6/14/2013

fake friday fave five - "I'm in Work Clothes" edition

Friday Fave Five

1) My new Stanley travel mug. I just started a multi month contract working on-site at Fancy New Worksite. MM and I are not good about getting to bed on time. 6 am is not my friend. We are not even frenemies. We are just plain enemies. I don't care how beautiful and cool and peaceful the early morning is with your birds and your sunrises. I only care about tea and coffee. (MM and I have been pretty much caffeine free for a while now, but this contract is changing everything.)

MM broke his favorite travel mug while we were camping last month, so one evening we headed to REI with a fist full of dividends and a heart full of desire. After two hours (OK, 45 minutes, I was hungry, so it felt longer to me) of ditzing around with unfulfilling REI mugs of various sorts and sizes, we spied the 16oz Stanleys. Perfect. Solid. Vacuum insulated up to 10 hours hot and lots more hours cold. The cool, old-timey textured steel. Two colors - Official Grandpa's Stanley Green (blegh!) or blue. Fabulous leakproof lid. As the Gamers say, this thing was made of win. Bought it. Took it home. It fit in the cup holder on his messanger bag. Win! It fit our cupholders in the car. It fits a Starbucks Grande. Win! He used it for a week and still loved it. All kinds of win!

So when I got my new contract, he bought me one in the smaller size. (I am a Slow Beverage Drinker.) And now I can drink free coffee at the office, which keeps me from frazzling into tears from being way too tired. Biggest Win of all.

2) Yogurt. I'm just into it this week. Specifically plain yogurt, blueberries, slivered almonds, and a splash of vanilla extract. Dude. So good. I didn't have any this morning, and life just felt incomplete. So did my tummy. You could say, there was a Yogurt-shaped hole in my tummy. Lucky for me Fancy New Worksite has cafeterias. It took me awhile but I found yogurt (Greek! Strawberry Banana!) and assorted nuts and things to dump into it. Awesome. Hole filled up. Between that and my Stanley, this morning perked right up!

3) Work Clothes. I know its everyone's dream to work at home in your pajamas/underwear, but I've missed work clothes. After a couple of years of yoga pants (and the occasional I'm Trying Today Jeans), I'm enjoying business casual. Its hot as blazes here, so my wardrobe for this project is a rotation of sleeveless blouses and a cardigan with khakis, capris, or skirts. This is not fancy suit action, but it is a step up from T shirts every day. And, bonus, when I "dress up" for work, I like my yoga pants better. MM has been so sweet about indulging my Buddy the Elf, "I'm in work clothes!" outbursts and complimenting my outfits.

4) My messenger bag. Another copy from MM. He'd been unhappy with his messanger bag (an REI bargain bin find) for as long as I've known him, and found one at Office Max that he liked. Olive green, canvas. Looks like a writer's bag. Makes you feel legit when you tap-tap, scribble-scribble away at Starbucks. We got it for him. He loved it. Kept telling me to get one before they are out of stock. I was looking for more girlie ones, but they are all too pricey. A few weeks ago he got me this one, a little encouragement during my job search. It really is perfect. Great pockets. Not too floppy. Fits the Stanley, a laptop, space for books, a little organizer section for pens, etc. a newspaper pocket on one side, and a zippered pocket on the other, which I basically use for my "purse" when I carry this bag. MM figured out how to take off the Swiss Army logos. (Yep. Swiss Army bags. Sadly, these bags do not include wine openers.) I am going to applique some girly fabric on mine. Until then we are pretty much matchy matchy with our bags and our coffee mugs. :D (We even have a couple matching T shirts. #dorks)

5) My man. I know I talk about him a lot, but I can't help it. He has encouraged me a ton this week. When I came home brain dead on Tuesday he made dinner while I sat and watched reruns of The Office. To prevent my mornings from being frazzled hot messes, he cheerfully engages in the Nightly Chores Routine instead of doing fun stuff like driving to the City to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or watching movies. And because no matter how smoothly the morning goes, it is still hard for me, he goes to bed a lot earlier than he'd prefer. He's done the lions share of laundry this week, and caught us up on household tasks that we'd fallen behind on (with my shoulder out of commission, he is the full-time Executive Scrubber of Bathtubs and Floors and Grills and Gunky Pans). My commute means he has to go to the office earlier and stay later, which gives him less time to do his fun stuff, and he's graciously found ways to accommodate that. And he's been kind to me as I've been adjusting physically, mentally, etc. to way less Introverted Processing time. Poor guy. I go into these weird fugue states where I just sit and stare at nothing, sometimes in the middle of sentences. He just rolls with it. I've been blessed to work at home for the duration of our marriage, and this shift could have been a disaster, but it hasn't, in large part due to MM's cheerful flexibility, and kindness.

