Wind Sprints

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If today is Halloween, that must mean tomorrow is November 1. The first day of November is not only Dia de Los Muertos, but also ushers in the annual National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

Eight times I have successfully completed a 50,000 word story in the span of just 30 days. Last year was the first time I attempted and failed NaNo. And even in my failure, I learned a lot.

In the spirit of try, try again, I’m going to take a run at it again this year. This despite the fact that I have no story ideas and a lot of anxiety about it.

And so as an athlete stretches and runs wind sprints in order to get ready for the big game, I am going to run some wordy sprints.

With that, I turn again to Unconscious Mutterings for some random word prompts. I love this warm up.

So here we go!

  1. Crying ::

    What I will not be doing on November 30th if all goes well. That said, a good cry is cathartic and good for the soul. It might take a heavy bout of crying mid-month in the throes of writer’s block in order to break through and make it to that 50,000th word.

    It remains to be seen.


  2. Reluctant ::

    I am, truly, rather reluctant to have another go at this crazy month of writing. It’s always awesome and I’m amazed at what I can produce in so short a time. It’s also quite taxing on The Muse. I get creatively wiped out by the end of the marathon. Blisters on the brain pan or something. But it’s also quite satisfying. That mind numbing creative exhaustion means I have created something and that is the coolest feeling in the world.


  3. Decade ::

    My first go at this crazy NaNo game was back in 2004. I’m closing in on a decade of this wordy abuse. Lots of words and time well spent. By writing this blog I know my writing has improved vastly and my ability to write on the fly has grown strong. So hey, rock on.


  4. Mustache ::

    So what’s the deal with mustaches these days? They are not just facial hair anymore. Now a mustache is a meme. I mean, there are accessories, baseball logos and many Tumblrs.

    Plus, let’s just settle this right now. Rollie Fingers. Greatest mustache of all time. Boo-yah.


  5. Water ::

    Well now, not to bring down the language and mustache party, but water sure has been a topic of conversation lately, hasn’t it? Water, so life giving, so essential, so gosh darn powerful. The photos of subway stations and buildings and streets filled with water in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are so profoundly scary and overwhelming. I know that New York and New Jersey are incredibly resilient and will bounce back. But as of today, it’s just overwhelming to witness the power and destruction of simple H2O.


  6. March ::

    Let’s see…the 2012 baseball season ended Monday. The celebration parade up Market Street in San Francisco was today. Baseball is officially over.

    World Baseball Classic begins March 2.

    *sigh*


  7. Stripes ::

    As I’m writing this, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is on the telly. Right now Linus is sitting in the pumpkin patch, wearing a red shirt with stripes, explaining to Sally about the Great Pumpkin.

    Then he uttered something that seemed a little meaningful here in on the last day of October and six days before the end of election season.

    “I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

    Oh how I wish I could find a place, even a small pumpkin patch, where there is not a sign of hypocrisy and sincerity as far as the eye can see.

    Sadly that’s not the view from where I’m sitting. Maybe I’ll check again next week.


  8. Friendship ::

    Recently I got to spend three days with my best friend of over twenty years. She is family and brilliant and each year of our friendship means everything to me. We may live miles apart but she lives right here in my heart every day. Being with her for a few days made me actually miss her MORE than I already did.

    Time is the scarcest commodity of them all.


  9. Weirdo ::

    It’s a testament to the kind of woman she is that for over twenty years she’s put up with a weirdo like me.

    Tomorrow also brings the anniversary of the day I met The Good Man. It’s a testament to the kind of man he is that he puts up with my special brand of weird every day.

    I’m very lucky and that’s said with nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.


  10. Contacts ::

    As this Halloween night wanes on, time to pluck the contacts from my eyes and bid adieu the season of orange and black. An ABC TV interstitial just announced it is now officially the “holiday season.”

    This makes me sad. And scared. And reluctant.

    Ok, for now, I must focus on NaNo. Freak out over the holiday season can wait until later.


Well there you have it. Whew. I’m winded and warmed up and ready to write!








Image from Soccer Skills and Training.



Back In The Swing of Things

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So, I’m back in the office after a week in Costa Rica. UK Boss is in country. The pace is back to normal. Whatever that means.

Today I sat down with the boss for a much needed, long over due one-to-one session.

It was about halfway through our hour chat that Boss Man said the words that chilled my soul.

“Right, so I just got the schedule for annual reviews. You’ll need to communicate dates to your staff. Self assessments are due by mid-June.”

Just like that. That’s all he said. Easy, breezy and calm.

