Coffee Table Declarations
Thursday, July 31, 2003
The other day someone brought in a chocolate trifle she had made. When she brought a sizable portion to me, she told me not to mention to anyone that there was some Bailey's Irish Cream in it "for flavor". I started to think about how funny it would be to unwittingly get drunk at work just from eating a chocolate trifle someone made. I soon realized however, as I was doing a tedious and mindless task, that it would actually be no fun at all. However, the trifle was delicious and I have the recipe if anyone is interested.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
It's time for another movie review. I saw a really good movie which was very suspenseful and thought provoking. An all around good mystery, it will keep you guessing until the end. Also, it's one of those movies that you will want to discuss with someone afterwards in order to fully put the pieces together so make sure you have someone nearby who has seen it/will watch it with you (but talking during the movie is not allowed or you will miss some crucial details). The premise is somewhat disturbing which is another reason you will not want to carry the burden of working through the plot twists alone. I know I usually recommend the movies I see, but this time I'm serious. You should see this movie.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
I usually pride myself on being able to pick out good job candidates when they show up for interviews. I chat with them for a minute and can pretty much judge their character from there. I then offer my opinions to HR, without being asked. I don't know how much they consider my perspective, but the people I've liked the best have been hired and I do feel at least partially responsible.

Today a guy showed up for an interview and he was very friendly. He seemed comfortable and chatty so I told HR that he was a good one. However, in a bizarre plot twist, I overheard him on his way out ask the interviewer if people get disqualified for having a couple beers. He said that "I hear you have a drug test and I just wanted to make sure it's o.k. to have a couple beers." The interviewer seemed a little taken aback but replied with, "well, if people were disqualified for having a couple of beers, we wouldn't have any employees."

First of all, we do not have drug testing so I don't know where he heard that from. Secondly, I could be wrong, but I don't think drug tests are testing for beer. Therefore, this guy is either betraying the fact that drinking is very important to him, or he secretly does drugs and wanted to find out whether or not we have drug testing. All I know is, that certainly isn't the recommended way to end an interview and I would be extremely surprised to see that guy join our ranks.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Sometimes people just make me mad. O.K., if you miss the UPS afternoon pick-up, you can either, A. realize that it's your own damn fault not mine, and wait until tomorrow, B. find the nearest UPS drop off location and drive there, or C. call the company next door YOURSELF and ask them if you can leave it with their pick ups because I am sick of being that pushy girl from next door who wants other people to take responsibility for our packages. Got it?
This morning on my way to work, I was suddenly stopped in a line of cars on a side street. Looking up ahead to see the cause of the standstill, I saw a stopped school bus and standing at the door, looking apprehensively up the steps, was a little girl with a backpack, most likely heading off to summer camp. Her mother was behind her, bending down to talk to her, probably offering words of encouragement. I'm sure the little girl had no idea of the impact her hesitation was having on the backed up traffic. All she probably felt was nervous of the unknown ahead of her. I felt sorry for her and certainly didn't mind the delay (I had left myself plenty of time this morning, otherwise, my perspective on the whole scene may have been altogether different.)

I feel as though it wasn't that long ago since I was in that little girl's place, apprehensively embarking on a bus for summer camp. It was always a little scary at first, but inevitably turned out to be fun. In fact, I kind of wish I could go to summer camp now, instead of work. I wouldn't mind whiling away my summer afternoons swimming in a pool, hiking in the woods, and making crafts. It would certainly beat sitting in here and missing out on all the beautiful weather. I wonder if that little girl would like to switch places with me?
Friday, July 25, 2003
Today I was calmly sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when suddenly someone pointed out that there was a large beetle the size of a minivan on the floor. I don't know where it came from, but I knew that it could not stay here. One of the guys brought it outside and pretty soon a small stream of people were going in and out to look at it as if it were some sort of exotic specimen of flower or sea life. Meanwhile a couple of us started trying to find it online so we could identify it. Although we searched multiple sites and looked carefully through all genre of beetle, it was to no avail. I think we quite possibly may have discovered some sort of new species of beetle which has mutated to an abnormally large size. Astounding though that is, I don't really care what kind of beetle/domesticated farm animal/sports utility vehicle it is, as long as it stays outside.
In case you were wondering, the new Quaker Oatmeal "Oatmeal on the Go" cereal bars (which are evidently so new that I couldn't even find a link to them) do indeed taste like a bowl of oatmeal in bar form. Try them if you have always wanted to chew your oatmeal.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Here are the highlights from the wedding we went to on Saturday: being seated on the groom's side instead of the bride's for the ceremony, resulting in stares from other guests reserved only for strangers who crash weddings just for the food; accidentally walking right into the middle of a tent set up for a different event (some sort of tex-mex bbq) instead of the wedding reception; getting a drink practically thrown at us by an overzealous bartender eager to slide drinks across the bar; having our table used as a depository for empty plates and dirty napkins, during cocktail hour; and befriending a nice couple at our table over jokes about the "evil" sirloin and alternate uses for the cameras which are left on each table for guests to take pictures.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
The only downside to having various people bring you cups of coffee (and it may sound like I'm complaining here but really I am not) is that they never make it right. For future reference if anyone out there reading ever gets the urge to make me a cup of coffee, I like it light with two sugars. When I say light, I mean LIGHT. Like, stop pouring coffee a full inch or so from the top of the cup and fill the rest with half and half. Or cream, I'm not picky. Surprise me. The well intentioned people who bring me coffee here never get it light enough, poor dears. But I would never complain. I will just continue to drink the too-dark (and consequently extra hot and overly bitter) coffee they bring and keep right on smiling.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
I have a habit of leaving things until the last minute. Saturday afternoon I needed to get a gift for a wedding I was going to that evening. I had less than two hours to get the gift, get it wrapped, and get home in time to get ready. Thankfully my mom volunteered to go with me to help pick out and wrap the gift.

