Coffee Table Declarations
Friday, October 31, 2003
The cookbook is done. Handed over, officially, done. I'm in the middle of two much deserved days off. I have been going places and seeing people and I have plenty to write about. But for now, Happy Halloween!!!
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question. There is a Flu Shot Clinic set up right now in the conference room right next to where I sit. I am debating whether or not to get a flu shot. I've never had one before. I am not afraid of shots, however I am a little bit afraid of having dead viruses injected into my blood stream by people dressed in white coats who I've never seen before, but have set up a make shift "clinic" in a conference room.

It reminds me a little of the risk you take when you ride on one of those travelling carnival rides. I mean, sure, they're probably perfectly safe, but they get put together and taken apart over and over by the sketchy fly-by-night carnival people who travel randomly from town to town. Would you trust them with your blood stream?
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Here I am, sitting at my desk and I have not been outside since I got here at 8:30 am. It is now not even three o'clock and as I look out the window, I can see the sun is starting to go down. I hate setting the clocks back. I leave work every day at 5:30. No later, no earlier. Usually it's late afternoon but when I left work yesterday at the same exact time, it was the dead of night.

It's so disorienting to suddenly have it pitch dark and feeling like midnight by 5 pm. It makes me feel a little on edge. I can understand why people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (there's my psych degree coming out again). I feel like it's just dark all the time now and does it have to be cold too? Maybe I'm weird, but it makes me feel a little bit anxious. Then again, so do a lot of things.
Monday, October 27, 2003
The ladies room here at work is like that of a fancy function hall. There are couches and chairs, though I have rarely, if ever, seen anyone lounging around in the ladies room. Nor do I think I would do that, if given the opportunity.

There are also all kinds of goodies for people to use. There is an abundance of feminine products as well as toothpaste, floss, mouth wash, hair spray, static guard, breath mints, hand cream, and a hairbrush. Although it's wonderful to have all these little extras available, isn't it slightly ill advised to use someone else's hairbrush? I seem to remember my mother warning me about that and sharing eye makeup somewhere in the realm of junior high. It's one of those things that has stayed with me although I doubt there is a high prevelance of lice among my coworkers.

* * * * *

Just when I thought I was done with the cookbook, there is now the weighty task of proofreading the entire thing. If you don't hear from me for a little while, you'll know where I am.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
The lobby has been completely redecorated with a Halloween theme. Children are coming tomorrow to trick or treat. There are spider webs and candy corn lights and a giant inflatable Frankenstein, sitting across from me. Ah, I love Halloween. I once had a Halloween party in my old apartment and I taped a gruesome picture of a skeleton's head and shoulder area (what is that, a bust of a skeleton??) to the window on the back door. The skeleton had on some sort of dark cloak and hood and he was grinning wickedly. I left that decoration up for weeks and every night when I would get home from work and drag myself up the back porch steps, that thing would scare the crap out of me in the darkness.

Anyway, as the lobby was being decorated, I was sitting here brainstorming how the fish could get in on the festivities. I wish we could dress them in little costumes. Picture the fish swimming around in little witch hats and tiny ghost outfits. The cuteness is overwhelming!

Speaking of the fish, three new ones have arrived. There are two Clarkie Clowns whom I have named Clark and Kent, respectively, although I couldn't tell you who is who since they both look exactly the same, and one Blue Damsel who is named Brightie because she is neon blue. It's always a good day when new fish join us.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
I am in my own private recipe hell. The good news? Our company collected over 250 - enough to make our cookbook. The bad news? Guess who gets to type/edit/reformat them all by the end of the week or quite possibly the end of the day? That's right, me.

I now know more than the average person needs to know about recipes. For example, 4 cups equal one quart and if you put a toothpick in something baking and it comes out clean, this is called "testing done". I know the difference between a dash of poultry seasoning and a pinch of poultry seasoning. I know how to make white sauce, tomato sauce, and fruit sauce. I could tell you over a dozen varieties for homemade macaroni and cheese. I could instruct you how to whip up a batch of cookies using only the ingredients you have in your cabinet right now. I could explain to a roomful of strangers the intricacies of creaming, mixing, and blending.

