This Week At the Office: Badge Woes & Nachos

Yes, this week’s title rhymes. I did it on purpose!!

Anyway, it isn’t my badge that’s woeful, it’s actually the lanyard, but that was too long and didn’t sound good.

I am hoping that “lanyard” is the right word to use for the necklace-like thing that holds my badge reel that is attached to my badge.

Badges are dang complicated.

A couple weeks ago, before I started blogging about #officelife, we got new badges. Not really all that exciting, but for a short time, we had double badges so we could get everywhere.

Anyway, even when I have only one badge, it’s a complicated thing. First, you’ve got the actual badge, then there’s the plastic sheath it slides into, then there’s the plastic piece that attaches to the badge reel, then there’s a key ring to which the reel and lanyard are attached, and then there’s the lanyard which hangs around my neck. So many pieces.

I recently had to get a new reel because the string inside my old one just up and broke one day. And yesterday, the same thing happened to my lanyard.

I’m a true Lady, so I have one of those fancy beaded lanyards. It was actually made by someone who works at the company and I bought it when they were selling them for charity. I was freakin’ happy about it, too, because I had a boring ugly black thready thing previously. Gross.

Anyway, the lanyard attached to the keyring by two tiny, beaded loops. One of the loops broke and I lost nearly all the beads. The rest I just threw away. Because the thread on this thing is TINY and I knew there was NO WAY I was going to be able to put those beads back on with my SAUSAGE FINGERS.

I tried taping the broken loop, hoping it would stay together enough so that I didn’t have to get a new lanyard. Alas, the tape lasted a whole two hours.

Then I tried to tie the broken ends of the loop together around the other loop. It also lasted a whole two hours.

Last night, I took my badge home, which I almost never do. I always leave it in a secret compartment of my car because if I don’t, I will always forget it. This time, however, I needed to figure something out. So I took some thread and tied the broken end to the key ring. SO FAR SO GOOD.

We’ll see how long this MacGyver’d lanyard keeps together. I hope it’s a long time because I’ve already used this one for a few years and I don’t wanna get a new one. I like the one I got!

In more delicious office news, we had nachos today. Our Employee Activity peeps usually always do nachos for Cinco de Mayo, but since it’s on a Saturday this year, they did it for Quatro de Mayo instead. There were chips and cheese and deliciousness. I took a picture just for you.

Oh yeah. Check out those nachos. Delicious.

This Week At the Office

We got new nameplates! Is it sad that I found that exciting? I’m not sure why. I guess I like new things? They don’t even look that different from the old ones. However, the old ones didn’t stay on the cubicles very well… mine fell off ages ago.

That’s my name.

That is the new one. You can kinda see the holes on the wall underneath the window where my old one used to be. After it fell off, I put it on the little metal windowsill and basically taped it to the window.

The email we got said we could do whatever we wanted with our old nameplates. Keep it, throw it away, sell it on eBay, give to your mom, etc. I decided to keep mine. I have no idea what to do with it now.

That’s the old one. It’s about ten times thicker than the new one, but not thick enough that you could use it as a weapon. I mean, you could probably poke someone’s eye out with one of the corners, but ain’t nothing gonna happen if you try to hit them over the head with it.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with my old nameplate. I mean, nameplates exist so that if people are looking for your cubicle, they can find it, even if you’re not there. Maybe I should put it on my front door? Then everybody will know I live there! That sounds like a bad idea.

I also thought about putting it on my study door at home… you know, in case I forget my own name or how to spell it.

Maybe I’ll end up throwing it away, after all. But it will probably knock around my house for another couple of years first. I can’t throw stuff away until I’m really sure I’m never going to need it for anything.

In far more exciting office news, we also had cake this week! I failed to take a picture of the cake, so you’ll simply have to imagine it. It was a Costco cake and weighed nine pounds. It was a white cake with white frosting and some kinda white mousse in the middle. And it had a really cute rainbow with a sun and a cloud frosted on it. It was adorable! It was a co-worker’s birthday, so that’s why we had it.

If you’ve never had a Costco cake… you are missing out. They are enormous. I mean, it was a nine pound cake. Who doesn’t want nine pounds of cake? They’re also really good. And the frosting. Ahhh, that is heaven, my friends.

We also had a department lunch at Red Robin this week, which was especially nice because the Boss paid for it. Again I failed to take pictures, but this time it was because this happened before I decided to blog about office life. Though to be fair, I probably would’ve forgotten anyway, for the same reason I forgot about cake pictures. Which is that I was too busy eating. And being in heaven.

Basically, it’s been a pretty good week At The Office. I still have Friday, but nothing much usually happens on Friday. If I get surprised and something does happen, I’ll be sure to report on that. Since I know you are all super excited about my office life.

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You!