I am no good at gift wrapping. Usually this is not a problem but for such a formal occasion, I wanted the gift to look nice. I've turned my inaptitude for gift wrapping into an art, much like my lack of cake decorating ability. If you are my friend and it is your birthday and I have the time and energy, you might be lucky enough to recieve a homemade cake from me. It will be unlike any cake you've ever seen because of my decorating secrets (food coloring and anything-goes frosting/candles/candy/odds & ends on top).

Anyway, because I was in such a rush, I insisted to my mother that we should bring the wrapping paper with us and wrap the gift in the car. What we didn't anticipate was the huge size of the gift box. My mother pointed out there was no way we would have room in the car, so we proceeded to wrap the gift on top of a random carton in the loading dock of Sears. The sight must have been quite comical. I was trying to juggle paper, scissors, tape, while urging my mom to hurry, she was working her magic, and customers were walking in and out while looking at us curiously.

Amazingly under the circumstances, the wrapping job was still better than if I had done it myself. We took it out to the car where we had left the ribbon and bow. With the bag flattened underneath the box, we began part two of the wrapping process on the trunk of my car. While my mom was measuring ribbon and the two of us were by this point, laughing hysterically, a man pulled into the spot next to us with his two young children. As they were getting out, I had just suggested to my mom that we hang a sign on the car reading "gift wrapping $10". We were laughing and wrapping and all of a sudden we heard the man say urgently to his children "come on boys, let's go" as he rushed them past us, looking at us sideways and not even cracking a smile. This made us laugh even harder. Obviously the guy thought we were crazy when we are in actuality, not crazy at all.

Perhaps this would be a good basis for a reality show. Something about gift wrapping in public places and seeing who can convince passersby of their craziness the soonest. My other brilliant idea is to open up a cake shop where people can order one of my unique cakes. The name of it will be Katie's Crazy Cakes and they will become extremely popular because no two are alike. I'll be able to charge a lot of money and will then become rich and famous and they'll give me my own cooking/talk show called Katie's Crazy Cake Chat where my guests and I will have a blast decorating cakes in front of a studio audience. I'm sure it will be a huge hit.
Monday, July 21, 2003
A new haircut is supposed to leave you with a sense of well being and confidence. So why do I feel so unsure? First of all, it doesn't look much different (perhaps not different enough) and secondly I can't get it to look the same as it did when I walked out of the salon. Why is that always the case? I watched everything the hairdresser did and it wasn't difficult. She even showed me a few tricks.

There was a time in my youth when I thought it would be so much fun to be a hairdresser. I've always been obsessed with hair. I'll be watching tv and constantly saying, "Wow, she's got great hair!" Instead of following the story, I'm often analyzing the hair styles and trying to envision how they would look on me. Anyway, my dream of styling hair professionally was sufficiently shattered early on once I started paying attention at the salon and noticing that the other customers were all too frequently people with very limited potential. Specifically, there was always an overabundance of little old ladies with super short, thinning, colorless hair, who merely wanted trims, perms, or some sort of touch up. I have absolutely no problem with little old ladies but I can't imagine it would be fun to do their hair.

My second problem with hairdressing professionally, would be having to engage in so much physical contact with strangers. Some people can do it - manicurists, pedicurists, massuses, doctors, etc. But the idea of it just weirds me out a little bit.

