Remember Domino Rally?

Domino Rally was one of my favorite toys as a kid. I use the term ‘kid’ loosely, because I’m pretty sure I played with it until I was fifteen. It was that awesome.

I realized a long time ago that my mind makes really strange, disjointed chain of connections that usually results with me making a comment that probably seems like a non sequitur to everyone except for me. I will give you an example of one chain of thought that I had today, that led me to think about Domino Rally.

On the way into work this morning, I was listening to Florence + the Machine. This is somewhat out of character for me because I so rarely find a female artist that I like, but I’m mildly obsessed with Florence. Anyway, Drumming Song was playing, which is a catchy song but doesn’t have much lyrical depth.

“I swallow the sound and it swallows me whole
Till there’s nothing left inside my soul
As empty as that beating drum
But the sound has just begun

As I move my feet towards your body
I can hear this beat it fills my head up
And gets louder and louder
It fills my head up and gets louder and louder

There’s a drumming noise inside my head
That starts when you’re around
I swear that you could hear it
It makes such an all mighty sound”

Since a good chunk of connections that I make relate back to Doctor Who, I naturally started to think about The Master and the drumming he perpetually heard in his head that drove him to madness. 1234  1234  1234…

This led me to think of my favorite movie, Ink. (Ink is on Netflix streaming, watch it IMMEDIATELY! Please excuse the first few words of the movie, though) In the movie, there is a pathfinder, Jacob, who can hear the beat of the universe. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4. (SPOILER ALERT – don’t watch the video I’m linking to and skip the rest of this paragraph if you plan on watching the movie, which I know of course you will because it’s awesome) He can hear the rhythm of life around him, and because of that, he can then figure out exactly how to change the path  of someone’s life, by interrupting its flow. Jacob causes a chain reaction of events that eventually cause John’s car crash, which lands him in the same hospital where his daughter is lying in a coma, and they are finally reunited.

So then I start thinking about chain reactions and how awesome the Rube Goldberg machine was in OK Go’s music video “This Too Shall Pass”.

Which logically led me right to Domino Rally.

Of course, this progression probably only took a couple of seconds in my head. But I think someone would probably have been pretty confused if they asked me “Do you know Florence + the Machine?” and I responded with “Yeah! And wasn’t Domino Rally AWESOME??”

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Food/exercise tracking

Writing things down helps keep me aware. By making a daily/weekly to-do list at work, I’m always aware of the things that I still have to do, and what I have accomplished. By writing a budget and keeping track of my finances, I’m aware of how much money I am spending and where it is going. So it only made sense to have this habit in regards to my health.

I just created a free account on My Fitness Pal. They have a huge food library, and I can track what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, and how many calories I am consuming (as well as protein, fiber, sodium, sugar, or anything else you’d like to know). I can set goals for calorie intake, for weight, for exercise and track how many calories I burn in a day or a week. Friends can join as well, so that can help keep me accountable. I can keep all my recipes on there too, and there’s a recipe calculator to track how many calories are in those!

It’s pretty great. I’m not necessarily going on a diet (although I do intend on eating a lot more veggies and lean proteins), or at least not what I would call a diet.  I just want to be more aware of the junk going into my body, and how lazy I am,  🙂

Anyone care to join me?

p.s. Lovely how I posted this immediately after posting the recipe for lemon monkey bread…well at least now I can be aware of how fattening monkey bread is.

I might have to make some Lemon Monkey Bread this weekend………..

Bakerlady

Every monkey bread recipe I’ve ever seen is made with butter and brown sugar resulting in a caramel covered pull apart bread. This recipe intrigued me because of its main ingredient. Lemon. Lemon? Yes indeed. It is a bright fresh citrus bread drizzled with butter, lemony sugar and a sweet glaze. Lemon is so vibrant and clean. With the beautiful powdery snow around here lately, this monkey bread seemed a perfect complement to the fresh white landscape. This bread looks and tastes like you slaved away making it, in fact, it is so quick and easy you won’t believe it. But absolutely delicious.

This monkey bread is sweet and tart, moist and warm, crusty and soft all together. Ooooh it is so good.

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What I do (work)

Everybody always asks me what I do for a living. I always feel like that’s a loaded question because I don’t really have a set of tasks or a solid job description. So this will be my best attempt to answer.

