Losing stuff

March 29, 2012

I’ve spent my entire morning looking for something. The thing isn’t important, but it’s important to me. The search began earlier this week and after a fruitless excavation, I gave up. I started looking again this morning, even before I finished my first cup of coffee (that means it’s really important).

Last week I was looking for my car title. I know it exists but it wasn’t with the other important documents, as it should have been, so I literally tore my house apart trying to find it. I also started looking in boxes in storage. Nothing. I did, however, find a bunch of picture frames, one contained a picture of my deceased grandma. So, it wasn’t all bad.

Yesterday, since I was going to the DMV anyway, I got a duplicate title. That cost me $20.

Before that I lost a pair of jeans. Only worn once.

After looking for those for a few days I came to the conclusion that someone had stolen them from the laundromat since I couldn’t find then anywhere. Then I remembered on laundry day I was going through some clothes and I found a pair of Levi’s that I remembered didn’t fit and I threw them in the garbage (I didn’t try them on). “Weird,” I thought, “my new pair were Levi’s…SHIT! You idiot, you cut the other pair into shorts last summer!! My God you’re stupid!!” (Ok, I wasn’t that hard on myself, but I should have been.) When I realized what I did it was a few days after “garbage day” and it was too late. They were gone. At least I had closure but I was still down $15 (they were on super-sale).

Before that I lost a sweatshirt. One of my favorite hoodies. Turns out it wasn’t lost, it was just the trunk of my car for the past few months. I’m assuming it was put there some time in the fall and I “found” it a few weeks ago. WIN!

Back to today, I have given up my search. I sat down with my computer and in a fit of frustration I did a Bing search for “finding lost stuff.” Turns out there’s a “self-help” site that tells you how to systematically track down your lost crap.

I did all of those things and they didn’t work. With my luck habit of indiscriminately throwing stuff away, it’s in the garbage. So, I’ll have to grab the bag out of the can and start digging. (Just kidding, it’s not THAT important.)

Now, I’m going to do research and will hopefully find a way to place trackers on all of my stuff, all 20 billion objects. I want to be able to type in “right shoe, black wedges,” then a map of my house will show up and a Siri-like voice will say, “I found your shoe right here *red dot*, two feet away from your face, you moron.”

That would be awesome.

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I broke down and bought a new pair of running shoes.

My run on Tuesday was the last straw. I had horrendous blisters on both heels. After a bunch of google/bing searches I found out I probably, more than likely, have a deformity on my feet.

Ok, it’s not a major deformity, but it’s enough to cause problems.

The technical name for my self-diagnosed deformity is “Haglund’s deformity.” It’s basically a boney bump on my heel, next to my Achilles tendon.

You can watch this WebMD video to see what it is:

http://women.webmd.com/video/high-heel-pain

The only difference is, my deformity wasn’t caused by wearing high heels, it’s more than likely hereditary and/or my high arches (which causes it’s own set of problems with shoes).

So, in order to find shoes that won’t rub on my deformity, I had to find shoes that don’t have a plastic heel support running up the back of the shoe. Some shoes only have the support going halfway up, which only makes the problem worse. I checked at least 30 pairs of shoes and found exactly 3 that didn’t have the plastic insert in the back of the shoe. One of the pairs was the New Balance 730.

I tried on one shoe and it felt great. I tried on both shoes and ran down a few aisles (because you can do that, y’know). I wasn’t sure I wanted them, so I took a drive over to the Nike Outlet looking for the Nike Free. I found it, but it doesn’t have a normal tongue, it’s attached, so you have to slip your foot in. I have high arches which make the top of my foot ridiculously high so I couldn’t get my foot in. I went back and bought the New Balances.

I haven’t run in them yet, I plan to give them a week or so trial before writing more about them. For now I can tell you what I think:

They weigh nothing. Well, almost nothing, New Balance says each shoe is just over 5 ounces.

