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how did i just realize this?

Rainy Day Data

By | at the office, being a computer genius, cool things i found on the internet, employment, how did i just realize this?, salesforce, you might learn something | No Comments

I was supposed to go to New Jersey this weekend. Had my bags packed and everything. But then my car kept acting up, and the weather forecast looked pretty unfortunate, so when my alarm went off at 5:30 yesterday morning, I made the groggy decision to just sleep for two more hours and go to work instead of drive up there.

I’m glad I did work yesterday because I had a call with a prospective new client at 9:30, signed a contract to do some work for them at 10am, and was finished with the entire project and ready to invoice it by the end of the day. It was kind of a Salesforce project, but it was mostly a data cleansing and augmentation project. I find myself working on a lot of those lately.

I think I always had an affinity for data. It started out as an obsession with grammar and categorizing things into lists in my journals and diaries when I was younger. It evolved into immaculate file-naming conventions in college and impeccable folder structures, which were admired by everyone in my office at my first “real job.” It’s the reason I created such silly categories (then tags) for this blog. When TranSystems implemented a CRM system, I became vigilant about always using the system as the source of truth. And when my last company decided to overhaul their internal communication and multiple applications with Salesforce,  integrating it with their back-end system, I volunteered to lead the project because I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to get a handle on that company’s data (and processes) better than I could.

I never really knew the proper way to clean up a massive amount of data. Every time I’ve done it (until yesterday), I’ve done it in Excel, Google Sheets and/or Smartsheet, but I’ve always known that wasn’t the “right” way to do it. Last time a client asked me to take the lead on a big data migration, I chickened out and deferred to another consultant because I wasn’t confident enough in my strategy for doing it. That other consultant screwed it up royally, and I felt terrible for making that recommendation, which is why I did commit to helping them clean it all up.

It’s also why I spent this rainy day at work mastering my new favorite free thing I found on the Internet: OpenRefine. I cleaned up about a half a million pieces of data in three hours today. It sounds super nerdy, but I was pretty excited about it. 🙂

Speaking of work, today marks one year of me not having a “real job” anymore. And while that means I work excessively and haven’t had a real paycheck in 365 days…it also means I’ve spent an entire year not wasting a single minute wondering what I could be doing instead of my job. And that feels pretty amazing. 🙂

I’ve learned a lot about time, money, success, happiness, and work over the last year. Maybe I’ll write about that next.

How I’m Going to Save Time Doing Laundry for the Rest of My Life

By | how did i just realize this?, laundry, ruling at life, shopping, time and luck, you might learn something | No Comments

lost socks

I bought 15 pairs of these, nine pairs of these, and six pairs of these (in black), and I’m never ever wasting a moment of my life matching up socks again.

Inevitably, my supply of socks will run low again at some point, and when that happens, I plan to replace all of them at once. And that just means I’m going to save money on all the socks I don’t buy when I run into Target “really quick” for cat litter or gluten-free macaroni and cheese.

Want to steal my idea? Here are some decent options for similar no-show, athletic, and boot socks:

If not, you probably need this.

Excuses, Excuses

By | how did i just realize this?, kurt vonnegut is my hero, not ruling at life, skills | 2 Comments

I used to consider myself a writer — far from a professional writer, but at least a writer in my spare time. I sometimes wrote when I was happy, but mostly I wrote when I was sad. I wrote when I was mad. I wrote when I was confused or lost or conflicted. I wrote when I was completely apathetic. I wrote because I had no idea what else I wanted to do. I wrote because I was good at writing…and because I was good at a lot of things, but passionate about none of them. I wrote because my mind would race, and jotting down my thoughts would force me to at least slow down to the speed at which I could type. I wrote because I realized I could make myself laugh. And then I wrote here in this blog specifically because I realized I could make other people laugh, too.

I don’t really write anymore. I think about writing all the time, but I don’t really do it. I piece together funny little sentences in my head, and amongst the million and one other things swimming around in there at any given moment, I think, “I could write a blog post about that.” But I don’t. I used to carry around a pen and paper with me everywhere to jot down silly ideas and take them home and write about them. But I don’t do that anymore either.

I don’t remember when or why I stopped writing in this blog. I know I got really busy. I got nervous about literally the entire world having access to it. A lot of bloggers don’t understand that. But then again, a lot of bloggers started blogging exactly for that kind of attention. I started blogging because I wanted to make a website. I wanted to type instead of write with a pen. And I wanted a way to keep in touch with my friends and family without having to send the same email to all of them at once.

Maybe I stopped writing because I stopped feeling so sad. And mad. And confused and lost and conflicted. I stopped feeling apathetic. I found something I love to do. So maybe I don’t need to write as much anymore because, for the most part, I’m pretty happy now.

Or maybe I didn’t stop. I still write in emails and text messages. In Facebook posts and Instagram captions. Intermittent tweets and daily Chatter messages at work. Bits and pieces strewn haphazardly across various channels of communication that might all add up to something resembling a coherent thought or story or…maybe that’s a stretch.