A post about audiobooks!

A post about desks and/or workspaces!

A post about more books probably!

And other random things, as usual!

Stay Tuned!

Office By Day, Writer By Night

You probably haven’t noticed that I changed the tagline of my blog. It is now the same as this title. It used it be “blog of author & poet Christina E. Lupanow” but that was wayyyy boring. I wanted something that would reflect my actual life a little bit better.

I work in an office by day, but I’m a writer by night. That’s pretty accurate.

And I want to share both worlds with the internet, so here we are. I want to illustrate what it’s like to have a full-time job that makes money and a something that isn’t a hobby but isn’t quite a job and makes no money currently and might not ever. I mean, it’s complicated. My emotions about these things are up and down all the time nearly every day. One day I’m thinking, “Yeah! I love my office job!” and then within in the same day I’m thinking, “Ugh! Not the office again!” Similarly, I’ll go from “Writing is pure joy and bliss, I don’t care that I can’t do it as a job!” to “Writing is still my favorite thing but maaaaaaaan why doesn’t it make more money?”

This means that from now on, you’ll get even more insight into my ridiculous life. Aren’t you feeling lucky?!

I guess if I was going to be annoying, I would say Writer By Night and Weekends, but that just feels way too long. Plus Writer By Night is cool and mysterious sounding.

At the moment, office life is decent. Nothing really bad, nothing really great. Mostly just the same as always. Writing life, on the other hand… is going better than usual! At the moment, going home to write is the highlight of my day.

I’m also going to start writing more blogs about books that I’m reading because who doesn’t want that? If you follow me on Goodreads, you will know that I’m usually reading at least two books at once, usually more. This is partly because I listen to audiobooks at the office. I will likely write a post about audiobooks in general quite soon – they are one of the few things where my office life and my writer life overlap. A rarity, indeed.

That is all for now. It’s lunchtime at the office & I’m thinking hellooooo break room vending, what delectable sandwiches do you have for me today? Hopefully, something that hasn’t been there too long, but you never know. This is what I get for not packing my lunches the night before.

The Amazing Totally Cheap Miracle Cure!

Are you feeling down? Is life just not what you always thought it would be? Do you feel like there’s got to be some magic switch to make everything better?

GUESS WHAT THERE IS!

AND WE’RE GONNA SELL IT TO YOU FOR THE MEASLY SUM OF ONE TRILLION DOLLARS! YOU LUCKY DOG!

*cough cough*

Sorry, sorry. I got into Crazy Infomercial Announcer mode.

When you start to feel like you’re doing Life wrong, what do you do? You look for a Quick Fix. That’s just our culture. We want everything and we want it right the hell now.

Not too long ago, I was in that state of doubt. I wanted to know what I had to do to make all of my dreams come true. I mean, I was thirty already! Shouldn’t my dreams have come true by now? Clearly, I was living life wrong somehow. I needed to find the Mysterious Key that would unlock the Dreams Come True Achievement.

Since I don’t like talking to people, I turned to books because of course I did. What genre do you read to find the Cure? Self Help, naturally.

I was convinced it had something to do with how I was thinking. How does one think correctly?

As it turns out, all the Books had to tell me was that I should love myself. Easier said than done. Their suggestion for making myself love myself was affirmations. Basically, tell yourself you love yourself all the time every day until it’s true.

I’m sorry, but that mess just did not work for me.

It’s almost heartbreaking for me to admit that reading a book did not solve my problem.

Only now do I realize that reading books did not solve my problem because those books were not the Truth I was searching for.

Maybe those were the Truths some other people have sought. But not I. I was looking for something else. I was waiting for that AHA moment. It never really showed up, but I slowly worked myself to the YEAH, OKAY moment.

So I’m here to dish out the Miracle Cure you’ve all been searching for.

Ready?

Here it is:

You are flawed. You will always be flawed. Your flaws are why people love you.

That’s it.

Yeah, I know it’s anticlimactic. I am extremely disappointed about the lack of magic spells and fairy dust. However, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the answer is about ONE TRILLION times simpler than you think. The problem with those self-help books telling you to love yourself is that they never address the fact that you need to love your flaws, too.

The thing you’ve been missing is simply the realization that you are not missing anything. Your flaws, your uncertainty, your searching hands in the darkness, these are the things that create you. Most often, these are the things people love about you.

The magic spell is acceptance. Accept yourself the way you are, right now, in this moment. Maybe you don’t have the high paying job you want. Maybe you have a tendency to overthink things to the point of causing yourself to have a panic attack. Maybe you don’t floss. It’s okay. It’s okay to love and accept these things about yourself. It won’t always be this way. Life is always changing. You need to let go of your expectations and allow yourself to be. The past taught and shaped you, but you don’t need to live there. The future is unknown and you don’t need to live there, either. You need to live right now. You need to love this moment. You need to love the fact that you are alive.

