The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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New York, new hair, new job and new podcasts

Yeah, so, in a week I’m going to be in NYC for the first time! Whaaaaaa?

It’s kinda stupid that I have never been to New York, so my mighty, mighty good man David and I are finally making it happen.

Stay tuned to this blog or my Instagram for photos and updates on our adventures. Don’t go to Facebook, because I’m thisclose to deactivating my account.

We’re going to stay with our good buddies John and Chris, and I can’t wait to see them and catch up. And, AND, I’m finally going to meet my podcasting sister from another mister in person, Margo.

I know, right? That’s some pretty exciting stuff.

Other exciting stuff, my hair is pink now. It’s like a sunset on my head.

Oh, and my new job is going great. I’m so happy. The UX content strategy team recently had an offsite. It was just three days of talking about words, voice, and tone. It was so rad.

After 10 years at the same job, this has been a big change for me. Obviously, the job responsibilities are different, but the culture is different. It’s a tech company, and everyone is really creative. They have really interesting hobbies, and the company is supportive of that. There isn’t this culture of pretending that your life stops when you walk into the building from 9 to 5, if that makes sense.

For example, I can tell people that I write a blog or co-host three podcasts, and they ask where they can find them. Everyone follows each other on social media. Everyone seems really interested in each other’s creative pursuits.

Also, there was a board game night, which gave me an opportunity to show off David’s amazing board game collection. Here’s V, Sara and I playing Doxie Dash.

My favorite quote of the night: “What am I going to do with this bra?” – V

So, yeah, I’m really happy there. The other day the office brought in puppies. Seriously.

Speaking of puppies, last week David, Calvin and I went to Faction Brewing in Alameda with Beegs, Sass, and Levi, and we brought Toby. He made some friends while he was there.

A few quick podcast updates for you

What a Creep has a Patreon page now, so if you want to kick us a few bucks to keep What a Creep going, you’ll get access to our super-fun bonus episodes. Margo and I have a cocktail and talk shit. You’ll love it.

Over at Dorking Out, we’re doing #90sinNovember. We dorked out about “The Craft,” “Encino Man” and “Disclosure” with Adam Riske from F This Movie.

 


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Bangs!

Yeah, so, I’m so happy at my new job.

I love the work, and the company seems to treat its employees really well. I’m learning a lot, and I’m enjoying being a part of a company that’s growing and has a brand voice that is fun and friendly. I think it’s a good fit.

I went to the company picnic, and I had fun. See?

In other news, I got bangs.

I have decided to grow up my pixie cut and try for a French bob. This bob is a little short now, but I know I’ll love it when it hits chin length. But now, I look like Annie Potts in “Ghostbusters 2,” which I’m totally fine with. And hey, it beats being bald.

In other news, I’ve got a few podcasts for you …

Over at Dorking Out, good buddy Margo and I dorked out about “The First Wives Club,” “IT Chapter Two,” “Dick Tracy,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

And on What a Creep, we just wrapped up season 2! We talked about Alan Dershowitz, Roman Polanski, James Woods, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby.

 


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Take this job and love it

Yeah, so, after 10 1/2 years, today is my last day at PsPrint/Deluxe. I’ll be starting at Zendesk in September as a UX content strategist, and I’m soooooo happy.

My life has changed so much since I first started at PsPrint. My mighty, mighty good man David and I had been together about 2 months at that point. Soon, we moved in together (my first-time living with a boyfriend even though I was in my 30s). I got breast cancer. I had a mastectomy on one side. We got married. We had a baby. I got breast cancer again. I had a mastectomy on the other side. I did chemotherapy. I came back to work and moved from the Oakland office to the San Francisco office.

And during that time, my job changed from managing the PsPrint Blog to being responsible for all the content on the website and launching all of their social channels. I wrote promotional emails and transactional emails. I wrote UX copy. I handled angry customers on social media. I produced videos. I hosted webinars.

I learned so much about content creation and, well, about myself during my time at PsPrint and Deluxe. I’m stronger than I thought, and I’m more confident now. And I met some truly awesome people. Today I’m saying goodbye to many of them as coworkers and hello to them as my friends.

So, yeah, you guys! I’m so freakin’ excited for my new role with a new team at a new company.


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It’s business time

Yeah, so, I’m going to Confab, a content strategy conference in Minneapolis next week.

In preparation for it, I decided to print some business cards for myself. I wanted a business card that truly reflected my personality and showcased the aspect of content strategy that is really important to me: the fun part.

What do you think?

Please ignore my awful, chipped nail polish. I know, I know.


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Dang, that’s cold

Yeah, so, I went to Shoreview, Minnesota last week for work. And, ummm, it was a little cold.

