Category Archives: Work It

Spinach Fandango! (and a quandary)

I threw together some random stuff and ended up making an awesome dinner last night. I also have a work-related situation that I need advice on, so that’s beneath the recipe if you’re interested or just want to skip down.

Spinach Fandago!

Spinach Fandango! (Aaron says I had no choice but to name it this)

5oz Piccolini Farfalle
7-8 cups baby spinach
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp garlic
1 tbsp butter
5 Laughing Cow Babybel Light rounds

Get the water heated and boil the pasta per the package directions.

In the meantime, add the spinach to a large skillet or saute pan. A friend who doesn’t like spinach suggested substituting arugula here, so if you try it (or kale, or anything else) please let me know! Give the spinach a few minutes to wilt down a bit, then add the lemon juice, garlic, and butter.

For the record, I used the fake butter spray, but you could use any butter.

Let the spinach wilt down, cooking it until the liquid is mostly cooked off.

Break the cheese into small pieces, just to make it melt easier. I happen to think you could try all sorts of other cheeses as well, and I have plans to try goat cheese next time.

Once the pasta is done, toss everything together. For me, this made 2.5 servings since I made a smallish one for the Toddlerette.

This turned out so well, and it was surprisingly filling too. Evi loved the pasta, but hated the spinach… so maybe we’ll try it with something else too. She’s usually a veggie fan, so I was surprised she didn’t just love it.

MFP Recipe Stats - Spinach FandangoHere are the stats per MyFitnessPal:

Since we broke it out into 2.5 servings, each of the two larger servings had 351.2 calories, 46.8 carbs, 7.6 grams of fat, and 24.4 grams of protein. The smaller half serving had 175.6 calories, 23.4 carbs, 3.8 grams of fat, and 12.2 grams of protein.

Spinach Fandango! 2It was seriously delicious, so much so that I am seriously considering a lunchtime grocery stop to get some goat cheese and more spinach.

So… on to the work dilemma I’m having…

I’m in this weird place at work, mostly thanks to the organization undergoing some pretty serious restructuring. It’s really a good thing for me though, because it’s giving me a chance to take a super active role in defining what I will do for the company moving forward. The day-to-day responsibilities of my job won’t change, which I’m happy about because I actually *like* my job, but I’ll have the opportunity to focus specifically on one of two paths moving forward. The reason I have to choose a path is because the focus on one or the other will mean conferences, seminars, classes, committees, and meetings that further my knowledge on the path, increase my exposure to that aspect of the company, and (along with my other work tasks) will be too time consuming to choose both options.

So it’s really a great place to be… except I’m having a really hard time choosing the direction that is best. Path #1 means a great fit for my current position, making me indispensable to the company and following a tech-related path that I find interesting; it means guaranteed job stability and a clear path to a bigger, better position at the company. Path #2 means pursuing more of a communications path, adding in some marketing that I’m not sure I have the aptitude for, which gets me much closer to my bigger picture, longer term personal/professional goals; it means being useful to the company but not in a groundbreaking, can’t-be-fired sort of way.

So do I choose what benefits me most now, or what most fits my long-term goals? What if Path #2 takes me too far into marketing, pulling me away from the writing/communications path I really want? What if Path #1 leads me to being “stuck” in a position I don’t want just because I have indispensable skills?

I hate big choices.

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Sunday Afternoon

Beach

from tumblr.

It’s been brought to my attention that my blog has not only been sparse lately, but a bit gloomy too.

The truth is that I’m doing pretty well right now. I’m just super busy between work and commute and home and social stuff now that the weather is nicer, so I tend to come to the blog only when things are going wrong and I need a place to vent and find advice.

There are some things I’m struggling with right now, like maintaining healthy habits and dealing with a stressful work environment, but overall I’m doing really well. I love my job, have found friends among my coworkers, and am doing a relatively good job of staying steady with my weight loss and health efforts even if I’m not making a lot of progress.

Aaron and I are doing SO well. We just celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary, which was just another chance for us to remember how much we adore each other.

Evi. Is. Fabulous. Her 3rd birthday party at the zoo was absolutely wonderful, and everyone had a great time. She’s smarter every day, more fun, and although she’s pushing her limits more than ever she remains (overall) a sweet, easygoing kid.

In short, my life overall is great. I’m scared about my upcoming Warrior Dash, but comforted that a friend will be right beside me on the course. I’m interested to see how things will go at work in the next few weeks since we’ve got SO much going on at the office with events and everything else.