You don’t need a miracle cure because you are the miracle, exactly the way you are.

Little Magics: Used Books

Guys, I just want you to know that I have TEN drafts in my jnjnkmn  yuhjjm,.  n mjnmmmnmmmnmnnnnjmmmmjjjjjjjjjjjjnm vbnm,./

Ahem.

Sorry, I spilled coffee on my keyboard and I was trying to clean it off.

ANYWAY – I was trying to say that I have ten drafts for new blog posts just sitting around, looking sad. Will I ever finish them? No one knows.

Today I really wanted to write about why I love used books. I’m currently reading a used copy of The Silmarillion which I’m pretty sure someone brought over from England. I mean, the price on the back is only listed in pounds. It’s like a cursive Q with a line through it. I don’t have that symbol on my keyboard. I would know, I just got all up the keyboard’s grill trying to get that little drip of coffee out of the tiny space between the N key and the main plastic chunk.

This used book is cool because A. England and B. crazy illustration from the 80s on the cover. As I’ve been reading, though, I’ve noticed something else.

Whoever read this book before me was one of those people who dog-ear pages. THAT’S RIGHT YOU HEARD ME.

I can’t do anything to books. It makes me squirm. I can’t dog-ear pages, I can’t write in them, I can’t even use bookmarks that might cause dents in the pages (I’m lookin’ at you, adorable magnetic neko bookmark from Japan that I ordered off the internet). The only thing I can do is highlight and I can only do that in non-fiction, made-for-learning-a-thing books. And I can only use the bright yellow highlighters because other colors bleed through the pages and that is not okay.

I’m not mad that Previous Book Owner dog-eared the pages, though. I didn’t do it, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s the act of doing that causes me stress. Though I do have a habit of breaking spines horrifically, usually because I don’t know I’m doing it. I get all into whatever I’m reading and twist my hands around when I’m holding them. Hardcovers don’t suffer, but paperbacks get a little mangled when I’m done.

In fact, I really like finding the little creases that indicate a page has been dog-eared. I’ve noticed that Previous Book Owner, whoever he or she may be, always stopped where the text breaks, even if it isn’t the end of the chapter. You know, when the scene changes so there’s an extra space between paragraphs? That kind of break.

I usually like to finish a chapter, but if it’s super long and my alarm keeps telling me it’s bedtime (curse bedtime alarms why do I torture myself thus), I will stop in the middle of a sentence if necessary. Then I might start the chapter over or at least the page, in case I’ve missed something.

I feel like I’ve gotten to know Previous Book Owner in an odd, anonymously intimate way. Reading is very personal for me. I get wholly involved in the story, emotions and all. So it’s like I get to share, here in the future, the same pages that Previous Book Owner read through and maybe the same emotions in reaction to the story. I also get to share that little moment when they pressed down the page corner to save their place. It’s a unique feeling. I’ll never know who that person was. There is simply no way for me to ever find them. And that’s part of what makes it special.

There are many little things in life that reinforce my belief in magic and this is one of them. If you have yet to experience it, go buy a used book or just rent one from the library. There’s an untold amount of people who have read a library book. And all of you will be connected by the story you shared.

(PS – I’ve decided to turn this type of post into a series called “Little Magics” in which I document the little moments of magic that I sometimes come across.)

Why I’m Not Taking the Goodreads Challenge

Ahhh, a new year! The perfect time to COMMIT TO EVERYTHING including lofty reading goals!

For the past three years, I have signed up for the Goodreads challenge. For the unaware, this is where you choose a certain number of books that you plan to read for that year. Doesn’t matter which books or anything, all you choose is the number. Then you track the books on Goodreads as you read them so you can see how close you are to your goal.

I reached my goals, but the problem I noticed is that I would avoid BIG THICK BOOKS because I knew it would take me way too long to read them. My fifty book goal would be at two by the middle of the year. That is no good. A thousand page book and a twenty page book both equal one book.

As a Nerdy Nerd, I like to read fantasy books. And fantasy books tend to come only in Medium (400-600 pages) and Large (800-1500 pages). And that’s just the first book of the Trilogy, Quartet, or Series (which also only comes in Medium (5 books) and Large (20 books)).

So I decided this is the YEAR OF THE FANTASY EPIC which is really just LET’S SEE HOW MANY FAT BOOKS I CAN TAKE OUT IN ONE YEAR IT’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE MAYBE TWO.

I thought about making my Goodreads challenge two books this year, but I thought that might hurt my Internet Literary Nerd Cred, so I decided against it. Instead, I’m writing this ridiculous blog post about it.

