Coffee Table Declarations
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
While looking for a link to this movie, I found something much better. Give it a try!
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Remember being a little kid and swimming in someone's backyard pool? Remember how after a couple of hours, someone's mother would bring out a snack - it could be sandwiches, it could be cheese curls, it makes no difference - and for some inexplicable reason you would realize that you were ravenously hungry and you would proceed to shovel food into your small face while sitting in the sun, dripping onto the cement, and inhaling the scent of fresh chlorine?

Well that is exactly how I feel after water aerobics. Well, sort of. As I am driving home, wet hair wrapped in a bun, heater blasting to offset the cold air outside, I always realize that I am ravenously hungry. It must be a long standing association between chlorine and cheese curls that kicks my appetite into high gear. Needless to say, I fantasize about stopping for food at every place that I pass. Mmmmmm... sushi restaurant.... mmmmm... convenience store full of snacks... etc. I restrain myself due to practicality and monetary frugality and nutrition consciousness, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about it.

Unfortunately by far the most convenient place to stop, if I were so inclined, would be a drive through MacDonald's. It's cheap, it's easy, it's always open, and there are like, a thousand between the YMCA and my apartment. Last night I counted three brightly lit, beckoning, with a promise of gratification that can only come from grease and fat. Luckily, the idea of eating MacDonald's food repulses me sufficiently enough that even in desparation I would be reluctant to subject my body to it.

What I wish is that there was a place that had all of the inexpense, convenience, and drive-though ability of MacDonald's, but that it were a place you could enjoy the food without a side of guilt. Why doesn't someone create a healthy fast food chain? MacHealthy's? HealthDonald's? Seriously, there is a gap in the market that is just begging to be filled. Think about it: a drive-through, open-late, inexpensive place where you could get salad wraps and smoothies. Heck, I'll start the chain myself... who's with me?
Friday, March 26, 2004
In honor of Pinky's recent surgery and inspired by Lainey's post, I'm going to tell you the story of when I got my tonsils out. Let's all discuss our surgical experiences, shall we?

I was 8 years old and in fact... I know that it was January or February so I'm amazed to realize that this was actually twenty years ago. How can something be twenty years ago? Doesn't that seem like eons of time? Back in those days (because after all, 1984 was quite a long time ago when it comes to the field of medicine), a routine tonsilectomy was an overnight stay at the hospital. I don't think it is today. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I think I may have even stayed over for two nights.

I was nervous as could be arriving the evening before the surgery with my parents. I stayed in the children's ward of the hospital so I was in a room with a whole bunch of other kids. One of them was awful nice to me. She told us she was in seventh grade and she lent me her stuffed monkey so I would feel less scared. He was a sock monkey and quite cute but I do remember wondering what he could do to help me. Still, it was a sweet gesture.

I remember having dinner at the hospital that night and being so thrilled by the large, yellow, yummy Pac-Man cookie on my dinner tray. To this day that Pac-Man cookie is what I remember most distinctly about the whole thing. After that, I couldn't eat anything before the surgery and after the surgery I couldn't eat anything much so maybe that's why the Pac-Man cookie has taken on such importance in my mind.

My dad stayed overnight at the hospital with me but not in the children's ward. I guess he slept on a cot somewhere - I've never given it much thought. However, he did take me for a walk to the hospital lobby sometime around midnight and talked to me about feeling scared. I also remember that we saw kids riding their IV poles down the halls like scooters. And I remember feeling fortunate that I could still go to the bathroom on my own instead of having to use a bedpan.

When it came time for me to go into surgery I was wheeled down in a bed. My parents accompanied me part of the way but then they had to stay behind and that was really scary. Luckily there was a nice nurse with me and she told me her name was Bertha. I remember because that was the first time I had ever heard that name.

I don't remember much after that. I was lying in the middle of a room full of grown-ups - doctors, nurses, etc., one of whom said, "why don't I just give you a mirror and let you take your own tonsils out?" But that was not to be. Instead, they put an anethesia mask on my face and told me to count. I didn't like the way it smelled but it put me out and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room and wondering where in the hell I was and what was going on. When I sat up to look around some nurse said rather sternly, "lie down!" I do remember asking where I was and she said "the recovery room", as if that clarified anything.