Actually, the cold didn’t bother me that much. It’s not like I’m standing around outside in the cold. We go from hotel room to car to office to car to restaurant to car to hotel room.

What was killing me was the fact that every place had their heat cranked up, which dried out my skin, eyes and nose. My eyes were red, so I looked stoned the entire time, which is a really great impression on coworkers I don’t know. I’m never stoned. Drunk? Maybe. Stoned. Never. I also kept getting bloody noses, so they probably thought I was doing the cocaine all the time.

“I don’t trust Sonia to work on my projects. It appears that she’s stoned and jacked up on cocaine. She clearly has poor decision-making skills. She can’t even decide what her drug of choice is.”

What’s this cold white stuff?

It was a good working trip, though. I’m moving into a new role within the company, so I’m working with a lot of people that I haven’t met in person. I feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas with coworkers that I’ve met in person. I’m a friendly and outgoing person, but sometimes I find it difficult to share my ideas at work. I’m afraid everyone will think I’m stupid, which IS stupid because seriously – who cares? It’s just work. And isn’t that what you should do at work? Share ideas? Some of them are good. Some of them suck. So, yeah, I need to get over that shit and start sharing my thoughts and feelings at work or what’s the point?

So anyway, while the work stuff went well, I miss my boys terribly while I’m away. My mighty, mighty good man David travels all the time for work, but I rarely travel. I call every night from the hotel, and occasionally Calvin talks to me … when he’s not hiding behind a curtain.

Well, my Theraflu has kicked in, so that’s enough chitchat for today. Yep, I’m still congested and coughing. Ugh. I have been sick for more than 2 weeks. The flu can fuck off forever.


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I gave at the office

Yeah, so, my boss “asked” me to volunteer to lead the office’s giving campaign this year. I think she regrets that decision because I’ve covered the office in signs. No location is safe from my pestering, as you can see.

Also, I’m spamming the office email with memes.

Annoying coworkers is now one of my skills on LinkedIn. Please endorse me.


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Content strategy is so hot right now

Yeah, so, I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I mean, other than retire.

I recently discovered that I like content strategy.

Weird, right? It only took me about 10 years to figure it out. Around this time last year, I was transferred from the Oakland office to the San Francisco office to join the content team. Instead of just writing content for one of our companies, I’d be working on content for all of our companies.

Shortly after I got there, I was asked by my new boss if I’d like to really do the Content Marketing Manager job. I have the title, but I didn’t work much with the metrics and the funnel, and shit like that. I said, “Sure. Why not?”

Well, it turns out that I don’t like metrics. Numbers are not my jam.

At the same time, I started working on this big, new project. The corporate overlords are launching an entirely new section of their website, and I started working with a Content Strategist named Nina on all the copy. From blog articles to transactional learning content to the micro-content in the shopping cart, I worked with Nina on all of it.

I like it. I like it a lot.

I love writing. I mean, duh. But it turns out I like thinking about the customer journey. I like thinking about creating the content to help them through the shopping process. AND, it turns out that one of the things that’s kinda in fashion when it comes to website content is making it less stuffy. You know, write like people actually talk. Well, I fuckin’ love that shit. That’s all this blog is. Writing like how people talk is so hot right now.

So, I’ve been listening to everything Nina says and picking her brain because she’s all smart and shit. I started listening to a really great podcast by Kristina Halvorson from Brain Traffic. And at Nina’s recommendation, I started reading Halvorson’s book, too.

I’m feeling like a real goober right now talking about work and content strategy, but the truth is … I’m kinda excited, you guys. It’s been a long time since I really cared about work. I mean, I always kinda care. I have a work ethic, and I’m not a completely lazy asshole. SHUT UP. I’m not! You’re the lazy asshole!

So anyway, now I have an idea of what I want to do. I’m not just feeling around in the dark, writing whatever is asked of me without any rhyme or reason.

Does this mean I’m going to go back to school and get another degree in content strategy? Hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahhahah! *deep breath* Hahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahah!

Seriously, going back to school is my nightmare. It’s my recurring anxiety nightmare, so that isn’t happening. I can’t imagine anything worse than homework and tests. BUT, I think I can learn a lot at my job and apply what I learn. Plus, it keeps me away from numbers.


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Feeling Minnesota

Yeah, so, I had to travel for work a few weeks ago.

I’ve never had to travel for work before, other than some particularly shitty commutes I’ve had in the past. I mean, driving from Concord to Burlingame can certainly feel like traveling for work.

Seven years I’ve been working for this company, and they finally noticed that I’ve never visited their headquarters in Shoreview, Minnesota. Actually, some of the bosses did try to get me to come out twice before, but I was busy evicting a baby from my uterus and kicking breast cancer’s ass, so, ummm, no.

