Engineering Happiness

Our baby just hit 1000 miles. Sniff.

A lot has happened in the past few months!

You all know about my career transition plans and goals, but my goodness there’s been a lot going on since I last wrote about it. To make a long story short, I posted about it over on my other blog,

Go read it. I’ll wait. In the meantime, look at Chester hatching a giraffe:

This is how Chester shows love.

Cute, right?

Oh, you’re back! Pretty cool, eh? New awesome career -> acquired. 😀

Since I have Awesome New Job, I finally quit Ye Olde Part Tyme Jobbe! With the travel opportunities that my new job offers in addition to the more demanding nature of the position, I need to have my full weekends back. Before, when I was slogging away in Cubicle Hell, I only needed a full day off to recharge. Now? I have much bigger plans!

We also bought a new car! We traded in the old 2003 Mazda Protegé for a 2013 Nissan Juke SL in Sapphire Black. She’s pretty. And fast. And awesome.

Next, I get to go to San Francisco for the first time in May – completely non-work related, funny enough. Our good friends Jason and Vicky (our only in-person guests at our wedding) from the UK are taking a California trip in May and we decided to meet up with them in SF for a few days. I’m very excited. Might have to get in touch with a few friends that live out there to meet for coffee or cocktails. I can’t wait!

Finally (I told you there were a lot of things!), I’m getting back into running and healthier eating after I saw myself in a fitting room mirror today. Who put my head on this fat body? I had been getting back to running on a more regular basis, but as always, I can’t run away a bad diet. The standing desk has really helped in my form and I’m not having as many hip issues like I used to. Score!

Since I don’t have the temptation to eat out for lunch all the time like I used to when I worked downtown, I’m going to refocus my energies into eating healthier and dropping some of this winter coat I’ve acquired. A goal I can stick with!

Hell, if I can transform my work life in 6 months, I can transform my body…right?

So that’s the latest in the life of ye olde Blogkitten! Keep an eye on my other blog as that will be more focused on the tech things I get interested in. And a lot of my Instagram photos. 🙂

Happy blogging!

Winter Sucks

This weekend we got a winter storm of epic proportions. Although the “official” reports put the total around 10 inches, we got a lot more than that. We had to shovel the driveway three times on Sunday and I can tell you, there was more than a foot of snow! Here’s a picture from around 2pm that day:

Mid-way through the storm.
Mid-way through the storm.

Prior to that, we had NO SNOW.

As I get older, the more I dread winter. So much so that we’re seriously considering moving to the Pacific NW. Yes, it rains…but it’s not snow. Or the month of January when it’s below zero for weeks at a time.

I think Chester would approve.

Chester hates the snow too.
Chester hates the snow too.

Black Friday was a time to get some early Xmas gifts. Oh, who am I kidding, I bought the Vita for me because it was on sale and Persona 4 Golden finally came out.

My precioussss.....
My precioussss…..

Such a good game. They added enough new social links, scenes and a bunch of other stuff from the original PS2 version that it feels like a whole new game. Had so much fun so far…and there’s lots of game yet to be played!

Since Tim has a PlayStation+ account, he has access to a ton of free games every month. One such game we downloaded was Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. What a fun little platformer! One of the graphics in one of the stages really cracked me the hell up:

I had to take a phone pic of this. So absurd.
I had to take a phone pic of this. So absurd.

If you’re not familiar with the YouTube video, there’s a part where they say “PORKCHOP SANDWICHES!” Never fails to crack me up.

“My god did that smell good!”

*dies laughing*

Running Through Concrete

run run run lies

I was working on another post about my March of moving, spraining my ankle, unpacking, painting, and wondering where the hell the month of March went when I got thinking about things.

On my bus ride to work this morning, I started making a list of things I want to do this year and thinking about what’s holding me back. Trying to express my mental funk I posted to my Twitter about how I felt like I was mentally “running through concrete” and how I was going to change that today.

What is holding me back?

Not having a plan for my goals and fighting with negative thoughts.

Being busy with the move and spraining my ankle has kept me from running. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I was able to go for a run, which sucks because I have a trail in my backyard now! And my pants are feeling tighter because of it. Plus, I now have the gardens I’ve always dreamed of and those gardens take work. Also, we now live in a house that’s twice as big as the old one and it takes twice as long to clean. I also need to train for the various races I signed up for and I need to get back into the groove of cooking healthy meals instead of eating out. And I do all that after work. How am I going to fit all this in?

That is changing tonight.

