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Planking Challenge Day 4 – who knew that nerds could be so competitive over exercise?

Published February 4, 2014 by iftheshoefits

We’re well into day 4 of our company planking challenge for charity – today we have to hold the plank position for a whole 30 seconds.

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Those who remembered to start the challenge on Saturday as agreed, immediately forgot the rules – start small and build your way up to the full 300 seconds.

But, because this challenge is mastered by those who sit still for hours on end, and who can assume the above pose easily enough – the menfolks have gone all Alpha Papa on me and are treating each day as holding the pose for as long as possible.  Out planking one another has become the new office hobby – this is freaking me out, I’m used to the debates on Skyrim vs World of Warcraft, how the makers of CandyCrush are evil and should go straight to a special kind of hell and how you simply can’t survive without a water-cooled hard drive.  But now they’re talking voluntarily about a form of exercise.  There are people planking in the boardroom, others are side planking after a rendition of happy birthday in our main open plan nerd hub.  The earth has indeed spun off of its axis and we’re going to plunge screaming into the heart of the sun.  No wonder I need retail therapy.  Beam me up Scotty, I actually mean it this time.

Image courtesy of http://img.breakingmuscle.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full_width/images/bydate/nov_29_2011_-_1201pm/shutterstock_55088689.jpg

Flat shoes are sooooo my new thing – yay shoes, shoes, and more shoes

Published February 1, 2014 by iftheshoefits

Don’t blame it on the sunshine
Don’t blame it on the moonlight
Don’t blame it on the good times
Blame it on the boogie…

Don’t worry, I’m not channeling the Jackson Five, but I have rediscovered flat shoes after several decades in heels.  I’m actually blaming this phenomenon on OBB – I’m trying to walk everywhere – it’s free, it’s healthy and in this lovely winter weather, utterly and painfully bracing.  I do have some flat boots, albeit a tad on the chunky side for work, as well as a couple of pairs of lovely brogues, but I was missing some neat little ballet pumps.

My office wear usually involves a smart outfit and heels – as I’ve grown up a bit (i.e. turned 40) I’ve discovered wedges and they’re usually my heel of choice, but they are still a challenge to walk two miles in over uneven terrain and cobblestones.  I do have a shoe cupboard at work with many abandoned pairs which are either too impractical or too uncomfortable to wear for any significant period of time (note to self, clear out required).  And so I’ve been trailing the sales for some bargains.

Ta da 🙂

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I’ve worn and loved the navy ones so much, I ordered exactly the same shoe in emerald which will give me a splash of colour for Spring – if it ever arrives that is.  Interested shoe fiends can find them here

They are very very flat though – apparently nobody at work realised I was as short as I am.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go…

Pink pee and planking

Published January 31, 2014 by iftheshoefits

There’s that small moment of “oh oh” when you notice that your pee is not part of the acceptable pantone colour chart for bodily waste.  This thought is immediately replaced by “emergency doctor’s appointment” until my brain finally kicked into gear and settled on the correct answer, “too much beetroot for lunch”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love beetroot, I could eat an entire family-sized pickled beetroot jar in one sitting if I could ever get the bleeping lid off.  Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits recently caught me desperately trying to twist my way into one, too proud to ask for his assistance.   He watched me for a second, then calmly wrangled the jar away from me and told me that there was only one failsafe way to open them on my own.  He set the jar down on the kitchen worktop then picked up a large sharp kitchen knife before flamboyantly and rather violently stabbing the lid, effectively breaking the air seal and allowing the jar to open sesame.

That is now my second best kitchen trick.  My favourite is saved for work.  Never get between a demi-nerd and her coffee.  I’m 5ft 3 and a hairs breadth tall – this means that reaching the top shelves in cupboards can be somewhat challenging.  Our freshly ground filter coffee lives on the top shelf in our communal kitchen.  I need coffee, the jar is empty, I can’t reach the refill bags – I could go and fetch a tall nerd to reach it for me, I could get a chair or a ladder to stand on.  Neither is the most energy efficient way of dealing with this problem, I simply open the kitchen drawer and find the salad servers then pincer the coffee down to me.  Quick and efficient and bypasses the smurf / hobbit / borrowers commentary.

Working in a technology company means a lot of sitting around eating cake and drinking coffee.  We feel guilty about this, especially on Bacon Sandwich Fridays when we phone our breakfast orders into a local cafe and they deliver them to our office.  This is honestly the highlight of some people’s week.