Meanwhile, the sound of screeching demons and terror howls echoed in my mind.

Yes, it’s that time of year: Performance reviews.

I’ve been doing this manager gig for most of a decade, and still, performance reviews are the hardest thing I have to do every year.

Mainly because I don’t just blow them off and write canned phrases. I actually put in a lot of work on my performance reviews for my team.

I give performance reviews the way I wish they were done for me.

But never are.

That said, just because I care about them. Just because I put in effort. Just because they matter does not mean I actually enjoy writing them.

It’s hard work. Add to that, since I am a middle of the pack manager and not the big boss, I don’t get the set the raises and bonuses. I give input on my team but someone else makes the budget.

So I get to convey raises and bonuses that someone else has decided.

And they so rarely match what my employees deserve.

So I have to write a performance review to match the budget and not the actual performance of the employee.

Often, this can be the least gratifying thing I do all year.

That said, performance reviews are one of the things that separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the mice, the mangers from the dilettantes.

Writing and delivering a meaningful performance review is what makes me a better manager. I think.

Oh, and in other news, my boss attended some up with people type of training class last week. I said to him “Hey boss, I’m having a problem with this risk assessment.”

“No Karen, as I just learned in my training, there are no problems, only opportunities.”

The fact that I didn’t take that opportunity to kick him in the shins shows the power of my personal and professional growth over the last year.

I’m sure that will show up as a positive on my performance review this year.

Opportunities my ass…….





International Monetary Policy

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Did you know that if you go to Google and type in Pesos to Dollar, that a nice little converter will come up?

Yep! You just enter the amount of pesos and *boop* it will tell you the corresponding amount in US Dollars. You can then take that amount and cut and paste it into a nice tidy PowerPoint presentation and ship it over to your demanding and agitated boss for his presentation later today.

And when you send that off you feel so gosh darn smart and efficient.

But there’s more.

Did you know there is a rather large difference between Mexican Pesos and Colombian Pesos?

Let’s show by way of example:

6 million Mexican Pesos is equal to:

$470,105 US Dollars


6 million Colombian Pesos is equal to:

$3,356 US Dollars.

Further, did you know that the difference between asking finance for 470k versus 3k on a pretty little PowerPoint slide is, well, significant.

Um. Whoops.

Pesky ol’ currency conversion.
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.
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(Thankfully my BossMan caught it before the meeting and we fixed it. I’m now being teased unmercifully. Ugh!)




Image from flagpedia.net



Belated Birthday Love

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Last week, on the occasion of New Mexico’s 100th birthday, I had this great plan to feature a little blast from the past, a medallion from New Mexico’s 50th birthday, along with some recollections from my mom who was living in New Mexico in 1962.

When I asked the Queen Mum to wax nostalgic, she reminded me that in 1962 she was pregnant with my big headed and breach oriented big brother, my dad was a full time student at UNM, working on his engineering degree, and there was a lot going on in her life. New Mexico’s 50th anniversary sort of passed her by.

And then the USPS dragged their postage stamped paws on delivering my package.

So now it’s four days past the birthday and, well. Best laid plans and all that.

So what the heck, here’s this fun little collectable anyway. I found it on eBay and bought it for a rather small sum. I don’t imagine it has much value beyond sentimental, but I think it’s pretty cool.

Wonder if the state will do something similar for the 100th?







These are a few of my favorite things

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Given the kind of work I do the holiday season (i.e. the end of the year) is one of the busiest times at my job. Much has to get done this month.

I’m working a lot of very long hours and having a lot of real hard days.

Nothing terminal. Tenacity will carry the day.

Yesterday at 1:30 in the afternoon I stopped working so I could go get something to eat. When I stood, my knees creaked and I realized I had not moved from my desk chair since 9:00 that morning.

That’s bad.

So as a reward, I chose to go to my favorite cafeteria at work, the one that serves house made Mexican food.

It’s comforting.

As I stood in line, I fiddled with the new Hipstamatic lens and film I’d just downloaded for my iPhone4s.

And so, today, another busy day, I bring you fewer words and more visuals.

Behold, just a small few of my favorite things. Click the image to see in full size:




Oh swoon. Hello lovers!




Even on a fairly cold winter day, these sweaty bottles promising 100% Natural Sugar made me want to reach in and grab them all. Yum!




Just….want.



A little Mexican food. A little real sugar. Suddenly my outlook was a lot more expansive. I even walked backed to my office with a bounce in my step and a song in my heart.

Oh the amazing curative powers of good food that reminds me of home.