I’m going to go to the gym and use either the elliptical or the stationary bike and the rest of the week I’m sticking to my plans of doing some sort of exercise every day until my ankle is healed up enough to start running again. With the cleaning and gardening work I’m going to fit in at least 30 minutes of that work each day. Cooking will require me to do a bit more planning, but I was able to do that before so I just need to get back into the habit.

The negativity? That’s a more complicated thing. But I can tell you that I’m making conscious decisions and deliberate actions to be more positive despite situations I find myself in on a daily basis. Focus on the positive!

It’s the best I can do. Small steps over time equals great results. And I’m all about the results! 😉

Will have a more extensive update (hopefully with pictures!) tomorrow!

Baby Steps!

Running shoes

Well, I had a 60% success rate with my plan for last night. I was going to:

1. Workout (running at the gym).
2. Make the Oh She Glows salad for lunches the rest of the week.
3. Dishes.
4. Make tuna pasta salad and hard boil eggs for Tim’s lunches and breakfasts.
5. Play more FFXIII-2.

Here’s how that turned out!

On Sunday, the weather here was GLORIOUS and I had my first outdoor run of 2012. I only went two miles, but they were a fast (for me) two miles! My intention yesterday was to go to the gym and run on the treadmill because of how awesome Sunday felt.

Then I remembered.

Last year.

I had a great start running last year. I was going into it in March and April mentally off of my half marathon finish in the previous October. And I went too far, too fast and ended up with an injury that took me months of training and therapy to overcome. I was NOT going to do that again this year. Thus, I forced myself to rest yesterday and I will run tonight.

Make the OSG salad.
Success! I made tweaks to the dressing and it turned out great! At least it did last night. Now as I’m eating it for lunch, the dressing is all wrong. Perhaps I just hate sweet dressings…if this had a soy-ginger-sesame dressing instead of the orange-ginger dressing, it would be better. I should see if Tim likes it…otherwise this one might be deemed a “failure” since I put all the dressing on last night. One thing I’ve learned: you can’t undress a salad. 🙁

Anyway, back to last night: between the chopping and the cooking and the mixing, it took a lot longer to put together than I had anticipated…more on that later.

I can’t understand how two adults can dirty so many dishes. Walking into the door after work last night, I was so personally disgusted with the stack of dishes, I had to tackle them right away. One full dishwasher and one sink full of cookware and 45 minutes later, I was done! Until I started cooking, that is.

Tim’s breakfast/lunch.
Big fail. The pan I boil eggs and pasta in was tied up cooking the wheatberries for the OSG salad because I forgot it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to cook wheatberries! By the time they were done and I got the salad put together, I was starving and needed to make myself some dinner (fresh mushroom ravioli, chicken sausage and broccoli I needed to use up). After I ate, I was sick of cooking/cleaning (and by then it was 8:30pm).

Video games!
Of course I did this one!

It’s my sit-on-the-couch and unwind-from-the-day activity when Tim’s not home. If he’s home, we watch the TV shows that have built up in our queue. My job is stressful and has been extremely busy lately, so when I need “down time” I need to take it.

My “plan” for tonight:
1. Run! (doing right after work)
2. Dishes! (the ones I dirtied making all the stuff last night)
3. Dinner! (I probably should figure this one out)
4. Make tuna salad and hard boil those eggs.

We have so much to do before we move next week. And now, after a nearly snow-free winter, they’re forecasting 1-2 FEET OF SNOW in the next two weeks. Awesome.

Help Me, I'm Drowning!


Fabric swatches.

These have been a big part of my life as of late.

Also lots of boxes.

And stuff.

Is this all my stuff?

(from when I moved into my place over 6 years ago)

My life has been monopolized lately by:

1. Packing.
2. Moving logistics.
3. Exploding workload at my job.
4. Working on our first tax return as a married couple!
5. Picking out furniture and paint colors.

That last one has been a huge source of stress and fights. The cost, the fabric swatches, what furniture to get – it’s all been a pain in my butt.

However, this weekend I think Tim and I got a handle on everything and we reduced our furniture budget by about 30% of our original plan! Girl loves saving money!

We get possession of the house on the 1st, but we’re not doing the big move until the 3rd when my awesome family can help! Then, I’m taking two weeks off to paint, unpack and deal with the various furniture deliveries. It will be a much-needed vacation.

Did you notice what was missing from that list? Healthy eating and exercise.

Tim and I are in “cupboard cleaning” mode, which means we’re trying to eat as much stuff we have in the house so we have less to pack/move. This has resulted in a number of meals of mac and cheese, pasta with red sauce, and pizza. Not a whole lot of veggies in there.

