Friday, March 16, 2012

Planes, trains and, buses.

If all goes according to plan, about 24 hours from now I'll be sitting in an airport in Georgia waiting for a connecting flight to New York. Win.

Once I'm in NY, I'll get to see some awesome friends I haven't seen seen in a while, and we're going to have great adventures. We'll probably cook things, because apparently that's how I roll when I travel.

BUT. I'll be traveling from New York to Virginia over the weekend as well. I have several options--please, lend me your opinions, as I'm still not sure what to choose.

  • Air: Costs around $350. No worries about safety. Travel time is pretty short, and relatively hassle-free.
  • Train: Costs around $170. No worries about safety. Travel time is long, and probably pretty hassle-free.
  • Greyhound Bus: Costs around $65. Not over worried about safety. Travel would be all night--arrival time is 5:45 am, and there may be some hassles. But hey, cheap and pretty reliable.
  • GoToBus (my favorite choice): $35. No guarantees on safety. No guarantees you get a seat. No guarantees the driver will be awake the full trip. But by golly, if you get on board, you'll probably get to your destination. Getting your luggage back is optional. Bus leaves from odd places in the city and will probably drop you off at an abandoned parking lot outside a mall, around midnight.  Did I mention it's only $35?  

As this leg of the trip will be happening within the next 72 hours, I'd appreciate the feedback. What do you think?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We want YOU to watch the Inch Worm

My brother Austen is awesome. Not all of you have had the chance to meet him, and so I wanted to introduce him to you, in all his glory. Currently he's in the running to win the KSL Big Screen TV contest, and in order to show how much he wants to win, he's made a video--if he can get the most page views for his video by Friday night at midnight, then he'll win. So please watch, support, and enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"How can you read this? There's no pictures!"

I've rediscovered why I ought to read.

Trust me, I've been a lifelong fan of reading; I've probably read more books than I've seen movies, and I could tell you more about fictional history than I could about real events. I love meeting new characters and immersing myself in someone else's journey.

Thanks to the job I started in January, however, I've had to re-prioritize the things I spent time on. And for the last several months, I've gone through far fewer books than I normally would. I'd felt a little guilty for spending so much time on things that weren't real. On people and places that weren't real.

But over the last few months, as I've still not had much time for fiction, I've noticed some things. I feel a little lackluster at times. I have less excitement about life. I have less desire to go out and do things. And I have less energy for, well, kinda everything.

There are a few things that I really appreciate about fiction--I said I'm a fan, but to be honest, I'm a bit of an addict. I'm one of those who'll stay up late finishing books. I may have stayed up till dawn, on a few occasions, in order to finish a book. Just maybe. One reason, then, that I appreciate fiction is that I get excited about reading. I get really excited about it. And that excitement carries over into the rest of my life; I have more energy for everything.

I learn so much about people, and about life, when I read. I guess the advantage of reading about a situation, rather than living it, is that I can reflect on it and think about it without having to participate and decide how to act. Being outside a situation, I process it emotionally, easier than I process my day-to-day experiences--and by processing these fictional situations I've often come to understand my own feelings better.

Characters in the stories I read often evoke my sympathy, or my empathy. They awaken the emotions I don't often employ when reviewing invoices, check copies, lease agreements, or reconciliation schedules. And when I don't have anything that really evokes my emotions, they lay dormant. So it seems that when I don't read as much, or when I don't have something that evokes my emotions or my charity, I just don't really feel anything.

So it turns out, I might just need reading, in order to balance out the impact of all my calculating, reviewing, summing, and balancing--rather, just the impact of all the work I do. If I don't have an outlet--or an inlet--for emotions, it seems I just cease to feel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pinto beans have bacon!

So today I ordered a veggie salad with pinto beans from Chipotle. Being the conscientious people they are, they wrote me a little note:

My interpretations:
1. They think I'm vegetarian, and they're scolding me for cheating. Hence the exclamation point.
2. They think I'm cute (which I would have to be, with a name as awesome as mine). Hence the smiley.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Busy Season: The Refresher Course

Often when we take a subject in school (or rather, when I used to do that whole school thing) we'll gain sufficient mastery over the material and benefit from that knowledge, but eventually we begin to forget a few things. Hence the refresher course.