The remainder of the day I was in and out of consciousness. I do remember riding on an elevator, still in bed, back up to the children's ward. The rest is all kind of hazy. There was ice cream, temperature taking, bedpans, a sock monkey waiting for me, the whole nine yards. But I did not ride on my IV pole down the hall like a scooter.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
I may or may not have mentioned that a couple weeks ago I finally got together with my old high school best friend who I had been out of touch with for eight years. We had dinner and plenty to chat about and it was really fun. This weekend, we are supposed to be getting together again and she mentioned wanting to see my apartment. I'm afraid we won't have as much to talk about this time because we already caught each other up on everything we've been doing. Therefore, I need some help - does anyone have any good ideas for activities - either going someplace or staying in? I hardly ever go out anymore. I'm such an old lady.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
After finding it much easier to justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on the internet than I do when I am shopping in person, I've realized why shopping online is less guilt-inducing. There is no actual monetary transaction so the exchange of spending and recieving is extremely tenuous. You simply click a few buttons and then a couple days later a nice package arrives for you. The connection feels very distant from the reality that you are spending actual money for a product, exactly as you would at a store. Also, at a store, you are able to see a product up close and personal and it might be easier to talk yourself out of it when it's right there in front of you than when it is a mysterious abstract that you can project perfection and all kinds of wish fulfillment onto. Things you want are always more desirable than the things you have. And having things delivered to you at work feels a little bit like Christmas morning. Except hopefully, on Christmas morning, you're not at work. Or if you are, hopefully you're at least getting paid overtime.
Monday, March 22, 2004
This morning I stopped for a bagel on my way to work. There was a sign right by the register that said you could "save beans" on your coffee by purchasing one of their traveller mugs. Now, I'm sure it meant to indicate that the cost of the mugs were 99 cents each, but the sign literally said, "save beans on your coffee by purchasing one of our $99 traveller mugs." That's right, $99. No decimal point ($.99), no cents sign (of which there is not one on my keyboard), but $99. Wow, I'm really saving a lot of beans with that deal! I would've liked to say, "can I please purchase one of your 99 dollar mugs?" but I just didn't have the heart.

For lunch I went to a place I often frequent. They make smoothies and healthy sandwiches, soups, and cookies. I am in there at least once a week and though they don't know my name, they do know where I work as they've been here for the occasional delivery. Today I ordered a sandwich and a cookie but unbeknownst to me until I returned to work, my cookie had not been added to the bag. I felt very disappointed, but I knew that they would reimburse me with another cookie the next time. About half an hour later, one of the employees arrived at the door with my cookie! If that's not customer satisfaction, I don't know what is.
Friday, March 19, 2004
It was only when I was halfway through reading an article about how fish can contain high levels of mercury and that some people should not eat very much of it, did I realize that at that very moment I was eating a tuna sandwich. Can you picture it? I'm sitting here munching away on my tuna while thoughtfully pondering this article. Here is my thought process: "hmm... isn't that interesting. Some fish can contain... Hey! Wait a minute!! I'm eating fish RIGHT NOW! What are the chances?"
I know that clown fish have the remarkable ability to change gender. The way it works is that the largest clown fish in the tank becomes a female. If the largest clown fish leaves to go to the "clinic", as we say around here, then the next largest clown fish becomes a female. I'm not quite sure why this happens, but I'm sure there is a good reason.

This week the fish man brought three new Clarkie Clowns and now there is a veritable hoard of clown fish in our tank. Well o.k., there are five but I was hoping someone would find this page by searching for "veritable hoard of clown fish". They are really neat to watch because they tend to move as a group, all swimming one way and then another. Today I was watching the gang of them, when I realized that they are all relatively the same size. How does the biggest clown fish know that he's the biggest and that it's time for his magical transformation? What if there are two clownfish who are virtually the same size? Luckily, I assume that nature takes care of things like this so that I don't have to worry. But it's interesting all the same.