But I still don't know how to cook. I mean, anyone can follow a recipe. Cooking is the art of knowing what goes with what and straying from the directions into brand new territory. Cooking is inventing and creating something wholly new and decidely better than the old. I'm afraid that this is a skill you cannot acquire through the endless typing and proofreading and reformatting of recipes. I wish it was because I would have my own cooking show by now.
Monday, October 20, 2003
I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I am not afraid to go places in my pajamas. As you may or may not know, there is a Dunkin Donuts on the first floor of my building. This is great on the weekends because I can roll out of bed and grab a freshly made cup of coffee while exerting only the amount of effort needed to descend three flights of stairs and hand over a small bit of money.

Also, conveniently enough, there is a convenience store directly around the corner from my building. As in, two shops down from Dunkin Donuts. Go there in my pajamas?? Why yes I do. Especially this past Saturday when I encountered a Gingerale emergency and didn't feel like dressing formally for the occasion.

I own lots of clothes that I consider pajamas so this may sound a little more outrageous than it is. I mean, you won't see me running around town in red wool feety pajamas with a flap or anything. But you may find me taking a stroll in light blue comfy pj pants and a t-shirt/sweatshirt combo. I suppose the most daring I have been is to wear my pj pants that are pink and have cows on them downstairs to D&D's. But come on, who DOESN'T wear their pajamas to Dunkin Donuts?

I would wear pajamas to work, if I could. It's not that I don't believe in being fashionable or glamorous, I most certainly do. However, pj's offer a sort of comfort that nothing else can quite match and some days you just need that.
Friday, October 17, 2003
Ugh. I am so tired and feeling like crap today. Like everyone else, I stayed up until 12:30am watching the all important and sadly, disappointing game. Unlike everyone else (or at least unlike most everyone else), I woke up at 5am with a throbbing headache. Now, one thing about me, especially when I am half asleep, is that I can easily convince myself I have some horrible illness. It was bad enough to be tossing and turning with a terrible headache, but then add to that the fact that I was talking myself into a virtual panic along the lines of "who's ever heard of being woken up by a headache? something must be really wrong with me. etc. etc." I somehow made it back to sleep less than an hour before the alarm went off. I was so comfortable by that point, I could've slept all day. But NO, I had to drag myself to work. I still feel kind of yucky and I just want to go home. But you know, I try to stay positive. Like, only 10 more minutes until I can leave. And thank goodness it's Friday. Also, I'm pretty sure now that I don't have a horrible illness.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Did you ever notice yourself thinking about something weird and random as you're drifting off to sleep? Last night for some reason, I was surprised to find myself thinking about s'mores. Not just any s'mores mind you, but the ones we used to make in Girl Scout camp. There is just nothing like that delicacy.

Suddenly I was mentally transported back in time circa 1986 and saw myself in the middle of the woods outside of a cabin, surrounded by girls of all ages, waiting my turn to get close enough to the fire to toast my marshmallow that was now skewered on my carefully chosen stick. I might stop this reverie for just a moment to point out the fact that as young girls, we thought nothing of picking up a stick from the ground, using it to impale a marshmallow, and then transferring said marshmallow directly from stick to mouth. Describing that now, I feel like I'm brainstorming a future episode of Fear Factor rather than sharing an innocent memory from my childhood.

Nevertheless, those were simpler times, and I have not had something as tasty as a camp-out s'more either before or since. It's funny how certain things can spark a whole slew of remembrances, isn't it?

And since we're on the subject of food (which we often are these days) and for that matter, Fear Factor, I'd like to point out that recipes often call for a "dash" of something. Example #1: Add one pound of sheep eyeballs and a dash of poultry seasoning. Example #2: Use one container of poultry seasoning and just a dash of narcotics.

So what is a dash? What if a dash to you is a pinch between two fingers and a dash to me is several handfuls and then I try to make your recipe and fail miserably, even though I follow the instructions to a T? Isn't it amazing that as a society, we have all sorts of unwritten rules and unspoken agreements about what to do, say, and think? Therefore, we all know what a "dash" is, even though no one ever explained it to us, and luckily, there is almost no chance of screwing up a recipe by virtue of a misinterpreted dash.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I usually like fall. This year however, I have been fighting fall tooth and nail. I am still wearing summer clothes whenever possible. I am still holding out hope for some good beach weather. If someone mentions fall, I politely turn away.

