Coffee Table Declarations
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
In the bizarro world that I live in, Thanksgiving is already over. We usually have dinner with my aunt and her family (who live 2 hours away) and somewhere along the line my mom and my aunt conspired that no one wants to drive on Thanksgiving. I think it was after my grandparents died. Everything went down the drain after that.

Anyway, strangely enough to the rest of the world, we had our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. I guess tomorrow I'll be enjoying a nice long day to myself. I don't really mind.

I have realized that all families have their own idiosynchracies and that you may not even comprehend what your family's are until you bring someone along to Thanksgiving dinner. There's nothing like looking at your family traditions through someone else's eyes. For example it never occured to me that my family doesn't serve gravy with the turkey. Yes that's strange but I never really thought about it.

Other highlights from my wacky family which were brought to my attention this past Sunday are, pictures cut from magazines of unknown babies hanging on the fridge (my parents desparately want a grandchild), magnetic porno poetry, the male members actually discussing the effects of tryptophan over dinner and subsequently staking out beds upstairs for an after dinner nap, and all kinds of infighting and disfunction that can only be fully emphasized by returning to the home of your childhood to find that nothing has changed and in fact, things have rapidly progressed from the sublime to the insane. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a good deed. I was in CVS and there was an old lady ahead of me in line. Her cart contained a range of heavy items such as bottles of bleach and laundry detergent. She was taking a long time at the checkout and the line was growing. Meanwhile, she was asking the cashier if she could push the cart out to her car but he said she could not, due to the fact that the cart had one of those long metal bars extending upwards that would not fit through the door.

I stood there feeling like someone should do something. Why didn't the cashier offer to have someone assist her with carrying her purchases to her car? She just looked so feeble and old and there was a cane in her cart as well which she no doubt needed, leaving her only one free arm.

Finally she paid and it was my turn. I paid and then walked to the door. The old lady was standing there, trying to put all of her bags into a smaller cart with no metal bar. I couldn't stand it any longer. "Would you like me to help you carry those to your car?" I asked. I mean if I can sympathize about anything, it's lugging heavy bags (usually groceries in my case) around the town square in which I live (and in which the CVS is located). The old lady said, "No, they're too heavy. But you can watch the cart while I go get my car." I agreed, happy to help.

There I stood in the dark at the curb, while the old lady hobbled to her car and traffic rushed past. It felt as though ten minutes must have elapsed, when finally the old lady pulled up at the curb. She started to get out of the car to come around and load the things in, but I opened the back door and told her I would just put them in the back seat for her. As I was loading in the bags, she thanked me and said she would pray for me at church the next day.

How unexpectedly rewarding. I mean hey, I'll take any prayers I can get - regardless of the person's religious affiliation! I guess the moral of this story is that I learned that it is easy to help someone when you can. It took very little time and effort on my part but I probably helped her a great deal. The other thing I learned is that it must suck to be old.
Monday, November 24, 2003
Please bear with me while I work out the bugs in my new format. It's all so confusing and convoluted. Here I was feeling so proud of my mastery of HTML and then I was surprised to discover that, while my page looked beautiful and perfect from my home computer, it looks vastly different from my work computer. At home, the title is in a funky looking font, and the colors are stunning, yet not overbearing enough to read the posts. Here at work, my title is in a regular font, and the colors are extremely dark - so much so that I had to switch my post font to a light color. But maybe when I look at it from home I will think it looks horrible. Oh well. I am interested to hear your continued feedback. I certainly want my page to be user-friendly so if you have trouble reading it in any way, let me know.

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Reading is in some ways, like dating. I am currently reading three books. One at work, one before bed, and one for relaxing time. Normally I prefer to throw myself into one book rather than divide up my attention. However, I have somehow stumbled into a situation where three books have captured my affections. I used to be able to handle this sort of thing without getting confused, however, I'm finding these books starting to blend together in my mind. Perhaps it's because two have very similar settings, although not so similar plots, and the third is the one I daydream about while I'm away from it and reading the others. I am contemplating making a full commitment to one, but I would feel like that was terribly unfair to the other two, particularly since I've already begun reading them. This all just seems so wrong. What is a girl to do?
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Time for a new look. HTML is not so scary, once you get to know it.
Friday, November 21, 2003
O.K., some of you have expressed interest in reading what I wrote for the contest. You can read it, but if you hate it, don't bother telling me because I already entered it.

Here it is:

I cannot remember a time when I was not captivated by words. My favorite childhood memory is of my mother, or sometimes my father, sitting on the couch, my brother and I nestled close on either side, and a stack of books piled high on the coffee table in front of us. This was our bedtime ritual, and reading before bed is a tradition I hold sacred to this day. From my parents I learned to respect the written word.

