Coffee Table Declarations
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
You know how there's this theory that how you spend New Year's Eve is indicitave of how your year will be? Well, I have a somewhat different theory. You see, I've generally had some pretty shitty New Year's Eves and they haven't necessarily had anything to do with how my year went.

For example, last year I rung in the new year at a dive bar with a sore throat that turned into being sick for the first two weeks of the year. I haven't been back to that bar since, and thankfully, have had my health. Speaking of which, 2001 was the New Year's that I had asthmatic bronchitis and was on my death bed (or couch as it were) only to be woken up at midnight by my roommate to acknowledge the new year. And 2001 was not a bad year.

Once New Year's was spent in a car searching for a undisclosed destination, once it was spent at an overly lame party and neither year was spent either excessively in cars or partying in a lame fashion. 2000 was spent in fear of Y2K disaster on my parent's couch (no I'm not kidding).

So anyway, when my plans for the evening suddenly fell through, I have to confess I was somewhat relieved. I actually had some kick-ass plans and a small secret fear that a good New Year's would be the portend of a terrible year. So here I am in my pink pajamas drinking champagne, and getting ready for a date with Dick Clark. Sounds kind of boring? Depressing? Unexciting? Well then I'm gearing up for a great 2004! Happy New Year everyone!!
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
My roommate is a Scrooge. She took down our Christmas tree already. Yes, our sweet little foot-tall tree, decorated with a single strand of white lights, perched on the windowsill to be seen by all in the square below. Gone. I saw it sitting empty and bare on her bedroom floor last night. I said, "you took down the tree?" and she said, "yeah, Christmas is over." Barely. Plus, um... do I live there too? Or do I not have a say in our interior decoration? It feels that way sometimes when new things just start appearing in the living room. It started with a hallogen lamp. I thought, hmmm... useful, attractive lighting, how nice. Then pretty soon it was a fake tree in my writing alcove (no, not the Christmas tree - one of those "potted plant" trees that stands in the corner). Next came a giant vase full of tall sticks straight out of Pier One. Ever so subtley appeared one burgundy throw, and then another. A pillow here, a pillow there. Now the coup de grace is this gigantic wall sconce. I'm not going to say that I don't like a lot of this stuff. Sometimes it's just a little... creepy.
Monday, December 29, 2003
I feel terrible that I haven't written in ages. All that holiday hoopla got in the way. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to come back with a list of all the searches that have brought people to me during the Christmas break.

homemade coffee table
decorating under a coffee table
"how many fish are there?"
lives of pedicurists and manicurists
lecherous pictures
engine coffee table
catalog coffee table
black percula clown

My favorite is "lecherous pictures". I usually get much funnier searches than that. Perhaps all the weirdos were busy with holiday festivities?
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
I have noticed a recent disturbing trend in lawn ornamentation. First it was gigantic scary/cuddly characters on Halloween. Now it's festive/cuddly characters. One house in particular which I drive by to and from work, has a lawn full of giant inflatable white dogs wearing scarves and hats and lit up at night. I'm not quite sure what the point is of such in-your-face decoration. I'd be scared the damn thing would short circuit and light my house on fire. I mean really, is it supposed to discourage intruders or something? Are they going to believe a smiling, glowing, 10 foot tall canine is real? Maybe. But if you ask me, I'd say it would encourage criminal activity instead. I'm surprised that some local hoodlums haven't toilet papered or punctured these massive symbols of winter joy.

Scarier still, is the house with the freaky looking Santa standing on the stoop. He is not your traditional jolly old friend, he is more of an old fashioned version... thinner, longer hair, beard, and robe, face less jolly. Much, much less jolly. Why don't people just stick with lights? Not those trees made of tube lighting or those inanimate illuminated deer, just some nice colored lights.

I remember an actual family activity of my youth was Driving-Around-To-Look-At-Christmas-Lights. We also had a little game of trying to find a house that still had Christmas lights in like, August. In all honesty, I think we found one in March but I'm not sure if they were still up after that or not.

