Friday, February 26, 2010


I was trying to explain at lunch today how I feel when I am running. I am incredibly bored. When I used to just walk on the treadmill or even run for very short time spans, I would read a book or watch a movie on my iPhone. Can't do that when I am trying to get a mile in at fast speed.

Afterwards, there is a great sense of accomplshment. But, while I am running, it's really hard to keep myself motivated. Maybe if I have something set up on a hat with a stick so it feels like I am running towards it? A beer? A candy bar? Lasagna pan? Crabcakes?

Also, ran a mile yesterday, not all at once, .65 then .35 but I did a mile. More than ever before. Goal for Monday is .75 at one go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Balancing managing and friending

I have had some number of jobs in my lifetime. Since moving to the US in 1997, I have never not had a job. All those jobs had managers. Some better than others. Some male, some female. Their genders had nothing to do whether they were good or bad. This is a story about one of those managers.

I had this one manager who was always dour. No matter if the manager was given the employees a good review or a bad one. The employees always walked on eggshells around him and were afraid to speak up. The slightest misstep got the employees the worst dressing down ever.

One manager was very nice. I felt lucky to have gotten that job and that manager. That manager was so friendly, so open, so approachable. With everyone. Even the employees who weren't performing. The employees who were obviously the wrong fit. The employees who were causing issues in client meetings. The employees who were causing issues in our team.

Where's the balance? Where should a manager draw the line between being friendly with the manager's employees and actually being their boss. I don't have an answer. Last time I was a manager was at the food services in a university. Most of my employees were drunk and high and I was glad when they actually showed up.

* the names and even genders of the people involved have been hidden including the time line, to protect the innocent

Monday, February 22, 2010

My my aren't we prolific today

I have to announce it to the world. It can be done. It's possible to do it while still young. And it totally feels like you are flying on top of the world!

Jeff and I are, as of today, completely credit card debt free! A few years ago, we had easily 20K between the 2 of us on credit cards. We used consolidation, 0% interest transfer offers, tax refund money and a big chunk of our salary to pay it all off! I know some of you have much more than that in CC debt but we also have a much bigger student loan now to pay off. A car payment, where we thought we'd have none by now, because the Element committed suicide last June. So, it feels exhilarating to be able to say we paid off our credit cards.


My irrational fear


I didn't realize how irrational it was till my sister started asking me probing questions. Let me back up for a second. My parents had rented a van when we were in India. A typical 6 seater van and Jeff and I got in the very back because I thought I would sleep. Once my mom and sister got in the middle and closed the doors, I felt like the walls were closing in. I couldn't breathe. I actually started crying. Jeff held my hand till we could stop someplace and then we switched. And, for the rest of the trip, mom and sis sat in the back and I sat right next to the door I could jump out of quickly if needed. Uh yes I am crazy, why do you ask?

Now, my sister asked how I handle planes. A very good question. I actually don't handle them very well. If I was to sit down and ponder over a plane and how many people are on there and how many exits and how tiny the aisles are, I would probably never fly again. I literally have to work at NOT thinking about that even when I am on a plane. I think this is why I cannot sleep on a plane. I did not sleep for the 26+ hours it took for us to fly from LAX to New Delhi. I read, I eat, I watch movies. I do not sit doing nothing and I can not sleep.

I don't think people understand that. I don't think I understand it. If I can keep myself from thinking about it in a plane, why not in a car? I controlled it when I had to sit in the back of a 2-seater with luggage on me, at my feet and packed in the trunk (why is the trunk important? Because if wasn't full of fricking luggage, I could somehow crawl out that way, don't you know?) for a 2 hour ride. I can control it when I am in the dark underground tunnels in a Metro. I can usually keep from screaming bloody murder in a jam packed elevator. Now, if it got stuck between floors, I think I'd claw my way out somehow.

Maybe it was the accident? Maybe being stuck in a car, even in a driver seat, without being able to get out made it that much worse for me to feel helpless in the back seat of a van without any visible exit.

Or, maybe there's no reasoning, maybe it's just irrational. Isn't that what a phobia is?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Giving up my time for Lent

I was thinking all day yesterday about Lent and what it means for people. I have seen on Facebook status updates announcing that they are giving up carbs, sweets, money, etc. I don't eat too many carbs so I don't have a lot to give up. I eat sweets sparingly so there goes that. I give money over the year to various police/firemen charities, so that's nothing new. This year, I have decided to give up some more of my time than I have to those who need it. This could be my past-New Year resolution too. And, I'm putting it here to hold myself accountable.

So, here are the people I will be giving some of my time to this year (not just for Lent):
  1. Neighbor Ride: 2 years ago, I joined as a volunteer. I participated weekly, sometimes twice a week, sometimes once every 2 weeks. But, I had a couple of regulars and I enjoyed doing what I did. Especially when a very sweet old man told me this was the only way he could see his wife of 57 years who was in a hospice becuase he couldn't drive and his kids were too busy. Then, last year, some things happened (surgery, accident, another surgery), and I fell behind. Then, we went to India and I forgot about sending in my insurance stuff so I could be an active volunteer again.I need to get back in there, send them my DL and insurance papers and we are good to go again.
  2. Habitat For Humanity Chesapeake: I will be doing one-on-one financial budgeting sessions with fmailies who have been approved for assistance. When I left my first life behind and moved in with my uncle and aunt, I had awful credit, bad debt and no money to my name. The most important life skill I learned from them was finances. How to keep track of what you earn and what you spend, how to set up a budget and stick to it and how not to live paycheck to paycheck. I think, partly because of what they taught me, Jeff and I are credit card debt free now. And, I would love to share my personal experiences and knowledge with somebody who needs and can benefit from them. I will be meeting with the volunteer coordinator and attending a session as an observer this Saturday morning at 8:30.
  3. Domestic Violence Center of Howard County: For 2 years now, I have also been trying to get into the volunteer orientation at Ruth's House in Baltimore, which is a shelter for abused women and children. Their offices aren't accessible enough to me, the orientations are at weird times, etc. I have had every excuse in the book to not have made it there. This is something I have wanted to do for so long I can't remember when I started thinking about it. I never talk about it but there was a brief stint of domestic violence in my life years ago (before Jeff and I knew each other) and it's left an imprint. I have found a place that caters to abused women and children in my county and I have no excuse to not do something. I will be attending the March 9th volunteer orientation and hopefully find some useful way of helping them.