Thursday, March 31, 2011

New inspiration

I, now more than ever, want to flog my stupidvisor (no, that is NOT a type-o).  I won't bore you with all the idiocy about how many times he says he "will" {fill in the blank}, the future never actually coming to pass; or how yesterday I got to sit across a desk in a one on one meeting and be the one mentoring HIM on how better to lead our team with what I would consider common sense things.  No, instead I'm going to tell you about my amazing writer's group who have given me the inspiration I need to *finally* finish my novel and do what I really want to do.

First, I've taken a semi-sabbatical from Facebook.  No, I didn't deactivate my account but I took it out of my tabs that auto load every time I open my browser.  Now that little tab isn't staring me in the face beckoning me to come and waste valuable time when I sit down to my computer.  It's amazing the writing you can get done in fifteen minute chunks of time here and there which would otherwise be wasted just staring at all the links and videos people post trying to sift through to find noteworthy status updates from people you haven't seen in years and who you probably wouldn't recognize if you saw them on the street.

My writing group meeting with our real-life-published-author has really motivated me to get back to writing my novel.  Bottom line, the only major difference between her and any of the rest of us is that she actually finished her manuscript and edited and polished it so she could shop it around (a brutal and painful process though it was) and finally land a deal.  So, step one: finish my manuscript.  Should have been a no-brainer, I know, but hey I've been a busy girl!  Doing the writing exercise was amazing.  To see things I do in other people's writing and learning from each other... it was a fun night full of learning.  And looking back at where we started and how far all of our writing has progressed shows the amount of hard work we've put into learning the craft.  You can't go out and run a marathon without training and the last few years for me have been training for the marathon of writing a novel.  It's almost race day... I can feel the anticipation.  My characters are back, swirling through my head and whispering things to me.  I just need to *gasp* outline the basics of the story (I'm a discovery writer mostly) and work out a few more things that happen in the middle to get to the ending I envision and it will be time to hit the starting line.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

If you want it done right, do it yourself...

I'm very unsatisfied with my day job right now.  I have a supervisor who is totally disengaged from the team and is making changes that don't make sense catering to the lowest performers at the expense of those of us who actually do the work.  Morale is so low, the only thing keeping me there right now are the amazing benefits and the fitness center which allows me to run during the workday.  Seriously, those two things.  Pretty shitty, I know.

Am I bitter because I didn't get the job when I applied for it a year and a half ago?  I thought so in the beginning but the candidate they hired over me can only earn my respect if he actually does a better job than I would have done at managing the team.  Which he hasn't.  I think almost two years is enough time to know for sure that he sucks.

So yeah, I guess I am bitter.  But do you blame me?

I'm coping by recommitting to my novel.  My good friend Christauna just got a publishing deal for her first book so I know it is possible.  And she learned everything in the same place as I did - our writer's group.  How cool that it started as a few people who wanted to write and started meeting to support one another in our efforts to learn the trade and now there's a real life published author in our midst!

I can't wait for the day that one of two things happen.  1) the idiot supervisor's plan results in a major system outage that puts his ass on the line and gets him fired (or worse, the technical lead decides she's had enough after 30 years); or 2) I get a publishing deal of my own and I can tell them to take this job and shove it so I can just be a writer!

In the meantime, instead of focusing on the negatives and all the bullshit where they are under-utilizing my skill set and hobbling me, the overachiever, with a job I can do with both hands tied behind my back and from which I currently get no job satisfaction, I will focus on how amazing it is to get paid my salary for doing very little and use the downtime and stress-free time to finish my novel.

We'll see how long that lasts...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has sprung... and I'm all over the place

It's the first official day of spring today!  Which is not such a happy time for me since now I get to suffer with seasonal allergies... you'll forgive me if I'm not overjoyed with the rest of the world to be leaving winter behind.  I added the allergy pill this weekend to the morning handful of supplements I'm taking now thanks to my nutritionist.  I don't really have anything to bitch about today so instead I'll regale you with what's been happening in my crazy day to day life.

