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Tabless Thursday

24 Jul

It’s 8:44 AM and I have fourteen tabs and three word docs open on my computer.  I don’t even officially start work for another 16 minutes, and I’m already overwhelmed.

No more.

One of the many perks of my job is being able to work with ridiculously smart people.  One of them shared this video with the NYC office while I was visiting, and I think it might literally change my life.

“Singletasking is the new multitasking” – a video from the Atlantic

The premise – you get more done with better results when you finish one thing at a time, close the door, and then move on to the next thing.  Even just one day a week – Tabless Thursday – can make a difference in changing how you complete projects and how you feel about life.  I personally find a hard time doing this even outside of work – I’d rather leave things open than say “I won’t make it to that party” or “I’m not sure there’s a spark here.” My dream is that trying this for one day to start might give me some peace at work – and then also transfer over into the rest of life.

So if you can’t find me online today, assume that it’s because I’m off doing one thing at a time.  If you try it too, let me know how you do!  One fewer tab at a time, we can break away from the tendency to multitask every minute of our lives.

Boston-versary

29 May

This month marks the fifth year since Katie and I signed our first lease in Boston.  And what a five years it has been.  As Katie said, over her birthday breakfast of homemade waffles topped with chocolate and bananas (28 is gonna be GREAT!) – “It used to be that time flew when you were having fun… now it goes by so quickly no matter what!”  And yet, we’ve packed a lot of adventures into those years:

  • Lived in 2 apartments
  • Played on 7 sports teams (still gunning for the championship, though)
  • Had only 2 jobs
  • Tried – and succeeded, and failed at, and had lots of adventures on – 5 different dating websites
  • Still owned ZERO cars (or cats, for that matter, since I typed that accidentally like 5 times)
  • Run hundreds of miles along the Charles, Comm Ave, the bike path, and more
  • Voted in 4+ elections
  • Eaten at restaurants and hunted down top-notch mojitos in all quarters of the city
  • Made dozens of awesome friends
  • Hung out on movie sets, watched plays on the Common, cheered at the Head of the Charles Regatta, gorged myself at chocolate fundraisers, met political celebrities, trampolined until I had a headache, explored abandoned forts and collected seaglass on the Boston Harbor Islands, celebrated marathon runners, sledded at Fenway Park, and more

I don’t know if I’ll still be here in another 5 years – maybe I’ll give into the temptation to live in Europe, full-time.  Maybe I’ll buy a cute house to fix up in New Hampshire or Maine.  Maybe I’ll be prepping to take on the Presidency in DC.  Who knows!  But I do know that there are more adventures to be had in this city, and I plan on living it up, one delicious summer day at a time.  Thanks for everything, Boston – looking forward to round 2!

Marathon Monday – still running, still strong

21 Apr

Right now, runners are lining up on the Boston Common, waiting to get onto buses that will take them to the start line in Hopkinton, MA.  They’re filling the local Dunkin Donuts, snarling morning traffic, and stretching in the sunlight that promises that today will be a great day for running.

It’s hard to imagine that a year ago today, we had just survived one of the weirdest, probably worst weeks in Boston history.  First the bombing at the finish line, then the manhunt that kept us huddled in our houses, trying to leave the streets free for police officers.  And yet, we stayed strong.  We left shoes and roses at the crime scenes.  We paid tribute to the fallen.  And we kept running.

On Saturday, my mom and I ran the first Boston Athletic Association (BAA) event of the year, the BAA 5k.  The race usually has 5,000 people in it – this year it had closer to 10k.  We were still at the start line when they started frantically clearing people out of the way because the winner was about to come in (we left the start 11 minutes after the initial start – he came in at 13:26).  It was a powerful show of the depth and heart of the running community, to have so many people out so early in the morning to jog together.

As we ran down Boylston, I had flashbacks to a place I’d never even been – to what it must have been like for the thousands of people who were on this street last year, leaving their hearts on the pavement and seeing the finish line at the end of the road, only to have their moment of victory shattered.  It was scary to go across the finish line, even on a sunny Saturday.  I can only imagine what it will feel like today.

I am so proud of our city for how we’ve come together in this last year.  So excited for my friends who are finally going to get to finish that final mile.  And so grateful to be a part of a community that isn’t afraid to keep running with our heads held high, no matter what obstacles enter our path.  I’ll be there at Kenmore, cheering you on!

