can't?  (See Larry Ellison buying airline that will serve his Hawaiian island).

I really feel like the best thing Mayer can do for women, is to kick ass at her job, get Yahoo to be more successful, and show the world how great a female CEO in tech can be.

3)  Expectations:  My mind is blown by the amount of people who think coming into work should be optional when you have a job and are getting paid for it.  I mean sure, if you applied for the job with the understanding it would be a remote position and the policy changes THAT BLOWS and I'm sorry.  But, it's not unusual to see policies change over the years in companies, especially when there is abuse of the policy.

Maybe I'm just bitter because I can't work from home regularly.

4) How good YOU are at working from home:   I think a lot of the outcry is coming from people who are seeing themselves as a Yahoo employee, even if they are not.  Or those who think that Mayer's decision will change how other companies do things.

It's possible her change will cause other companies to follow suit, but I kinda of doubt it as it's not like this is some revolutionary policy that has never been thought of.  

I can see in a job that is pretty standard (recording medical billing, for example) where there is little reason to come into the office.  And I get the "I'm more productive from home" statement...because yeah...sometimes I am too.  But Marissa Mayer's policy change isn't a statement on what the whole world should do, just what she thinks is right for Yahoo.

5) It's hard to argue with teamwork:  Time for a running analogy:  I almost always run harder and faster when in a group.  This is why elites tend to have training partners.  We learn things from each other and become better athletes (employees?) and friends when we spend time together.  There is definite value to being around coworkers and building a team environment.

Soooo....What do you think about the work from home policy change?   Have you ever worked from home?  How did it go?   

I think I'm in the minority in how I feel here, so I would love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lucky Run Half Marathon Race Recap!

After running for the Surf City Half Marathon in early February as a training run, I searched for a reasonably priced, fun looking half marathon to run a little later so I'd have more time to train.

Enter....THE LUCKY RUN!!  

It was in Davis, CA, which was not too inconvenient because Anthony's family lives nearby and he works close by during the week.  It's also at 8 AM which is awesomely late for a half marathon and has day-of packet pickup!  Even better, I found out that Page was registered.  I randomly emailed RoseRunner as well to see if she wanted to come out and run a few miles with me, and...she decided she would come out and run!  Awesome.

My training has been going decently, but I haven't really raced since July (not counting the crappy California International Marathon race), and I haven't been feeling confident at all.  The night before the race I was fantasizing about shutting down the blog, never racing again, etc etc.   Granted, I usually get really nervous / morose before races in general, but it's been worse than usual lately.  I also have been seriously questioning whether it makes sense for me to devote so much time to a hobby.   But, I figured there was no way I could duck out of the race the night before, with Page and Caitlin coming out.

The morning of, I woke up and drove out in Anthony's giant SUV out to Davis.  It was perfect weather for a race:  Sunny and Cool.  

The race is pretty small, so parking was easy.  Caitlin texted me and said she was 20 minutes away and I got my packet.  Before I knew it, I saw Caitlin and she yelled something like "Bunny!".  Honestly it was a funny experience because I'd imagined her to be like six feet tall...and she is totally not!   Normal height!   I told her I really wasn't feeling racing and was hoping we could just run 7:30s.  We lined up and then ran into Page!  (She actually is really tall!  Also surprising!).  It's always so funny to meet blog friends for the first time because I always feel like hugging and acting like we've known each other forever is totally appropriate.  I was really excited to meet Page because she was one of the first running blogs I ever read and very excited to meet Caitlin because come's RoseRunner...

And we were off!  Surprisingly, I felt pretty good.

Mile 1:  7:25

Mile 2: 7:20

Mile 3: 7:19

For the first three miles, Page and RR were chatting like they were running 9 minute miles.  It was amazing!

Mile 4: 7:16

At this point, I started feeling a little mentally defeated.  I considered asking the girls if we could just run 8:30s.  Then I decided to suck it up.

Mile 5: 7:26

Mile 6: 7:21

Heyyoooo...halfway done!

Mile 7 : 7:18

Mile 8 : 7:17

At this point, Caitlin and Page stopped to use the bathroom.  I didn't wait up, figuring that both of those girls are so fast, they could catch up to me no problem.  And they did!

Mile 9: 7:20

Mile 10: 7:29

I hear the girls yelling at me from like 20 yards back.  I turn around and felt so relieved to see them!  I was really excited that they would be there to finish with me and we could push each other to the finish.   (ok...they would push me, not vice versa!).

Mile 11: 7:11

Roserunner starts putting the pace into high gear.  She says that none of us are getting 5 yards from her.  I try to keep up.

Mile 12: 7:10

Page says "Where the eff is the mile 12 marker??".  I grunt in agreement.  Words weren't really an option at this point for me.

Mile 13: 7:18

Page sprints ahead, and Roserunner loops back to finish with me.  Almost there!

Extra Point 1 - no idea.  My mile splits were pretty far from the mile markers and I forgot to stop my garmin anyways!

Final Time / Place:    1:36:47.  11th Female, 2nd in 30-34 age group.  
(of course I was really the 12th female because RR let me ahead of her by like .2 of a second).  
7:23 pace. 