The heels are fabulous!! There’s no rubbing, no plastic inserts to stab into my boney deformity and cause terrible blisters. The toe area is nice and roomy. Just doing some walking/hopping/bouncing and my foot has room to expand without rubbing up against the side of the shoe. My old shoes were wide-ish, but with every step I could feel my pinkie toes pushing out on the sides.

My only concern is the soles. They’re pretty thin. Which is what I expected from such a minimalist-ish shoe, but I’m used to the severely overly-padded shoes so it will be interesting to see how my feet feel after a run.

I plan to test them out later today, I’ll let you know, more than likely on Twitter, how it goes.

During my job search today I came across a blog post titled, “The need to be certain causes paralysis.” It just hit me, SMACK! It wasn’t a new idea, as this is something I’ve always struggled with, but it was the smack-in-the-face reminder that I needed.

For as long as I can remember I rarely make a move without being 100 93.25 percent certain of it’s outcome. I don’t just get nervous, like normal people, I literally (well, figuratively) become paralyzed with fear. I’ve let countless opportunities pass me by because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and scares the shit out of me. I’d rather be safe, in my own little world, with my little laundromat/post office life and just… be.

Last year I took a massive leap of faith and took a job I feared was above my head and was going to just destroy any confidence I had in my writing and social media skills. It didn’t. Unfortunately, my year as an actual paid writer for one of the biggest websites in the entire world hasn’t given me the “You can do anything you put your mind to!!!” confidence you’d think it would have.

Instead I’ve spent the past three months trying to be the perfect future-writer. “I’m going to learn everything I need to know and start applying it to my blog posts (I haven’t, clearly). I’m going to actually pay attention to how/what I’m writing and edit my blog posts with the proper grammar and punctuation. I’ll even use the semicolon properly (Nope.). I will write every single day, practice makes perfect!!!(Hogwash!!)”

I’ve done none of these things, well not consistently anyway. Why not? I’m not sure.

It’s probably fear. Mostly the fear that I’m not even a barely competent writer. Fear that I’m just wasting my time working on skills that may not even be utilized. Fear that I might not even want to be a “writer.” Fear that if I decide that I don’t want to be a writer, then what? I don’t know.

What does that even mean, anyway? Writer. Pshh… well I know I will never be a journalist. I’m barely a blogger. I can tweet. And lately I’ve even failed hard at that.

I can write words. I can put my thoughts into a semi-coherent post that sometimes conveys what I actually intended it to.

It all boils down to passion, and right now, I have none.

I guess you can say, I’ve growing apathetic and paralyzed.

No.

I am apathetic and paralyzed.

I used to be filled with the desire to connect with people and new ideas. People and new ideas outside of my comfort zone. People who shared similar values/interests/hobbies, people who opposed everything I stand for, people… in general. Now, I’ve found myself in my own little world. I interact with the same people every day. I read the same Twitter lists, which haven’t been updated in ages. I even listen to the same damn music over and over and over again. Why? Because I know it.

Everything is just safe and stale right now.

I’m not going to bullshit you guys and say, “So… on that note, I’m going to turn this shit around and snap the hell out of it.” I respect all 8 of you more than that.

I will say this though, I need to figure out what the hell I’m going to do, and fast, before I’m stuck in this apathetic space forever.

If you remember, I wrote that I plan to start running. Well, on Saturday the weather was great and I figured I might as well start now. So I did.

I didn’t buy new shoes, and I knew it would be a bad decision as I started my run/walk. But I wanted to do it to see how difficult my mission to 5k was going to be (this is my training plan).

I started with Day 1 – Week 1, “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.”

I downloaded an app to help track my progress. (If you’re looking for a great one check out RunDouble. I haven’t tried any others, so my review is severely biased.) I think the app is great, I can pick one of my playlists, and hit start. Then I just listen to what the lady tells me.

First I started off with my “brisk 5 min walk.” Then a voice comes over the Foo Fighters and says “start running now.” So I did. A then the women said, “Slow your pace to a brisk walk.” And I did that too. This continued for a while, and the woman said, “You are halfway done.” So I turned around and went back toward home and continued with my run/walk and a 5 min cool down walk.