First, the nutritionist...  What a lovely and totally-worth-the-price addition to my life!  Turns out when I started actually tracking what I'm eating I was only giving my body about 800 calories a day.  That on top of working out all the time is NOT a good way to lose weight.  After a week of properly fueling my body for basic living as well as all the exercise, I not only feel better but I've started to see the number on the scale inching down.  No, lovely doesn't begin to describe it - it's fucking amazing!  Knowledge is power, people.  Remember that!

Next, running...  It's no secret I'm in full swing of my intense training routine for my upcoming relay race.  The organizers put together two training programs and I figured they should know better than I what kinds of things I need to prepare for so I'm following them.  The first is for a beginner who "hasn't been doing any running".  Well, that doesn't apply to me and good thing since it has running in MINUTE increments.  I'm used to MILE increments.  The other one, "for the runner who is already running an average of 10-20 miles a week", was more my speed so I picked that one.  Well apparently if you slack for a week and then try to pick up where you are supposed to be, it results in strained knees.  After my disastrous attempted run last week I rested up and bitched a lot about why I was semi-injured this week.  Because I'm a data and gadget geek, I could go back to my logged data and see that I had actually doubled my mileage the week before with the warmer weather allowing me to run outdoors in the evenings instead of at work in my measly hour I'm allowed to squeeze out of my workday.  Oopsie!  Happily, I only needed to rest a bit and I felt amazing on my outdoor run yesterday.  Back on track and paying attention now.  Must stay healthy!

And finally, writing...  I haven't been doing much writing lately unless you count my humble blog here.  Let's face it, my life just doesn't have enough hours in it to do much more at the moment.  My writer's group has changed things up a bit this year and to keep up writing we are now doing writing prompts which will allow us to focus on specific tools (like dialog, description, etc.) and improve without having to commit to completing a manuscript.  I have one I have to work on this week and the thought of it makes me happy.  The one of us in said writing group who actually has been writing the past year just got signed with a publisher.  I'm ecstatic for her - and truth be told just a little bit jealous.  Knowing that the dream can be, in fact, reality if you work hard at it (and write a damn good book) makes me want to write more than I have been.  I need to find a way to multi-task my writing into my life like I did with reading.  Which, by the way, have you noticed that there are more than book club books in my list of books I've read so far this year?  I LOVE being a reader again - thank you!  If only I wouldn't look (and sound) like a freak dictating a book while I'm running.  And if only voice recognition software would work with a heavy breathing runner.  A girl's got to dream, right?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Aquariums of Pyongyang

This was a book club selection I never would have picked up on my own but am so glad I read it.  What a horrifying account of atrocities that are happening in MY lifetime and continue to happen today.  A glimpse into the life behind the curtain of North Korea that left me disturbed and morally outraged.  This fascinating memoir by Kang Chol-Hwan tells the story of a nine year old boy who is sent to a labor camp for ten years with his family for political crimes against the state committed by his grandfather.  In the telling of his personal story - which rivals on many levels the picture we have as Westerner's of the concentration camps of WWII Germany - he also shows the true life struggle of the everyday world under the dictatorship of North Koreans and the propaganda of their form of Communism.  I was appalled that I was not aware of the real story of North Korea and urge everyone and anyone to read this book.  Because the details of the camp are stark and horrific, it isn't a book for young children but it is not graphic in the telling; merely sad and compelling.  I love history lessons in the form of a story I can sink into like a good novel and this is one of those rare kind of gems. 