So there it is - another rejected career choice. Oh well, maybe I'll eventually figure out what I want to do through the process of elimination.
Friday, July 18, 2003
When I'm having a strong and unnatural craving for something, more often than not, it's usually for Creme Savers. My addiction to them is honestly a little bit scary.

Speaking of which, isn't it funny how little things can make you feel so good? A Creme Saver can really make the difference between a long, boring afternoon and a delicious treat that makes the day brighter. Additionally, I just got a big shiny silver ring and it makes me happy every time I see it. Plus, it makes my hand feel ever so special. I think I should buy several more.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Today a coworker and I walked to a nearby restaurant to get lunch. I don't know her very well so I was surprised when, as we were walking back, she asked if I wanted to hear a dirty joke. "Sure", I said apprehensively. She then proceeded to tell me a dirty joke which didn't make sense. Maybe I missed something or maybe she told it wrong, but not wanting to risk embarrassment and admit that I didn't get it, I laughed heartily and exclaimed how funny it was. At that exact moment however, embarrassment-karma got me. My shoe twisted in an odd way and I lost my balance and down I went. Nothing like a good fall to add some real humor to a situation. The lesson here is that sometimes you just can't avoid embarrassment. Sooner or later it will catch up with you.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
I just read this article in Time Magazine about whether or not Iraq was trying to get Uranium from Africa. Apparently Uranium is also known as "yellowcake". So I'm sitting here, trying to understand and think intelligently about the complex and serious subject matter at hand, and all I can hear in my head is the voice of Homer Simpson saying, "Mmmmm... yellow cake."
The sales people that work here are really high maintenance. They constantly need me to do things for them such as transfer a call, schedule a conference room, or impart some trivial piece of knowledge about the company which they should know better than the girl who has only been here six months, but don't, like, "what is our 800 number?" Then whenever I help them they say "thank you ma'am" in this syrupy, cheerful, and somewhat patronizing way that makes me wonder if they coordinated it on purpose during a meeting once or if one of them started saying it and it just caught on. I know it's a well intentioned comment, but there's something about being called "ma'am" that just throws me every time.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
And now, my movie review of the week. I saw this one because my roommate said, "You would really like that movie because you're smart. It's definately the kind of movie that you have to think about." Not one to turn down a movie recommendation that includes flattery, I decided I was up for the challenge. However I found the movie to be somewhat confusing. Does that make me less smart?

Anyway, I can see why the movie could be considered difficult. The setting jumps around without warning between three different time periods and sets of characters. I'm proud to say that I had no trouble with that. My problem came with figuring out who was real and who wasn't. I'm not going to spoil the plot by explaining what that means.

I recommend this movie, not because it was so great (it wasn't - but it was good), but because maybe someone out there is smart enough to explain it to me.
Monday, July 14, 2003
There's a blood drive going on today and it's been somewhat disorienting to see people walking around with gauze taped to their arms. At first it's a little startling and I want to say, "Oh my gosh, what happened to your arm?" But then I remember that there is a blood drive going on and that these little unsettling pieces of gauze are actually like signs that say "I did something nice".

The best part is, the blood drive is taking place right smack in the middle of the cafeteria so as you're waiting in line, you get to think about vials of blood being extracted from people's arms a mere few feet from where your food is being prepared.

The cafeteria worker who made my lunch inquired as to whether or not I was giving blood today. I explained that I can't because I am underweight for my height. He started laughing saying he was going to use that as his reason for not doing it either. Hey, I don't make these things up. Those are the blood giving rules. I'm not sure why exactly. Maybe if you are underweight then you don't have any extra blood to spare. I don't know. All I know is I took my lunch outside to eat, unlike some who apparently were not bothered by eating in the midst of disembodied blood.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
The laundry room in the basement of my building is like something out of a horror movie. I just went down there. There's a single flickering flourescent light, spiders everywhere, and a bunch of doors and tunnel-like hallways leading who-knows-where. It was so quiet down there and as I was loading my clothes into the washer I kept thinking about hockey-masked psychos or some other shady characters sneaking up behind me. Unfortunately I have to make two more trips down there tonight - one to put my clothes in the dryer and one to bring them up when they're done. By that time it will be getting dark outside and... yeah, maybe I just have a good imagination.