After my run, I felt fine. Nothing hurt except my heels where my shoes apparently rubbed off all the skin. Aside from that, I was feeling good.

I woke up on Sunday and felt like I had been hit by a bus. Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty awful. My legs were sore. Mostly my shins (the outside) and my knees were a little achey on and off throughout the day.

Of course I started searching the entire internet to find the cause of my sore shins (aside from my shoes, because that’s an obvious conclusion). Apparently when I run I hit the ground heel first, and thus causing my shin pain (to get an idea of the pain: just put your feet flat on the floor and leaving your heel on the floor, raise your toes as high as you can and wait for the burn now hold it for like a minute. Yeah…it’s unawesome.) Ok. So I need to stop that because I’ve always had this problem.

There’s all kinds of hippie crap about barefoot running and blah blah blah injury free blah blah blah, but I’m not running barefoot. So I skipped over all that nonsense.

Then I came to the pile of “midfoot” crap. Now, it’s not really crap. I did try a few running steps through my house to see the difference and it clearly doesn’t hurt my shins to land on my whole foot. So, that’s a bonus. But that’s also being mindful of every step (I took 5) and that’s clearly not something I’m going to do while running a mile or two. However, it does make sense to shorten my stride (it’s not very long to begin with) and lessen the impact on my heels.

Anyway, I plan to see if I can modify my running form to be less of a heel striker and more of a soft midfoot lander. I think it’s probably a good idea to start now before I get too far into this 5k training and have to adjust it again.

Of course I’ll let you guys know how it goes. Also, I’ll let you know when I buy new shoes, that will make a big difference.

Have you ever been forced to join a union? I have. It happened quite a few years ago, but it helped shape my opinion against being forced to join a union.

Less than 10 years ago I applied for a job as an “employment specialist.” The job was to help adults with disabilities find work in the community. I went through the interview process and got the job.

After a few weeks of “training” I was told that I forgot to turn in my union paperwork. I had to turn in my stuff by the end of the week or I wouldn’t be allowed to work.

“Huh?”

I thought it was weird. I didn’t remember hearing anything about joining a union. Furthermore I didn’t remember being told that joining a union was a condition of my employment.

When I couldn’t find the paperwork I needed, I asked my boss, who gave me a tiny packet. At the end of the day I sat at my desk and looked through the stuff. I just had to fill out this postcard and check the box that says I allow union dues to be taken out of my paycheck. The most odd thing was the union I was joining was the Steelworkers union.

“What? I’m not a steelworker. I have never been a steelworker. No one in my position will ever be a steelworker.” I recall asking a coworker about it and she said something like, “The union covers more than just steelworkers.” That was it. That’s all I got.

I always thought joining a union was a choice. Freedom of assembly, or something. What the hell was this “forced membership” crap? I forgot to turn in my stuff on Friday and on Monday the following week my boss said, “I need your union paperwork today or I’ll have to send you home.” So I reluctantly handed it to her and went on with my day.

At the time, it bothered me. It bothered me even more on payday when I saw for the first time in my life “Union Dues” on my pay stub. How could I be forced to pay for something I didn’t want or even understand? I just sucked it up. I had other stuff going on in my life I wasn’t going to get bent out of shape over a stupid union. Also, I wasn’t being forced to attend union meetings or lobby for benefits or strike. Whatevs.

I eventually quit that job. Not because of the union, but because I really hated working there.

Now, I share this story with you because as many of you know, the Minnesota legislature is working on passing a “Right-to-Work” law. In my MN Politics list on Twitter it’s been a hot topic. Sure there are only a few people on the list, but I pretty much get a good idea of both sides of an issue from those people.

My bias toward the law comes not only from my experience above, but from talking to my family about their involvement with unions. My aunt used to be (or still is, according to the website) the treasurer for AFSCME at the Department of Revenue (employed for 20+ years). She’s very pro-union, obviously. My brother-in-law in part of a union at PepsiCo and has a love/hate relationship with his union. (Yes yes, the old “I’m not but I have friends who are…” thing…)

My argument against unions has only ever been, “Why does anyone HAVE to join?” I can wrap my mind around people who want to join a union, it’s the “you have to join” thing that gets me. In order for me to keep my job I had to give up money from every check to a union. Sure, I could have walked away from the job and gave the Big Union the big F-U. However, I had bills to pay and I NEEDED to join because I NEEDED that job.

