Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karaoke: The Key to Bonding with Co-Workers

I frickin' love my job.

I already knew I would love it the minute I interviewed at the office, but here I am, finally getting in the swing of things and able to step outside the swirl of newness and see the job for what it is. I genuinely like coming into work and delving into new projects, sometimes so busy I forget to use the restroom or eat. That's the best!

This love of the job became all the more clear last week when our office met up in San Francisco with all of the company's California offices. First off, I got my own room at the W Hotel, which is sweet in and of itself. Not to mention, Ryan Gosling walked through the lobby 5 minutes before I did. So basically he and I were sleeping together (albeit in separate rooms and probably separate floors, but hey - what's a few concrete walls and insulation?).

This summit, if you will, made it all the more obvious why my company rocks - everyone is so brilliant and creative! It really lit my fire and got me all charged up to come back to the office and kick ass (I believe we call this "morale"). You know how there are those moments where you stop and think, "This is exactly where I'm supposed to be"? That was me last week. And really that's been me in a nutshell the last couple months.

Besides networking and professional development, my colleagues and I cut loose and went out for karaoke one night. As someone who tap dances and has a penchant for 2Pac, I quickly earned the name "Tracy the Rapper Tapper." Once people heard my go-to karaoke song was "Shoop," one of my co-workers immediately signed me up. It was a complete hit! All of us danced and sang along - my rapping was even mentioned by my boss at the meeting the next morning, and it was later mentioned again by the head of the San Diego office in front of everyone. Yes! Just the rep I need - the token white girl with thug appeal. But really - it was a great way to get closer to everyone and to help ease that stiffness you experience at a new job. I'm feeling much more comfortable at the office!

In other news, I realized the other day that I'm actually meeting one of my biggest goals - living in the present! So much of my time has been dedicated to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. For the first time in a long time - maybe ever - I'm living each day as it is, experiencing things fully and soaking up every moment. It truly is a happy time in my life, and it makes dealing with the bad things so much easier.

Sure, nothing is perfect. One of my good friends doesn't want to be good friends anymore. I wrote him that I missed him and wished we could still hang out, but all I got back was a harsh email saying that we aren't going to be friends. He thought that me having a boyfriend and him seeing someone means we should be "fair" to them and not hang out. Well, for the record, Ty is the least jealous/possessive/controlling person I know. He would never stop me from hanging out with friends or other guys because he's secure in what we have. And that's the way it should be! But regardless, this guy friend (ex-friend) sounds to me like he's putting up a front that he's so "over it." Really? So after years of friendship, good times and memories, you're just done with it because I got a boyfriend? Oh, and he thought my reaching out was to soothe my own guilt for hurting him. Well, clearly his curt words rid me of any guilty feelings at this point. I'm a good friend, and I wish that were enough for some people. But I guess putting up this harsh exterior and making excuses is all people can do to protect themselves. And that's his prerogative. My prerogative is to not live in the past anymore, so adios.

That's about it over here for now. Just working a lot, trying to not be annoyed of my cat who is either barfing or getting litter from her box everywhere, and spending time with friends and family. A pretty fabulous summer thus far!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There's a Snake in My Boot

I got down and dirty last weekend during a fun little cabin trip to Bowman Lake with the boy and his fam. It was SO much fun! And apparently, this highly outdoorsy family declared that I "passed the test." (For the record, there is no real "test" I needed to pass. I'm awesome in my own right; thus, proving it in the wilderness is unnecessary. I think they just meant that I was able to mesh with everyone in this environment).