He is made of way more win than Stanley.

BONUS) Fancy New Workplace has automated standing desks! I am in love! For a person who writes for a living, these are a God send. You push buttons to raise and lower them for the perfect ergonomic height when you are sitting or standing. Awesome. I have no idea how much these cost, but every office should have them. Seriously. Sitting down all the time is killing us. This is a relatively simple solution. Love, love, love.

BONUS 2) The automated towel dispensers in the ladies room sound like some of the electronica from Gangam Style, so all my bathroom trips end up with that song in my head for awhile. One of these days I will scare someone by singing out, "Heeeeeeeey sexy lady. Op- op- op - op op- Opa Gangam Style!"

6/10/2013

dancing stars and cuisinart ice cream makers

The earth spins and dips and makes out its dance among the stars. I got a contract. It starts tomorrow. I got new shoes and khakis for work and have done my best Buddy the Elf impersonation: "I'm wearing Work Clothes!" I got an appointment to meet with an orthopedic surgeon about my torn rotator cuff. We've planned new daily and weekly rhythms for this new season, and have spent the last week staying up too late, eating junk food, and spending too much money - just to get it all out of our systems before we buckle down to what MM calls The Season of Being Grownups, but the church calls Ordinary Time.

Speaking of which, we tried out a church around the corner. We've driven passed it a zillion times the last three years, but last week they changed their message board out front: "Are you looking for a sign from God? Here it is!" Ha! We cracked up and thought, these people can't be half bad if they joke on their sign.

They aren't half bad.

In fact, this was the warmest welcome I've EVER received. Ever. Everyone was kind, gracious, friendly, and warm to us, and genuinely affectionate with each other. So many people made a point to connect with us, to make sure we knew about the coffee hour, and that there was a BBQ planned for after 2nd service. "You picked a great day to visit!"

It's an old fashioned church with pomp and circumstance and traditions we're not familiar with. They pass the peace - like actually, "Peace be with you." "And also with you." The priest/rector/vicar (?) person stands in the midst of the congregation to read from the gospel. They have a fancy procession and recession, an incredible pipe organ, and a choir of old ladies and one dude singing anthems and leading hymns. Between the hymnal (people still use those?) and the print out of the morning's liturgy, we kept fumbling, turning to the wrong page, getting lost and giggling. But we recognized a lot of it, and the young black woman behind me sang steady and sure with voice so bright and clear, she helped us find our way through. No one seemed to mind that we were clueless.

It was promotion Sunday for the Sunday school and the sweet, young, pregnant-with-her-fourth priest (?) in charge of childrens ministry handed out certificates and accolades and thank yous to a bunch of cute little kids and teachers grinning from ear to ear, unsure of being stared at, but enjoying the applause. The rectors called up all the graduates and folks having birthdays and anniversaries to bless and pray for them. Then the elders/vestry (?) called the rectors up to bless and pray for the rectors as they take their family on its first vacation in seven years. Then they introduced the retired pastor who will fill in for them while they are gone, and blessed and prayed for him. (George and Gladys kept turning around to apologize for the extra long service; we kept assuring them that it was fine. It was fine. More than fine.)

Through it all, this little church shared so much laughter and warmth. The sermon/homily/devotion (?) was a bit rambly (I don't think this guy (an intern) gets to speak often), but heartfelt and sweet and had a power of its own. Everyone encouraged him and thanked him for speaking. We sat next to him at the BBQ and heard a bit of his story. Really neat guy. The man on our other side shared his passion for ice cream making, and advised us on which ice cream maker to get. (This one.) A guy named Doug invited us to join the church members at the ballgame Friday. (We already had plans, but it was fun to be asked.)

It was all wonderful, really. I got my beautiful sanctuary. MM got his Communion. There were tons of old people! We felt instantly connected and welcomed. Our new friend Gladys told us, "we're really small, but we are a family." Yes, ma'am. For the first time in a long time we felt light and happy as we drove off after the service (to a snappy wave and a cheery, "Please come again!")

MM and I joke about how weird all this is, and that if we do end up going here, or some place like it, we'll still be some sort of weird Baplican hybrid. "Give it up for the priesthood of all believers. Hey-o!" But it felt good to be in that place, with those people, singing those songs, and praying those prayers. It felt good to look up during communion to eyes crinkling with joy, "Christ's body... Christ's blood... for you."

We want to stumble our way through another service or two. We want to learn some of the old-fashioned lingo, "rector", "vestry", "supply", "collect"... We want to share a few cups of coffee in the Parish Hall with these warm, welcoming brothers and sisters. And in the week between, we lay down, we rise, we eat and work and rest and play, and if we remember to, we watch the dancing stars.