I'm serious about the tunnel-like hallways though. I don't know where they lead but I feel as though I could follow them through some mysterious secret passageways and find myself suddently transported and looking for hidden treasure in the basement of a creepy old mansion, or a pyramid protected by an ancient curse, or a sunken pirate ship. And you know, I would follow them to see where they lead and to have a good old fashioned adventure if it weren't for all the spiders. Spiders scare me more than a great deal of things, including mysterious passageways.
Friday, July 11, 2003
Last night we went to a free concert. Nothing exciting, just a small concert in the center of town where performers were singing cover songs. I was quite surprised however, to see the common characteristics in the majority of concert goers. There were bleached blondes dragging children around, old women with big gaudy jewelry and bright scary make up, and old men who just generally looked like they had resigned themselves to being there. Absolutely everyone was smoking. There were free ice cream sandwiches that people were grabbing by the bunch and not even trying to be subtle about it. People were yelling at children or greeting each other in rough, scratchy sounding voices. A random girl who claimed to be 22 but seemed much younger approached us out of nowhere and started to tell jokes that made no sense. The whole experience was surreal. It was more fun people-watching than listening to the music. And you really can't complain about free ice cream sandwiches, especially because they were half chocolate and half vanilla, the likes of which I had never seen before.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
I'm really excited about the new season of Big Brother and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It happens to be the only reality show I really like.

I was having problems getting online earlier and wasn't sure what to do with myself. It made me realize how dependent we are on computers and t.v. In the Big Brother house they don't have those things. All there is to do is lounge around outside wearing bikinis and smoking cigarettes with the occasional competition or random hook-up with a stranger thrown in. This year, the new twist is that some of the contestants are ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends of other contestants. Leave it to reality shows to always keep trying to push the envelope and stir up trouble.

I feel that the whole reality show thing has gone too far. Big brother debuted when there were only a couple reality shows on and I was cautiously able to let it into my living room and into my heart. Now the genre as a whole has just gone down hill.

For one thing, the term "reality show" really is an oxymoron. For another thing, I just cannot get involved in the lives of that many people and still maintain a level of compassion for them all. What reality t.v. is about for me, is rooting for characters that I can relate to. But soon enough, a steady diet of reality shows results in all of the faces and plights blending together until I couldn't really care less if they win the million dollars or get the guy or run around the island naked or eat the sheep eyeballs.

Not only that, but we're running out of creative and original ideas for shows. They've gone from ridiculous to downright trashy. What ever happened to the more wholesome shows we used to watch? What happened to sitcoms, crime dramas, educational programming? These may not be reality television, but at least they're not claiming to be.
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
I'd like to recommend a book and a movie. The book is by the same author as the book I was recently obsessed with. The movie was much anticipated and based on an original idea but a little overdone. I think there's a deeper lesson in both book and movie which make them each worthwhile.

* * * * *

A very shy man just recieved flowers at the office from his sister because he was recently promoted. He seemed pleased but unaccustomed to the attention. He took them back to his desk and called me ten minutes later saying he wanted to donate them to me to keep up front. What a kind gesture. Now everyone can enjoy them and I can pretend they were sent to me by a mysterious secret admirer.

* * * * *

There are certain things that I have to do or it just isn't summer. These are things like go to the beach, sit outside at a restaurant on a warm evening, or eat a nice cheeseburger cooked out on the grill. So far I have done none of these things, so contrary to popular belief, it is not summer right now.

* * * * *

I read about a man who just woke up from a 19 year coma. I can't even imagine that. In his mind it's still 1984. Think about it. He has no idea how to use the internet or that the cold war is over or even what a DVD is. I always thought that a good idea for a movie would be to go back in time and bring someone from say, the 1600's back to the present day and show them all of our modern technology. I don't really know what would happen in the rest of the movie.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
My roommate had house guests visiting for the weekend. They were two girls and a guy who was introduced to me only as "Chicken". They drove for 7 hours and arrived at 2am on Friday, at which point they commenced drinking. They went to a local bar Friday night, and being from a very small town, they humorously enough thought that it was the best bar ever.

When I got home on Saturday people were lying on beds and couchs, moaning in pain. I felt like I was living in a college dorm again. I engaged in some polite small talk with Chicken as he cracked open his first beer of the day. This amazed me because I truly can't stand the taste of beer at any time of the day, let alone noon.