Today I donned my red rain jacket and headed out for lunch. The sky was dark gray and it was slightly windy, but not cold. I was thoroughly enjoying my walk and making peace with fall. I was reminded of college for some reason. That excitement of a new year, walking around campus in similar weather. Maybe not my college per se, but can't you just picture a college campus with some lush grounds and brick buildings, co-eds strolling around in the crisp fall air, wearing cable-knit sweaters and carrying books?

Something about the weather was very nostalgic, very New England. There were colorful leaves on the ground and the wind was gently blowing my hair and I felt quite comfortable in my red rain jacket. While not fully embracing fall, I was starting to feel content and I'll admit, even somewhat excited about the prospects of wearing cable-knit sweaters and strolling amongst bright foliage while carrying books. Or at least, carrying my lunch back to the office.

I went into a restaurant and ordered a sandwich, waited while it was made, paid for it, and stepped back outside. It was as if I had stepped into another dimension in space and time. The wind was no longer playful, it had turned into full on hurricane gusts. The gray clouds had turned black and it was starting to drizzle. I clutched my light rain jacket around me as I walked, the wind whipping my hair into a mess, my face turning red, and my ears literally aching from cold, the way they do in winter when you've been outside too long and they return from the brink of frostbite and start to thaw out.

I made it back to my building, thrust myself inside, and vowed never to let myself fall for fall's tricks again.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
I know that winning isn't everything. But it sure feels good! Last week my company had a party and we played some games. One of them was trivia about my company and I knew a good deal of the answers as the questions seemed relevant to me (like, how many fish are there in the fish tank?) My team ended up winning and they acknowledged that it was in large part because of me! Hey, you have to be good at SOMEthing, right? I know Pinky would be proud.

* * * * *

My new roommate calls me Betty Crocker because I'm always cooking. Ha ha! No one has ever called me that in my life. All of my cooking is purely experimental and not everyone would agree that it's good.

Nevertheless, last night I attempted to make some soup (yes, homemade - not from a can). It had chicken and rice in it and it called for poultry seasoning. I don't know what poultry seasoning consists of (the ingredients on the label simply say "spices") so rather than try to recreate it with spices I already have, I bought a small container of this mystery substance just for this recipe.

It came time to add the poultry seasoning, so I picked up the little container and noticed... it had already been opened! I tried to think if I was going crazy. I had either opened it myself and forgot, or bought an already opened container. Either one spells crazy in my book. I asked my roommate if she had opened it for any reason. She laughed right out loud, as her cooking doesn't extend beyond tuna fish sandwiches, mac and cheese from a box, and cereal.

Knowing that I had bought the poultry seasoning exclusively for this soup, I realized that I must have bought an already opened container. Now why, if you were in the grocery store, would you pick up a container of poultry seasoning, rip the plastic off the top, unscrew the cap, and tear off the little plastic covering? Was someone having some sort of poultry emergency right there in the grocery store? Or was foul play involved? After all, childhood memories of razor blades in Halloween candy and a general suspicion that anything could be tainted, are firmly ingrained in my mind. I told my roommate I wasn't going to use the seasoning, because someone could've put drugs in it. At that point I had to laugh at how silly that sounded. Why anyone would go to the trouble of sneaking drugs into poultry seasoning and giggling maniacally while envisioning an entire family tripping on their turkey dinner, is beyond me. But I still wouldn't use that particular container of poultry seasoning. And I have learned my lesson - from now on I am going to be much more careful not to buy tampered-with condiments.
Friday, October 10, 2003
I need to vent for a second. I have been living in my new apartment for two weeks and the stupid landlord has yet to give me a key to the new mailbox. Meanwhile, I prematurely sent an email out to friends and family alerting them of my new address. My roommate started having her mail forwarded, yet we have been unable to get it. There are bills going unpaid, greetings going unreciprocated, catalogs getting un-ordered from, and junk going un-thrown away. I am so frustrated and I don't quite know what to do. Could I go into the post office, show them my ID, and ask them to open the box for me? I could say I lost my key... This might work, except of course, my correct address is not on my license. Stupid landlord!
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
My inbox is being inundated with recipes. My company is trying to put together a cookbook and I am the lucky person who is collecting people's recipes.