But the thing is, I do still have a bad day here and there. Or a bad week. Or sometimes just a really stressful month. Or two months. Or hell, even three. And nowadays, when I’m feeling a little out of sorts, I don’t sit down and write. I sit down and read something by one of my two favorite writers.

And so it occurred to me today that I either need to snap out of my recent stressed-out funk or start writing again. Otherwise, I’m going to run out of material to read. Because one of my favorite writers is deceased. And the other one is me.

On Repeat: Dave Matthews Band

By | hazards to my well-being, how did i just realize this?, music, running | No Comments

Things have been a little ridiculous lately. I wonder how many times I’ve said that. I sound like a broken record. Maybe I secretly like things ridiculous? I must. I’m so busy, and so exhausted, and so wrapped up in this project at work, but most of the time I’m so excited about it. It’s a little bit of a roller coaster — good moments and bad. One minute someone is thanking me. The next someone could be insinuating a decision I influenced six months ago might doom the whole company. Fortunately, it usually turns out that’s not really the case.

Today had its ups and downs. A thunderstorm woke me up at 3:30 am, and I never quite made it back to sleep, so I was tired. I’m still tired. I should go to sleep. After I post this — and my (late) resolution update — I will. In a training this morning 40 people gave me a round of applause for exhibiting all of the company values. I didn’t really know what to say. That was really cool. I almost cried. A few minutes later in the bathroom, I saw what my hair looked in the mirror — a messy braid with pieces falling out all over. I almost cried again. For the opposite reason. Totally not cool. 🙂

When I got home tonight, I did cry. For a few minutes. Then I laughed. At myself. For being ridiculous. I was so tired, all I wanted to do was go to bed. I went for a run instead. I’ve been running almost every night for three weeks. In the hopes of wearing this dress to my friend’s wedding tomorrow night. I haven’t been able to zip it up, so I figured tonight was my last chance. I ran out to the beach. I saw a cloud that looked like a mermaid. I saw some pelicans. And a helicopter. I saw the ocean. I saw all kinds of people out and about with their friends having fun and relaxing. I was a little jealous, so I almost cried again. And I thought, “What the hell is wrong with me?” But I kept running.

Then this song came on, and I smiled as I ran along the water’s edge. Because I remembered no one is forcing me to work this hard. I’m doing it because I wanted to. Because I want to now. Because even if I’m sometimes mentally exhausted to the point where I can’t even think straight, I’m doing something important. That I really enjoy. And that makes me happy. And I ran home, and I did some more work, and I smiled when I accomplished a few things.

Before I came upstairs, I walked into the living room, and I read the little sign on my mantel that Tina gave me for my 30th birthday. “Do the thing you love more than anything in life,” it says. “You might become a bit unpredictable, and sometimes cranky, but you will be happier than you ever imagined possible.” Well. Okay, then. Maybe I’m not crazy after all.

After I took a shower, I tried on the dress. Like I’ve done every night before bed for the last three weeks. Even though it never zips. But this time it did zip! So perhaps I’ll get to wear it to that wedding after all. Will it zip tomorrow? I have no idea. Maybe I should sleep in it. Maybe I’ll be more comfortable in my backup dress. Either way, I’m going to say mission accomplished. On all accounts. So far.

Oh, and good night. I’ll post that resolution thing over the weekend. 🙂

Lammily & Me

By | beauty, cool things i found on the internet, don't waste the pretty, hazards to my well-being, how did i just realize this?, you might learn something | No Comments

Lammily & Me
Over the last few days, I’ve  been doing a little shopping in preparation for my upcoming trip to Hawaii (one week from tomorrow!). To be honest, these last few months curled up in a chair working long hours at the office, sitting in front of the computer, and eating lots of delicious lunches has taken a bit of a toll, and searching for the perfect swimsuit wasn’t quite as enjoyable as it could have been. It’s okay, though. A person can only have so many priorities at a time, and I know I wouldn’t trade managing this project for the world — not even to be a few pounds lighter. I’ll take care of that when I’m done with this.

Cue Lammily — this adorable little Barbie alternative designed by Nickolay Lamm. My cousin Grace posted a link to an article about this doll, and I thought it was really cool. I clicked through to the photos, and what happened next caught me somewhat by surprise. As a fairly rational, successful, 32-year-old human being, I can honestly tell you that seeing three pictures of this doll made me feel better about myself. Better than when people compliment my outfits. Better than when my boyfriend tells me I look beautiful. Better than when I’m having the most amazing hair day ever. That’s completely and utterly ridiculous if you think about it. I didn’t even know that I cared about not resembling a Barbie until I saw this doll. The world makes women think really strange things sometimes, I think.

And while I agree with these sentiments that Lammily isn’t any more ‘normal’ than Barbie (and labeling her as such would completely defeat the purpose), she’s a little closer to my five-foot-tall version of ‘normal’, and apparently, that means the world to me. =)