The book club discussion last night was heated with politics that most of the time had not much to do with what was actually in the book.  Thanks to one of the outspoken ones among us, we were steered back about mid-way through the evening to the real person we had read about who had gone through these horrid things and risked much to tell the world about his ordeal.  Surprisingly, no one went away angry after the, at times, very heated discussion which is a testament of just what a great book club I have!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best laid plans and the destruction of serenity

Today was a rare day... a day just for ME!  Well, kind of... more like a couple of hours in the afternoon but hey, I'm a Mom, I'll take what I can get, right?  Big Sister had her annual talent show at school this morning and while I tried to make it work for me to go to work AND make it to support her, logistically it just wasn't going to happen so I took the whole day off at the last minute.  Our amazing nanny spent the day with Little Sister as planned which meant that after I got home from the talent show at noon, I had five glorious hours to do whatever I wanted.

I filled the first hour with a good lunch and a chat with the nanny who it feels like I haven't talked to for ages except for snippets of instructions and reports as we pass each other in the morning and evening.  The plan for the afternoon was a seven mile run which I had plenty of time for and which I was going to do outside.  Until I was all dressed and ready to go and realized that was the wind howling in the eaves and banging against the windows I was hearing and decided it would be miserable.  So, I changed my running gear configuration for the indoor apparel and headed for the gym instead.  Still on schedule for a great two hours to be spent with my current audio book on the iPod and a treadmill followed by a relaxing "soak" in the sauna. 

That was the plan, anyway.  What actually happened only slightly resembled that plan.  I stretched, I warmed up, I was stoked for the run, the iPod was going, I was already anticipating the endorphins and the joy that comes with running and the smile to hit my face... and then I ramped up the treadmill and immediately was wincing in pain.  No matter what I did, my knees were both killing me with every step and I couldn't run through it like I usually can after the first few minutes.  I was limping and I knew it would never happen, and actually shouldn't or I was asking for an injury.  So I struggled through a mile - because I can't sync my run with Nike and publish it to Facebook without at LEAST a mile, right? - and threw in the towel.  Well, I could still sit in the sauna - which I did and that was amazing but I felt like I was wasting my valuable time when I could be doing something different.  So, I grabbed my mid-afternoon snack in the cafe with a book I just happened to have tucked into my gym bag because you never know when you might need a book.

But the music at the gym is loud and piped in everywhere.  I couldn't concentrate on my book.  My mind started wandering and thinking about how appealing tucking myself into a quiet corner of somewhere - anywhere - and just reading for an hour sounded.  Decadent, actually.  But where?

The library!  I'll go to the library!

Actually, the first thought was a coffee shop but how insane is it that there isn't a single coffee shop between the gym and the library which is a ten mile drive?  So, the library it is.

I don't know about you, but the library in my mind evokes images of hushed and whispering old ladies and plastic covered books being checked out; images from childhood of my mother and every other adult around me shushing me if I even thought of raising my voice to a normal pitch instead of the whisper required for the hallowed halls of the library.  A soothing and peaceful hour with a good book in that kind of space was exactly what I was craving.

What I got was a big slap in the face of reality.

Know what I found at my neighborhood library?  People who didn't give a shit that they were in a library.  People who were talking to each other like they were in the aisle at the Walmart or worse, their own kitchens.  People who were NOT instilling in their offspring any reverence for the building they were inside of - when you are talking to your child in a loud inside voice from halfway down the aisle, they aren't going to think anything of using their outside voice to answer you.  I had the audacity to shush one little boy - approximate age 4 - and he glared at me with daggers shooting from his eyes.  I smiled with my finger against my lips while his Dad - who had pulled his head out of the computer screen he'd been sucked into most likely by the absence of noise from his snot-nose little brat - said "Carter, she's just asking you to be quiet in the library."  To which the lovely Carter responded - loudly - "I don't like being quiet" and ran off.  Minutes later the same twosome could be heard playing their version of Marco Polo through the stacks because Dad couldn't find Carter and apparently Carter was now scared that he'd run away and couldn't see Dad anymore.  At the same time, the reference desk, which was about 20 feet from the chair I'd picked because of the low height of it's seat in relation to the floor for added comfort appeal for my short legs, was manned by a woman of the appropriate old lady hair variety but without the appropriate library tone to match.  She was having a conversation with a co-worker that had nothing to do with the library and which sounded more like gossip than a conversation and they were talking so loud that I actually found myself shushing THEM.  When they didn't notice, I left the area in search of somewhere a bit more out of the way.