Also absent has been any sense of meaningful exercise. Over the past month – between being sick, my trainer being sick, and having to work late – I’ve only been able to get to my trainer 1x a week. The rest of the week, the normal stuff I could do at home – Nike Fit, yoga DVDs, etc. – I don’t have room to do as there’s boxes everywhere!

(Did I mention we’re moving?)

Getting to the gym has been tough with all the errands we’ve done after work, plus continuing to pack and sort through things. Thus, without that stress relief of exercise, I’ve turned to wine and comfort foods more often than I would like. And I’m feeling it in my pants. Ugh.

Before I started going through this journey, now would be the time when all the self-loathing and negativity would creep in and make things worse. Now, I’m trying to be thoughtful and mindful with my feelings and what my body is telling me.

So while all this other stuff going on is important, I also have to remember to make myself a priority.

Tonight, while Tim’s going to do guy stuff* with his friends, I’m going to get to the gym for a long run, then hit the grocery store to pick up the few items I need to make Angela’s Whole Foods-inspired salad for lunches this week and more fresh veg to supplement meals throughout the week.

And finish those damn taxes!

And play more Final Fantasy XIII-2**. 🙂

Right now, I’m not feeling it – but I’m determined to shake things up and make it better.

* they usually watch nerdy movies or talk about A/V setups. Or both. 😉
** I’m ~25 hours in! That may sound like a lot, but I’m estimating it’ll take me at least 80 hours to finish the story. If I wasn’t a completionist, that might be true…but I have to do all the side quests too!

Recap of 2011 Un-Resolutions

Last year on my other blog, I put forth four goals (or un-resolutions) that I wanted to do in 2011. I called them goals instead of resolutions because I don’t like doing New Year’s resolutions.

Since it’s now 2012, I feel I should do a recap of my 2011 Goals:

1. Do a triathlon.
Fail. Major fail. Getting an injury pretty much sidelined my training this year, which was a big disappointment.

2. Do my second half marathon.
FAIL. I was both bummed out and relieved that I had to drop out of the Mankato half-marathon in October. Instead I ran the 10k race at the same event. This year, I’m doing that goddamn half come hell or high water!

3. Get married.

Went to Vegas in May and got married. An amazing trip with good friends, great adventures, and AMAZING food. Eloping was the best thing EVER. 🙂

And as far as that goal is concerned, I knew I was getting married in 2011. It’s not like I woke up Jan 1, 2011 and said “you know, I think I’ll make it a goal to get married!” That would just be weird.

I mean I’m weird, but not THAT weird! 😉

4. Embrace the good things and let the bad stuff slide. Life’s too short for that monkey business.

I would love to think that I succeeded in doing this, but I know I let bad stuff get under my skin and allowed worry and stress to affect me more than it should. Think I’ll strive to be more conscious of this in 2012.

Tomorrow: My 2012 Un-Resolutions!

Writer's Block

Writer's block

I was suffering from a bit of a block these past few weeks.

Writer’s block.

(Yes, this is the post I started a week ago that I alluded to yesterday!)

I finally had an epiphany when I read two posts back on December 30th that really opened my eyes: one on my friend Justin’s blog and one from Kailey over on SnackFace (a blog was new to me as of last week). But both struck chords as to why I’m having such a hard time writing lately:

I’m trying too hard.

Trying too hard to be the “perfect” blogger writing Important Stuff™ that would Change People’s Lives™. Trying too hard to be the next friggin’ Martha Stewart with innovative recipes and perfect photography and everything else that woman manages to do in a day.

Martha Stewart
(I love you, Martha, but we should just be friends)

Continue reading Writer's Block


“Dammit, Carolyn, where have you been?”

(Um...doing know....stuff...)

Well, working. And socializing. And freaking out about things.

You wouldn’t think freaking out about things would take over a lot of your time, but you would be wrong.

I missed Christmas posts.

Missed New Year’s posts!

I was going to shoot for my look ahead to 2012 post, but I fear by the time I’ll get some time to do it, it will be my birthday.

(late January, for those keeping score)


(heh…said butt…*snort*)

Things are looking up! The things I was freaking out about are turning out pretty friggin awesome (more deets to come!) and I can finally finish my “here’s what I got for Christmas” post that I started on December 29th.

Carolyn 2
(Yeah! Rawk that shiz out!)

So no whining about it: 2012 is going to be the Best Year Ever™!