At the beginning of the year I learned quite a few things while working long hours, but it turns out I needed a refresher course because I'd forgotten some of them. My firm graciously accepted my need for the refresh and gave me the chance to brush up and sharpen those skills I' learned in the winter, such as the following:

  • Murphy's Law--if you don't check to make sure a food order is complete, the most senior person on the job will end up without food.
  • One can never bring back too much hot sauce. Or any sauce.
  • Going home before sunset is for sissies.
  • All those things you thought of as necessities are actually optional (socializing, grocery shopping, laundry, bathing, etc).
  • Changing straight from work clothes to pajamas is a move toward efficiency (as long as you do it at home). Jeans are overrated anyway.
  • Your Facebook feed is only interesting the first time you scan it.
  • A watched blogger doesn't blog.
  • Pressure makes any work more interesting.
  • Auditors, when left unattended, may develop cabin fever. At any sign of cabin fever, be sure to increase your computer-locking vigilance, lest you be Hasslehoffed* or otherwise pranked.
  • As the audit-time continuum progresses, the number of sodas consumed by an audit team will increase exponentially.

I did learen a few more impacting things, though:

  • Having a light at the end of the tunnel helps morale immensely. During this last audit, we worked 55+ hours each week, but that was going to last only 4 to 6 weeks; I had the added carrot of a two-week vacation at the end of the long hours, and that especially helped me focus during work. 
  • Taking time during the month before the audit to mentally prepare myself for working all day definitely helped; when the work started and the hours became long, I was ready for it. Getting home with enough time to sleep 7 or 8 hours each night especially helped me cope.
  • Physically preparing to have (almost) no free time also helped--getting in doctors visits, car repairs, and shopping done the weeks before the audit started was hugely helpful.
  • Making a priority of personal things I wanted to do each day helped me make sure to do them. 
That last one included sleeping, making a good breakfast for myself, packing food I would want to eat during the day (instead of delicious snacks I knew I could get but shouldn't eat), doing my physical therapy homework (oh bruised patella, please heal!), and especially spending time reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I've noticed a distinct and direct correlation between the days I spend solid reading time with the scriptures and the days I'm more calm and patient at work--and just better able to handle problems in general. That, I think, has been the biggest takeaway--that even when I'm super busy all the time, taking time to read scriptures will help my day go by so much better than whatever else I thought I could spend that time on. I've learned that no matter what else I do or don't do in the day, taking time to read in the morning will have the biggest impact on how I feel and how I handle my problems, or how I handle other people (though sometimes those two things are synonymous).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pool Runnings

So I got to do a 10K mud run in June (which I walked a good chunk of, for the record). Afterward I tried to keep up with the new and improved exercise regime, and I got up to a 5 mile run the week before Independence day this year--but then my knees started hurting every time I walked up or down stairs (and if you've been to my current home...well, it's pretty much all stairs. We have four levels in our home). Eventually, I went to see a doctor, who decided that because he couldn't see anything else wrong and because I felt pain on stairs, I must have bruised the underside of my patella.

So, I have bruised kneecaps.

I'm supposed to do physical therapy, and I'm supposed to refrain from running. And since I've been working on a June 30 year-end client, I'm pretty much refraining from all exercise. Finally last night, my roommate Erin and I decided to give the exercise thing another try. Only, I couldn't run, and she didn't have a bike, so we headed to the pool. We did pretty good swimming for a bit, but then my bruised patellas made themselves known. So we then started jogging in the pool. Maybe not the most exercise I've ever had, but I was impressed nonetheless--it was just the right amount of exercise for someone who's been a bum for a while. The whole troupe of teenagers that was sharing the pool with us probably thought we were a little crazy--but that's okay. We probably are. At any rate I've found something relatively fun to do that I can tell myself is a form of exercise.