Then in college, Christmas lights became THE thing to hang from your ceiling year round. I spent three hours adhering them to my ceiling freshman year, only to have to take them down because they were deemed a fire hazard. I still don't quite understand that. Were the lights going to set a fire? Or were they going to fall from the ceiling and trip people who were running from the blaze? Actually, that would be pretty scary. But not as scary as that Santa on the stoop - he gives me the willies.
Monday, December 22, 2003
It's funny how you can spend your time around the office feeling confident, on top of things, above your menial tasks, overworked and underpaid. And then suddenly you have a review coming up and you can't think of a single good thing about your performance. You become embroiled in all sorts of self destructive paranoia. Suddenly you're worried - have I been borrowing from petty cash too often? Using too much company postage for personal mail? Leaving a messy work area at the end of the day? Spending too much time on the internet instead of being productive? It's those damn self-evaluations that get you every time.
Friday, December 19, 2003
I did all my Christmas shopping last Saturday in a grueling four hour stint at the mall. I did it all at once so I wouldn't have to go back. Don't get me wrong, normally the mall is one of my favorite places to be in the whole world. But at this time of year it's just insane. It took half an hour just to park and I didn't even get a good spot. Incidentally, I have long felt that there should be a parking system whereby those waiting for spots pull up to the door of the mall and pick up an exiting shopper. Then they drive them to their spot (therefore eliminating a half mile walk in the cold) and take the spot they vacate and then recieve a ride from them back to the mall door. I'm telling you, it's foolproof. Plus, it would save a good deal of frustration.

Anyway, once I managed to battle my way through the crowd and enter the mall, I embarked on shopping. It was so crowded that there were lines of people waiting to look at the directory. There were no seats left in the food court. There was a mile long queue to see Santa. I made the mistake of venturing into the toy store in search of Hello Kitty paraphenalia for a certain friend. I thought I might be lost forever in the back, hidden behind the floor to ceiling shelves of board games and action figures.

I ended up doing a good deal of my shopping at one store. For myself I purchased something that I view strictly as a necessity and not a luxury item. I desperately needed an upgrade. Isn't it cute? I had a bite to eat and continued on my way.

I was at the mall so long that I started to feel like I was in one of those bad dreams where you can't get anywhere. But I forged ahead, determined to complete my shopping and not give up. Finally weary and broke, I made my way back through the parking lot to my car, only to attract the attention of a vulture fellow consumer who drove alongside me, hand poised over her blinker switch.

And so sums up the heartfelt Christmas tradition known as braving the mall.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Yesterday I took a day off for being sick. I figured I deserved it after suffering through Tuesday. I wish I could say I had a wonderful and exciting day full of naps, movies, and a good book. Instead I just kind of hung around all day trying to accept the fact that breathing is overrated. There was one nap and one movie and part of a good book in between doses of medication and enough tea and orange juice to land me a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records for tea and orange juice consumption.

I am happy to say that while not entirely well, I am feeling much better today. However, this morning at work everyone was saying, "oh, I didn't think you'd be here today" which made me really angry that I didn't just go for broke and take another day.

At least I didn't get sick last week and miss the holiday party. It was a social event marked by an endless supply of free drink tickets and custom made pasta. The custom made pasta was fascinating. There were about 4 chefs standing at a table full of plates of veggies, pasta, and sauce, all separated by type. Each chef had his own frying pans and cooking surface. Beginning with the first chef, each person got to select what they wanted. The first chef would cook the veggies and pass the pan down. The next chef would add some pasta, and so on. I wonder if I could get them to come to my house and do that. It was quite a thing to watch although maybe not as amazing as say, the Blue Man Group. But then again, I'm sick and delirious and I wouldn't really know.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
I am so sick. I feel like there has been a hostile takeover of my face. I'm sneezing and red and puffy and my throat hurts and I can't breathe out of my nose. There is nothing worse than being sick and being at work, as I am now. I left early yesterday afternoon on totally unrelated business, and therefore I felt I just couldn't leave today. So here I sit, miserable and counting the minutes until I can go home.

