How to Stay Entertained When You Work From Home

I’ve been working from home for a little over 2 years now.

One of the ways I spice up my workday is by pulling pranks on my husband. My favorite prank is still the time I put a wall of boxes in front of the front door.

However, today I had a stroke of genius when I realized he left his Spotify account logged in on his Mac. (Not that this is anything new, it’s always left open , I just never thought about it until today.)

The Spotify account than just happens to post his activity to Facebook for everyone to see.

That’s when I did this:

Capture Capture3Capture2 Capture4 Capture5 Capture6 Capture7

Man was this fun. And as of posting this blog? Adam still doesn’t have a clue 🙂

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Honey, I’m home…

With moving and marriage also came a bit of a change to my work environment. I switched from corporate cube monkey to secluded homebased associate. I’m not complaining, I got to keep my job and I can work in my PJs whenever I want. 🙂

Here’s the thing, though, I’m not exactly the homebody type. I like to be social during work. I like knowing there’s someone I can yell pointless facts to over the cube wall. At home, that person for the better part of 8 hours everyday doesn’t exist. Unless you count the voices in my head.

Friday, in an effort to entertain myself and have a productive lunch break from work, I unpacked boxes. Progress feels good. Really good. Plus, I needed to know what we don’t have – decor wise – so that we could have a successful flea market/vintage shopping trip last weekend.

Then, as I was walking back to my desk to respond to emails and get back in the work groove I had an idea:

That’s right. A floor to ceiling “wall” of boxes built by me to greet Adam when he arrives home from work. I placed it strategically in the front door so he can open the door without actually knocking down the boxes.

I’m a genius.

And the funniest person I know.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Last night, along with some co-workers, I went to the Grace Potter concert at the Rev Room. I had recently become a fan of hers thanks to a rocking Jazzercise set, so when I found out that she would be in Little Rock last week I was stoked at the possibility of seeing her live. I introduced her videos to my co-workers and they were sold. We were going.

She strutted on stage wearing a gold lamé mini-dress which showed off killer Tina Turner-esque legs that I long for. Accompanied by an incredible band, she put on a great show. Rocking out in all the right places, slowing it down for only two songs and picking it right back up flawlessly. She is a true talent and a joy to watch on stage. I know her popularity will explode very soon and I highly recommend seeing her and her band live if the opportunity presents itself!

Since there’s not not enough words to accurately describe just how incredibly talented she is, take a look at these videos – not recorded from last night, but almost exactly the same as what I saw live.

Medicine

cover of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit

A Like Totally Awesome Surprise!

I love parties and I love the 80s.

So it should come as no shock that I loved helping my co-workers put together a huge surprise bash to celebrate another co-worker’s 30-year service anniversary with an 80s themed prom (She started working for my company in 1981). For several months we held secret meetings, schemed behind her back, tossed around ideas, put together a guest list, designed the invites and divided and conquered. Every sneaky step of the way I smiled. It’s such a good feeling knowing that I’m doing something nice for someone else; something that, hopefully, made her day and showed just how much we appreciate her and enjoy working with her!!

Let’s get into the details of this shindig, shall we? First up, the invites – designed by yours truly:

Then came other graphic posters put up around the room to set the tone – also designed by yours truly:

I couldnt resist a good "9 to 5" reference 🙂

Lucky for us, our co-worker was on vacation for the 2 weeks leading up to the party. This allowed 2 of us to rummage through her unlocked desk drawers -she’ll never trust us again – and find pictures over her 30 years of service. We then took the pictures and cut basic geometric shapes out of fluorescent poster board to act as mats and placed them on tables around the room.

Every party needs a guest book, so here’s what we came up with for ours:

Oh yes, thats Rick Springfield

4 of us also took a trip to the local Salvation Army in hopes of finding a prom dress fit for a queen – and did we ever! Here’s the honored guest in her gown and sash.

And here’s a close-up of the sash, because nothing says “the 80s” like polka dots!

Here’s a shot of the dance floor decor, in all it’s 80s glory. Heck yes we boogied down to classic 80s “Pop Musik”!

I loved the metallic accents - they just screamed tacky 80s Prom!

What’s a party without cake? The co-worker in charge of getting the cake did a phenomenal job! [from Patticakes]

Yummy!!!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the 80s fashion that appeared.

I just love a good power suit, with shoulder pads. But I skipped the nude hose :).

White Elephant

One of my old teams at work held a gift exchange at Christmas. The idea was that half of us would bring white elephant gifts and the other half would bring nice gifts – while staying within a budget of $20. I was tasked with bringing a white elephant gift and decided it would be best to look at local “junk stores” and flea markets to find the perfect gift. I spent hours looking before hitting the white elephant jackpot.

High on a shelf hidden amongst lots’o’junk, I saw it. The PERFECT white elephant gift. A HUGE figurine of a carousel horse, I’m talking at least 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It was painted in pastel shades of pink and purple, had fake pearls stuck all over, glitter accents, tulle wrapped around the base and neck, and a fantastically shiny gold pole going up the middle, along with a gold horn on its head.