As part of our corporate responsibility initiative we’ve adopted a charity of the year and, feeling guilty about the cake, the bacon and the sedentary coffee consumption, we’ve signed ourselves up for a 30 day fitness challenge with all proceeds going to our chosen charity – this involves a yoga-esque pose called The Plank.  This didn’t sound too scary – no running around and getting sweaty, you just hold one position for a set amount of time each day, even the Jedis amongst us could cope with that.  Day 1 starts off easy enough, assume the position and hold for 20 seconds, by day 30 you should be able to plank for 300 seconds.  There was a lot of over-confidence.  The yoga practitioners smiled knowingly, everyone else went home and practiced before committing themselves to some public ridicule.  I’m fairly fit, but I started shaking after about 40 seconds so I’m looking forward to the challenge.  One of our business developers was openly honest – he had tried it and managed 4.7 seconds and informed us “he’s in it to win it”.  Somehow, I don’t think so.  One of our mega nerds asked if he could use some bricks or something to elevate himself as his tummy was still touching the floor when he assumed the correct position.

We’re starting tomorrow, 1st February, there is a betting syndicate already set up with an odds-on favourite to win.  Will I still be hanging in there on Day 30 – I hope so!

Enough already – it’s enough to put me off my jammy dodger

Published January 10, 2014 by iftheshoefits

I like the lull between back to back meetings. We’re in full scale planning mode for the year ahead and are trying to scope out new product ideas. Three different meetings, lots of personalities, ideas and noise.  Those types of Friday afternoons need biscuits – it’s been a long old week and the troops are revolting – therefore it’s time to feed the nerds.

Enter, stage left, the humble jammy dodger.

 

 

 

 

Just as I was about to tuck in with true abandon, one of my colleagues was talking about the sleepless nights she’d been experiencing since the holidays, now that her children were back at nursery.  It involved a small child, projectile and copious vomiting and the 2am clean up attempt.  It was not the kind of mid afternoon chat that ensures you enjoy your coffee and sugar rush, but it got worse, much worse.  Parent #2 trumped parent #1 with a tale of woe so disturbingly disgusting that colleagues had to leave the room mid retch.  It also involved a small child, but with double ended projectile missile blasting.  Needless to say that no-one wanted the Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers.  Then there was a free for all amongst parents, grandparents and anyone who had a gross-out story to tell.  Mayhem.  Order was eventually restored but all sense of appetite was abandoned, some required nicotine to calm their nerves, others asked to be excused, permanently, from the rest of the afternoon session.

I’m not a parent, not a prude and empathise with those sleepless nights, but stories like that need to be “saved” for families and friends.

Now, where’s that jammy dodger?

jammy dodger

en.wikipedia.org

January is a funny old month

Published January 10, 2014 by iftheshoefits

Well, it is, isn’t it?  It’s a month of reflecting on the past and being excited about what lies ahead.  It’s the time when our clothes feel a bit tighter and our skin looks a heck of a lot grayer due to epic over-indulgences.

It’s also time to embrace winter and all of its layering opportunities.  This week alone I’ve rocked an artic explorer look , an ice-skating princess ensemble, and tried out being a russian spy for the day.  All good fun.

January, aka the month of good intentions – of being good to our bodies and our minds.  I started well, but failed on wine-down Wednesday.  It turned yesterday a very long day indeed.  This first full week back in the office has been long – we were all knackered by mid week (hence the afore-mentioned wine-down) as everyone is used to working in small, concentrated bursts.  I’ve had to lure people into meetings with the promise of biscuits.  But it’s now Friday and the energy levels are rising appropriately, we can smell the weekend coming, and it smells of duvet.

I’m in the midst of hatching a grand master plan for 2014, and that’s what I love most about January – I make the first in a series of plans.  Compulsive list-making session imminent.

 

The word in the office – “Oh my god, I’ve got the green tea heaves. Niiice.”

Published January 8, 2014 by iftheshoefits

‘Tis the season for detoxing, the five-two diet and abstinence.  Well, it certainly is here in nerd land.

We all know that I’m on OBB (Operation Bikini Bod) so none of the above applies to me – I’ve been on a healthy(ish) binge for the best part of a year – although I have ramped up the pace recently as my hamstrings and glutes can testify.  I am in constant and chronic pain, but as with L’Oreal products, I’m worth it.

It’s the 8th of January and what we’ve learned so far this year is this little pearl of wisdom, don’t leave your green tea teabag in your cup.  Unlike herbal tea, where the fruity or therapeutic infusions improve with a good stewing, green tea has the opposite effect.     In one disciplined colleague’s own words, “Oh my god, I’ve got the green tea heaves.  Niiice.”

And so the moral of the story of today is, caffeine is good, red wine is better, but if you absolutely have to drink the detoxing and anti-oxidating caffeine-free green tea goodness, only leave the tea bag in  for a couple of minutes or your body will reject the goodness.  It must be true, we’ve done scientific experiments and everything.

You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their desk

Published January 6, 2014 by iftheshoefits

I have a large desk – I need a large desk – actually, I really do. None of that minimalist, tidy all your tat away each and every day for me. I like to look at things that remind me of loved ones and some of the places I’ve visited. So no matter how bad the day is going I have a little bit of happiness with me each and every day.