I didn’t really receive any direct benefit from that union that I can recall. I don’t remember ever seeing a union rep or attending a union meeting. My pay was very close to or the same as the pay I would have received from a non-union job and my benefits were typical, nothing to write home about, if I remember correctly. I honestly couldn’t really tell you how being a member benefited me. I don’t know where my union dues were going and what services I was paying for.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t receive any benefit, I just can’t tell you what those benefits were. It wasn’t like a manufacturing plant I worked at (but wasn’t a union member) with the union number posted on every wall in the building and with an on-site union rep making the rounds. There were posters saying “Call your union rep if: (list of reasons to call).” There were meetings, votes, benefits, seniority lists, pay, it was all tied to the union. There was nothing like that at this job. My dues were just taken out of my check and that was it.

I haven’t spent a great deal of time reading about “right-to-work” laws, specifically in Minnesota. But from what I can gather, the law essentially gives people the right to opt out of a union. Which, had Minnesota been a “right-to-work” state a few years ago, I could have saved a few hundred dollars in union dues. At the time, that would have been enough to pay my car insurance for the year.

Just some food for thought.

Apparently there’s a new social media policy being adopted my some employers, mostly government agencies, that require applicants to hand over their usernames and passwords for Facebook and Twitter. It’s not just employers, colleges are asking applicants for the same information.

First of all, I have a link to my Twitter account on my resume. I expect employers to try to look me up given the field I work in (or trying to work in). However, I will not be handing over my password to anyone. Everything you’d want to know is public information: my followers, who I’m following, my tweets, my lists, my interactions with other people and even a link to my crappy blog. What more could you need to know?

Of course there are the DMs. Sure, mine are rather boring. You’re not going to find some Anthony Weiner-type scandal, and it wouldn’t be horribly embarrassing if they were leaked. Regardless, handing over my password, and access to my DMs, is no different than allowing an employer permission to bug my house and phone to listen to things I say in the privacy of my own home.

There are many people who will say, “If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the problem?” The problem is, it starts with access to your Twitter account, next text messages, followed by video cameras in your living room/car and tracking devices in your purse…

…oh wait…

…that’s already possible.

Is there any situation where that type of intrusion would be OK? In my opinion, no. Unless I’ve done something illegal and there’s a search warrant, it’s just not going to happen.

If that means I don’t get a job, so be it. I guess that’s the price I’ll have to pay.

I’m going to start running again.

Ok, I’m going to try running again.

Alright, seriously, I’m going to start running.

I don’t expect to be a super marathoner any time ever (I don’t want to be). I just want to be healthier and lose weight. Apparently working out with that evil woman Jillian (30 Day Shred) is causing me to gain a bunch of muscle (Yay! Upper body strength!) but it’s not doing anything to the fat around those muscles, thus my thighs are getting bigger, not smaller. However, I might still use her for weight training purposes a few times a week instead of daily.

Anyway, since I can’t stand running on a treadmill or elliptical and I hate gyms and I like to be outside, running seems like a great thing to get back into. So, I’m going to be following a couch-to-5k training plan. Here’s how it should go:

Week 1:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes (3x/wk).

Week 2:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes (3x/wk).

Week 3:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following (3x/wk):

Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Week 4:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then (3x/wk):

Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Week 5:

Day 1) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Day 2) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Day 3) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week 6:

Day 1) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Day 2) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)

Day 3) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.

Week 7:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes) (3x/wk).

Week 8:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes) (3x/wk).

Week 9:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Hopefully everything will go as planned and I will run in the Komen 5k on Mother’s day (May 13). If that’s successful I will hopefully do more this summer.

First I have to find better shoes to fit my goofy feet (high arches, weak ankles…).

Wish me luck!