Some highlights:
  • While hiking up a small cliff with a waterfall, Ty (the boyfriend, FYI) was ahead of me leading the way. Not much really scares him, so when he stopped in his tracks and quickly told me to go back down now, I started to freak out a bit. It wasn't until we got down the rocks a few feet that he said he was about a yard away from a freakin' rattlesnake that was shaking its tail! Apparently, no one ever spots those damn things up at Bowman, and this breed is especially aggressive and scary. Go figure that we almost step on one my first time up there.
  • Ty's cousins had a quad and a commander there, which they let us borrow on a couple occasions. Oh, do you think we took a lovely stroll through the woods on those things? Of course not! Ty put the pedal to the metal, and I almost had a heart attack as his passenger. I don't think I would have been as scared if he rode those things all the time. But he doesn't, so all I could think of was being thrown off to my death. I felt loads better when I got to drive (hmm, maybe I have control issues?).
  • I shot a shotgun. Me - the most anti-gun person ever. It was overrated.
  • One of Ty's brother's friends almost walked in on me while I was peeing in our shared bathroom. Yeah, that was a hoot.
  • Speaking of peeing, I tried to pop a squat and pee in the woods at 4 a.m. A mental block wouldn't let me, and Ty made fun of me, saying all the girls he knows can pee in the woods. Really? I find that hard to believe given girls' lack of, ahem, stream control. It's much easier when you have a laser pointer you can move around to avoid getting pee on your socks.
  • I smoked tobacco out of a Sherlock Homes-esque pipe while sitting around the campfire. Hell yes.
Overall, it was such a fun trip! I swam, I kayaked, I hiked, I drank beer, I read in the woods, I ate bomb food. There's nothing like a summer weekend in the wilderness. And while it was fun, I can't say I was too broken up to come home to my bathroom for one, where the only person who could walk in on me is my cat Cammie. Life is good!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Push It

2011 is my year to be pushed, I've decided.

I switched jobs, and so far, it is definitely a learning process. Picture being a freshman at a new high school - you understand the general gist of going to school, but you're surrounded by such newness that you're constantly feeling like a small fish in a big pond.

It sure is a different feeling being new at a job where you're expected to know things. When you're an intern or a recent college grad getting hired at entry level, there's that understanding that the learning curve will take some time. But in my case, I've been in PR for 3+ years, and even at my new agency I have to stop and Google the most rudimentary things.

That's the hardest part for me - going from feeling comfortable in my capabilities and knowledgeable about clients & company practices, to feeling overwhelmed, out of the loop and back at Square 1. I absolutely love what I do, and I don't regret my decision to leave my old job one bit. I just struggle with feeling clueless at times. I don't want to hold my company or clients back - I want to be the best! I'm sure I'll get there one day...just requires some patience and optimism. The people I work with are brilliant. I have some amazing teachers for sure.

I'm also being pushed physically this year given that I am now dating a regular Mr. Mountain Man. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but it's still a big change to go from weekends of laundry and gentle yoga to excursions in the mountains and going electricity-free....willingly. Don't get me wrong - the boy is not fastening me to a rope and forcing me to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro or anything, but I can already tell I'm going to have to toughen up when it comes to my outdoor skills.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a delicate flower by any means, but I also wouldn't describe myself as Annie Oakley either. Old home videos can attest to my romanticism of being outdoorsy - on one trip to the Grand Canyon at about age 10, I sported my neon orange fanny pack and told the camera repeatedly, "I like hikes. I just love going on hikes. Hikes are the best," only to later walk for 10 minutes, quit and ask when we were leaving town for Vegas.

In my mind, the outdoorsy activities always sounded fun, but who was I kidding? I was choreographing bad ass dances to Paula Abdul as a kid, not tromping through the mud trying to get dirty. I didn't really climb trees - instead, my dad built us a playhouse with a carpeted ladder and actual drapes.

I guess you could describe me as "soft," which isn't a bad thing per se. It just means that when you're 25 and about to go stay with your boyfriend at a cabin in the middle of nowhere, you better fasten that fanny pack tight and actually like hikes this time.

I'm really looking forward to the trip, actually. It's up at his family's cabin about 2-1/2ish hours away - no electricity, no cell phone service. This isn't too far off of what I did for years as a kid with my best friend Marilyn. We'd stay for 7 full days on a lake in the middle of nowhere - no running water usually, but there was a nice little outhouse. I got plenty dirty and loved it! So I'm hoping this weekend will be no different. We'll be going kayaking, swimming, hiking and exploring. And not to be a totally stereotypical "soft" girl, but I just bought new swim/land shoes that are purple and adorable!