And when doing the research for this story, I found this very sad news. And also, these pictures.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Lately I have been noticing a first and last name in separate places. Not common names and the first and last names have not been appearing together. However, it's odd for them to come up at all in such rapid succession. I have been noticing them on websites, in books, and even once on the side of a truck on the highway. The first name is the same as my sister's but it is spelled in an unusual way. The last name starts with the word "Saint" and then (presumably) the name of a saint. I don't want to reveal the names here however, because maybe someone with that first and last name will google themselves and then contact me and that would really freak me out. Still, I am not quite sure what it all means.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I don't know why some people are Prophets of Doom. This is the title I've given to people who seem to enjoy getting attention by saying the most exaggeratingly negative thing possible, and scaring the life out of those who are innocent enough not to recognize that the person is simply a Prophet of Doom. Case in point: this woman in my water aerobics class Monday night. Right in the middle of the cardio portion, (which I might add, if you are doing correctly you can barely catch your breath, let alone prophesize doom), she suddenly bursts out with the announcement that, "It's going to snow tomorrow night and it's not supposed to stop until Saturday!" Naturally, this dramatic statement was met with some disbelief, "Get out!" replied the instructor, "it is not." At which point the woman insisted that "yes it is, we're supposed to get a blizzard for the next four days! I saw it on the news!" Well we did get a good deal of snow last night and it IS still snowing now - light fluffy flakes that aren't sticking to the bare roads. Obviously the Prophet of Doom was misinformed (as they so often are).

I just don't understand why some people would choose to be negative. When I was in college I was very vulnerable to listening to that kind of negativity and becoming quite upset by sensationalist, embellished tales of catastrophe. I guess some people enjoy having that effect on people. Personally I think it's unhealthy and unnecessary. Sure, there's a slim chance that disaster may strike at any moment, but do you really want to spend your time worrying about it and hashing out all of the dramatic possibilities? No, I didn't think so. Next time you hear a Prophet of Doom nearby trying to make some ridiculous proclamation, just tell them that no one likes to be around such naysayers, and you refuse to listen to them. Stick your tounge out at them if you have to. Anything to show them that you are not listening to a word of it.
Oh no - I have the hiccups! I have the weirdest hiccups I (or anyone else) has ever heard. They sound sort of like a frog ribbetting. (Ribbetting?? Is that a word?) Anyway, they are loud and strange and a really fun trick in the company of friends, however not so good for work. I'm trying to keep quiet, but everytime I open my mouth to answer the phone I'm afraid I'm going to hiccup. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I won't have to page anyone over the intercom system.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
My absolute favorite part of Fed Ex envelopes, is where they say "Do not ship liquids, blood, or diagnostics in this packaging." Oh, no! What am I going to do now? Actually, that's really rather gruesome. Imagine a Fed Ex package being delivered to you and you open it up and it contains blood! Or some other unmentionable liquid. Do they have a special package specifically designed for shipping blood/bodily fluids? If so, my office doesn't have any.
Monday, March 15, 2004
I was never big on getting involved in things when I was in school. I took piano (elementary school), flute and therefore band (jr. high when piano lessons were no longer available), chorus (high school), and chorus (college). I never took advantage of sports, activities, programs, or things designed to broaden my horizons and stimulate my mind. I tried and gave up things like ballet, tap, softball, soccer, gymnastics, and cooking not necessarily in that order. I just wasn't one of those kids who joined and mastered everything they possibly could.