Somehow this ambitious bunch managed to drag themselves out the door for some sightseeing and ended up spending the night at a hotel. My apartment looked like the aftermath of a natural disaster. I heard later that our visitors never quite managed to recover enough to properly enjoy the sights of our fine city. Except for Chicken, a self proclaimed drinking expert, who embarked on a solo tour of the bars on Saturday evening and allegedly had a great time.
Monday, July 07, 2003
There's a very busy bridge which, on the Fourth of July, looked like a parking lot. We were pulled over with hundreds of others, standing and sitting around to watch the fireworks. There's just something about fireworks that draws a crowd. There were tow truck drivers and ambulances stopped on the bridge, their drivers standing on respective roofs. It was all very special and magical. However, the real highlights of the evening were making friends with a middle-aged couple over sangria, learning a big new word, and shouting hello from the car window to people walking along the streets (not all simultaneously of course). All in all, it was quite nice. How many holidays can boast that they incorporate all of the above elements plus warm, beautiful weather and a three day weekend on top of it all? Yes, a really good time was had by all.
I saw this movie over the weekend. For some reason I saw the first one long ago in the theater with my brother and I remember that we really enjoyed it. I think I decided to rent it because of that as well as the fact that by the time I made it to the video store, everything else was gone. Anyway, it's billed as "one of the funniest movies of the year". I wouldn't go that far. It was cute and had a great cast, but the ending was abrupt and made little sense.

Speaking of the video store, I think it's pretty crazy that it's open (according to the hours printed on their door) "until midnight 365 days a year". Sometimes I think about that at odd times when everything else is closed. I like knowing that just about anytime I feel like renting a movie, my local video store will be there for me. Now if only they had a better selection, I'd be all set.
Thursday, July 03, 2003
As I was leaving for my lunch break a little while ago, I ran into several coworkers in separate places exiting the building who said, "Oh, are you leaving for the day too?" Yeah right. I don't get that sort of luxury, thanks. In fact, it sort of feels like I'm the only one still here. And when I think about it, that's not altogether unlikely.

I went to a nearby convenience store and saw an old lady who not only left her car running while she ran inside, she left the car door hanging open as well. That seems like an open invitation saying "please feel free to steal my car or any personal belongs which may be inside of it", but hey, maybe it's just me.

I also went for a nice long drive with no particular destination. I found a radio station playing 80's songs "in honor of the Fourth of July", because as we all know, if Independence Day and 80's music don't go together then what does?! Anyway, driving along with the windows down, singing along with Michael Jackson, the Bangles, and Poison is enough to lift anyone's spirits, if only a little.

It's nice to drive aimlessly with no fear of getting lost. Imagine if I was late getting back to work and my excuse was that I got lost? But oddly enough, I seem to know my way around a good deal of towns and locations. In fact, I've developed quite a reputation for giving directions to wayward clients trying to get here. I guess we all have special talents.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
There are about 27 kinds of tea in our company kitchen. I don't know why I thought spearmint would be a good selection. It tastes like I'm drinking liquid gum.
Yesterday my mom told me she ran into an old friend of mine at the grocery store - a very old friend. It was my kindergarten teacher! Although I haven't seen her in over 20 years, she told my mom that she remembered me.

I would've been hard to forget. I had a tough time with kindergarten. I had a lot of separation anxiety. I cried when my mom would drop me off because I was always afraid she would forget to come back for me later.

My brother was little enough to stay home with my mom all day and I didn't think it was fair. Ah, the age-old childhood complaint: "It's not fair!" Whenever my brother and I would attempt that line of reasoning in response to something, my parents would always reply, "Well life is not fair."

It was frustrating to hear, but they were right. Life is not fair. I don't know why we seem to have an innate expectation that it is or should be. As an adult there are occasions where I would love to pout my lip and stomp my foot and proclaim, "That's not fair!" Unfortunately I can't do that and it is with an adult resignation that I accept that the situations I find myself in are a result of my own actions, regardless of fair. There is no benevolent "fairness" fairy waiting to adjust things for me.

Of course, there is another factor that can throw things all out of whack and that is other people. If you cannot expect life to be fair you should at least be able to expect that the people who you trust will treat you fairly. When someone agrees to do something they should follow through with it. Being disappointed is the greatest injustice I can think of and I will still say that "it's just not fair!"

At least I could always count on my mom. She never forgot to pick me up from kindergarten.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Last night my roommate and I happened to be watching Fear Factor. We tuned in just in time to see a girl buried in 500 pounds of worms. I really don't know what happened because we watched the entire segment while screaming loudly. That's not the grossest thing I've ever seen on reality tv however. The grossest thing was on some show where college kids were dared to do crazy things for money. One kid had to eat not one, but two live giant black centipide things. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say, my roommate and I were literally gagging.

I don't know why these shows focus so much on grossing people out. Do people really have a sick curiousity for watching other people eat nasty things or submerge their bodies in vats of worms? Personally, I'd rather see a Fear Factor type show where people triumphantly face their own worst fears like claustraphobics going on elevators and arachnophobes handling spiders. It would be like televised exposure therapy and the viewer would walk away with a sense of empowerment instead of a sense of nausea.
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