It. Was. Ugly.

And, because it was so huge, finding a way to wrap it that made it look like a nice gift proved difficult, I had to creatively tape boxes together before gingerly wrapping it up and topping it with the prettiest bow I could make.

The next day, I hauled it to the party, and placed it in the gift pile. I was beside myself with excitement to see who would be the lucky recipient. We drew numbers to see in what order we would pick (or steal) our gifts and the fun began. About mid-way through, someone finally picked my gift, opened it carefully, and looked shell-shocked when they realized what they had just received.

It. Was. Classic.

Then they wanted to know who in tarnation brought the gift and why.

I explained, through fits of giggles, that I spent hours at all the various junk stores and flea markets in town looking for the perfect white elephant gift, and when I saw the unicorn I had to have it – because it was just so ugly and no one would possibly want it. Just as I finish my explanation another co-worker excitedly pipes up and says, “My sister loves unicorns. She collects those figurines!! She’ll love it!” Inevitably she steals the white elephant gift to regift to her sister.

And me? 2 years later, I’m still working on pulling my foot out of my mouth…

Road Wars

This morning I risked my life for a bagel.

I woke up craving the cinnamon-y, sugar-y deliciousness of a Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagel. I got ready in record time – for a Monday – hopped in my car and headed to Panera.

Panera is relatively new in Conway and in a new development of both residential and commerical properties. [Which, by the way, is quite possibly the cutest little neighborhood I’ve ever seen.] This development has sparked the installation of some roundabouts and due to those roundabouts there is understandably some construction to navigate through. I’m okay with that, as normally it doesn’t cause that big of a delay.

But today, this is what I encountered as I approached my turn:

What you are looking at is a roundabout where the middle is blocked, making it impossible to make my left-hand turn to get to Panera. [Also notice there’s a curbed grassy median preventing me from just making my own turn lane]

Frustrated, I continued to drive a bit further as there is a second roundabout just up the road, it’s also new. Unfortunately, that roundabout was similarly blocked preventing me from making a U-turn.

This would be where I developed road Tourette’s.

I was bound and determined to make that left-hand turn and buy a bagel, so at the first opportunity I had where there was no longer a grassy median blocking me, I made a U-turn through an opening in the traffic barrels and into oncoming traffic narrowly avoiding a collision, but also starting a trend of 6 other cars making the same manuever.

I got skills. And I know how to use them.

At lunch I risked my life for a salad.

Now that my favorite Little Rock restaurant has opened a location in Conway, it’s pretty much become my regular lunch spot. To get there I take a series of side streets from work to get back to the aforementioned cluster-*bleep*. You’d think, since I’m making only right-hand turns this time it would be a breeze to get to ZAZA.

Well, you’d be mistaken, because this is what that same area looked like at lunch:

This time, the entire northbound road is blocked off. Not only that, what you don’t see is the madness I had to get through just to get on the road. The last 20 feet or so of the side-street I took was blocked off and had detour signs up. What these detour signs didn’t tell you, until it was too late, is that you were being taken to a coned off area that was running out of road; where making a right hand turn was virtually impossible given how close the cones were together and the narrow lanes of two-way traffic you would have to fight. You also had no option of backing up and turning around, because there was a line of cars in the same predicament as you.

As soon as I could make a left-hand turn, as it was much easier to make than a right, I bolted into the traffic then quickly made another left into a parking lot so I could finish my U-turn. And, wouldn’t you know it, I started a trend yet again. Skills.

I’m giving myself an imaginary pat on the back for being so resourceful when faced with adversity when I realize that the entire half of the roundabout I need to drive through to get to ZAZA is blocked. I do a quick scan for construction workers and equipment, of which there  is NONE, and bolt through a gap in the barrels just large enough for my car to fit through.

Which brings me to this question:

Seriously, “road people”. What possessed you to block the ONLY entrance to 2 of the newest hotspots in town with construction? Is it to test my analytical thinking skills? Is it a subtle hint that I don’t need to eat a bagel? No? Well then, maybe it’s your way of really testing my patience first thing on a Monday? Either way I deserve an explanation. stat.

Why I want to move…

[See also: Why I despise my downstairs frat boy neighbors]

11:40: Just got off the phone with Adam and am walking back to my bedroom.

11:41: Changed into my PJs, ready to read Jen Lancaster and fall into a sweet sweet slumber

11:42:30: Is that ABBA?

11:42:35: It IS ABBA, but what song?

11:42:45: OMG the frat boys are blaring “Dancing Queen”

11:42:47: I hit the floor, ear to carpet, listening and giggling at this picture I’ve drawn in my head of frat boys dancing around their apartment and singing “Dancing Queen”

11:43:15: Man, I’m tired. I need to sleep. [Gets up off floor]

11:43:18: But what if the next song is equally entertaining? [Walks and stands in the corner to listen to more music]

11:43:20: What’s this?