I don’t remember learning to read, I just remember reading. I was a natural at it. I devoured anything I could get my hands on and almost from the same moment, I sensed in myself a strong urge to write. I composed dozens of short stories, but nothing ever fully satisfied me. It has always felt like something is just beyond my reach.

I have kept thousands of notebooks through the years. I have several now in various stages of filled up pages. These notebooks contain my thoughts, philosophical musings, beginnings of poems, stories, memoirs and a million false starts. Sometimes just a sentence or phrase is written with the intention of expanding upon it later. I love the physical act of putting pen to paper. I will use any excuse to write a list and I abhor abbreviations. I love the idea that I can pluck something from my mind and send it forth into the world. If I have a blank page in front of me and a pen in my hand I feel a jolt of excitement. It is a moment full of possibility. The blank page could be filled with anything – a meaningful sonnet, a prizewinning manuscript. I know that these things are inside of me. But therein lies my problem.

The best writing inside of me hits me when I am not looking for it, nor expecting it. I could be sitting at work, taking a walk, running errands, or drifting off to sleep and all of a sudden, there it will be, out of nowhere. The most amazing string of words ever imagined. And just as suddenly it’s gone. Even if I can remember it to write it down later, it has lost it’s magic by then. Sometimes I wish I could tape record my thoughts as they happen. I feel as though as soon as I try to slow them down enough to write them out, I lose my momentum.

My greatest challenge as a writer has been to attempt to seize hold of the swirling words that flow incessantly in my mind. I know that if only I could learn to harness their power then I would be free. I have something to say and I have always known this. It is something meaningful and important and has never been said in quite the same way before. And I will say it, just as soon as I figure out how.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Happy Birthday Pinky!!! Everyone go on over and wish her a special day!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
You know how there's that theory that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation or less? (Or as another point of reference you may have enjoyed playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon as my brother and I used to do all the time.)

I have decided that everyone on the web is connected by six degrees of separation. I came to this conclusion recently when following links from my friends' sites to other people's sites, and clicking on their links, etc. Imagine my surprise to find someone through one avenue, that has a link to someone from another avenue altogether. I think that perhaps I am even connected to everyone through six degrees of separation and that makes me feel like a part of something big and important and special.

Now if only I could figure out how to put links on my site, I could close the circle and contribute to making others feel just as connected and a part of something. Can anyone help me with this?
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
I'm kind of excited because I just entered a writing contest. I don't care if I win, I just wanted to enter. It had to be 500 words or less about writing challenges or triumphs I've faced. I thought it would be difficult but it just popped into my head and I sat down and wrote it in one sitting.

* * * * *

I'd like to add another favorite to my list of foods that I would pick to eat every day for the rest of my life. This would be food choice number four (following Mexican cuisine, spinach dip, and key lime pie in that order): mango sauce. Strange but true. Our favorite Mexican place serves this dessert, some sort of Mexican chocolate and it rests in a virtual lake of mango sauce. I could eat the mango sauce by itself. I think the chocolate takes away from its utter perfection. If anyone knows how to make mango sauce, please let me know.
Monday, November 17, 2003
I will not get sick, I will not get sick. This is my mantra. I have been sitting here drinking juice that contains echinacea and something called astragalus. I've been chewing Vitamin C tablets by the dozen. I am a firm believer in natural remedies. I have been floating in the limbo between sick and well all weekend and I am fighting tooth and nail for the victory of health.

In a coincidental turn of events, I have just started reading this book. It told me I should eat fresh salmon once a week, fresh broccoli twice a week, and avoid all food products containing partially hydrogenated anything.

Proactively, I spent my weekly grocery shopping trip at one of those health food stores yesterday and was shocked and alarmed to arrive at the cash register and find that I owed an obscene amount of money. Pretty much triple what I might spend on groceries in a normal week. Why does health food cost so much? It doesn't seem quite fair does it? I mean, only rich people get to be heathy and the rest of us poor slobs have to be poor AND malnourished??

Well, I may be broke, but I will be healthy. Last night I forcefed myself salmon (yuck!) and the meals I will be consuming this week, I am proud to annouce, will contain absolutely no partially hydrogenated substances. I better live it up because next week it's back to the "You-Can't-Afford-To-Be-Healthy-And-We-Don't-Care" Grocery Store for me.
Friday, November 14, 2003
At my old job I was the one with all the gossip. If there was something to be known, I knew it. If there was something to be found out, I was the go-to girl. Here however, nobody tells me anything. For example, I never know when someone's pregnant until much later than everyone else (and believe me, that happens a lot because everyone here is pregnant at some point). And then people say things to me like, "you didn't KNOW that???" One theory I was given is that people tend to assume I know everything already because of my central location and my interactions with just about everyone. But it never fails, the good stuff always slips by me.