This time last year, I was moved into a new position, a new office with new coworkers and a new boss. And my new boss doesn’t really dig my whole “Oh, I’m just going to hide in my cube” career path. “No more hiding, Sonia,” she says. “You’re going to go to Shoreview and take your bow for your hard work.”

Well, when she puts it like that, how can I say no? Plus, I really like my new team. We’re divided: half in San Francisco, half in Shoreview. I really wanted to meet the Shoreview team in person. I think it’s important that they see what I goober I am in person. You have to see it to believe it.

So, I packed my bags and got up at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight. That’s right, 4 a.m.! Did you guys know that there is a 4 in the morning? It’s like 4 in the afternoon but in the morning! When the fuck did that start? Ugh. It’s really early.

Shortly, after I arrived in Shoreview, it started snowing. We don’t get snow in the Bay Area, so this was pretty exciting to me. I practically had my face smashed against the window.

Me: “Ohhhh, you guys! LOOK! IT’S SNOWING!”

Co-workers:

It’s April. They were so over it. I thought it was neat, but I could certainly see how the novelty would wear off. Also, driving in snow sucks ass.

So, yeah, it was really awesome to meet my coworkers in person. We had a team dinner at The Lowbrow in Minneapolis, and it was so good. It had vegan options AND an excellent beer list of local brews. It would definitely be my regular spot if I lived out there.

Oh, speaking of vegan options, there wasn’t a ton to be had in Shoreview, Minnesota. BUT, pretty much every restaurant I walked into had gluten-free options. FYI: About 1 percent of Americans have Celiac disease, while 6 percent of Americans say they’re vegan. It’s more likely that a vegan will walk into their restaurant than someone with Celiac disease, but it’s OK. I made it work. I just think it’s funny that they’ve embraced the whole gluten-free thing, but veganism, not so much.

The other thing about the trip that cracked me up: So many of my coworkers said, “Oh, you look just like your photo.” We have photos in our email, Skype, etc. I kept wondering, “Who doesn’t look like their photo?” Maybe I’ll swap my photo out with the worst wedding photo ever taken.

A week before my work trip, I fell and sprained my ankle, but I didn’t know, because I’m practically a genius. I was hobbling around the office, but no one even noticed. I looked like Catherine O’Hara in “Best In Show.”

It probably didn’t help that there was a huge Super Target nearby our hotel, and one night I spent two hours walking around. My ankle really hurt, but SUPER TARGET.

Every night after dinner I went back to my hotel room, put my foot up and watched the second season “The Good Place.” (So good, you guys! You should watch it.) One night I watched a documentary about Jane Goodall called, appropriately, “Jane.”

On the plane, I watched “Pitch Perfect 3” and “Bad Moms Christmas,” which are perfect airplane movies in that they don’t make you laugh or cry and draw attention to yourself. They were not good. “Pitch Perfect 3” actually had explosions, and I think Fat Amy full-on murders some people. I thought this was a movie about an acapella singing group. WTF?

Anyway, I was in Minnesota for five days – FIVE DAYS! That’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin.

My mighty, mighty good man David travels for work all the time. I never do. In fact, when I told Calvin that I was going on a trip for work, and I’d be gone, he said, “Not Mommy. Daddy is going to work.”

David said that Calvin asked about me every morning and every night. Of course, when I would FaceTime, he would give me the cold shoulder, but at least the pets were happy to see me.

Actually, when I got home late Friday night, Calvin will still awake, and he insisted I get into bed with him. He really missed me, and I missed him terribly. For about a week after I got back, Calvin was watching me like a hawk, never letting me out of his sight. It was nice to be missed.


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Buh bye, 2017

Yeah, so, this year hasn’t been awesome.

We have a sexual predator in the White House, and – with the help of an enabling GOP – he is attacking this country’s most vulnerable citizens, including the sick, elderly, disabled and immigrants. It’s disgusting and depressing as fuck. It fills me with rage.

I have donated money to organizations and candidates who are helping people and fighting for what’s right. I’ve been calling my reps, and occasionally reps in other districts since their votes affect me. I do what I can handle, and it makes me feel a little less helpless.

BUT, I wanted to focus on some good things that happened this year in the MansTracy household.

My mighty, mighty good boy Calvin started kindergarten, and he is flourishing. He’s so happy, and he’s learning so much. His language skills have improved by leaps and bounds.

I got a new job … kinda. The big corporate overload moved me from the Oakland office where I was the lone content person from the past 8 years to the San Francisco office to join the content team. And instead of just working on content for one brand, I will be working on the content with the team on all the brands. I’m really excited and nervous. Writing is in my comfort zone. Thinking big picture is outside my comfort zone. But, I’m down to expand my skillset. Plus, I super love being in the SF office. Not only has it cut my commute in half (and I’m taking BART instead of driving), but I absolutely adore my content coworkers. They are fuckin’ rad as hell.