Location number two I should have known better than to pick but when I approached the kids corner with the love sacks all deserted and beckoning with it's quietness, I couldn't resist.  That comfy spot lasted all of about five minutes until the idiot mother with her five kids in tow herded them all to the area to talk - LOUDLY - about all the books they had picked and review their selections before heading to the checkout desk.  I might have mumbled some obscenities under my breath as I leaped up and headed for another corner.  I don't quite remember, but I hope I did!

Location three lasted a bit longer - it was a nice, quiet corner with an equally aged adult, her books sprawled across a table, clearly and intently studying and lost in thought.  I sat down, got comfy, got engaged in my book, and then there was a dog lose in the library.  I kid you not.  A. DOG.  And of course the dog ended up with me, don't ask me why.  He must have sensed that I was looking for some peace and viewed me as a kindred spirit.  After the workers collected the dog - but not before they sat next to me trying to read the tags and made a LOT of noise - I had another few minutes of somewhat quiet where the din of the library patrons was only slightly intruding on the edges of my hearing.

And then the baby started crying.

And by crying, I really mean wailing - at the top of it's lungs.

And didn't stop for what seemed like ten minutes.

Enough that the other girl sitting there with her sprawled books trying to study turned to me in disgust to say "so much for a quiet library!"  (So see, I'm not over exaggerating here!)

At that point, I officially threw in the towel and headed back home to mom-land... where I proceeded to make certain that Big Sister knows that she is always supposed to be quiet in a library and can expect to be shushed and beaten if she ever isn't.  Did I miss a memo somewhere that states since the majority of people are now  all loud Americans who never know when to shut our pie holes that we are no longer required to do so at the library?  Or was it just an off day at my neighborhood branch?  I guess it doesn't really matter because next time I will drive out of my way to find that quiet coffee shop instead regardless of how inconvenient.

Thank you, today's library patrons, for ruining the library for me as anything more than a place to walk in, pick up a hold from the shelf and leave.  The craziest part?  The teenagers in the 'booths' at the back were the best ones in the joint!  All you adults should be ashamed of yourselves!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Emotional setbacks and rediscovery

It has been a roller coaster of emotions for me the last few weeks in the physical fitness department.  Topped off with a seriously depressing climax last week.  And as I've said before I wouldn't be an honest blogger if I didn't share the bad times as well as the good.  So here goes....

Remember Hubby and I both started HCG together and quit early because neither could give up the gym and are training for the same upcoming relay race.  I'm so glad we're both committed to living more healthily since it would be much harder to make healthy choices alone - which I've had to do in the past.  Plus, it is amazing to see a smile on his face now that he can play basketball again - something he thought would never happen with a bad back and recent ACL replacement.  He was always very active before his injuries and it's no surprise that he bounced back quickly.  He's lost thirty pounds and is back to looking like the Greek god I married sixteen years ago. 

All well and good except when I find myself comparing my slower results (which makes them feel like non-results) to his lickety-split total body transformation.  And feeling very jealous.  And resentful.  Such a girl response, I know.

Seriously, I'm happy for him.  Except I also hate him for it because it was so quick and easy while I work my ass of for less noticeable results.

Last month I worked with a trainer who laid out all my workouts for me and kept me accountable with weekly communication on how I'd stuck with it.  And I made it a very conscious choice to cut out all the bad stuff that I know I shouldn't eat - like desserts at lunch and sweets at night.  I felt like it made a huge difference.  Lifting weights has my upper body noticeably if not visibly leaner - I had to tighten my chest strap on my heart rate monitor, I can fit my upper arms in a shirt I've been hoarding and hoping to wear eventually and I can fit more comfortably in my bras. (Yah, less back fat!) So when it came time last week to see my trainer and do my assessment to see my progress in numbers and data I was less than happy to see that nothing had changed.  Nothing.  And according to her I'd actually gained body fat in my body composition.  How the hell does that happen?  I lifted weights three times a week, ran 15-20 miles a week on average and your numbers say that I gained fat?  What the fuck?