Maybe it's because I've made a conscious effort to keep myself out of the gossip loop. Sure it's fun to become all embroiled in other people's business, but it can turn ugly just as quickly. My old company was like college. It was filled with young people and I soon became a very important figure in the important social circle. I planned all the post-work gatherings and spent a good deal of time talking and laughing when I should've been working.

When I started here, I decided to be discreet and mature and focus on getting ahead professionally instead of personally. I noticed that if you listen to gossip, particularly people speaking negative about others, you start to formulate your opinions based on what you hear. I think it's better to keep a fresh perspective and an open mind because once someone is labeled as "bitchy" or "annoying" that is how I tend to think of them. I am amazed what a difference it makes to think positively about a person, or at least neutrally, instead of passing judgement. It even reflects in the other person's behavior and in that sense, it is a much more powerful position to be in than being the gossip queen.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
I was perusing my local bookstore recently when I came upon a sign that said "these books are free - take one!" Not one to turn down a free book or for that matter, a free pretty-much-anything, I looked at the book in question. It was a book called "The Path to Enlightenment" written by the Dalai Lama. I did take an enjoyable class in Eastern Philosophy in college so this book was of some interest to me as opposed to say, a book about the intracacies of nuclear and quantum physics or perhaps one entitled, "How to Cook Sheep Eyeballs in Six Easy Steps".

Not convinced that it wasn't some sort of trick or practical joke, I picked up a book (the last one left on the display table, I might add) and brought it to an employee. "Are these really free??" I asked. He assured me that they were and that the bookstore had been asked to give them out free of charge. I had never heard of such a thing. After all, this wasn't a brochure or a pamphlet, it was an actual book with multiple chapters. Sure enough, on the back, where you normally find a book's price, was written in small print, "for free distribution". Wow. Smart marketing right there.

Gleeful at obtaining a semi-interesting book for free, and feeling somewhat rebellious, I clutched my copy in hand and hurried out of the store without a visit to the cash register. At home later, I began my foray into the study of buddhism and found the book...well... extremely difficult to understand.

But, you know, the important thing here is that it was free. In fact, I'm just now getting a great idea of what I can give all of my friends and family members for Christmas!! Hmmm... I wonder how many times I can return to the bookstore for a free book?
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
The HR lady asked me to have lunch on Friday. In fact, she sent me an email - one of those emails that looks like a little invitation and you can hit accept or decline and it will go back to the person who sent it. I am slightly suspicious and highly paranoid when something like this arises. I've been hurt in the past by people I've trusted in the business world and I've learned that you never know when an unexpected agenda is going to pop out of nowhere. Will this be a simple friendly lunch or a complicated serious lunch?
If you know anything about me, it's that I love cows. I recently had the good fortune to see a cow parade. I drove to my aunt's house in Connecticut and the two of us embarked on the short journey from there to the cows. My aunt told me to pick my favorite and she would buy me a small version of it, but it was impossible to pick my favorite. I loved them all. Joining in the spirit of things, every store we passed had cow merchandise on display. It was like a dream come true.

I wish there was a place like that all the time. A real cow-land. Stores full of cows, colorful cows lining the streets, and real cows grazing in nearby pastures. This world would be a better place if there was a cow-land. If you ever get a chance to go to a cow parade, do it. You won't be sorry!
Monday, November 10, 2003
I have decided that Key Lime Pie might well be one of my favorite foods in the whole world. I would put it at approximately the number 3 spot on my "If I Could Only Eat One Thing Every Day For the Rest of My Life" list. And yes, I do have a list like that.

And speaking of food, a man came in for an interview today and he brought muffins to share! To an interview!! It might have been viewed as a bit strange except that this man was also really nice. I felt like saying, "Hire this man right now! I don't care what his qualifications are, if he's going to bring food for us he'll fit right in!" But this is probably why they do not let me make the hiring decisions around here.

And speaking yet some more about food, today happened to be Pie Day. (Hence my discovery about Key Lime Pie.) There were a ton of pies for general consumption in the kitchen for no other reason than for the sake of eating pie. Well, actually, the reason is because we have been doing something special every month on the tenth of the month because of our ten year anniversary this year. But the pie in and of itself was completely arbitrary, having no symbolic purpose whatsoever. Have I mentioned recently that I love my job?

* * * * *

Ah, decisions, decisions. Did anyone else find themselves embroiled in a bitter battle of the networks last night in relation to which feature-made-for-tv-movie-based-on-real-life-events to watch? I understand the idea of competition and all, but that little trick they pulled was down right mean. How was I supposed to decide between Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lynch? In the end though, I had to do exactly that and the whole thing just felt so unfair.
Friday, November 07, 2003
There have been a lot of humorous UPS mishaps around here lately. It started when a woman sending a package checked off that she wanted it to go three-day because that's cheaper. The UPS guy said "It's the next town over, it will get there tomorrow!" He informed me that if we wanted it to take three days, he could bring it to the warehouse first.

