Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 2

Change your commute, change your mood?

This summer I started riding my bike to work. I find that I am much more energized when I get to the office, and far more energized when I get home. The physical effort wakes me up and my urban commute requires a degree of focus and concentration that distracts from the petty annoyances that I would mull about if were driving or riding the bus.

Aside from putting me in a better mood the other big benefit of bike commuting is efficiency: my workout time and my commuting time are merged into one, which means I can sleep in a bit. Also it saves a few hundred bucks a week in gas, parking, bus fare, etc. When I was researching this blog post, I found out you can deduct $20 of biking expenses for every month you commute  on your bike from your taxes. Also, some people might feel smug and virtuous because they are saving the planet and all that, but that’s not me. If anything, I worry that people might peg me as an insufferable hipster, or more likely and worse yet, a wannabe insufferable hipster. But I am a bit too old and bit too busy let what people think keep me from going about my business. But I digress.

Luckily, this was a fairly easy transition because: a) I live 3 miles from my office; b) I already owned the essentials: a bike, helmet, bike lock, backpack for my laptop, and c) I have a rather casual workplace–it’s not dressy and the hours are pretty flexible, so I can keep my eye on the weather and traffic and pick a good time to make the trek.

The big challenges I encountered have been a) clothes and shoes that I feel comfortable wearing on the bike and wearing into the office, b) hair – yes, arriving at the office with sweat/wet/helmet head is not the best, and c) make-up.

At this point my post is going to get fairly girl-specific but I found that the best look so far is kind of a french girl vibe that consists of (from the ground up): Scrunch ballet flats with elastic so they don’t fall off your feet, black  “pixie pants” these are cooler than jeans and more work appropriate if you can take yourself seriously as a professional while wearing a garment called “pixie pants”, a tank top, a lightweight cardi (it’s hard to find a quality cardigan that doesn’t just make you look frumpy, but I have had good luck with Halogen brand from Nordstroms), and a gauze cotton scarf.  Aside from the cardigan, which should last for years, most pieces can be had inexpensively from Old Navy, and won’t show grease stains from your bike chain or sweat. The idea is to stash the cardi and the scarf in your bag and put it on when you get to work. I suppose that you could even put an extra and or nicer sleeveless shell  in the bag and change if you need to look a bit more presentable or you get extra sweaty.

I have read and can confirm that you need to wait about 10 minutes until you stop sweating to hit the ladies room, freshen up make the switch, and do your hair and make up. I just do my regular make-up for work. The hair, the hair now that leaves me flummoxed … I can’t say I have a solution … I am due for a trim and a will consult the hair dresser to see if she has any ideas because I sure don’t.

I put together a playlist for commuting for people who can’t commute by bike. I see people riding with earbuds, but yeah, no, because safety.

Anyway I listened to said playlist several times, trying to fine tune it as I do, and it make me sad, so I deleted it but didn’t have the time to come up with something new, so I am reviving an old playlist, called “Roadkill Romance”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2015 Live Shows: Courtney Barnett, B&S, NMH

Courtney Barnett B&S-StevieJackon

This here is a wrap-up of concerts I’ve seen recently, and what that means for you, dear reader. First, Courtney Barnett. She is at Pitchfork this weekend! She reminds me of a cross between Lou Reed and Pavement. We drove up to Milwaukee a while back to see her open for Belle and Sebastian.

Honestly we just saw B&S at the Riv in April, and I was thinking that I probably would not have hauled up to Milwaukee just to see B&S. That would have been a mistake because the B&S show was fantastic and I would have been an idiot to miss it. Stevie Jackson, in particular, seemed amused to be in Milwaukee – a fan of “The Fonz” from way back, perhaps?

But back to Courtney Barnett, I got the strong sense that many in crowd at the Pabst, like me, were really there at out of excitement for her opening set, which was quite brief but awesome, more impressive than either of Barnett’s albums that I own on vinyl (Sometimes I Sits and The Double EP) which are both already super impressive.

We have been going to Milwaukee for shows a lot lately, we went to see Neutral Milk Hotel towards the end of April, and I tried to write about them but I couldn’t write anything that didn’t seem horrible. Don’t get me wrong, the musicality was totally THERE, and the songs still inspire. I read once that NMH thought they were out to change the world and thought they failed. I don’t know about that. When I saw Neutral Milk Hotel in the late 90’s (twice, at Lounge Ax – first opening for Superchunk, and then as headliners), I was on track to a corporate career and suburban motherhood. Now years later, after listing to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea maybe several thousand times, I am a corporate careerist and a suburban mom whose inner life is profoundly influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel. Now that’s a world of difference.

When I heard they were coming back after all this time, I was skeptical. I found the experience of seeing them live very uncomfortable. Lounge Ax was a small venue, and I was close enough to see everyone in the band’s nose hair. My first instinct was to excuse myself and go stand in the corner of the ladies room. Like the club, the ladies room was also really small, and no corners to stand in. So I came upstairs and watched the show. Those guys were weird, weirdly intense, weirdly authentic and weirdly driven. Earth-shaking, but not exactly cool. I wondered if the current audience who mostly missed them the first time around would be put off. But no, the audience seemed more concerned about reassuring and supporting Jeff Mangum and the band–one guy from the audience yelled our “we love you” early in the show–than making any judgments, or even being entertained. The Riverside is a big venue, but I could see the band, The weird intensity was gone, they just seemed happy, with Jeff Mangum often rocking back and forth on his heels like a little kid.

Anyway, the moral of the story is GO SEE COURTNEY BARNETT. And write back and tell me about it, ‘cause Pitchfork ain’t in the cards for me this year.
If you want to learn more about this bands read up on them with my Pinterest Pages: Courtney Barnett, Belle and Sebastian, and Neutral Milk Hotel.

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