First up on the list? The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I know, right? How can I possibly call myself a Lord of the Rings fan if I haven’t read that one? I’ve had a copy of it on my shelf for at least three years. I got a really cool old version with a beautiful cover from a used bookstore for cheap. I get excited about this kind of thing, don’t judge.

Anyway, I have to finish the two books I already started last year first and then I shall begin the epic tome. I have a list, but it’s not in order since I’ll likely just choose whatever I want from it as I go, but I have A Game of Thrones on there, too. It’s been on my Kindle for at least six years.

I have a couple on there that aren’t technically considered fantasy, though it seems 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a bit genre-defying and could be categorized as such.

TRUTH: I am a slow reader.

I like to take my time and really immerse myself in what I’m reading, which is why it takes me much longer to read books than peeps might think.

So wish me luck, fair blog reader. If I complete The Silmarillion only, I will consider it a success. I guess we’ll see how often I get caught up in Japanese and Korean food dramas on Netflix. ‘Cause it’s been a lot lately. OOPS.

Literary Mayhem

BA HA HA HA HA HA.

I AM BACK.

That’s how I feel right now, full of villainous laughter and the feeling that I’m back to being who I’ve always been. IT FEELS GREAT.

I seriously considered ending this blog post right here, but then I thought that would be kind of mean. Though “kind of mean” totally fits with my vibe right now.

Okay so let me start with this: it’s about writing. You should not be surprised. It’s always about writing. Okay, it’s almost always about writing. The next post is gonna be about not-writing, I promise.

ANYWAY.

In case you didn’t already know, I have been really strugglingwith my writing for the past forever. It had less to do with writing and more to do with my outlook… maybe go back a post and read about Sisyphus, then you’ll get what I mean.

Basically, trying to write filled me with agony and pain and suffering. Every word, every sentence, felt like a punishment. And so whatever I wrote was also really bad. Really bad and really sad and just not at all what it used to be like when I was young and joyous and free.

Now what do you think I mean when I say I AM BACK?

Normally I write a lot of blogs during NaNoWriMo, but this year I didn’t. There were a couple of reasons. Reason number one was that writing was still painful and I honestly didn’t think I’d do much of it. Reason number two was that the story I was writing was nothing but a single character. It has since evolved into a few different things, but I was starting with practically nothing. It had been a long timesince I had done such a thing – starting a story with nothing to go on but a character. So I figured that I wasn’t going to get far and there was no point in blogging a ton about my barely there NaNo efforts.

I was right. The goal? 50,000 words. My ending total? 13,033 words.

More than I was expecting, but nowhere near the actual goal.

So I think I made the right choice not blogging about NaNo this year.

Now that it’s over, though, I’m really liking where my story is going. So I decided to keep working on it.

I just finished writing a scene for this story. And the feeling I got when I had finished was the feeling that made me want to be a writer back when I first got serious about it sixteen years ago. I get a little shiver of excitement down my spine that makes me feel like an EVIL MASTERMIND OF AUTHORIAL MADNESS and all I want to do is Evil Laugh.

Thus the BA HA HA ing at the beginning.

Not only did the scene turn out better than I expected, but a connection I needed showed up quite nicely for me.

That one character I started with? Not in this scene. This one was about a completely different character that I had made up during NaNo because I was getting bored. Their stories didn’t collide in any way that I could see. But I wasn’t trying to make it all work. I was trying to just go along with whatever happened.

I still couldn’t help trying to figure out where their stories crossed, though. I thought about it occasionally, as I went about my normal days. I even thought I might have to separate the stories.

And then tonight, as I worked on a new scene for the second character, one word that I added on some kind of whimsical writerly inspiration connected the stories. One word was all it took. And that’s when I started feeling a bit like a VILLAINOUS MAD SCIENTIST.

It didn’t help that the word also kind of made this second character really dark.

This is a feeling I’ve had before. Back when writing wasn’t painful. Back when writing was more like experiments in a lab coat with a hunch backed flunky. Back when writing was like a dark cauldron bubbling over with neon goop. Back when all I wanted to do was be a Word Wizard that would Cast Spells of Fiction over all my Unwitting Readers.

I missed this feeling. It’s why I write. I thought I lost it forever, but it turns out I just had to dump my PAIN AND SUFFERING by being my own Word Wizard and not someone else’s idea of a Word Wizard.

I’m a discovery writer, folks. That’s the long and short of it. I don’t plan. I don’t create outlines. I can and I have and I tried to make myself do it. And I was miserable.

BUT NOW I AM BACK.

Maybe one day you’ll get to read my Spells of Fiction. I know some of you have been waiting a long time.

Fear not for I sense the day is nigh! My wizardly word fingers are tingling like they haven’t tingled in years! My villanous laugh is deeper and truer than it has ever been! Prepare for literary mayhem!

BA HA HA HA HA HA!