I was fine yesterday, and then I woke up in the middle of the night like this and have been this way ever since. I hate being sick at work because everyone knows and if you don't say something to them right off like, "I'm sick." they say things like "are you o.k.? you don't look so good." or the all time favorite, "you look terrible." Um... thanks! Plus, I just sneezed about 28 times in a row. That's the worst feeling because once you get started you just can't stop.

When I was quite young and impressionable, I used to read the Guinness Book of World Records which my parents had for some reason. I think the world record for longest amount of time spent sneezing is like, 32 years or something. I just can't imagine. I also know all about long curly fingernails and conjoined twins, and all sorts of fun trivia. In other words, I can take heart in the fact that while I feel awful right now, at least I don't have a 76 pound tumor containing teeth and hair growing in my stomach region. At least, I don't think I do.

Finally, I would just like to share something funny that David Letterman (or maybe it was Jay Leno) said last night. It's a crazy world we live in when one day you're the leader of Iraq and the next you're being checked for fleas on Fox News.
Friday, December 12, 2003
Today another maternity leave-er came in with her baby and somehow the little tyke ended up in my arms. I didn't want to hold a baby today of all days but maybe that was supposed to tell me something. The problem is, I'm not sure what. I did notice that when babies sleep they barely move and that would freak me out. I'd probably have to check if it was breathing every five minutes.

Oh and on another note, if we get another snow storm this weekend I'm going to go stark raving mad. Just so you know.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Conversation started in the office kitchen and continued here: What's the weirdest thing you've ever put in the microwave to observe the effects? Some answers: a marshmellow, raw eggs (they become scrambled in texture), Dove soap, a cockroach. Now it's your turn.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Our company is doing a Toys For Tots drive and there is a giant gift wrapped box in the lobby to collect toys. I have seen a good deal of excitement and fun go into that box. There's a hockey stick and a two for one board game pack of Children's Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders. There's a huge box of stickers of all sizes and shapes, a truck you can ride, and an art kit. But my favorite by far, is a small cookie monster who comes with his own book. He is about 6 inches high and just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. I think everyone needs a small cookie monster. I may just get one for everyone on my list.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
I did not go to my ten year high school reunion. I didn't think I cared. I was tossing the idea of going back and forth but the bottom line was I simply didn't have the $50 to go. Yes, that's expensive for a high school reunion, and yes, I'm poor enough to have trouble spending $50 (at least when I've had to pay rent during the same pay period). I don't talk to anyone I went to high school with anymore really and my only motivation for going was curiousity to see what has changed over ten years.

Then the cheery reunion planner sent pictures to everyone on the email list. Looking through them, I was surprised by how much some people had changed and how little others had. As I flipped through the pictures, I was feeling mild regret at having missed out when all of a sudden I was looking at a picture of my best friend from high school. I haven't spoken to her in almost ten years and I really don't know why. Just a case of going our separate ways I guess. But there she was and suddenly I was overcome by how much I miss her. Isn't that funny? I hadn't given her more than a passing thought in a long time, yet the weight of her absence in my life hit me hard.

I decided to send her an email since everyone's address was listed on the group email containing the pictures. I was surprised by how easily the words flowed. It was easy to write to her, like picking up a long since interrupted conversation. There was no awkwardness or indecision over what to say. I conveyed that I missed her and wanted to know what was going on in her life. Now I am nervously anticipating a reply. What if she doesn't write back? Can that much really change?
Monday, December 08, 2003
Why I hate living in New England: I had the worst weekend ever. We got two feet of snow and I was trapped inside my apartment. They finally plowed our parking lot yesterday afternoon and I faced the daunting task that had been looming in my brain - digging out my car. I pulled on two pairs of sweatpants, thick socks, a shirt and sweatshirt, wrapped one scarf around my head and one around my neck, put on my coat and sneakers and headed out.

I had to walk half a block to where my car was parked and then I had to find it, as all that was visible were large car-shaped lumps of snow. Finally I caught sight of it's doors peeking out through the snow but that was all I could see - nothing above or below the doors.

