Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In The Driver's Seat - A review

Oops!  I forgot to fill you in on my recent reading habits.  Last month, my dear friend, Sam, sent me a wonderful package with two books.  One of which she thought I'd really enjoy and another that just looked like a fun easy read.  Now, when Sam Howard suggests you read something, you take her up on it because she is pretty much a book genius. 

Unfortunately, I'm lazy, so I chose the shorter book instead of the actual suggestion. The book was titled 'In The Driver's Seat' by Helen Simpson.  Now, for some reason, I didn't pay very good attention to the book jacket and somehow neglected to see that it was a collection of short stories.

What I learned while reading this book is that I apparently can't stand short stories that have no cohesion to one another.  I like character development and getting engrossed in a story, and that's hard to do when the author jumps around from unconnected plot to unconnected plot.  So, I had a pretty hard time finishing the book and it took a lot longer than I expected.

Now, it's not that the stories weren't well written (they were!) or interesting (they were!).  I just found that after a short time with each set of characters, I expected more from them.  I expected closure.  I didn't expect them to be hit by a bus (spoiler...that happens in one) as some sort of end to the story. 

Would I recommend this book? Honestly, no.  But that's because I didn't enjoy it.  Well, that's a good reason to not suggest it I guess... But, if you like short stories, I'd suggest giving it a chance.  Or maybe it'd be good to read at the beach because you won't get super distracted and get all sunburnt.

Either way, I finished it.  So I'm on my way to completing my goal.  And I'm sure I'll enjoy the real Sam Howard suggested reading when I open it up.  Unfortunately for the book, I need to take a quick break from my reading schedule to reread the Hunger Games series before the movie comes out next month. Besides, I'm currently reading comic books.  And I can't count those towards my overall count.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

4 Tips to a Better Work Week

I'm no expert here, but I think everyone has rough weeks sometimes.  Maybe.  Otherwise, it's just me.  And that doesn't seem right at all.  But I think that even if you love your job, there are bound to be lows for you throughout the week. 
So this week, I've started to make some changes that have definitely effected me in a positive way.  Well, some of these things I've always done but some are new.  Whatever.  Here are the tips anyway:
1.) Wake Up Earlier.
I am literally stealing this idea from Kam over at Campfire Chic.  But after reading it, I immediately realized that it made perfect sense.  I am absolutely not a morning person.  I hate getting up and I hit snooze like 5 times if I can.  But this week, I decided to set my alarm for 6am instead of 6:30 and actually get up.  Then, I'd eat some breakfast, stay in my pjs, and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls.  It's seriously the best way to start my day.  Now, I like getting up because it's like a special treat of doing exactly what makes me happy.  And as a non morning person, I need the extra time to really wake up at my own speed instead of throwing myself into my day head first and grumpy. 
2.) Take Time To Laugh.
Work can't always be work, ya know what I mean?  I, personally, cannot be all business all the time.  Shocking, I know.  So, if I'm feeling weighed down by my workload or stressed in general, sometimes (always) it's nice to look for hilarious things on the internet.  And then make them your background on your desktop. 
3.) Take a breath. Step away from your desk.
Sometimes, in the afternoon, my days get rough.  And I realize that the only solution is to stop staring at my computer screen and go to Walgreens.  I usually just go to buy a soda and come back.  And honestly, the soda itself serves a dual purpose of being my excuse to step out as well as my afternoon caffeine boost.  It's the little things.  Plus, when there's a holiday coming up, and let's be honest their always is, Walgreens has delicious candy! 
4.) Listen to music.
Now, I know most places don't allow employees to listen to music but mine does so I consider myself lucky.  When I really need to focus on work and tune out the distractions of my peers, I just pop in my headphones and turn up my jams on spotify or my iPhone. The past few weeks have switched between these two:
I just can't help it.  All of these things make me smile and make me crazy happy.  Instead of being a stressed out megafreak version of myself, I'm a calmer happier version.  Dilligently working and focusing without fear of becoming overly stressed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The First of Many Sewing Projects

Well, I finally did it.  I used my sewing machine.
I've only had it for like...5 months now with it sitting in it's box.  I mean, first I was moving, so I didn't want to set it up and take it down.  Then we moved and I didn't know where to put it.  Then I realized that I needed more things in order to use it (thread, bobbins, pins, fabric).  So I put it off a while longer.
But now, I've actually done it.  I've stopped making excuses (by the way, yes, I'm aware that list up there was all excuses) and actually plugged the damn thing in.  The weekend of the Super Bowl, no less. 
I've had fabric aqnd pillow forms sitting around for like a month waiting for the motivation to strike.  When, finally, I realized the motivation was never going to strike.  If I didn't force myself to tackle this project, it was just never going to happen.  And I was sick of things never happening!
So, at like 3:00 on Sunday, I cleaned off the kitchen table and plugged everything in.  I then tried my hand at winding a bobbin.  The whole time, questioning why I needed to do so.  But I was successful in that endeavor.  And then the problems arose.  My instruction booklet was seriously lacking in photos and more in depth descriptions and I had no idea what the heck a bobbin access panel was. 
So I spent an hour cursing about how bad the directions were and wondering if I needed a bobbin if I had thread (the answer, of course, is yes).  I gave up at kickoff and didn't get remotivated until half time to start googling this damned panel.  After finding a youtube video, I learned that I had to remove this big thing in order to access the panel. Eureka!
So, after the game ended, I finished pinning up my first project (an envelope pillow case) and began sewing.  I can honestly say that the actual sewing aspect of sewing didn't take much time at all.  Granted, I paid no attention to settings or seam allowances but I was just determined to get the darn thing done.  And get it done, I did.  Just look at the photographic proof!
I immediately demanded that John stop shooting people on xbox and give me the attention and accolades that I deserved for creating something so beautiful.  He was impressed, though not quite as impressed as I was.  I think I'll make another pillow tonight!  (maybe)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I am a City Slicker.

Today marks exactly 2 years since I moved to Chicago from Grand Rapids, MI.
I literally just realized that as I started to type out a completely different start to this post.  And I thought, "Huh. I've been here exactly 2 years."  So, I had to redo my intro to state that fact.
See, I've lived here 2 years and today I had one of those moments that made me think, "Yep, I live in the big city."  This morning, after taking my morning shower, I reached to turn off the water and there it was. A cockroach.  Wriggling it's little antenae at me from behind the faucet in the tub.  And my God did I scream bloody murder.
I'm still shuddering.  I'm not sure typing this was a good idea.  I can't stop seeing his little face, mocking me. 
Anyway, I made John wake up and get out of bed on his day off to come take care of our disgusting house guest.  That's right, I can't handle bugs.  But he's gone now.  He got flushed.  But I can't shake the feeling that the apartment is crawling in them.  Ew.
That makes me an official Chicagoan, right?  Having a cockroach in the bathtub makes it so I can call myself that.  That, and my driver's license.  And my lease.  And the multitude of hot dogs I've eaten in the past 2 years.
I can't stop thinking about that scene in Enchanted where Amy Adams' character has cockroaches helping her clean.  They're so nice! blech.  ew.
Maybe I should stop thinking about this and isntead make a list of all the nice things I've had happen in these past 2 years.  I'll think about that for later.
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