After we caught our breath, we walked around together, pet Page's cute dog, drank small beer samples (Like 2 ounces, WHY SO SMALL???), and ate free powerbars.

And of course...took pictures:  (credit Page)

And more pictures...

(Roserunner and Page share the 3rd place in 25-29 AG prize!)

Final thoughts:  

Ok.  I know this is no PR.  BUT I am really happy with this race.  It was ridiculously fun and honestly kind of a privilege to run with such fast girls.  They were so encouraging and I thought it was hilarious that they were able to hold a conversation almost the whole race.  I know that I finished faster because they ran with me.  

I also felt like I might have had something left at the end and have felt pretty good post-race which isn't exactly a good thing when you race but it makes me hopeful for my future ability.  As I mentioned before, I have felt so down on running this year, and even one mile at my half marathon pace sounds fast to me.  So it felt good to run a respectable time (for me) and I now have hope that I might have a PR in my future if I work hard or get really.....lucky.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What I learned in the 20-29 age group

Meredith M won the Albion Fit cute shirt giveaway!  Email me Meredith.  Sorry it took me so long!!! 

Speaking of things taking long, I've been out of town a lot lately.  I went to Vegas for a bachelorette party.  And then to Palm Desert to retire go to a work conference.  Here's what it all looked like:

I'll be going to Sacramento this weekend as well to run that half marathon.  I think Page and Roserunner may be there as well!  To be frank, part of me is hoping that I get hit by a bus (and am miraculously unscathed except for on race day) so that I don't have to run.  I'm afraid to embarrass myself and I'm afraid of the pain of racing.


I had a twitter conversation with Jocelyn where I jokingly said that I needed to write a "guide on what not to do in your twenties".  This is mainly because she posts a lot of articles on similar topics.  Also, I screwed up infinitely bad a billion times between ages 20 and 29.  So I feel I'm an expert on messing up!  Not to say I know everything now, but you know...I'm learning I'm learning.   

Of course, this reflects my own experience of being an average college grad, not married, who graduated in decent economy (2005).  

Everything I learned while in the 20-29 Age Group. 
(second title don't do as I do, do as I say). 

This is your time to do everything random you ever wanted to:  Even without a bunch of cash, you can do a lot of cool shit in your twenties.  It's not too late to learn.  You wanted to join a roller derby?  Do it.  You want to learn a language?  Find some CDs to listen to (or Mp3s!).

Just because your coworkers dress in Forever21 club gear doesn't mean you have to:  Look at how the higher ups in your office dress and conduct themselves.  Then copy them.  If you're not sure if it's appropriate, it's probably not.

Professionally network.  And pretend it's fun: Take every opportunity you can to attend industry dinners or sessions in your job field.  Don't have your dream job?  Find someone who is and become their best friend.  Tag along to their industry activities.  This stuff can be painful, but just tell yourself you're just "making friends".  Be respectful and careful but have fun.  Personal connections are the best kind of connections.  Try to find a mentor.

Try to meet a ton of people, but be careful who you become close to:  This ties into the last pieces of advice.  All these activities will allow you to meet people.  Lots of people are awesome.  But many are not.  Don't be afraid to keep your distance from friends and coworkers who make you sad or upset. Try to surround yourself with people who make you happy or are a good influence.  Bottom line, if you hang out with a bunch of people you admire, you'll probably end up becoming closer to the person you want to be.

You're not too good to work at McDonald's:  No one is.  Just remember this, even if you never have to work in fast food.

Don't bring your personal life into work:  I spent endless hours over-sharing my relationship woes at work in my early twenties.  I cringe to think of the details I shared and am amazed no one told me how unprofessional I was being.  Ew.   This also applies to letting your personal life emotions bleed into your work life.  I still struggle with this, but if you pretend work is a "safe place" to not think about other shit going on in your life, it can take you far.

If he only wants to talk to you after 12 AM or when drunk, he's an asshole.  Erase his (or her!) number!!!!!  'Nuff said.

Things don't always work out.  It's seldom personal:  You know how you sometimes feel lonely or sad or unable to forge a good relationship?  Yeah, other people are like that too.  Don't take every failure or rejection personally - this can really be a soul-killer.  It's usually a combination of factors.

Don't drink excessively/do drugs:   McGruff was right (Edit...just realized this is the crime dog so this reference doesn't apply, oh well, there goes my trying to be funny...).  I'd argue that the chemical effects of these activities are only part of why you should stay away.  People who are into these things can be a generally bad influence (not always, but often).  Odd are, you're probably better off making friends and blowing off steam by joining a soccer league.

Help others:  Whether it's just helping a friend move, or becoming a regular volunteer at an organization you feel passionately about, get involved.  This helped me a lot in my early twenties.  If you feel you're directionless in every other area of your life, it can really help to start volunteering and feel needed.

Don't allow people give you less than what you deserve:  Both personally and professionally. Research average salaries in your field.  Know what you are worth.  Salary negotiate if possible.   If a friend or romantic connection is making you feel bad, try your best to move on from them.  People will respect you for it and confidence is sexy.

Remember it won't last forever:  This applies to life in general.   No matter how terrible or awesome the experience is that you're going through, if you wait a little bit, chances are life will have changed.   Hang in there.

Go get 'em.  (What advice do you have for me or others?)