I spent the next hour shovelling behind the car and clearing a path on the driver's side. I felt like I was going to collapse so I got into the car and watched my heavy, asthmatic breath fog up the rear view mirror for a good ten minutes. It was at that point that I decided I was either going to give up shovelling or forge onward and face the prospect of cardiac arrest. I opted for giving up and dragged my soaking wet, broken self back to my apartment and into a hot shower. I then lay on my bed and promptly fell asleep for two hours.

Later that evening I decided, just for kicks, to see if I could manage to drive out of the snowbank I was now halfway lodged in. I threw on all requisite gear and headed back down the street into the cold dark night. I started my car and put it in reverse. Smoothly and without trouble, it glided gracefully backwards. I whooped with joy! I knew I would be able to sleep easy. At least until my sore, aching muscles woke me in pain, a pain that has persisted all day despite obscene amounts of asprin.
Friday, December 05, 2003
Dear New England Weather,

I've put up with your inconsistances and unpredictabilities for almost three decades now and I truly believe I deserve better than this. You're so hot and cold that it's hard to know what to expect. First you entice me with beautiful warm weather, especially on the days I'm stuck indoors. Then just as suddenly, you turn on me when I finally begin to trust you. You make me feel so cold that it is painful and I think it couldn't possibly get worse but it does.

And yet, I stay with you New England Weather. I stay, even after all you've put me through. I've resigned myself to accepting your bleakness, your hopelessness, your nothingness. I guess deep down I still believe that someday you and I might reconcile. But don't push me or I will leave you for a more temperate climate and this time I'm not kidding. I am warning you right now: I can handle rain on my parade, but DO NOT snow on my party!

- Katie
Thursday, December 04, 2003
I would be lying if I said I wasn't just slightly fascinated by this.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Do you ever notice how sometimes there's a word that you never hear and then suddenly hear multiple times over the course of a short time in completely unrelated, random contexts?

For some reason I have encountered the word "mongoose" exactly 5 times in two days and the word "filibuster" twice.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
It looks like my cut and paste weather idea would have been especially relevant today. For those who don't live anywhere around here let me update you on what happened this morning. Apparently it snowed for about 15 minutes. I didn't know this until I stepped outside at 8:10 for my normal 20 minute drive to work. Meanwhile, the snow somehow iced over and this all took place just in time for the morning commute without giving the cities any chance to sand the roads. Therefore, traffic was moving at an average rate of parked to 5 mph everywhere. Highways, backroads, you name it.

Half an hour later, I found myself still on my street approximately six feet from my apartment. I started frantically calling coworkers on my cell phone to ask someone to answer phones until I could get here. But because I wasn't in, there was no one answering phones.

I ended up arriving at 9:30 and I thought that was a long drive. However, as people started to trickle in, I started to hear horror stories of two even three hour commutes. The record holder so far is a girl who lives about 45 minutes away on an average day. This morning it took her not two, not three, but FIVE hours to get here. I'm not exaggerating this in the slightest. Now if it took you five hours to get to work, or even remotely less than that but you started to suspect you may never get there, wouldn't you maybe pull over somewhere, get something to eat, and then call it a day and head home? I mean five hours is practically a work day in and of itself. She should get the day off tomorrow.

So this is what we deal with in the northeast. It may not be hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, or infestations of killer bees, but let me tell you it's no picnic.
Monday, December 01, 2003
I really wish that I could take the weather from all the time that I was stuck inside the office all summer and graft it onto the certain times that I have to be outside in the winter. For example, I'd like to take 2 - 3 pm on August 6th and cut and paste it onto 7:30 - 8:30 am on December 2nd. Then the real weather on December 2nd can be cut and paste into the spot left missing on August 6th. Then I could take 10 - 11 am on July 17th and cut and paste it into 5:30 - 6:30 pm on January 12th. Because seriously, I missed so much nice weather stuck indoors and now I don't even want to leave the building at lunch time.
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