First, some background on the company. I work for a company called The 401k Coach Program (I won’t link to anything here because last time I linked to our website, I had to explain to my boss why my personal blog was showing up as a major source of traffic to our site on Google Analytics and he wanted to read it…I’d rather not have that happen again).  According to our website, “The 401k Coach® Program offers expert training to develop the skills, systems and processes necessary to excel in the 401(k) industry. Members and graduates of our programs return to their practice with actionable ideas to grow their business and efficiently manage the responsibilities of being an entrepreneur in this ever-changing industry”

Basically, we train other 401(k) advisors all around the country on how to effectively build their business. We’ve created a curriculum with materials,  including binders, books, cds and marketable products for purchase. A big part of my job is the creation, fine-tuning and production of these things. My boss provides the content and copy, and I figure out a way to make it aesthetic and streamlined.

Here’s an example of some of the materials:

Binder, marketing CD, Wealthcare manual

The only graphic design that I really get to do are the binder covers and CD labels. The rest of it is mostly production work.

Another large part of my job is the travel aspect. We put on classroom-style courses for advisors around the country. I’m in charge of tech – the powerpoint, sound, lighting, etc., as well as interacting with the advisors and trying to sell our products or other programs.

While traveling around the country sounds really fun and exciting (I thought so too, at first!), there is really almost no downtime while on the road. Our sessions tend to be on Thursdays, 8am-5pm, so we fly in on Wednesday, get lunch, meet with our hotel contact, set up the room for the next day, get dinner, and go to bed early in order to be in the room by 6am (this means waking up by 5am or earlier). Then we’re in session all day, and tear down from 5-6:30, grab dinner if there is time and fly back to Hartford that night. It’s actually really exhausting.

Most recently, my boss made me the project manager for Paychecks for Life, his new book. We just went live with a new website, released the book, and started to really market it. I am the main contact for the publisher, the publicists, web developers, fulfillment company, etc etc etc, as well as any potential customers or clients. I track all of the book sales from all sources, work with the publicist to schedule interviews for my boss, and I’ve created a weekly email marketing campaign with articles and excerpts from the book.

These are just the highlights of what I do – there are a thousand other day-to-day tasks.  I need three calendars and daily to-do lists to keep track of everything.  My desk is a mess and my head hurts on a daily basis, and even though I’m often stressed and anxious and work late without getting paid overtime (salary, yuck), I still try to remember that God is good and provided this job for me, and at least for right now, it’s where I am supposed to be.

100 Hours of Art

I’ve made more New Years Resolutions this year than ever, which in a couple months will probably seem like a really stupid idea. Create/stick to a budget (and oh, what a sexy spreadsheet I created for that one!), stop using chemicals on my body (more on that later),  read the Bible in a year (my whole house church is doing this one…so far so good!)…

I think the resolution I am most excited about is what I am calling 100 Hours of Art. This year, I want to spend at least 100 of my hours on artwork of some form or another. It doesn’t matter when or where I use these hours, or what I use them on. It can be on that Eat a Peach painting I owe my Parrain (sorry sorry!! It’s  SO close!) or just random doodling, or photography or crocheting. It just has to be something creative.

It will be well documented. I am creating a spreadsheet (no surprise there) for the hours used/hours left and I hope to take a picture after every hour used, which I will post here with a description of the project. So 100 hours, 100 pictures!

 

 

I think I use parenthesis too much.

Scribble art

I know I’ve posted this before, but it’s just too fun not to share again! It’s a simple site by Mario Klingemann where you draw and the lines make connections with one another. It’s a really cool effect.

I'll have to try this using my new graphics tablet, because I'm awful with a mouse

Passive-agressiveness

Over the last couple years, I’ve realized that almost all of the conflicts that I have had with people, with myself or with God have been mostly because of my own passive-aggressive tendencies.

This is a really hard thing to realize because most of the time I didn’t/don’t even realize that I am doing it. I think it’s a sort of defense mechanism, a way of protecting myself from feeling responsible or guilty. It ensured that I never fully admitted fault for anything, or sincerely apologized, or truly forgave.

In short, I think it really kept me from showing love to people.

Passive-aggressiveness is a lot more complicated than most people think. It’s not simply an understated form of retaliation or defiance. It’s not just veiled anger hidden in my sarcasm or jokes. It’s not just protecting my sense of self-respect or self-worth by posting something on Facebook that’s just generic enough to deny that it was about something or someone specific that bothered or angered me.

These are all things that I have done in the past, and that I see every single day from other people., but it’s more deep-seated than that.

I want to be able to freely love people without having these instinctual reactions to protect myself from something that I likely only imagined. And I think trying to understand it is a good start, and it has certainly been helpful.

Here is an interesting article from the NY Times a few years ago that might be a good place to start if you are beginning to realize that this is something that you struggle with too. What is it that people always say? The first step to recovery is to admit I have a problem. And boy, do I have a problem.