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5… 4… 3…

<– That would be the clock in my car this morning. Why yes, it does show an inhuman hour of the morning. You see, I wanted to get to the gym by 5am (it’s 2 minutes from my house) so I got up at 4:30. I made sure all of my work stuff was packed for the day, laid out my work clothes, slept in my gym clothes, and spent a few minutes shaking off sleep fog. I got in the car at 4:45, let the car warm up, and made it to the gym just as it was opening its doors.

I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill and another ten on the elliptical. I feel awesome. I was the second person there, but quite a few other people came in as I was getting my workout finished. By 5:45 there were five or six of us. It was sort of cool, like a little club of early morning exercisers who are either crazy, hardcore, or crazy hardcore. Either way, it was great. The gym is close enough that I can do 50 minutes or so, then still get back to the house in time to quickly get ready for work and ride in with Aaron and Evi in the mornings, thus still giving me the car time with them. It’s the perfect solution and I love it. It’s an express gym, so there are no classes or anything, but there are a ton of cardio and weight machines, so I should be fine. My plan is to go every day during the work week. I’m sure things will get in the way sometimes, but for now I think it works.

In other news, my itty bitty baby girl turns three one week from tomorrow. THREE. I’m still processing, since as far as I’m concerned she was born five seconds ago.

Today, we’re also celebrating our eight year wedding anniversary. I’m not going to lie, I forgot until my mother emailed me. I’m so not girly about that sort of thing. The truth is that we like each other a little more every day, so remembering a special one doesn’t seem like a big deal. Still, it’s cool. Eight years, man! We must be doing something right…

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Time Management

Time

source: christainnewyork.com

I’m not very good at managing my time. I spend a lot of time staring into space or putzing about yon inner-webs. Lately, it’s been catching up with me. I’m constantly feeling like there isn’t enough time… not enough time to get the work done, not enough time to spend with the kidlet, not enough time to workout like I used to, not enough time, not enough, not enough.

It’s stressing me out. In fact, it’s depressing me a little and making me generally LESS productive, which just feeds the cycle.

So here’s the thing, the dirty truth, the thing I shy away from and make excuses for and pretend isn’t true.

I say I don’t have time. Truth? It’s not a priority.

Oh my god. What does that even say about me? That I’m not making my health, MY KID a priority? I feel overwhelmed and professionally underappreciated. I’m absolutely NOT intentionally choosing Tumblr over exercise or teenager television over my kid. I’m just feeling… put upon, I suppose, and it’s making me shut down a little. I’m managing to eke out little things… pushups here and there, spinach smoothies at breakfast, walks at lunch time…

God, I have got to shake it off. I need to start focusing on…

You know what, let me just start now. I’m off for a family walk.

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Defeated…

Thanks to an entire collection of things, some of them in my control and others out, I’ve lost my running mojo… so much so that I’m going to have to pull out of my planned races for the year. I’ll still be doing the Warrior Dash, but probably not anything else.

I could mull over all of the reasons why this happened, or talk about why it was or wasn’t my fault, but in the end, it simply… is. The details aren’t terribly important. No more excuses.

Beginning tomorrow, I’m hopping into a challenge with a coworker and we’ll be tracking our weight, exercise, food, and progress at work. I’ll still be exercising and running some, but things will be shifting.

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Hotel…

3.5.12 HotelI’m in a hotel tonight. I’ve got a two day training for work that’s just far enough away from home to warrant a night in a hotel. Fortunately, the office is paying for it.

I spent the entire day in meetings, doing everything I could to maintain decent eating habits in a catered office breakfast/lunch. I am super proud of the fact that I made good food choices, walked as much as I could manage, and even reigned it in when we went out for dinner. We went to PF Changs, and I chose steamed shrimp dumplings that were absolutely wonderful.

Tomorrow I’m planning on a run…

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Dumb

Med School - Toy Story

source: tumblr.com

I still honestly believe that leaving the post-bacc program saved my sanity and my family. I was killing myself. But honestly? I still can’t think too much about it because walking away from it left me questioning some of how I see myself.

Be prepared, I’m about to indulge in some serious self-pity.

I’m smart. I got excellent grades my whole life, and did it without working very hard. It’s just the way my brain works. I got used to, and very much liked, being good at academics.

So when I consistently got mediocre grades in that program? I hated every second of it. I KILLED myself studying, slept WAY too little, drank WAY too much coffee in a desperate attempt to pull off the grades I was used to, the grades I still believe I would have needed to get into med school.

And? I just couldn’t. Yes, there were some extenuating circumstances like raising a toddler and, more importantly in terms of disruption, my five hour daily commute. I firmly believe that if I’d lived much closer to or on campus, like I believe the other students did, I would have had an easier time. It still would have been tremendously hard for me, but I think I could have pulled it off. And sometimes that really gets to me, that I’ve walked away from a potentially great path because of circumstances beyond my control. That being said, in the end I really don’t think it was the right path for me.

