Lunch bliss

Eighty degrees and blue skies. The lunch hour spreads itself wide. I take the subway two stops to Copley.

Dining Car food truck’s special: Mediterranean Chicken sandwich with hummus.

Eating in the park with a background of farmers’ market chatter and a guitarist strumming a catchy tune. A picnicker dances.

Anthropologie sale and birthday month discount on this cute notepad that reminds me of second grade. Can’t wait to make a To Do list.

Welcome to the chaos

I arrive at work this week to a crowd of boisterous orientation leaders bouncing around on the sidewalk, dressed in bright matching t-shirts and lip-synching to Lady Gaga blasting out of a good old-fashioned boombox. A car arrives and the leaders punch it into high gear: a new freshman and her parents! It’s as if Lady Gaga herself has arrived. Much whooping ensues. Car doors open and nervous parents can’t help but smile while their teen tries to look cool amid the welcome assault. It’s not working, honey.

But their cheer is infectious and works on me, so I’m  pretending that these energetic upperclassmen are my welcoming committee. Just another work day with unbridled team spirit. A cheerleading squad for the tired working masses. A We appreciate the heck out of you kind of reception I like when starting my day. I could get used to this.

When the Interweb is down

I barely had my coat off when my co-worker delivered the blow.

“The Internet is down,” she said. She used the same grave voice she had used when she told me her sister had been in a car accident. I dare say, this was worse.

“The Internet is down??” I said. 

When she confirmed the news, I put that coat right back on, ready to head home. I mean, what good is a work day without the Internet? Do you know how many things you can’t do when the Web goes down? 

You can’t check email—an honest-to-goodness tragedy. I pictured urgent emails piling up, countless Border’s coupons going unread.

You can’t browse Amazon or Christmas shop on Etsy.

You can’t check the weather every 15 minutes, leaving you vulnerable to surprise tornadoes. 

You can’t update your blog or read other blogs.

You have no idea what’s happening in the world. You pretend you did before.

You can’t watch Surprised Kitty on YouTube 17 times in a row.

And you can’t possibly work, even if your job is only 2% reliant on going online.

When co-workers emerged from their cubicles, confused and agape after hearing the news, we huddled in the reception area and well, talked. Given the lost art of conversation, (thanks, Internet!), it was strange to interact in a group. But, once we got talking and laughing, the digital immigrants shared memories from a time when this was all we knew. A time when the Internet wasn’t down, but non-existent.

“Wild,” some students said. 

Yeah, wild.

“So, if I have to look up a word, I have to use the old-fashioned dictionary in my cube?” one writer asked.

“We could play Scrabble,” another offered.

Sitting around the metaphorical campfire sharing stories, it felt like we were snowbound or trapped in a simpler time. A time when we worked a full day. A time when we caught up with others in person over coffee. A time when our eyes never needed a break from technology. A time when there was never a worry about the Internet going down. A time that I miss and marvel at simultaneously. 

In the end, I decided to stay at work and stick it out with the rest of the staff, roughing it, as it were, and then rejoicing with them when the word came that the Internet was back (!) and we scattered faster than children at the mention of the word “bedtime.”

Summer frock it

Sometimes, when you have to go to work and you’d rather go to the beach, (but you really can’t beach it because you have to work—vicious cycle—and this has been a poorer than poor excuse for a summer anyway), the best thing to do is to wear a beach frock to the office. I’m not saying you should show up in a bikini or a strapless terrycloth coverup, but I took immense pleasure today in wearing totally inappropriate beach wear to the office. Throw on that short dress with the flowy sleeves, and yeah, people might look at you askance, but if you rock your summer frock, you can have your job and beach it too.

Dreamy lunch inspiration

Browsing Flickr is a dangerous addiction. So many pretty pictures to tempt you from your workday. I’ve stumbled upon a treasure trove of niche collections this way—vintage aprons, lunchboxes, hats. But today’s find made me drool: shots of people’s lunches. A good lunch can really sustain you at work—and if your colleagues are like mine and love food too, a little healthy competition could foster inspiration and more importantly, jealousy.

These photographers take their lunches seriously, artfully arranging snacks in little compartments and making them look so, so appealing. Feast your eyes:

So sweet:

heart-lunch

So healthy:

healthy-lunch

So flaky:

pie-lunches

So creative:

lion-lunch

How to look forward to Monday

1. Think of your favorite meal. Revel in it.

2. Call your mother for the recipe or find it on that slip of paper somewhere in that sad excuse for a recipe box that’s cluttering up the counter. If your favorite meal is from a restaurant, pray they have a cookbook like the one I got for Christmas, On Top of Spaghetti. If not, try to recreate it as best you can.

3. Make it over the weekend. And enjoy making it. Choose fresh ingredients, put on some music, have a glass of wine and graze as you go.

4. Put it in the fridge—and this is key—don’t forget it Monday morning. 

5. Think about it all morning—especially if it’s snowing and you’re finding it difficult to launch from your warm bed. Obsess over how good it will taste. Spend so much time on this step that you don’t notice it’s Monday.

6. Eat lunch late so as to built anticipation and discover that by the time you’re done, it’s 2 o’clock. 

rainbow-lunchbox

Sleeping on the job

I fell asleep at work the other day. Who could blame me? I was stretched out on the floor with eyes closed and relaxing music playing in the background. I know, it doesn’t sound like work at all, but the cat nap was an unintended result of a meditation class offered at work. Yup, sleeping on the job was actually sanctioned by my employer. Great, right? We have a gym on site, so I was surprised to find that I was one of only three people taking advantage of some Friday afternoon downtime.

Breathing though, when directed, is hard. I found the guided meditation a challenge, even though the facilitator had a soothing voice and pleasant manner. We inhaled for two beats at first, paused for two beats, and then exhaled for two beats. So far, so good. Upping the rhythm to four beats though made me unnaturally focused on not hyperventilating, which manifested in not-so-soothing mantras like, Do not hyperventilate. This is supposed to be relaxing. Breathing like this is making me mad! The focus on the breath, although intended to drive away other thoughts, instead only made me more conscious of my inability to breathe properly. When I relented and resumed my normal breathing pattern (ahhhhh), I was relaxed enough to not care if I was doing it right and just happy to be breathing—and happier still to be falling asleep at work.