11:43:32: It’s The Eagles…

11:43:34: It’s Hotel California

11:44:25: I call Adam.

11:44:27: Adam’s working, and says, “That’s umm interesting” as a I regale him with the scenarios that are popping into my head at this very moment about the neighbors’ playlist.

11:50: Adam tells me he needs to get back to work so he can finish laundry and pack to visit me on Thursday.

11:50:10: “Don’t go!” I shout, not wanting to miss the opportunity to share the next song choice with him.

11:50:30: Distract Adam with my sleepy ramblings while I try to figure out the next song…

11:50:35: It’s the Bee Gees, not nearly as random, we say our goodbyes.

11:51:35: We are done saying our goodbyes.

11:53: Oooh! Foreigner, “Feels Like the First Time”

11:54: Seriously, WHAT are THEY doing down there…

11:54:45: Ok, the charm of this is starting to wear off. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that it’s almost midnight on a school night.

11:54:46: Did I just say school night?

11:54:50: Head to bathroom to wash face, brush teeth, etc. etc.

11:58: Get into bed with Jen’s new book.

11:58:09: New Song!!

11:58:10: No. Freaking. Way.

11:58:11: Jump out of bed and begin to dance.

11:58:30: Grab hairbrush and lip-synch to Manfred Mann “Blinded by the Light”

12:04: Ok, seriously, Megan. Get in bed and stay there, you have to be at work in 8 hours.

12:04:30: Fleetwood Mac begins.

12:04:45: It’s “Dreams”. Fitting since it’s way past my bedtime.

12:04:50: Continue reading Jen.

12:06: Oh no they didn’t. I KNOW they didn’t just skip “Dreams”.

12:06:10: I’m pissed and I’m tired.

12:07: An unidentifiable song begins blaring.

12:07:30: I text Adam saying I’m about to go postal.

12:08: No response.

12:09: Continue reading.

12:10: This music is getting louder (and not any better).

12:14: I call the courtesy officer pager.

12:14:30: Courtesy officer calls me right as the music is shut off.

12:14:32: Of Course.

12:14:40: Apologize for bothering her, tell her I can’t hear their music anymore, and not to worry about it.

12:14:45: She tells me not to hesitate calling her back if the music comes back to an unacceptable level.

12:15: Remember nothing after this point.

7:10: I wake up with “Blinded by the Light” stuck in my head.

image via MAZZALIARMADI.IT on Flickr
Chick Parmesan Sub

Mambo Italiano

Chick Parmesan SubI’ve been looking for easy one or two serving recipes that I can cook when I get home from work. And now that I’m done with Grad School [at least until August] I’m hoping to have more time to cook in my neglected kitchen. After work and a workout I came home and decided to try my first new recipe of the summer…
I actually had no idea what I wanted to eat for dinner tonight, but I surfed on over Tasty Kitchen and decided to peruse the sandwiches. Man, did I hit the jackpot!! I’m a huge sucker for Chicken Parmesan, but the prep is hardly easy and the cleanup, at least for me, takes longer than the cooking. Plus, you can’t ever make just one serving. Luckily, I found I could have the taste of Chicken Parmesan that I love without the frying and the pie tins of egg, flour, and breading strewn across my counter. YAY!
This recipe is simple, hearty, and cheesy and would pair perfectly with a light green salad. Buon Appetito!
Chicken Parmesan Subs
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1-⅔ whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves (cooked)
  • ⅓ Jar Of Spaghetti Sauce (28 – 32 Ounce Jar)
  • 2 whole 6″ Hoagie Buns
  • 1 tablespoon Butter (enough to butter the bread)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Pinch (or more) of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasonings
  • ⅔ cups Shredded Mozarella Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Chop cooked chicken breasts into small 1/2-inch pieces. Heat spaghetti sauce in saucepan and add red pepper, italian seasonings and chicken pieces. Cook until chicken is heated through.
  2. Slice hoagie buns in half.
  3. Mix softened butter and and garlic until well incorporated. Spread garlic butter over bread.
  4. Preheat broiler. Place bread on a pan, butter side up, under broiler. Broil until golden and crunchy.
  5. Distribute the chicken mixture over bread. Top generously with cheeses.
  6. Return to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let set a few minutes.

Serves 2

Note: You can prepare the chicken breasts however you like – baked, sauteed, rotisserie, etc. Leftover is perfect!

Ink.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an obsession with pens. Felt tip, gel, fountain. Those are my favorites, but I’m also known to have a few ballpoints scattered in there. As a kid, I was known to have mugs bulging with pens randomly placed in shelves around my room. Apparently, that hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older, because my pen and pencil holder on my desk is totally full of pens. So much so, that I can barely pull one out or put one back in.

Colorful pens make mundane meeting notes less mundane.

“Good” pens, the ones that write with hardly any pressure/effort, make my hand hurt less when taking notes and [best of all] are most flattering to my handwriting.

So, if you need to add a little color to your life, grab a pen and doodle for a bit. I promise it will brighten your day, if only for a few seconds.