Lately however, my motto seems to be "do things" because not only do I now have my water aerobics class twice a week, I have also decided to join the book club held one evening a month at the bookstore across the street from my apartment. I mean, it's one evening a month - how hard is that? I spent most of the weekend reading the book for the next meeting (and by the way I'd like to recommend this book to Pinky who is looking for books to read - it is long enough to sink your teeth into and good enough to compel you to keep reading.) However, I have no idea what to expect from the book club meeting. I've never been to one. Will we all have to sit around and talk about the book? I'm not quite sure what I would say. I've been reading this book very carefully, trying to notice plot twists, symbolism, character development, etc. This sort of reminds me of writing book reports.
Friday, March 12, 2004
There's this one coworker who always says goodbye to me on Friday, tells me to have a good weekend, and then adds, "Monday morning will be here before you know it!" That's kind of negative, isn't it? She is the same one who all during January said to me, "cold enough for ya?" I hate when people say that. What am I going to say - no, it's 40 below but it's just not quite cold enough for me.
The mailman never came today. Should we be concerned?
So hard to get up this morning... I was dreaming that I was playing the slots at a casino... ah, so many quarters, so little time to sleep.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Standing in line to order lunch today, I found myself repeating the name of the sandwich I wanted in my head so I would be ready when it was my turn. It wasn't a very complicated sandwich, but I was not overly excited about it so I kept spacing out while I was waiting and thinking about other things. I thought it would be funny if they got to me and I was like, "huh?"

Then I remembered how when I was little I was always nervous about interacting with strangers in public situations. I'd ask my mother, "what should I say?" and she'd get exasperated with me, "just talk to someone, ask a question, tell them what you want." And my favorite line was when she'd say, "you can speak English right? You can communicate just fine!" This always made me laugh because she did have a point.

It would be awful if you couldn't communicate intelligibly with people. For example, what if the person at the deli said, "can I help you?" and you opened your mouth to speak and the only thing that came out was garbled gibberish? Or what if all of a sudden, for no reason at all, your brain ceased recognizing the language you've known and been surrounded by for your entire life? Yes, these are the things I think about.

And speaking of fun with linguistics, I heard something really interesting on the radio this morning. They had a guy who could hear any word and immediately say it backwards without thinking about it. They gave him a bunch of hard words like, "transformation", "xylaphone", and "Constantinople". It was really quite impressive and a bit spooky.

They also had another guy on who could look at a word and rapidly put the letters into alphabetical order, but that wasn't so amazing. Anyone can do that. I started doing it with signs as I was driving. But backwards talking - that's just plain unnerving.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
I'm all about facing my fears lately. Today I was determined to conquer the atomic fireball because someone bought a whole jar for the office. I am not normally very intimidated by "hot" foods. I eat so much Mexican cuisine that I think I've developed an immunity. People will be eating the same thing going, "oh this is so hot" and I'm like, "it is?" So I was confident I could handle the atomic fire ball.

During the first few seconds it was really no big deal. I laughed to myself - piece of cake! But all of a sudden the hotness snuck up on me. My eyes were watering and I felt like my mouth was on fire. Still, I forged ahead with determination. After several more seconds of burning agony I finally had to spit it out. What the heck do they put in those things and why do people actually enjoy eating them?

However, I devised a plan. Maybe the next time I find myself in a somewhat anxiety provoking situation, I'll just pop an atomic fire ball into my mouth. The zen-like calm required to get through it should occupy my mind sufficiently enough to be unable to focus on anything else.
Monday, March 08, 2004
I just realized with alarm that my scissors are missing. Someone stole my scissors! I got up and searched for them and found a different pair. They work pretty well, but I'm sorry to say there's something... sticky on the blades. I'm sure it's just glue, but still. Anyway, a coworker walked by and I asked her if she had seen my scissors. She pointed out that I was using a pair and I said, "well these ones are a bit subpar." She and I laughed and then she went on her way. For a split second I felt sorry for the sticky scissors. I hadn't intended to hurt their feelings. But then I realized that luckily, scissors don't know what "subpar" means. Yes, Mondays are hard.
Friday, March 05, 2004
One of my favorite tv shows is Boston Public. I enjoy coming home on Friday evening and relaxing with my line up of shows (Joan of Arcadia and Boston Public). However, BP hasn't been on in several weeks and I have felt so lost and confused. Last night, my mother (a fellow fan) told me some troubling news. She heard that BP has been cancelled.