I won't lie.  There were tears... There was more than one f-bomb...  There were several outbursts with the words "bull shit".  All born from frustration since I expected it to be much better news after such efforts.  And after working this hard I want results like Hubby has, damn it!

I partially feel bad for my poor trainer who, two months in a row now, has had me in tears at our monthly assessment appointments.  Last month she talked me into signing up with her for a month of coaching.  Which didn't work.  And this month got me scheduled for my RMR testing - Resting Metabolic Rate - which I did Saturday and led to me signed up for a 9-week program with a nutritionist. (It makes sense... I'm exercising six times a week, both cardio and weights, and I should be dropping the weight like Hubby.  Since I'm not, I have to look at the nutritional aspect of it.  Preliminary discussions with both the trainer and the nutritionist have them thinking that I'm under eating.  Lovely... then where's the cookies?)  But I also am a bit unhappy with my trainer for not first focusing on the good things that I had to find out for myself by looking at my data AFTER I got home.  My upper body strength rating has gone from 50 to 63 in just one month.  My sit and reach rating has gone from 10 to 12 in a month.  My VO2 lung capacity has gone from 27 to 29 - in a month!  But what did we focus on?  Just the bad... I was disappointed looking back since that's not the kind of motivation I want or need.

At the same time, something a good friend said had me wondering.  She made the comment that she thought her trainer fudged her numbers to get her to sign up for more training.  Fudged as in made them sound better than she thought they were.  I'm sure she said it in jest but the logical animal that I am started analyzing my data collecting.  The body composition number is calculated by a three-site skin fold reading with calipers.  They have a fancy shmancy one attached to a computer plus cheesy manual ones.  I've done these readings three times now.  The first time, sites one and two were computer read, the third manual (since I had my slippery pants on and it kept sliding off).  The second time, all three sites were computer read (no slippery pants).  This last time, all three were manual readings.  I'm thinking that the inconsistency of the data collection not ever being the exact same method has to be a factor.  Right?  Plus, why is this the only thing measured?  Oh, and two of the sites are skin to caliper but the other is over my pants?  Seems less than scientific in my mind.

It's human to want to have some external factor to blame and I'm not discounting that this train of thought might just be rationalization.  If it is, I'm fine with that. This is just my ranting and raving and trying to deal with the shit my way anyway, right?

Thank god I'm an analytical, data-hungry girl and for years now have done basically quarterly and sometimes monthly measurements.  These measurements - in my handy dandy spreadsheet - give me valuable insight into how my efforts are actually paying off.  While I wanted to just throw in the towel, say to hell with it all and grab a pint of ice cream with a side of girl scout cookies (because either way I'm not losing weight!) instead I did my monthly measurements.  Because despite it all I was curious.

I'm so glad I did!  Guess what - I've lost inches everywhere except my thighs which have stayed the same.  AND, I'm thinner according to the measurements than I was at my lowest scale weight a year ago.  Which means I've added twenty pounds of pure muscle thanks to my efforts over the past year.  Go me!  Definitely not the dismal picture painted by the earlier skewed or at least questionable numbers.