I got on an airplane all by myself for the first time ever. True story. I met up with my mighty, mighty good man David in Portland after his work trip. We had a great time exploring the city, which is swimming in vegan options for me and beer for both of us. Plus, we got to see our friends Caitlin and Kirk, which made the trip even more awesome.

I got to go to Washington, DC to see my good buddy Katie and her husband Nathan. I finally got to see their house, and we spent some awesome time together walking around the Newseum, going to a Nationals game and sitting on the couch watching YouTube videos, because that’s how we roll.

We went to Santa Cruz again this year for our little family vacation, and we had an amazing time. Calvin has been asking to go back pretty much every day since we got back.

I started baking bread this year. I have always wanted to bake my own bread, but I thought it was too difficult and too time consuming. I found a perfect bread baking book: “Bread Illustrated” from America’s Test Kitchen.

My sister Michelle and my sister from another mister, Amanda, did a spa day at the Sonoma Mission Inn. We got massages and lounged by the pool with drinks. It was heaven.

I went to Bourbon & Branch for David’s birthday, and I discovered that I like gin. That’s a good thing.

 

 

My 15-year-old (!) niece Lorelei came out for the weekend, and we saw “IT” at the Alamo Drafthouse. Lorelei is a Tiny Sonia, so I knew she would love the Alamo Drafthouse. We had so much fun hanging out together. I was scared to see “IT.” I thought it was really fuck me up, but it turns out that I loved being scared about something other than the news.

After our weekend together, I went on a scary movie watching spree. It turns out I love horror movies! Funny enough, I’ve been listening to F This Movie for years, and the host Patrick Bromley is always taking about horror movies. Now I have the courage to actually watch all those movies he’s talking about.

Speaking of podcasts, Dorking Out with Chris & Sonia is still going strong. We recorded a podcast every week, except for one week. Even dorks need a week off once in a while. Super-big, mad props to my co-host Smith for keeping us on schedule, and all the work he does recording the podcast. Oh, and we got this amazing new logo by Jeff Heerman.

I’ll end this post with what everyone wants to see: Dog and cat cuddling action!

Happy New Year, you guys! Let’s hope that 2018 is chrome and shiny.


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Same company. Same job. New office. New people. Eeek!

Yeah, so, there have been a lot of changes my job recently. A pair of big bosses were fired laid off right after the new year, and for a while the team was working on a million projects to show the other big bosses that we were worth keeping.

It was stressful … for other people. Well, I mean, I didn’t want anyone to lose their job, but I try not to stress out about work. Work is just work. It’s not life. Losing your job isn’t as bad as say – oh I don’t know – getting cancer. I figure if I can deal with that, I can deal with it if my company decided to give me the boot.

They didn’t, of course, because I’m super awesome and amazing to work with. Instead, there was a ton of restructuring and now I report to the corporate overload’s director of content who works in — wait for it — San Francisco. You see, the corporate overload owns another company that is based in SF, and a several members of the content team work out of that office. I had no idea!

Even though the company I work for is based in Oakland, my boss said it would be a good idea if I worked at least a couple of days in the SF office. Obviously, I agree. This means I can walk down the hill from my house, get on BART, and be in the office in like 15 minutes. It was taking about an hour to get to the office every morning. It sucked.

So anyway, you guys … That means, for the first time since college, I am living and working in the same city! I am downright giddy about it.

I’ve worked at the same place for 8 years. I’m still doing the same job for the same company, but at a different location. I might even get some content support like – dare to dream – some copy editing. As good buddy Kate said, “It’s like getting a new job without getting a new job.”

I went into the office on Wednesday, and I made it very clear that I was super happy to be there. I practically did cartwheels and a happy dance. The next day I found a cube that would make a good home for me, and set up shop. I introduced myself to all the neighbors. “I’m moving in. Tell me to shut up if I get too loud.” Loud = eating all the free salt and vinegar potato chips from the kitchen, because this place provides snacks. Whaaaat?

You guys! I can even see out the window over my cubicle wall.

But wait, there’s more.

This place has a sparkling water dispenser. And, AND, there are bagels on Monday, fresh fruit on Wednesday, and there’s a full stocked refrigerator of drinks, including BEER AND WINE! I can’t comprehend that this company is owned by the same company that owns us. We don’t have a fully stocked refrigerator. In fact, last year they threatened to stop providing complimentary coffee and tea.

I will still be working in my old office once or twice a week, which is great because I’d miss my Oakland peeps. But it is really nice in the SF office. I feel at any minute the big bosses are going to say, “Send Sonia back to her old office full time.”