A good hard look at my priorities actually had me wondering why I’d ever chosen the program in the first place. At what point did I decide that making a lot of money would be worth spending years away from Evi, as she blossomed and grew? I think it might have been doomed from the start. I would have missed her too much.

Sometimes though, I wonder if I really could have done it. Sometimes I fear I was just not smart enough. I was literally giving it everything I had (and then some) and just wasn’t keeping up. For someone who has always defined myself in terms of my academic achievement, who has drawn much of my sense of worth from my perceived intelligence, how do I come to terms with academic failure?

I don’t know. I’m not even sure why I’m writing about this now, except that I’m hormonal and the (largely) useless job hunt I’ve been plowing through since September is starting to wear on my sense of worth.

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What NOT to say…

I had two interviews today. While I would like very much to talk about the first one, and I will at the end, I really need to talk about the second one, because it was… epic.

Inappropriate

source: cheezburger.com

Seriously, this was the most awkward and uncomfortable interview I’ve ever had or even heard about. Let’s go with a list that gets progressively worse.

  1. The pay is dismal, even for this low-paying area. He prefaced this was a long winded speech about the economy, despite having previously boasted about the current success of the business.
  2. As the “lowest girl on the totem pole” (no really, he said that) I’d be closing every night.
  3. He hoped I didn’t mind other women telling me what to do. Huh? What a weird thing to say.
  4. All of the other women in the office are (AND I QUOTE) “kept women” so the pay isn’t a problem since their husbands make “all the money”
  5. Along with the dismal pay, I’d also be expected to shell out nearly $1000 for a certificate within two months of getting the job. No reimbursement, and the certificate would require classes all weekend, every weekend for months.
  6. And he called me fat. Okay, he said that he really wants the people in the office to be at optimal health (it is a health based company) which (AND I QUOTE) is “obviously something you could work on.”

Hmm… Let me think… Do I want this job? Hey, NO! When he said the fat thing, I actually stood up, thanked him for his time, and said it wasn’t the right fit for me. I got to the car before I let out a good, long angry laugh. The whole thing was super ridiculous. I can’t believe it even happened. I’m glad I’m not in a place where I feel awful about my body anymore, or I would totally have cried. Instead, I’m mostly just amused.

On the positive side, my morning interview was WONDERFUL. The job seems like the perfect fit, the interview was fun and relaxed, and everyone seemed to enjoy the time. I should hear back by Monday, so send good thoughts!

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Hoping

energy & persistence

source: tumblr.com

I’m feeling incredibly positive today. I’ve gotten back into exercise and eating well, and while I’m still struggling to maintain a hold on my healthy habits I’m doing much better, mostly because I’m realizing that bad choices are going to happen sometimes… and they’re kind of no big deal.

I’m also finding some other positives, including FINALLY having some positive feedback in this endless, dreary job search. I have one interview scheduled for next week, and I should be hearing back early next week about another potential interview. On top of that, I’ve also turned in applications this week for two more jobs I’m excited about. I’m super excited that things might be looking up in the professional arena.

I’m also super excited that I’ve got a running coach now! With all of the races I’ve signed up for this year, I really needed some guidance about how to finish these distances and… not die, basically. So thanks to an awesome Twitter/blog friend, I’m now getting a training plan put together for my upcoming events. Once the process gets under way, I’ll share a bit more about it and let you know how it’s going.

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#20/21: Plug Unplug Ripple

How has technology affected your life (positively or negatively) in 2011? Do you want this to continue for 2012? (WEverb11)

While technology has it’s downside, like a certain addictiveness that has me sometimes worried about the time I spend in front of a laptop instead of interacting with friends and family, for the most part it’s all positive. For me, technology means staying in touch with the grandparents through Skype, meeting new friends who happen to be fellow fangirls, having a place to unload my worries and frustrations, and it’s even a small source of income for me. Without technology, I’d be much lonelier in my middle-of-nowhere house. I’d really love for the income portion to expand in the new year, but I also want to be more aware of the unnecessary time I spend online and cut it back to make room for more quality family time.

The butterfly effect posits that a small change can ripple across whole ecosystems. Who do you credit for the small action that made all the difference in your life this year? (WEverb11)

Wow. I am not sure where to begin with it.

I guess in the end, the answer is Evi. She’s the reason for everything. Knowing I’d miss out on so much time with her is the reason I left Georgetown. Knowing how closely she watches me and how quickly she learns is why I’m pushing so hard to get and stay healthy.

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