Monday, October 19, 2015


I adulted hard today, and it's late and I'm proud of myself so here goes:

I woke up (and got out of bed, that's the important part) early enough to make breakfast and still leave for work on time. 

I washed a sink full of dishes when I got home from work. 

I worked out. 

I washed the dishes and cleaned up after dinner. The kitchen is CLEAN.

I had fruit for dessert (I did have a mid-morning chocolate snack - it had espresso in it!).

I prepped tomorrow's dinner and put it on the fridge. 

I organized the freezer. It really does feel good to go to bed with a clean kitchen. Real Simple was right. 

I knocked two things off my to do list. 

I made a plan for tomorrow's breakfast.

I read a recipe that I'm planning to make tomorrow to make sure I had all the ingredients. 

I did my physical therapy (well, most of it).

I flossed. 

Even though I'm going to bed an hour and a half after I'd like to, I'm calling today a win. 

Skills and puzzles and work

Back in 2007, I applied for an Administrative Associate job at Google. All incoming Admin applicants had to take a test full of LSAT-style logic questions (in addition to a free-writing portion). At the time, I was confused, and assumed it was just something Google did because they were Google and liked testing people. They were big on metrics and applying math to people, and that was SO not my world and I thought it was ridiculous. But I wanted to work at Google. So I studied, and I prepped, and I took the test. I don't know what my exact results were, but I know I scored high enough to earn a coveted role as an "Eng Admin". That is, I was an Administrative Associate supporting a team of engineers (I had hoped for Google Books). Of course, at a company where Engineer is King, they told me that they "save their best Admins for the Engineers" (a nice ego boost, even though it's a ridiculous thing to say - and do).

Anyway, after only a few months working at Google, I learned the importance of that test. Scheduling meetings for the 7 busy executives I supported was like playing Tetris with calendars -- it was all about matchmaking and prioritization and contingencies. If I move this meeting to this spot, what will be affected? How can I maneuver things to get these 20 people in 4 time zones in one 30 minute meeting? If this guy can't make it, can I suggest changes to his own calendar to make room for my boss?

Similar challenges have come up at Disqus, most often when rearranging seating. As a small startup, we have to be nimble. When products or projects change, so change our teams. And teams work best when they can sit near each other, so sometimes we change the seating arrangement every quarter, if not more frequently! While we try to make things as minimally-disruptive as possible, sometimes what's best for productivity is a total overhaul. And when people work on more than one team, things can get a little complicated, and quickly! Not only do you have to consider how to place one specific team within the space in your office, you also have to consider the necessary proximity of each team to each other (for example, if specific people or entire teams work closely together - here's where the whole "people work on multiple teams" things can complicate your seating chart).

It's a lot of "if this, then that". It's like a puzzle, figuring out which pieces go where...but it's a puzzle where the pieces keep changing and there is no one right fit for each piece. It's a fun challenge, and a little bit of a crazy one, but I love it. There's something so satisfying about moving a bunch of pieces around, over and over, until you find the right combination. Especially satisfying if the people you're doing it for appreciate your time and talents :)

What are some skills you never thought you'd need? What did you realize you're good at, perhaps only after you realized how important it was?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Family Pizza Night!

Back in August, Rustic Crust contacted me about hosting a "family pizza night". I've always loved this idea - pizza is such a fun and easy way for the whole family to work together to make dinner. It's fun for kids, fun for adults, fun for our bellies. All around wins. My husband has a pizza dough recipe that he made as a kid, and I've had "family pizza night" with my parents and with kids I've babysat, but since we don't have children of our own yet, we don't have regular occasion to do "special" dinners. Like, with a theme. Like, FAMILY PIZZA NIGHT!

Anyway, October is apparently National Pizza Month (?), so why not celebrate by sharing the photos from our family pizza night. Our family right now is our close friends Sonja and Jack. We make dinners together often, but it was really fun to have an extra excuse to try something :)

The ingredients. Wine is especially important!
Sonja prepping our crusts with a brush of oil.
Sonja and Jack pose with their creations.
We made flatbread with fresh tomatoes and
parmesan, garlic herb crust with meatless
 meatballs and padron peppers, and plain flatbread
with figs, balsamic, and parmesan. Gourmet!
I mean, they're frickin' beautiful, no?
And like any great family dinner, it ends with empty glasses,
empty plates, full bellies, and passing out in front of the TV.
Thanks to Rustic Crust for sponsoring this post by providing the dough and the sauce! While I do prefer a from-scratch homemade crust, we don't always have time to make one. These ready to go flatbreads and crusts tasted way better than your standard Boboli, and it's nice to know that they come free from chemicals or artificial ingredients. Super delicious.

Full disclosure: Rustic Crust provided me with free samples for review, but did not influence my review or provide additional compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.