Another aspect of my roller coaster ride came to light last week when I realized that I no longer look forward with joyous anticipation to my runs.  Really?  I love to run!  I used to wake up in the morning and immediately start thinking about when I was going to get to run that day.  Now I've skipped a couple due to lack of motivation.  So I started taking stock and trying to determine what is different.  The only thing that has changed is that instead of just running and concentrating on how many miles I need to run, I've been doing what the trainer has told me to do for heart rate zone training.  I am a short girl at five foot two inches with squatty legs, which means I can't run very fast anyway.  And now I'm having to run slower to keep my heart rate in the "right" zone.  My legs hurt more from running slower and I'm just not having any fun when I have to worry about how high my heart rate is going.  I thought it was worth it because keeping my heart rate in the proper zone to burn more fat was the goal.  But it clearly hasn't given me the trade off I was expecting.

Yesterday it all changed.  I headed out on an eight mile run.  Before I left I mapped out my route using the MapMyRun website.  I strapped on my heart rate monitor so I could make sure I stayed in zone two and three so I was at least aerobic in my efforts.  I charged up my iPod for an hour so it would have a full battery for the two hours it was required to play for.  And I fired up my cool new app on my Droid phone to see exactly how far I went according to GPS so I could calibrate my Nike+ foot sensor when I got back - because I don't think it is calculating my mileage accurately lately.  Yes, I'm a gadget geek.  Are you really surprised?

Halfway through my chilly, mildly rainy run, right after it turned mostly uphill with a headwind... yeah, it was not really fun at that point... my heart rate monitor stopped registering on my watch.  I tried to fiddle with the strap through my clothes and finally gave up.  About ten minutes later my GPS lost the signal from the satellite so no data to calibrate with my foot sensor.  SHIT!  Twenty minutes later after forty minutes of sustained uphill - have I mentioned how much I hate uphill running? - with the wind strongly blowing into my face I stopped, screamed FUCK YOU into the wind at the top of my lungs, and turned around to go back the way I came instead of finishing out my loop.  About five minutes later my iPod battery died.

Seriously?  Are you kidding me?!?!  EVERY. SINGLE. GADGET.  With the exception of my Nike+ which I was questioning before I even left.

Turns out, it was the Universe talking to me... 

With no gadgets to obsess about, no hill to be running up and the wind at my back I rediscovered how much I love to run.  Just run.  Not caring about how fast my damn heart is beating.  Because guess what, if it is beating too high and I'm up in the anaerobic regions I get out of breath and I naturally slow down.  And who cares how far I go when I go except for bragging rights on Facebook and Twitter and as a way to gauge how soon I'll need a new pair of running shoes.  Without the iPod distraction I even noticed the wheat fields and horse corrals I was running past which I have only vaguely registered before.  That horse running around the corral?  It was super pretty with it's mane and tail swishing spiritedly.  Thank you, Universe... I'm listening.

I'm going back to basics and, other than the nutritionist, I'm not dropping any more money in personal training and gimmicks at the gym.  I'm a smart girl... I can google workouts for weight training and I can read articles on how to improve speed and endurance for my running.  Hell, there's probably an app for that, too, I just have to look!  And without all the pressure to perform perfectly I might just relax and have some fun while I'm at it.

So while this particular roller coaster ride of emotions had me feeling more down than up, I have turned it around and am re-focused on me and the things that I want to do.  Do I still secretly hate hearing that number read off joyously every morning when Hubby steps on the scale?  Of course... I'm a chick!  But it doesn't have to stab me in the heart anymore because I know how exciting it is to see results and I want that for him as much as I want it for me.  Maybe the stress released by this decision will free up some of my stubborn fat cells... they say stress will inhibit weight loss after all.  Either way, here's to a much more enjoyable month ahead with more measurable results for my efforts!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Music fuels the soul

I'm not one of those people who knows a ton about all different kinds of music.  All the music I own doesn't even fill up my 30 gig iPod (pathetic, I know!).  I listen to NPR (that's National Public Radio for the acronym challenged since I hate bloggers who assume everyone who is reading knows exactly what their acronyms mean...)  NPR is talk radio without left or right leaning spin - you know, the news as it used to be where they could only tell you the facts and let you make your own decision about how you felt about it?  Oh wait... I digress!  We were talking music not politics or the media.  My point being that when I'm in the car, which is the only time I listen to the radio, it isn't music I'm listening to.  I'm not one of those people who knows every band on the planet and where each is from and where they got their musical inspiration.  Although I know some people who are like that and they intimidate the hell out of me.  Hell, I usually can't even name the band let alone the album the song was originally released on.