Read my blog post on last year’s Marathon Monday.

Music Monday: rolling into the new year on a wrecking ball

6 Jan

Just because the year’s over doesn’t mean we’re safe from the earworms that defined our year – those dudes at the thrift shop, that chick on the wrecking ball, the techno beats that wake us up and get us rocking.  Having a Spotify account this year made me so much more hip as I could listen to these songs as they came out.  What will 2014 hold?  Dare I predict… a lot of Beyonce?

 

Top 13

3 Jan

I know it makes me sound like an old fart, but I don’t care: I don’t know where this year went.

It seems like just yesterday that I was writing the wrong year on letters (yes, I still write letters) and scheming for summer adventures, and now we’re back at the top of the year again, ready to dive into a new 12 months.  Here are some of the moments I’ll remember as we close the book on this journey we called 2013:

  1. Getting to see 4 great friends marry the loves of their lives and start their happily ever afters, and seeing others get engaged and plan their own bashes!
  2. Adventures with Grandma Boo Boo, including sharing our love of crafts with other people in her community and endless shopping trips to Target
  3. Two great visits to California, including an epic road trip down the coast with my sister
  4. Running my first – but certainly not last – half marathon
  5. Sitting on the couch, watching TV for 10+ hours with Katie during the Boston lockdown following the marathon bombing, and running back inside with our froyo when we heard that the suspect had been caught
  6. Finally getting to work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to do online advocacy for a cure
  7. Winning the World Series and feeling like a united city and a family, instead of a bunch of people who just happen to live near each other
  8. Awesome family vacations from Maine to NH to a cozy Christmas week in our hometown
  9. Saying goodbye to my Grandma Sugarplum, who taught me so much and loved us all endlessly
  10. Going to my 5-year college reunion and realizing, more than ever before, how much my beloved alma mater and the friends I made there mean to me.  Mount Holyoke forever shall be!
  11. Making all sorts of delicious food for my friends, officemates, and family
  12. Seeing the fight for women’s rights unfold across the country, and getting to stand with Wendy and other politicians who were standing up for women – this fight is far from over, and I’m planning to be on the front lines in 2014
  13. Having extraordinary fun with ordinary life – from our annual Oscar party to weekly breakfast with Sara to trivia nights with Katie and the gang to joining TWO social sports teams (volleyball! softball! what will I do in between??) to dinners out with friends, this year has been full of reminders of the joy that can be found in the everyday moments.

How I learned to stop worrying and get clean

5 Dec

I’m a tidy person (as long as you don’t ask my coworkers).  I take good care of my space and I like getting down and dirty now and then, with the reward of a sparkling house to show for my work.

But since I’ve started living in my current apartment, I never had time to really take on my chores the way they deserved.  There was always something else I needed – or really wanted! – to do.  Going to the gym, trivia with my friends, getting some great project knocked out at work, catching up with my family – there are a million ways I can think of spending a few hours, and they all kept winning over cleaning.

Then I read this amazing book: Happy Money, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton.   I heard Michael speak at the Boston Book Fest, bought the book on the spot, and think it’s the best purchase I ever made.  Until this week.

Because this week, I finally got a house cleaner.  And now, I’m never looking back.

Coming home and seeing that my stove really CAN get clean, looking at our shiny mirrors and smudge-free floors, kicking off the month with a squeaky-clean start – it made me realize how much I had resigned myself to just be constantly a little bit unhappy with our apartment, our home.  I thought that somehow, if I couldn’t make this work on my own, I deserved to not be satisfied.  But after reading Happy Money, I realized that this simply isn’t true – not when I could spend a few bucks to have some help.  Now, I don’t just have a cleaner house – I have more time to do the things I care about (who would have thought you could buy time!  These authors did!), and I have a house that I want to welcome people into 10x more than before.  And I plan to do just that.

And if it gets dirty again because my friends and I have some fun?  The cleaners are coming back next month, and we can start fresh – together – once more.

Redefining traditional – response needed!

25 Nov

My friends and I have been mentally preparing for Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast, including running through our family recipes and traditions.  In doing so, we found that the Thanksgiving meal we were picturing was all different.  Sure, we expected this when we lived in London and no one had heard of this wacky holiday, or in college where people came from all over, but surely three women raised in one small town would have the same menu in mind… right?

Wrong.