This comes, coincidentally enough, after a discussion I had with two coworkers yesterday over lunch involving the weirdest/grossest things to eat. Believe me, I was sorry to talk about it over lunch, but far be it from me to ruin the spontenaity of a good conversation.

So, what's the weirdest food you've ever eaten? Mine, though not so weird, would have to be venison. The grossest thing I've ever seen eaten, was on a show where college kids were dared to do stupid things for money. Does anyone remember the name of this show? Anyway, one kid, for a very miniscule amount of money, if I recall, agreed to eat two live giant black centipedes. While eating the first one, he had to put the other one in his pants. I'm not quite sure why. Nevertheless, I will spare you the details, but as the kid crunched eagerly into the first centipede, my roommate and I quite literally started gagging.

On that note, if anyone can recommend a good recipe, I would be happy to add it to my company's cookbook and credit it as my own. Just please, don't send any recipes for sauteed sheep eyeballs.

On second thought, just for fun, why don't you see what is the grossest actual, real recipe you can find and then let me know.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Who knew I could have my very own cow? Someone should've gotten me this for my birthday.
All in all, my birthday was a smashing success! There were many kind wishes, there was a cake at work, and then there was this where I got free drinks and free ice cream and I had to stand on a chair while the whole place sung to me. And then, my birthday magic caused this (yes, I take full credit.)

I think the really important thing about birthdays is getting presents having one special day to celebrate yourself. It is a time for reflection on the past and hopes for the future. It is a time for remembrance, happiness, and assessment. It bothers me when people want to ignore their birthdays because they don't want to get old. It's not the age you're celebrating, it's your life itself. Oh, and presents.
Monday, October 06, 2003
Yay!!! It's my birthday!
Friday, October 03, 2003
Last night I got a fortune cookie that said "you should be able to make money and hold on to it". I think the key word is "should" be able to. I also think that making a statement like that is just about as obvious as saying "your birthday is once a year." (Monday, October 6th, by the way.) Yes, thanks for such striking words of wisdom.

I would have been more impressed if the fortune said "someone from your past will return" because someone has and it's not someone I want returned. It's a former friend of a former boyfriend and he works in the same town as me. I was unaware of that until we bumped into each other recently. Since then he keeps turning up. I left for lunch today and there he was, driving down the street at just that time. It's so awkward because we were never really friends and I don't know what to say. Maybe I'll give him a fortune cookie that says "please leave me alone".
Thursday, October 02, 2003
We're not getting cable television until October 11th. October 11th! That's like, a long time from now. It's funny, I'm not a huge tv watcher, but living without cable is like living in the 1800s. I find myself watching the clock while time creeps by ever so slowly and I look forward to going to bed. I feel like I should take up quilt making or churning butter or something just because I'm not sure what else to do.

And really, it wouldn't be so bad, if all the non-cable channels came in on my tv, but they don't. I have two channels. Well, two channels I might be halfway interested in watching at least, and even those don't come in well. There are two other channels that come in beautifully - the Spanish channel, and Public Broadcasting. No offense to anyone out there who enjoys those channels, it's just that I like something a little more fast paced, and in a language I can understand.

I have to get going now - I need to go whittle small animals out of wood, or spread fresh hay over the floor, or whatever else people did before cable television.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
I think it's really weird when it's someone's birthday and they don't tell anyone. A few months ago, it was a coworker's birthday and no one knew all day until her grandmother called and announced she was calling to wish said coworker a happy birthday. Then the news spread like wildfire and we got her a card and a cake (which would not have happened if we had not known). She was somewhat embarrassed and upset (although ultimately pleased by the acknowledgement).

Is it weird that I announce to everyone when my birthday is coming up because I want everyone to know that MY SPECIAL DAY is this COMING MONDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2003?? I just think that one's birthday (Monday, October, 6th) should be celebrated, especially when you start to feel like you are getting old (turning 28 on Monday, October, 6th) and nothing would cheer you up more than a kind word (or perhaps a beautiful boquet of flowers sent to you at work on Monday, October 6th) in recognition of the fact that you were born (on October 6, 1975, 28 years ago this coming Monday, October 6th). So I don't know, maybe I'm the weird one.
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