What is wrong with tv decision makers that they would just cancel a show right in the middle of the season like that with no closure? Oh were the ratings not good enough? So, what, the people that do watch and like the show don't matter? They just let us become involved with these characters, enmeshed in these plot twists, and then... nothing. What, do they want to clear the way for more stupid reality shows? What is happening to the quality of entertainment in our society? Is it so much to ask to have my Friday night Boston Public? I work hard all week. I'm from Boston for goodness sake. Why can't I have this one show I like more than all others? It's just not fair.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
There's this guy who calls every single day, twice a day, for our CEO. I recognize his voice now. Sometimes he asks for her by name, sometimes he gets sneaky and asks for her extension - as if we won't recognize it and send him on through. The executive assistant keeps telling him she's not here but he refuses to leave a message. This has been going on for at least a month. I have to say, his persistance is unmatched. However, he's never going to get to speak to her, I assure you. We screen her calls and if he doesn't know that by now then he never will.

Another addition to the realm of stupid callers is the copier scam. What happens is some random person calls and says they are calling from your copier company, and could you just tell them the model number on your copier for verification? But if you do, they will send you toner or something and then charge you for it. I know this, not because I ever fell for it, but because I was warned on my very first day to transfer these calls to our IT manager. One day, I asked him what happens when he gets these callers. He said that he says something like, "you should already know that information if you are from our copier company", at which point they promptly hang up.

So this morning I got one of those calls. The woman said, "Hi this is so and so from the customer service department." and I forget the rest of what she said asking for the model number but I thought it was funny that she said she was calling from the customer service department. Boy, that narrows it down! Anyway I said, "Wouldn't you already know our model number if..." click - she hung up. Somehow I felt this wasn't enough. I wanted to yell at her for working for such a shifty place and to tell her to leave us alone. Maybe next time I'll say something like, "I don't think so!" and hang up on her.

And finally, one other scam-type call was the guy who yesterday said, "we seem to have lost your company's name and address, could you please give them to me?" Oh yeah, but you just happened to have the number lying around? Sorry buddy.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
The Girl Scout cookies I ordered from a coworker's daughter just got delivered. I love Girl Scout cookies and I miss out on them every year for some reason. That's why this year I bought myself seven boxes. But you know, now I want to buy even more.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Last night I started taking water aerobics. It was me and a large majority of older ladies. I was impressed by this because let me tell you, water aerobics is a lot harder than it's cracked up to be. First, I had to wear one of those stretchy bathing caps which felt like it was slowly slicing through my forehead. Secondly, the water was chilly and I had to keep bouncing up and down just to keep warm. That, in and of itself, was a workout. I could not see what the instructor was doing with her legs below the water (although she was wearing sneakers, of all things) and I could barely hear her over the sound of flailing limbs and splashing water. Therefore, much of the time was spent looking at the old ladies around me for clues. All in all, aside from a nasty chill that I had for the rest of the night, and a realization that I may be lacking in some key areas of coordination, I felt really good afterwards. My muscles felt relaxed somehow. Today I just feel sore, but in a good way. I hope the old ladies are feeling alright.
Monday, March 01, 2004
An actual conversation that just took place:

Me (answering phone): Good morning, (name of the company)

Caller: Hi, I'm calling in for Tony?

Me: There's nobody here by that name.

Caller: Um, he works there and he's supposed to be coming in but he's really sick and um...

Me (louder and firmer): There's nobody here by that name.

Caller: Yes, he works there...

Me (getting annoyed): This is (name of the company).

Caller: (click - sound of her hanging up on me)

Two seconds later the phone rings again and it's a hang up. I'm a little suspicious about Tony. After all, why is he having someone call in for him if he's sick? Why not call in for himself - afraid of the boss? Plus, shouldn't the person doing the calling know where he works and perhaps ask to speak to his supervisor rather than just telling the first random person who answers the phone? Additionally, isn't hanging up in some way an admission of guilt? If you were honestly trying to call in sick for Tony and things were on the up and up, wouldn't you try to determine where you had called and whether the number was correct, or something? If I were Tony's boss and this youngish sounding girl called and just said he was really sick and wouldn't be coming in, I'd have to question Tony's sense of responsibility and dedication to his job. The whole thing kind of reminded me of that scene in Ferris Bueller when they call Mr. Rooney pretending to be the girlfriend's dad so that she can leave school. But I don't know, maybe it's just me.
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