So now I want to know – what’s on your required list for Thanksgiving?  Does it ever change?  Are you allowed to help with the cooking?  Are we the only family that doesn’t religiously eat squash, and can anyone confirm that turkey really is better when deep fried?

Here’s our family menu for 2013:

  • Turkey (always)
  • Stuffing (always, made with bread, apples, onions, eggs, etc. – no cornbread (!!), no meat (??))
  • Mashed potatoes (usually?  I feel like we’ve gone without)
  • Gravy (always since Grandma Boo Boo has joined us!)
  • Cranberry sauce, homemade AND canned (always)
  • NOT broccoli casserole (retired for 2013, though it may resurface at Christmas)
  • Caesar salad (almost always)
  • At least two kinds of vegetables (always)
    • Butternut squash with kale and pumpkin seeds – recipe here
    • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • At least two kinds of pie (always – I believe that other kinds of dessert are acceptable traditions but should never replace the all-American pie)

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu?  Post what YOU think this meal entails – and your favorite recipes, if you’re willing to share! – below!

Video

Music Monday: Ten Minutes Ago

4 Nov

This weekend, I brought some magic back into my life courtesy of “Cinderella” on Broadway. From row G (thanks TKTS!), I got to celebrate the rags-to-riches musical with a bit of a feminist and “Occupy” twist. I would have loved to see even more agency from Cinderella – she takes her shoe when it falls off the first time, then carefully places it on the step when she actually wants the prince to find her, but at the same time she hands the politics book to the men to read instead of just telling them what to do (if you want to show the people you’re listening, establish a democracy).

Still, the costumes and the drama and the joy of finding something that fits – whether it’s a leadership role, a revolution, or a perfect glass slipper – stuck with me long after the final waltz ended.

Here’s one of the best songs from the show, the Brandy TV version. I dare you not to have this stuck in your head all day!

Goodbye 26, goodbye 27, hello love?

5 Oct

Where did the last year go?

It was full of adventures, tears, tasty food, triumphs, and life lessons.  Since my 27th birthday, I lost my Grandma Sugarplum, one of the best people I’ve ever known and someone who inspired me to cook, read, and love relentlessly.  And just a few months later, I ran across my first (and far from last) half marathon finish line.  I got to help three great friends celebrate their weddings, with one final fall wedding ahead this evening.  I played two seasons of softball, got a promotion, had my heart broken, read great books, drove down Highway 1, and tried out for a game show.  I also got to spend tons of quality time with the people I love – from shopping at Target with Grandma BooBoo to running with Mom to going to baseball games with Dad to laughing my butt off with my sister and making last minute plans with my awesome friends in the city.

Since I set myself some goals last October, I have done them all except leaving the country.  Given how much else I did that I never thought possible, I’m going to call 27 a victory.

Now, what’s ahead?

Living up the single city life – every moment with friends while we’re still in the same place, every frenzied playoff season (go Sox!), every office pie day, every morning run on the bike path.  Hopefully flying a plane for the first time.  Ideally leaving the country.  Definitely celebrating as two best friends (my sister, Kat, and Priti) each marry the loves of their lives, with perhaps more weddings yet unplanned (you never know!).  New risks, new dates, my first full triathlon, volunteering at camp, and checking more items off my 5-year bucket list, since I only have 24 months to finish it all.

And really trying to attend to every moment that I’m in.  Even if that moment is waiting for the ridiculously delayed red line because our city’s transportation system is falling apart.  A friend’s partner recently died at a young age, and it reminded me how grateful I should be – for youth, for love, merely for life.  So this year, I’m going to honor her and myself – past, present, and future – by really being grateful for these moments, no matter how late I might be for work.

Thanks for sticking with me these three years so far – let’s go out and live a little!

*Bonus points for anyone who gets the musical reference in the title.

Climb every mountain

1 Oct

IT’S MOUNTAIN DAY! (and I totally called it!)

The best of all holidays – that one random, crisp fall day where obligations are canceled, tests are delayed, picnics are packed, and ice cream is consumed at the top of Mount Holyoke.  And to make it extra special this year, the government is joining in the shutdown as well!  How friendly of them.

I will be enjoying this day by sending love to all my MoHos, eating ice cream in Cambridge at 6:30 (text me if you want to join!), and trying to get outside for some fresh air later.  How will YOU spend this Mountain Day?

For more on why I love Mountain Day – I even gave my commencement address about it! – click here.  And add your own memories in the comments!

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