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You can see from this image that I have a snow globe and a crystal ball to hand as well as a small, leather-bound notebook, and post it notes with lists, lists and more lists.

This is a small part of my desk – I also have a thank you note, a note from my Mum, books, business cards, and a picture of donkeys.  I like donkeys, they make me smile.

Donkeys Two of a Kind  by David Hastilow

Donkeys
Two of a Kind
by David Hastilow

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in a world where stress is ever present you need to be surrounded by things that make you smile.  Oh, and a laptop, keyboard, monitor, network hub, chargers and all sorts of other business-like paraphernalia too.

I like clutter, I like to have a lot of things to look at.  It stimulates and comforts me.  It also grounds me on the days where I feel the better option is to launch myself out of the 11th floor window just to see if my cape gives me super hero powers.

Health, happiness and donkey smiles to one and all for 2014.

A Year of Sweat and Tears – and still not bikini ready

Published December 27, 2013 by iftheshoefits

I’ve tried quite hard to get myself bikini fit in my forties, but not quite hard enough.

There’s been a little too much of this:

Coffee, wine, ice cream

 

 

 

And nowhere near enough of this:

working out

 

 

 

 

And, if truth be told, I could have been a little more disciplined on the working out front.  However, all is not lost as I’m 24 lbs lighter than this time last year and I have a new target – become bikini fit by Spring, or Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits’ birthday, to be more precise.  That’s a 14 week boot camp ahead of me, removing that last 14 lbs of excess.  I’m pleased at how far I’ve come, but I know that I could have done better – and that’s downright annoying.  I could have pushed myself a lot harder, but I didn’t – buggerations.

The truth is it’s always easier to do something other than a little bit of exercise. I’m absolutely fine if I’m in a routine, but if I lose momentum then it’s hard to get going again.  And with work commitments, breaks away, trips to see family etc, it’s really ridiculously easy to lose the drive.  Over these last few months I’ve not been working out enough and I’ve been been a little bit greedier than I should be – those pesky glasses of wine or two really do add up after all.  Not to mention bacon sandwich Fridays.  And the small inconsequential fact that I ate more than 2.5 times my calorie allocation on Christmas Eve alone – if you drinketh the wine, then you succumb to the cheese and crackers – true fact.

Therefore over the next few weeks I’ll propel myself back into my regime and stick to it come hell or high water (although I’d better not make jokes about high water at the moment).  I need to stay motivated and force myself to accept the truth that ‘nearly’ isn’t good enough this time.  MrShoeThatAlwaysFits inadvertently helped me out yesterday by absconding off to work with the last of the chocolate buttons, without as much as a ‘by your leave’.

On the plus side, I’ll get more than enough exercise on my walk home tonight leaping out of the way of fast car puddle-spray, navigating large deep puddles via a complex stepping stone routine, and running for my life between hailstorm showers.  Who knew that winter could be so invigorating?

Working in an office during the festive season sucks

Published December 27, 2013 by iftheshoefits

I may have mentioned once or twice that I work with nerds.  This week and next week I’m working with pissed off nerds. 

I’ve ripped them away from the delights of Dr Who by day and Skyrim by night, and have asked them to stop their nocturnal programming activities and resume business as normal – anybody would think that I’m the Emperor.  But like the Rebel Leader, I’m protecting the weak against the mighty force of our client base.  Although, to be fair, the client base appears to be sleeping.  We’ve been in the control tower now for 100 minutes and the only call we’ve taken was when one of our own was running 20 minutes late.

It’s time for desperate measures, it may be time to talk to each other.  At the moment, the only noise in the vicinity is fingers tetchily bashing keyboards – the allure of Christmas leftovers and chocolate biscuits is fading.  The satsumas and pomegranates are rotting in the communal kitchen.  If anyone even mentions Christmas there will be a lynching.  Where’s a stargate when you need one?  Beam me up Scotty, it’s going to be a long day.

Remember, remember, sodding November

Published November 21, 2013 by iftheshoefits

November sucks – there, I’ve said it, so it must be true.

I’ve barely blogged, barely shopped and barely slept.  And I’ve not managed to hit the gym quite as often as I should and appear to have hit the wine considerably more – definitely more beaujolais than bufftastic.

November is our silly season; clients want the impossible, employees need to use up annual leave; and the whole office is like a plague-ship, hacking coughs and spectacular sneezefests are compulsory.  Our nerds are praying for a zombie apocalypse or something that will destroy their need to meet a particularly imminent and immobile deadline; whilst the young ones are getting excited about the Christmas party and those that were born after the 1980s want to wear brash Christmas jumpers, those of us who lived through that decade shudder at the very thought.  There are lunchtime gaggles around monitors with ASOS shopping baskets filling up quicker than you can say, “can you really wear a bra under that?”

And then I stop and remember, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…roll on December.

 

 

 

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