Then a man recieved a package, opened it up and pulled out the plastic pillowy stuff they use to protect things from damage during shipping. "Oh wow," he exclaimed joyously, "they sent me bags of air!" and walked off clutching his new found gains.

Finally, there was the ongoing saga of The Hawaii Package. A large box was returned to us because according to the UPS guy, it couldn't be delivered. We all pondered over what could be wrong. The guy sending it to his friend in Hawaii provided the friend's work address instead. It came back again. Finally someone smarter than the rest of us (the UPS guy) realized the problem and informed us that you can't ship something to Hawaii via UPS Ground.

* * * * *

As I was walking back from getting my lunch today, I saw a banana peel on the ground. I couldn't believe people actually throw banana peels on the ground like in cartoons. I was very careful to walk around the banana peel so as not to trip and go flying. As everyone knows who has grown up watching cartoons, if you step on a banana peel, you will lose your balance, careen your arms wildly while suspended in midair for a split second, and then plummet to the ground resulting in the profound amusement of everyone except yourself. This was something I managed to narrowly avoid, thank goodness.
Why is it that everytime I see someone at the shredder I want to walk up behind them and say, "destroying the evidence?"
Thursday, November 06, 2003
My old roommate came to visit and having my old roommate and my new roommate together in the same apartment didn't feel quite right. It was like some sort of ripple in the space/time continuum. My new roommate thought that my old roommate talked way too much and I guess that's true. Now I'm going to feel self-conscious if I have an especially long story to share with her.

* * * * *

I have spent the day delving into online recipes! It is a whole lot more fun to peruse recipes than to type and reformat those of other people while under a pressing deadline. If anyone can recommend any good recipe websites, I'm all ears.

* * * * *

I seem to be having an existential day. I've decided that I want to do more with my life. Learning to cook is a start. I want to take tap dancing lessons and karate and swimming and drawing and maybe yoga. And get involved in the community theatre. The problem is, I don't know where to begin so I never end up doing anything.

Perhaps the most challenging thing I've undertaken recently is to get four books about how to become a better writer. These books are full of exercises and tips. I'm trying to write as much as I can, even if I feel like I have nothing to say. I just wish it were easier.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
And now for the silly search of the day: someone found me with the search words, "definition of reckless driving". Actually, maybe this is not so much silly as something I should be concerned about?
Why does every election day find me calling total strangers to try to influence their vote toward the candidate of my allegiance? I hate doing that. Campaigning can be a very thankless job, as I have learned personally. It's a heartless game where you win only enough to get the taste for it and the rest of the time you lose cruelly. I could've written something very poignant last night about doing the best you can and then accepting that the rest is out of your hands as you wait to see if your efforts paid off. I could've written that if I wasn't so busy calling strangers. Funny how last year I was swearing off politics for good and the feeling of victory last night made all the difference. But this time I'm serious, no more campaigns.
Monday, November 03, 2003
I was a little disappointed at the lack of Halloween themed programming on tv. I seem to remember when I was growing up, there was always a special Halloween episode of my favorite sitcoms. I was in the mood to have a spooky evening but we just managed to catch part of the brilliant and creepy Bram Stoker's Dracula, the second half a program about the origins of Halloween on the History Channel and a special about a real life haunted house on the Discovery Channel. I love educational programming.

I remember one year when I was about 14, I thought it would be a fun idea to rent a horror movie and bravely watch it by myself. Somehow I ended up with the scariest and most disturbing film every made which to this day gives me nightmares. Needless to say, I have become slightly wary of horror movies.

We don't get any trick-or-treaters in my building because no kids live there and you have to buzz people's apartments to get in. I can just see it now: Buzzzzzzz!!!! Me: "yes?" Some small child with accompanying adult: "trick or treat!" (me, pressing the button allowing entry into the building followed by child and adult trudging up the three flights to my door to be handed a small piece of candy.) But let's say the scenario doesn't play out in such a wholesome manner. Let's say there's some kind of psychopath out there just waiting to be let into the building by some unwitting resident. Yikes! So no, we just don't get any trick-or-treaters.

Luckily we had trick-or-treaters at work and they were adorable. There were about five babies dressed as pumpkins. Why does everyone want a pumpkin baby? One baby was a monkey! There was a child dressed as a cow, my personal favorite, and there was a little boy dressed as Blue.

But the cutest by far was the little friend I made. I was sitting at my computer after much of the excitement had died down, and suddenly I felt something touch my arm. I turned around to find a cherubic fluffy duck looking up at me. She extended her arms as if she wanted me to pick her up so I did. She sat on my lap while I chatted with her mom and found out she was only 16 months old. After a few minutes her mom picked her up to leave and she started to cry. She wanted to stay with me! It was really a special bonding moment between me and a sweet little girl, dressed as a yellow duck.
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