Even so, I have what I like to consider an eclectic mix of music.  I'm a child of the 80's and 90's and lots of my music hails from these time periods - from Madonna to hair bands and rock ballads.  But I also have things that I grew up listening to - I love CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) thanks to my Daddy (and if truth be told the Beach Boys, too although I don't actually have any of their stuff on my iPod) and the Carpenters thank to my Mom.  I am musical myself - played piano growing up which enabled me to take up the guitar as a teen which led to a stint in a garage band in my early 20's - so I also love classical music.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  So, yeah, I listen to everything - well, except country because that is not music in my book and I never understood the genre.  I even - reluctantly - like some of the music I'm hearing because of Big Sister like Selena Gomez and Miranda Cosgrove.  Don't judge.  I like some old-school rap thanks to my younger brothers, well, mostly just Eminem which makes no sense really.  My most embarrassing resident on the iPod is Barry Manilow but god I love singing along to him.  If asked to pick my favorite I tend to like heavy and loud the best - Metallica, Kiss, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson.  But I also love Sarah McLachlan and Matchbox Twenty and Avril Levine.  I can't get enough of bad-girl P!nk and anyone else who can belt out a great set of lyrics to heavy riffs.  I never got into show tunes - unless you count the Grease Soundtrack which is on there, too.  And the list goes on and on.  Every song representing a time in my life or a feeling it evokes when I hear it.

So, what's the point, you ask?

Yesterday I had the most amazing thing happen. 

Work has become a cesspool of idiocy where I'm surrounded by slackers who don't do much to actually earn the paycheck they collect every other week.  I might have mentioned this before.  Instead of work happening all around me, talking and gossiping and visiting is happening.  ALL. DAY.  It's one of the reasons why I prefer to work with men but, alas, the team is primarily women.  It's gotten bad lately mostly I think due to a lack of leadership from the puffed up smidgen of blow fish shit we call a supervisor.  If it isn't the unchecked womenfolk and their quilting bee bullshit, it's the guy on the next row over hacking up a lung and farting - not that I'm innocent of public farting occasionally myself but usually it isn't of the trumpeting variety - or the other guy who cackles like a woman when he gets nervous.  Which seems to be all the time.  The only way I've found to stave off the urge to step outside my cubicle and shout "SHUT THE FUCK UP" at the top of my lungs is to escape to the heaven of my iPod and Skull Candy ear buds.  Luckily I can still concentrate on the technical details of my job with metal blaring in my ears.

So what made yesterday so different than the countless days before it?  I'll tell you.

I had been listening to my latest audiobook on my run (which is heaven, by the way) and didn't have the time necessary to figure out what music I was in the mood for before my top blew so I fumbled for the "shuffle songs" selection and left it up to chance.  What ensued was the most magical twenty five minutes.  Every song the iPod selected for me fit my mood like a glove.  I found myself so distracted by the music that instead of allowing me to focus on my work it had me sitting and dancing in my chair hoping I could contain my urge to sing along out loud.  The genre's were different - Duran Duran, Violent Femmes, P!nk, KISS, 30 Seconds to Mars - but they were all songs that I loved, hadn't listened to in ages and which , yesterday, were the exact mix of music I needed to soothe my soul.

I don't know what it is about music that can transport me to a time or a feeling so completely but damn I'm glad it works that way for me.  And although I know my beautiful (yet old school) iPod is merely an inanimate object I love that it knows - at least some of the time - exactly what I need even when I don't know it myself.  IPod, I love you!  And thank you for keeping me out of the HR office this week even though I just realized it's only Tuesday...